FHIRing up the Australian Defence Force

FHIRing up the Australian Defence Force

Hear how FHIR is connecting the entire Defence health ecosystem with OntoServer at its heart!

At the recent Inaugural Australasian CXO Healthcare Cloud Summit in Sydney, MediRecords CEO and Founder, Matthew Galetto, presented a case study on how FHIR is connecting the entire Defence health ecosystem. 
View the video below! 
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    Taking the pulse on digital health

    Taking the pulse on
    digital health

    MediRecords attended a packed Digital Health Festival in an icy Melbourne on 31 May and 1 June. The conference was the largest face-to-face event since the pandemic and attracted international speakers and delegates from across Australia.


    A recurrent theme was that telehealth has been normalised during the pandemic and is now an everyday tool for doctors and specialists. But while digital and virtual care technology is widely used, too many systems still don’t share information and healthcare professionals are fed up with having to use multiple, disconnected products.

    Here are some snapshots from the festival:

    Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole said the agency remains committed to a connected healthcare system through which data passes, “seamlessly, safely and securely”. Ms Cattermole said a new National Digital Health Strategy is imminent and that the ADHA has three key roles:

    1. Creating a collaborative environment that accelerates adoption of digital technology, including stewarding and supporting state government initiatives.
    2. Building and providing ‘infrastructure glue’ that is FHIR enabled, web-based and includes a new health API gateway to national digital health systems, due by the end of 2022.
    3. Co-designing a governance framework, or the ‘guardrails’ for a national healthcare interoperability plan.

    ADHA projects under way also include:

    • a national digital children’s health record, replacing state-based systems
    • a framework for sharing population health data ethically and securely
    • a national digital imaging platform for diagnostic medical imaging, and
    • a My Health Record mobile app.
    Dr Paresh Dawda, Director and Principal at Prestantia Health and Next Practice in Canberra, illustrated the importance of user experience design and interoperable health data systems by talking about a typical work day. Dr Dawda spends an estimated eight minutes every morning logging into 16 different clinical systems. Cumulatively that’s more than 30 hours per year that he can’t spend on patient care and the cost to his business could be $9800 per clinician per year. While digital technology, “is often held up as the solution to clinician burnout, it can also be part of the problem”, he said. True interoperability would mean clinicians could use fewer systems to access the same amount of data, freeing time to dedicate to patient care.

    My Emergency Doctor founder and Medical Director Justin Bowra explained how virtual ED doctors help improve patient flow and reduce clinical risks at hospitals and urgent care centres. Dr Bowra said MED clinicians conduct case conferences via video calls, including reviewing the status of patients waiting in ambulances. The case conferences enable patient flow decisions that reduce ED wait times, such as advising that patients can go direct to theatre. The service also provides clinical decision support and mentoring to on-site doctors and an auditable recording of all interactions.

    Caligo Health Managing Director Dr Amandeep Hansra said the COVID-19 pandemic had catapulted digital health innovation forward by at least a decade, creating created consumers who are actively engaged in their care and demand access to and control of personal data. The pandemic had also created a mountain of data — 30% of global data comes from health — that could be the foundation for scalable analytics and AI-driven businesses. 

    e-Health Queensland Health Deputy Director General Damian Green walked festival goers through the Sunshine State’s digital strategy, emphasising the importance of human-centered design and delivering equitable healthcare access for First Nations peoples and diverse communities. Mr Green said clinicians were required to work with too many products and ‘system sustainability’ would necessitate fewer systems with the requisite data for better decision making. He said safety was at the heart of all digital investment decisions and told vendors, “if you can show you are going to improve outcomes, then talk to us.”

    Victorian Department of Health Chief Digital Officer Neville Board placed patient safety as the destination for the Garden State’s digital health roadmap. Mr Board said reducing risks to patients caused by paper-based processes was a major priority and showed how e-prescribing significantly reduces risks of medication errors. Victoria has also committed to a Health Information Exchange that enables interchange of information between all hospitals.

