Get your Practice Ready for Storm Season

Storm season is back with a boom and it’s more important than ever to ensure your Practice is prepared by taking all precautions to protect both your data and hardware.  The best way to protect both your data and hardware from the effects of a storm is to have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) in place and to perform your Bp backups regularly.  If you do not have these available, the next best precaution is to shut down your systems and disconnect power/ethernet cables to prevent damage.  If you usually leave the server on, we recommended disconnecting this when finishing for the day if no UPS/Surge protection is setup and storms are predicted! Be safe and be prepared!  

Do You Know What Mental Health Is? View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

World Mental Health Day is today (October 10th) – a chance to look at how we can support our patients’ mental health. The Do You See What I See? campaign aims to challenge perceptions about mental illness, encouraging everyone to look at mental illness with a more positive light to reduce stigma and make it easier to seek support and help for the one in five Australians affected by mental illness every year. The campaign has enrolled over 700 organisations asking everyone to make a #MentalHealthPromise and to take a more positive view . The promises that have been made by individuals are at 1010.org.au The website has some suggestions for promises you may like to make and a page to post your own promise and associated image. Stigma around mental illness remains an issue for Australians, delaying or preventing people from seeking help. The misconceptions and misrepresentations about those who experience mental illness can be damaging, including references about those suffering from mental illness as being incompetent, weak or scary and appear in the media, the arts and conversations at school, work and in the home. The majority of people affected by mental illness are able to lead contributing and independent lives in the community with treatment and support. The website encourages a different light to look at mental illness, colour and life, resilience, bravery, recovery, hopefulness, courage, contribution and more. To learn more about mental illness, and provide valuable resources for your patients, there are several organisations with easily accessible online information: SANE Australia at https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness Beyondblue at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health Headspace at https://www.headspace.org.au/young-people/what-is-mental-health/ World health Organisation at http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/ To find help: see Mental Health Australia https://1010.org.au/need-help or mindhealthconnect Guided Search Tool: https://www.mindhealthconnect.org.au/   Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.

Mental Health remains the most common reason for a GP Visit. View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

With this month being Mental Health Month, the focus is on the importance of the mental health of our patients and the resources we can provide, which was highlighted in the Australian Health of the Nation Report. The recently released annual Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Health of the Nation Report identified the current health trends and issues for General Practice . Patients see GPs more than any other health professional and 84% visit their GP multiple times a year. Three in every four patents report that their GP always listens carefully, shows respect and spends enough time with them. Mental health issues such as depression, mood disorders and anxiety remain the most common health issue managed by GPs and was also identified as the health issue causing GPs the most concern for the future, followed by obesity. Mental health and obesity were the key areas the federal government should prioritise for action. One in four Australians will face a major mental health problem in their life, mental health being the ability to think, feel and behave in a way that allows us to perform at our best – in our personal lives with family and friends, at university at work and in the community. The most common issues are anxiety and depression. Learning to manage anxiety and/or depression can make a difference to how your patients react to stresses in life and feel calmer. There are many levels and different techniques and tips on how to achieve this :
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat well
  • Get enough sleep
  • Practice relaxation exercises
  • Reduce alcohol and drug use
  • Spend time with friends
  • Ensure work/study/life balance
  • Use cognitive strategies to deal with stressful thoughts
  • Practice mindfulness to let go of worries
  • Engage in enjoyable and fun activities
Take the opportunity during Mental Health Month to encourage patients to reach out for further assessment, support and referral if required. There are also a host of great resources you can refer them to on the Australian Government’s Head To Health website. Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.

Best Practice releases Bp Allied V6

Today we are proud to launch the Version 6 release for Bp Allied users, tailored specifically for allied health medical professionals in Australia and New Zealand. A range of major enhancements have been implemented into the software including new and improved private health claiming through Bp’s partnership with Tyro HealthPoint. Bp’s General Manager of Innovation & Development John Rayfield said he was pleased with the developments and progress leading up to the impending release date for Bp Allied users. “The Bp Allied V6 release is packed full of enhancements which our development team have been working hard towards,” “Our goal here at Best Practice is to make every user experience enjoyable and as seamless as possible through our continual evolution in producing cutting edge software.” Mr Rayfield said. “Allied health professionals will find the new release of Bp Allied will greatly improve efficiencies in their Practices”. Other major functionalities include: • Financial enhancements, including Medicare and DVA claiming • Integration with popular financial software Xero • SMS messaging functionality with Bp SMS Current and new users of Bp Allied can receive free training on the new features through the Bp Allied V6 Masterclass – a free one hour webinar, with sessions at 9am and 3pm on Thursday 27h September. For more information visit Best Practice Software’s website . All live Bp Masterclass content will be recorded and saved to Bp’s website. To view this content visit here. Anyone working in the allied health field wanting more details on Bp Allied V6 can contact the Best Practice sales team by emailing sales@bpsoftware.net, phoning 1300 40 1111 in Australia or 0800 40 1111 in New Zealand (Option 3, then Option 2) or visiting the website.

