Health care reform: No gain without pain
 

A fundamental failing of our health system

Health care reform:
No gain without pain

A shift to value-based care in Australia may be inevitable but is unlikely to be painless. This post is the first in a series looking at healthcare industry issues.

Australia has a unique set of problems to overcome, said David Rowlands, a member of the Roster of Digital Health Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO).

He told the October Wild Health Summit: “What we are seeing are symptoms of a fundamental failing of our health system.”

“Our health system was designed 50 years ago for problems of 50 years ago. (It) was not designed to deliver integrated, value-based care. It was designed to deliver episodic care.”

Episodic care is provided to patients who need treatment for an “episode” of care with a foreseeable “endpoint”. Examples include cases treated in hospital Emergency Departments.

The focus in Australia’s health care system, Mr Rowlands said, is on outputs, not outcomes.

Value-based care uses a model where providers, including hospitals and physicians, are paid based on patient health outcomes. Under value-based care agreements, practitioners are rewarded for helping patients improve their health, reduce the effects and incidence of chronic disease, and live healthier lives.

The “value” in value-based healthcare is paid after measuring health outcomes against the cost of delivering them.

In contrast, episodic care is paid on an activity-based or fee-for-service model measuring the amount of healthcare services delivered.

Mr Rowlands said tinkering with the system will fail. “After 50 years, it’s time for a review.” He said the Australian system needed independent, external experts to determine the way forward. He cited Lumos, a new partnership between the NSW PHNs and the NSW Ministry of Health, as an example of doing things differently.

Lumos generates insights into patients’ journeys across the health system and shares de-identified data from general practices with other health services to provide a comprehensive view of patient pathways.

Elisabeth Koff, the managing director at Telstra Health and immediate past secretary at NSW Health, said she had helped negotiate health agreements and most came down to money rather than a strategic approach to healthcare.

She said reform agreements focusing on outcomes had been negotiated but, “then we forget about them, and they sit on the shelf”.

While there had been progress in New South Wales around collaborative communities, Ms Koff said change would be slow as governments are focused on the short term and, “health care reform is hard… no pain, no gain”.

Tracey Johnson, the CEO and company secretary at Inala Primary Care, said Australia’s health system is run by “mini-empires”, each seeking individual advancement.

“We don’t have a healthcare system,” she said. “We have a profile-for-profit system.”

Inala reinvests any practice profits into patient care, but it was becoming difficult to provide affordable care when reliant on a $39 bulk-billing item.

Ms Johnson said General Practice should be considered a specialist form of medical care, given the knowledge and training required. This could provide access to a wider range of Medicare-funded billing items.

Ms Johnson pointed to the role GPs play in taking pressure off overcrowded hospitals. “Data shows where patients visit their GPs more, there were fewer hospital admissions… Comprehensive care works.” 

MediRecords is used by general practitioners, specialists, multidisciplinary clinics and hospitals across Australia. The MediRecords electronic health records platform features embedded SNOMED CT-AU coding and is designed for interoperability using FHIR and APIs. MediRecords is currently developing additional functionality to support team case management and value-based care.

Article originally published by Wild Health and written by Dr Leon Gettler on behalf of MediRecords.

If you are interested in learning more about MediRecords’ functionality to support team case management and value-based care, book a demo below. 

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    The Clinician Interviews Matthew Galetto, CEO at MediRecords

    The Clinician Interviews
    Matthew Galetto, CEO at MediRecords

    This article was originally created and shared via The Clinician. The original article can be found here.

     

    The Clinician sat down with Matthew Galetto (founder and CEO, MediRecords) for a conversation on interoperability, adoption issues for regulatory standards, and our recent collaboration on a FHIR-based integration.

     

    Thanks for being here, Matt. Could you describe your background and maybe some current or upcoming initiatives you’re particularly excited for?

    Matthew Galetto: I founded MediRecords in 2014, but my background in health technology spans over 20 years. I started my health tech journey working in primary care, working with a health technology company consolidating GP clinical systems through acquisition during the dotcom boom. In fact, my job was to integrate a dozen or so different applications into a single consolidated platform—I was a lead technical architect in that endeavour.

    I worked there for a few years and then set up a company called AsteRx, which was a data analytics and clinical data business that collated information from multiple GP systems and provided insights and reports back to corporate practice groups and industry generally.

    How do you define and approach interoperability, both within MediRecords and in the larger context?

    Matthew Galetto: Interoperability is information exchanging freely across different systems. There’s the technical implementation of interoperability, which is the systems themselves enabling the transfer of information across technology boundaries and platforms and in different healthcare settings, and there are also the regulation and legal structures that support information exchanges.

