The Dos and Don’ts of Marketing Your Practice

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

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

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

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

Which Advertising Channels Should You Choose?

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

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

Online Channels

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

Offline Channels

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

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

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

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

What Considerations Do You Have To Make In Your Advertising?

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


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


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

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

DO: Identify Your Target Demographic

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

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

DON'T: Use Misleading Images

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

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

DO: Encourage Reviews From Current Patients

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DON'T: Offer Significant Discounts Or Gifts

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

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

Authored by:

Photo of blog author Tegan Swann

Tegan Swann
Marketing & Communications Specialist at Best Practice Software

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The Patient Population of General Practice

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As a healthcare professional, it’s crucial to understand the benefits of providing tailored and effective care to patients, and planning for the future of your practice. Understanding the population of general practice takes the guesswork out of your strategic business decisions and provides a deeper insight into how practitioners can personalise care.


Fortunately, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) compiles the Health of the Nation Report each year, which includes valuable insights into the patient population. This annual report sheds light on the current state of Australian General Practice. It provides insights into trends RACGP gathers from government and industry publications alongside data from surveying GPs.


To ensure their report addresses the most prevalent topics circulating the general practice landscape, the RACGP asks members to vote on a focus topic. 2022’s Health of the Nation report focuses on the sustainability of general practice; including themes of unsustainable workloads, burnout, administrative burdens, and remuneration. Understanding the patient population is crucial when considering the sustainability of general practice and planning for your practice’s future.


This article summarises RACGP’s findings on the patient population and results from the 2021-2022 Australian Bureau of Statistics information on patient experiences.

What Factors Influence the Patient Population of Australia?

With 84% of Australians visiting a GP annually, it may seem like a no-brainer to tailor your practice’s business and marketing strategy to a broad audience. However, the patient population is constantly evolving. When planning for your practice’s future, it is essential to consider factors such as geography, gender, age, and socioeconomic status and how such factors determine how often a patient may visit and the number of services they use.


It’s no surprise that the geography of patients can impact their relationships with general practice. According to the RACGP’s 2022 Health of the Nation Report, people living in and close to major cities see a GP more frequently. Regional or remote patients visit a GP for an average of four services, compared to eight from patients living in the city or surrounding suburbs. City dwellers are also more likely to have a telehealth consultation than those living in remote or regional areas (32.2% compared to 22.5%), contributing to the higher frequency of using GP services.


The Health of the Nation Report also explores how females access GP services more than males, with 88% of females visiting a GP annually compared to 78.9% of males. This has remained consistent year-on-year. Females also utilise more services, averaging around nine services used yearly, compared to males averaging around seven. Females were also more likely to have a telehealth consultation than men (36.5% compared to 24.8%). Despite Females utilising more services than males, they were 31.3% more likely to delay or not use GPs when needed than 24.8% of males. Similarly, females were less likely to utilise after-hours GP support than males.


Age also affects the frequency of GP visits and services used. 97.2% of people over 85 saw a GP compared to 72.2% of people aged 15-24. Age also contributes to the number of GP services used, with the RACGP’s report showing that the number of GP services used increases as the patient ages. The report also outlines how younger age groups are more likely to delay or not visit a GP due to economic factors, predominantly with the 25-34 age group.


Whether patients have long-term health conditions also contributes to the frequency and use of GP services. Those with long-term health conditions were significantly more likely to visit a GP at 94.5% compared to 71.4% of people without. Also, 6.7% of people with long-term health conditions visited an after-hours GP compared to 4.2% of people without. These results have also remained consistent year-on-year.

What Impact Do These Factors Have on the Perception of Care?

According to the RACGP’s Health of the Nation report, people outside of major cities have different views towards GP wait times and are more likely to report longer wait times for a GP appointment. The increased likelihood of reporting longer wait times may be attributed to 49.5% of people living in regional, remote, or very remote areas being more likely to wait at least 24 hours to see a GP for urgent care.


Similarly, the report indicates that those with long-term health conditions, females, and those living in areas with the most socio-economic disadvantage were also more likely to report longer wait times than other groups. Despite this, the 2022 report indicated that three in four people believe their wait time was acceptable, and 57% of those living in major cities reported waiting less than four hours between booking an appointment and seeing a GP for urgent care.

Some Topics Continue to Prevail...

