Preparing for the AKT: Health informatics

In the third of a three-part series, Dr Pipin Singh provides GP trainees with advice on preparing for the health informatics section of the AKT exam.

You could arrange a tutorial with the practice manager (Photo: JH Lancy)
You could arrange a tutorial with the practice manager (Photo: JH Lancy)

Health informatics comprises 10% of the AKT paper and like the statistical section, will contain questions that are discriminators. This section will focus on ethical, legal and organisational aspects of UK general practice and the question selection is likely to be broad.

What will be covered?

Areas that may be focused on include:

  • Structure and organisational aspects of the NHS, so how the NHS structure filters down starting with NHS England, NHS Scotland etc.
  • The legal requirements of being a GP, for example safeguarding, DVLA notification, etc.
  • Medical certification such as death certificates, fitness letters.
  • GMC regulation, for example duties of a doctor, professionalism.
  • Business aspects of general practice, for example QOF indicators, the GMS contract, fees.
  • Effective use of resources, i.e appropriate investigations (this may include doing nothing, as it often does, and prescribing, which may involve an understanding of schedules 1-4 controlled drugs).
  • Health and safety while in practice, for example management of needlestick injury, handwashing, disposal of medical equipment.
  • Understanding of social care.
  • Ethical issues, for example the Mental Capacity Act, consent and confidentiality.
  • An understanding of fit notes (more information here) and some common time frames that may apply to some commonly performed procedures, such as knee replacement, hip replacement.
  • Clinical governance areas, including significant event analysis (SEAs) and significant untoward incidents (SUIs)
  • Understanding of the benefits system, such as personal independent payments (PIP), employment support allowance (ESA), universal credit etc. This is a useful overview from the Department for Work and Pensions that is aimed at GPs.
  • Role of the CQC
  • Some aspects of IT could be examined.

This may seem like a daunting list, however by the time you come to sit the AKT you will be aware of a lot of these areas from being in practice, seeing patients, researching cases and listening to your trainer, colleagues and the practice management team.

Preparation

In order to explore your knowledge, ensure you practice plenty of questions in this area. This should identify any areas of weakness and where you may need to focus your attention.

In addition to the websites mentioned above, good resources for preparing for this section that you may find useful include:

Tips for success in the AKT

The following tips can help you with all sections of the AKT:

  • Time management is vital - You have around 57 seconds per question
  • Keep practising questions and identify areas of weakness and focus in on these.
  • Exam technique is also crucial. If the answer is not immediately obvious then flag the question and return to it later
  • Read the questions carefully. This may sound obvious, but remember this is a test of knowledge application so pick out salient cues in the question. For example, certain groups of patients are more likely to have certain conditions. Do not misinterpret least to most or most to least.
  • Eliminate answers quickly that clearly cannot be correct.
  • Do not skim read questions.
  • Reserve time to return to unanswered questions.
  • Try to integrate your learning with daily practice, for example if you are unsure of a management plan for any particular condition, review any appropriate guidance there and then. You are more likely to retain knowledge this way.

Good luck!

  • Dr Singh is a GP trainer in Northumberland

Read the other articles in this series

Uesful resources

More advice for GP trainees

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