Feature Requests & Enhancements – What Happens to Them?

Best Practice Software Feature Request Process

Product enhancement and Best Practice Software feature requests are received frequently from our engaged user base, and often fuel our development roadmap. From time to time, we have users enquire about the request they’ve submitted and how it’s progressing.

As a customer-centric organisation, we highly value engagement with our customers and the insights it provides us. In a similar vein, we’ll shed light on our internal, end-to-end process for receiving, reviewing and prioritising these requests, to demystify what happens when you submit a request.

Being a Customer-Centric Organisation Means Listening to Users

First let’s talk a bit about what it means to be a customer-centric organisation. 

From the very first line of code that was written at Best Practice Software, customers have been at the heart of what we do. Our founders set out to solve some of the challenges our customers and Practices experience each day. It’s the reason why our motto, ‘designed by a doctor, for doctors’ is a key pillar in our organisation.

A lot has happened since that first line of code was written in 2004, but our customer-centric ethos has remained unchanged. So, let’s talk more about how we listen to our valued customers and what we do with the insights, feedback, enhancement and feature requests that we receive.

You Tell Us, We Listen - A Multi-Channel Approach to Receiving Requests

The world keeps changing, and new challenges arise, which consequently generates new ideas and requirements. This is also why product development does not stop. A great way for us to keep up with change and understand the ever-changing needs of our customers is to listen.

Listening to the voice of our customers is not a “single lane” approach. It takes multiple channels and methods through different interaction points that occur between us and the users. The important piece that ties everything together is that the feature enhancements are logged into the same product review backlog. Here’s an example of what a multi-channel approach means to us.

Multi-channel Approach to Listening to Customers:

  • Sales
    • Customer enhancement requests that we receive through sales interactions and account management are logged and placed into review.
  • Support
    • Like sales, feature requests received by support also get logged into the same review process.
  • Marketing
  • Beta testing customers
    • Feedback from beta customers is incredibly important, as it not only provides us with feedback on new features, it serves as another channel for us to receive suggestions and ideas for feature enhancements as well.
  • Product customer interviews
    • As part of our product development processes including User Experience (UX), we conduct interviews to gain insight on how customers use our products, potential pain points they experience, and to identify how we can best improve a feature in development. Feature enhancement requests in this channel are either incorporated directly into the design, or if the enhancement suggestion relates to another feature, we’d then log the request and/or provide it directly to the team members who manage that area of the product.
  • Product feedback tools
    • Some of our products provide a mechanism to submit feature enhancement requests directly from the product, or a link to send us the feedback.

Reviewing, Determining Value and Prioritising Feature Requests and Enhancements

Feature enhancement requests are incredibly important to us, as they not only provide us with an opportunity to improve a feature, but they also give us new insights into how customers are using the product, which changes alongside evolving user needs.

Every feature enhancement request we receive is carefully reviewed and considered by our Product team. While some make it onto our development roadmap, others are added to a log for future consideration. This is always a balancing act, as we need to evaluate whether a feature enhancement suits the majority of users, a user discipline or a user group. Sometimes an idea can be great, but it may only suit a very specific need and could potentially impact other users. When reviewing and prioritising requests, we take the following steps:

  1. Validation
    • Review the problem being solved and why it should be built
    • How will the request enhance / improve a feature and how it will help users?
  2. User Patterns
    • Does the feature enhancement help the majority of users, a discipline, user group, or only one/specific user?
  3. Clinical review (if applicable)
    • If the feature enhancement is clinical, then our clinical committee needs to assess risk and any other clinical factors involved.  
  4. Requirements & Scope
    • Identify the requirements needed to build the feature enhancement.
    • Determine scope of the feature enhancement.
  5. Feasibility & Effort
    • Estimate the effort and feasibility of building the feature enhancement.
  6. Value and backlog priority
    • Based on the factors above, determine a value for the feature enhancement and prioritise it with other requests in the backlog.
  7. Decision
    • Based on the above, make a decision whether the feature enhancement should be approved, rejected or flagged to be reviewed and considered again in the future.
    • If approved for development, establish its priority in relation to other approved items on the roadmap.

All requests, whether they are approved or not, are maintained in a log, allowing us to revisit them anytime, and to identify any growing trends for a certain feature requests. What might not be feasible to build or prioritise right now, might still be a relevant enhancement down the track. 

Our staff also contribute valuable ideas and suggestions, based on their interactions with customers, industry insights and/or product expertise. 

One of the key challenges of any software development organisation is determining value and prioritising the backlog. The priority of each feature enhancement request needs to be evaluated against other features already in development, features sitting in backlog, bugs, regulatory changes, industry, and government initiatives. This determines when a feature enhancement can be built.

Keep Them Coming!

I hope you enjoyed this insight into how much we value customer feedback, listen to our customers’ requests, and our process for reviewing and actioning your suggestions. To send us enhancement suggestions, new feature requests, or let us know about any challenges you may be facing, utilise this enquiry form on our website

Keep helping us improve our products, which are ultimately built for you!