The 2022 Health of the Nation report highlighted an important topic consistent over the past six consecutive years. The most predominant reason patients see a GP is for mental health, with 38% of consults including a mental health element. This statistic is also reflected from the GP’s perspective of the most concerning emerging patient health issues, with 49% of GPs reporting mental health as their primary concern.

Despite this concern remaining front of mind for the past six years, the prevalence of mental health issues in Australia has grown significantly since the pandemic, with symptoms of depression in patients increasing from 10% in 2020 to 28% in 2021. The report explores how young females are more likely to use GP services for mental health issues than any other group, with 24% of mental health appointments used by females aged 15-24. The rate of females seeking GP support for mental health decreases as they age. However, they consistently remain higher than males, with 25-34-year-old males contributing to 12% of GP Mental Health consults.

The 2022 Health of the Nation Report highlights the importance of understanding patient demographics in the ever-changing healthcare landscape. As the patient population’s relationship with general practice evolves, it is essential to consider how your practice can evolve. Patients appreciate the convenience of telehealth, with 76% of those who have used it agreeing that funding should continue in a post-pandemic world. Telehealth’s recent rapid adoption can be attributed to COVID-19. 

However, a report by RACGP explores how the benefits were recognised pre and post-pandemic. Patients accessing telehealth have increased satisfaction levels as it allows for reduced travel costs and disruption to employment. In turn, telehealth can help to reduce no-shows for your practice. Therefore, if lowering a patient’s barrier to accessing your practice is your goal, consider implementing and marketing your telehealth services. Along the same line, an online booking platform is a great way to evolve your practice into the digital world. In the 2021 Commbank Insights Report, 20% of patients prefer to manage their appointments via websites and apps. Patient satisfaction increases when they can manage their appointments anytime and from anywhere, with 56% of patients who used online bookings saying this process improved their patient experience.

The RACGP’s Health of the Nation report clarifies that a patient’s location, age, gender, socio-economic status, and medical history all play a role in determining the frequency and uptake of general practice services. Combining these patient population of general practice insights with your practice’s unique data can help you develop personalised strategies to meet the needs of your patients.


The complete 2022 RACGP Health of the Nation Report is available here.

Authored by:

Photo of blog author Tegan Swann

Tegan Swann
Marketing & Communications Specialist at Best Practice Software

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Prescribing a Healthy Dose of Gratitude on World Health Day!

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This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 7 April 1948. During a conference to set up the United Nations, it was proposed that a global health organisation be established to promote health and advocate for healthcare the world over.

World Health Day is an excellent opportunity to pay it forward and show appreciation for healthcare providers who work on the frontline daily. Whether you are a Bp user or not, we would like to extend our utmost gratitude to all the healthcare providers out there.

With this milestone anniversary, we thought we’d use it as an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some significant milestones in Australasian healthcare history, recognising events, programs and initiatives that have brought us to where we are today.

St Helens Hospitals - 1905

We begin just after the turn of the 20th century, Following the New Zealand government’s enaction of the 1904 Midwives Act, which enabled the training and registration of midwives by the Health Department. As a result, seven state-owned maternity hospitals were opened to train midwives and provide maternity care for the wives of working men.

Named after St Helens in Lancashire, England, the seven hospitals were the first of their kind anywhere in the world. The first hospital was opened in Wellington on May 29, 1905, and subsequent hospitals were opened in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gisborne, Invercargill and Wanganui.

The services provided by St Helens Hospitals were gradually incorporated into other hospitals, and the last of the hospitals to close was Auckland, in 1990.

School Dental Services - 1921

Following World War One, the New Zealand Government instituted a state-funded School Dental Service to combat the nation’s poor oral health. Two years later, an entirely female draft of dental nurses graduated – skilled in the use of the pedal-powered dental drill; which was often used without anaesthetic! 

Students who were – perhaps understandably – terrified of visiting the dentist while at school devised an ominous nickname for the service. Students whose names were called out for appointments were said to have visited the ‘Murder House’.

The School Dental Service existed until 2006, when it became the Community Oral Health Service. It now offers subsidised dental care for people aged 18 and under.

Disposable Syringes - 1956

In early 1956, New Zealand veterinarian Colin Murdoch of Christchurch was trying to develop a method of vaccination that eliminated risk of infection. While the ubiquitous glass syringes of the time were designed for multiple uses and sterilised between each use, infection still occurred from time to time.

At 27 years of age, Colin had the idea for single-use, disposable syringes made from a less expensive material than glass. It’s believed that the idea came to him while he was playing with a fountain pen!

