TeamBp Spotlight: Danielle Bancroft

Welcome to our Employee Spotlight series, where we introduce you to the hardworking and talented individuals who make up TeamBp!

If you have recently been to an industry-based panel discussion, you may have heard the name Danielle Bancroft. Danielle is the Chief Product Officer at Best Practice Software, a Non-Executive Director at Halo Connect, a Co-Chair at the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and a practising Pharmacist.

Having worked on multiple large-scale digital transformation projects, including the implementation of real-time prescription monitoring and the national ePrescribing rollout. It’s no wonder why she has now found herself with a vested interest in interoperability and the ecosystem of health tech here in Australia.

The Australian Digital Health Agency describes interoperability as ‘information that has a consistent meaning and how we move it between people, organisations and systems.’ The challenge we face here in Australia is that our healthcare system has evolved over decades without the forward planning of interoperability. Different clinicians, professions and jurisdictions have developed their own ways of working and different technological solutions to support them. This can make it hard when patients move across different parts of the system or when a clinician wants to understand a patient’s history better.

Recently, I sat down with Danielle to learn more about her as a person and chat about all things interoperability.

If you had to pick a song that would play every time you entered a room, what would it be?

Rick Rolling. It started as an April Fool joke in a 4chan chat and became a viral sensation. So basically, you get sent something and think it’s one thing, but when you click on it, it’s actually Rick Astley singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

One of my previous colleagues also owned a pharmacy. He was one of our beta testers, and we loved ‘Rick Rolling’ him. We sent out a news link through the news channel, and when he clicked on it, it would take him to Rick Astley singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. There’s a whole bunch of these videos on Instagram at the moment. They’re hilarious.

It’s not the actual song that matters. That’s irrelevant. You think you’re going to get one thing, but when you click on it, you get something totally different. 

How do you like to spend your weekends? Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

It depends on how much time I have, but I do like to go mountain biking. I tend to mountain bike in the summer, and in winter, I like to go skiing if I can get up to the mountains. I always go to the gym. The first thing I do on Saturdays is my workout. I’ve been doing a little bit of powerlifting lately. And other than that, I’m just very into food. If there’s stuff on, we try different restaurants, lunches, and dinners.

What drew you to want to work here at Bp?

I like to challenge myself to learn new things and grow. I’m fortunate to have worked with someone previously who can come up with an idea and make it a reality. But to meet someone who can do it twice, who knows the customer, that can go and build a product that matches what the customers need twice and makes it successful is someone that I want to learn from. That core aspect of Frank (Pyefinch) is just who he is. He’s so ingrained in understanding his customer.

Balancing that with both Frank and Lorraine in the time that I’ve interacted and worked with them on various projects, they’re the kind of people you want to work for. They’re very honest and down to earth. They care about their customer, but they equally care about their staff.

When did you discover that there was an interoperability problem to be solved here in Australia?

My mother was quite young when she was diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia. It’s been a really interesting journey supporting her from the family side. She has to go to the physio, she gets speech pathology, she goes to her specialist, she has a GP, and none of her records are available across the sectors. So, a lot of the time, my dad has to remember, write it out or get printouts. There are delays in getting the data across to the other professionals. It’s far more complicated than it needs to be.

After working on the ePrescribing side, it baffles me. It’s never been a technology problem. It could be built tomorrow. There’s a collective of issues that stop interoperability from happening, but we’re getting to a critical turning point where we need to get it done. Because ultimately, what is suffering at the moment is the patient.

Where does your passion for interoperability come from?

A need for timeliness and accuracy of patient care. From a clinician’s side, the frustration, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to at least see the data in real time.

Hospital admissions is a key one. The delays are caused when you don’t know what medications your patient is taking. Let’s say that they’re unconscious when they come in, you can’t ask them the questions. You don’t know. Sometimes all you get is a dump of what was in the medicine cabinet from the ambulance. It causes critical delays that could impact the outcome for the patient.

I would like to see it resolved in my lifetime, and I think that it can be done. Fundamentally for me, it’s not about competition or competitive advantage. Collectively, if we all put effort into making interoperability work and having data that we can freely exchange for the patient, we all end up better off, commercially and clinically.

I’m very wary of anyone who enters into a marketplace and calls themselves a disruptor. Genuine disruptors don’t need to tell people that’s what they are. Because health is an interesting one, where you need balance, yes, we want to move forward, and interoperability should be successful. There’s no reason why we can’t make it happen, but that shouldn’t be at all costs. You can’t do that and not make sure that you have adequate security and privacy in place for the patient to ensure that they’re still in control of their privacy to make sure that there’s a certain degree of quality in the applications being offered and that there’s some governance there. I think that’s why it’s always been put in the ‘too hard’ basket because you can’t just simply make it happen. You need structure and framework to make sure it’s being done in the best interest of the patient.

