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Opinion Taking Stock

Rammya Mathew: Could artificial intelligence be the key to transforming general practice?

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q661 (Published 19 March 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q661

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Re: Rammya Mathew: Could artificial intelligence be the key to transforming general practice?

Dear Editor
Dr Mathew discussed the use of AI to help triage in general practice. Our practice started using a human GP to do this using a standardised form for the patient to complete which is then looked at and sifted appropriately.
Having the most senior member of the team assess and assign management of every clinical problem that present to GP seems to be a sensible move. It stops the 8am rush for appointments, and reduces the issue of people who shout the loudest getting seen to first. The system also takes the clinical responsibility away from non clinical team members and gives it to those who are trained to make a decision.
Its still early days, but overall this has been well received by both our team and patients alike. But, here is the catch, you need GPs to make the decisions. Their clinical experience and training allows for assessment of the whole clinical picture including both PMH, social history and an understanding of the specific skills of the team around them. This improves efficiency, allocates appointments to the right person at the right time and also helps with continuity of care. As a triage system, I'm not sure how AI could improve on this, because the human touch is built into this process, something AI cannot offer.
Dr Anna Wake, GP partner.

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 March 2024
Anna Wake
GP partner
Northamptonshire