    Neville Board placed patient safety as the destination for the Garden State’s digital health roadmap. Mr Board said reducing risks to patients caused by paper-based processes was a major priority and showed how e-prescribing significantly reduces risks of medication errors. Victoria has also committed to a Health Information Exchange that enables interchange of information between all hospitals.

    Victorian Chief Digital Officer Neville Board highlights the risks of handwritten medication notes.

    Alcidion CEO Kate Quirke said procurement processes in Australia were a deterrent to innovation and that many Proof of Concept projects did not proceed to implementation because contractual requirements were too onerous.

    Former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said healthcare start-ups need to be thoroughbreds capable of going the distance, rather than flashy unicorns. And the secret to designing an enduring product? Make sure you’re solving problems for patients and their families.

    Dr Emma Rees, Founder and CEO of women’s healthcare platform Femma, said health care should not cease when a patient leaves the room and be suspended until a follow-up appointment. Dr Rees said “the future of healthcare is a hybrid model” where patients have clinically curated, individual management plans and on-demand access to education materials and nutritional, exercise, mindfulness and yoga programs.

    Image courtesy of ResApp

    Australian start-up ResApp has developed a digital diagnostic app for respiratory illnesses, available on mobile devices. The ResApp tool listens to a patient cough five times and then sends a report direct to a GP. ResApp CEO Dr Tony Keating said trials in India and the US had shown a high level of accuracy in diagnosing COVID-19. Using the app for initial diagnosis could make up to 80% of RAT and PCR testing unnecessary, bringing immediate benefits for patients, cost savings for governments and environmental benefits. 

    The Global Healthcare Lead for Zoom, Ron Emerson, said research by a leading US healthcare provider had shown that 70 per cent of patients attending at urgent care facilities could be safely seen by a virtual health care clinician, helping to relieve pressures on overcrowded hospitals. Zoom is now being used by prestigious US healthcare organisations, including the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and New York Presbyterian hospitals.

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      A thank-you message from our CEO & Founder, Matthew Galetto

      MediRecords Logo

      A thank-you message from our CEO & Founder, Matthew Galetto


      Matthew Galetto, CEO & Founder

      In what has been an incredibly challenging year for healthcare workers, I would like to say thank you, on behalf of MediRecords, to all our customers who have played such a key role providing health care during these unprecedented times.

      If there has been one positive to come out of such a difficult year it is perhaps the changes to the MBS that have delivered improved access to healthcare to their regular GP for so many people. The pandemic has forced the need for new models of remote and virtual care, highlighting the importance of the next generation of digital health technology. Technology that is based on industry standards and interoperable through cloud technology. Robust technology that is reliable to access, regardless of the healthcare setting, be it acute, secondary, or primary. We have been privileged to work with our all our partners and customers supporting their response to COVID-19 during 2020. 


      The ability to react and pivot has been a common theme this year. This was most evident when MediRecords was selected by Healthdirect to provide the clinical platform underpinning the National Coronavirus Helpline. I’d like to thank and congratulate not just our team, but also our partners at Healthdirect, VoiceFoundry and AWS for their incredible rapid response to public need, that saw us roll out a solution to thousands of users in a matter of days. And in a year where we have all been personally tested more than we could have predicted, we are privileged to have begun supporting The Blackdog Institute, as they lead the way in mental health research and support.  


      Closer to home, I am delighted our team have continued their excellent work supporting the day-to-day operations of our customers and further developing the MediRecords platform in response to customer feedback and industry need. Highlights include the greatly expanded functionality for specialists, integrations with technology partners that improve the utility of our products and aiding our General Practice users to be even more efficient in delivering care from the clinic or via telehealth. 


      The MediRecords team has rapidly expanded this year to meet an increasing need for digital health technology that is reliable, effective and supports existing and new models of care. Across Sydney and Brisbane our team has doubled in size this year, and this growth shows no sign of slowing down as we continue into 2021. An expanded team will allow us to focus even more on our customer needs.