Authored by:

henry vesander feature requests blog author image

Henry Vesander
Manager of Product Management at Best Practice Software

Information Prescriptions in Bp Premier: A Partnership with Diabetes Australia

information prescriptions in Bp Premier blog image

Recently, we partnered with Diabetes Australia to create a range of National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Information Prescription templates available in Bp Premier’s Word Processor.

To help raise awareness among GPs and Practices, and to help you get started, we’ve created an overview below of each of these new templates. Each NDSS Information Prescription template in Bp Premier is available for free, you will just need to run the August Data Update if you haven’t already. Links to do so are available on our downloads page.

What Are Information Prescriptions in Bp Premier?

Information Prescriptions are templates which can be personalised to specific patients. They are easy to read and have individual goals to help prevent health complications.

In the case of these new Information Prescriptions, they are designed to give people with diabetes the information that they need to understand, engage with, and improve on their health targets.

NDSS Information Prescriptions Available in Bp Premier

There are ten different Information Prescriptions available that we’ve added to Bp Premier in partnership with Diabetes Australia. Three core prescriptions focus on blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1c. They focus on the three key health markers that influence someone’s risk of complications, where less than 50% of people with diabetes achieve the RACGP recommended targets.

The ten Information Prescriptions available are:

  • Diabetes and your cholesterol
  • Diabetes and your feet low risk
  • Diabetes and your feet moderate or high risk
  • Diabetes – keeping your kidneys healthy
  • Diabetes and kidney disease
  • Diabetes, contraception and pregnancy
  • Improving your diabetes knowledge
  • Diabetes and your blood pressure
  • Diabetes and your HbA1c
  • My emotions and diabetes

Each of these Information Prescriptions allow health professionals to record personalised information and test results, set individual goals to improve diabetes management, can be used to support the annual diabetes cycle of care, and are useful in quality improvement activities.

Each template is designed to support care planning. Health professionals can use the Information Prescription to engage with the person with diabetes and record personalised goals and give them a resource to take home and use.

Diabetes and Your Cholesterol

This Information Prescription in Bp Premier explains what cholesterol is, and why it’s important to manage. Practitioners can record recent cholesterol results, discuss documented strategies with patients to guide improvements, and provides a placeholder for documenting and setting health activities or goals for the patient to work towards.

information prescriptions diabetes and cholesterol screenshot

Diabetes and Your Feet - Low Risk

This Information Prescription describes why footcare is particularly important for people living with diabetes. It explains how damage can occur and provides strategies to use to maintain healthy feet. It gives you the opportunity to discuss the documented strategies to maintain healthy, low risk feet and set two health activities or goals the person can work towards.

information prescription feet low risk screenshot

Diabetes and Your Feet - Medium to High Risk

This Information Prescription identifies why it is important to manage foot care and helps explain the higher risk to persons living with diabetes. It also provides a link for health professionals to access up-to-date information at footforward.org.au. It gives practitioners the opportunity to discuss documented strategies to maintain healthy feet, and set health activities or goals for the patient.

Information prescription feet high risk screenshot

Diabetes - Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy

This Information Prescription explains how kidneys can be affected by diabetes and strategies that promote healthy kidneys. It explains the role of blood and urine checks and the importance of having regular screening. It equips practitioners for discussing strategies to maintain healthy kidneys, providing an area to document health activities or goals the patient can work towards.

information prescriptions keeping kidneys healthy screenshot

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

This Information Prescription explains how kidneys can be affected by diabetes as kidney disease progresses and strategies that promote healthy kidneys. It explains the role of blood and urine checks and the importance of having regular screening. It prompts consideration for management issues including blood pressure targets and medication review. It aids practitioners in discussing strategies to improve kidney health, with a spot to record health activities or goals the person can work towards.

Diabetes, Contraception and Pregnancy

This Information Prescription explains the importance of planning for pregnancy and preparing for a healthy pregnancy with diabetes. It prompts consideration for management issues including medication review and screening needed prior to pregnancy. It also prompts referral to the diabetes health care team and equips practitioners with documented strategies to consider, with space for goal setting.

information prescriptions contraception and pregnancy screenshot

Improving Your Diabetes Knowledge

This template explains the importance of understanding what diabetes is and how it can affect the body. It promotes the benefit of accessing reliable information to make healthy lifestyle choices, with guidance on when and where to seek support, like referral to the diabetes health care team. It supports practitioners with strategies to consider, with space for personalised goal setting for the patient.

information prescriptions diabetes knowledge screenshot

Diabetes and Your Blood Pressure

This Information Prescription in Bp Premier explains what blood pressure is, and the importance of managing blood pressure with diabetes. The template prompts consideration for management issues including medication review and screening, enabling practitioners to set a target blood pressure. Similar to the other templates, it equips practitioners with proactive care strategies and the ability to set health goals for the patient.
information prescriptions blood pressure screenshot

Diabetes and Your HbA1c

This Information Prescription explains what HbA1c is and its importance in the of managing glucose levels and reducing the risk of diabetes related complications. The template prompts consideration for management issues including medication review, enabling practitioners to set individualised targets for patients, while providing documented healthcare strategies to discuss with patients.

information prescriptions hba1c screenshot

My Emotions and Diabetes

This Information Prescription explains the importance of recognising that living with diabetes can affect emotional well-being. It identifies triggers that people are likely to experience, and the subsequent changes to how they feel.
 

