I chaired a locality meeting of local GP practices yesterday mainly about the changes coming to the NHS and what we need to do. We did some info on what the current high-level thinking is, we did some discussions about new ways of working and we did some good clinical care to keep the clinicians happy and also that’s what we do.. It went reasonably well.
Interestingly in the break, most of the talk was about how bad the IT is at the moment.
Two of the six practices are so fed up with Docman they are looking at dropping it. It just crashes all the time and one practice is convinced it’s not forwarding letters correctly causing significant clinical safety concerns. They say they’ve reported it numerous times and are getting nowhere. A couple of other practices locally have also dropped Docman. My advice to them was Docman 10, the new version is coming soon and may be better and speak to IT about whether they could be earlier adopters/testers of it. I suspect Docman are concentrating on the new version which would be fine if upgrading was imminent but apparently there is a huge waiting list.
Apart from Docman, people whinged about EMIS – it also crashes all the time or hangs. It also doesn’t shut down properly – leaving hidden programs running which then causes Lexacom and Docman, which talk to it, problems. Is this an EMIS problem or the fact we are running on old machines on windows 7 with poor memory?
Often the only way to solve the problem is to reboot. Which most GPs end up doing several times a day which is crazy especially given how long it takes. Of course – despite being one of the hardest hit areas for wannacry as stated we are still on Windows 7, though the patching now seems up to date, in fact, it’s almost daily and IT have locked down the network to the extent we can’t get stuff that we want to work to work even when it’s been whitelisted!
EMIS also has a habit of hanging, or worse when you try to log on to your smart card it won’t let you – for no reason. Basically almost every day most users are finding one or more problems. If anyone’s ever read Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman – Central Cheshire IT is like the M25 – a homage to Satan!
One of the GPs at a local practice told me her computer wouldn’t boot and despite the fact she had a full surgery waiting that morning and that afternoon it took IT over 24 hours to come fix it. If it hadn’t been for the fact one of her colleagues was on holiday and she could use her room (this was not known by IT who just left her to her own devices) who knows what would happen. Do IT really think we can see 50 patients without a computer?
However, I’m not sure if IT know about the problems though they did about the computer down. Most of them and the CCG wander around with nice new laptops that seem to work – of course, they just have Office on them. I’m told they log all reports to the helpdesk.
Well here is the problem. Everyone hates ringing the helpdesk. You are often in a queue – you get treated like an idiot, you have to provide loads of data – which building you are in – who you are, what you do.. etc. often they just log the call, often they can’t fix your problem. I rang them last week when my smart card wouldn’t work, I got sympathy but no actual help on what to do.
Given other software often pops up with a box saying would you like me to report this to, I wonder do we need something similar? Perhaps you have something like this.
I’m envisaging an icon on my desktop. If something goes wrong – I click on it – it pops up – it knows, presumably from my windows logon who I am, where I am, my contact details and what machine I’m using and presumably it can do a memory dump or similar, then it just needs to either have a box for free text and or a list of common items.. EMIS has crashed… Docman has crashed… etc..
If it took 5 seconds to log I wonder if we would start to get some real statistics on how many problems our IT causes. Who knows we might even get more patients seen or have a happier workforce.