The “ridiculous” 172 million to Family, for technology and diagnosis

Lorenzo Armenteros and Rafael Micó.

The distribution of €172 million that the Council of Ministers will approve this Tuesday so that the autonomous communities improve the deficient situation of Primary Care leaves the doctors with a sweet and sour taste. On the one hand, they are happy that the problems of the first level of care are put “on the table” and, on the other, they consider “absolutely insufficient” and “laughable” the amount to be distributed among the 17 autonomous communities. An amount whose destiny they consider to be scarce should go to improve technology to reduce bureaucracy and increase resolution capacity. Both measures are in line with what was announced by the Ministry of Health.

“172 million to be distributed among 17 autonomous communities is absolutely insufficient, it is a minimum amount for current needs that has Primary Care. It is very representative of how little Primary Care matters to the different health authorities. It is far from what is considered necessary to receive at the first level of care, which is currently approaching 30 percent of the health budget of the autonomous communities”, claims Lorenzo Armenteros, spokesman for the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG).

A feeling shared by Rafael Micó, vice president of the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (Semergen). “These are measures that at least put us in the political spotlight. If they put a budget on the table, they know there is a problem. goodwill is finebut we are talking about 40 million inhabitants and 17 autonomous communities. The amount is ridiculous”.

Where should the 172 million go?

Faced with such a “scant” amount, doctors opt for “be pragmatic” and that the money be dedicated to items that have little cost and manage to speed up Primary Care. “The money must go to actions that improve the resolution capacity and demand management. must be used mechanisms that are associated with technology and that we can have more capacity for truly civic and preventive work. The objective is that with the help of technology we spend less time on bureaucratic tasks. This will help us carry out our work from a clinical point of view”, summarizes Armenteros.

“In what we have in consultation, from computers to the most basic questions, improving it would already be a detail. It would be a way to serve people without the computer crashing. We appreciate it, but It is insufficient”highlights Micó, who also considers that betting on new technologies is key to eradicate the current digital divide: “This would help in many aspects, but it is something that has to be constantly updated. It should be part of the budgets every year.”

The 172 million are collected in the General State Budgets (PGE) that the central government projected for 2022 and it is established that they will help “improve their resolution capacity and promote the backbone character and its role as a patient’s health agent throughout the health system”.

In addition, actions are established that are aligned with the demands of the doctors of the first care level. “Improve accessibility at this first level of care and its resolution capacity, promote comprehensive care and community health, promote quality care and improve information and communication technologies in Primary Care services that serve as direct support for clinical management and the measurement of clinical and health results”, reads the Government text.

Access to diagnostic tests

Another aspect that would help improve the gateway to the health system, decentralizing tests and reducing bureaucracy, is the increase in resolution capacity through access to diagnostic tests. “For example, if the electrocardiogram can be transferred to a computer, if you can take a photo of a skin lesion or if we can send an eye fundus if we have doubts, avoid commuting and improve time management. The patients themselves are asking that trips to the hospital be avoided”, claims Micó.

In this sense, Armenteros considers that from Primary they have to “work better, with more guarantees, and reduce everything that is inconsequential work. We must dedicate money to algorithmic medicine, have automated processes to do it better and in less time, unrestricted access to diagnostic tests and annul the bureaucratic work and management of the hospital that does not contribute anything. It is about decentralizing, debureaucratizing and increasing the resolution capacity”.

An improvement in everyone wins. “If we have the technological means, win the patientwhich prevents displacement, and the professional, because he is more satisfied with his work. It is also true that this must be accompanied by training and time to know and be able to use the tools”, highlights the vice president of Semergen.

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The “ridiculous” 172 million to Family, for technology and diagnosis