    In the context of MediRecords, the interoperability piece is making sure that the system that we’ve developed in the platform that underpins our products and services can connect to the broader Australian health ecosystem. To do that, it needs to connect to different players in the market that provide certain services, so it might be diagnostic services, My Health Record, Medicaid-claiming type services, payments and those sorts of things.

    So, I would describe the interoperability piece as that free-flowing information across systems.

    What do digital health systems and organizations need to be doing to ensure that’s possible: to ensure information can be easily shared and used by other systems? What are the key barriers, or where do you see some organizations falling short?

    Matthew Galetto: In the Australian market we have a bunch of these legacy technology providers, both in the GP/specialist arena and even in the hospital market. Systems are not geared for supporting the latest standards of interoperability—things like FHIR and SNOMED terminology services to underpin the ontology mapping of information across systems.

    There’s been insufficient adoption of those standards here in the Australian market, and no incentives provided by government or industry to adopt those technologies, partly because so many of the existing market players still operate on old technology platforms.

    In our recent collaboration, a bidirectional FHIR-based integration was able to be established between MediRecords and ZEDOC within a matter of a few days. From your perspective, what was the process like and what would you identify as the key success factors?

    Matthew Galetto: Sure, that was a particular problem case that we needed to solve. ZEDOC was providing a PREMs and PROMs solution patient engagement platform and MediRecords was the underpinning electronic health record and system of record; we don’t have the same level of patient engagement capability that ZEDOC offers.

    This particular customer was looking at integrating a patient-engaging PREMs and PROMs platform as well as MediRecords capability. To achieve that, as part of a proof of concept delivered in that very short timeframe you described, we were able to connect MediRecords in a bidirectional way to ZEDOC, with MediRecords providing the source of truth for the patient record.

    Very quickly, were able to put into the clinical workflow a feeder of the patient record through to the ZEDOC platform enrolling that patient in a particular program. ZEDCO would then handle the patient engagement capability.

    Information that was captured as part of those PREMs and PROMs would then make its way back into MediRecords’ platform as long-form patient summaries and patient-centered observation data, using remote patient monitoring devices. This information would also be added to the longitudinal health report of the patient.

    That was achieved through applying those FHIR open standards capability. And given that there was a common language and common understanding and protocols we were able to achieve them in pretty quick time.

    What role do standards like HL7 or FHIR play in enabling PMS like MediRecords to tightly integrate with solutions like ZEDOC?

    Matthew Galetto: They’re vitally important. I’ve just come back from the US, having attended the HIMSS conference in Orlando. In the US in 2016 the government initiated the 21st Century CURES Act, which essentially removed barriers to the flow of information across systems so the patient could access their clinical record, regardless of where they travelled or the health care facility that they attended.

    That regulation mandated FHIR as the protocol for exchanging information, and also supporting HL7 (version 2). But essentially, it was saying OK, these systems need to talk to each other, we need to define some common protocols and terminology for that information to share, so we’re going to regulate this. And what we’re seeing in the US is that the innovation that’s come from that initiative has resulted in interoperability across different systems.

    We actually saw live demonstrations of some examples of patient records being shared, across continuums of care and across competitors, using HL7 and FHIR combinations. It was shared from primary care or ambulatory care, through to secondary care, through to tertiary care, and then even to some patient engagement platforms as well.

    Those standards are critical in order for information to exchange with the known set of terminology, and also for defining how those systems can communicate.

    In fact, we’re currently undertaking an integration with a hospital group in Victoria using a combination of HL7 and FHIR protocols. Those protocols are well documented, supported by the international organizations like HL7 and the FHIR community, so we have a clear understanding of what those standards and protocols are. This means we’re able to build confidently, understanding the protocols in place and that they’re reliable and safe to implement.

    And what is the other side of that coin—what are the key barriers to adoption of those standards by the industry?

    Matthew Galetto: If we look at FHIR, there are a couple of barriers. One is actually accessing resources and skills that have that knowledge, particularly in Australia. That’s a problem because of poor adoption. And then the other barrier is really a technical barrier.

    FHIR is a web-based protocol—it’s designed for systems that are built and implemented in the cloud. The Australian market isn’t really cloud-ready at the moment, with 95-plus odd percent of the vendors operating in the old legacy client technology.

    But the main barrier would really be the regulation. There’s just no government regulation to say, these are the standards that we need to implement, we want the industry to shift and pivot and implement these particular standards, and give us a roadmap to doing so. The regulatory barriers are significant in maintaining the status quo and not encouraging the adoption of these new standards.

    With an eye to the future, can you give us your thoughts about the ability to capture data from patients at home and then bring that data into the system, what could that make possible?

