Best Practice Software

The National Prescription Delivery Service is here! What does it mean for you?

The Australian electronic prescribing ecosystem has evolved significantly over the last decade. From the introduction barcodes for paper prescriptions, Real Time Prescription Monitoring, token-based electronic prescriptions, and all the way to the new My Script List functionality in Bp Premier Orchid SP1, the positive innovation has been continuous.

At its core, electronic prescribing in all its forms aims to benefit patients, prescribers, and dispensers alike. Just some of the many ways that this is achieved is through reductions in errors, and improvements in efficiency for prescribing and dispensing medicines, and by providing more modern and secure options for patients to better manage their prescriptions.

The National Prescription Delivery Service Is Available Now

In May this year, the Department of Health and Aged Care announced that Fred IT’s eRx Script Exchange (eRx) was engaged as the single provider for the National Prescription Delivery Service (NPDS). The intention of moving to a single NPDS is to provide streamlined prescription delivery management, and to continue to keep the transfers of prescription information cost-neutral for prescribers and practices, pharmacists, and patients alike into the future.

The NPDS commenced on 1st July 2023, and the deadline of 30th September 2023 for prescribers in your practice to connect to this is rapidly approaching.

What Does the National PDS Mean for my Practice?

To continue prescribing PBS medications, all prescribers in your practice must be registered with eRx Script Exchange, and be configured to use eRx in Bp Premier before the 30th September 2023 deadline.

This advice applies to all prescriptions created in Bp Premier, whether they be:

  • A traditional paper-based prescription that contains a barcode,
  • An end-to-end electronic prescription sent as a QR code via the Best Health App, an SMS or email to your patient, or printed as a paper token.

If prescribers in your practice are yet to register for eRx, you can begin the process today by visiting this website.

It’s also vital that you install the upgrade to Bp Premier Orchid SP1 in time for the 30th September deadline. The new NPDS also includes ongoing funding for providing electronic prescriptions to patients via SMS delivery, with the current funding arrangements set to cease alongside the deadline.

Orchid SP1 contains the necessary changes to switch to this new funding arrangement, so ensure that you upgrade before 30th September to continue to offer SMS delivery of electronic prescriptions at no cost. From 1st October onwards, if you’ve not upgraded to Orchid SP1, each SMS for an electronic prescription will be charged at 4c, and will be deducted from your Bp Comms balance.

What are my next steps?

To be prepared for the 30th September deadline, you should complete the following steps:

  1. Register all prescribers in your clinic with eRx as soon as possible,
  2. Configure all prescribers to use eRx in Bp Premier,
  3. Upgrade to Orchid SP1 to avoid fees for sending electronic prescriptions via SMS.

For More Information

Help, and any further information that you may require is available.

You can access the Bp Premier Knowledge Base at any time by clicking Help, then Online, or by hitting the F1 shortcut key. Simply search for the keyword ‘eRx’ and you’ll find detailed instructions on configuring each of your prescribers in Bp Premier to use eRx, or search ‘upgrade’ to find instructions on installing the upgrade to Orchid SP1. Bp’s Support team are also available to assist on 1300 401 111.

For questions around the NPDS in general, the transition process and timeframe, or anything further in relation to this topic, you can reach the Department of Health and Aged Care directly via EPtransitions@health.gov.au for assistance.

 

Authored by:

Lais Miyasava
Training & Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software

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Are You Still Using a Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate?

Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificates are used for online claiming purposes only. As claiming has transitioned to web services using PRODA, these certificates are no longer required. These certificates are set to expire on 25th June 2024.

eRX Script Exchange also now accepts NASH SHA-2 PKI Certificates.

Services Australia has transitioned away from Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificates due to security concerns. SHA-1 encryption is now considered insecure and poses potential risks of cyber threats and fraudulent activities.

Services Australia has recently communicated with practices who are still in possession of current Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificates. Services Australia has requested these practices participate in a survey to determine how these certificates are being used, so they can understand any potential business impacts when the certificate expires or if they revoke it early.

How do we know if we are using a Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate?

To determine whether your practice is using a Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificate, perform the steps below on the Bp Premier Server:

Note: This only applies to active, non-expired Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificates. If your certificate has expired, you are not required to take any action.

  1. Click the Windows logo in the bottom left of the toolbar, or click the Windows logo button on the keyboard.

  2. Click the Search icon (magnifying glass) in the top right to slide in the Search bar.

  3. Type internet options into the Search bar and select Internet Options from the list. The Internet Properties screen will appear.
Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

4. In the Internet Properties screen, select the Content tab. Click Certificates. The Certificates screen will appear.

Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

5. The Medicare SHA-1 PKI site certificate has the name of the practice in the Issued To column (the first column).

a) If you do not have a certificate with the Practice Name in the Issued to Column, your practice is not utilising a Medicare SHA-1 PKI site certificate and no action is required.

b) If you have a Medicare SHA-1 PKI site certificate and the certificate is expired, your practice is not utilising the certificate and no action is required.

c) If you have a Medicare SHA-1 PKI site certificate and the certificate has not expired, your practice may still be using the certificate. Complete the Services Australia survey and contact Best Practice Software Support on 1300 401 111 for assistance.

