New system aims to reduce healthcare admin burden

Jolyon Attwooll

23/06/2021 3:27:11 PM

The online initiative is designed to cut red tape for general practices and other healthcare providers and will be made available across the country.

Practice receptionist.
Healthcare provider changes often need to be updated several times on different directories.

The Provider Connect Australia (PCA) system is designed to allow healthcare providers to update their information online only once, rather than having to change multiple directories.
It is now being developed for nationwide use by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), following a ‘proof of concept’ trial in north New South Wales.
The CEO of the agency Amanda Cattermole said that the PCA system will ‘enable up-to-date, consistent information to be available right across the healthcare system’.
‘It really is around ... [enabling] health providers to interact with each other more securely instead of having to go through different directories, [and] look at multiple systems and use multiple steps when they try and communicate,’ she told newsGP
‘That means healthcare providers will be enabled to do what they do best, which is to deliver care rather than navigate all of those healthcare systems.’
ADHA’s Secure Messaging Program Director Neeraj Maharaj told newsGP the workload needed for updating multiple directories means practice information is often out of date, a situation he hopes will improve with the advent of the PCA.
For example, he explained how the PCA system can function when a new GP arrives at a clinic.
‘You hit save, it tells all those business partners you wish to share information with the same quality data and the same quality information,’ Mr Maharaj said.
He also gave an example from the trial in New South Wales that took place last year, in which he said 50–60 health organisations participated. Users had a 100% success rate in getting discharge summaries from the hospital to the right person subsequently, when previously that had stood at around 80%.
According to the ADHA, 99% of participating practitioner records in the local health district address book were out of date prior to the NSW trial.
Research has shown messages are regularly sent to organisations where practitioners have left, meaning they need to be redirected or are left to fall through the cracks, Mr Maharaj says.
For general practices, he expects practice managers will be the main users of PCA and believes it should reduce the ‘enormous amount of time’ currently spent changing details in up to 20 different online and paper forms.  
‘Any healthcare provider can use the PCA,’ Mr Maharaj said. ‘It could be a meals on wheels for example [those] that want to ensure their listing in any directory is correct.’
Clinics using the system will be able to choose to share their details with organisations they already have a relationship with, such as a pathology company, a secure messaging provider, indemnity insurer or booking service.
‘The model is that the organisation, once it makes the choice of setting up their information in PCA, then makes the choice of who it wants to share it with,’ Mr Maharaj said.
Agency staff believe the use of PCA could reduce the administrative burden on the healthcare system by the equivalent of an estimated $30 million a year, based on anticipated time savings.
A webinar on PCA and its use will be held at 11am on 29 June.
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Dr Daniel Thomas Byrne   24/06/2021 7:27:24 AM

Wow. This is either:
1. Amazing
2. An early April Fools Day joke.
I’m just thinking this is to good to be true!