Improving Patient Communication During Unprecedented and Unusually Busy Times

For those practices who are currently enrolled and using the Best Health App, sending notifications via the App may help to reach some of your most vulnerable patients and, subsequently, the patient reach may be improved.  This may help to reduce the need for more direct methods of communication such as phone calls, SMS and emails.

The three communication options available through the BHA include Practice Notices, Health Awareness messages and Individual messaging. Before we jump into using these three communication options, let’s quickly review the messaging types available in Bp Comms.

Message Type Consent Type

Appointments

A patient is allowing the practice to send messages about their booked appointments, either as needed or on an automated schedule.

Can be sent individually or in bulk.

Implied consent.

Where communications form part of the doctor-patient relationship

Where communications are in accordance with a clinical duty of care

Clinical Reminders

A patient is allowing the practice to send messages to them about attending appointments for health care of a preventative nature, such as reminders set for care plans, immunisations etc.

Can only be sent in bulk.

Clinical Communication

A patient is allowing communications to be sent to them about their investigation results, medication compliance, or other important information of a clinical nature.

Can be sent individually or in bulk.


Health Awareness


Health Summaries

A patient is allowing communications to be sent to them about a health issue that may be relevant to them, or important information about the services your practice provides.

Can only be sent in bulk.

Using the App you can send patients

  • Health Summaries
  • Patient Education Materials (Factsheets)
  • NPS and CMI Leaflets

Express consent.

Where consent cannot be implied for the communications.

Consent must be given explicitly, either verbally or in writing.

Practice Notices

The first option is using the Practice Notices function within Bp Comms configuration.  This can be sent to all patients enrolled in the Best Health App and may help to communicate information on a whole clinic basis such as new isolation procedures or trading hours.

Best Health App

Health Awareness Messages

The second option is sending messages to a group of patients via Health Awareness messaging.

You have the ability to message your vulnerable patients in groups such as patients with chronic illnesses, patients over 70 years of age or those with newborn babies.

Examples of the messages clinics might send;

  • Instructions on visiting your clinic – identifying isolation areas or separate entrances
  • Informing patients they may be eligible for telehealth or telephone consults,
  • Providing useful hygiene and health tips specific for their chronic illness
  • Send a patient Health Summary which can include their prescription information

Please note – your patients must expressly consent to Health Awareness messaging to receive these messages.

Sending a Health Awareness message works in three parts;

  • Part 1 – Set up your templates within the Bp Comms configuration
  • Part 2 – Run a search in your database. Filter patient list using age, conditions or medications
  • Part 3 – Run a mail merge to generate the communication to bulk group of patients

Remember that Best Health App messages are not limited by characters, therefore, you will only be charged one credit per message sent regardless of its length.

Individual Messaging

Don’t forget practices have the ability to send app messages directly to individual patients as normal via the Appointment Book.

     Where to find more information

For more information and instructions on how to utilise the Best Health App messaging options please click on the Vimeo link below.

Bp Premier JADE SP1 Masterclass – Patient Communication using Bp Comms.

Alternatively, access the Knowledgebase directly via Best Practice under the Help > Online > Search for Best Health App.

Resources

Click on the links below to access our PDF guide to give you all the information you need for using Bp Comms and the Best Health App.

A full guide to getting started with the Best Health App is also available on our Knowledge Base.

Living the App Life – Our Journey Developing the Best Health App

Building the Best Health App has certainly been a journey. It’s progressed from an initial idea to countless workshops, engaging with our customers at the 2017 Bp Summit for feedback on desired features and functionality, a bit of external consulting, creating our own internal app team, starting a multiple stage testing process, and live beta sites, all before the public release.

Our journey started with an idea and vision to bring a patient’s health record right into their own pocket empowering them to take control of their health care journey. So, no matter where a person is travelling, they can always access their clinical information to improve the care that they receive.

