The Digital Difference: An Interview with @DrLeetheGP

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Dr Claudine Lee is a GP with a diabetic and wellness care centre in Hilton, Pietermaritzburg. As one of last year’s winners at the ASAIPA National Medical Awards, Dr Lee was recognised for embracing technology to achieve better patient and business outcomes. Healthbridge sat down with her to talk about some of the ways she’s using technology to optimise care at her practice.

“I use data to engage with patients in a meaningful way about their wellbeing.”  @DrLeetheGP

When we talk about digital health, we sometimes use it to describe a way to do more, faster. Tell us about some of the ways you use technology to run your practice? 

Technology is an integral part of every single consult I do. It’s a quick way to capture multiple types of data, from inputting patient data and treatment plans to billing and ICD-10 codes. Technology is a practical way to stay in touch with my patients and send them reminders to come in for follow up appointments. Without technology, I would waste a lot of time wading between paper folders and manual data capturing, not to mention worrying about the security of my practice data and patient records.

In addition to enabling you to capture data easily, how has technology improved the quality and usability of the data you collect on a daily basis.

From a practice management point of view, better quality data has meant more accurate billing which speaks for itself. But what’s exciting is that the ability to easily access quality data, is making a real difference to patient care. It is easier to measure a patient’s progress over time because data doesn’t lie. I can challenge my patients to be more proactive in their health and we can break milestones down into achievable steps. Instead of telling them that they need to be within a certain range, I can personalise the care I’m giving my patients.

Accurate data is also crucial when my colleagues and I are discussing treatment plans for patients, and to prove treatment failures and successes when I need to send motivation letters to medical aids.

Having accurate quality data available and accessible, is the basis of patient-centred care and better outcomes.

What excites you most about the digitisation of healthcare? 

The way we use technology can make a big difference in how we treat and try to prevent communicable and non-communicable diseases. Diabetes care has been revolutionised by technology in so many ways, from continuous/distance monitoring to new pump technology. Innovations in this space are maturing to the point that we, as doctors, can use them to improve our patient’s quality of life.

What would you say to doctors who believe that introducing technology into a consultation takes your attention away from your patient?

I would say one practical consideration is whether they can type. Using technology is not an issue in my rooms because I can touch type and maintain eye contact with the patient. The use of technology is another (more beneficial) way of recording information, which they would need to do on paper in any case.

Do you have instances where you need to access records when you’re away from your practice?

Yes, and this is like pure gold. It has made more than a few instances much simpler by having access to the information I needed without physically needing to be at the practice.

What made you decide to be an early adopter when it comes to digital practices?

It just made sense. I could immediately see the benefit of having practice management data at my fingertips and I use this information all the time to monitor finances and productivity. I’ve also been able to access records when I’m away from the practice and this has been invaluable on several occasions.

Another motivator is that more patients are asking for access to their records. Patients are more empowered, and we must make access to their information possible for a lot of reasons, but most of all for healthier patients. Data is the new gold and technology is how we get to it. Digitising my practice was a straightforward decision and I haven’t looked back.

If you would like to digitise your practice like Dr Lee, then contact Healthbridge for a no-obligation complimentary practice assessment by emailing: queries@healthbridge.co.za.

Sourced from Healthbridge website

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