    Matthew Galetto: Well, if all of the systems are talking the same language and adopting the same protocols, regardless of whether they’re patient-facing or clinical-facing, then you have a clear understanding of the context of the information shared across those systems.

    In terms of the Australian market, one of the things I noticed in the US is the challenges identifying a patient across states and/or healthcare settings. They don’t have the concept of a master patient index as such.

    In Australia, we’re blessed with some of the initiatives that the ADHA have implemented, like My Health Record. These unique identifiers are tagged not only to the patient, but to the clinician and also to the practice.

    We already have some of the foundations in place in Australia to identify the various participants in the healthcare system: patient, provider, practice, and location. If we’re talking about information flows from the patient to the clinician right through to the tertiary system, we do have those identifiers.

    If we can find a way to then implement some of these standards, FHIR in particular, and identify the resources that need to be supported and implemented across these different settings, including the patient engagement setting, then I’m very encouraged about where we can go, provided that regulation comes into play.

    What’s coming next as far as interoperability? What ought industry be considering in order to stay ahead of the game?

    Matthew Galetto: Essentially, build those connected platforms and open up the systems. Be less protective of your information because it’s not your information—understand I’m talking as a vendor at the moment. Vendors have a tendency to lock the data in and feel that’s good for business when, in fact, it’s not.

    This is the journey that MediRecords is going on—we will open up our platform to expose APIs. MediRecords’ platform will open up to and encourage third parties. Of course, through a curated process verifying their use case, but we’re opening up that system. Allowing third parties to connect and exchange and share information from the platform is the way to go.

    So I think it’s a question of breaking down the technical barriers, but also the business models that are out there.

    If you actually look at some of the vendors that are operating in the Australian market, understanding that they want to protect not only the customer list, but also the information that sits in those systems and maintain those silos of information.

    If we can break that down, and also the business models that support those old siloed systems, then I’m pretty confident. If multiple vendors, like MediRecords and The Clinician, are prepared to open up those systems and support the exchange of information across those platforms, then there’s going to be a net benefit to the healthcare sector generally, but particularly to the patient, as well as a pivot from a clinician-focused to a patient-focused or patient-centric model.

    In the scenario you’ve just described, would that diminish the reliance on regulation, or is there a way that industry could make this happen—to a point—without waiting for regulation to come in?

    Matthew Galetto: My personal view is that we need regulation. And my personal view is that we need the government setting the example on some of the infrastructure and rails that support the exchange.

    I’ll give you an example: there’s a tender out now for the prescription exchange which is currently managed by two private operators. They’ve done a wonderful job in the last 10 years implementing a particular framework to support electronic prescribing.

    The government have now issued a new tender, and they’re looking to undercut the commercial model of those existing vendors by maybe 20%. The original value of that contract will disappear, and all the business models out there supporting the electronic prescribing with money flowing through to the PMS vendors and to the dispensary systems.

    That’s an example of some infrastructure that I think could be owned and operated by the government, which seems odd, but I think it’s something that might benefit the ecosystem just generally. One other area that’s a bit of a problem in Australia is around the exchange of information messaging between pathology companies, specialist to GPs and vice versa. These are private enterprises and I’ll give you an example of one of the challenges…

    There are three particular brokers in the market that provide services supporting the exchange of information across systems. So that’s the pathology companies, radiology and diagnostic reports, and requests and specialist letters and referrals and those sorts of things.

    The ADHA formed a common directory service a couple of years ago and all the brokers were encouraged to upload their contacts list to this new directory service implemented by ADHA. None of them uploaded because they were afraid of sharing their customer lists with their competitors.

    In that example you have a bit of innovation around FHIR, implementing and documenting it, and then in the end the private sector didn’t conform and participate.

    I think there’s an example where some regulation needs to come in and mandate a few things. I don’t think we’re going to get the change without the regulation.

    Considering the digital health landscape through the lens of interoperability, is there an element of the current conversation that you think is not getting enough attention, or is given short shrift? In other words, what are you thinking about that we all should be thinking about?

    Matthew Galetto: For any health technology company hosting information, security will be what keeps them up at night. That’s certainly the case for us: making sure our system is secure.

    And as you open up your systems through the interoperability play, including these new standards, security has to be absolutely front of mind, because you are actually opening up your systems to the market generally.

    Some context for the Australian market: we don’t actually have any security standards that are like a HIPAA compliance standard. So going back to one of your previous questions around some of the barriers and the regulation, we definitely need to see an uplift in the security protocols and accreditation services to support the interoperability piece, and the opening up these systems using FHIR and so forth.