He pitched the idea to the New Zealand Health Department, who ultimately dismissed his idea; claiming the invention was obscure and too futuristic. Not deterred by this setback, Murdoch filed a patent application.

Today, disposable plastic syringes are an indispensible feature of medical treatment, with nearly 16 billion used worldwide each year.

Polio Vaccine - 1956

In what would be a significant year for Australasian healthcare, June of 1956 saw the polio vaccine introduced into Australia.

Dr Percival Bazeley of the Commonwealth Serum Labratories (CSL) had been sent to work with renowned American virologist Jonas Salk in 1952, and in 1955 returned to Melbourne and began manufacturing the ‘Salk vaccine’. These were distributed across Australia in June of 1956, with 25 million doses produced by CSL under Dr Bazeley’s watch.

While many parents were enthusiastic about the vaccine, vaccination rates were not high enough, and the lack of herd immunity contributed to further polio outbreaks in 1961 and 1962.

In 1966, an oral vaccine developed by Polish-American medical researcher Albert Sabin was first used in Australia. In October 2000, the WHO declared the Western-Pacific region, which included Australia, to be polio-free.

Oral Contraceptive Pill - 1961

When oral contraceptive pill ‘Anovlar’ arrived in Australia in February of 1961, it ushered in a momentous change for the lives of women. While initially only available to married women, and burdened with a hefty luxury tax of 27.5%, the pill gave women the freedom to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and more carefully plan their journey into parenthood.

Offering women this kind of control over their reproductive future saw more women entering the workforce. More working women became the basis for ongoing social change, including legislation around equal pay and freedom from discrimination.

In 1972, during his first 10 days in office, then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam universally abolished luxury taxes on contraceptives and placed the pill on the PBS list, making it available to women for $1 per month.

Today, the pill remains one of the most popular and safest forms of birth control.

Medicare - 1975

The first iteration of Australia’s public healthcare system began on 1 July 1975, after the passing of legislation by a joint sitting of Parliament of 7 August, 1974 under Gough Whitlam’s government.

After the Whitlam government was dismissed, the incoming government, led by Malcolm Fraser, modified Medibank by establishing a levy of 2.5% on income to fund it – but this levy could be avoided by taking out private health insurance instead. 

Many changes to Medibank followed, such as changes to agreements with states over how much money hospitals would receive, restrictions to benefits and bulk billing, and rebates for those who had private health insurance.

Most of these changes were controversial, and were revoked by the incoming Labor government of 1984, under Bob Hawke. Aside from a name change from Medibank to Medicare, the health system that operated from 1 February 1984 heavily resembled the initial implementation from 1975.

While Medicare remains in place today, it is a hotly debated political topic.

BreastScreen Australia - 1991

The BreastScreen Australia program was introduced in 1991 as a joint initiative of the Australian and state and territory governments. The purpose of the initiative was to reduce illness and death from breast cancer by detecting and, where possible, treating the disease early.

When the program was first introduced, it exclusively targeted women aged 50-69 years of age, believing this was the age group most likely to benefit. In 2013, it was extended to the 70-74 year old age group.

Research conducted in 2017 showed that over the program’s lifespan, breast cancer mortality has decreased at a population level by about 32%. This is due to both improvements in treatment, and early detection from screening.

From national and regional evaluations, it is estimated that early screenings prevent approximately 8 deaths for every 1,000 women screened in the age group of 50-74 years old.

As of 2023, Australian women aged 40 and over are eligible for free mammograms with BreastScreen Australia, with women aged 50-74 still the target demographic being actively targeted to participate.

The List Goes On!

While we’ve touched on some momentous and significant advancements in Australasian healthcare history in this article, there are dozens more events, programs, initiatives and people who have shaped, and made incredible contributions to our healthcare landscape. 

If you think we’ve missed a key milestone in Australasian healthcare history, let us know! We’d love to learn more about it and share it with our readers.

For more information about World Health Day, visit the WHO website.

Authored by:

Photo of Louis Valenti, blog author.

Louis Valenti
Marketing & Communications Leader
at Best Practice Software

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RACGP Three Key Principles for the Secondary Use of General Practice Data by Third Parties

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General practitioners and general practice staff need to be adept at discerning to whom, when and how to provide their data for secondary use. To help GPs and general practice staff navigate this territory, the RACGP has developed recourses centred around three key principles for the secondary use of general practice data by third parties.