How do we know if we are using a NASH SHA-1 PKI Certificate?

  1. Click the Windows logo in the bottom left of the toolbar or click the Windows logo button on the keyboard.

  2. Click the Search icon (magnifying glass) in the top right to slide in the Search bar.

  3. Type internet options into the Search bar and select Internet Options from the list. The Internet Properties screen will appear.
Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

4. In the Internet Properties screen, select the Content tab. Click Certificates. The Certificates screen will appear.

5. The NASH certificate is named ‘general’ followed by your practice’s HPI-O number. In 2023, support for NASH SHA-1 PKI certificates will also be discontinued. You can determine if your practice is using a NASH SHA-1 PKI certificate by double-clicking on the Nash certificate and selecting the Details tab.

Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

a. The Signature Hash Algorithm field should contain sha256; this shows that your practice uses a SHA-2 Nash Certificate, and no action is necessary.

Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

b. If the Signature Hash Algorithm field displays SHA1, this indicates that your practice utilises a SHA-1 Nash Certificate and that you need to transition to a SHA-2 Nash Certificate. Please refer to the Australian Digital Health Agencies’ guide on revoking your NASH SHA-1 and upgrading to a SHA-2.

Medicare SHA-1 PKI Certificate Screenshot

What do we need to do?

If you are no longer using your Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificate, there’s no need for any action on your part. Services Australia will automatically revoke your certificate from 31st of October 2023.

For those using their Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificate with the eRX Script Exchange, the option to acquire a NASH PKI is available through HPOS in the Healthcare Identifiers Service. See the Australian Digital Health Agency’s instructions for requesting or renewing a NASH PKI certificate.

If your Medicare SHA-1 PKI certificate is used for other purposes, Services Australia requires that you participate in their PKI certificate survey by August 31, 2023. Important information is supplied at the beginning of the survey to ensure that you are well-informed if action is required.

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Cardiovascular Risk Assessment in Bp Premier

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is responsible for significant morbidity and premature mortality in Australia. An individual’s risk of developing CVD depends on the combined effect of multiple risk factors. Risk assessment, therefore, remains fundamental to the primary prevention of CVD (Heart Foundation, n.d.).

Bp Premier offers a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment tool and the ability to access the Online Cardiovascular Disease Check from the patient’s clinical record.

Cardiovascular Risk Tool

Bp Premier’s Cardiovascular risk tool calculates a percentage probability of developing cardiovascular disease in the next five years based on measurements of several known risk factors.

To access and use the Cardiovascular Risk Assessment:

  1. From the patient record, select Clinical > Cardiovascular Risk.

The Cardiovascular risk screen will appear.

2. Some of the fields in this screen will be prepopulated based on existing observations recorded in the patient’s record. Edit the existing observations or complete the remaining fields.

3. Bp Premier will display the percentage probability the patient has of developing cardiovascular disease.

4. Click Reference to view the formula used to calculate the probability.

5. Click Save and these results will appear in the Observations tab under ’CV risk’ in the patient’s clinical record.

Online CVD Check

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance’s CVD risk calculator has been available in Bp Premier since Saffron SP2. AusCVDRisk is a risk assessment, communication, and management tool for health professionals. To learn more about how this calculator works, refer to the Australian Guidelines for assessing and managing cardiovascular risk.

To access and use The Online CVD Check via Bp Premier:

1. From the patient record, select Clinical > Cardiovascular Risk. The Cardiovascular risk screen will appear.

2. Click Online CVD Check.

Selecting this button will open a browser window displaying the calculator.

3. Fill in the fields and click Calculate to display the percentage probability the patient has of developing cardiovascular disease in the next five years.

4. Once completed, the results and further information can be printed by selecting ‘Print these results’ or ‘Print info’ or manually copied into Today’s Notes.

Note: Only results from the Bp Premier Cardiovascular tool will appear under Observations > CV risk. Online CVD check results cannot be added to the CV risk section under Observations.

For more information on the Cardiovascular Risk Tool in Bp Premier, visit our knowledge base article here.

Resources/References

Authored by:

Sarah Mortensen
Training & Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software

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Bp Premier Appointment Book Shortcuts

Bp Premier Appointment Book Tips & Tricks

Prioritising patient appointments and managing appointment attendance is a juggling act for many practices. Bp Premier has a multitude of tools to help increase your appointment book efficiency.

