Your practice can deliver better quality healthcare by securely connecting and sharing health information with a range of specialised digital health services. If you would like assistance with initiating or expanding your practice’s digital health capabilities, contact the Practice Assist Team or email WAPHA's Digital Health Team.
Digital Health is quickly becoming a significant part of general practice however, defining Digital health is difficult. Broadly speaking it is an umbrella term referring to a range of technologies that can be used to safely treat patients and securely collect and share a person’s health information, including mobile health and applications, electronic health records, telehealth and telemedicine.
For health service providers, digital technology enables the right information to be available in the right place at the right time, which helps with better communication and connection between health services. Digital readiness supports business continuity, allowing practices to continue to safely support their communities through periods of disaster and pandemic.
To assist general practice teams with the set up and use of a range of tools, WAPHA’s Digital Health Team have created the Digital Health Toolkit. This Toolkit has been developed to assist general practices and other primary health providers to work with and embed digital health tools into everyday practice.
The content highlights the key requirements to prepare for, setup, access and use key digital health tools in a health setting.
Subjects included in the toolkit include:
The Digital Health Toolkit will continue to evolve over time, and the team are keen to hear feedback from practices. Please contact the Practice Assist team with your feedback, or for further support or information on the use of digital health tools.
The My Health Record (MHR) system was previously known as the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) or eHealth record. MHR is a national platform that provides a secure, online summary of an individual’s key health information including:
MHR does not hold all the information kept in a healthcare professional’s medical records, instead it is intended to complement existing records by highlighting key information. All Australians now have an MHR, unless they chose to opt out. Patients can register for an MHR or opt out at any time.
To find out more about using MHR, visit the links below:
Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) provides a convenient and secure way for healthcare providers and their delegated administrative users, such as practice staff, to interact with digital health services.
You can no longer log in to HPOS using an individual Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate. To access HPOS as an individual, you need to create a PRODA account and follow the steps to set up HPOS access.
To find out more about setting up and using HPOS, visit the links below:
Provider Digital Access (PRODA) is an online identity verification and authentication system used to securely access online healthcare provider services including:
We recommend registering an individual account using your personal (non-work related) email address so if you change employers in the future, you will still be able to access your individual account.
To find out more about PRODA, visit the links below:
The National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) allows healthcare providers and supporting organisations to securely access and exchange health information. NASH Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates can be used to:
NASH PKI certificates expire after two years. Eight weeks before your certificate expires, you will have the option to renew it through HPOS using your PRODA account.
To find out more about NASH, visit the links below:
The Practice Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP) encourages practices to stay up to date with digital health and adopt new technology. To receive the ePIP payments, practices must comply with the following eligibility criteria:
You can apply for the ePIP Incentive online through HPOS using your PRODA account.
To find out more about the ePIP, visit the links below:
The Practice Incentives Program Quality Improvement (PIP QI) Incentive is a payment to general practices for undertaking continuous quality improvement activities in partnership with their local Primary Health Network (PHN). In Western Australia, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is the operator of the state’s three PHNs – Perth North, Perth South and Country WA.
To be eligible for the PIP QI payment, practices in Western Australia must:
The PIP Eligible Data Set is de-identified patient data, aggregated at the practice level against the following 10 PIP QI Improvement Measures:
You can apply for the PIP QI Incentive online through HPOS using your PRODA account. After your practice has registered for the PIP QI Incentive, please notify your WAPHA Practice Support team member.
To find out more about the PIP QI Incentive, visit the links below:
Secure messaging (SM) is the seamless and secure exchange of confidential clinical information between healthcare providers, which offers:
To send and receive secure messages, practices need to have a conformant clinical information system and register with one or more secure messaging providers.
WA Health Central Referral Service (CRS)
The WA Health Central Referral Service (CRS) prefers practices to send referrals by secure messaging, rather than sending them by fax or post.
Practices can send referrals to the CRS via HealthLink Secure Messaging: crefserv. If your practice already uses HealthLink, you can upload the CRS referral templates into your practice software and link it to HealthLink using the EDI address: crefserv.
To find out more, view the CRS guide for referrers, contact HealthLink online support or call the HealthLink Help Desk on 1800 125 036.
For further information, visit the links below:
With electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), prescription information is safely and securely created, transferred and dispensed electronically. Patients can choose to receive either an electronic prescription, via email or text message, or a paper prescription from their prescriber.