What drew you to want to work with Halo Connect?

The reality is Best Practice has an on-premises product that services a large percentage of the Australian market. It’s no secret that we’re also in the process of re-platforming our products for long-term modernisation. Part of that (modernisation) is how you provide an environment for your third parties. Putting in an API that services all of our products really helps us continue to build our future products while supporting our current existing products and supports our partners in all aspects.

The alignment with Halo Connect purely comes down to why they were doing it and what they were offering. It’s a true partnership in terms of working with Chris (Smeed). His reasons for doing it are about the practice as well as the patient.

Minimising the impact on the on-premise software, there’s all this stuff that you have on the server, all these integrations, how can we make that better so that the clinic can function and focus on the patient and not worry about hardware having pressures and supporting all that kind of stuff.

But also, how do you support the partners to ensure that new market entrants can enter? I think often there’s a high cost to have to connect to every on-premises clinic in Australia. You have to deploy and adapt to each one and have a support desk; it’s a lot of resources. Some small companies might have some really fantastic ideas but not enough funding to enter a market of on-premises software.

Being able to provide a central platform that provides an open marketplace that allows anyone to connect and securely provide information. Halo will offer security and privacy management as it’s an extra layer away from the clinic. It can provide throttling and all kinds of things that actually help the clinic keep their database performance and abstract that layer away. But also provides the ability for partners to connect at a lower cost than having to build their own adapters and deploy them.

It was really about the alignment; they were after the same end goal that we were and for the same reason.

Thank you, Danielle, for this wonderfully insightful chat. From a patient perspective, I look forward to seeing the remarkable work that you are doing in this space and what is to come next.

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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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Solving the Healthcare Interoperability Crisis: Halo Connect

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Best Practice Software congratulates Halo Connect on its launch as it brings to market a modern cloud-based interoperability platform designed for clinical software. In a vote of confidence for the emerging platform, Best Practice Software is pleased to announce a significant investment in the company. 

Halo Connect will provide Best Practice Premier integrators with a single integration point that allows health data to be accessed safely and securely in real-time via an API. The financial investment will allow Halo Connect to supercharge development of a modern cloud-based API that conforms to industry standard FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources).

Chris Smeed, Halo Connect founder, commented, “In building and scaling healthcare start-up “Cubiko”, I came to realise that data analysis leads to better patient outcomes and improved financial sustainability of medical practices. But the data was difficult to unlock, and not many of the software systems would speak to each other. We built Halo Connect to solve this issue.”

This investment represents a significant step in the evolution of the Bp Partner Network and provides assurance around accessing real-time and accurate health information for both patients and integration partners across the current and future cloud products.  

Founder and CEO of Best Practice Software, Dr Frank Pyefinch, said, “with the speed at which digital health is progressing towards omnichannel patient-centred healthcare, providing reliable, quality, secure, and real-time access to patient records is more important than ever.” 

Dr Frank Pyefinch commented, “Best Practice is excited to work with Chris and the Halo Connect team to bring the first ever Best Practice API to market and with the investment will provide a rapid boost to the Best Practice interoperability roadmap as well as the future of interoperability in Australia.”

The introduction of Halo Connect will simplify partner integrations with Bp Premier and cloud platforms, creating a single integration point. The platform will create efficiencies in the provision of partner support and may reduce development costs incurred by partners in the design and development of their tools. Medical practices will benefit from their software providers being able to seamlessly integrate and reduce any unwanted stress on their on-premise infrastructure as well as equipping them for future cloud migrations.  

After a successful beta program across Cubiko customers, work is currently underway to deliver key interoperability projects with Aged Care and Acute Care partners, with the aim to make Halo Connect available to all Best Practice Software partners in October 2022. 

For software vendors interested in integrating with Best Practice and the soon-to-be-available Halo Connect, Best Practice Software offers a Partner Network program. To find out more information on how to apply, please contact partners@bpsoftware.net.  

Best Practice Software and Halo Connect look forward to working with industry partners to provide a seamless API that progresses standards and integrations.  

If you’re interested in joining the waitlist for Halo Connect’s cloud-based APIs for Best Practice, sign up here.

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There is Art to Medicine – As Well As Science

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“Most especially must I tread with care, in matters of life and death”. 

Painted across the Woondooma Street side of the Best Practice Software building, the cursive script reads like an excerpt from an 18th-century poem.

