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Must have shortcuts for GPs: Screening tools

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

As busy GPs with 10-15 minute consultations it is essential to bookmark commonly used screening tools, not only does it save you time but it demonstrates your organisational skills to the patient. In the RACGP’s red book (Guidelines for preventive activities in general practice) there are many screening tools, scales and questionnaires that are used often in both prevention and review of medical conditions. I found that when I started to work as a new GP having shortcuts on my internet browser allowed my consultations to run in a slick manner and I was able to show patients what their scores were visually.


Below I have listed free to access screening tools and questionnaires that can be used for patient assessments. Please note that some practices/ states use different tools as part of their guidelines so first check your local policies.


Frequently used calculators


Mental health and neurology


Other useful scales



Health literacy and plain language communication

Over the last few years, the importance of using plain language to communicate with patients has featured prominently in all aspects of healthcare. By communicating without using medical jargon and asking for a summary of their understanding you can ensure that they have understood the information.


There is now a shift to include plain language summaries to healthcare documentation for example the RACGP’s guideline for the management of knee and hip osteoarthritis includes a plain language summary.


Often it can be difficult to assess the health literacy of patients in a single consultation however it is possible to formally document this using tools from the Health Literacy Toolshed if assessing a patient’s understanding forms an integral aspect of their ongoing care. There are multiple tools in various languages which can be completed with a practice nurse and this can act as a guide to the level of healthcare input patients require. The website with the health literacy measures can be found on: Health Literacy Tool Shed (bu.edu).



Summary

Over time you may find links to useful tools and you can bookmark them for later use and ultimately this will help you to save time searching for tools. I also have found that patients perceive you to be more organized when you have everything organized in this way and I have had many comments about this during consultations.


If you have any other useful resources to add to this list please email us at doctorology.podcast@gmail.com.



Link to the RACGP’s preventative activities in general practice (red book): 17048-Red-Book-9th-Edition.pdf (racgp.org.au)


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