Membership information 1800 509 441
Medicolegal advice +44 113 241 0200

In the hotseat: Dr Darach Ó Ciardha

For a busy GP, any tool that can save time and labour is valuable. Charlotte Hudson chats with Dr Darach Ó Ciardha about GPBuddy.ie and its benefits for GPs and patients

GPBuddy.ie, designed by Dr Shane McKeogh and Dr Darach Ó Ciardha – both practising GPs themselves – is a free online medical directory for Irish healthcare professionals, helping GPs find the medical professionals and services they require as quickly and conveniently as possible.

Dr Ó Ciardha explains: “The idea came about from both Shane and me realising that there is a need for a single source of up-todate information for GPs online, in terms of contact information for consultants, direct lines in hospital departments, physiotherapists, counsellors and community services. GPBuddy.ie allows this information to be accessed and used quickly, saving time.

“The online directory helps GPs be more organised, and prevents the scrambling around in drawers for a number on a piece of paper.” Dr Ó Ciardha says the team feel that patients benefit too, through more specific referral choices by their GP. They hope to give GPs more confidence in tackling certain disease areas through their educational material, which will benefit patients further.

Launched in May 2010, GPBuddy.ie has grown rapidly and now has more than 2,100 GP members. Each year, as new GPs graduate in Ireland, many of them become members of GPBuddy.ie.

As a member, a GP can search at hospital or community level, covering the entire landscape of public and private healthcare in Ireland, and can browse special interests of other health professionals. This allows GPs to quickly locate the information they require and is particularly useful when making referrals or recommendations on behalf of their patients.

If you’re able to shave a minute or two off your tasks and if that’s repeated a couple of times over the course of the day, there are clear time saving benefits
“GPBuddy.ie can make the difference in terms of preventing you being stuck on hold if you’re trying to get through to a hospital. Say for example, you’re trying to find a local physiotherapist,” says Dr Ó Ciardha, “you can get the information in a couple of seconds as opposed to two or three minutes. If you’re able to shave a minute or two off your tasks and if that’s repeated a couple of times over the course of the day, there are clear time saving benefits.”

Educational material

GPBuddy.ie was established as a medical directory, but as it has become recognised and trusted by GPs, that initial concept has grown. GPBuddy.ie have partnered with NB Medical, led by Dr Simon Curtis, an Oxford-based GP, to provide monthly educational articles for members. NB Medical runs the ‘Hot Topics’ courses twice a year in Ireland and they look at the latest journal evidence and guidelines on various GP-related topics to produce easy-to-digest information. All of the Hot Topics enable GPs to accrue external CPD points.

As well as managing the website, Dr Ó Ciardha is a lecturer in general practice, Assistant Director on the Trinity College Dublin/HSE GP Training Programme, and a GP. Since 2003, he has been heavily involved with representative and academic activity in Irish general practice. So how does he juggle all of his jobs? “With multiple interests good planning is essential; the best advice I’ve ever had was to keep a list of things to do. I have a ratty A4 pad I bring everywhere with me!” says Dr Ó Ciardha.

“Being an assistant programme director on the TCD/HSE GP Training Scheme is very fulfilling because I am involved with training the next generation of GPs, and it also helps with keeping me up-to-date with the latest developments. We are co-located with the TCD Department of Public Health and Primary Care in Tallaght Hospital. This brings a lot of advantages, including supporting our mutual interests, particularly in the research area. It also gives me a great opportunity to lecture to the medical undergraduates as they rotate through their GP block.”

Social media

GPBuddy.ie has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter: @gpbuddy

You can also find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gpbuddy

With 150 new GPs graduating each year, the GPBuddy.ie team has a stand at some conferences too, so they can chat to the younger GPs about what they offer.

Still to come

The GPBuddy.ie team have recently launched discussion forums on the site that allow GPs to chat amongst themselves about clinical or non-clinical topics – which are proving to be very popular as a peer-to-peer resource. Plans for the future include looking at opportunities to integrate more with practice management software providers, to develop a streamlined experience for GPs, starting with a look at the referral letter.

“It’s good to be a part of the conversation that’s happening nationally amongst healthcare professionals and people who are interested in medicine generally,” says Dr Ó Ciardha.

Access the GP Buddy directory here: www.gpbuddy.ie

1 comment
  • By Velvet D. Owens on 05 January 2017 11:33 Hey really nice article very informational.
    Leave a comment