In consultation with software vendors, like Best Practice, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has recently developed resources centred around three key principles for the secondary use of general practice data by third parties. These principles are designed to ensure that patient privacy is protected and that any secondary use of the data is appropriate and ethical.

Patient privacy must be protected. This first key principle means that any use of general practice data must comply with the relevant privacy laws and regulations and that patients must give informed consent before their data can be used. In addition, any third party using the data must have appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure of the data.

The second key principle is that the use of general practice data must be appropriate and ethical. Meaning that the data should only be used for purposes that are consistent with the primary purpose of the data collection, which is to support patient care. Any secondary use of the data must also be transparent, and patients must be made aware of how their data is being used. Finally, the third key principle is that general practice data should only be used for research or other secondary purposes where there is a clear public benefit. This means that any use of the data must be able to demonstrate a clear and tangible benefit to the public, such as improving patient outcomes or advancing medical research.

These principles are important because they help to ensure that patient privacy is protected and that any secondary use of general practice data is conducted appropriately and ethically. By following these principles, third parties can help build trust with patients and the wider community and ensure that the use of general practice data is seen as a positive development that benefits everyone. It is worth noting that these principles are not binding legal requirements but rather a set of guidelines that the RACGP have developed to promote best practice using general practice data. As such, they are intended to be flexible enough to accommodate different contexts and situations while providing clear guidance on handling general practice data responsibly and ethically.

In practice, this means that third parties who wish to use general practice data for research or other purposes must first obtain patients’ consent and ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect the data from unauthorised access or disclosure. They must also ensure that any use of the data is consistent with the primary purpose of the data collection and that there is a clear public benefit to the proposed use. These principles form an essential framework for ensuring that patient privacy is protected and that any secondary use of the data is conducted in a way that is appropriate and ethical. By following these principles, third parties can help build trust with patients and the wider community and ensure that using general practice data is a positive development that benefits everyone.

For more information and to download the RACGP’s resources, please click here.

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Real Time Prescription Monitoring Update

The rollout of Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) across Australia is one step closer to completion, with the Western Australian Department of Health recently announcing they are next for implementation. Due for release on the 28th of March.

RTPM provides information to doctors (prescribers) and pharmacists (dispensers) about a patient’s history and use of controlled medicines when they are considering prescribing or dispensing these medicines. The Commonwealth, state and territory agencies are working together to implement the RTPM system. However, each state or territory remains responsible for the management of controlled medicines in its jurisdiction.

The misuse of controlled medicines is a growing concern within Australia, with levels of overdose and accidental deaths rising. RTPM allows healthcare professionals to identify patients who may be at risk of harm due to their medication use. By monitoring prescription data in real time, healthcare professionals can quickly identify patients receiving high doses of opioids or other controlled substances. This information can then be used to develop an appropriate treatment plan for the patient, which may include referral to addiction treatment or the provision of alternative pain management options. RTPM also allows healthcare professionals to detect instances of doctor shopping, where patients attempt to obtain multiple prescriptions for controlled substances from different healthcare providers.

The implementation of RTPM in Australia has been successful in reducing prescription drug misuse and abuse. In Victoria, for example, the introduction of RTPM led to a 30% decrease in the number of patients receiving high doses of opioids. Overall, RTPM is a valuable tool for healthcare professionals in Australia that helps prevent prescription drug abuse, reduce doctor shopping, and improve public health outcomes. Technology developments can help reduce the misuse of medicines listed as controlled substances while ensuring that patients who genuinely need these medicines are able to access them.

RTPM is easy to set up in Bp Premier, but before you can enable RTPM in your user preferences, your practice must be using eRx or MediSecure as your electronic prescription service. For more information on RTPM, please visit our Knowledge Base (F1 and search for ‘rtpm’) or your Department of Health Website.

Want to learn more about RTPM? Watch our explainer video for the rundown!

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What Will the Healthcare Industry Look Like in 2023?

We had the privilege of interviewing Anita Hobson-Powell, CEO of ESSA (Exercise & Sports Science Australia). ESSA is an organization with a mission to enhance performance, health and well-being through the science of exercise and sport – and it advocates for tertiary-trained exercise and sports science practitioners. ESSA has over 10,000 members across the professional spectrum, ranging from exercise scientists to exercise physiologists and sports scientists to high-performance managers.

With over 15 years of experience, Anita has made a significant impact in her field and has established herself as a leader and influencer in the industry. In this article, we talk about the current industry trends – including technology, data security, and mental well-being. You will also learn about why understanding the patient and delivering quality care is now more important than ever.