It provides steps to discuss with patients to promote wellbeing, while facilitating the opportunity to discuss documented strategies and set goals with patients.

information prescriptions my emotions and diabetes screenshot

Each NDSS Information Prescription in Bp Premier is an invaluable tool that health professionals can utilise to empower people living with diabetes, to monitor their own condition and set goals for proactive self-care.

A more thorough overview on Information Prescriptions, including an overview for health professionals, is available on the NDSS Information Prescriptions page.

For more information on the NDSS and the work they do, you can visit their website here.

Tips From Our Trainers: Bp Premier Contact Notes!

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With face-to-face patient contact being limited due to quarantine, lockdowns, and illness, phone consults are now the new normal.  Telehealth notes are recorded as part of a consultation, but what about recording other phone calls or communication with patients? This is where Bp Premier Contact Notes can assist, and in this article I’ll offer some tips on how to use them. If you haven’t utilised them before, let’s take a minute to introduce how they can be of benefit to you and your Practice.

A Contact Note represents any attempt by the Practice to contact a patient by phone, letter, SMS, mobile app, or even when using external email applications.  It will record the essentials: when contact was made, who the contact was with, what the contact was about, how the contact was made, and the success status.

One of the great things about Bp Premier Contact Notes is that your Practice can create customised contact reasons specific to your team, like chasing up overdue invoices, speaking with a specialist on behalf of patients, or booking an ambulance transfer.

You can add new reasons quickly and easily by accessing Setup > Configuration > Lists tab

  1. Click Add under the list. The Reason for contact note window will appear.
  2. Enter your new contact reason: Specialist bookings.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Click Save again and close the Configuration screen.
Contact Note reason screen

Contact Notes are designed to not only support your patients, but also to support your team and business practices.

More Contact Note Tips in Bp Premier are available on our Knowledge Base from within Bp Premier. Click on Help > Online and search ‘Contact Notes’.

Authored by:

Belinda Bazant Author Image

Belinda Bazant
Content Developer at Best Practice Software

Changes to the Closing the Gap PBS Co-Payment

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From 1 July 2021, changes to the Closing the Gap (CTG) PBS Co-payment have taken effect. These changes will allow patients eligible for the co-payment relief to benefit from cheaper medicines, or free medicines if they have a concession or health care card, under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Previously, only Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders living with, or at risk of, chronic diseases were eligible for the CTG PBS Co-payment program. After 1 July, however, patients will be eligible if they meet the following criteria:

  • Self-identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian
  • Will have setbacks in preventing or managing their condition if they don’t take the medicine
  • Are unlikely to keep up their treatment without help with the cost
  • Are enrolled with Medicare

To support these changes and make the registration process easier, Services Australia has introduced a national registration database where patients must be registered to receive these co-payment benefits. Patients who were previously registered will have their registrations transferred to the new database, and nothing further will be required from them.

Only PBS prescribers and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Health practitioners (who are registered with both AHPRA & Medicare) will be able to add new registrations to the national database via the Health Professional Online Service (HPOS) once they have received consent from eligible patients.

For Bp Premier users, there will be no changes to workflows within the system. Eligible patients will still need to have their ethnicity recorded, and the ‘Registered for CTG PBS Co-payment Relief’ checkbox must be ticked in the patient’s demographic window.

PBS Co-payment article ethnicity field screenshot

For prescribers using Bp Premier, prescriptions created in Bp Premier will have the relevant alpha numeric code included, such as ‘CTG00B’, on both paper and electronic prescriptions. For handwritten prescriptions, prescribers can include the letters ‘CTG’ along with their initials or signature. While annotation is not a legal requirement, it will help pharmacists in dispensing the medicine.

Further information on changes to the Closing the Gap PBS Co-payment can be found on Services Australia’s website.

Authored by:

Jessica White Author Blog Picture

Jessica White
Manager of Commercial and Customer Enablement at Best Practice Software

An Interview With AAPM (Australian Association of Practice Management)

Bp_Blog_AAPM Interview

The Australian Association of Practice Management, or AAPM, is the peak national association and professional body dedicated to supporting effective practice management in Australian healthcare.

We spoke with Miranda Grace, the Manager of Engagement and Member Services at the AAPM, about some of the unique challenges the organisation has faced over the past 18 months, as well as how they continue to advocate for Practice Managers nationwide.

As one your longstanding partners, we love seeing the various ways in which you support your Practice Manager members. For readers who may not be familiar with AAPM and the services your association provides, can you provide a brief overview on the support and resources you provide?

We are dedicated to supporting effective practice management in the healthcare profession, and provide our valued AAPM members with a suite of resources to assist them in their day-to-day activities.

AAPM provides support through its membership team, dedicated HR Advisory Service, the online Practice Community Portal and in the development and coaching of career pathways. This recognises experience and qualifications for members to achieve a Certified Practice Manager status or Fellow as they develop in their career.

The Australian Association of Practice Management provides resources and support in the following key areas:

  • Financial management
  • Human resource management
  • Business planning and marketing
  • Risk management
  • Governance and organisational dynamics
  • Information technology management
  • Business and clinical operations
  • Professional responsibility

What did you observe to be the greatest or most common challenge facing Practices in 2020, and how do you think that’ll shift in 2021 and 2022?