With numerous patients to schedule and limited time available, effectively managing appointments becomes crucial for providing quality care. In this article, we will explore various tools and strategies that can enhance your practice’s appointment management system, allowing you to streamline processes, improve patient satisfaction, and optimise overall efficiency.

Bp Comms - Schedule Appointment Reminders

Automate sending appointment reminders by setting up a Schedule on the Bp Premier server.

  1. Select Setup > Configuration > Bp Service.

2. Tick Use Bp Service for sending automated appointment reminders and click Configure Appointment Reminders. Click Add.

3. In the example above, reminders will be sent out at 9 am each Monday using the Overnight Appointment reminder template for appointments in the current week for two providers for all appointment types at the Greenslopes Clinic.

Bp Comms – Update Appointment Status Automatically

You can configure the system to check and update the appointment status based on replies received.

1. From the main screen, select Setup > Configuration > Appt Reminders tab.

2. Both checkboxes under Appointment attendance automation must be ticked to enable appointment updates by SMS reply. Click Configure appointment attendance replies to open the Automatic Confirmation Options window.

3. Click Add next to the Confirm or Decline list of keywords. Keywords are only accepted as an exact match of whole words. Click Ok to save.

Bp Comms - Check Appointment Reminder Replies

While checking for replies to Bp Comms appointment reminders, you can cancel, move, edit, or change the status of related appointments.

1. From the appointment book, select Utilities > Check Appointment Reminder Replies.

2. Search for replies using the fields at the top left and filter the appointments shown using the checkboxes at the top right. The middle section of the screen shows the appointment reminders that have been sent and the status. Select a message to see the sent text of the reminder and the reply text, if any. Utilities > Check Appointment Reminder Replies.

On The Day Appointments

As part of the Sessions setup, there is an option to schedule recurring On The Day Appointments for either the whole practice or per provider.

1. From the Main Screen, click Setup > Sessions. Make a selection from the Provider dropdown > click the On the day appointments radio checkbox > click Edit.

2. Select the Day of week from the dropdown and simply check each appointment slot that you would like to mark as an On The Day Appointment. Click Save and repeat the process to add more days and more appointments.

3. These slots will be seen in the appointment book on future days as On the Day and coloured pink. Once the day starts, the placeholders will revert to available appointment slots ready for booking. Note: only users with the Override On the day appointments permission level can book these appointments before the day.

Non-Patient Appointment Placeholders

1. When booking an appointment, there are multiple non-patient appointment types available to choose from. Leave the Search for field blank > select Other in the appointment type > Enter the appointment information into the Details field – the details will appear in the appointment book > Click on the Book Appointment button as usual.

2. This appointment type will act like usual and must either be double booked with a patient appointment or cancelled when needed.

Waiting List for Cancellation

Patients with or without an existing appointment can be added to the cancellation list. To ensure the cancellation list automatically appears whenever an appointment is cancelled, from the Main Screen, Select Setup > Configuration > Appointments > Tick Show Cancellation list when an appointment is cancelled checkbox > Click Save.

1. From the appointment book, select View > Waiting list for cancellations. Click Add to cancellation list.

2. Fill in the cancellation list item details – this screen has similar fields to the Add Appointment screen. Ensure you select the date the patient needs the appointment from the Date required by: field. The cancellation list item will expire at the end of the day selected. Click Add.
3. Note: Use the Details section to add extra information or annotate a triage priority level.

Optimising patient appointment scheduling and attendance is vital for running a smooth and efficient medical practice. By utilising the tools available within Bp Premier, you can streamline your appointment book, reduce no-shows, and enhance patient satisfaction. We encourage you to visit our comprehensive knowledge base for more in-depth information and practical guidance. Together, let’s revolutionise your appointment management system and provide exceptional care to your patients.

Authored by:

Nicole Findlay
Training & Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software

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Introducing Bp Omni

Bp Omni

Beta testing is underway for Best Practice Software’s new cloud-based solution.

The highly anticipated cloud-based practice management and clinical solution from Best Practice Software is now live in beta testing in New Zealand.

Bp Omni, previously known as Project Titanium, is an all-in-one solution which supports seamless integration between providers. The solution is designed to streamline and simplify the daily operations of healthcare providers; creating efficiencies in the management of patient records, scheduling appointments and billing.

“We are thrilled to be live in beta testing in New Zealand,” said Dr Frank Pyefinch, Founder and CEO of Best Practice Software. “We have spent time to understand the needs of health professionals and have developed a solution that is both powerful and user-friendly.”

The all-in-one solution is currently live in testing with a physiotherapy practice and is soon to be rolled out to beta with five additional practices over the coming months.