      A cultural and industry wide shift is taking place in digital healthcare with regards to adoption of cloud technology. Whilst the pandemic may have pressed the accelerator, there is already a clear shift towards new models of virtual care that can only be serviced with modern technology, as evidenced by changes in funding models to drive the adoption of virtual health. Healthcare organizations will continue to have to pivot and adapt to new circumstances and require a configurable, adaptable, and scalable technology to enable this.  

      The devastating news regarding recent outbreaks in NSW in what has already been a very difficult year, look set to continue into early 2021. However, with vaccinations scheduled from March next year we can be optimistic about the future. The way Australians have responded by adhering to social distancing requirements is tremendous, as has been our government’s response. I am encouraged that the vaccination rollout will also be well executed and managed during 2021 allowing us to return to a ‘new’ normal.

      On behalf of the MediRecords team I would like to extend our appreciation for the continued support of our customers.

      Finally, a special call out to front line health workers who are keeping us all safe and well. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

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        Benefits of the Cloud for Healthcare: AI & the Internet of Things

        Internet of Things

        Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology to support clinical decisions

        Michelle O'Brien Profile Picture

        Michelle O'Brien, Head of Strategy

        In my next article, which again looks to demystify some of the tech babble around the benefits of cloud for healthcare, I am exploring what we mean by AI, IoT and how these can be used to support clinical decisions.

        First of all, some clarity on what these terms actually mean: 

        Artificial intelligence: 

        Artificial Intelligence, or AI, refers to computer programs that can think, work and make decisions similarly to humans. The uses are broad, but are already well known to us today.  

        Saying ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘Hey Google’ to your phone brings an AI assistant to life. Plenty of services use AI in a more subtle way, such as Netflix recommending your next show to binge-watch, or Amazon suggesting which item people like you also bought. 

        In healthcare, AI is often used for voice recognition, with doctors using software such as Dragon to convert their speech into text without typing. Clinical decision support tools such as UpToDate by Wolters Kluwer are also a form of AI, interpreting health data to provide clinicians with information to support their clinical decisions.  

        Machine Learning: 

        Machine learning refers to the process AI software goes through to improve automatically through experience, much like we humans learn from our daily experiences.  

        Internet of Things:  

        The internet of things, or IoT for short, refers to physical objects like patient devices that are fitted with sensors or use Bluetooth technology to collect and send data over the internet.

        Some examples you may find at home are an Amazon Alexa speaker that can turn off your lights, a smart scale that sends your weight to your phone, or a Fitbit that sends your steps for the day to an app. 

        Devices like Fitbits and Apple watches are now overlapping into healthcare as they provide health data such as activity levels and heart rates. But more medical focussed devices such as the TGA approved pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs and blood glucose monitors are widely available to use at home as well. 

        Remote Monitoring: 

        In a healthcare context, remote monitoring means gathering patient data outside of the traditional bricks anmortar setting, such as the GP clinic or outpatient department. 

        This ties in with the IoT, in that IoT devices can record patient data at home and send this to a patient’s medical record via their phone. But it also includes software on smartphones that do not require physical devices, for example a simple mood diary for mental health patients like Innowell. 


        What does this have to do with the Cloud? 

        These exciting uses of AI and the Internet of Things are all reliant on being able to send the data they collect to the clinicians providing care. This is only possible in real time thanks to Cloud EMRs, such as MediRecords, that pull the data together in one place. 

        I explored this ‘interoperability’ of services in my previous explainer article here. 

        What are some examples in Australian Healthcare? 

        There are already a range of products and services available in Australia that exist to help clinicians provide better patient care. 


        iHealth have developed a range of IoT devices designed to help patients monitor themselves at home, including: 

        • Wireless Pulse Oximeters,
        • Thermometers,
        • Wireless Blood Pressure Monitors, 
        • Scales; and 
        • Wireless Blood Glucose Monitors

        These devices share the health data they collect with the patient’s smartphone via Bluetooth, which is then shared with the patient’s cloud based medical record such as MediRecords. 

         iHealth products are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).  


        ResApp is a remote monitoring smartphone app that can diagnose and manage respiratory conditions such as pneumonia, asthma and sleep apnoea. All of this is possible through ResApp’s AI, which they say can diagnose conditions just through listening to a patient cough using their phones microphone.  