The single greatest challenge for Practices in 2020 and continuing through 2021 – 22 is Practice Managers’ mental health.

The COVID pandemic has had a significant effect on Practice Managers. Often in isolated roles, and the leader in the business, they take on their own personal challenges, together with that of the team and the Practice as a whole. This has seen many Practice Managers step away from their job, retire early or dedicate time to recruit new team members. All of these have significant impact, and we will see this over the next few years, particularly until most of the population have been able to receive their vaccine.

Quote box infographic mental health of practice managers

The above mental health impacts flow through to business revenues and in some cases, can cause Practices to close as operations become unviable. The new healthcare reform will further impact Practices over the coming years, however, until the COVID pandemic settles globally, this will be the greatest ongoing challenge for the foreseeable future.

COVID-19 has obviously had a massive impact on our economy and nearly every business in Australia. Often in the face of adversity, innovation and opportunity are born. What have been some of the challenges Practice Managers have faced over the past year, and how have they adapted to overcome those challenges?

The silver lining for Practice Managers has been the agile and responsive approach from software vendors to Practices. Being able to deliver fast and practical solutions to allow for Practices to work effectively, even in remote locations, has shown the innovation available.

Physical treatment of patients has been a challenge for many Practices. The adoption of telehealth consultations has become increasingly popular and more practical than ever before. Again, Practice Managers have adapted their Practices, mostly with the assistance of their software provider to overcome this challenge.

What percentage of your members are female and what percentage are male? Do you think female and male Practice Managers face different challenges, and if so, why do you think that is?

The profession has always attracted more females than males. At present, the AAPM has 91% female members and 9% male. Practice Managers experience the same challenges, regardless of their gender. The role of a Practice Manager is diverse and anyone who can juggle many things, show compassion, empathy, leadership, and all that goes with business management, succeeds in their chosen profession.

Government initiatives have come down the pipeline fast and hard as of late (i.e. Active Ingredient Prescribing, Secure Messaging, ePrescribing, SafeScript, National Cancer Screening Register, My Health Record etc.). Which has challenged Practices the most and why? What have Practices looked forward to most?

The answer to the question is in the question – “government initiatives have come down the pipeline fast”. This has been incredibly challenging for Practice Managers to understand the changes, adopt and implement in a short amount of time.

Initiatives which provide a “toolkit” seem to be easier to digest and implement, however, when there are constant updates that also require software updates to take advantage of the tool, it presents further challenges.

How has the shift to corporate ownership of Medical Practices impacted healthcare in your opinion and through your observations? Has it impacted the role of practice managers, and how so?

Corporate ownership has not had a significant impact on the role of Practice Managers. In many instances, the role of the Practice Manager is sought out more and regarded as a leading role in the business. In addition, this often leads to further career opportunities and growth in a Practice, and can offer a different type of experience to single or Doctor owned Practices.

The Australian Association of Practice Management has experienced growth in the recruitment of Corporate owned Practices becoming members.

What is something that is right around the corner that many companies/organisations are not considering?

More technological solutions. Future patients are spoilt for choice with technological solutions, and Practice Managers and their Practices need to embrace this to remain competitive.

Australian association of practice management quote box infographic adapting technology into practices

We’ve recently seen criticism emerge in the news about the pace of the COVID vaccine rollout. What is your take on this?

It is a significant issue and challenge for everyone. There is limited firsthand experience in dealing with a pandemic and fast-tracking a vaccine rollout, however, the pace and process has been less than desirable. The changes to information, the shifting dates of deliverables adds to concern and lack of confidence.

What are your go-to resources for all things Practice Management, that our readers could bookmark for themselves?

The AAPM website – aapm.org.au member portal.

This is where to find the latest information and resources.

What healthcare trends have you seen emerge over the past 1-2 years, and does this surprise you? Can you please elaborate on why this surprised you, or if it didn’t why that is?

The main trend has been telehealth and technological advances. This hasn’t surprised us, but it will be interesting to further watch its growth.

Where do you see General Practice in 10 years’ time? What will be the biggest change?

Perhaps we will have a clinic on Mars? Perhaps it will be AI appointments?

GPs are the most frontline business when it comes to healthcare. This is changing and the pandemic has fast tracked this. The future will host far more technology supported services and the scope of development is as far as the imagination can take you.

Best Practice Software would like to thank Miranda Grace and the Australian Association of Practice Management for contributing to this article. For more information on the AAPM or the resources and services they provide, you can visit their website here.

MediSecure Prescription Exchange Service Now Available in Bp Premier

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07 July 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

Best Practice Software and MediSecure are pleased to announce that medical providers using Bp Premier practice management software are now able to select MediSecure’s prescription exchange service (PES) for transmitting ePrescriptions (accessed via a token) following a software update on June 9, 2021.

Best Practice Software’s latest update, Saffron Service Pack 1 (SP1), included support for digital token-based ePrescriptions to be sent via the MediSecure prescription exchange.

