We are now firmly in the mobile internet age and our dependence on technology is almost absolute.
Although some might object that smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices make work inescapable, most people would agree that technology has revolutionised working life in the NHS. Putting information governance aside, technology is here to stay and we as doctors can and should use it to our advantage and embrace it.
GPs are already making the most of a lot of useful gadgets, such as the iPad, which has redefined business as usual and the way many of us live and work.
The advantages and applications of a tablet computer are endless, but for doctors, it can make our working lives more efficient, support CPD and enhance the patient experience.
It takes less than five seconds to launch the email app, which is incredibly time-efficient when you only have a few minutes to spare, or you are desperate to retrieve a message during a meeting.
In terms of organisation, the calendar is a great app. It seamlessly synchronises with the calendars on iPhones and laptops.
You can also add items to your calendar direct from email invitations, which makes organising and tracking meetings, clinics and social events child's play.
Syncing goes beyond the calendar; the notepad and other apps all take advantage of this technology, allowing you to access important documents easily across devices, wherever you are.
Revalidation is now well under way. Earning CPD credits efficiently is, without doubt, imperative to maintaining sanity as the time of your appraisal approaches.
This is where the iPad really comes into its own. Taking electronic notes during meetings and courses is easy, because the iPad keyboard is very user-friendly. Learning, reflection and action points can all be typed in real time, and CPD points gained effortlessly.
This saves having to type up scribbled notes from scraps of paper and keeps a safe record that can be uploaded to your portfolio.
Online learning, such as tests and courses, can be accessed on the fly, and PDFs can be commented and reflected on, dovetailing beautifully into your learning activities folder.
Home visits are where the iPad can really add value, in terms of helping to improve patient care.
For example, anatomical pictures can be retrieved in seconds and are worth a thousand words.
Decision support aids and QRISK scores can help with management, drive up clinical quality and improve outcomes. Formularies, such as the MIMS app, provide up-to-date drug information in seconds.
Non-clinical apps may still help patients during consultations. For example, language translation software may prove essential and is free. The possibilities are endless.
Technology is designed to make our lives easier and for GPs, with ever-increasing time pressures, the iPad seems to do just that.
- Dr Thakkar is a GP in Wooburn Green, Buckinghamshire
|Reading GP on your iPad
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So if you already own an iPad, why not download the app now? Click here to go to iTunes
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