Digital Health

Deliver better quality healthcare with digital health services

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.

We can assist you with the following digital health services:

My Health Record (MHR)

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:

  • shared health summaries
  • discharge summaries
  • prescription and dispense records
  • immunisation records
  • pathology and diagnostic imaging reports.

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)

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)

Provider Digital Access (PRODA) is an online identity verification and authentication system used to securely access online healthcare provider services including:

  • Health Professional Online Services (HPOS)
  • My Health Record National Provider Portal
  • Medicare Online
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Online
  • Disability Medical Assessment Online service
  • Aged Care Provider Portal
  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
  • Practice Incentives Program (PIP)
  • Practice Nurse Incentives Program (PNIP)
  • DVA Webclaim.

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:

National Authentication Service for Health (NASH)

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:

  • access My Health Records
  • securely share health information using software that meets secure message delivery requirements
  • access the NASH directory on the Certificates Australia website.

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:

PIP eHealth Incentive (ePIP)

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:

  1. Integrating healthcare identifiers into electronic practice records.
  2. Secure messaging capability.
  3. Data records and clinical coding.
  4. Electronic transfer of prescriptions.
  5. My Health Record system.

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:

PIP QI Incentive

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:

  • be eligible for the PIP
  • register for the PIP QI Incentive
  • undertake continuous quality improvement activities in partnership with their local PHN (WAPHA)
  • electronically submit the PIP Eligible Data Set to their local PHN (WAPHA) on a quarterly basis.

The PIP Eligible Data Set is de-identified patient data, aggregated at the practice level against the following 10 PIP QI Improvement Measures:

  1. Proportion of patients with diabetes with a current HbA1c result.
  2. Proportion of patients with a smoking status.
  3. Proportion of patients with a weight classification.
  4. Proportion of patients aged 65 and over who were immunised against influenza.
  5. Proportion of patients with diabetes who were immunised against influenza.
  6. Proportion of patients with COPD who were immunised against influenza.
  7. Proportion of patients with alcohol consumption status.
  8. Proportion of patients with the necessary risk factors assessed to enable CVD assessment.
  9. Proportion of female patients with an up-to-date cervical screening.
  10. Proportion of patients with diabetes with a blood pressure result.

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)

Secure messaging (SM) is the seamless and secure exchange of confidential clinical information between healthcare providers, which offers:

  • point-to-point delivery of messages
  • enhanced privacy and security with encryption by the sender and decryption by the receiver
  • streamlined administrative processes
  • improved coordination of care.

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:

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing)

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:

  • instantaneous transmission
  • improved administrative efficiency
  • reduced transcription and other errors
  • less need to handle or store paper documents
  • decreased chance of lost prescriptions
  • enhanced security and privacy.

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:

Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) FAQs

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 healthpathways@wapha.org.au).

Pathology electronic requests (e-requests)

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:

  • faster collection and delivery of results
  • reduced transcription errors
  • decreased waiting time for patients
  • some results uploaded to My Health Record.

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:

Telehealth video consultations

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:

  • increased patient access with less location barriers
  • reduced travel and waiting times for patients
  • decreased amount of patient no-shows
  • the ability to deliver real-time assistance for difficult cases and emergencies
  • opportunities for staff to work remotely
  • better use of practice space and consulting rooms
  • enhanced service delivery growth and integration
  • improved clinical workflows and practice efficiency.
When practitioners provide telehealth video consultations, the privacy requirements relating to confidentiality, consent and the security of health information are the same as for face-to-face consultations.

To find out more about telehealth video consultations, visit the links below:

Telehealth FAQs

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:

  • Healthdirect Video Call (refer to the next question below)
  • Skype
  • ManageMyHealth
  • Coviu
  • HotHealth
  • TeleConsult
  • Zoom
  • FaceTime or Duo
  • GoToMeeting

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 ehealth@wapha.org.au

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 platform will your practice use for telehealth consultations?
  • How will your practice manage booking telehealth consultations?
  • How will your practice determine which patients are suitable for telehealth consultations?
  • How will your practitioners access your practice’s clinical information system, so that they have access to patient records and can document the consultation appropriately during telehealth consultations?
  • Has your practice informed its medical indemnity insurance provider?
  • How will your practice verify the identity of patients?
  • How will your practice obtain consent from patients and protect their privacy?
  • How will your practice keep appropriate records?
  • How will your practice provide prescriptions or pathology request forms (if required)?

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 consult being conducted via a telehealth or phone consultation (with the patient’s consent)
  • the rationale for conducting a telehealth or phone consultation instead of a physical consultation
  • the patient-end location of the telehealth or phone consultation
  • who was present (other than the GP and distant specialist) and the patient’s consent for such parties to be present
  • which clinician is responsible for which specified follow-up actions
  • the recording of any still or moving images during the video consultation, the patient’s written consent for such recording and the location of the recording as part of the patient’s health record (whether stored by the practice or a third party)
  • any period of time a support clinician was not present at the patient end (e.g. to allow the patient to have a private discussion with the specialist)
  • any technical malfunctions during the telehealth or phone consultation (e.g. poor sound or image quality) that may have compromised the safety or quality of the consultation.

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:

  • the security of the video conferencing interface (software and hardware)
  • security of patient information (encryption and use of secure messaging)
  • storage of any video recordings and still images
  • the visual and audio privacy of the practice’s video conferencing room.

For more information, refer to the RACGP telehealth video consultations guide.

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:

  • What platform will your service use for telehealth consultations?
  • How will your service manage booking telehealth consultations?
  • How will your service determine which patients are suitable for telehealth consultations?
  • How will your service providers access your clinical information system, so that they have access to patient records and can document the consultation appropriately during telehealth consultations?
  • Has your service informed its medical indemnity insurance provider?
  • How will your service verify the identity of patients?
  • How will your service obtain consent from patients and protect their privacy?
  • How will your service keep appropriate records?
  • How will your service provide prescriptions or pathology request forms (if required)?

Where can I get more information?

For further information, refer to HealthPathways WA - telehealth or COVID-19 telehealth (for login details, email healthpathways@wapha.org.au).

COVID-19 temporary MBS telehealth FAQs

How long will the temporary MBS telehealth items be available?

The availability of temporary MBS telehealth items has been extended to 31 December 2021. For further information, refer to HealthPathways WA - COVID-19 telehealth or COVID-19 MBS Items (for login details, email healthpathways@wapha.org.au).

What is the eligibility criteria for the MBS telehealth items?

The temporary telehealth and phone COVID-19 MBS items can be used for all patients. However, the service must meet the definition of a telehealth attendance or phone attendance (refer to the next question below).

As of 20 July 2020, all temporary COVID-19 phone and telehealth items for GPs and OMPs (with the exception of the after-hours items and bulk-billing incentives) can only be used by the patient’s usual medical practitioner.

You must also ensure that you are claiming the items correctly by checking the full item descriptions available at 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: 

  • has the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and
  • is satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and
  • maintains a visual and audio link with the patient; and
  • is satisfied that the software and hardware used to deliver the service meets the applicable laws for security and privacy.

A phone attendance means a professional attendance by telephone where the health practitioner:

  • has the capacity to provide the full service through this means safely and in accordance with professional standards; and
  • is satisfied that it is clinically appropriate to provide the service to the patient; and
  • maintains an audio link with the patient.

Do I have to bulk bill the COVID-19 MBS 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 read more about these items in our Nursing and Allied Health Quick Guide.

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 COVID-19 MBS​ items?

For the temporary COVID-19 MBS items, a patient’s usual medical practitioner is defined as a medical practitioner (other than a specialist or consultant physician) who:

  1. has provided at least one face-to-face service to the patient in the past 12 months; or
  2. is located at a medical practice at which at least one service to the patient was provided, or arranged by, in the past 12 months; or
  3. is a participant in the Approved Medical Deputising Service (AMDS) program if:
    i. the AMDS provider has a formal agreement in place with a medical practice to provide services to its patients; and
    ii. the medical practice has provided, or arranged, at least one service to the patient in the past 12 months.

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 who is under the age of 12 months
  • a person who is experiencing homelessness
  • a person who is in a COVID-19 impacted area
  • a person receiving an urgent after-hours service (in unsociable hours)
  • a person who receives the service from a medical practitioner located at an Aboriginal Medical Service or an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.

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:

(a)  is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
(b)  has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
(c)  does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

You must also ensure that you are claiming the items correctly by checking the full item descriptions available at MBS Online.

How can I issue a prescription during a telehealth consultation? What is image-based prescribing?

Electronic prescribing, if available, should be used to issue a prescription during a telehealth consultation. Where electronic prescribing is not available, a prescriber can issue a paper prescription and arrange for it to be collected or mailed to the patient.

If this is not practical, an interim measure that allows the use of digital images of paper-based prescriptions (known as image-based prescribing or IBP) was introduced to support telehealth arrangements in March 2020 and will continue until 30 September 2021.

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.

After image-based prescribing ends on 30 September 2021, prescribers can still create electronic prescriptions or paper prescriptions during telehealth or face-to-face consultations. To find out more, refer to the fact sheet with a guide for prescribers from the Australian Government Department of Health.

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?

HealthPathways WA

Fact Sheets

Quick Guides

Other Resources

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.

Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) online training, webinars and podcasts

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:

National data storage and analytics platform - Primary Health Insights

Practices holding Data Sharing Agreements with WA Primary Health Alliance will benefit from the new data storage and analytics platform, Primary Health Insights.

Developed by PHNs as a national initiative, the vision for Primary Health Insights is to use advanced analytics tools to produce greater insights from de-identified general practice data. General practices and PHNs will be more informed when making decisions about Australian primary healthcare delivery and improving patient health outcomes.   

De-identified patient data routinely extracted from general practice clinical information systems (CISs) is now being stored on Primary Heath Insights, which has been built to best practice standards of data security and is subject to rigorous, ongoing cyber security validation as well as the robust National Data Governance Framework developed by the PHNs. 

Data stored on the platform is determined by the existing Data Sharing Agreement in place between practices and WA Primary Health Alliance and could include data extracted for general practice PIP QI purposes.

De-identified patient data held on Primary Health Insights cannot be combined with other data sets to identify individuals. The obligations and responsibilities of general practices to obtain and manage patient consent for sharing de-identified health data remain unchanged. 

WA Primary Health Alliance is the developer and operator of Primary Health Insights on behalf of the 27 participating PHNs. The Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, Consumers Health Forum of Australia and Health Consumers’ Council of WA have been briefed about this initiative and all expressed their support.

For further information, visit primaryhealthinsights.org.au
Practice Assist 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.

Disclaimer
While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.