This idea quickly gained traction as it also provides a completely new way for Practices and Doctors to engage with their patients and improve their overall relationships. It opens the door to the concept of Patient Experience (PX) and the first consumer facing product for Best Practice Software.

We engaged an external agency, experienced in app design, to ensure our technical design followed the latest industry standards, security models and technologies.

We then put together our own internal team which grew to six dedicated developers as well as additional supporting technical staff. The team works across both the Best Health App and Bp Premier Practice Management System ensuring a seamless integration between the two products. Our subject matter experts (SMEs) and the broader team across the business also played a pivotal role in identifying the product requirements for each feature.

Getting to public release required a highly collaborative approach across all areas of our organisation to ensure that we were ready to give practices the best possible customer experience. Training, sales, marketing, support and legal all had to come together for us to make the public release a reality.

Yeah Nah, Not So Simple…

Things are always more complex than they seem initially, and we have faced many challenges along the way that have required significant effort and collaboration by the team to resolve.

Challenges are opportunities and we welcome them.

One of the ongoing challenges is balancing out the integrated feature work between the Best Health App and Bp Premier. This required cross-team coordination to ensure the two products worked seamlessly together. As an example, we created a Patient Check-In feature in the app, which required substantial integration work to ensure we adhered to the patient identification criteria outlined by the RACGP and meets the standards of patient identification in Australia.

The messaging component between the Best Health App and Bp Premier provided many challenges. We started with a straightforward requirement for doctors to be able to send messages to patients that soon morphed into a complex exception management framework with identified points of failure and defined recovery methods. The result being a streamlined experience driven by preferred communication based on patient preferences. The Best Health App includes many types of messages such as appointment and clinical reminders, patient education material and practice notifications. This solution decreases overall messaging costs and creates savings for practices.

Privacy & Security

Security, privacy and storage of patient’s sensitive data is critical and forms the architectural backbone of the Best Health App.  The team engaged with security experts to solution a framework that met the security and privacy guidelines necessary for this type of patient app. The outcome is a platform that enforces Australian data sovereignty and ensures we are using the latest encryption methods and tools available. As testimony to all this hard work, we received a very high security score for the penetration testing that was conducted by an external party.

In addition, we completely remodelled the Patient Consent process to help manage Patient Privacy, giving patients the choice of communication types, they wish to receive. The Patient Consent process was part of the Bp Premier Indigo SP1 release and received a significant amount of positive feedback from external parties.

Exciting Times Ahead

It has taken us close to three years to get to this point where we are confident that we have the right architectural framework to ensure all bases are covered in respect to Practice and patient confidentiality and the security of all personal and clinical data. We have a solid foundational product that is clinically and technically safe and effective, upon which we can confidently build more features for Practices and patients to meet the growing need in the community to have greater flexibility and control over their time and access to clinical information.

With an ever growing percentage of people accustomed to doing almost everything online at a time that fits in with a hectic lifestyle, having a trusted app that connects patients to their Practices, where they can manage medical appointments, reminders and other clinical information in the one place can provide peace of mind and empower people to take control of their health care journey.

This is an exciting time for everyone involved and we cannot wait to release more features and continue to enhance patient experience for our industry.

Co-authored by:
Henry Vesander
Product Manager
Meg Gugenberger
Product Manager, Best Health App

Managing Appointment Flow for COVID-19 Patients

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, front-line primary care services are facing an unprecedented surge in demand for services and patient care.  Managing this demand may feel like quite an undertaking for you and your Practice, however effective utilisation of your clinic’s Appointment Book may assist in Practice planning and forecasting of demand.

Appointment Book – Dedicated Resource Column

By creating a Resource column with a label such as ‘COVID-19’ in your Appointment Book, your Practice will be able to easily identify potentially infected patients at a glance. This method is also highly effective when creating ‘Fever Clinics’ in your Practice. A Resource column can be easily created by adding a new user to your Practice, selecting the ‘Resource’ user type, and ensuring the ‘Has Appointments’ option is selected. To enact this, book all appropriate patients into this column in your Appointment Book, then other practitioners in your clinic will be able to start consults and finalise visits for billings to be processed.  

