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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Are You Running a Thriving Practice?

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A thriving practice is difficult to define.

Every practice owner and manager wants to run a successful practice, but it can be challenging to define and measure what success looks like. Especially across a busy practice that provides dozens of services. Some owners look to expand and buy into other practices within their local metropolitan area, while some are focussed on a single rural practice. Many are simply focused on the output of their practice, and the impact they can make by providing care for their patients. There are many different objectives and criteria that one can measure success by, however, they can all be measured in one form or another.

Defining Success

The first step in knowing if you’re operating a thriving practice is to understand your overarching business goals and objectives. From there it’s up to you to define what success looks like for you, your team and your community.

Breaking down goals into short term and long-term goals can help set perspective for you and your team and is a strategy that has worked for dozens of practices. For example, your long-term goal may be to become the most trusted care provider in your area, and a short-term goal that may facilitate that, is to focus on expanding your Chronic Disease Manage (CDM) services or getting first time patients back in for more regular health checks. Consider what you want to achieve within your practice over the next five years, and what you can accomplish in the next 6-12 months to get you there.

Measuring Success

Once you’ve set your sights on the next big step for your team, you’ll want to find ways of measuring and reporting on your progress.

The best way of measuring patient satisfaction and quality of service is through a combination of anecdotal feedback from patients and data found in your practice management system, many great insights can be surfaced from your best practice data. Metrics are a fantastic way of measuring the impact you’re having as a business, but when it comes to actionable insight, it’s also important to collect patient feedback. Make an effort to regularly survey patients and ask for feedback on how you can improve both the services you offer and the experience patients are left having. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular method of collecting and analysing feedback, as it will give you a singular score you can assess week on week, while also giving patients the opportunity to provide written feedback as well. Make sure to track this for your quality improvements, for instance, patient feedback regarding QI1.2 of the RACGP standards in the 5th edition.

As for metrics you can track, it’s recommended that practices look at billings per hour, diary wait time, patients per hour, and utilisation. These will provide you with a solid overview of your usage of the MBS schedule, how often you run on time, how well your team is equipped to service patients, and how full your diaries are.

Where Do You Find Opportunities for Improvement?

How are you performing? It’s a difficult question to answer. With reports you can often look backwards, and at historical trends. Compare your billings for instance, to the same period last year. Additionally, you can spend all the time in the world creating forecasts and looking forward. However, when we have data, it is vital to have context accompanying it, and to have targets in mind.

What we have lacked in the medical industry is the ability to look horizontally. For instance, you will know that you’re a bulk-billing practice in metro Brisbane, so how do you compare across other bulk-billing practices? Is a billing per hour of $302 across your cohort of GPs good for a bulk-billing practice?

It’s answering these questions and de-siloing General Practice that is to vitally important within the industry. It’s one of the major features, Touchstone, that Cubiko has been working on. For the first time practices around Australia are able to compare and contrast their business metrics to like-for-like practices.

Before Touchstone, available data on how a practice is performing against a national benchmark was very hard to come by. The government intermittently releases state and national numbers on MBS items. While this is useful information, you’re comparing your practice against state and national benchmarks across the board, rather than like-for-like practices.

By understanding how your practice is performing against similar practices you can celebrate the successes. If you see that your practice is performing well, share it with the team. If you’re wondering where improvements can possibly be made, looking horizontally at benchmarks can also be useful. But always be wary of benchmarks that aren’t representative of the practice you want to run.

So, is your practice thriving? It’s a question that might be easier to answer with the right tools.

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Work Smarter Not Harder. How BetterConsult Can Help!

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Work smarter, not harder when it comes to offering a great practice-patient experience.

Practices today have to deal with never-ending challenges: overworked doctors, nurses and practice staff, never-ending admin burden, day-to-day patient inefficiencies (“Sorry, I forgot to get my medical certificate and repeat script when I saw the doctor!”)…. all whilst still trying to deliver a great patient-doctor experience.