For Best Practice Software, who is Australia’s market-leading provider of medical software, this is the first step in Bp Omni’s release to market after six years of design and development.

The launch of Bp Omni to the allied health market in New Zealand was a conscious choice by the software developer; who has an existing customer base.

“The way in which we are developing Bp Omni means that the solution is perfect for initial release to allied health professionals, and it offers our existing customers a new cloud platform to move onto.” said Dr Pyefinch.

Further development of features and integrations will see Bp Omni become available to other allied health disciplines, general practitioners, and specialists both within New Zealand and Australia in the future.

Bp Software is moving forward with a singular focus of promoting a united front for Australasian healthcare providers. Bp Omni aims to provide a better future for healthcare providers and patients alike.

The future is one solution. The future is Bp Omni.

For more information on Bp Omni, please visit www.bpomni.co.nz

Media enquiries:

Danielle Bancroft
Chief Product Officer
Best Practice Software

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Tips & Tricks for a Paperless Practice

There are many benefits of having a paperless practice, from saving resources to boosting security. We’ve come a long way since the days of paper-stacked cubicles and filing cabinets, but there’s still a long way to go.

Transitioning to a more paperless practice doesn’t have to be difficult. Bp Premier has a multitude of tools to help increase your efficiency, reduce your costs and be more environmentally friendly.

Think Before You Print - Print to PDF (Where Possible)

If you are wondering how to reduce paper waste in the office, just printing less is an obvious choice. Have you considered changing your printer settings to Microsoft print to PDF? This will give you the option to save your document to your computer rather than printing it.

From the main screen of Bp Premier, go to Setup > Printers. You can change your printer settings from here.

If you are missing the Microsoft print to PDF option, you can download it manually.

Set Up E-Ordering for Pathology and Imaging Requests

E-Ordering, also known as Electronic Requesting, is a fast and easy digital process for ordering pathology and imaging tests. Bp Premier supports E-Ordering for pathology and imaging investigations from laboratories that accept E-Orders. Once E-Ordering has been configured from your server, you can send pathology and imaging requests directly to the nominated lab rather than just printing the request.

Our step-by-step setup guides are linked below –
Set up Pathology eOrdering (bpsoftware.net)
Set up Imaging eOrdering (bpsoftware.net)

Use Electronic Prescriptions, Rather than Paper-Based Scripts

An electronic prescription is a digital version of a paper prescription. They are a safe and convenient alternative to paper prescriptions.

Once configured, the process of creating an electronic prescription is the same. However, when printing the script, you can choose to send the patient an ‘electronic script token’ by SMS, email or Best Health App. More information on setting up electronic prescriptions is available in Set up electronic prescribing (bpsoftware.net)

Bp Premier Screenshot

Email Your Invoices and Receipts

Did you know that you can now email invoices and receipts directly from Bp Premier? Invoices and receipts for privately billed accounts can now be emailed directly to patients and contacts as a PDF attachment from the patient billing history and account holder screens.

You must have email configured for the practice and for any users who want to send email messages. Once configured, simply find the invoice or receipt in the patient’s billing history and right click > Email Copy to display the Bp Premier email screen.

Bp Premier Screenshot

Sign Documents Digitally

Another tip for transitioning to a paperless practice is adding a signature to your word processor templates. This eliminates the need to print and scan your documents. To add your signature to a template, you will need to create a good quality digital image of your signature. Some word processors have tools to capture a signature drawn on the screen or by mouse, or you could use a scanner to scan in a high resolution copy of a signature and save as a common image file type. It’s a good idea to keep a secure backup of your digital signature image.

From the main Bp Premier screen, click the  icon or select Utilities > Word processor from the menu. Select Templates > Edit template. Place your cursor at the location in the template that you wish to insert the signature.

Select Insert > Picture > As Character. Navigate to the signature image and click Open. The signature will appear in the template. Resize the image as required. Select Save as. The template detail screen will appear. Give the template a name and ensure Available to all users is not ticked. Click Save.

Take Green Notes

If employees are taking notes on paper, have them switch it up. Bp Premier has some great alternatives available to allow you to work without pen and paper, and it’s a simple way to reduce paper wastage.

Bp Premier has a ‘To Do List’ that can be used as a personal reminder system. Your practice staff can use the To Do List to set custom reminders for themselves. You can configure the To Do list to display on log on, on log off, or on closing Bp Premier via Setup > Preferences > General.

TIP: You can also press F6 from the main screen, the appointment book, and the patient record at any time to open the To Do list.

You can also create a daily message in Bp Premier that is displayed in the Appointment Book for all users. If you just want to send internal messages to individual users, use Bp Premier’s internal messaging instead.

