A GP's perspective on digital tools that support revalidation.

22nd March 2013 by Felix Jackson

We asked Dr Alisdair Macnair, a GP in Cambridge, to provide us with some thoughts about a digital technology that he uses to support his work. This is what he said.

"For doctors, Appraisal is a continuous process of reflection on one’s performance and it forms an important part of continuing professional development. It is the basis for Revalidation, the recently launched process by which doctors will have to demonstrate on a five yearly basis that they are up-to-date and fit to practise. The general consensus is that it involves a lot of work. Various toolkits have been available for this, with the first ones being made available free by the NHS.

Others have been piloted, including those of the medical Royal Colleges. One benefit of using the same toolkit each year is that background information is automatically updated. Changing toolkits is time consuming as this all has to be redone. When the NHS toolkit was withdrawn unless I paid a fee, I used a generic Word-based one in feeble protest.

Last year I helped the Royal College of General Practitioners test its decidedly pilot toolkit. This year there is another fee so I sought another solution. And so I wish GPtools all the best. Their site does what it says on the tin. It provides what is needed to make the process as pain-free as possible. And so far it is free. I have donated to the cause so that I can test the App on my ‘phone. The cynic in me is prepared for the possibility that it may not remain free forever, but the combination of simple technology and seemingly honourable principles has me sold for now."