How Video Telehealth Can Help Practice Sustainability

Practices are feeling the pressure of increased costs and flat Medicare rebates. This year’s General Practice Health of the Nation report by the RACGP found that only 3% of GPs stated that the current Medicare rebate is sufficient to cover the cost of care.

Using technology to deliver health care has several advantages, including cost savings, convenience, and the ability to provide care to people with mobility limitations or those in rural areas who do not have easy access to a clinic. Medicare data indicates that approximately 20% of GP consultations are conducted using telehealth, and patients still have an appetite for telehealth consults post-pandemic.

There are many upsides for a patient to use select telehealth appointments as their preferred method of consultations. But why should your practice offer telehealth?

Well, there are a few reasons to consider.

Flexibility for Doctors

Firstly, telehealth can offer flexibility to your doctors. They can simply login from home to see patients. This is particularly useful if they, or their family, are sick.

Reduced Cancellations

Because of how easy and accessible telehealth appointments are, your practice will likely notice a reduction of cancellations and no-shows. With enough notice, appointments can be converted to video telehealth appointments which still allow a rich clinical interaction. 

Efficiency

Some telehealth booking platforms can seamlessly integrate with your Best Practice appointment book. This two-way communication between the telehealth platform and Bp greatly reduces the risk of double booking an appointment time slot.

Reduce Practice Costs

Delivering consultations via telehealth can reduce overhead costs for your practice. You can streamline your reception by reducing bottlenecking and busy periods, as telehealth can reduce the number of consults booked over the phone. It also removes the need to verify patient details and in-person check-in upon arrival, as this is all done through the telehealth platform.

Grow Your Radius of Care

Your patients no longer need to live within driving distance of your practice. This can also mean that you can offer consults to people living in rural and remote areas who may not have a local GP.

Stay Competitive

And, of course, the convenience it offers to your patients. Appointments can be easily booked through the telehealth platform. Patients no longer need to organise time away from their regular duties to sit in busy waiting rooms. With more and more practices offering telehealth, you could be losing out on consultations by not offering this service.

Dr Jared Dart, practice owner and GP advocate, recommends that practices do whatever they can to reduce costs and increase revenue and suggests that private billing Video Telehealth may be one such way. 

Welio, a doctor-focused telehealth platform, takes a novel approach to improving practice sustainability by charging the patient and not the practice. This minimal $2 charge per patient telehealth video consult means that there is no out-of-pocket cost to the practice and no lock-in subscription.

Created by Dr Jared Dart, GP and practice owner of iHealth Centre Indooroopilly, Welio provides privately billed telehealth consults through seamless access to secure payments, informed patient financial consent, and flexible post-consult billing options. Dr Dart commented that data shows 20% of iHealth Centre revenue is generated by telehealth.

The platform is private and secure with end-to-end encryption. Any personal data stored by Welio is kept in their secure Microsoft Azure cloud platform. The simple user interface means patients can use their Face ID, fingerprint, or passcode to enter the Welio app, and within three clicks, they are in the virtual waiting room. Using the app means that patients don’t have to click a link to open their video consult – something patients are becoming more wary of.

Payments are taken through the app using the PCI-compliant and highly secure Stripe payment platform. Doctors can choose to charge the expected fee to which the patient has already agreed, an increased or decreased fee, or a $0 charge which effectively allows them to bulk bill. If the patient is bulk billed, Welio does not charge them a fee.

For more information about Welio visit their website – www.welio.com

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Calling Australian GPs and General Practice Staff – Join the Discussion on NBCSP!

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The MAIL, GP & SCALE project aims to help the Australian population and reduce the burden of bowel cancer. The Daffodil Centre are conducting a co-design with general practitioners and practice staff of an intervention to increase National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) participation.

The Cancer Council Australia recognises the key role that GPs and other primary health professionals play in the success of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP). As a health professional, you are integral to the success of the program. Evidence shows that a recommendation by a primary health care provider is a key motivator for participants to screen.