Dana Tse, Practice Manager at Campsie Medical Centre, decided to try BetterConsult’s patient intake questionnaire to help with her practice’s workflow management. “Some of the challenges I face as a practice manager are time management, making sure that our patients are seen on time, and making sure that our doctors and staff have a good work-life balance,” she says. “We tried BetterConsult as we had nothing to lose – it was free. And the outcome has been a better experience for staff, doctors and patients”.

So how does BetterConsult help you work smarter, not harder?

BetterConsult is a patient pre-consultation questionnaire fully integrated into Best Practice (it works seamlessly alongside online booking systems). It is simple and easy for patients to use and starts when they receive an SMS 24 hours prior to their appointment. The questionnaire captures the patient’s agenda and key clinical symptoms. The patient’s answers are then translated into a concise clinical summary for the doctor or nurse to review at the time of the consultation.

Doctors use the information provided by BetterConsult to practice at the top of their license and better plan their days and individual consultations, allowing them to have a more personal consultation with their patients; spending less time typing and facing the screen and more time discussing their concerns and focusing on treatment and management.

Campsie GP, Dr Bernard Tse, said BetterConsult “allows me to have a more personal consultation with my patients by spending less time typing and facing the screen, and more time actually discussing what the patient’s concerns are.”

Carseldine Family Clinic’s Dr Leah Ahchay says, “BetterConsult is extremely beneficial to my patients because when they enter the room, I’m going to feel more confident with my diagnosis, I’m going to have a baseline with which to assess their symptoms, and I’m going to give them some written information as they leave the room because I’ve been able to prepare for that consult”.

Dr Tamsin Franklin, principal GP of Turn the Corner Medical Clinic, commented “I am sure all doctors have had the ‘near miss’, where we have asked for clarification regarding a symptom, only to reveal something with great importance which had almost been missed. BetterConsult helps to reduce this likelihood. It also frees up time so that concerning symptoms can be fully explored, and less concerning symptoms can be triaged. Perhaps for another day.”

BetterConsult integrates seamlessly into BP Premier, and developer HealthShare, a Best Practice Gold Partner, provides a dedicated customer success manager to guide users through setup and use.

BetterConsult is priced as a freemium offering, meaning there is no cost for practices or doctors to use the product. Practices can optionally choose to pay for custom questions to be added to the questionnaire if they are running practice-specific clinical campaigns.

BetterConsult is also being funded by health organisations to run patient and doctor education campaigns that support improved patient health outcomes (similar to patient leaflets and posters in the waiting room).

A recent practice study by Cubiko found that practices using BetterConsult saw up to an 80% reduction in patient DNA (Did Not Arrive) rates.

Over 3M questionnaires have been completed around Australia with thousands of doctors now using BetterConsult. Find out more about how you can improve your patient engagement and communication with BetterConsult here.

When it comes to offering a great practice-patient experience; work smarter, not harder.

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Medicinal Cannabis Prescribing – Simpler and More Accessible Than Ever

Medical Cannabis Prescribing blog image

In Australia, all doctors and nurse practitioners can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients with specific medical conditions through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme. To date, there have been over 220 conditions approved by the TGA. Recently there have been significant improvements to the application process when prescribing medical cannabis to improve patient access and reduce the administrative burden on you as the prescriber.

The below information has been taken from the TGA website:

“If you determine that an ‘unapproved’ medicinal cannabis product is clinically suitable for your patient, there are four pathways through which your patient can access the product with your prescription.”

Authorised Prescriber - 'Established History of Use' Pathway

Medical practitioners can apply to become Authorised Prescribers of specified medicinal cannabis products without the need for approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee or endorsement from a specialist college.

Medicinal cannabis products and indications deemed by the TGA to have established history of use are specified in the list of medicines with an established history of use.

