Digital technology won’t cure all the ills of healthcare
Our exclusive report on pages 6 and 7 of today’s newspaper really shines a light on the problems facing GPS in Scotland.
It is simply staggering to think that one doctor has 5,000 patients on her books. That is a huge figure.
It is only thanks to digital technology that the doctor involved is able to cope with such a workload.
It appears to make sense that some patients should email ahead with their symptoms to let the doctor decide on how and when they should be treated.
After all, the vast majority may well be contacting her regarding fairly common complaints which are easy to tackle – common colds, bugs, and aches and pains.
While technology can be used to help those with a fairly basic understanding of the internet, we should not forget some elderly patients are not as well connected, so to speak.
Some find the web a difficult place to navigate, and fear being targeted by cyber crooks.
But it is hugely important that increasing digital use in the health service is not seen as a replacement for human contact.
For some people, a visit to the doctor for one ailment may actually be a chance to spot something much more serious.
It might be a five-minute chat but in that short space of time the doctor may use their experience to see that something else is amiss.
So, by all means, let’s embrace technology as a way to improve treatment.
If it can improve a patient’s experience while aiding diagnosis and treatment then that’s all for the good.
However, let’s make sure those in authority don’t use technology to remove great swathes of staff to save money.