Best Practice Software

Introducing Our New CEO

The founders of Best Practice Software have announced their appointment of Mr Craig Hodges as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Frank and Lorraine Pyefinch, who formed Best Practice in the regional city of Bundaberg in 2004, have elected to concentrate their strategic efforts on steering the company at a Board level as Chair and Board Director, respectively.  It is a logical next step for the couple who are widely regarded as early pioneers of the Australian digital health industry, having originally developed Medical Director and then Best Practice during their esteemed careers.  Dr Pyefinch used his experience as a successful and respected General Practitioner, and Mrs Pyefinch her prime business acumen and nursing skills and experience, to pioneer medical software design and develop Best Practice into one of Australasia’s leading and most popular group of e-health products and services.  The company operates successful software products including GP software leader Bp Premier, medical specialist software Bp, allied health software Bp Allied, the Best Health app, and upcoming Best Practice Mobile applications.

Mr Hodges first joined the company in 2012 as its foundational General Manager and has worked over the past 12 years in a variety of strategic and operational leadership roles within the business including being the group’s Chief Operating Officer, working closely with Dr Pyefinch as a key advisor, deputy, and understudy. 

Craig has been an integral member of our senior leadership team for many years and he knows and understands our business, its people, and our customers intimately”, Dr Pyefinch said.  “He shares our empathy for Clinicians and their operational pressures and has helped position our business to best support our users, guiding various initiatives that have reshaped our business and our products over this past decade.  His permanent appointment to the role of Chief Executive evidences our confidence in his vision for our business and how aligned he personally is with our values and beliefs”.

Mr Hodges said he was honoured to take up the new permanent role as Chief Executive, but honoured the legacy left by Dr Pyefinch’s retirement from the role.  He said “Frank really has contributed so very much to the Australasian healthcare community and his care, attention, and positive attitude towards supporting GPs, surgical specialists, and allied health professionals will always guide and influence me.  He is a brilliant doctor and wonderful advocate and supporter of our medical community, and I will be forever grateful for his guidance and support”.

Mr Hodges said he was looking forward to working with Dr & Mrs Pyefinch in their new board roles and felt confident their personal values would continue to be honoured in the care Best Practice demonstrates for its people, customers, and community.  “I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to work for and alongside Frank and Lorraine for 12 years and closely understand their deep care for the healthcare community and that passion for supporting our users will never diminish.  But I will be putting my own unique stamp on the role and our team, and that work commences now.”

Before joining Best Practice, Mr Hodges worked in a variety of financial and strategic leadership roles across the public and private sector and has volunteered his time in a variety of community support missions.  He is a Non-Executive Director of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, has served on the board of a large Queensland hospital and health service, and dedicated his time and efforts over two decades to various healthcare advisory, clinical support, and tertiary medicine training committees and programs.

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Bulk-Billed Genetic Carrier Screening: GPs’ Vital Role in Antenatal Patient Care

The introduction of bulk-billed Genetic Carrier Screening for cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, and fragile X syndrome to the MBS in November 2023 was a welcome addition for both patients and doctors alike. It helped raise awareness of this important screening and increased accessibility for Australians who would not have been able to afford it otherwise.

As carrier screening is ideally performed before conception to offer greater reproductive choice, this has highlighted the important role GPs play in preventative antenatal care. GPs are ideally positioned to discuss Genetic Carrier Screening early on, before a woman conceives, during the planning stage of her pregnancy journey. Ordering the screening for patients is easy, as it is hosted as a template in Best Practice, under the name “Genetic Carrier Screening Request Form.”

If screening is performed before pregnancy, this allows more time for counselling and discussion about other reproductive choices, such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis through IVF, using donor eggs (or donor sperm for CF and SMA), donor embryos, or adoption.

While it is recommended that testing be completed prior to pregnancy so that this essential information is known early, is it still vital that women in the first stage of pregnancy are tested as well. This ensures they have the opportunity to make informed decisions for their family.


Genetic Carrier Screening should now be a routine part of pre- and early-pregnancy clinical management by GPs and specialists, as it is recommended in both RANZCOG and RACGP guidelines that this screening be offered to every woman and couple who are planning or in the first stage of pregnancy, regardless of their risk factors.

If a patient has had one or more unaffected pregnancies but was never offered genetic carrier screening in the past, it is still important to offer the screening before any subsequent pregnancies, as she may be a carrier and not know it.