Authorised Prescriber - Standard Pathway

Medical practitioners can apply to become Authorised Prescribers of medicinal cannabis products not included in the list of medicines with an established history of use via the standard pathway. This pathway requires approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee, or endorsement from a specialist college before applying to the TGA.

SAS Category A Notification Pathway

Medicinal cannabis products supplied via the SAS Category A pathway must be imported on a patient-by-patient basis with permission from the Office of Drug Control (ODC). 

SAS Category B Application Pathway

The SAS Category B pathway is an application pathway available to prescribing healthcare practitioners including Medical Practitioners and Nurse Practitioners. When applying to access an unapproved medicinal cannabis product on behalf of a patient under the SAS Category B pathway, prescribers must provide a clinical justification. The justification should include the seriousness of the patient’s condition, consideration for the use of medicines that are included in the ARTG and the potential risks and benefits of using the proposed unapproved medicine.

There are no restrictions on the medical conditions for which a prescriber may apply via the SAS to access an unapproved medicinal cannabis product for their patient, provided the prescriber has the appropriate knowledge on the condition being treated and on the medicinal cannabis product they wish to prescribe.

Reporting

MedReleaf Authorised Prescriber Now Available in the Bp Premier Reporting Tool

The MedReleaf Authorised Prescriber 6-Monthly Report is to support prescribing doctors who are authorised prescribers for unregistered medical cannabis products. Authorised prescribers for unregistered medical cannabis products need to report the number of new patients commenced on treatment, and number of patients continued on treatment (for longer than 6 months), for each product to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. 

This report takes the stress out of keeping track of patient numbers throughout the reporting period. A simple report generation saves the doctor and clinic ample administrative work.

Learning

MedReleaf Prescriber Program

MedReleaf Australia’s prescriber program is available to all doctors, providing access to training and education for the doctor to confidently assess, advise, prescribe and treat patients with medical cannabis. 

Peer-to-peer workshops, educational webinars and further clinical material are available through registering to access MedReleaf’s online training and education portal, available here.

medical cannabis prescribing prescriber program flyer

The following article was submitted by Bp Software Silver Partner MedReleaf. You can view their partner profile here

Have You Upgraded to Medicare Web Services? The Clock is Ticking!

Upgrading to Medicare Web Services Blog Image

Have you upgraded to Medicare Web Services yet?

The 19th of June is only weeks away and if you’re not using Medicare Web Services-compatible software by then, Online Claiming and Eclipse billing will stop working for you. The team here at Bp Software is here to break down the process for you into more manageable, bite-sized pieces. So, bookmark this post, set aside a few minutes each day, and make a start because how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Step 1

If this article comes as a shock to you, and you weren’t aware of this mandatory change, please click here for an overview of Medicare Web Services, and the impact on your practice. 

Step 2

If you do not have one already, click here to register an individual account in PRODA. Services Australia steps and our Knowledge Base can help you navigate the registration process.

Step 3

If you do not have one already, register your organisation by logging into your PRODA account, selecting organisations then registering new organisation. Again, Services Australia steps and our Knowledge Base break it down nicely.

Ask the question first… Is your organisation already registered? Who set up the organisation? Who in the practice will be adding and managing your B2B device? If you haven’t had that conversation yet, now is the time. Perhaps your principal doctor originally set it up, but you, as the practice manager, will be the one managing your B2B device. You won’t be able to do that if you’re not delegated the right authority in PRODA.

Step 4

Link to Medicare Online. You’re going to need to grab some information from your system first before you jump back into PRODA, so if you’re a Bp Premier user click here, or a Bp VIP.net user, click here.

Step 5

Add or manage other members of your organisation in PRODA. If you’re the person who’ll perform functions on behalf of your organisation, you need to ensure you’re added by your PRODA RA number. Click here for more information.

Step 6

This one is exclusive to multi-location practices. Make sure you register your practice locations as subsidiary organisations in PRODA by following these steps.

