10 August 2023
WA Primary Health Alliance acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.
Throughout this newsletter, the term 'Aboriginal' is used to refer to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, unless stated otherwise.
MyMedicare is a new voluntary patient registration model. It aims to strengthen the relationship between patients, their general practice, GP and primary care teams.
Registration in MyMedicare is voluntary for practices,GPs and patients.
As a recognised primary care leader, we invite you and your practice team to join us for a unique event that will prepare you and your practice to understand the forthcoming primary care reform.
Drs Wally Jammal and Kirsten Meisinger will join forces to share insights into the Government’s primary care reform agenda, while Dr Kirstin Meisinger will add her significant expertise in the patient centred medical home model.
They will guide you through a session on:
WA Primary Health Alliance invites you and your practice team to join us online this Friday 11 August 2023, with the esteemed Dr Wally Jammal, as he shares his insights into the Government’s primary care reform agenda.
Dr Wally Jammal will share his insights into the Government’s primary care reform agenda including:
Feature - Digital Health
Digital Health is an umbrella term that refers to secure digital care programs that enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and to make medicine more personalised and precise in general practice.
A Digital Health initiative in general practice can open new opportunities and enable the practice to offer timely and effective care to their patients. The practice can provide access to a safe, connected and quality health care to patients, no matter where they live.
Digital Health refers to using integrated system technology to improve the healthcare system for general practitioners and their patients alike. This includes:
You can also visit the Practice Assist – Digital Health toolkit that has a vast range or resources and information that would be off assistance to your practice. If you would like assistance with initiating or expanding your practice’s digital health capabilities, contact the contact the Practice Assist Team.
Integrating digital health technologies into general practice is vital for driving quality improvement.
Primary Sense, WAPHA’s data extraction and clinical support tool of choice assists practices to improve quality and safety for patients in areas such as clinical care, practice structures, systems and processes.
Insights and analysis rely on accurate data. In alignment with the Strengthening Medicare General Practice Grant and preparation for My Medicare your practice may be considering an upgrade or change of clinical software. To ensure patient health records are accurate and current, it is essential to maintain your patient database with data cleansing and data quality improvement practices.
To implement a data quality improvement plan, your practice can undertake and document the activities outlined below as part of your team’s QI journey.
Archiving inactive patients improves the quality of practice data by ensuring data is accurate and up to date. Up to date data is beneficial because:
Good quality data is a powerful resource for general practices but requires a consistent and coordinated approach from all the practice team. Your local QI Coach can guide and support you in undertaking and documenting your data quality improvement plan. To connect with your local QI Coach, contact Practice Assist.
On 1 September, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) are launching their new guidelines on telehealth consultations with patients which address the use of technology-based consultations. The guidelines define telehealth consultations as the use of “technology as an alternative to in-person consultations between a patient and a medical practitioner” and include video, telephone, transmitting images and data and electronic prescribing.
The guidelines state that the Board recognises the important role that telehealth can play in accessing both episodic and emergency care, particularly in rural and remote settings, for patients who are unable to travel for an in-person consultation, to support inclusive care, and when patients may not be able to consult with their usual doctor.
The use of My Health Record supports the the Board's guidelines for telehealth by providing GPs, nurses and other AHPRA registered clinicians with an electronic summary of a patient's key health information. It allows healthcare practitioners to evaluate information from various sources to make informed assessments and treatment decisions. Clinicians can access a summary of their patient’s medical history, medications, allergies, and test results, enabling a holistic understanding of the patient's health. Uploading Shared Health Summaries contributes further key information to a patient’s record, allowing for other clinicians involved in their care including hospital, specialist, pharmacy and allied health to access timely, key health information.
The Digital Health team and WAPHA as a whole encourage and support the use of telehealth, My Health Record and tools such as ePrescribing, secure messaging and eOrdering of pathology and are able to offer support with setup and best practice use. Given the recommendations by the Board, it is clear that using a suite of digital tools together improves continuity of care, whilst reducing the risks and concerns that have been associated with using telehealth alone.
If you would like assistance with initiating or expanding your practice’s digital health capabilities, contact the Practice Assist Team.
Earlier this year the Australian Digital Health Agency released a smart phone application, my health app, designed to encourage consumers to take a more proactive role in managing their health.
The design and development of the app came after surveying the general public, with results of 88% of those surveyed and engaged in focus groups saying they want to access their personal health information digitally. This was paired with further research that identified almost two-thirds of Australians regularly use their mobile phones to access, share and manage their health information.
My health app is owned and operated by the Australian Digital Health Agency and allows consumers to:
Further, the development of the app has begun steps into addressing two of the four areas health providers want digital health to achieve in Australia in the next 5 years. These being enhanced access to health information and patient self-management of ongoing conditions.
More information can be found here
July saw the My Health Record system turn 11 years old, having initially launched in 2012 as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) before being renamed to My Health Record in 2015. For a number of years uptake remained low until 2019 with the move from an opt-in to an opt-out model which led to a rapid increase in the number of organisations and documents being added – a trend which continues to this day.
With more organisations from primary to tertiary health care, joining and using My Health Record, the amount of clinical information available has continued to rise, with more and more clinicians accessing and using the record for their patients as a part of their standard practice. As shown below, the number of organisations connected to My Health Record in WA alone has more than doubled with an incredible 7,800% more uploads and 30,250% more views in May 2023 when compared to the same month in 2019.
Total WA registered organisations
If you have ever asked the question “who actually uses My Health Record”, now is the time to take another look at the record as some of the key clinical information available to clinicians now includes:
New organisations continue to join and add to the record with Residential Aged Care Homes being a major focus of both WAPHA and the Australian Digital Health Agency. The Digital Health Team are able to support these and other providers to connect to the system.
