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FEB 19/2015

Will better diagnostics have an impact on a locum doctors role?

Medicine has advanced in a number of areas and ways over the past couple of decades. However, few areas have seen this more than in the field of diagnostics.

How doctors and GPs now diagnose cancer and many other common conditions like diabetes and heart disease, has changed inexplicably since the turn of the millennium. Not only has this significantly reduced the amount of time that patients have to wait to get their results, but it has also made the experience much less traumatic. In addition, better diagnostics has changed how treatment is delivered, as well as how early the condition can be spotted. This is continually leading to personalised medicine, which many leading experts consider to the future of many disciplines.

These advancements are constantly occurring, with new research suggesting that there could soon be simple breath tests to diagnose Parkinson's and many types of cancer. However, what impact will this have on the role of locum doctors and GPs?

More accuracy

Improved diagnostics can only be a positive thing for patient care, and as such is an incredibly positive advancement for GPs and doctors working on a locum basis. Having more accurate and quicker tests, which are also less invasive, will ensure that the most up-to-date information is available on the patient - no matter whether it is a locum or their regular GP that is administering the test. This in itself should help locum doctors deliver the best standard of patient care that is possible. In addition, this should also help take some pressure off GP surgeries. Helping locums deliver accurate and quick results to the patients they see, will ensure that there are fewer problems caused by not being in the position to get to know a patient over a matter of years.

Improved patient care

Better diagnostics will help improve patient care, making the role of locum GP and doctors much easier. Some of the problems locums face is that it is challenging to get a patient to trust in their ability, compared to their usual doctor. Often, people - especially the elderly - can get attached to their regular doctor and so feel wary of anyone else treating them. It's understandable that under concerning circumstances, when they are potentially being diagnosed with a life-changing condition, that they want the comfort of their familiar doctor. More advanced methods of diagnosing conditions will reduce the amount of discomfort the patient has to experience. For example, diagnosing cancer used to be achieved through a biopsy, and now is commonly done through blood tests or scans. In the future, it could be as simple as getting a patient to give a swab or breath into a tube. This will make the whole process of diagnosis, which can be extremely stressful and worrying for patients, less worrying for them. This is an important step when it comes to patients investing trust in their doctor.

In summary

As with any major advancements, improved diagnostics will change the role of doctors, and could see their job be more focused on observing worrying signs that could warrant further tests, and guiding patients to make the best decision about their care. However, more advanced diagnostics can only be a positive thing for the wider medical profession, especially those working on a locum basis.

Tell us what you think

As a locum doctor or GP are better diagnositics helping you in your role? Comment below.

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