How Successful is Australian IVF? View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

As health professionals, it’s important to have the latest information and resources on IVF. A recent report published by the University of New South Wales announced that 18% of IVF cycles in Australia and New Zealand result in a live birth Of the just over 81 000 initiated IVF cycles in 2016-2017, 82.2% resulted in either a successful embryo transfer or all oocytes/embryos being preserved at subzero temperatures for use in IVF ( cryopreservation) In 2016-2017 the highest annual number of births in Australia and New Zealand IVF’s history were recorded, 15,198 babies. The proportion of IVF cycles resulting in twins and triplets is now one of the lowest rates in the world, 3.8%. The average age of women being treated with IVF is 36 years. The report was produced after the Victorian Government announced a review into the state’s IVF laws to ensure women were getting accurate information from IVF and fertility doctors about success rates and treatment options. Each cycle is expensive, with IVF Australia figures showing patients are out of pocket as average of $ 4,707 for their first IVF cycle and $4,151 for subsequent cycles. The IVF success rates published for Australian Fertility Clinics can be misleading The rates are given as live birth per pregnancy or per embryo transfer and do not take into account all those whose cycles did not result in an embryo transfer or those pregnancies that do not go to term. Different countries have differing laws regarding public access to fertility treatment outcomes. Australia’s IVF success rates are assumed to be similar to those of the UK. According to the UK’s National Health Service, between 2014 and 2016 the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in a live birth was 29% for women under 35, 23% for women aged 35 to 37, 3% for women aged 43 to 44. The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority is the UK Government’s independent regulator overseeing fertility treatment and research. This site provides clear outlines about the different treatments available and the associated options, including risks and results.  The HFEA is a very useful reference for Australian women as the fine details are not easily available and not mandated by laws. The IVF success rates published for US Clinics are higher than Australian rates possible because there was a much higher rate of multiple births from the US Clinics. For your patients planning or currently trying to start a family, a valuable resource could be The Fertility Coalition, formed by four organisations in Australia – the Victorian Assisted Reproduction Treatment Authority, Andrology Australia, Jean Hailes Research Unit and The Robinson Research Institute; and funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services. The site provides facts about fertility for men, women, trans and gender diverse people to make the best possible decisions about having children for your circumstances, the most up to date scientific information to improve fertility. See yourfertility.org.au For your patients choosing an IVF Clinic and about to attend the first appointment a useful guide is available here. Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.

Best Practice releases Ruby version for Bp VIP.net users

Bp VIP.net update shines with financial system functionality enhancements We’re proud to launch the Ruby release today for Bp VIP.net users, tailored specifically for specialist medical professionals in Australia and New Zealand. A range of major enhancements have been implemented into the software including increased security around adding allergy records to patient’s medical records. General Manager of Innovation & Development John Rayfield said he was pleased with the new release of Bp VIP.net. “The Bp Vip.net Ruby release is packed full of enhancements. Our goal here at Best Practice is to make every user experience enjoyable and as seamless as possible through our continual evolution in producing up-to-date cutting-edge software.” Mr Rayfield said. Other major functionalities include the New User Defined Fields to use in the Medical Desktop, meaning time between visits is now calculated in a new field, while Logged in User and Time of the created note can now be displayed on the Medical Desktop. The Bp Vip.net Ruby release will also include the following highlights:
  • Visual Acuities can now be recorded per right and left eye.
  • Changes to the Financial Summary to make it easier to read and track your clinics financial information.
  • A new report to show declined batches and invoices
  • The New Invoice Number – The invoice number now stays consistent through modifications making it much easier to track what has happened to an invoice.
  • Batching and Invoice Overpayment adjustment.
  • The new BpSMS services
  • The Email Log report and enhanced email functionality
  • The New Next Appointment Recall Function.
Please note that this release is not intended for Day Stay customers. We will be releasing a Ruby SP0 release for our valued Day Stay customers in the coming weeks. Free training is available on the Ruby release. The Bp VIP.net Ruby Masterclass series includes FREE 45 minutes to one hour webinars from Tuesday 18th September to Thursday 20th September, with separate sessions on Administration, Financial and Medical. For more information visit Best Practice Software’s website.