Art to Medicine Blog Best Practice Software Bundaberg Mural PhotoWhen questioned on the Hippocratic Oath, many people will quote the quintessential phrase where the physician promises ‘first do no harm’. One of the more poetic lines from the Oath, however, which very few people would recognise, encourages those in medical practice to, ‘remember that there is art to medicine, as well as science.’

Just like in any other form of art, there is a need for creativity and individuality. Healthcare professionals must be able to apply their generalised knowledge to the specific needs of each individual patient.  In this way, the art of medicine includes both the science of medicine and the ability to apply that science in a way that meets the needs of each patient. 

This is something Best Practice Software founders Dr. Frank and Lorraine Pyefinch know intimately having both worked in healthcare. As a General Practitioner Dr. Pyefinch understands that, “there is an art to medicine, and it starts with understanding the patient.” Quote Best Practice Software is proud to share our special story in the format of this hand-painted mural, which celebrates the story of how Dr Frank & Lorraine Pyefinch developed and grew the idea of creating an electronic medical practice record into one of Australasia’s most successful Health Technology   groups. Lorraine Pyefinch shares that the mural illustrates, “the transformation from when doctors had to write everything by hand to a more modern use of automation and technology.” But above all else, it represents the spirit of innovation and its personal connectedness with Health Practitioners and Patients.

In collaboration with the vision of Best Practice Software, the artwork’s bespoke design has been created by local artists Mark Terry, Nicole Wone, and Taylor Klaasen , who incorporated several specific elements relating to both the heritage of Best Practice Software and the First Nations People upon whose land the Operations Hub resides.

Evolution was a metaphor and inspiration for the process. To each of the artists, evolution represented something different. For Mark, the goal was to illustrate, ‘how we are all connected through shared human experiences such as life and death’ which is depicted in the changing leaves across the wall.

Best Practice Software Mural Sun ImageNicole, as a local Gooreng Gooreng and Bundaburra Yidinji Woman, wanted to “give an Indigenous perspective to the story of the mural.” She brought to life the “Ginmine” (the Sun) as the giver of all life, with science providing its connection to evolution on Earth, and spiritually how it explores and brings light to unseen energies in all living animals and plants. She also incorporated a tribute to the Rainbow Serpent for the significance it plays in creation and the stunning imagery of the beginning of time and greater movement in the cosmos.

 

Throughout the mural are intricate and delicate patterns woven in by Taylor, which reflect the flow of energy and how everything is interconnected. To her, evolution, “represents change and how the world really works. Everyone is always changing.” These unique patterns demonstrate the individual journey that each person takes in their lifetime.   

Best Practice Software Mural Bird ImageDr & Mrs Pyefinch’s personal stamp on the quality and interoperability of our software products is represented by the mathematical symbol for “Pi” and the Finch bird (together, as Pyefinch), which soars high above. The Finch connects life between the earth and the sun, and how DNA strands interconnect all we do in supporting Healthcare Practitioners 

The mural is a visual representation of how far we’ve come as an organisation, and how our core values have remained the same throughout our evolution – to make a real difference in healthcare. We believe that art has an important role to play in both our personal and professional lives, and we hope that this mural will inspire creativity, connection and pride in all who see it. 

Thank you for being part of our story! 

Learn more about the Bundaberg Mural, and the meaning behind it, here.

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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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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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Time is Precious: Streamlining Aged Care Support

Streamlining Aged Care Support

Time is a precious commodity in any general practice, let alone during a pandemic, so it’s essential to adopt the technology that’s designed to provide you and your patients with a great service.  

The Australian Government’s My Aged Care service is the entry point for senior Australians to access government-funded aged care support and services, with demand for this service set to increase in line with an aging population.

The Department of Health recognises the central role General Practitioners (GPs) play in managing health and well-being concerns for senior Australians, particularly in the community settings.  As such, GPs can make referrals directly to My Aged Care for support services. 

Each year, My Aged Care receives around 250,000 referrals from health professionals, with referrals from hospitals generally following an acute incident where consumers typically require higher levels of care.

Following several years of consultation, GPs have advised the Department of Health that the current referral pathways (Website, Fax, Call Centre) are labour intensive requiring manual data entry, leading to inefficiencies and risks of error which, in turn, affects the quality and accuracy of the information stored in My Aged Care.

To address these problems and encourage more early referrals by GPs (in order to help minimise acute incidents), a My Aged Care eReferral SmartForm web service has been introduced by HealthLink to facilitate direct submission of referrals from Best Practice Software users nationwide.