Medical practices have been utilising MediSecure to securely send electronic prescriptions between GP and pharmacy for some time now; with this latest update, Practices can choose between Australia’s two prescription exchange services for transmitting all electronic prescriptions between GP and pharmacy, be it barcoded paper script or token-based digital ePrescription.

Dr Frank Pyefinch, CEO and Founder said, “Best Practice Software has always understood that choice is important to our customers, and we are pleased to support our many users who choose MediSecure as their preferred prescription exchange provider”.

Dr Pyefinch explained that the sudden urgency to accelerate the rollout of ePrescribing in response to the COVID-19 crisis meant that Best Practice Software could not implement ePrescribing across both prescription exchanges simultaneously.

Paul Frosdick, Chief Executive Officer at MediSecure, said he was delighted to see the update reach all Bp Premier users.

“A significant number of our GP customers wanted to wait for Saffron Service Pack 1 before moving to ePrescriptions,” he said.

“Our users value the fact that we are Australia’s only independently owned prescription exchange, and we know that they appreciate the responsiveness of our service team. But perhaps most significantly, with the increasing fluidity of individual GPs working across multiple practices, our users love the fact that the prescriber set up on MediSecure is a two-click process managed at practice level”.

Since going live on June 9, over 160 Bp Premier MediSecure GP practices have activated ePrescribing and are issuing digital prescriptions to their patients.

“This is a fantastic result, and we will be working closely with our colleagues at Best Practice Software to maintain this rate of uptake over the coming weeks”, said Mr Frosdick.

*******End of Release*******

For Further Information Contact Paul Frosdick on 0400 766 566 and by email at paul.frosdick@medisecure.com.au.

Key Take-Aways from the 2021 RACGP Practice Owners Conference

RACGP Practice Owners Conference Blog Image

The RACGP Practice Owners Conference for 2021 took place in Brisbane on the 19th and 20th of June. The event was incredibly educational and covered a breadth of topics, all presented by a diverse panel of thought-provoking experts in their respective fields.

During the first day of the conference, I was able to attend sessions on the following topics:

  • The evolution of a consumer-driven primary care clinic
  • Developing KPIs for your Practice
  • How to optimise your outcome from a sale or partial sale
  • Using product thinking in general practice to create a successful clinic for the future
  • Using data to improve business efficiencies and patient outcomes
  • Medical compliance; an overview
During the second day, I made it to these sessions:
 
  • How to structure your Practice & premises purchase
  • How to unlock the value of your Practice
  • Digital tools of the trade
  • Marketing digital strategies
Each of these sessions were engaging and provided plenty of food for thought across extensive bodies of knowledge. After having a few days to process what I’d seen and heard at the RACGP Practice Owners Conference, here are my key take-aways from the event.

The Future

The future of healthcare will need to be:

  • Individualised
  • Intelligently designed to enable successful patient outcomes
  • Co-ordinated
  • Co-joined
  • Compassionate and respectful

Practice Challenges

The five biggest challenges Practice owners face are:

  • General Practitioner availability
  • Practice revenue is not keeping up with increases in costs
  • Keeping up with constant compliance and regulatory changes
  • Remaining competitive in the face of competition
  • Finding time to work on the Practice, when they’re not working in it

Economics and Financial Health

Practices have three main methods in which they can drive profits:

  • They can sell more
  • They can charge more
  • They can pay less

Here are some interesting statistics to do with maintaining the financial health of a Practice:

  • Practices will typically charge 35-45% of their GPs gross takings
  • The typical net profit margin for a clinic is anywhere from 2-7.5%
  • Non-doctor revenue can be between 16-19%
  • A solid staffing ratio for Practices is 1 GP : 0.4 Nurses : 0.9 Admin staff – from this, how are Practices ensuring that their workforce is optimised based on the number of practicing GPs each day?

Marketing Position & Ease of Doing Business

Clinics need to understand their position in the market and their business models. This is especially important with regards to scale vs specialisation. There are a number of levers that clinics can utilise to differentiate themselves in the market:

  • Price
  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • Patient experience
  • The reputation of individual doctors
  • Being a ‘one-stop shop’
  • Proximity to retail outlets
  • Community connections
  • Ease of accessibility

It is also important for Practices to consider how easy it is for patients to do business with their clinics. To accurately assess this, Practices need to understand their current end-to-end patient journey, ensuring they are meeting their patients’ evolving needs. This is something we covered in a recent blog article on the topic of Healthcare Consumerism.

It’s critical for Practices to remember that it is much easier to improve their service for existing customers, than trying to capture new ones.

Understand Your Customer

A key theme present at the RACGP Practice Owners Conference was that Practices need to ensure that they understand their customers.

What problems are your customers facing? Of these, which are the most important? Do you have a solution to these problems? It is recommended that Practices regularly validate and test their hypotheses on how those problems can be solved.

A strong indicator that you have a good understanding of your market is when you are receiving positive recommendations, and have a healthy number of sale volumes.

Above all, Practices need to remember that they can’t be all things to all people. Decide early on which segments of the community you’re trying to service, and focus on those segments.

Measuring Success

Measure the metrics that matter to you, while ensuring that those metrics are practical and support your business model. In addition, don’t misallocate your KPIs, and always make sure that there is a clear link between your targets, and how you measure them.