Currently, only 44% of eligible Australians complete the free NBCSP home screening test. Following a comprehensive review of the evidence and the publication of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of Colorectal Cancer, immunochemical faecal occult blood testing (iFOBT) every 2 years from age 50-74 was recommended for population screening in Australia. Modelling has shown that with current levels of participation, the NBCSP is expected to prevent 59,000 deaths over the period 2015-2040; an additional 16,800 and 24,800 deaths would be prevented if participation was increased to 50% and 60%, respectively.[1]

Modelling has shown that with current levels of participation, the NBCSP is expected to prevent 59,000 deaths over the period 2015-2040; an additional 16,800 and 24,800 deaths would be prevented if participation was increased to 50% and 60%, respectively.

The Daffodil Centre – a partnership between the Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney, is inviting GPs and practice staff to take part in a new study that aims to co-design a general practice led intervention to increase NBCSP participation. Specifically, this study aims to:

  1. Co-design a general practice led intervention to increase National Bowel Cancer Screening Program participation.
  2. Identify potential barriers and enablers that may affect implementation of the intervention.

Focus groups will be held online in late 2022 and early 2023, with reimbursement provided.

What Does the Co-Design Process Involve?
  • Eight focus groups with ~5 participants per group from across Australia, conducted from late 2022 to early 2023.
  • Focus groups will be held online and last approximately 60-90 minutes.
  • Participation is voluntary and there will be reimbursement for participant time.
  • Focus groups will explore participants perspectives of an optimal general practice-led intervention to increase bowel screening participation.
  • Focus group data will be de-identified.
  • After the focus groups, participants are welcome to make further contributions or revisions to design of the intervention, but this is not required.

What Happens Next? 

Findings from these focus groups will support the design of a general practice led intervention. This intervention will be piloted in a trial in within 80 general practices across two Australian states.

Click here to see the Participant Information Statement and indicate your expression of interest or contact bowel@daffodilcentre.org if you would like further information. 

References:

  1. Lew JB, St John DJB, Xu XM, Greuter MJE, Caruana M, Cenin DR, et al. Long-term evaluation of benefits, harms, and cost-effectiveness of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in Australia: a modelling study. Lancet Public Health 2017 Jul;2(7):e331-e340 Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29253458.

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Compromising on Security – It isn’t Worth the Risk

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Don't compromise on security in your practice. Help your staff better identify risks and mitigate potential impacts of data breaches and cyber-attacks.

How many of us have, at one time or another, needed to run down to the shops to pick up a bottle of milk or loaf of bread, and told ourselves that we don’t need to wear a seatbelt because it’s only a 30-second trip?

Often, the arguments we use to justify our decisions in situations such as these centre around the premise of, ‘the bad thing won’t happen to me.’

Optimism bias is the mistaken belief that our chances of experiencing positive events are greater, and undesirable events are lower when compared to that of our peers. While a pleasant thought, optimism bias exposes us to uninformed, and often risky decision-making.

When it comes to cyber-security and implementing proper processes, it’s all too easy to lump it into the ‘too hard’ basket. After all, with billions of people and millions of organisations around the world interacting with these online systems, what are the chances that you will be chosen as a target?

With recent widespread and well-publicised cyber-attacks against Optus and Medibank, there is no better time to review your practice’s security processes. 

You are an Attractive Target

Health service providers are an attractive target for hackers and cyber-criminals.

Day-to-day operations of a practice will necessitate the collection and storage of vast swathes of sensitive patient data; not only names, addresses and contact details, but Medicare information, identifying documentation, and payment details.

In the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Notifiable Data Breaches Report for the period of July to December 2021, Health Service Providers were by far the most affected industry sector to notify data breaches, with Finance and Legal, Accounting and Management Services coming in second and third, respectively.

Top industry sectors to notify data breaches

Consider how valuable health provider data must be, if they were preferred targets over financial institutions, those who handle large amounts of money!

With that in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the processes your practice has in place. While it is incredibly difficult to eliminate risk altogether, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that the risk to your practice and its data is kept to a minimum.

Often, this can be as simple as making sure your practice staff are properly trained in how to react in situations when something doesn’t look or feel right.

How Dangerous Can Cyber Attacks Be?

In September 2013, Target America was the victim of a cyber-attack that saw the personal and financial information of more than 100 million customers compromised. In strictly financial terms, Target has had to spend more than USD$200 million across settlement claims, class action suits, compensation fees, legal fees, insurance, and more – not to mention untold reputational damage.

