A time management system app, which GPs and GP trainees have specifically tailored for the study, will be used to monitor the work of almost 200 GPs over the course of a month.
GP registrar Dr Brendan Crosbie, who is based at a GP practice in Walkinstown, Dublin, described the study as “novel” in the way it employs information technology to generate data.
Dr Crosbie said that, worldwide, information has never been quantified to any great degree on the amount of clinical and non-clinical, or “behind the scenes” work, undertaken by GPs.
He told the Medical Independent that “unseen” work, such as follow-up calls and review of blood tests, had “ballooned” in recent years.
Dr Crosbie said the public was generally unaware of the huge amount of non-clinical work performed by GPs on a daily basis.
The study, which to date has approximately 130 GP participants, intends to capture work undertaken by rural and urban GPs nationally in 10 sessions over a one-month period, Dr Crosbie said.
Work undertaken during breaktimes and on house calls, clinical paperwork and prescriptions are just some of the many areas that GPs can record via the app.
The software is expensive but Dr Crosbie has been given access to the app free-of-charge for two months for the purposes of the study.
Dr Crosbie hopes to collate the data in the spring and publish the results later this year.
Dr William Behan, who is working on the study with Dr Crosbie, said it was perhaps the first time in the world that a bespoke app would be used to monitor GP workload.