When considering metrics for success, many Practices focus on the past. This isn’t always helpful, as you can’t change the past! Focus on what needs to be changed for the future, and how you can measure the progress towards those objectives.

When measuring success, break your business down into parts. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How profitable is each part?
  • Is each part worth doing?
  • How can one area of the business support another?
  • Are we using appropriate benchmarks? (are you comparing apples to apples? or apples to oranges?)
  • Pilot initiatives and measure their effectiveness. If those initiatives are delivering success, persist with them. If not, stop and reassess, then pivot

Use Data to Drive Positive Outcomes

It’s critical that Practices know where their data is coming from. A Practice can generate value from triangulating Practice, financial, HR/Rostering and MBS data.

However, not all data is equal. Just because the data is there, does not mean it’s going to be insightful in developing Practice value.

According to an interview with Cubiko, here is a list of what data Practices will want to track:

  • Total number of billings (vs the Practice budget)
  • Average wait times (week-on-week)
  • Bulk billing (week-on-week)
  • Utilisation of appointments – booked vs available vs admin
  • The number of appointments vs billing – ideally in a 4×4 matrix
  • Last week vs forecast with regards to recalls and reminders, and telehealth
  • Room utilisation
  • No Shows
  • The cost of each appointment and net profit from billings, more specifically:
        • Don’t always look backwards at what previous appointments have cost you, look forwards to what appointments are going to cost you
        • How much of your diary is booked? If you have large gaps between appointments, consider why
        • Look at your roster of doctors, and consider your ratios to nurses and admin staff. Does it make sense?
        • Benchmarking – internal benchmarking is powerful, If possible, find a sister Practice that is similar and partner with them to benchmark your performance. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples!

Consider Your Technology as a Tool of the Trade

Recent trends have shown that patients want greater control over their data. Practices need to better utilise digital tools to engage with their patients.

  • Websites – Have they had their day? Make sure your Practice website is designed for your patients, and not focused on your business
  • Social Media – Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are great mechanisms to connect with peers and share your business best practices, helping you to work towards positive patient outcomes. Social media is also a great tool to gauge market sentiment
  • Telehealth – How do we leverage telehealth for follow-ups? Telehealth has given us an opportunity to forge our future on how to better interface with patients. For example, can telehealth be used by metropolitan Practices to support rural sites?
  • My Health Record – GPs were once the custodians of their community’s medical records. Now, that data is available for people to control. As an example, mothers and fathers can now help in their children’s journey – this is especially true for initiatives like the NDIS.
  • eOrdering – Coming soon, and coming quickly. Pathology and radiology providers are coming online and enabling eOrdering. Patients receive an electronic token, and the tests go straight back to the GP.
  • What else is on the horizon?
        • Provider Connect Australia – A new system that, once information is entered, will be a single point of reference. However, service directories have been an issue in the past.
        • Home Monitoring – Is virtual care something that’s in the future?

The RACGP Practice Owners Conference provided attendees with some incredibly valuable information for the present and future of the healthcare industry in Australia.

The past few years have been unprecedented in how global events have impacted healthcare, and now more than ever it’s crucial that Practices take control of their businesses and ensure viability and success for the years ahead.

Authored by:

RACGP Practice Owners Conference Peter Polacek Author Blog Image

Peter Polacek
Product Manager at Best Practice Software

Third-Party Integrations for Your Software – 10 Key Considerations Before Implementation

Integration with Best Practice Software blog image

With our Bp Partner Network reaching over 100 partners, there are many fantastic third-party software solutions to choose from that offer integration with Best Practice Software products, whether it’s Bp Premier, Bp VIP.net or Bp Allied. And with choice comes the responsibility and necessity to ensure you have selected the right tools, to meet the ever-changing needs and growth of your business.

But with so many options available, how do you ensure that you are using the right one? Let’s explore 10 key considerations to think about when selecting a new product or reviewing products currently being used by your Practice.

Circular infographic showing 10 steps to consider prior to integration with Best Practice Software

Identify the Problem You are Trying to Solve

Before you consider purchasing third-party software to complement your Practice management system, it is important that you clearly articulate the problem you are trying to solve. Sometimes this requires input from all staff operating in the Practice to ensure that the product chosen meets the needs of your business.

For example:

  • Are you trying to save time?
  • Are you trying to save money?
  • Are you looking to improve internal workflows?
  • Are you looking to improve the patient experience?
  • Do you need to introduce a product to compete with other businesses?
  • Do you need to reduce medico-legal risk?
  • Is the product required to expand your business offering? Meet new legislation?

We recommend that your problem statement is agreed to by all relevant stakeholders in your business before moving through to the next step.