    Learn more about The Clinician and MediRecords’ recent FHIR-based collaboration in this case study here

    This article was originally created and shared via The Clinician. The original article can be found here.

     

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      Could virtual care ease the pressure sores in healthcare?
       

      Could virtual care ease the
      pressure sores in healthcare?

      How can the burden on Australian healthcare be eased? Tim Pegler says thinking beyond the hospital walls may help

       

      People and resources in the Australian healthcare system are under unprecedented pressure. Demand for hospitals beds continues to rise, due to a combination of COVID-19, influenza, and other illnesses.

      Ambulances can often be seen stuck ‘ramping’, waiting outside Emergency Departments because there are insufficient empty beds to transfer patients to. This affects response times for other emergencies; ramped ambulances are effectively offline until they can offload patients.

      Healthcare clinics and hospitals struggle to fill their rosters because so many staff are unwell or home caring for sick family members. Those available to work are likely to be overstretched, covering for absent colleagues, and generally running on empty.

      As for patients, lockdowns and fear of infection led many to defer check-ups or investigations perceived as non-urgent. Consequently, illnesses are being detected later and people may have more advanced conditions at diagnosis, creating further pressure on the healthcare system and adding to elective surgery waitlists.

      Psychological distress and domestic violence also proliferated during the initial years of the pandemic, ratcheting up demand for mental health care, crisis, and support services that were already under-resourced.

      Shaking things up

      Much has been written about how the pandemic accelerated adoption of telehealth and other forms of virtual care. Pre-pandemic, leading international hospitals such as the Cleveland Clinic, New York Presbyterian, and Mercy Virtual pioneered varying models for remote care but the take-up in risk-averse, budget-poor Australia was slow. It would take leadership, determination, and a fertile mind during a period of isolation, to catalyse Melbourne’s Northern Health, with the city’s busiest Emergency Department, into thinking differently.

      During one such iso period Northern Health emergency physician Loren Sher fleshed out the model for what would become Australia’s first virtual emergency department. Goals for the virtual service included:

      • reducing avoidable ‘presentations’ at the hospital’s Epping ED by triaging and assisting non-urgent patients remotely
      • reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections to hospital patients and staff
      • enabling ambulance crew to focus on urgent cases
      • enabling doctors with COVID to work remotely

      The virtual ED means that non-urgent patients using a computer or mobile device can speak with a triage nurse online. The nurse determines whether the patient needs to attend hospital, can be helped with medication or by speaking to a telehealth doctor or physiotherapist, or can safely wait to see their usual GP.

      Ambulance crews responding to 000 calls can also contact the virtual ED for advice on whether the patient can be helped at home. If the case is non-urgent, the ambulance crew can be dispatched elsewhere.

      The virtual ED opened in 2020 and, by early 2022, was assisting more than 300 patients per day. Importantly, more than 70% of these do not need to attend hospital or use an ambulance.

      In April 2022, the Victorian Government provided $21 million so Northern Health could extend the service state-wide. By July, the Victorian Premier announced further funding to enable care for an estimated 500 patients per day and help improve ambulance response times.

      The model is also being extended to residential aged care facilities and COVID positive patients being cared for in the community. It will soon add outpatients and people experiencing mental ill-health.

      Strategic partnerships

      Northern Health partnered with best-in-class vendors to bring together key elements of the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED).

      MediRecords is at the heart of the solution, enabling VVED doctors to send electronic prescriptions direct to patients or their carers, virtually eliminating piles of paper scripts, expediting access to medications, and slashing postage and courier costs.

      MediRecords’ use of FHIR technology (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) means medication requests and prescriptions are fed seamlessly into Northern Hospital’s electronic record systems.

      The VVED also uses the ZEDOC digital care pathways platform for patient registration and feedback measures, and the Coviu-powered healthdirect video conferencing system.

      There’s a long-term vision for the VVED to partner with primary and community care providers so that virtual ED patients can be referred to specific GP practices. These organisations could then direct complex cases, via the VVED, back to the hospital as needed. It’s this kind of thinking – and data sharing – that Australia’s healthcare system desperately needs more of to treat its current pressure sores.

      Tim Pegler is Senior Business Development Manager at MediRecords.

      This article was originally shared via The Medical Republic. The original article can be found here.

      References:

      ePrescribing now available to patients – Northern Health

      Victoria doubles virtual emergency department capacity to cope with COVID and flu surge – ABC News

      Patients waiting more than 24 hrs in emergency departments – ABC Radio National

      Victorian Virtual Emergency Department – Northern Health 

      If you would like to find out more about our e-Prescribing solution, click the below link:

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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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          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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