Doctor data has no practical value, claims GP

patient data
“The data that many of us are working with is six months out of date, which is virtually useless”

Public Health England advisor and practicing General Practitioner unimpressed with timeliness of information normally accessed at primary care level

[London, UK] A senior advisor for Public Health England is worried the data that the NHS has about its patients is ‘virtually useless’ in its current form.

Speaking to The British Journal of Healthcare Computing, the medic, Dr Charles Alessi, wants healthcare professionals to use technology to enable them to have true ‘line of sight’ so they can start managing every patient as a person, rather than by an individual ailment or body part.

But that isn’t happening yet, he fears, as current focus on big systems like EMR (electronic medical records) too often obscures the true picture.

“While EMRs in health and social care are extremely useful, we need to go beyond using an EMR in a traditional sense in order to see the effectiveness of care provision and pathways, and where work needs to be done.”

NHS technology not yet ‘joined up’

Alessi, also a practising GP in South West London and chair of the National Association of Primary Care, also highlighted the need for GPs to start harnessing what he sees as the power of analytics to interrogate data – and, most importantly, empower patients to do so.

“If we are able to use data more effectively, not only will people be taking more responsibility of their health and wellbeing as the years go on but GPs will also be able to focus more on prevention rather than cure, as they will be able to better understand what lies ahead.

“The data that many of us are working with is six months out of date, which is virtually useless. At the moment, GPs are not getting the full benefits of scaled technology and equally importantly, properly ‘joined-up’ technology.

“We have new entities being established, such as CCGs and Vanguards - and yet still there is no true line of sight.”

To read the full interview with Dr Charles Alessi, click here.