Step 7

Register your B2B device. For Bp Premier users, you’ll need Saffron SP2 or later. Click here for the steps. For Bp VIP.net users, you’ll need Topaz SP1, which is on its way.  

upgraded to medicare web services quote

What's Next?

After your PRODA set up is done, you’ll need to upgrade your software. If you’re a Bp Premier user, you can do this now by upgrading to the most recently released version of Bp Premier. It’s really simple to upgrade, you just need to ensure you’re running at least Indigo SP1 and have the February 2022 data update installed. To see just how straight forward it is, check out this short demonstration:

How To Upgrade Your Version of Bp Premier on Vimeo.

If you’re a Bp VIP.net user, your Medicare Web Services compatible version is currently being worked on and will be available to you soon. In the interim, in order to be adequately prepared to upgrade when it’s ready, we strongly recommend you complete the PRODA preparation steps.

If you get stuck at any point with PRODA, Services Australia can give you a hand and for anything system related, our support teams are standing by to assist. If you don’t prepare and upgrade by June 19th, Online Claiming and Eclipse billing will stop working for you, and you’ll need to manually process your claims.

Please don’t delay and remember, how do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time.

Authored by:

Suzi Eley Author Avatar

Suzi Eley
Training & Deployment Leader at Best Practice Software

Saffron SP3 & Medicare Web Services Have Arrived!

Medicare Web Services have arrived blog image

In recent times, Medicare Web Services and the requirement for your practice to transition to this new technology within your software has certainly been a very popular topic of discussion.  Team Bp are very excited to have recently released our newest version of Bp Premier, Saffron SP3 containing some exciting new features, and most importantly, bringing all of the functionality required for your practice to be fully compliant with, and connected to Medicare Web Services technology to continue your connection to functions like Medicare Claiming, and the Australian Immunisation Register in Bp Premier.

It is critical that you are aware that your practice has until Sunday June 19th 2022 to install your upgrade to Saffron SP3, and complete your connection to Medicare Web Services via PRODA. This date is sure to approach rapidly, so if your practice has not yet installed Saffron SP3 it is vital that you plan now for your practice to do so as soon as possible.  If you’re not sure where to start, the best place to begin is our Enablement Material for Medicare Web Services page – here you can follow all the steps to get your PRODA account in order to be fully prepared for your upgrade.

What functions in Bp Premier rely on Medicare Web Services? These are:

  • Medicare Bulk Bill Claiming, and private Patient Claiming functionality
  • Patient eligibility verifications for Medicare and DVA
  • The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for transmitting patient vaccination data.

If your practice has not completed your upgrade to Saffron SP3 before June 19th, you will be impacted significantly, and be unable to access any of the functions listed in Bp Premier – this means not being able to verify patient eligibility, not being able to transmit AIR notifications, and also no ability to for Medicare to receive payment claims from your practice.

Medicare Web Services is certainly an essential reason for you to complete your upgrade, but Saffron SP3 also contains some very exciting new features alongside this critical change. In Saffron SP3, there is brand new AIR functionality built directly into the patient record, new cancer screening preventative health warnings, new Medicare claiming functionality, and more! You can find all of the information available on our Knowledge Base (click ‘Help’ then ‘Online’ in Bp Premier to access), or watch our free Masterclass webinar that was recently held here.

In summary, what are the key points that you need to be aware of in relation to Medicare Web Services?

  • You must upgrade to Bp Premier Saffron SP3 by Sunday June 19th 2022
  • If you haven’t upgrade by June 19th, you’ll be unable to access any Medicare and AIR functions in Bp Premier
  • Saffron SP3 also contains exciting new features, like AIR access directly within the patient record
  • Access our Knowledge Base for step-by-step instructions on all things Medicare Web Services, and to see the full list of new features.
    • If you haven’t visited the Knowledge Base before, click ‘Help’, then ‘Online’ from within Bp Premier to head directly there.

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!

Authored by:

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Bec Bland
Training & Deployment Leader at Best Practice Software

Changes to Image Based Prescribing

Imaged Based Prescribing blog image.