The use of e-prescribing provides many benefits for health practitioners and patients including:
Health practitioners can only create and dispense electronic prescriptions through specific software approved in Western Australia.
To find out more about e-prescribing, visit the links below:
Can a patient have both an e-script and a paper script for the same item?
No, a prescription can only be one or the other for the entirety of the script, including repeats.
What are the benefits of e-scripts for patients?
Patients don’t need to store or carry paper documents and they can easily present an e-script token on their smartphone for dispensing at a pharmacy.
What are the benefits of e-scripts for prescribers?
Prescribers no longer need to print and sign hard copies of prescriptions. They can also provide better care to remote patients by sending them e-scripts during telehealth consultations.
What are the benefits of e-scripts for pharmacists?
Pharmacists no longer need to receive paper prescriptions, which will help reduce transcription errors and decrease the chance of lost prescriptions.
What is the difference between 'electronic transfer of prescriptions' and 'electronic prescribing'?
Electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) is not electronic prescribing. ETP occurs when prescription information (e.g. as a barcode) is transferred electronically and securely from the prescriber's software to the dispensing system for verification by a pharmacist against the paper prescription, which reduces data entry and the risk of transcription errors.
The paper script remains the legal document when using ETP. With electronic prescribing, the legal document is the data which sits in one of the Prescription Exchange Service (PES) systems.
Is there an expiry on the e-script token?
The e-script token can only be used while the prescription is in date (12 months from the date the prescription was created).
Can patients still get paper prescriptions?
Yes, paper prescriptions are still available. Patients can choose which prescription option they would like to receive.
What happens if a patient loses their e-script token?
The patient needs to ask their prescriber to cancel their e-script and issue a new one. The patient will then receive a new e-script token.
Does a patient on multiple medications require multiple e-script tokens?
Yes, a patient on multiple medications requires multiple e-script tokens – each token is for a single prescribed item.
Do patients need a My Health Record to receive e-scripts?
Patients do not need a My Health Record, they just need to have an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). All individuals enrolled in Medicare or the Department of Veterans' Affairs are assigned an IHI.
What is the difference between 'electronic prescribing' and 'image-based prescribing'?
Image-based prescribing (IBP), also known as digital-image prescribing, is not true electronic prescribing.
The use of image-based prescribing (IBP) is an interim measure that has been temporarily put in place (until 30 September 2021) as an option for patients having a telehealth consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For further information, refer to the WA Department of Health authorisation regarding the use of digital images for supply of medicines during COVID-19 telehealth arrangements. This authorisation complements the Commonwealth’s Extension to Image Based Prescription Special Arrangement.
Where can I get more information about electronic prescribing?
For further information, refer to HealthPathways WA - Electronic Prescribing (for login details, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
To improve administrative efficiency, general practices can participate in electronic requests (e-requests) of pathology tests from labs using the required software. By using e-requests for pathology tests, general practices can streamline the process with:
Practices should contact their preferred labs to check if they offer e-requests with compatible software systems.
To find out more about e-requests, visit the link below:
For added convenience and safety, health practitioners can provide patients with telehealth video consultations instead of face-to-face consultations.
The benefits of offering telehealth video consultations include:
What is the difference between telehealth and phone consultations?
In simple terms, telehealth consultations include both audio and visual components (like a video conference), while phone consultations only include the audio. There are benefits and challenges with both approaches, however the biggest benefit of telehealth consultations is that you can see the patient and pick up on non-verbal information.
Which telehealth platform should I use?
There is no single mandated platform that practices have to use for telehealth consultations. Practices can choose from a number of platforms, including:
Practices must ensure that the telehealth platform used meets the requirements for confidentiality and privacy.
What is Healthdirect Video Call and how does it work?
The Healthdirect Video Call platform provides a single, consistent entry point on the health service's website where patients can enter an online waiting area for their appointment, which reduces the need for administrative staff to generate a separate link, code or dial-in information for each patient.
The Healthdirect Video Call platform is free for general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations until 31 December 2021.
To request access, complete the online form. If you have any questions, email WAPHA's Digital Health team via email@example.com
My practice is moving to telehealth, what do we need to consider?
There are comprehensive telehealth guides available from the RACGP and ACRRM. To get you started, below are some questions for your practice team to consider:
What documentation needs to be kept for telehealth or phone consultations?