Surely a cyber-attack of this scale and severity would have been a highly organised, meticulously planned, nigh-unpreventable assault on Target’s security, right?

The answer might surprise you.

No matter how secure you believe your systems may be, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. In Target’s case, they had contracted a mechanics agency to look after refrigeration in some of their stores. As such, this agency had login details to Target’s systems.

Hackers sent phishing emails to third parties – malicious emails which were designed to look like they originated from legitimate organisations. One of the staff members from the mechanics agency clicked a link in one of these emails, and from there, the floodgates opened.

Using credentials that were stolen from the agency’s system, hackers infiltrated Target America’s IT system, and then navigated their way to data on their POS terminals. From there, they covertly installed malware that collected data each time a customer paid with a credit card. They then transferred this data to a holding file in a less secure area of Target’s IT system and continued to collect data – undetected – for two weeks. One week before Christmas 2013, nearly 11 gigabytes of credit card information and customer data were transferred to a server in Russia.

By the time Target realised what was going on – it was far too late. The damage had been done.

A New Type of Hacker

When many of us hear the word hacker, we think of a hooded figure hunched over a keyboard with half a dozen screens streaming code that would look at home in a Matrix film. We think of phrases from movies like ‘infiltrating the mainframe’ and ‘bypassing the firewall’.

Those kinds of brute-force attacks, while they do exist, are far less prevalent than simple social engineering. Why ‘hack’ your way to someone’s personal details painstakingly and forcibly when you can get them to offer them on a silver platter, simply by asking the right questions?

Have you ever been on Facebook and stumbled across an innocent-looking quiz that asks for your mother’s maiden name and the name of the street you grew up to generate your unique superhero name? It seems like harmless fun, but the answers to those two questions are commonly used as security passwords for sensitive information.

Posts like these often see incredibly high levels of engagement, and without realising it, users are manipulated into giving away details which could ultimately lead to their accounts (both on Facebook and elsewhere) being compromised.

In the context of a medical practice, social engineering is a tool that is often utilised to gain access to sensitive patient information, your practice database, swathes of financial information, and much more.

Often, these attempts on your data won’t be secretive, or subtle, and they won’t come from a shadowy figure hiding behind computer screens. They might come from:

  • A ‘patient’ who needs to change their details, but forgot to bring ID
  • A salesperson offering a product or service to improve your practice operations, and all you need to do is download a program from a link they’ll send you
  • A technician who has been sent on behalf of your regular IT provider and needs to do some maintenance on your network, or
  • A smiling stranger who gets access to your staff break room by name-dropping your practice owner or manager

Attempts like these can occur right in front of you, and in the middle of a busy day. You may not think twice about changing someone’s details, clicking on a link, or granting someone access to your network.

Be Alert, Not Alarmed

It’s easy to hear all of this and immediately go into panic mode. Relax!

With a little bit of training and implementation of proper cyber-security processes, you can work to effectively minimise risk to your practice and its data.

Train staff to be alert and cautious
Your practice staff is almost guaranteed to be the point of contact at which your practice security is tested. Ensure that they are aware of common methods that might be used to compromise your practice data.

Rollout sensible restrictions
Conduct regular audits of staff permissions to review whether they need access to all the data available to them. Consider which data should be accessible by whom.

Protect your credentials
Usernames and passwords are the proverbial keys to the kingdom. Under no circumstances should they be written down on post-it notes and stuck to a monitor! If your team has trouble remembering login credentials, encourage using a secure password manager.

Increase physical security
Consider implementing measures such as swipe cards or access codes for areas of your practice that house sensitive data or hardware.

Trust your IT professionals
If you receive an email prompting you to click on a link, or someone is asking you to install a program handed to you on a USB drive, and something doesn’t feel right, consult your IT team. They’ll be able to verify whether the request is genuine and, if not, how to proceed safely.

Hold every department accountable for security
As we saw with the Target data breach, poor security practices from anyone involved with your business can lead to compromised data. Make sure that anyone accessing your practice’s systems knows your security protocols and expectations.

But It Won’t Happen to Me…

It’s easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security when considering the kind of organisations that suffer widely publicised cyber-attacks. They’re often large, well-known corporations that are worth billions of dollars. It’s not hard to understand why they’d be prime targets.