Bulk-billed Genetic Carrier Screening covers the three most common inherited conditions: cystic fibrosis (CF), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and fragile X syndrome (FXS). One in 20 people are carriers of at least one of these conditions, and 90% of carriers have no family history.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
CF is a severe autosomal recessive genetic condition that causes lung and gastrointestinal problems. Approximately 1 in 25 individuals are carriers of CF, and CF affects about 1 in 2,500 people. Clinical Labs’ CF screening covers more than 75 common mutations in the CFTR gene.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
SMA is an autosomal recessive inherited neuromuscular disease historically associated with high morbidity and mortality. Approximately 1 in 35 individuals are carriers of SMA, and SMA affects about 1 in 6,000 people. Clinical Labs’ SMA screening identifies deletions of the SMN1 gene (one copy), which account for approximately 96% of the mutations in this gene.

Fragile X Syndrome (FXS)
FXS, an X-linked condition, is the most common inherited form of intellectual disability. Approximately 1 in 330 individuals are carriers of FXS, and FXS affects approximately 1 in 3,600 men and 1 in 6,000 women. FXS carrier screening is recommended for females, as it is inherited in a different way to CF and SMA.

Female patients who have the gene change (number of CGG triplet repeats) in the FMR1 gene are found to be at risk of having a child affected by FXS, as the abnormal gene may expand over generations. The size of these CGG triplet repeats determines the chance of the FXS gene failing to function in a normal way and, therefore, the clinical presentation.


Bulk-billed genetic carrier screening is now available to determine a couple’s combined risk of having a child with a genetic condition. Testing is available for all individuals, even those with no symptoms or family history.

New items 73451 and 73452
The patient who is planning pregnancy or already pregnant should be tested first under MBS item 73451 prior to testing the reproductive partner patient under MBS item 73452 to ensure an informative and clinically relevant test result is obtained in the relevant gene.

Testing of a patient who is pregnant or planning pregnancy to identify carrier status for pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants in the following genes, for the purpose of determining reproductive risk of cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, or fragile X syndrome:

a) CFTR;
b) SMN1;
c) FMR1.

One test per lifetime.

Testing of the reproductive partner of a patient who has been found to be a carrier of a pathogenic or likely pathogenic variant in the CFTR or SMN1 gene identified by testing under item 73451, for the purpose of determining the couple’s reproductive risk of cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy.

One test per condition per lifetime.


If the PATIENT is found to be a CARRIER for CF or SMA, then testing of the reproductive partner is RECOMMENDED for that specific condition.

If the PATIENT is found to be a NON-CARRIER for CF or SMA, then testing of the reproductive partner is NOT REQUIRED.

If the REPRODUCTIVE PARTNER is also found to be a CARRIER for CF or SMA, then genetic counselling is recommended. For positive cases (tested by Clinical Labs), Clinical Labs offers one genetic counselling session per couple at no cost.

If the patient is found to be in the pre-mutation or full mutation range for FXS, then genetic counselling is recommended. For FXS testing with Clinical Labs, only pre-mutation and full mutation cases are offered genetic counselling.

Clinical Labs’ Genetic Carrier Screening Request Form for CF, SMA, and FXS is hosted as a template in Best Practice. It can be found under the name “Genetic Carrier Screening Request Form.”

For more information on Genetic Carrier Screening test options and other antenatal testing services offering by Clinical Labs,
please visit

Authored by:
Assoc. Prof. Mirette Saad
National Director of Molecular Genetics Australian Clinical Labs

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Changes to Reporting Vaccination Encounters to AIR – March 2024

Time is of the essence as the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) gears up for significant changes being implemented from 1 March 2024. These changes are aimed at enhancing the accuracy and completeness of the immunisation data AIR holds, and it’s imperative that everyone involved in the process is well-informed.

AIR records crucial information about vaccines administered to Australians throughout their lives. This includes COVID-19 vaccines, those under the National Immunisation Program (NIP), as well as privately administered vaccines such as those for seasonal influenza or travel.

The following changes will apply to AIR submissions where the vaccination provider serves as both the immunisation and information provider:

  • Mandatory Vaccine Type Selection for Selected Vaccines:
    Specifying the vaccine type will be mandatory for selected vaccines administered from 1 March 2024. This includes Antenatal, NIP/Commonwealth, private, or state program vaccines.
  • Mandatory Route of Administration for Selected Vaccines:
    Indicating the Route of Administration will be compulsory for selected vaccines administered on or after 1 March 2024.
  • Mandatory Batch Numbers for Selected Vaccines:
    Reporting the Batch Number for selected vaccines administered will be mandatory from 1 March  2024.