        And PainChek have developed remote monitoring software that uses a smartphones camera to detect if a non-verbal patient is in pain. This works by using AI to read the patients’ facial expression and will allow clinicians to ease the suffering endured by patients unable to communicate. 

        These are just three of many great examples from within Australia, demonstrating that Australia is at the forefront of innovation in AI technology. 


        How can AI and the IoT Improve Healthcare in Practice? 

        This is best explained in a theoretical example, in this case a patient who suffers from a chronic respiratory illness. 

        From the examples above this patient could monitor themselves periodically using an iHealth Wireless Pulse Oximeter (IoT), to ensure they were still receiving enough oxygen in their blood.  

        This data is sent from the Oximeter to their phone via Bluetooth, which then sends the data to their electronic health record, for example MediRecords, in the cloud. A dashboard capability could be used within MediRecords to alert clinicians of patients who may need support.  

        A product like ResApp could be used to provide the clinicians with additional clinical decision support in the absence of a face to face appointment which is not always possible. 

        Where a clinician is concerned about a patient, they can set up an appropriate intervention 

        AI used this way supports infection control management in treating respiratory illnesses. This is just one theoretical use case. The range and capabilities of medical AI and IoT devices means similar methods of remote monitoring and treatment are available for a range of conditions. 

        Michelle O’Brien, who is based in our Sydney office, is Head of Strategy here at MediRecords.


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          MediRecords Product Update October 2020

          ePrescribing Token on Phone

          MediRecords Product Update: October 2020

          Medirecrods team member picture

          Maxwell Holmes, Product Manager

          Improvements coming on 8th October 2020 include an expanded Medication Grid and improved Password Protection

          MediRecords recently announced the introduction of e-Prescribing using eRx. If you are interested in joining our pilot program please email to support@medirecords.com 

          As part of the ePrescribing release there are some changes coming to MediRecords that will affect all our users, including those not using e-Prescribing. 

          New fields on the Medication Grid 

          The Medication Grid will now display the Type and Status of a prescription, as can be seen in the image below. Prescriptions that have not been printed will display as draft. Printing the prescription will update the status to Printed 

          Prescription types are ManualPaperscript and Paperless 

          Manual scripts are any scripts generated using MediRecords without an integration to eRx electronic script exchange; Paperscripts are printed scripts that also contain an eRx SCID barcode; and Paperless scripts are scripts generated using e-Prescribing. 

          Password Policy Changes 

          As part of our ongoing commitment to data security, MediRecords will now lockout any account with five failed login attempts. If your account does become locked out, you will be sent a Reset My Password email and will be asked to create a new password.  

          We have also added options for organisations to enforce password complexity to ensure that password security is taken seriously 

          The defaults for your organisation will stay the same. If you are interested in changing your password complexity enforcement, you can find out by viewing our Password Policy article.


          If you have any questions about these changes, or how they may affect you, then please reach our to our friendly support team on 1300 103 903, or via support@medirecords.com

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            MediRecords Announces ePrescribing Support

            ePrescribing Token on Phone

            MediRecords Announce ePrescribing Support

            Medirecrods team member picture

            Maxwell Holmes, Product Manager

            eRx script exchange

            MediRecords has partnered with the eRX Script Exchange to provide electronic prescriptions directly to patients

            We are ePrescribing Ready!  

            ePrescribing Token on Phone

            MediRecords is proud to announce ePrescribing is here! As a cloud-based solution, we are better able to connect with a variety of other virtual care services, such as telehealth via Coviu, electronic appointment, and now e-prescribing. 

            As part of our Virtual Care Strategy’, MediRecords has partnered with the eRX Script Exchange to provide electronic prescriptions directly to patients, we have met full compliance for e-Prescribing, as opposed to ‘fast-track’ compliance. This makes our solution much more secure.   

            What is ePrescribing? 