Keep Your Recycling Bins Handy

While it’s great to limit our paper usage, there will always be paper products in need of proper disposal. Put recycling bins in strategic locations like near the copier machines. Separate and recycle glass, plastic, and paper.

For more tips and tricks for a paperless practice, check out our Bp Premier Knowledge Base!

Authored by:

Sophie Saul
Training & Deployment Specialist at Best Practice Software

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New Data Tools to Improve Your Patient Health Outcomes

Tools to improve your patient health outcomes blog graphic

In a busy practice, things sometimes get missed with the potential to cause harm to our patient.

We can now manage that risk. For instance, finding the patient where a significant test result has not been followed up, a patient who has not acted on a referral for a life-threatening condition, or who should be considered for different treatment.

At last, we can now improve the outcomes of patients by rapidly searching through practice clinical records using a data analysis tool.

The outcome of the care we provide a patient is limited by our patient’s willingness to listen and act as they have been advised in their best interests. The question is how do we mitigate the risks in a time-efficient manner? Are there tools that allow for a broad review of clinical risk? Importantly, can we link patient demographics and observations, diagnoses, medications, pathology or any other clinical metric? Can we also link this to income?

The answer to all these questions is yes.

At our practice we use Clinimetrix, an analytics platform, to analyse a full range of clinical data as well as detailed financial data. The outcomes for our patients and for the business have been nothing short of spectacular.

Clinimetrix works with free text entries in the reasons for encounter and diagnosis fields as well as coded records, a feature that is not available in other practice software.

From there you can make linkages that provide answers to clinical questions that you could never get easily before.

In our large practice, we can ask questions of Clinimetrix that have never been considered previously and then act on those findings to enhance our patients’ health.

For instance, you might be concerned that males with an elevated PSA have not been followed up. The question is – how many males aged 40 and over with a PSA greater than 3 have not been referred to a urologist in the previous 2 years? The answer – about 18. Of the 18, 2 had PSA results that suggested possible neoplasm but had not been referred.

Clinimetrix allows us to do this because it can link pathology results with communications to specialists or allied health professionals have been sent or received.

Or you might wonder how many patients had untreated hypertension? The question – how many people who visited in the last year had a systolic BP greater than 150 but were not prescribed any antihypertensive medication? The answer – 41 with some not followed up nor was their BP measured at the next visit.

You may have noticed a few patients with gonorrhoea in the past few months. The question is – how many were prescribed drugs according to guidelines? The answer – all of them.

The time taken to access the answers in each case was a few minutes.

At our practice, the benefits of this approach to using our clinical data have been clearly demonstrated by the recent Lumos* report where mortality rates for our patients 65 or older are nearly 50% lower than the state average.

In addition, results for diabetes, COPD, ED attendances and mental health issues are all more than 50% lower than the state average.

Analytics is also used to explore demographics and the incidence of disease groups, identifying unmet need in the community. It enables us to develop training and resources to better manage the scale of care.

Clinimetrix has become the mainstay for our preventative health team.

In essence Clinimetrix allows you to find those patients at risk AND shows you, easily, quickly and accurately where care delivery can be rewarding.

It also explains the finances of the business, to collate information required for the PIP Quality Improvement Incentive, track patient attendances for 75+ and 45-49 health assessments, and much more.

The mining of data has become a critical part of the success of our business over the past 7 years and as a practitioner and owner, I have found it to be one of the most valuable assets we have. Clinimetrix has enabled us to manage clinical risk and enhance health outcomes for our patients.

Authored by Dr Ron Tomlins.

*Lumos is a state-wide study involving more than 500 general practices conducted by NSW Health and WentWest and other PHNs.

Clinimetrix

Compatible with: Bp Premier
The most complete analytics tool available for medical practices in Australia. This detailed business intelligence platform is designed to enable you to understand all aspects of your business, improve clinical and financial outcomes through patient management.
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Men’s Health Week 2023 – A Focus on Healthy Habits

Men's Health Week Blog Image

Men’s Health Week is an annual campaign that runs from the 13th to the 19th of June, and each year focuses on a different topic in an effort to provoke thought and discussion about what can be done to improve male health.

Men’s Health Week was first observed in 1994 as an initiative enacted by the US Congress but has since evolved and is now recognised on a global scale; with the USA, UK, most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Africa all recognising the significance of the event.

In Australia, Men’s Health Week is overseen by the Centre for Male Health at Western Sydney University.

Why is Recognition of Men's Health Important?

Studies show that in Australia, men are far less likely to reach out to a medical professional when facing physical or mental health issues. Men are also less likely to engage or rely on their social networks for support. Furthermore, the health of the average male is, generally speaking, poorer than that of woman in terms of life expectancy, serious accidents, cancer, heart disease, workplace fatalities, learning difficulties and suicides.