Adopting an integrated referral solution on both sides of the referral fence (GPs and My Aged Care) achieves the following goals:

  • Reduces the administrative burden and cost associated with the current health professional referral pathways, minimising manual entry;
  • Increases the number of referrals to My Aged Care from health profeissionals (particularly GPs);
  • Encourages early intervention to prevent avoidable hospitalisations, in line with the Department of Health’s re-ablement approach;
  • Promotes more holistic assessment and service delivery, which also better reflects care needs;
  • Enables faster assessments and more timely access to care; and
  • Improves the quality and accuracy of data stored in My Aged Care

The My Aged Care e-Referral SmartForm design makes it quick and easy to use because it’s securely integrated by HealthLink into the Bp Premier patient record.  Upon launch, the SmartForm pre-populates all the patient and practice details and enables files to be attached from the patient’s record to back up the referral.  This allows doctors and nurses to fill the forms out during a patient consultation, ask the patient questions while they are there and get the referral right, the first time.

Once the e-Referrals are submitted to My Aged Care, a confirmation number is provided by My Aged Care on the submitted form, and a copy is instantly saved back into the patient’s file in Bp Premier.

Since the e-Referral’s launch in October 2019, My Aged Care reports more than 35,000 e-Referrals have been sent, showing just how popular the solution has become with general practices.

The overall quality of referrals has improved, as the e-Referral ensures My Aged Care receives complete, detailed, legible patient and medical information every time.  And the faster a referral is sent and processed, the less time a patient has to wait to be assessed.

A general practice in Adelaide that uses Bp Premier hasn’t looked back since introducing My Aged Care e-Referrals following an initial trial period.  Nurse manager Casey Franchi, who’s worked at Chandler’s Hill Surgery, now uses e-Referrals on a regular basis.

Prior to e-Referrals, Casey used the My Aged Care website to send referrals.

“The website referral is time-consuming compared to e-Referrals because you have to manually type all the patient details in from their file, which can also lead to transcription errors.”

“With the website, because it was time-consuming, I’d have to fill the referral out after the patient had left because it required a big chunk of my time to do it. And then if I needed to ask them a question, I’d have to contact them.”

“In comparison, the e-Referral is in the patient file so you can easily and securely access any documents to upload to back up the referral.”

“Life is so much easier now and I would recommend them to any general practice. The time saved means I can focus on the important stuff like caring for patients and not on filling out forms.”

My Aged Care director of online services and communication Kylie Sauer says e-Referrals have improved healthcare workers’ experience by offering better integration into their existing workflow and taking away the need to exit their PMS to send a referral.

“Sending a referral by fax or the My Aged Care website takes longer. By pre-populating patient information and GP details, e-Referrals are the fastest and most efficient way to refer patients to My Aged Care,” she says.

“Faxes are particularly slow to process on the My Aged Care end, which results in patients waiting longer to be referred for an assessment.”

Watch this short video to find out how you can easily e-refer patients to My Aged Care using your Best Practice Software.

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Evrima Technologies – Now Part of the Bp Partner Network

Evrima Technologies Blog Image

The following article was submitted by Bp Software Evrima Technologies. You can view their partner profile here

Evrima Technologies is now part of the Bp Partner Network.

Evrima makes it easier for your GP Clinic to offer Clinical Trials as a care option for your patients.

For some patients, clinical trials may be the best or only option to access treatments that are not readily available.  However, this information can be difficult for them to obtain.

As a Healthcare Professional, you are the most trusted source of information for your patients. Research shows people who haven’t been in a clinical trial before would prefer to hear about trials from their doctor or health professional and about 4 out of 5 patients would consider a clinical trial if it was recommended by their doctor.

The Evrima GP search tool, integrated with Bp Premier is free of charge and offers:

  • Access to clinical trials without administrative burden on the practice.
  • Ability to match and recommend clinical trials for your patients.
  • Enables your patients to gain access to treatments that are otherwise unavailable to them.
  • Increase awareness of new research and trials in Australia.
  • Added service to your practice to increase practice profile.
  • Participation in cutting-edge clinical research within Australia.

To activate Evrima integration with Bp Premier, simply follow this link. Once these simple steps have been completed please contact us via clinicians@evrima.com.au to finalise the simple onboarding process.

About Evrima Technologies

Evrima was founded to address the many challenges facing the clinical trial industry, in particular, patient awareness and participation. Evrima recognises the need to bring HCPs and clinical research together to advance clinical trial awareness, participation and thereby helping to accelerate medical development. Our mission is to improve the quality of care for patients by empowering doctors to discuss clinical trials with their patients, simplifying the clinical trial enrollment process and therefore improving our healthcare system.

Learn more about Evrima today by visiting their website.

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