If you would like assistance with initiating or expanding your practice’s digital health capabilities, contact the Practice Assist Team.
An exciting new feature to Best Practice’s latest software update now provides GPs with the ability to upload Advanced Care Planning documents directly into an individual’s My Health Record. BP Premier version Orchid SP1 released 31 July 2023, has taken a phenomenal step to assisting GPs accessing, storing and retrieving crucial patient care planning documents and removing the requirement for an individual to manually upload their own documents.
GPs will have the option to upload care planning documents either internally, creating PDFs within Best Practice, uploading documents from Best Practice’s Patient Clinical Record main menu item and onto My Health Record. Alternatively, documents can be externally downloaded as a PDF file and then uploaded from Best Practice’s correspondence menu. Additionally, the documents can be removed and replaced in My Health Record.
The new feature in Best Practice only supports documents saved as a PDF and not in DOCX. Or RTF format.
As part of the Commonwealth response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, PHNs including WA Primary Health Alliance received funding to assist Residential Aged Care Homes (RACH) to provide access to telehealth services for their residents with support to purchase and use appropriate systems. A provider has been contracted to supply a telehealth package to all the RACHs that expressed interest in joining, with nearly 150 homes across WA due to receive this package.
As well as supporting RACHs with the equipment, the Digital Health team are supporting the design of clear pathways and guidelines to ensure the service is safe and secure for both residents and clinicians. As part of this, RACHs are being encouraged and supported to connect to My Health Record to both view and add relevant key clinical information.
Bruce Rock Medical Centre and Koolberrin Lodge, a Residential Aged Care Home (RACH) in Narembeen, are in the Wheatbelt region where geography and dispersed population pose challenges to health service delivery.
Residents at the WA Country Health Service's (WACHS) run home who require GP consultations outside of the regularly scheduled fortnightly appointments must travel the hour-long round trip to Bruce Rock or wait until the sole GP at the medical centre is able to schedule a visit. With both options causing substantial disruption and unnecessary distress, the Digital Health team offered to support the medical centre to offer the option of telehealth appointments to residents at Koolberrin Lodge.
Alongside colleagues from WACHS, the team provided the practice with a HealthDirect video call clinic, guidance on best practice virtual consultations and ran simulated appointments to identify and resolve technical issues in advance of providing virtual appointments to residents and the wider practice population. The team also saw this as an opportunity to explore other digital health topics that may be of benefit including secure communication with other providers, the use of My Health Record and electronic prescriptions. The team are continuing to work with the practice to refine a model that can potentially be used at other practices.
For more information or to request support for your practice, contact the Practice Assist Team.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has extended the healthdirect Video Call COVID-19 GP Program to 31 December 2023.
GPs are encouraged to continue using this secure video consulting platform which has been purpose-built for primary care settings, in line with the changes to the telehealth MBS items.
For GPs in private practice wanting to use the service, please register your practice. For GPs in ACCHSs wanting to use the service, please register for access.
RACGP CPD accredited training in healthdirect Video Call is available for interested practices. Register here
The Department of Health and Aged Care has awarded Fred IT (the parent company of eRX Script Exchange) a four-year contract to supply the nation's new Prescription Delivery Service (PDS) after requests for tender closed in June 2022. Practices that are currently not using eRX Script exchange as their vendor to send electronic prescriptions will need to connect to eRX Script exchange to continue to do so before 1st October 2023.
Existing arrangements with other service providers such as Medisecure will remain in place with the cost of electronic prescribing reimbursed by the Australian Digital Health Agency until the 30 September 2023. Funding for electronic prescribing will then be covered by the National PDS replacing the existing electronic prescription fee and SMS reimbursement framework which has been in place since the introduction of electronic prescribing in 2020.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released a fact sheet about the transition and steps practices need to take to ensure they can continue to offer electronic prescribing whilst maintaining a cost neutral service.
On the 31st July, My Aged Care joined the growing list of providers who no longer accept faxed referrals due to concerns around the risks they present to confidential patient information and the time taken to process them when compared to smart forms or secure messages.
Practices using Best Practice, MedicalDirector, MedTech, Genie, Shexie or Zedmed can make a referral directly from the patient record, further reducing the time required to write and send the referral as the form automatically pulls key clinical information from the record.
This information is used to automatically create a My Aged Care record for the patient and to send a unique confirmation number to support any follow up.
Clinicians without access to a supported clinical information system can still send referral via the My Aged Care online smart referral form which is sent via the same secure messaging system.
By taking this step, My Aged Care joins a list of providers either requiring or preferencing secure referrals which includes the WA Health Central Referral Service. For more information on secure messaging and smart referrals, contact the Digital Health team via, your secure messaging provider or see HealthPathways for details of secure referral options
With the first commercial fax machine being released nearly 60 years ago in 1964 and peak use occurring in the 1980s, now’s the time to axe the fax.
The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care is funding WA Primary Health Alliance to reimburse general practices to support non-Medicare patients being vaccinated against COVID- 19.
Practices can be reimbursed to the rebate value of the relevant MBS item number and reimbursement can be backdated to January 2023.
To make a claim, please complete the survey.
Please note: We no longer require an invoice to support reimbursement, only completion of the survey. For further information, contact Practice Assist.
Following on from the successful Back to Basics webinar, WA Primary Health Alliance is pleased to host the second webinar in the series. Michele Cusack is returning to present a more in depth look at the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
The webinar is aimed at Primary Healthcare Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners to help navigate the Australian Immunisation register.
This webinar will highlight:
(This webinar will be recorded)
View the flyer here
To register click link here