From 1st April, 2022, prescribers may continue to fax or email digital images of paper prescriptions to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice. However, the prescriber must now send the original paper prescription to the pharmacy. The original temporary exemption that was in place from March 2020 did not require a paper copy of the prescription to be sent to the pharmacy (unless an S8 or S4 medication), we can now confirm that this is ending on March 31, 2022.

For practices using our Bp Premier product, ePrescribing is available and will ensure that an electronic version of the prescription can be provided to the patient, without the need to supply a paper copy of the prescription to the patient or pharmacy. Further information regarding ePrescribing for Bp Premier can be accessed here.

For practices using our Bp VIP.net product, we are expecting that ePrescribing will become available before the end of 2022. Until then, prescriptions that are faxed or emailed to a pharmacy will require a paper copy or the original prescription to be sent.

Authored by:

Jessica White Author Blog Picture

Jessica White
Head of Commercial and Government at Best Practice Software

Moving to Medicare Web Services – Is Your Practice Prepared?

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Please note that this article is for our Australian customers.

As you are aware, Services Australia is upgrading the current technology used by practice management software, to connect to critical digital health services such as Medicare/DVA Claiming, Eclipse and the Australian Immunisation Register. This new technology is referred to as Medicare Web Services (MWS).

A number of our products currently connect to Services Australia via a Medicare Client Adaptor, which utilises a Medicare PKI certificate also known as a site certificate. As per the new requirements, practice management software vendors will be replacing this Medicare PKI certificate method with a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account, which will lead to the replacement of the current Medicare Client Adaptor technology.

What does this mean for your Practice?

For Bp Premier Customers:

  • We expect Saffron SP3 to be available towards the end of February 2022. This is the version of Bp Premier that contains all MWS changes needed to meet transition dates. We recommend that your Practice upgrades as soon as this is made available.

  • Prior to upgrading to Saffron SP3, you must ensure that your have registered and configured your PRODA account. If this is not completed prior to the upgrade being applied, your Practice will not be able to access any Services Australia business functions.

  • Bp Premier customers have also been granted a 3-month extension by Services Australia and now have until 19 June 2022 to upgrade to Saffron SP3. To take advantage of this extension, your Practice must ensure that they have received a new PKI Certificate and that this is installed and configured for existing Medicare functionality to continue to function after the original cut off date of 13 March 2022.

For Bp VIP.net Customers:

  • We expect the next version of Bp VIP.net to be made available in April 2022. This is the version of Bp VIP.net that contains MWS changes needed to meet transition dates. We recommend that your Practice upgrades as soon as this is made available.

  • Due to some of the complexities involved in implementing these important changes, we will not meet the original March 13 2022 deadline and have successfully obtained an extension to this date on behalf of all of our Bp VIP.net customers. As a Bp VIP.net customer, this means that your Practice will now have an additional 3 months to transition to our final Medicare Web Services enabled build. The new date for your transition deadline is now Sunday the 19th of June, 2022.

  • To take advantage of this extension, your Practice must ensure that they have received a new PKI Certificate and that this is installed and configured for existing Medicare functionality to continue to function after the original cut-off date of 13 March 2022.

  • Prior to upgrading to the Bp VIP.net release containing MWS functionality, you must ensure that you have registered and configured your PRODA account. If this is not completed prior to the upgrade being applied, your Practice will not be able to access any Services Australia business functions.

For Bp Allied Customers:

  • The next version of Bp Allied, V7 SP2, is due for release towards the end of February 2022.

  • This release will contain the changes needed to support the new MWS requirements.

  • As we leverage a third-party API to connect to Services Australia functionality, all Practices must apply the V7 SP2 update prior to the 12th of March 2022 to ensure that they can continue to access Services Australia business functions.

Moving to Medicare Web Services - what support is available?

