The “floating toolbar” problem

There is a quiet revolution brewing in General Practice software. The rapid growth of accuRx is spurring other providers to adopt similar tactics to gain a valuable spot on the desktop of practice users.

Overall this growth is a very welcome development. The three main providers of GP EPR systems — EMIS, SystmOne and Vision — have demonstrated a lack of desire in the last decade to add functionality to their core products. I would argue this is both understandable and welcome. These products already contain a mountain of functionality. …


Last week a team of researchers in Seattle released a pre-publication article on the effect of existing antibodies on the new strains of COVID. The results are deeply concerning. They found that the antibodies produced in the blood of those who have recovered from COVID are often ineffective on the new variants from South Africa and Brazil. This suggests that, as far as the body is concerned, these new variants aren’t COVID-19, they are more like COVID-20. The virus is vaguely recognised by the immune system, but not enough to be able to neutralise it. Of course this is a…


CenterParcs has great wifi in their lodges, however you need to click through a connect screen to join it, meaning you can’t directly connect devices like Chromecasts. If you have an Android phone, this can be easily overcome.

1. Connect android phone and create a hotspot

Firstly, connect you android phone to the Wifi in your room. You will need to click “Connect” on the screen that pops up. Once the wifi is active, enable “Hotspot” mode on the phone.

On the latest versions of android, the hotspot simply repeats your wifi connection rather than trying to using any data service.

2. Connect a second device to the hotspot

Using another device (not the one being…


Medicine is at an historic crossroads. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already revolutionising industries in ways that are making the health sector look lethargic. Yet there are valid ethical and patient focused reasons that justify the unwillingness of doctors to embrace AI. How do we step into the future while respecting the traditions of the past that have made medicine the most trusted profession?

I am a GP and every day I think of novel ways we could be using AI in healthcare to make me better at my job and deliver better care. …


Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Babylon GP at hand have published graphs appearing to illustrate their prescribing of antibiotics as being low compared to the national general practice rates. The data they present is quite accurate, but quite probably misleading.

The implication is that Babylon GP at hand are prescribing appropriately and efficiently for their patients. However, this data does not support that conclusion.

Their antibiotic prescribing rates are generated using something called STAR-PUs for antibiotics. The STAR-PU model was most recently generated in 2013 to allow comparison of general practice prescribing rates for antibiotics, factoring in the different demographics in each practice. In a…


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Every day, our GP practice is sent hundreds of documents from our local hospital. These vital discharge letters and clinic letters were until recently sent to us in the post, when it was quite belatedly realised using e-mail would be a lot cheaper and faster. So now they come by e-mail. As a PDF. This is progress, of a sort.

You see, the problem is, our clinical IT system cannot import PDFs. Therefore, every day, each letter is then printed out, scanned into the IT system, then shredded. In the process, our dedicated secretarial team have to then ensure the…


Facebook has produced an excellent getting started guide for their Messenger API, only issue is that it’s written for Node.js. I wanted it for PHP to save the faff of setting up a Node.js sever, but there are no code templates. So I’ve put a sample together. This is a really simple bot that will echo a users responses, where you go from there is up to you.

Note: the code may not be elegant, but it’s functional.

So first follow the instructions in the Facebook guide to setup your page and app token. Once that’s done, put the following…


Photo by Ales Krivec

The past century has seen trains relegated from their Victorian glory days to a mere bit-player in transportation; a poor cousin to the car. The advent of the self-driving car, contrarily to some theories, may well see the second coming of the train.

To first consider why the train has fallen out of favour, you have to think about why driving a car is currently the superior option.

Outside metropolitan areas with excellent public transport using a car is virtually essential. Using a car means you walk out of your home, get into the vehicle and when you next leave…


The pervasive power of link-baiting

The internet is a fantastic tool for democracy. Gone are the days politicians can make claims that are flat out wrong and not have someone point it out within 24 hours. Yet, paradoxically, one of it’s more recent trends — link-baiting — is turning the media into a great tool for the spread of propaganda.

Link-baiting?

Link-baiting, for the uninitiated, is the process of encouraging people to click on links by making them more enticing. The classic example is a headline that is a list of trivia, ideally with a shocking element (e.g. Top 10 Most Unforgivable Twitter Spelling Mistakes). …


THe Dream? —Photo: neilalderney123 @ Flikr

How the UK government’s “Help to Buy” scheme will help Baby Boomers - at their children’s expense

The property market is broken. Houses are no longer a place to live but an investment tool. The problem is, unlike stocks and shares, which you don’t need; everyone has to live somewhere. Consequently, those who own property are getting richer and those who don’t are getting poorer. The most bizarre part of this story is that the losers are the children of the winners. Why would parents encourage a system that actively hurts their children’s prospect?

Let me tell you a little story…

Throughout high school all pupils are encouraged to head to university to get a degree that will secure them a nice professional job…

Mike David Smith

Doctor working in North East England with a keen interest in technology

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