But the complacency which enables this mentality is exactly why your medical practice is not immune from attempted data breaches. Furthermore, while your practice data may not be as valuable in a purely fiscal sense, your patients’ data deserves just as much respect regarding privacy and security.

Don’t fall into the trap of compromising your cyber-security. It simply isn’t worth the risk.

Authored by:

Louis Valenti Blog Author Image

Louis Valenti
Marketing & Communications Leader at Best Practice Software

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Bp Software Governance Precedent for Third-Party Software Integrations

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Best Practice Software's Bp Partner Network Sets Governance Precedent for Secure Third-Party Software Integrations

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, and Best Practice Software encourages and champions for all practices to be cyber-security informed, educated, and vigilant of unapproved third-party requests for elevating database access.

The 2022 Optus data breach has left many health organisations scrambling to ensure their systems are safe and secure from unauthorised access.

Innovation within the health sector has birthed greater cyber security risks for general practice and primary care, with Australia’s health sector remaining the highest reporting industry sector, notifying 18% of all data breaches nationally between July and December 2021.

In alignment with Cyber Security Month, an initiative led by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), Best Practice Software has launched a vigilance campaign to ensure all practices are aware of the risk of providing unauthorised database access to unqualified third-party applications.

“Recent events have served as a timely reminder that anyone can be the victim of cyber-crime,” said Lorraine Pyefinch, Bp Software Director, and Co-Founder. “It’s more important than ever for practices to review their processes to minimise risk to their patients and business.”

In 2019, Best Practice Software established the Bp Partner Network, an assembly of organisations approved to integrate their solutions with Bp Software. The Partner Network cultivates strategic relationships which foster innovation and security for Bp customers.

With a stringent application process that requires Executive review and approval, the Bp Partner Network framework ensures practices have access to applications that support and add value to their patients without exposure to risk.

Best Practice Software encourages all practices to review the applications and tools used within their centres, ensuring applications installed within Bp Databases have been authorised by Bp Software through the Bp Partner Network.

Practices can consult Bp Software’s list of approved partners here.

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Integrative Visual Aid to Support Patient Understanding of Anatomy

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Understanding a medical diagnosis can be tricky for patients, especially when the areas of their body affected are internal. Attempting to explain internal organs or their bodies’ inner workings and elements can be time-consuming and difficult. Some people are visual learners, so it makes sense that your practice would have visual aids readily available to assist.

Gone are the days of clunky 3D models collecting dust and taking up space on the doctor’s desk. When it comes to 3D interactive models, technology has advanced.

3D anatomy programs are now fully interactive and can be integrated right into your Bp premier clinical work screen. Allowing the doctor to educate and better explain elements and features of the body as well as medical concepts and conditions to their patients during consults.

How Will It Support Patient Health Literacy?

These programs allow doctors to visually explore human anatomy, body systems and organ functions with their patients during consultation. The interactive models provide visuals of common conditions with linked media to support further patient learning. Doctors can save images to file, draw on screen and bookmark items for future reference or discussion.

What Features Will Support Me In My Practice?

With access to male and female content available via a modern graphics engine, 3D anatomy tools can allow the importing of custom content and exporting of visuals as image files, enabling you to provide accurate anatomical education to your patients clearly and conveniently.

3DAnatomica With Bp Premier

3DAnatomica is a Gold Bp Partner offering current Bp Premier users a discounted subscription to their 3DGlassman clinical program. Accessible directly by clicking the 3DA icon on the Bp Premier patient record screen. 3DGlassman can be used during face-to-face consults, telehealth consultations, as well as remotely via iPhone and tablet.

To learn more about 3DAnatomica and 3DGlassman please click here to view their Bp Partner profile or click here to visit their website.

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SMS Electronic Prescribing Funding Extended

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SMS Electronic Prescribing Funding Extended until 31st March 2023

In great news for Bp Premier users who have been utilising electronic prescribing, the Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) has recently advised that funding for electronic prescriptions sent via SMS will be extended until at least 31st March 2023.

The DoHAC has funded SMS electronic prescriptions since first introduced in 2020, with the funding cut-off date extended several times previously.

In Bp Premier whilst funding continues, you can also send electronic prescriptions to patients via Best Health App free of charge. Alternatively, you can email free of charge, or print an electronic prescription token on paper and provide it to the patient if preferred.

