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Building understanding: A day in the life of a GP

Understanding what GPs deal with daily will help you to formulate an effective HCP engagement strategy that works for them

While recently researching for our new white paper (HCP voice, access and engagement), we shadowed and interviewed a GP, based here in Manchester, to get insights into what a typical day involves for a GP and where pharma can support their needs. 

If pharma are serious about HCP engagement, they must know as much about HCPs as possible. To this end, knowing what happens in a HCP’s ‘typical day’ is an ideal starting point for building understanding of what you’re dealing with.
Here’s a day in the life of Ted (name anonymised on request of GP). 

It’s not any more extraordinary than any other day, but hopefully will give you a clearer picture of what Ted – and other GPs – experience on a regular basis.   

7 – 8am: PAPERWORK
“Before I can even think about starting the ‘proper’ job of meeting with patients, there’s a ton of admin to get through. Whether it’s emails/letters to patients and medical staff, reports, discharge summaries or test results, it can’t be avoided. And what’s more, it multiplies like the mythical Hydra – you cut off one head, and two take its place.”
 

8 – 9.10am: PHONE TRIAGE
“Anyone requesting same-day appointments must be assessed by me first, on the phone. Today, I have 12 to get through – covering a wide range of conditions, plus requests for home visits and test results.
Although phone consultations are convenient for patients, they rarely are for me. Without seeing others waiting, some patients feel they can keep me on the phone longer than necessary (10 minutes). Today, I ran 10 minutes over schedule because an elderly patient wanted to discuss much more than her physical condition!” 

9.10am – 12.55pm: MORNING SURGERY
“Often, I run 40 minutes over or more in the morning session, so I consider 25 minutes (end time is supposed to be 12.30) to be a good result.
From heart problems to common colds, I diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions – for patients of all ages. On a good day, the appointments that run over come later in the morning, but the late start today makes for a difficult session. When patients have to wait to see me, frustration is added to their existing medical worries and that makes our meetings less happy. Hardest of all, however, is resisting the temptation to ‘rush through’ appointments – even if patients are less than co-operative.” 

12.55 – 1.50pm: HOME VISITS
“I have two visits to make. Traffic is bad on the way to the first, but the assessment is straightforward so I am on the way to the next quite quickly. The second visit, however, is to an elderly gentleman who has to be woken by his wife first – and this takes 10 minutes. Traffic is still bad on the way back to my surgery.”
 

2 – 2.30pm: STAFF MEETING 

2.30 – 3pm: PAPERWORK

“Had I not had the staff meeting to attend, I could’ve eaten a proper lunch. As it stands, I have to nibble at sandwiches whilst writing clinic letters, referrals, results and prescriptions.”
 

3 – 3.40pm: PHONE APPOINTMENTS
“With an increasing number of elderly patients, more are housebound – and this means telephone is the only option. This afternoon I have three appointments.”

To get more insights and to learn how Dr Ted's afternoon went, please read the full article here: 
http://www.wearecouch.com/blog/hcp-engagement-gp


28th October 2016

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