Gather Your Requirements

Now that you have defined your problem statement, you can start documenting your requirements. This is an important process, as this will provide a framework for you to assess each third-party product and its integration with Best Practice Software products. Some key points to consider when documenting your requirements are:

  • Ensure that your requirements reflect your identified problem statement
  • How much are you willing to invest in the solution? Licensing/training/support?
  • What licensing terms are you comfortable with? Fixed term/flexible?
  • Is this product needed by a certain date?
  • Document your end-to-end workflow requirements, ensuring you think about both Practice and patient requirements
  • If connecting to a Bp product, ensure that the vendor is part of the Bp Partner Network, otherwise the solution won’t integrate with your practice management system
  • Consider documenting any Australian and state based legislation that you want to ensure the product meets, such as the Privacy Act, or Anti-Spam laws

Put Together a Rating System

Before you can adequately assess third-party integration options for your practice management system, we recommend putting together a rating system. This system will document the extent to which each product in review meets your requirements. To do this, we recommend putting requirements into a spreadsheet and during the product review process indicating to what extent each product meets your needs.

As a first step, we recommend you indicate the degree of importance of each requirement, for example:

  • Extremely important
  • Important
  • Somewhat important
  • Neutral

We recommend rating each requirement as:

  • Exceeded = 3 points
  • Fully met = 2 points
  • Partially met = 1 point
  • Did not meet/Below expectation = 0

Gather and Analyse Products

Now that you understand your problem statement, requirements, and have a rating system in place, you are ready to scan the market for potential products and start the review process. Before booking a time with each vendor to complete your full analysis, ask them some top line questions to ensure that they are suitable.

We also recommend including your PMS (Practice Management System) in this analysis piece, as some of your key requirements may be able to be delivered through existing functions and features that you may not have been aware of.

Vendor/Product Agreement

Once you have completed your analysis and determined your front runner, you will need to move through to the contract/agreement/licensing phase. There are a number of important items that should be considered as part of this process:

  • How long is the agreement for? What are the termination terms?
  • Is their pricing model clear? Are there any hidden costs?
  • What support is being offered and it is clearly documented?
  • What are your obligations versus the vendor’s?
  • Have you read and understood their terms and conditions?
  • Have you read and understood their privacy policy?
  • Do they comply with federal and state laws, e.g. Privacy Act?

Complete Communication and Change Management Process

Prior to implementing any new solutions that offer integration with Best Practice Software products or workflows, we suggest engaging your internal staff to ensure that they clearly understand the scope of the implementation, the role they play, the value to the business and how they will be supported through this process.

If the product being implemented will also be used by your patients, we suggest communicating with them early in the process to ensure that they are also adequately engaged. Communications can occur in writing, verbally or even visually using posters and notices within your Practice.

Update Internal & External Artefacts

Prior to implementing a new product, we recommend that Practices review their internal and external artefacts. Some examples of these include:

  • Internal policies
  • Work instructions
  • Checklists
  • Your Practice website
  • Other external websites/directories that may reference your Practice
  • Patient registration forms

Conduct Staff Training

Training is critical to the successful implementation of any new product or workflow being introduced at your Practice. We recommend that all impacted staff are trained prior to the implementation occurring and that supporting documents and instructions are prepared in advance. We recommend identifying a ‘super user’ at the Practice who can assist with internal staff queries and escalate to the software vendor if required.

Additional training may be required post-implementation and with future releases of the product. It is important to keep across these changes and to take advantage of the documentation and training being provided by the vendor.  

Review and Measure

It is always important to review your products to ensure they are meeting your requirements. This can be easily achieved by revisiting your initial problem statement and documented requirements to ensure that they are being met. In some instances, your business may have also changed, along with your requirements, and it is important that these are communicated with your vendor.

Also consider what other metrics can be used to measure the success of the implemented product.

For example:

  • If your goal was to reduce Practice spend, did this occur?
  • If you goal was to increase patient numbers, did this occur?
  • If your goal was to introduce efficiencies within the Practice, did this occur?
  • If your goal was to decrease the number of ‘no show’ appointments, did this occur?

Having data to demonstrate the success or failure of a product will assist with any discussions you are having with your vendor.

Look For New Opportunities

With new third-party products that offer integration with Best Practice Software coming onto the market frequently, we always recommend that you keep on top of what offerings are available in the market. This is particularly important as your business changes and grows, your requirements change and new products enter the market with new functionality and potentially a better pricing offering!

The best way to keep across new solutions available for your product is to check the integration section on your respective Practice management system webpage:

Visiting our Bp Partner Network web page, engaging with peers via your peak bodies, and other platforms such as online forums and blogs can also help keep you abreast of new solutions on the market.

We also recommend keeping across the new features and functions being delivered by your PMS by reading Release Notes and attending relevant training to better understand what they have available.

If you have any questions regarding the above information, our Commercial Partnership Team can be contacted via partners@bpsoftware.net

Authored by:

Jessica White Author Blog Picture

Jessica White
Manager of Commercial & Customer Enablement at Best Practice Software

Enhanced eOrdering – Available Now in Saffron SP1!

Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology eOrdering Blog Image

Saffron SP1 was released in early June and has some exciting new features! Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology eOrdering has been updated, and what users will see has changed as they request a pathology or diagnostic imaging service with one of our onboarded partners.

What is eOrdering?

An eOrder (or electronic request) is the digital version of a request for pathology or diagnostic imaging services. The HL7 message is generated using your Bp Premier software, then encrypted and delivered safely and securely to your nominated addressee using a secure messaging provider.

What Has Changed?

