Sponsored by Powerful MedicalPowerful Medical

From overwhelmed to optimised: How technology helps GPs enhance their practice

Dr Robert Herman from Powerful Medical explains how emerging smart technology, such as artificial intelligence, can help alleviate the burden on GPs by increasing efficiency and improving patient outcomes.

Dr Robert Herman, chief medical officer, Powerful Medical

GPs across the UK are facing unprecedented staffing shortages and a growing backlog of patients. In England alone, there are 1,973 fewer fully qualified full-time GPs than in September 2015.1 Facing a massive backlog of patients, practitioners treat many more patients than their capacities allow.2

Overloaded and stressed GPs raise the alarm and call for help. How long until the quality of health care is compromised? Is any help coming?

Where human capacities fall short, the global community turns to technology for solutions. The healthcare industry is leading the charge in digital transformation. The NHS has acknowledged the need to adopt digital technology in medical care workflows.

For 2022/23, one of the top priorities for NHS England is to 'exploit the potential of digital technologies to transform the delivery of care and patient outcomes'.3

This priority is well funded, too. NHS England is set to receive £23.8bn of capital investment over the next three years, £2.1bn of which is earmarked for 'innovative use of technology'.3

Embracing technology is becoming imperative

GPs can’t remain reluctant to leverage digital technology in their daily practice. Smart software solutions and artificial intelligence have been clinically proven to save GPs hours of time, streamline their workflow, save money and make them more confident in making decisions about a diagnosis and treatment of their patient.

Take ECG interpretation, for example.

A GP or their supporting staff often perform multiple ECGs in a week. Although family physicians are the gatekeepers to the healthcare system, they often report lower confidence in interpreting ECGs and require support in this area.4

There already exists an AI technology that can solve this.

AI-powered medical software like PMcardio interprets an ECG accurately in under five seconds. In a large clinical validation study, PMcardio has demonstrated an average of 38.18% improved detection of all tested CVD diagnoses across all evaluation metrics. In detecting arrhythmias, PMcardio has picked up undiagnosed atrial fibrillation (89% decrease in false negatives).

PMcardio reads a 12-lead ECG in seconds and creates a full ECG diagnostic report with detected diagnosis, referral recommendation, and detailed treatment suggestions adherent to medical practice guidelines.

Under current pressing circumstances, such tools in GPs’ hands will make them significantly more confident in their diagnostic decision-making.

Some GPs are already becoming anxious about making diagnostic or treatment errors on account of being constantly tired and overworked.5 The right technology can lift at least one big burden off of their shoulders.

The rise of the GP 2.0

A GP empowered with artificial intelligence is a GP 2.0, if you will. In the context of the ongoing NHS crisis, we – practitioners – have to leverage technology to work more efficiently, automate some routine tasks, and mitigate bottlenecks.

Professor Jozef Bartunek, PhD, associate director and chairman of the Cardiovascular Center in Aalst and visiting professor at the University Leuven in Belgium has said: 'I see the role of AI in providing the best understanding and treatment for an individual patient. PMcardio can really contribute to saving lives and improving outcomes.'

Cardiac patients are only one group of patients, but it’s a massive one. According to the British Heart Foundation, around 7.6m people live with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.6

Improving the management of this large patient population can alleviate the strain on both primary care physicians and the specialists to whom they refer patients.

GPs that use AI technology, such as PMcardio, could streamline patient triage and refer acute patients. Treating more patients in primary care not only relieves specialists but ensures faster and more efficient adequate treatment for the patient.

With the massive waiting times for getting an appointment with a specialist (sometimes taking up to 18 weeks), it’s of paramount importance to ensure accurate triage.

Just imagine the reduction in incorrect referrals to secondary care if GPs had a tool in their pocket to provide them with referral recommendations based on millions of previous cases.

Artificial intelligence can serve GPs as the extra staff member they don’t have. As an extra pair of eyes, a confidence boost in their daily decision-making.

A task like working with patients’ ECGs – everything from digitising them, interpreting and triaging them to suggesting treatment, cataloguing, or sharing them – can now be easily done by AI. Let’s leverage its potential to the fullest.

  • Dr Robert Herman is a physician and scientist with a robust technological background and a deep understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning. He serves as a Digital and Innovation Committee Member at the European Society of Cardiology and as the chief medical officer at Powerful Medical.

About Powerful Medical

Powerful Medical provides healthcare solutions based on artificial intelligence that help medical professionals accurately diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases.

Powerful Medical’s flagship product, PMcardio, is an AI-powered, certified Class IIb medical device that empowers healthcare professionals to interpret ECGs in under 5 seconds. The app enables users to diagnose 38 cardiovascular diseases with unmatched precision, triage patients accurately, and suggest treatment thanks to guideline-adherent treatment recommendations.

Trained on one million ECG records, PMcardio demonstrates statistically significant diagnostic superiority when compared to general practitioners and demonstrated on-par diagnostic performance when compared to expert cardiologists with decades of experience.

Try PMcardio here.


  1. British Medical Association. Pressures in general practice data analysis. Available at: https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/nhs-delivery-and-workforce/pressures/pressures-in-general-practice-data-analysis
  2. Ungoed-Thomas, J. GPs in England treat up to three times more patients than safety limit demands. The Guardian, 20 November 2022. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/nov/20/gps-in-england-treat-up-to-three-times-more-patients-than-safety-limit-demands
  3. NHS England. 2022/23 Priorities and operational planning guidance. Avialable at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/2022-23-priorities-and-operational-planning-guidance/
  4. Begg G, et al. Electrocardiogram interpretation and arrhythmia management: a primary and secondary care survey. Br J Gen Prac 2016; 66 (646): e291-e296. Available at: https://bjgp.org/content/66/646/e291
  5. NHS faces funding crisis as patients demand more care. Financial Times. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/88df80b1-38c7-4dfe-bda7-b5055d792434
  6. British Heart Foundation. UK factsheet: Cardiovascular disease statistics. August 2022. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/-/media/files/research/heart-statistics/bhf-cvd-statistics---uk-factsheet.pdf

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Delegates at MIMS Learning Live

Learn, earn CPD and network with peers at MIMS Learning Live London

Registration is now open for MIMS Learning Live London on 9 June at the Business...

Satisfaction digital screen

'Wake-up call' for government as NHS and GP satisfaction hit all-time low

Public satisfaction with the NHS has slumped to just 29% - the lowest level ever...

BMA picket armband

Vast majority of GPs ready for industrial action, LMC poll suggests

More than three quarters of GPs and practice managers back industrial action - with...

Cow's Milk Allergy in Practice

Register for the Cow's Milk Allergy in Practice webinar series 2023

Join us for the 2023 Cow’s Milk Allergy in Practice series of webinars for healthcare...

GP at desk

GPs 'psychologically distressed' by COVID-19 pandemic, study shows

GPs were left ‘psychologically distressed and overwhelmed’ by working through the...

Opening letter

GPs could ignore £156,000 pay declaration after failure to update contracts

Many practices can ignore demands for GPs earning over £156,000 to declare their...