If you’re interested in electronic prescribing via SMS from Bp Premier, keep in mind that you’ll first need to set up a Bp Comms account. Bp Comms allows you to easily send communications such as electronic prescriptions directly to a patient’s phone via SMS or to the Best Health App from Bp Premier.

Bp Comms isn’t just for sending electronic prescriptions though, as it can also be used for sending a variety of communications to patients, such as:

  • appointment reminders
  • clinical reminders
  • health awareness communication
  • clinical communication

Need Further Assistance?

To find out more about enabling Bp Comms at your practice, contact sales@bpsoftware.net, or select Help > Online in Bp Premier to access the knowledge base.

If you don’t have a Bp Comms account set up, you won’t be able to send electronic prescriptions via SMS or to the Best Health App. However, you will still have the option to send electronic prescriptions to patients via email, or you can print the token.

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Online Claiming with Medicare Web Services Changes

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Answers to Our Support Team's Most Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Online Claiming with Medicare Web Services

We succeeded! It took a tremendous amount of work, but we are happy to report that most of our practices have successfully upgraded to a Bp Premier version that is compatible with Medicare Web Services before the deadline of August 28, 2022. We are aware that this is a time of transition and that many of our users are still adjusting to some of the changes made to the claiming workflows by the new technology.

To help you to adjust to some of the new Online Claiming with Medicare Web Services workflows we’ve compiled a selection of the most frequently asked questions our Support Team have received and answered them below.

Error 9202 - Invalid value supplied for Service Text. The value supplied must be alpha (A-Z and a-z), numeric (0-9), space ( ) and special characters @ # $ % + = : ; , . –

What does this error mean, and how can I resolve this? 

When submitting claims to Medicare or DVA online, you may encounter the Medicare Online Error ‘9202 Invalid value supplied for Service Text’. If this occurs, you must ensure that the Service Details field in the Account Item or Fee Amount screens only contains the below mentioned characters.

The character set that can be used in service text for items is restricted to letters (A-Z and a-z), numbers (0-9), and the following special characters @ # $% + =: ;,. -. Slash characters, apostrophes, and brackets are not allowed.

TIP – When transmitting a Medicare or DVA batch with multiple services, you can quickly identify which services are affected by looking at the last line in the error; there will be a line at the bottom which refers to ‘Medical Event 01’; this means it’s the first patient in the batch who is affected. If it says, “Medical Event 08”, it’s the 8th patient listed in the batch. 

For more information on troubleshooting issues with your connection to Medicare Web Services (MWS) and PRODA, select Help > Online from inside Bp Premier to open the online knowledge base, and search for ‘troubleshoot mws’.

New Statuses When Checking for Payments. What Do They Mean?

The messages returned from a check for payments from the Online claiming screen have changed under Medicare Web Services. Your employees may be unaware of the new messages’ meanings or whether any action is required.

Depending on the claim’s status with Services Australia, the following alerts may appear:

REPORT_NOT_FOUND The claim information does not match Services Australia’s records. You will need to contact Services Australia for more information.

REPORT_NOT_READY The claim has not yet been finalised by Services Australia. Perform a check for payments again later.

REPORT_NOT_AVAILABLE The claim was processed and has been rejected. Check the processing report for more information.

For more information on the new check for payments statuses, select Help > Online from inside Bp Premier to open the online knowledge base, and search for ‘Online claiming direct bill’. 

What Happens if We Haven’t Upgraded Yet?

Don’t put off upgrading to Medicare Web Services. Delaying your upgrade may result in longer support call times and being unable to claim if you have not switched over by the end of the grace period. In Bp Premier, the latest versions of Saffron SP3 are fully compliant with Medicare Web Services functionality.

Need Further Assistance?

As always, help is available! If you need assistance with anything related to Saffron SP3, Medicare Web Services, or any other enquiries, our Support team are available via phone or email, so please get in touch!

You can contact our Software Support team on 1300 40 1111 (Australia) or 0800 40 1111 (New Zealand) and selecting Bp General Products (Option 1/1) on the menu or by emailing us at support@bpsoftware.net.