            E-Prescribing is a replacement for physical prescriptions given to patients every day. Instead of having to keep hold of the original physical prescription, patients are instead given a unique e-Prescription token via email. The Token is securely stored within the eRx Script exchange. The patient retains control of who can access their prescription. This means a signed piece of paper it is no longer required.  

            If the patient elects to have an electronic prescription, they will receive a token via email or paper printout for each item prescribed. Once in possession of their token(s), the patient can then provide this directly to a pharmacy of their choice.  The token provides a link to a unique code used by the dispensing pharmacy to access the legal document for dispensing. The patient will automatically receive a new token for any repeats.  

            This workflow completely removes the need to relay in image based prescribing, such as faxing a paper prescription to a pharmacy then following up with a signed original in the mail.  


            What are the benefits of ePrescribing? 

            There are four main benefits of e-Prescribing for practices and their patients. 

            • Instant patient access to prescription regardless of location of appointment 
            • Greater convenience for patients thanks to a digital copy of the prescription 
            • Return power of choice of pharmacies to patients 
            • Reduction of administrative costs from sending prescriptions via fax and post 


            We are currently rolling out e-prescribing to select MediRecords customers. If you would like to start using e-prescribing, then please let us know by contacting support@medirecords.com 


            Alternatively, for more information on what you need to set up e-prescribing you can read this article: https://support.medirecords.com/hc/en-us/articles/360001878536-How-to-Set-Up-for-Electronic-Prescribing 


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              Benefits of the cloud for Healthcare: Interoperability

              Interoperability Cloud icon

              How can the Interoperability of Cloud Solutions Improve Patient Outcomes?

              Michelle O'Brien Profile Picture

              Michelle O'Brien, Head of Strategy

              By giving health professionals easier access to patient data using the cloud, we can improve patient outcomes with less administration.

              This article is the first of my series that looks to demystify and clarify the benefits of adopting Cloud solutions for healthcare. I hope this series will help save you time wading through and comprehending some of the overly technical information that is out there.

              In this article I discuss how this is possible, now, thanks to how interoperable cloud systems are when exchanging health information. 

              We hear the term Interoperability a lot but what does it really mean in a healthcare context? 

              Often people are unsure what I mean when we talk about interoperability and health information exchange. What we really mean is delivering systems that allow all healthcare providersacross the healthcare continuum, access to a near live view of the patients’ longitudinal health record.  

              Unfortunately, many of our legacy, server based systems, which around 95% of GP’s still use, keep a patients longitudinal record in a server. As a result information is siloed from other parts of the healthcare system. If the patient only ever goes to one GP over a lifetime, then this may not be a major issue 

              However, if the patient is in an AgedCare facility, moves to a new state or unexpectedly ends up in the ED, this means the new healthcare provider has no visibility of the patients clinical history. This adds significant clinical risk when treating a patient, especially when the patient cannot communicate their clinical history as is often the case.  

              A detailed example…

              Aexample of how our currently disconnected health system impacts on patient outcomes is a palliative care patient in an Aged-Care facility. In this scenario a patient may need shared care, requiring their medical information being accessed by: 

              1. Their GP 
              2. Aged care provider 
              3. Hospital 
              4. Specialist 
              5. Psychology and other allied health 
              6. Mental Health support 
              7. Private health insurer 
              8. Family members 
              9. The Patient/Carers 
              10. Ambulance services 

              That is 10 potential stakeholders, who may all need access to some, or all, of the clinical record.  

              The reality is that in an acute or urgent situation a patient’s data does not move with them; instead each stakeholder has their own piece of siloed information. Transmitting that data to those who need it is currently time consuming and laborious, due to the use of outdated technology like fax, printers, couriers, mail and secure messaging. It’s as if we give each stakeholder a single jigsaw piece, then expect them to know what the completed image is. 


              If this is how things are done currently – why does this matter? 

              This is a good question, and one which, for many in healthcare, has an uncomfortable answer. This siloed approach to patient data matters because it impacts on patients care and health outcomes.  

              If we go back to our palliative care patient in an Aged Care Facility, not understanding their history can lead to patients being unnecessarily transported to an Emergency Department without anyone reviewing their wishes. They find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, with clinicians who have little background on their condition.  