The RACGP advises that GPs should adhere to the same record-keeping standards as for physical health consultations and include additional information about:
The RACGP also advises that practitioners should write up the notes as soon as possible after the consultation to facilitate safe and effective continuity of care for the patient.
For more information, refer to the RACGP telehealth video consultations guide.
What needs to be considered in terms of patient privacy and confidentiality?
The RACGP advises that the information security and privacy considerations in relation to telehealth video consultations include:
For more information, refer to the RACGP telehealth video consultations guide and the MBS online privacy checklist for telehealth services.
We work at a primary care or allied health service (not a general practice). How can we get started with telehealth?
The principles of providing telehealth consultations in general practice and other primary care services are essentially the same. There are comprehensive telehealth guides available from the RACGP and ACRRM.
To get you started, below are some questions for your team to consider:
Where can I get more information?
For further information, refer to HealthPathways WA - telehealth or COVID-19 telehealth (for login details, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
How long will the MBS telehealth items be available?
MBS telehealth introduced on a temporary basis in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be permanent. Telehealth services provided by GPs, medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, participating midwives, allied health providers and dental practitioners in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery services will continue
For further information, refer to HealthPathways WA - COVID-19 telehealth or COVID-19 MBS Items (for login details, email email@example.com).
What is the eligibility criteria for the MBS telehealth items?
The MBS telehealth items are available to providers of telehealth services for a wide range of consultations. All Medicare eligible Australians can receive these services if they have an established clinical relationship with a GP, OMP, or a medical practice. This requirement supports longitudinal and person-centred primary health care that is associated with better health outcomes. For further information please visit MBS Online
What is the Medicare definition of a telehealth and phone attendance?
A telehealth attendance means a professional attendance by video conference where the health practitioner:
A phone attendance means a professional attendance by telephone where the health practitioner:
Do I have to bulk bill the MBS telehealth items?
Since 1 October 2020, GPs and OMPs have been able to choose to bulk bill or patient bill.
Are there telehealth or phone items available for our practice nurse?
Yes, you can obtain further information at MBS online.
What are the rules for claiming both a COVID-19 telehealth or phone MBS item and a face-to-face attendance item for the same patient, on the same day?
Providers may claim both a COVID-19 telehealth or phone item and a face-to-face attendance item for the same patient on the same day providing that the subsequent attendance is not a continuation of the first, both are clinically necessary and the requirements of both items are fully met.
Where a service is a continuation of previous service on the same day, only one item is payable. For example, where a single service comprises a telehealth and face-to-face component, the appropriate item to bill is determined by the type of service which took the greater amount of time. The time for the shorter attendance can be added to the longer for claiming purposes. In addition, where a service is a continuation of a previous service on the same day, the patient should be seen by the same practitioner. The only exception to this rule is where the patient is required to be seen urgently and the second attendance cannot be delayed, and the original practitioner is unavailable.
All health professionals should ensure they document the consultation/service appropriately to comply with MBS requirements.
Note: Medicare benefits are not payable where a service is a health screening service unless the exception has been made by the Minister. Guidance on the prohibition on the use of the MBS items for screening purposes is available at MBS Online.
What is the definition of 'usual medical practitioner' for the MBS telehealth items?
For the MBS telehealth items, a patient’s usual medical practitioner is defined as a medical practitioner (other than a specialist or consultant physician) who:
You must also ensure that you are claiming the items correctly by checking the full item descriptions available at MBS Online.
Are there any exceptions to the 'usual medical practitioner' requirement?
Yes. The requirement that the items only be used by the patient’s usual medical practitioner applies to the GP and OMP items, and does not apply to:
A person experiencing homelessness is described as a person who does not have suitable accommodation alternatives and are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:
You must also ensure that you are claiming the items correctly by checking the full item descriptions available at MBS Online.
When will the electronic prescription SMS subsidy end?
SMS costs for GPs issuing electronic prescription tokens to patients’ mobile phones will continue to be subsidised by the government until at least 30 June 2022. Alternatives exist for prescribers to send electronic prescriptions to patients via email or through mobile applications that do not incur SMS costs.
Where can I get more information?
Please note: the information on this webpage is general in nature. It is the responsibility of treating practitioners to use their professional judgment to determine the most clinically appropriate services to provide, and then to ensure that any services billed to Medicare fully meet the eligibility requirements outlined in the legislation.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) offers online training, webinars and podcasts about a range of digital health initiatives, including My Health Record, electronic prescribing, cyber security and more.
To access the ADHA resources, visit the links below: