My Aged Care improvements to lift GPs’ administrative burden

Amanda Lyons

29/10/2019 1:51:03 PM

The online information and service portal has unveiled some significant changes designed to improve its usability for GPs and their patients.

My Aged Care
The e-referral process is integrated into existing Best Practice, MedicalDirector and Genie practice management systems

The changes to the My Aged Care website, which were presented by the Department of Health at this year’s GP19 , included improvements to the website’s client dashboard, better navigation of the website for patients, and online registration and screening for patients seeking self-service through the website.
But for GPs, the cornerstone change is the development of My Aged Care e-referral, a method of making referrals to the website directly from general practice management software systems.
Dr Rob Hosking, Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – Practice Technology and Management (REC–PTM), told newsGP that improvements were much needed.
‘[It was a] very, very clunky interface, very labour-intensive, and so it just wasn’t being used, certainly not by busy GPs,’ he said.
The prior referral process through the website was implemented with no GP consultation, resulting in a system Dr Hosking described as ‘not fit for purpose’.
‘GPs had to enter in all of our own personal data – as in, our names, addresses and date of birth, etcetera – and the same for patients for every referral,’ Dr Hosking said.
‘If you wanted to include diagnoses of the patient, you had to manually type that in. Everything had to be manually typed in.
‘So you can see the problem immediately.’
This process eliminated faxes, but the extra administration burden resulted in a curious step backwards for GPs in terms of sending referrals.
‘Some GPs gave up their time out of the goodness of their hearts to try to make sure their elderly patients got the care they needed,’ Dr Hosking said. ‘Others were allocating the work to practice nurses, because it was such a time-consuming exercise. Some were referring people back to their family members.
‘I suspect it has caused a lot of headaches and heartaches for family members trying to access care for their families.’
The new system aims to remove a large part of this burden by using secure messaging technology, HealthLink, to streamline the process.
‘With this new development, we are able to send referrals directly from our software to the My Aged Care website,’ Dr Hosking said.
The e-referral process is integrated into existing Best Practice, MedicalDirector and Genie practice management systems. It is designed to be easy to use, with no need to install or learn any additional systems.
‘It’s usually set up in the document-writing software,’ Dr Hosking said.
‘For example, in Best Practice there is a button at the top of the document writer that says “HL”, which stands for “HealthLink”. You click that, wait for the HealthLink Smart Forms website to load, and then select the referral that you require, which in this case would be My Aged Care.
‘It will create the document within your computer, merging all the information from your system. And then you just hit “send” at the end of it all, and it should go directly to the My Aged Care website.’
Dr Hosking believes the new system may also present an opportunity for GPs to learn more about their practice software.
‘There’s a lot of other functionality there that could be useful for GPs, if they were made aware of it. It’s often not until something like this comes out, or somebody points it out to you, that we learn our software does more than we realise,’ he said.
‘For example, HealthLink can also be used for referrals to other specialists, as well as to some hospitals.
‘So if GPs are unclear about how to use HealthLink Smart Forms referrals, they might want to contact their software vendor or look their website for information, because it might open up a whole new world for them.’
Overall, Dr Hosking welcomes the changes and is hopeful they will improve the facilitation of entering the aged care health system.
‘Whether it leads to any improved efficiencies with within the My Aged Care system and the allocation of resources, that’s yet to be seen,’ he said.
‘But from our perspective it’ll make things easier, certainly for GPs, and hopefully for their patients, too.’

ehealth My Aged Care referrals secure messaging

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Dr Deborah Uwa Sambo   30/10/2019 10:23:32 PM


Thanks Rob and team for your great input.
I am sure not only GPs lost hairs, but patients and their relatives.

Hopefully we can now grow it all back.