Given the rapidly approaching 1 March deadline, it is imperative that all vaccination providers familiarise themselves with these new mandatory reporting requirements and take immediate action to upgrade your clinical software to the most recently released version. Your software vendor is here to help so don’t delay – upgrade now to avoid any disruptions to your practice or your patients.

Authored by:

Suzi Eley Blog Author Image

Suzi Eley
Training and Deployment Team Leader at Best Practice Software

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Embracing the Future: How AI is Reshaping Healthcare for Better Patient Outcomes

I recently got the opportunity to show my ageing parents what OpenAI’s ChatGPT could do. Artificial Intelligence to them was a fairly abstract concept held for Hollywood blockbusters, so pulling out a laptop was the result of a conversation that centred around “how does it actually benefit me?” Imagine their surprise when they discovered how it could help them write an email, spruce up a resume, or create Excel formulas and charts. They’re both two-finger typers so the possibilities of how this could make their lives more efficient got them more excitable than a teenager scrolling through TikTok and Instagram Reels.

As they wondered how it was going to make the last of their working years a breeze, my thoughts were around how AI would continue to help them beyond that into a long and healthy retirement. Just like assisting with Excel formulas, AI is starting to play a critical role in enhancing patient care and improving overall efficiencies in the Australian healthcare industry; not just for our ageing parents, but for all of us.

If You Currently Work In Healthcare, AI Is Getting Harder To Ignore.

The immense potential AI has when it comes to patient care almost looks limitless. With the ability to analyse large volumes of data, AI technologies might be able to help our healthcare professions in many different ways.

What about the continuous monitoring of patient’s vital signs, symptoms, and disease progression, alerting doctors to any significant changes that may require intervention? Or the potential to save lives and reduce hospital readmissions? Or AI-driven clinical decision support systems that could provide our doctors with evidence-based treatment recommendations? Can AI suggest appropriate treatment options, dosage recommendations, and potential drug interactions, empowering doctors with up-to-date information to make well-informed decisions?

Some Of That Might Sound A Little "Pie In The Sky," But AI Is The Here And Now.

There are quite a few vendors in the healthcare space already that can really add value to your practice in ways you might not have thought of yet, like:

  • AI-powered scribing tools: They fully integrate with your Clinical Consultation software. While you’re concentrating on your patient, your AI helper listens intently in the background, and filters out all non-relevant information to return to you perfect patient notes for you to check. It knows which personal information to redact and does it in real-time, using state-of-the-art data encryption and data processing done locally on Australian servers. You can use your patient conversation to instantly generate a referral or letter in your own unique style, as your AI helper learns over time to adapt to the way you write.
  • Virtual Assistants and Chatbots: AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots can provide basic information, appointment scheduling, and answer frequently asked questions, improving patient access and engagement.
  • Remote Monitoring and Telemedicine: AI technologies enable remote monitoring of patients’ vital signs, allowing healthcare providers and empower patients to track and manage chronic conditions or aftercare and provide virtual care.
  • Medical Image Analysis: powerful AI algorithms can analyse and quickly identify information that may assist a clinician in reaching a diagnosis for diseases such as skin cancer, eye disease, and heart arrythmias.
  • Clinical Decision Support: tools designed for use during patient consultations powered by AI can automate detection, and prompt clinicians to consider possible opportunities for early intervention for chronic disease, from cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and beyond. AI-driven tools can even have the ability to assist in recommending pathways of care alongside diagnosis considerations for clinicians and patients alike.

No Technology Can Replace The Importance Of Human Expertise And The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

Nevertheless, it is an exhilarating time to work in healthcare. Are you seeing your software vendors embracing these technologies to make your lives easier? With what is available right now, plus advancements on the horizon, AI will redefine work efficiencies across various roles in our practices. AI technologies are here and they’re already enhancing numerous aspects of our lives, so here’s to embracing these innovations, particularly for all those two finger typers out there.

For more information, the following vendors have some great AI products available, and are small sample of the many options available:

  • Lyrebird Health
  • Heidi Health
  • 3D Anatomica
  • DermEngine
  • University of Melbourne – Future Health Today
  • AI-Matters
  • PenCS – Topbar
  • Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool
  • SmartHeal

Authored by:

Suzi Eley Author Avatar

Suzi Ely
Training & Deployment Manager at Best Practice Software.

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