Get ready to be inspired and learn from one of the top players in the game.

What are the Current Trends in the Healthcare Industry? 

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The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and several trends have emerged in recent years that are shaping the future of healthcare delivery. We asked Anita to give us her insights into the four hot topics that that everyone should be thinking about:

  1. Technology plays a bigger role in the healthcare industry every year. The pandemic significantly impacted the healthcare industry and accelerated the adoption of Telehealth services. Technology has been on the increase. The comfort level of both the patient and the practitioner is increasing.” For Anita, any software that saves time is worthwhile. “Of course, learning a new skill takes time at first, but if it’s an important skill, learn it. With technology, we open up healthcare to more people, and that’s an important step forward.”

  2. The next important topic relates to digital health. “This won’t surprise you, as it is the partner of using technology: data security”, Anita explains. She continues by listing a few questions that should be considered: Where is your data stored? Who has access to it? Is it encrypted? Who in the business need to have access to certain information?” As cyber-attacks are becoming more common, it is vital to protect the patient data. Keeping and managing patient data properly can help the healthcare industry improve quality of care, reduce costs, and grow patient engagement.

  3. Outcomes. “We are seeing outcomes being a bigger focus, and again it links back to technology. If you are providing the service, what data can you show that the person got better or is performing better? You need to justify your service to show that you are doing the right things.” Following outcomes is not only beneficial for the patient, but the practitioner can understand more easily what is working and what is not.

  4. The mental health of the practitioners. Many understand that mental health is a critical aspect of overall well-being that affects how we think, feel, and behave in our daily lives. Good mental health enables people to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their communities. In contrast, poor mental health can lead to a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, among others. “Mental health is being talked about a whole lot more. Are practitioners suffering from compassion fatigue? Are they under financial stress or perhaps under lockdown-related stress? Across the clinical, well-being, and sporting space these things are being talked about, and people are also now asking for help. The fact that this is happening is wonderful to see,” says Anita.
“Practitioner wellbeing is of growing interest in our industry and an important focus for ESSA in 2023.”

An Industry Driven by Patients

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According to LinkedIn Jobs in the Rise in Australia recently released that exercise physiologist was the second highest rising profession in Australia. As the profession is getting more competitive, ESSA will stay busy providing the right tools for professionals to succeed. Anita highlights how the result of this study came to them as a positive discovery, but she is not surprised. “During Covid and lockdown, people started to look after their health more and this resulted in more need for professionals to help people. I am also certain our work affects this growth.”

As we continued the conversation about what was happening in the healthcare industry at the moment, Anita pointed out two key factors that are also current trends, which are related to one another. “One that will affect everyone is funds for accessing services. As the support from the government is dropping a little, people will have to pay for the services more than usual. This will naturally affect consumer behavior and now more than ever consumers are driving the expectations of services.”

“If patient’s are not happy with the service, no matter whether it’s in the clinical, exercise, wellness, or sporting space, they will go to another provider. It’s about understanding the patient and delivering quality care.”

Uncovering 2023

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If we had to summarise our conversation with Anita and what the coming year has in store, excitement would describe it fairly well. The use of technology is growing. More practitioners and patients are adopting digital health. Naturally, data security is a rising topic and more people are keen on outcomes and learning through the data. Now more than ever the patients are driving the expectations of the services and therefore the quality of care is increasing. To come back full circle, mental health is in the middle of it all. Practitioners and other healthcare professionals are more aware of their own mental health and seek help for it. When adding it all up, it sounds like we are going to have an exciting year ahead. Bring it on 2023, we are ready to continue elevating the world’s well-being! 

Did You Know?

Physitrack is your complete digital health tool that consists of exercise prescription, patient onboarding, Telehealth, and messaging and outcome measures. It’s easy to use for practitioners and patients. All in one app.

All data sent to and from Physitrack is encrypted in-transit and encrypted at rest. Keeping patients and practitioners secure is of paramount importance to Physitrack.

Physitrack offers clinical groups powerful and easy-to-use tools that uniquely enable the automated collection, aggregation, and analysis of key data from patients in a clinical ecosystem. Outcome analysis at its best.

Authored by:

Anna Rantala
Marketing Specialist at Physitrack

Article and images attributed to Physitrack. Click here to view the blog.

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5 Simple Ways Your Practice Can Boost Its Online Presence

These days, attracting new patients and retaining existing patients requires an impactful online presence. Looking awesome online will work wonders towards building a recognisable brand and reputation for your practice.