              This outcome is distressing for everyone. If the entire care team had a view of the patients record, including their end of life wishes, outcomes for the patient would be so much better. This scenario highlights two main problems:

              Problem 1: The administrative burden 

              The infographic below highlights some of the current challenges facing clinicians trying to manage the care of a patient. As you can see the process is stressful, time consuming and very administrative. 

              The reality is that this sloand expensive process is neither sustainable, nor acceptable for our patients. We need to find a way to manage these administrative costs through improved access to patient medical information for everyone in their treatment circle. 

              Problem 2: The risk to patient safety due to lack of information  

              The second problem is the inability to share patient data across the health system. As the patient moves between primary, acute, community and virtual settings, their risk of an adverse event increases.  This is because without a complete view of the patients longitudinal health record clinicians are flying blind. So how can cloud systems solve the interoperability challenge? 

              All the problems I have mentioned can be fixed. However, it will take time for healthcare providers to understand the value of Cloud and adopting modern healthcare standards to achieve interoperability. 

              Our vision for the future is that all healthcare professionals will use Cloud systems. This will allow them to log in anywhere, from any device, and directly access their patient’s information.  


              In summary 

              The concept of shared, virtual, and immediate multidisciplinary team care has the potential to significantly reduce administrative costs. More importantly it can improve health outcomes through the way we manage chronic disease and mental health, and provide health and social care to our ageing population, whether they are in Aged Care facilitates or in the home.  

              Ultimately it is the patient who will benefit the most from Cloud technology and interoperability, thanks to the the ability to have their clinical record travel with them no matter where they are in the health care system.


              Michelle O’Brien, who is based in our Sydney office, is Head of Strategy here at MediRecords.




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                MediRecords and ADHA improve secure messaging options for users

                Secure Messaging Icon

                MediRecords Product Update: Improved Secure Messaging Integrations for Users


                Matthew Galetto, Founder & CEO

                Secure Messaging Icon

                Thanks to support from the Australian Digital Health Agency's SMIO program, users can now enjoy improved secure messaging integration

                MediRecords users will soon be able to enjoy improved integrations with multiple secure messaging providers.  

                Having completed its evaluation, The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has confirmed we have met the Secure Messaging Industry Offer (SMIO) development requirements, which seeks to improve interoperability between secure messaging services. 

                Ultimately this will allow our users to: 

                • find other healthcare professionals more easily via the Agency’s central directory service, 
                • message users of different secure messaging providers; and  
                • be confident that this will meet current and future Australian encryption standards.  

                This means our users are one step closer to breaking away from paper-based correspondence. 


                What is the Secure Messaging Industry Offer (SMIO)?  

                One of the ADHA’s main goals in their current strategy is to eliminate clinicians’ dependence on paper-based correspondence by 2022.  

                Secure messaging is central to achieving this, allowing clinicians to communicate and share patient information online, on multiple devices, without the significant security risks of using email or consumer services such as WhatsApp. 

                A significant barrier to realising this has been the lack of interoperability between different secure messaging software products. This has created challenges for clinical end-users and inhibited the adoption of secure messaging in Australia, as clinicians using different products cannot communicate with each other.  

                The ADHA has been working closely with software providers and the clinical community to address this via the Secure Messaging Industry Offer. They are providing developers of clinical information and secure messaging systems, like MediRecords, with incentives to deliver improved interoperability as soon as possible. 


                How will this benefit our users? 

                As outlined above, the main benefit of the SMIO is that it will allow users of different clinical secure messaging systems to communicate and share patient information. More specifically, MediRecords users will be able to enjoy: 

                • Enhanced searching across multiple secure messaging providers via a federated provider directory service; 
                • Interoperability and message exchange with different secure messaging enabled software products by utilising standardised messages; 
                • The ability to securely exchange messages based on current and future Australian encryption standard. 

                All this will allow clinicians to break free from the limitations and frustrations that come with paper-based communication, and ultimately allow you to provide better care for your patients. 


                What are the requirements? 

