Best Practice develops RACGP Survey

Best Practice Software has developed a survey to gauge industry and customer opinion about the recent exclusive arrangement issue surrounding the RACGP and Canadian software developer of Hello Health.

Best Practice CEO Dr Frank Pyefinch said it was important to find out what the medical community really thinks.

“The RACGP has stated that ”relevant and convenient software that is suitable for the general practice environment and the unique and evolving needs of Australian GPs … is something RACGP members have been asking for”. Dr Pyefinch said. “We would like to know if respondents agree with that statement and whether they think that software could be sourced in Australia”.

 “We are also interested to know whether respondents think the RACGP should have an exclusive commercial partnership with one vendor. The findings of the Survey will form the basis of our communications with the RACGP as we believe our voices should be heard – not only as RACGP members, but also as Australian software providers who have supported the RACGP over many years”.

The survey is open to all and can be accessed here.

R U OK? Day. View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

For the medical community, the annual R U OK? Day reminds us to stay connected, have meaningful conversations and encourage more people to ask R U OK? at work, school and in the community. The website includes suggestions for simple steps that could save a life :

  1. Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Encourage action
  4. Check in

There are conversations tips, videos of how to ask and resources including how to find professional help if needed if the conversation becomes too big for family and friends.

Lifeline provides a directory of free or low cost health and community services available in Australia for areas such as domestic violence, family and children’s services, financial assistance and mental health services at lifeline.serviceseeker.com.au

The BeyondNow suicide safety plan app helps create a safety plan in crisis and distress for those in need, ideally with support us, as health professionals, or someone they trust, to work through when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis. The app is available to download and to read further about the app, see beyondblue.org.au

The Headgear app provides workers with a simple and anonymous way to assess and monitor their mental health. The app was developed by researchers at the University of Sydney and the Black Dog Institute. The app guides the user through a 30 day mental health challenge aiming to increase wellbeing and reduce risk of future mental health problems.

moodGYM is an online self-help program that has been available since 2001, using cognitive behaviour training to develop skills to manage depression and anxiety symptoms. The program allows real-time self monitoring of problem moods, thoughts and behaviours via mobile phone or computer. Those using the programme monitor three symptoms of their choice or three recommended to them by myCompass through answering the profiling questionnaire ( eg stress, depression, confidence, worry, irritability, motivation, diet and medication use) See moodgym.com.au

myCompass is a self-help tool for mental health, providing proven techniques to help manage stress, anxiety and depression.

Here are some of the agencies that offer good support to those in need:

  • Lifeline, 1311 14 for 24/7 crisis support, the Suicide Call Back at 1300 659 467
  • kidshelpline at 1800 55 1800 for counselling to young people under 25 years
  • Griefline on 1300 845 745

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”.

 

View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

Getting Health Screening Advice from your trusted health professional

Recently, a TV show gave the impression that having a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination by a Urologist for prostate cancer was potentially life-saving, and showed a popular presenter having the screening tests done. The specific benefits and harms were not broken down, nor quantified. There was no discussion about the very well documented pros and cons to weigh up before the test and although acknowledging the risk of impotency and incontinence as a consequence of prostate surgery, it was framed as though it was a thing of the past, “The treatments are so vast these days that it’s not as bad as all that, and you’ve got to get checked. You must get checked.”

For men aged 50-69 (without a family history of prostate cancer) the benefit/harm debate for prostate screening using the PSA test is unclear and open to individual interpretation. The decision to have the screening test is a personal one and needs to be done after weighing up the benefits, harms and uncertainties of prostate cancer screening.

If you have a PSA test, you are much more likely to be over-diagnosed and over-treated for prostate cancer than have your life saved from early detection of a nasty form of the disease. This is why the Australian Government does not have a funded, organised prostate screening program and why the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners advises members not to recommend PSA screening to patients.

A digital rectal examination is no longer recommended should a man request screening for prostate cancer after being informed about the risks and benefits of testing.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) advises that a patient who asks a GP about the tests, should be informed of the following information calculated for men in their 60s with no first-degree relatives affected by prostate cancer who have yearly PSA tests.

The stated potential benefits are reassurance if the PSA is normal or very low, early detection and early treatment, hopefully cure. The potential harms are false positive results, with unnecessary biopsy required, false negatives, over-diagnosis and overtreatment resulting in harmful effects without any health benefit.

Potential Benefits:

  • For every 1000 men tested, 2 men will avoid death from prostate cancer before they reach 85 years. This benefit seems greater for men with a strong family history of the disease
  • For every 1000 men tested, 2 men will avoid metastatic prostate cancer before the age of 85 years

Potential Harms:

  • For every 1000 men tested, 28 men will have prostate cancer diagnosed, many of whom would have remained without symptoms for life
  • For every 1000 men treated, 25 men will have surgery or radiation because of uncertainty about which cancers need to be treated. Many would do well without treatment
  • 7 to 10 of these 25 men will develop persistent impotence and/or incontinence and some will develop persisting bowel problems from the treatment
  • For every 2000 men tested, one man will have a serious cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack because of the treatment

The advice delivered in the television series ” The medical checks you have to have” was not in line with current RACGP guidelines nor NHMRC guidelines, which do not recommend routine PSA measures without discussion, nor routine digital rectal examinations as part of screening.

To read the fine detail of the NHMRC recommendations for PSA testing in asymptomatic men, click here.

The RACGP also has a fact sheet to help men make the decision as to whether they will screen for prostate cancer at racgp.org.au and available from your GP.

Information has been developed for men with a family history of prostate cancer that is available on the NSW Health Department’s Centre for Genetics Education website at http://www.genetics.edu.au/Genetic-conditions-support-groups/prostate-cancer-screening

Andrology Australia ( andrologyaustralia.org) have very detailed, but easily understood fact sheets available with further detail about the statistics and risks of prostate cancer screening.

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.