In the increasingly competitive healthcare industry, simply having a website is not enough – you need to be dotted across the internet to appear where your patients are searching. Patients now expect medical practices to have an online presence for sharing information, scheduling appointments, managing reviews, and interacting with patients. Here are 5 simple ways your practice can boost their online presence.

1. Put Your Practice on the Map with a Listing on Google My Business

You could have the best practice in the world, with no wait times and a free lollipop with every visit, but nobody would know if they couldn’t find you! Visibility is important.

Patients usually search for health professionals in their geographic area, so linking your practice to Google Maps is vital. This ensures that your practice’s name and location appear on the map when someone searches your city and “doctor” (or whatever your specialty might be).

There’s no denying that Google reigns supreme in digital marketing. Google My Business is a practice’s one-stop shop for directory listing optimisation. Subscribers’ business information appears on Search, Maps, Google+, and Google Places. 

And the best part is it’s free! Create a profile with Google My Business to claim your Google Maps listing. After logging in, you can edit your listing’s contact details, opening hours, photos, and description. You will also be able to see reviews that patients post about your practice and respond to them.

2. Never Underestimate the Power of Social Media

Many practices think they only need to post professional, business-relevant content. Realistically, fun content, relatable memes or photos of practice staff will more likely earn you organic and community-focused engagement. 

Aim to regularly post content that people want to ‘like’ or ‘share.’ Each interaction will expose your post to new potential patients. Remember, you’re trying to connect with patients, so your content needs to appeal to people outside the medical profession. 

Information on social media can directly influence a prospective patient’s decision to choose your practice or even a specific doctor.

Activity on your social media pages can influence where your site appears in Google searches. While the exact SEO impact of social activity is difficult to pin down, there are specific ways to increase your online presence through clever social media usage.

3. Doctor Review Websites = Reputation Management

Many people will search for patient reviews before choosing a new healthcare provider. Online reputation can make or break new patient acquisition. The effort you put into acquiring and managing reviews can lead to acquiring and retaining more patients as well as bringing overall business growth to your healthcare practice.

Online reviews help prospective patients understand the provider’s level of patient care, helping them determine which doctors they should select for their healthcare needs. Practices with a solid online reputation can also help curb a patient’s anxiety, providing reassurance that they are to be trusted with their care.

Encouraging patients to leave reviews is essential for boosting your online reputation. Since unhappy patients may be more likely to share their negative experiences while happy patients continue with their days, the simple act of asking patients for a review can help your practice acquire more positive online reviews.

You might discover your practice already exists on online directories, and people may already be talking about you. Doing a search online will help you find these listings and claim them so you can track what’s happening on them, respond to customer queries, and make any necessary updates. This also applies to some social networks such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business, that allow users to create business listings.

4. Get Into Blogging

Another great way to improve your online presence is to create a blog. Publishing blog posts regularly is a great way to improve your search engine ranking. It also sets you apart by showing off your expertise, which increases your patients’ trust in your service. An engaging blog can also help establish yourself as an industry leader. 

When thinking about what to post, focus on content relevant to your audience and related to your area of expertise. You can add value to your content by targeting high-traffic keywords and building links from high-authority websites and credible bloggers. Another way to drive traffic to your blog is by promoting your blog posts on your social channels.

5. Your Practice Website

And finally, the big one – your practice website!

Having a website for your medical practice serves more than one purpose. It is the most concrete and customisable version of your online presence and can supplement how you care for your patients. Your website can be set up to highlight your teams’ areas of expertise and niches, provide patient resources, and streamline the scheduling of patient appointments.

Can your patients book an appointment at 10pm when they feel a sore throat developing? Including an online booking widget on your website will allow you the capture appointment bookings long after your reception staff have signed off for the evening. 

Building a practice website can seem like a big task, but it is well worth it in the long run. You can hire a professional to create your website or do it yourself. 

Whether the patient has recently moved to a new area or is switching practices for other reasons, people will naturally look online to see their options. If your practice does not have a website, you may be missing out on a precious opportunity to attract new patients.

Authored by:

Lucy Saul
Marketing & Communications Specialist at Best Practice Software

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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!

Bp Blog_Daffodil Centre

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 if you would like further information. 


  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:

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Compromising on Security – It isn’t Worth the Risk

compromising on security blog image

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:

Photo of Louis Valenti, blog author.

Louis Valenti
Marketing & Communications Leader at Best Practice Software

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