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eOrdering – Orchid SP1 Changes

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Thanks to the availability of eOrdering, clinicians can provide their patients with a paperless option when ordering pathology and diagnostic imaging services. eOrders are transmitted securely from Bp Premier via your secure messaging provider directly to the Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology providers’ information systems.

eOrdering functionality has kept up to date with the fast-shifting demands of clinical treatment over the past decade, thanks to ongoing improvements. In Saffron SP1, Diagnostic Imaging and Pathology eOrdering was updated, and there is now a simplified method for configuring pathology and diagnostic imaging providers in Bp Premier, thanks to the launch of our new Enhanced eOrdering. 

 

E-Ordering: Benefits for Your Practice from Bp Learning on Vimeo.

Changes to Enhanced eOrdering in Bp Premier Orchid

In Bp Premier Orchid, legacy eOrdering will have the following functionality:

·        Legacy eOrder providers configured in previous versions will continue to have the functionality to generate eOrders.

·        Legacy eOrder providers cannot be added or configured through the Contacts window.

o   New eOrder providers must be added through the Setup eOrdering screen.

o   If a legacy eOrder provider needs to be configured, they should be merged with the respective record in the Setup eOrdering screen if the provider has joined the Partner Network.

Bp Premier version Orchid is undergoing extensive beta testing and will be available soon.

Upcoming Changes to Enhanced eOrdering in Bp Premier Orchid Service Pack 1

In Bp Premier Orchid Service Pack 1, legacy eOrdering functionality will be fully removed. In this version, legacy eOrder providers will no longer generate eOrders. Only providers configured through the Setup eOrdering screen will have the functionality to generate eOrders.

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for the Changes in Orchid SP1?

We suggest that you check your current pathology or diagnostic imaging eOrder providers to see if they have joined the Bp Partner Network. To view the list of current Bp eOrdering Partners, select Help > Online from inside Bp Premier to open the online knowledge base, and search for ‘Bp eOrdering Partners’.

Choose the scenario that best describes your enhanced eOrdering configuration in Bp Premier for information on how to prepare for the changes in Bp Premier Orchid:

ScenarioActions Required
My Practice has never used eOrdering, and we would like to enable this. How?We recommend contacting your preferred diagnostic imaging and pathology providers directly to discuss the implementation of eOrdering at your Practice.
My Practice currently uses eOrdering but the diagnostic imaging or pathology provider is not available in the list to merge.

If your Practice currently transmits eOrders, before you upgrade to Orchid, we strongly recommend you confirm that the pathology or diagnostic imaging providers you transmit eOrders to have joined the Bp Partner Network and are available for configuration in the Setup eOrdering screen.

 

If any of the eOrdering service providers that your Practice uses have not yet joined the Bp Partner Network, we advise getting in touch with them to find out if they are aware of the changes and have spoken to the Best Practice Commercial Partnerships team about joining the Bp Partner Network before the release of Bp Premier Orchid Service Pack 1.

My Practice currently uses eOrdering, and the diagnostic imaging or pathology provider appears in the list; however, we haven’t merged these contacts yet.If you have any eOrdering providers configured in Bp Premier through the legacy method and have confirmed they are on the Partner Network, we recommend using the merge functionality in the eOrdering Setup screen to merge contacts. This must be done before upgrading to Orchid SP1.
We are already using eOrdering; we have confirmed the providers we use are in the list, and we have merged the contacts. Do we need to do anything?Your Practice is configured for eOrdering, and no further action is required.

Testing eOrdering

Once you’ve enabled eOrdering, be sure to test the eOrder generation from both the Bp Premier server and a client machine. Information on how to test is available from the Bp Premier Knowledge Base.

Need More Information?

Not a worry!

For more information on how to merge eOrder providers and test and troubleshoot eOrdering setup, select Help > Online from inside Bp Premier to open the online knowledge base, and search for ‘merge eOrdering’.

Need Further Assistance?

As always, help is available! If you need assistance with anything related to eOrdering, or any other enquiries, our Support team are available via phone or email.

You can contact our Software Support team on 1300 40 1111 (Australia) and select Bp General Products (Option 1/1) on the menu or by emailing us at support@bpsoftware.net.

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Digital Intake Forms: How Much Time Could You Be Saving?