Men's Health - By the Numbers

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publishes regular statistics on the health of Australian males and females. Below are a number of statistics drawn from the AIHW’s most recent reports, highlighting areas of concern for men’s health.

1. Men and boys account for 3 in 5 avoidable deaths
More than 6 out of 10 (roughly 62%) of people who die prematurely in Australia are male. In major cities, 50% of those premature male deaths are potentially avoidable, compared with remote areas where 64% of male deaths are potentially avoidable.

2. Men and boys experience a greater burden of disease
The ‘burden of disease’ is a measure that quantifies the health impact of disease on a population in any given year – both from dying early, or from living with disease and injury. Since 2011, males in Australia experienced a greater share of the total disease burden (54%) than females.

3. The rate of death by heart disease is nearly twice as high in men
Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Australians, which is responsible for the deaths of nearly 30 men (29.8) and more than 20 women (22.5) per day. Men are more likely to die from coronary heart disease at a younger age, which translates to the rate of death being nearly twice as high in males than females, when adjusted for differences in the age structure of the populations.

4. 2 in 5 men experience violence in adulthood
Exposure to violence is a known risk factor that may increase the likelihood of poor health. Men are more likely than women to be exposed to violence. More than 1 in 3 women, and more than 2 in 5 men have experienced violence since they turned 15.

5. Suicide is a leading cause of death
While leading causes of death vary by age, as of June 2022 suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged 15-24 and 24-44, with 38% and 22% of deaths, respectively, caused by suicide. Overall, men account for 3 in 4 suicides in Australia, with 6 men taking their own lives every day on average.

Sadly, this statistic is on the rise. Between 2011 and 2021, male suicide rates rose by 13%.

Forming Healthy Habits

The theme for Australia’s 2023 Men’s Health Week is Healthy Habits, with five topics forming the basis of the overarching message:

Eat – With nearly 7 in 10 men in Australia being overweight or obese, there is a focus on examining, and improving, men’s relationship with food.

Sleep – Looking at why proper rest is as important as exercise and nutrition, and how not getting enough sleep creates negative flow-on effects.

Drink – 24% of men in Australia recognise themselves as ‘risky drinkers’, and excessive alcohol consumption is known to be a major risk factor for a variety of health problems. This topic aims to focus in on how alcohol impacts men’s health.

Move – What men should know about exercise, its overall positive correlation to physical and mental health, and how being active is essential for a healthy body and mind.

Connect – Why mateship is essential for good health, and a continuing focus on breaking down the stigma of men talking about their feelings.

More Information & Resources

While men’s health becomes a focus during one week in June, many of the above topics are essential for consideration to ensure strong physical and mental health year-round. Through recognition of the challenges men face, we can strive to better identify men’s health needs, and improve men’s health outcomes.

For more information on this year’s Men’s Health Week and its focus on Healthy Habits, please visit the resources below:

Healthy Male – Men’s Health Week 2023
Australian Men’s Health Forum – Know Your Man Facts
Western Sydney University – Centre for Male Health

Authored by:

Photo of Louis Valenti, blog author.

Louis Valenti
Marketing & Communications Leader at Best Practice Software

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New Consent and Policy Solutions – for Better Trust and Consumer Control

Blog Graphic - Patient Consent & Policy

MedInfo 2023– the 19th world congress on Medical and Health (8-12 July 2023, Sydney) – is a prestigious international event that will bring together thousands of digital health leaders and practitioners at the forefront of healthcare.

Best Practice Software is pleased to present a new approach for computable consent and policy solutions at this event – as an enabler for establishing better trust and consumer control in an increasingly interoperable and AI-aware digital health ecosystem.

Best Practice Software is working on this approach to allow consumer consent expression in a way that would support their integration with clinical and administrative workflows in the increasingly interoperable digital health ecosystem. This ecosystem involves many existing and future health service delivery partners, as well as new providers specialising in analytics and AI solutions, as we presented earlier in [1]. The ecosystem also requires giving consumers more control over how their health data are used, for the primary or secondary purpose, the latter of which are research and clinical trial applications.

The approach has been in the making over the last year or so [2], as a result of the recognition of Best Practice Software for a need to better support future digital health expectations of clinicians and consumers. These expectations are in terms of helping with increasing their trust in the use of new digital health services, including CDSs and generative AI, while ensuring that the existing and future regulatory and medical principles are respected. The aim is to develop an approach that can best accommodate new and changing rules coming from the regulatory, legislative, and organizational governance structures.

