Today’s Primary Care faces huge challenges.
Daily problems that include managing changing and growing patient needs; supporting a workforce that feels underprepared and under-resourced for the job; and delivering and sustaining innovation in the face of fragmentation and crisis-management.
Daily practice is diverse.
First and foremost, it is about working with patients to make sense of their illness and find ways to enhance or restore health for daily living. But GPs have many other roles too. They support the education, training and professional development of a growing array of primary care health professionals. They lead and deliver quality improvement work that supports the necessary adaptation and development of practice to meet changing needs. They support and deliver the research that provides new knowledge for practice. They apply the core principles of general practice to offer thought leadership within a rapidly changing primary care world.
Weaving through these problems is a common theme: the challenge of Knowledge Work. Knowledge Work refers to the way we use and generate knowledge for daily practice.
GPs are trained to “think for a living"
Successful Knowledge Work needs two things: access to the data we need for this work; and mastery of the skills to generate and use data/knowledge to solve the problems we face. Knowledge Work recognises that it is not just what we know that is important, but how we use that knowledge - the Bananarama principle.
Knowledge work for primary care remains underdeveloped.
Primary care is a distinct model of healthcare and so needs a distinct approach to Knowledge Work. In current day to day practice, we still seek to use the models of Knowledge Work from secondary (specialist) care to understand and support the work to be done. (This is Evidence Based Medicine). Whole-person-centred primary medical care – in other words, general practice – also needs a different skill set and model of practice. Failure to tackle these Knowledge Work gaps in primary care have been linked to growing problems of over- and under-diagnosis, treatment burden, workforce crisis, and the failure of integrated models to deliver sustained improvements in care.
GPs use the distinct skills of clinical scholarship for person-centred care. An intellectual skill set that is not about knowing a little bit about a lot, but in being able to use that knowledge to generate individually tailored interpretations of illness. The WISE GP programme describes this as the Bananarama principle: it ain’t what you know, its how you use what you know. Click here to find out more.
But GPs, trainees and students alike tell us that we need to do more to support this Knowledge Work. Specifically, people told us they want to be inspired by STORIES of other people doing innovative Knowledge Work; LEARN more about the skills of knowledge work, and CONNECT with others doing innovative Knowledge Work.