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Patient intake forms are tedious and time-consuming, not only for the patient but also for the practice. There are often multiple forms that new patients are required to fill out before an initial appointment. Administration staff then need to enter patient details into the Practice Management System (PMS) manually. 

For example, when working with patients who have a history of pain, detailed reports are required to ensure that the level of care matches the depth of the patient’s issue. Specialist centres have carefully curated intake forms that cover the patient’s medical history, including psychometric testing, e.g. DASS21, that must be completed before a patient’s initial consultation. These forms would either be received via email or be filled out by hand in the office on the day of their appointment.  

Prior to the implementation of a digital solution in the form of digital intake forms, practices resorted to cumbersome and time-consuming processes which caused a significant administrative burden. These often involved acquiring completed forms from a patient, having administrative staff calculate psychometric test scores, and finally manually inputting the data into the PMS. These forms could often take hours to process and upload, and they carried with them the risk of human error during data entry. For practices that might see 20+ new patients each week, this created a significant bottleneck.

To help streamline this process, Patient Plus saw an opportunity to alleviate administrative pressure from the intake process by creating digital intake forms that allow patients to update their information and medical history directly into the PMS prior to their first sessions.  

The system’s core functionalities include seamless integration between the form and Best Practice Software, the ability to score and process psychometric testing automatically, and additional form fields that provide access to limitless patient data. With mandatory form fields and input conditions set for certain numerical fields (e.g., the 10-digit limit for Medicare), the risk of human error is drastically minimised. 

The digital intake forms also offer patients the functionality to ‘Save & Resume Later’ by creating a secure, unique link that is sent to their email for completion at a future time. This unique link can also be shared with trusted contacts of patients who might need assistance in completing the form.  

For patients, this allows the flexibility to run through their history at their own pace. By pre-filling their information, they can be confident that their history will be known when they step into the room with their doctor, and they can immediately start focussing on the next steps in their journey. 

Once the form has been processed through the PMS, practices are provided with three options for patient summaries – long-form, short-form, and mid-sized PDFs – that can be generated to give the doctor an overview of the patient in varying levels of detail. 

All the data is processed and hosted on a secure server, ensuring that the practice complies with data security standards and protects confidential patient information. Patients also have the option to receive a copy of the form submission via email, allowing them to keep a copy for their own records. 

Easing the administrative workload caused by intake form processing means doctors no longer need to spend time scouring through the patient history since the automation ensures they have the relevant information before a patient’s appointment. 

One practice using Patient Plus has seen a dramatic shift in the hours spent processing patient intake forms. With nearly 30 hours back in their week, the practice has been able to shift their full attention from data entry and back to their patients, providing a better in-house experience. 

Patient Plus fills a necessary gap in the healthcare industry, providing a better communication line between patients and their doctors. Implementing digital tools creates an opportunity for doctors to spend more of their appointment time assessing the history, investigating patient concerns, and maximising patient engagement. With seamless integration, security of data, and ease of completion, the form has alleviated the pressure from the doctors, their staff, and the patients. To learn more, visit the Patient Plus website.     

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An Extension to the Medicare Web Services Deadline

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The Medicare Web Services deadline has been extended, in advice provided by Services Australia.

A large number of our practices have already upgraded to Medicare Web Services-enabled versions of their software prior to the original cutoff date of the 19th of June, 2022. These practices are now successfully operating under the new Medicare Web Services framework.

For practices that are yet to upgrade to a Medicare Web Services-enabled version of software, Services Australia have provided a grace period, extending the Medicare Web Services deadline to the 28th of August, 2022.

Services Australia have advised that this grace period will NOT be extended further.

Services Australia will be contacting practices that have not yet upgraded to Medicare Web Services in the next few weeks, to ensure that practices are in the process of transitioning to the new framework.

The latest versions of Bp Premier and Bp VIP.net are both fully compliant with Medicare Web Services functionality.

Do not delay your upgrade to Medicare Web Services. Delaying your upgrade may result in longer support call times and being unable to claim if you have not switched over once the grace period ends.

Need Further Assistance?

For further information or advice on this matter, you can contact our Software Support team on 1300 40 1111 (Australia), or 0800 40 1111 (New Zealand), and selecting Bp General Products (Option 1/1) at the menu.

You can also contact us via our dedicated Medicare Web Services email address: medicarewebservices@bpsoftware.net.

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