The essence of this approach consists of the ability to represent consent and other policies in terms of computational rules that, on one hand, closely reflect natural language expression of policies while, on the other hand, can be flexibly integrated with interoperability solutions, such as HL7 FHIR, as shown in the figure below. These computational rules are based on the latest scientific and technical proposals for the expression of the concepts of obligations, prohibitions, permissions, delegation, authorization, and broader accountability concepts while leveraging relevant ISO and HL7 standards [2].

Consent Management Image

At MedInfo23, Best Practice Software will demonstrate how the concept of informed consent is positioned as part of the broader, ‘computable policy’ layer and how it can be used with the HL7 FHIR standard while harmonized with the information security policies – to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of healthcare data and systems. This will be done through a clinical trial use case.

The significance of this approach is broader when considering an increasing number of new AI solutions, both general and domain-specific generative AI solutions. Their applications in the medical domain will no doubt require meeting privacy, ethics, safety, and other regulatory policies, and the ability to express related policy rules in a computable fashion facilitates faster, more predictable, and reliable digital health systems for both clinicians and consumers.

Best Practice Software will be pleased to share this approach with the international digital health community at MedInfo23 and discuss further improvements with interested colleagues. In the meantime, Dr. Zoran Milosevic and Dr. Frank Pyefinch would be available for early discussions, and they can be contacted at zoran.milosevic@bpsoftware.net and Frank.Pyefinch@bpsoftware.net.

References
[1] Dr Frank Pyefinch, Dr Zoran Milosevic, The New Generation of Practice Management Systems – From Interoperability to AI, BP Evolution Newsletter, Feb 2022, https://bpsoftware.net/new-generation-of-practice-management-systems/

[2] Milosevic Z, Pyefinch F, Computable consent – from regulatory, legislative, and organizational policies to security policies, Proc. of the EDOC 2022 Conf, Lect. Notes in Computer Soc., Springer, p.3-18

Authored by:

Dr. Zoran Milosevic
Interoperability and AI Consultant Best Practice Software



   

Dr. Frank Pyefinch
Founder and CEO
Best Practice Software

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The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Your Practice

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Your practice is up and running. Your admin staff are well trained, you have the top clinicians in the area, and your appointment book is ready to be filled. However, if no one knows about your practice, it might as well not even exist. That’s where marketing comes into play. Marketing your practice involves getting the word out about your practice to attract patients and keep them coming back.

The Australia Medical Association estimates there are around 7,000 GP clinics in Australia. How will you ensure your practice stands out amongst the crowd?

When devising your practice’s marketing strategy, you might ask yourself plenty of questions, like: do I need a website? Which demographic should I be targeting? How much should I spend on advertising? Where should I be advertising?

While making these decisions, it’s important to understand the dos and don’ts of marketing your practice. This article is here to help you determine which marketing channels may be the right fit for your practice and get you thinking about advertising regulations that may impact your strategy.

Which Advertising Channels Should You Choose?

Before considering which advertising channels to invest in, it’s important to establish your marketing objectives and budget to achieve those goals. A great place to start is understanding how many patients you need to hit your goals and the amount you’re willing to spend to acquire a patient.

Regardless of your budget’s size, it’s important to figure out what you’re comfortable spending before planning your advertising channels.


Online Channels

You can use countless channels and strategies to market your practice, and a website is the perfect place to start. In an increasingly digital world, you should first build a website for your practice, which will be the hub for your marketing efforts. This is where potential patients will come to learn more about your practice and can likely be their first impression. The simpler your website is, the better! Building a website might sound overwhelming, but plenty of website providers such as Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress make setting up a site with ready-made templates easy. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly and easy to navigate. A website is also the backbone of your online marketing; it’s the destination for online ads, social media links, search engine optimisation, and google my business listings. To learn more about building an online presence, check out our recent article.


Offline Channels

Despite the prominence of online marketing, offline advertising, such as billboards, street signs, retail signage, and radio, can still play a role in your marketing strategy. Depending on your target demographic and marketing goals, a localised offline advertising push can help to build awareness of your practice. Consider enquiring with nearby retail centres offering signage for advertising, as this is a great way to target locals while they’re doing their regular grocery shopping. A similar option is advertising in local bus shelters, another great way to target a local audience. Remember to include your practice’s name and contact information in your advertisements – you don’t want them to forget who you are!

You’ll also want to consider external signage for your practice. Visiting a medical practice can be stressful for a patient, so you want to ensure their experience locating and arriving at your practice is as seamless as possible. A clear street presence improves your patient’s experience from the moment they arrive at your practice and alerts others passing by that you exist!

You can also consider the signage you have inside your practice. You may have added a new service or would like to remind patients to book in for a routine vaccination or screening. You could consider flyers at the reception desk before patients settle into their social media scroll session or opt for posters with bright colours and bold text that will capture their eyes in the waiting room.