                To ensure MediRecords meets the standards required, we have been working with the ADHA to update the platform to meet the SMIO developer requirements. These requirements were agreed by an ADHA technical working group, comprising representatives of software providers and other government bodies. 

                The group outlined the technical standards for looking up provider addresses using a federated provider directory model, and on which message formats will be supported. These were successfully trialled in two proof-of-concept projects in 2018, leading to the current Secure Messaging Industry Offer. 


                When will we be rolling out? 

                We currently expect to release this update on 30th October 2020. We may however choose to release this earlier is possible, so keep an eye out.  

                Our release version will be V3.7.


                About the Australian Digital Health Agency 

                Since 2016, the ADHA have existed to improve health outcomes for Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems and the national digital health strategy for Australia. 

                The Agency is responsible for national digital health services and systems, focussing on engagement, innovation and clinical quality & safety. They achieve this by putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them. 

                For more information visit https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/ 

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                  Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

                  Survey Icon

                  Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

                  Medirecords team Andrew Dyson

                  by Andrew Dyson, Digital Marketing Lead

                  Survey Icon

                  COVID impact, working habits and rejection of Telehealth?

                  Throughout July we ran a survey for users of Medical Practice Management Software, like MediRecords. The aim was to listen to, and learn from, both our own users and those who use alternatives.

                  In this article we have summarised some of the more interesting insights around:

                  • the impact of COVID on doctors
                  • the working environments of clinicians
                  • what users want from practice management software, and
                  • How important Telehealth features are to clinicians.

                  If any of this sounds interesting, then please read on! But before we get into it, we would like to say a big thank you to all who took part in the survey.

                  As with all survey data, the stats can often be interpreted in many ways. If you have any insights or explanation for what we found in the survey, we would love to hear from you via marketing@medirecords.com.

                  About the Survey & Audience

                  Our survey was delivered to GP clinics via fax, email and through The Medical Republics e-newsletter. Whilst the survey was open to clinicians, practice managers, nurses and business owners, most respondents primarily identified as clinicians.

                  We ran our survey throughout July, which ended up being an interesting time. The initial explosion of conversations around Telehealth had begun to quieten down (more on this later), whilst Victorians began seeing lockdown restrictions gradually being enforced as they experienced their ‘second wave’.

                  One noticeable skew was that the audience had a significant amount of professional experience, with over 40% having over 20 years in General Practice, which is worth bearing in mind as you read this article:



                  GP’s Working Environment

                  We were keen to understand how GPs tend to work, as this allows us to better understand how MediRecords can be as useful to clinicians as possible.

                  We found GP’s were split fairly evenly between those who work in one location, and those who work across multiple locations. What is not clear if this means they work across multiple practices, or often from home, something which could be influenced by the current pandemic.

                  Far more clinicians work on multiple devices rather than one, which us unsurprising given our consumer habits across phones, tablets and computers. It is particularly interesting for practice management software however, as ease of working across devices and locations is very difficult on server-based solutions such as Best Practice and Medical Director, compared with cloud solutions like MediRecords.

                  It was interesting to see that almost as many people use Apple products as do Windows, again something that could make browser-based software more appealing to ensure consistency of experience and usability for GPs on whichever device they use.

                  Preferences for practice management software

                  We asked our GP respondents a lot of questions about their preferences are for practice management software. This information is best summarized in the two questions:

                  • What do you like about your Practice Management Software ? And…
                  • What do you not like about your Practice Management Software?

                  Surprisingly, the same sort of answer was most popular for both questions – Usability!

                  It can be easy to get lost in specifications and functionality lists when choosing Practice Management Software, but what this shows us all is that, fundamentally, it means little if the platform is not easy for clinicians to use. We suspect this will also be what drives most day to day frustrations users have with their current software.

                  (By the way, we think this is great news given the positive feedback we have had on MediRecords from our users. If you are struggling with usability there is a solution!)

                  So, are clinicians looking for something better?

                  We then asked if clinicians were planning on reviewing or upgrading their software over the next five years. Only 40% of respondents said they would consider doing so.