View from a Doctors Desk. Women’s Health Week – by Dr Lisa Surman

For everyone working in health, Women’s Health Week is a chance for us to take stock, look at trends and find new resources to help female patients. The Women’s Health Survey of more than 15,000 Australian women is a valuable “snapshot” of women’s health in Australia. It reveals that while they are juggling children, the digital world, career and ageing parents,  more women are exercising ( 70.3% are doing more than 2 hours of moderate exercise weekly)  and less are smoking ( 90.5%). However, there are concerning statistics regarding their wellbeing that, as health professionals, we need to be aware of:
  • 50.8% of surveyed women describe themselves as overweight or obese
  • 9.5% of women drink daily
  • 46.1% of surveyed women have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a doctor or psychologist
  • 34.5% of women reported not getting enough time to themselves on a weekly basis
  • 66.9% of women reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or on more than seven days in the past few weeks
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health conducted the survey and Director, Janet Michelmore says the data demonstrates the complex demands on modern women who are either trying, or think they are expected, to do so much. She says that time is the biggest barrier for women who are trying to make health a priority, but finding that a challenge. Social media also plays a part in the expectations of women to always appear as perfect. You can read the whole report here. The Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week runs all this week (3rd to 7th September) and for more information visit www.womenshealthweek.com.au. The organisation provides free daily videos, podcasts, stories, recipes and more throughout the week. The Jean Hailes Organisation provides practical, accessible evidence-based and reliable  information on the website and in 2016 was recognised officially as the Federal Government’s national digital gateway for women’s health. A valuable resource, indeed, for giving the best possible care to Australian female patients. Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.

A crisis for rural and regional communities – a personal message from Bp COO Craig Hodges

You may be aware that much of rural Australia is now experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. Rainfalls have been very low – if at all – during 2017/18, and the dry forecast ahead for states including New South Wales and Queensland is very concerning. Recent analysis shows this may be the worst drought in more than a century (or on record) and is estimated to impact hundreds of rural communities – and thousands of very decent people – before it breaks. The effect from this drought flows through our community. Farmers have no crop, or food/water for their herd; farming families lose their income; local businesses face significant downturn because trade decreases; charity and community groups are inundated with requests for assistance, some of them quite dire; and those people living on, or supported by, the land are faced with enormous personal anxiety or depression due to debt, helplessness, despair, uncertainty or loneliness. This leaves a huge personal and human “cost” in communities that we may never fully realise, but the stories emanating from the despair are truly heartbreaking. Some of the people working in local communities to help pick up the pieces of shattered lives are Best Practice customers – the community-spirited doctors, nurses, public health, counselling, and allied health practitioners that make up the heart and pulse of rural and regional Australia. There is throughout our country – which I know extends to New Zealanders as well – a sense of care and spirit that means many people are searching for some way to help, no matter how small. If you would like more information on how you can assist, please feel free to visit one of these great services, where your contribution would be most gratefully received: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/ https://www.buyabale.com.au/ https://aussiehelpers.org.au/ https://www.droughtangels.org.au/ http://www.needforfeed.org/ Let’s hope for good rain soon, but, in the meantime, let’s hope that our support today is felt by those who need it most.

Beware of hoax calls

Best Practice is aware of a medical practice receiving unsolicited contact from an IT technician purporting to represent Bp. Best Practice COO Craig Hodges said it was important that all our software users are aware of our procedures. “It is important to remember that we will never contact our Bp users with a request to log in to their network or PC for an unreported issue”. Said Mr Hodges. “Furthermore, any user logging a support query will receive a unique case number, which any authorised Bp represent will quote in future contact”. “And, as a final check, any user receiving a call from anybody purporting to representing Best Practice Software should validate their identity by contacting our Software Support team”. To contact Bp Support phone 1300 40 1111 in Australia, or 0800 40 1111 in New Zealand (Option1, then Option 1).

Headcoach for Young Men. View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

One of the challenges facing GPs is keeping up to date with programs that can help our patients. One that we have found useful for our young male patients is a new program launched by Headspace, called headcoach, which helps them understand that mental health is just as important to understand as physical health. Headspace has worked with some of Australia’s best athletes to find out what strategies they use to help manage difficult thoughts and feelings.  The strategies are many are varied –meditation, taking a digital detox, listening to music, spending time outdoors and writing things down. Another great resource we have found is a newly launched podcast from ABC called Mindfully, with Sydney Swans legend, Brett Kirk exploring how to use mindfulness in different areas to become calmer and happier. As we all know, alcohol and other drugs may feel like they help in difficult times, but can interfere with your mental health and make you feel worse in the long run. We also know there is a strong link between what we eat and how we feel. A poor diet can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with a healthy diet of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Sleep improves mood, concentration and increases resilience. Reducing the things that interfere with sleep, such as noise, light and social media help improve sleep quality Each of the various strategies have further tips and suggestions for how to achieve the goals and can be useful to refer to when talking to our young male patients:  taking time to do the things they enjoy, strategies to manage difficult thoughts and feelings, reducing alcohol, improving diet, improving sleep quality, staying connected to friends and family and staying active. Another campaign we have found useful is, #YouCanTalk, a suicide prevention campaign aimed at giving people the confidence to respond to friends and family when they need help and guide them to the right support services. The campaign is a powerful union of beyondblue, Black Dog institute, Everymind, headspace, reachOut and R U OK?  #YouCanTalk highlights the resources available to support and access current information, programs, services and research within suicide prevention in Australia. For more details visit headspace.org.au; and lifeinmindaustralia.com.au, the digital gateway that provides organisations and communities with the services and programs.   Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.