Australian GP’s digital path

In the latest edition of Australian Doctor, Sydney GP Raymond Seidler writes about his quest for a paperless practice, saying it “has been tireless and ongoing since 1996 when I began using medical software.



He writes that “Now the pressure is on to make my tiny practice seamless. I need access to my data outside my office and with a large number of nursing home patients in aged care facilities nearby, I need a virtual private network from a computer in these facilities to print prescriptions and add clinical information and generally keep up to date with patients at three off-site locations. This is not hard to do. For a relatively small amount this can be achieved easily.

“How to achieve this? I bought software to allow any doctor to access their patients’ information from any computer in the world securely and in encrypted form. I added a new version of voice recognition software because my typing is so bad and bought a large inexpensive LCD screen. Voice recognition software translates a patient’s history into my computer with a wireless headset and microphone. Many patients comment as they see their history appearing as if by magic on my large LCD screen that they can see. Inevitably, become more involved in the process. I ask them if there is anything I have left out….

“Perhaps the most effective communication with my patient base is via SMS to patients through a bulk purchase online using my billing program, which allows me to message patients with recall information at the press of a button. There is nothing like an SMS from their GP to increase a patient’s heart rate and get them to return a call immediately. This is particularly so for members of the X and Y generations, who spend their lives glued to their mobile phone screens.

“Do patients respond to SMS on their mobiles from their GPs? You bet they do. Rapid return phone calls come thick and fast. It is gratifying to find a sure-fire method of having patients contact you when you need them. Letters are laborious and slow. SMS is immediate and relatively inexpensive at 18c per message when purchased in bulk.”

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