                  Many in the healthcare tech space may find this disappointing, but we believe it shows us the wider trend of reluctance to adopt and change with new technologies. Whilst many may be heralding a silver lining of COVID to be increased adoption of technology, the results suggest this mindset change will not happen overnight – even if pushed by a major event such as COVID.

                  If clinicians are still reluctant to change, what does this mean for Telehealth adoption?

                  We asked respondents to rank features in terms of the importance to them when choosing practice management software. Whilst we won’t be sharing the full results of this (hopefully you can understand, we want to keep some knowledge to ourselves!) what was surprising was that Telehealth was the second least important feature to the GPs we asked.

                  The timing of the survey may have had something to do with this. Whilst in the earlier days of the pandemic many GPs were trying to figure out how to incorporate Telehealth into their daily workflow, by July Telehealth MBS items had been live for over a month, with GPs finding that using the telephone was an easier, more familiar solution in the short term.

                  Again, this may reflect the reluctance of many to adopt new technologies, even if these technologies lead to better experiences for patients. We can see the benefits of telehealth via remote monitoring via projects such as Spritely’s recent trial in retirement villages in Christchurch, but clearly there is more work to be done to help clinicians see if there is a benefit for them.

                  So, what do clinicians want from their PMS?

                  Finally, we asked what GPs wished their PMS could do that it does not already.

                  The results here were less clear, with 27% of people wanted a feature specific to their practice’s requirements, and a further 20% wanting an integration with a specific other service.

                  This shows how personal and bespoke the needs of many practices are, and how software such as MediRecords must not only be flexible for different workflows, but also responsive to users when they need new feature.

                  Again, usability came up, this time as something that respondents wish their PMS offered. Given the large share of the market enjoyed by traditional solutions such as Medical Director and Best Practice, perhaps this reflects the need for clinicians to look at some of the newer, easier to use options that are out there.

                  Personally, we think MediRecords fits the bill perfectly! If you would like to find out more you can contact support@medirecords.com, book a demo, or enjoy a 30 day free trial now.

                  About the Author

                  Andrew Dyson is our Digital Marketing Lead here at MediRecords, and managed this latest survey. Prior to joining MediRecords he has worked on marketing projects, including in depth market research, for some of the largest employers in the UK.

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                    Are the benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare more than we realise?

                    Cloud solutions for healthcare

                    The benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare: More than we realise?

                    Michelle O'Brien

                    Michelle O'Brien

                    Cloud solutions for healthcare

                    Could the shift to cloud solutions provide the healthcare industry more benefits than we previously realised?

                    Cloud computing is finally changing healthcare.

                    The consensus on the overall benefits of the cloud for our industry appears to have shifted, which was perhaps inevitable given the increased interoperability, maturity of security and the significant cost savings cloud services provide.

                    However, I believe most organisations are barely scratching the surface when it comes to making the most of other benefits cloud solutions can offer. Some of the lesser known benefits, from small clinics right up to larger public health and enterprise organisations, include:

                    • Improved health information exchange & interoperability
                    • Predictable costs
                    • Faster and more efficient scalability and fast system deployment
                    • Improved backup and business continuity
                    • Enhanced user experiences
                    • More robust data security
                    • Improvements in diagnosis and treatment through AI & Analytics
                    • Easier compliance

                    I am a firm believer that cloud-solutions will provide healthcare organisations with even more benefits than many currently realise.

                    This is one of the key reasons I joined MediRecords, a leading cloud-based PMS, and why, over the next few months, I will be putting together a series of articles explaining each of the benefits listed above. Where it is relevant, I will be including examples of organisations who have achieved these benefits, and if possible, some tips on how your organisation may be able to follow these examples.

                    You will be able to find these articles via the MediRecords blog, via our company LinkedIn page, and via my own LinkedIn page. Feel free to send me a connection request!

                    In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more about any of the above, you can always reach out to me directly, either via email (michelle.obrien@medirecords.com), or on LinkedIn.

                    Michelle O’Brien, based in our Sydney office,  is Head of Strategy here at MediRecords.

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