From Saffron SP1 there is a new streamlined process for configuring pathology and diagnostic imaging providers in Bp Premier. The new eOrdering setup screen includes all functionality required to set up and configure eOrdering providers for pathology and imaging, combining functionality found under Setup > Preferences > Pathology and Imaging and View > Contacts.

See Set up Pathology E-Ordering in Saffron SP1 and Set up Imaging E-Ordering in Saffron SP1 for more information. These are available on our Knowledge Base which can be accessed by clicking Help, then Online from within Bp Premier.

Doctors will see the pathology and diagnostic imaging partner’s logo and up-to-date contact details during the service request workflow, making getting in touch when needed a quick and easy process.

Pathology partners will now supply test lists, which will be kept up-to-date through our monthly data update process. Having a pathology provider supplied test list will ensure that a doctor is not only requesting a test that is offered by their selected pathology provider, but that the terminology is consistent between the Practice and provider processes and systems. In addition, recommended tests will be provided, saving doctors time as they will be able to quickly and easily add the recommended tests for a given medical condition or query.

Our imaging partners will now supply their printed request layout coordinates, again saving Practices time as this used to be a time-consuming manual process. Also, the printed request will now include a barcode so that the service request can be quickly selected on the provider’s system upon the patient arrival.

Training materials, designed to help you get the most out of Saffron SP1’s newest features, can be found in the ‘What’s New’ section of our Bp Premier Knowledge Base, and available to access around the clock. You can access the Knowledge Base from Bp Premier at any time by clicking Help, then Online, then searching for What’s New in Saffron SP1 article to see all of the new additions in this release.

What Are the Benefits of Using Enhanced eOrdering?

As the receiving pathology or diagnostic imaging provider has the eOrder sent to them securely and directly, there is no need for them to request and enter the patient’s data into their system once the patient arrives. eOrders mitigate the risk of error and provide the best possible experience for the patient.

In fact, using electronic requests can provide benefits to the requesting doctor, receiving pathology or diagnostic imaging service provider, patient and Practice!

They include:

  • The highest level of clinical safety and data integrity
  • Workflow efficiencies that are intuitive, save time and reduce errors
  • Confidence in the privacy and security of transmitted patient data
  • A single channel through which requests and results are sent or received

To help Bp Premier users understand the value eOrdering may introduce to your Practice, you can view our short video below on eOrdering: Benefits for Your Practice

Does My Patient Still Have Choice?

Of course! The patient can still decide to take the printed request to a provider of their choice. It is commonplace for diagnostic imaging and pathology providers to accept all referrals.

How Do I Get Involved?

Several diagnostic imaging pathology providers have already joined the Bp Partner Network! We recommend contacting them directly to start discussing the implementation of eOrdering at your Practice.

To view an up-to-date list of these partners, please visit the Bp Partner Network page on the Bp Software website.

Authored by:

Monica Reed Author Image for Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology eOrdering

Monica Reed
Commercial Partnership Leader at Best Practice Software

Preparing for the Introduction of Medicare Web Services – Taking Your First Steps

preparing for medicare web services blog image

You’ll all be aware that Services Australia is upgrading the technology used by Practice management software such as Bp Premier and Bp VIP.net to connect to digital health services such as Medicare online. Hopefully, you also know that this new technology will replace the existing Medicare client adapter and PKI certificates, and that will be facilitated by the use of PRODA. Most importantly, what you definitely need to know is that Practices must migrate to this new technology by March 2022, to maintain access to Medicare Online functionality.

What you might not know, is that while March 2022 may seem too far away to begin preparation, now is actually the perfect time for you to start preparing for Medicare Web Services. There are a few steps in this process and you can not only be across what this change is all about, you can also complete steps 1 – 4, right now. Imagine that – you’d already be 70% of the way there, and across one of the biggest technological changes in the healthcare industry for quite a while, with plenty of time to spare.

Ok, so you’re ready to take the first steps?

  • Firstly, familiarize yourself with what this change is all about, and how it will impact you and your Practice by clicking here to watch this short introduction to Medicare Web Services and PRODA.
  • Next up, click here to view Step 1. Registering an individual account in PRODA. Already got one? Fantastic! Onto the next step. Does everyone in the Practice need one? No. Not sure if that’s you? The clip in this step covers that.
  • Click here to access Step 2. Registering an organisation in PRODA. Already got one? Even better. Step 3 will be for you.
  • Click here to access Step 3. Managing members and delegates in PRODA.
  • Finally, this one is only relevant if you actually have subsidiary organisations. Click here to access Step 4. Add subsidiaries. Not sure you if you have any? The clip in this step will guide you through what they are, if they’re applicable to you and whether you need to register them.

And that’s pretty much it for now! You’re 70% of the way to preparing for Medicare Web Services access through your software! What happens next? Well the team here at Best Practice Software are working hard to develop the product versions integrated with Medicare Web Services by the end of Q3 this year. Plenty of time to complete the final two configuration steps from within your software. Stay tuned to our Knowledge Base and communications for more information, or you can contact us with any questions on medicarewebservices@bpsoftware.net.

Authored by:

Suzi Eley Blog Author Image

Suzi Eley
Product Training, Knowledge & Deployment Leader at Best Practice Software