  • Access your Bp Knowledgebase to review the steps required to register and configure your PRODA account, along with accessing other supporting information about Medicare Web Services such as renewing and configuring your PKI Certificate.

  • Review the Enablement Material our fantastic Training Team has put together to support our Practices through this change.

  • For Bp Premier users, register for our upcoming Saffron SP3 Masterclass Series here. Classes begin from the 23rd of February 2022!

  • For Bp VIP.net customers, keep an eye out for our planned April Masterclass Series.

  • Send our team an email if you have any questions or require any further information!

Authored by:

Jessica White Author Blog Picture

Jessica White
Head of Commercial and Government at Best Practice Software

Save Time In Your Day with Default MBS Items

Default MBS Item Blog Image

Depending on the type of practice you’re working in, you might find that you’re often billing the same MBS item over and over again.

If this is the case, you will likely benefit from setting up default MBS items for your practitioners. Setting up default MBS items can save precious time when searching for the correct MBS item to bill at the end of a consult.

For example, perhaps you are regularly performing telephone consultations, and are finding yourself having to manually add the correct item number at the end of each and every consult.

Default MBS items are easy to set up and can be customised for each practitioner. Simply navigate to Setup > Users, select the practitioner who you wish to add a default MBS item for and click Edit.

Add the MBS item you wish to use by default to the Default Item no: field on the right-hand side of the screen and click Save.

Next, you will need to enable the default MBS item number. Select Setup > Preferences, and make sure the practitioner whose default MBS item number you wish to enable is selected from the User name: field at the top of the screen.

Tick Use the default MBS item in the Finalise window and click Save and close.

The next time the provider finalises a visit in the patient record, the default MBS item will appear under Items to bill. If the provider needs to select a different MBS item number for a consult, they can easily overwrite the default item number with a new one.

Default MBS Items screenshot

If your consults don’t necessarily require the same MBS item, an alternative option is to have Bp Premier calculate the MBS item required based on the visit length. This option can again save time searching for MBS items when finalising a consult.

To set automatically calculated MBS items, select Setup > Preferences, again making sure that the correct practitioner is selected. Tick Calculate the MBS item in the finalise window and click Save and close.

The next time the provider selects Finalise visit in the patient record, the calculated MBS item will appear under Items to bill.

For more information, be sure to access our Knowledge Base for detailed instructions.

Simply open the Help menu from within Bp Premier, and click Online, and search for ‘default item’. Our team of Training Specialists are also here to support you with timesaving tips and tricks just like this one. You can find out more, or get in touch with us at our website.

Authored by:

Default MBS Items Blog Author Image

Jennifer Stewart
Content Developer at Best Practice Software

Covid-19 and Mental Health – Tools to Help Support Struggling Patients

Covid-19 and Mental Health Blog Image

Covid-19 and mental health challenges are, unfortunately, terms that have gone hand-in-hand over the past 2 years. Ongoing economic hardships, an alarming spike in syphilis cases and the drastic changes in drinking habits during extended lockdowns have all been put under the microscope as examples of the kinds of toll the pandemic has taken on our mental wellbeing.

Bp Premier features a number of clinical tools which can help. Let’s review some of them, and how they can assist you in supporting patients struggling at this time.

Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS 21)

The latest release of Bp Premier includes the DASS 21 Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS) form, under the Clinical dropdown menu. (This is also where you can access the MMSE Mini Mental State Exam, and the Audit-C questionnaire.)

“DASS is a set of three self-report scales designed to measure the negative emotional states of depression, anxiety and stress. It was constructed … to further the process of defining, understanding, and measuring the ubiquitous and clinically significant emotional states usually described as depression, anxiety and stress.”

Covid-19 and Mental health DASS 21

Clinical Use of the DASS

“The principal value of the DASS in a clinical setting is to clarify the locus of emotional disturbance, as part of the broader task of clinical assessment. The essential function of the DASS is to assess the severity of the core symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. It must be recognised that clinically depressed, anxious or stressed persons may well manifest additional symptoms that tend to be common to two or all three of the conditions, such as sleep, appetite, and sexual disturbances. These disturbances will be elicited by clinical examination, or by the use of general symptom check lists as required.”