Strengths and Weaknesses

  • Easily view demand per day by viewing the number of appointments in the column
  • Highly beneficial when creating a Fever Clinic in your Practice
  • Can be difficult to ascertain historic demand if Practices transfer appointments into their column for billing when finalising visits

Using Appointment Types

One other method of managing and measuring appointment flow within your Practice is to utilise specific appointment types when booking patients.  As part of the March 2020 revision data update, new item numbers for Medicare telehealth and telephone consults were added to Bp Premier, as well as a new appointment type named Telephone Appointment. 

Using this functionality in conjunction with the Telehealth Appointment type, and creation of a custom COVID-19 appointment type, are in-built features which could help your Practice identify at-risk patients.

Another Bp Premier feature that will provide additional insight is the running of reports from the Appointments category.  This report will show historical trends in demand, including peaks and troughs for each appointment type, which could be useful for anticipating future trends in demand.  Custom appointment types can be added by accessing your Configuration settings, which are located within the Lists component.

Pros and Cons

  • Easily identify trends in historic demand per day by running an Appointments report
  • Avoid overbooking practitioners by booking patients directly into their usual sessions in the Appointment Book
  • May be challenging to accurately triage over the phone
  • May be challenging to ensure consistency amongst a large team when booking these appointment types

These are just two methods that may assist you in monitoring the flow of patients through your practice during these unprecedented times.  For information or more ideas on workflows, access the Knowledge Base from within Bp Premier and search for ‘COVID-19’.

Authored by:
Rebecca Bland
Training & Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software

Bp Allied: Assisting Practices With Navigating COVID-19

Globally, we are all facing unprecedented times in an ever-evolving situation due to COVID-19.  Our healthcare system will be placed under immense pressure over the course of this time and many of your clients will be seeking ongoing support from your practice due to new and pre-existing conditions or mental health issues arising from the anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

Here at Best Practice, all our staff are now working from home to ensure our business can continue to support you during this busy period.  You may also be considering moving your staff to a work from home situation or a change in normal working structure to deal with this extraordinary time.  These changes will bring challenges.

However, Bp Allied is able to assist you to alleviate the stress in this transition. We’ve gathered a few hints and tips to help you navigate your practice through these difficult times.

Transitioning to a Hosted Environment

Bp Allied Fully Hosted is the perfect solution for any practice wishing to work in different locations while maintaining a single database and an overview of the entire practice.   For our customers currently hosting BP Allied internally, you may wish to consider transitioning to our fully hosted service to give you more flexibility in work locations. 

Bp Allied Fully Hosted Subscription benefits:

  • Allows staff to access Bp Allied from their home computers or other remote location;*
  • Suitable for Windows and Mac;
  • Backups every 30 minutes;
  • Secure Australian Servers; and
  • Support and Upgrades readily available.

* A suitable internet connection is required.

If you’d like to discuss moving to a Fully Hosted environment please call our Sales Team on 1300 40 1111, Option 3, then Option 2.

 Telehealth Appointments

Telehealth will be a crucial tool in maintaining client appointments for those that are isolated.  Click here to download a short PDF on how to use Zoom with Bp Allied.

For our customers taking advantage of Physitrack, a reminder that Physitrack has an inbuilt Telehealth service.  Telehealth video calls are completely free with Physitrack until 13th April 2020, so now is a great time to sign up.

Bp Allied users get access to Physitrack at a greatly reduced price of only $8.99 p/m (regular subscriptions are $13.99 p/m). If you’d like to know more about Physitrack visit www.physitrack.com

 Online Appointment Bookings

Taking advantage of our HealthSite Integration to allow clients to book their own appointments will significantly reduce administration time for your practice.  Healthsite seamlessly connects to Bp Allied to allow your clients to book a real-time appointment with your practice 24 hours a day. 