Email
Once a patient has visited your practice, email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with them. You may want to set up automated appointment reminders to reduce last-minute cancellations or no-shows. Or maybe you’d like to send out a monthly newsletter that provides existing patients with updates about your practice and relevant health information. Email marketing is a great way to build patient trust and loyalty to your practice, and plenty of online platforms make the process as easy as possible!

What Considerations Do You Have To Make In Your Advertising?

Whether your marketing strategy includes a website, social media, email, or offline marketing, it is crucial to consider the advertising regulations that can impact your messaging.

 

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) works to protect the public by ensuring Australia’s health practitioners are “suitably trained, qualified, and safe to practice.”

 

AHPRA’s ‘Guidelines for advertising regulated health services’ provides a great starting point for wrapping your head around the regulatory framework of advertising your practice. It’s also important to note that other legislation may apply to your marketing, such as the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Keeping AHPRA’s regulations in mind, below are some dos and don’ts when marketing your practice.

DO: Identify Your Target Demographic

Spending $100,000 on billboards in the city might sound appealing and attract many eyes; after all, the more people that see your ads, the better, right? Not necessarily. if your practice is an hour south of that billboard, you’re unlikely to see a return on your investment. Identifying your target demographic will allow you to tailor your advertising channels and messaging to address their needs. Doing so will also ensure you’re efficiently spending your marketing budget and not wasting it on media your desired audience will never see. Quality over quantity!

If you’re an established practice with existing patient data, your practice management system should have reporting functionality to allow you to extract demographic data. If you’re a Bp Premier user, our training team offers an advanced practice management course that deep-dives into the reporting feature. If you’re a new practice, researching the demographics of your geographical location is a great place to start!

DON'T: Use Misleading Images

AHPRA states that advertising may be in breach if the advertisement doesn’t clearly say which treatment has caused the benefit shown in the image or if the image has been edited. That includes using before and after photos, as this may mislead the audience into thinking they will achieve the exact results as the photo.

If you’d like to use images in your marketing materials, people are increasingly attracted to businesses with an authentic feel, and real photos and videos of your practice and team can go a long way to connecting with potential and existing patients. You can also use licensed images from a site like Shutterstock or Getty Images to supplement your original content.

DO: Encourage Reviews From Current Patients

Despite digital advertising being so prominent in modern society, word of mouth has remained the most trusted marketing channel, with 88% of people saying they trust recommendations from people they know more than any other channel (Neilson 2021). Online reviews are the digital evolution of traditional word-of-mouth, with a BrightLocal consumer survey indicating that 49% of respondents trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from family and friends.

Not only can positive reviews help attract new patients, but they can also help you understand how to improve your patient experience. For example, you may discover a patient had difficulty finding your practice’s location, which indicates you might need to enhance your external signage and check your online listings.

A way to encourage reviews is to strike while their appointment is front of mind. You can request feedback while the patient is still in your practice or set up automated emails requesting feedback a couple of hours after their appointment.

DON'T: Use Testimonials About The Clinical Side Of Your Practice In Your Advertising

AHPRA’s advertising guidelines indicate that your advertising “must not use recommendations or positive statements about the clinical aspects of a regulated health service.” Therefore, if a patient leaves a review about how great the medication the GP supplied was for treating their sore back, that review cannot be used as marketing material. Alternatively, suppose a patient review mentions how the receptionist made them feel comfortable and relaxed. That is a great review to include as a testimonial on your website or advertising.

DO: Use Truthful Messaging In Your Advertising Based On Your Practice's Merit

Content is king! Your marketing messaging should be based on your practice’s merit and speak to your level of care. Clear and professional messaging will go a long way to gaining credibility and trust with potential patients.

On your website, you may include:
• Your doctors’ qualifications.
• The history of your practice.
• Your practice’s vision and approach to patient care.

DON'T: Offer Significant Discounts Or Gifts

A retail store advertising a flash 30% off sale is a vastly different story than promoting 30% off a GP consult. Issues arise when the value of the discount or gift outweighs the value of the offering, as this may encourage people to seek unnecessary treatment. According to AHPRA, you can advertise discounts or gifts if the advertisement states the terms and conditions and that those terms and conditions are not misleading. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s best to steer clear of this advertising method.

The success of your practice is greatly dependent on your marketing strategy. Your practice may be just the one someone’s been looking for, so let’s make sure they discover what you’re all about. Take the time to figure out what marketing pathways fit best with your practice’s vision and goals, and don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it right the first time! Make sure to familiarise yourself and any team members looking after your marketing with the complete list of AHRPA’s advertising guidelines and set up a clear framework within the current regulations.

Authored by:

Photo of blog author Tegan Swann

Tegan Swann
Marketing & Communications Specialist at Best Practice Software

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