“The DASS may be administered and scored by non-psychologists, but decisions based on particular score profiles should be made only by experienced clinicians who have carried out an appropriate clinical examination. It should be noted also that none of the DASS items refers to suicidal tendencies because items relating to such tendencies were found not to load on any scale. The experienced clinician will recognise the need to determine the risk of suicide in seriously disturbed person.”

Click here for a full overview of the DASS.

Recording Alcohol Use

When using Bp Premier to record alcohol use, in the Family and Social history tools > Alcohol heading, there are additional resources available to you to assist with diagnosis of alcohol dependency.

The CAGE questionnaire is a list of four simple questions to check for signs of alcohol dependence. The results are recorded in the Comments box on this screen:

  • Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
  • Have people Annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
  • Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
  • Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener), to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

The AUDIT-C (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test) is an alcohol screen that can help identify hazardous drinkers, or those who have active alcohol use disorders. It can also identify at-risk drinkers (e.g. binge drinkers) who may not be alcohol-dependent. It generates a score from 0-12, and there is a button to access explanatory notes to discus with your patients. You can also monitor changes over time.

Covid-19 and Mental Health Audit-C Screenshot

There is also a button to open a pop up a list of standard drinks sizes for beer, wine, and spirits, plus of course, Fact Sheets (button next to Preventative Health) and Patient Information leaflets (‘professor’ icon in shortcuts toolbar) where you can search by topic and print information and further resources for your patients.

Domestic Violence - Further Support Available for Patients at Risk

Also in the Family and Social History tools, if your patient responds “No” to the question, “Do you feel safe in your own home?” a pop up window will be displayed with contact details for 1800Respect confidential support service.

1800RESPECT will continue to operate as usual during COVID-19, and is open 24 hours to support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. Patients can visit www.1800respect.org.au or call 1800 737 732 at any time.

Ordering Pathology - Setting Up Groups of Tests in Bp Premier

An unexpected event during the Covid-19 crisis has been an alarming spike in Syphilis cases in Australia, so GPs in some areas may be encountering a higher number of patients requiring sexual health checks.

You can save time by setting up ‘favourite’ groups of tests in Bp Premier. To access this, from the main menu, under the Setup dropdown menu > select Preferences > Pathology.

It is very simple to create groups of tests with a single shortcut, so you can generate a pathology request very quickly, e.g. for sexual health checks. To do this, first choose the name for the group, e.g. “STI Check”, then ADD each of the tests you wish to include. A routine STI screen might include these six common STIs detectable through blood and urine analysis: Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Pathology Request

Recording Covid-19 Vaccinations Given Elsewhere

Another feature you may wish to use is recording Covid-19 vaccine status of your patients. To record vaccines given elsewhere, so they are listed in the patient record, click on the Immunisations heading under Clinical Tree, and ADD a new vaccine. Select which Covid vaccine your patient has received, then under Billing provider dropdown, select “Not given here”.

Vaccines recorded in this way will not be uploaded to AIR from your practice. You do not need to include batch number details, but you can note the date given for each vaccine in the series, and use the comments section to record where the vaccine was administered, e.g. at a Pharmacy or vaccine hub location.  You may wish to look at the patient’s vaccine certificate to verify details before recording information in their record.

Vaccination Screen Image

For patients returning from overseas, click here to provide them with information from Services Australia on getting help adding your overseas COVID-19 vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Further Information

Though a return to relatively normal life may be in sight for many of us, Covid-19 and mental health continues to be a focus for people still struggling for many reasons, including the ones we’ve touched on today.

Below are a number of helpful links that provide more information around these topics.

Authored by:

Stephanie Beames Blog Author Image

Stephanie Beames
Deployment & Training Specialist at Best Practice Software