Healthsite are generously giving our Bp Allied customers three months free access to their online booking service until 31st March 2020. 

Visit  www.healthsite.com.au or phone 03 9592 8986 for more information. 

SMS or Email Communications

You may be required to communicate certain information to your clients regarding a change in working hours, office structure or other notices concerning COVID-19.   Appointment Reminders are a great way to provide this information, to create a new SMS or Email template within Bp Allied, go to Data Maintenance > Reminder Templates.

Medicare Online Claiming

Our development team have rushed out the latest COVID-19 MBS Items for use with Bp Allied.  These items cover patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 virus but are not in hospital or patients who have been required to isolate themselves in quarantine.  Bp Allied customers wishing to utilise these MBS Item codes will need to follow the instructions in a PDF here to update the included MBS Item list.

We welcome you to join our discussion forum and share any other hints or tips in managing your practice with your colleagues. 

All the Best!

Authored by:

Melissa_Staff

Melissa Dobell
Account Specialist at Best Practice Software

Limiting the Spread of COVID-19 with BetterConsult Technology

What if you were able to identify potentially at-risk COVID-19 patients before they step foot inside your practice?

For many people, COVID-19 has necessitated change in daily routines, whether it be stocking up on home essentials, socializing, or working from home. General practice, however, has been put into a unique position, needing to provide care for patients, while also looking after the wellbeing of doctors and Practice staff.

But if you were able to identify potentially at-risk COVID-19 patients before they step foot inside your practice?

HealthShare, a Bp Partner, offers a system aptly dubbed BetterConsult. The solution merges technology with the desire for better information, and it couldn’t come at a more appropriate time, given the current circumstances.

BetterConsult is a digital questionnaire that patients can fill out from the safety of their homes. It allows them to provide relevant details about any current symptoms, recent travel or even potential contact with anyone else who may have been infected by COVID-19. It then produces a simple, easy-to-read report for your Practice to review and plan for accordingly.

So how does this help your Practice? The Australian Government Department of Health is advising that anyone with suspected COVID-19 symptoms notify their GP before attending an appointment. BetterConsult takes that advice and improves upon it by not just being aware of any symptoms, but by assessing how likely it is that a patient might actually be carrying the COVID-19 virus.

BetterConsult also sends an email alert to your Practice so you can call the patient and offer them a telehealth appointment or other protocol that your Practice has implemented.

It makes the patient’s life easier as well. By answering just a few questions prior to attending your Practice, it ensures a more effective consultation, allowing the GP to know the agenda of the patient before the consultation begins.

BetterConsult can be activated within 24 hours at no additional cost for Bp Premier Practices.

Learn more or request a demonstration by calling Healthshare on 1300 787 522

How Best Practice Software is Handling COVID-19

At Best Practice Software, we are closely monitoring the current and emerging impact of the COVID-19 virus globally and here in Australia. There is substantial concern about the potential impact to the health and wellbeing of Australian residents, but also the impact on our customers alike.

With the rapidly evolving status of the virus, we understand that there is increasing uncertainty in both personal and professional environments. Because of this, we wanted to reach out to you to communicate the actions we, at Best Practice Software, are taking to ensure smooth operations and non-impacted continuity and quality of service.

Uninterrupted Service: Rest assured, you will continue to receive the same high level service from our team.

Implementation of Remote Working: All staff across our Hamilton NZ, Brisbane, Bundaberg and Sydney offices have commenced working from home. Our team environment is mobile and flexible to operate at maximum efficiency on a remote working basis (many of our staff already work remotely). We envision this will have no impact on operational efficiency.

Travel Restrictions: We are cancelling all work-related travel and have advised against any unnecessary personal travel.

We know that recent events are likely impacting your business/Practice also, and hope the impact will be as minimal as possible. We will keep you aware of any further decisions or adjustments and, as always, thank you for your business.