Rural Mental Health Conference 2023: Insights from MediRecords

Rural Mental Health Conference 2023: Insights from MediRecords

Peer-support workers are the future of mental-health service provision, including in rural Australia, where the need is among the highest and access to services among the lowest, the Rural Mental Health Conference was told this week.

Also, the conference heard that talking openly about mental ill health and suicide is essential to reduce stigma, increase understanding and activate prevention initiatives in communities.

MediRecords was an industry sponsor for the conference in Albury, which was attended by mental health professionals, researchers, advocates and others.

Conference co-chair Professor Russell Roberts, of Charles Sturt University and the Manna Institute, opened the conference by dispelling the oft-made claim that rural towns were dying. In fact, they have been growing for 20 years, boosted further by an increase in relocation to rural Australia during the pandemic, he said.

Speakers highlighted workforce challenges including recruitment and retention, and low mental-health literacy, compounded by the housing crisis for people willing to move and live rurally.

“Peer support workers are the future of mental-health service provision,” said

Dr Chris Maylea, Associate Professor of Law at La Trobe University.

Also, he argued that inadequate mental-health services for rural Australians was a breach of human rights.

“Sub-par services because someone lives in a rural area – we should call that a human-rights violation, not a geographic disparity.”

Mental Health Australia CEO Carolyn Nikoloski called for a national human-rights act – one that embedded mental health into human rights.

Other themes from the conference included:

  • A dearth of mental health services in rural areas means people with mental ill health end up in the justice system. As the documentary film Solstice stated, people in urgent need of mental health care don’t get a helicopter flight to Melbourne like accident victims; the more likely options are a busy hospital Emergency Department or police custody.
  • Telehealth is increasingly essential for providing access to services where few or none are available locally and wait lists are long. The Royal Far West Centre for Rural and Remote Children’s Health gave an example of setting up a farmer with video-call technology so he could join a case conference for his daughter from his tractor. Clean Slate Clinic clinical nurse consultant Fiona Faulkner said the home treatment program enabled people in rural areas to seek support without the fear of being ‘outed’ in their small communities.
  • Kelly McGrath, of the Wesley Research Institute, highlighted the way that services need to adapt telehealth to support individuals, ensuring there is personalised tech help and financial support, and sensitivity to how and where people engage with telehealth – from having kids running around in the background or access at the workplace, where there may be insufficient privacy.
  •  Ruralaid is experiencing a significant spike in demand for its services in Queensland, where farmers have been confronted with floods, bushfires, rising costs and falling returns for produce.

MediRecords is a cloud-hosted electronic health record and client management platform with industry-leading options for secure data sharing. MediRecords supports a broad range of telehealth care providers, including the Victorian Virtual Emergency Department.

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    Talking HealthTech gets the lowdown on MediRecords 2.0
     

    Talking HealthTech gets the lowdown on MediRecords 2.0

    An inside look into a major healthtech makeover for better connectivity.

    MediRecords, Head of Product Jayne Thompson joined Peter Birch from Talking HealthTech at the Digital Health Festival in June to discuss the latest developments of MediRecords, including an insight into the platform’s 2.0 user interface which is launching very soon! 

    Jayne and Peter spoke about MediRecords growth, the 2.0 transition for our existing users and the extension of new product offerings that come under our Care, Connect and Engage pillars. 

    Visit Talking HealthTech’s blog article to read more about the interview, or alternatively, check out their video below.

    If you are interested in learning more about MediRecords 2.0, please reach out to our Sales team to book a demo today! 

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      Collaboration ignites at HL7 AU FHIR Connectathon
       

      Collaboration ignites
      at HL7 AU FHIR Connectathon

      A spirit of collaboration even among competitors was the overwhelming experience of the MediRecords Technology & Product team this month at a key event for advancing the secure and seamless exchange of electronic healthcare data. 

       

      The HL7 AU FHIR (Fast Health Interoperability Resources) Connectathon at the Sydney Microsoft headquarter revealed the broad range of organisations using FHIR. 

      “This event was a great way to see what is on the horizon and to see how many organizations are using FHIR and are willing to work together towards a common objective,” said MediRecords Technical Product Owner Sanjeed Quaiyumi.

      “At MediRecords, we have already built a huge suite of FHIR resources. Events like Connectathon allow us to validate our new ideas and in-progress work.” 

      Sanjeed added that the team gained insights into the FHIR capabilities of organisations such as Australian Digital Health Agency, CSIRO, Telstra Health, Sonic HealthCare, and software developers Epic, and for what business purposes they are using FHIR.

      “It is an amazing community which brings people from different aspects of healthcare together, sharing a common objective of interoperability, he said. 

      MediRecords Software Developer/FHIR Analyst  Niel Sayo and FHIR Team Lead Jack Li agreed the friendly event was an opportunity to view the latest products, approaches and ideas in Australia. 

      “We can look at our competitors also as partners when it comes to collaborative interoperability concerns,” Niel said. 

      MediRecords Graduate Software Engineer Joshua Vazzoler also noted the collaborative nature of the event and appreciated the opportunity for practical experience in a hackathon-style setting. 

      “My initial observations of the event highlighted the expanding presence of FHIR within the Australian market, with a significant turnout of professionals,” Josh said. 

      “As a participant, I was eager to engage with like-minded FHIR professionals who share a passion for interoperability, and learn from esteemed industry experts.” 

      “The event instilled a sense of inspiration and motivation to contribute towards the advancement of FHIR-based solutions within the healthcare industry.” 

      Check out our latest FHIR update and roadmap

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        MediRecords Product Update May 2021

        Product Update May 2021

        MediRecords Product Update: May 2021

        Megan Harker

        Megan Harker, Support Team Lead

        See what we’ve been working on and released over the last few weeks...

        Telehealth Appointments Now Supported by Appointment Widget

        We’ve also introduced some changes to the way our Appointment Widget supports Telehealth Appointments.  These appointments can now be made online and the link for the appointment will be sent to the patient in their confirmation SMS. 
        Please ensure your Telehealth appointments are configured correctly to appear on your website’s widget.  

         

        Free Text Start Time 

        We’ve introduced the ability to free text appointment times when making or editing appointments.  The new function lets you type into the appointment time field more specific start times, and also allows you to use 24 hour time which then converts to an AM or PM time in the appointment book.  

         

        Filter Letters and Templates

        You can now add a filter within the MediRecords Letter Templates search table to indicate that you want to search within your favourites.  This will allow you to create a search within only your preferred resources.

         

        Resources are now Alphabetized

        Letters and favourites are now alphabetized in the letter editor, meaning ease of use for our customers.

        New Fields Added to Provider Billing Activity Reports

        To allow for greater visibility, two new fields have been added to the Provider Billing Activity Report.  ADJ – which shows the amount of adjustments or write offs to the invoice and Outstanding which allows for more visibility of the amount outstanding on the invoice.

        Configure Button Has Moved

        We’ve recently moved the Configure option from the More menu to a button on the sub menu when setting up new users.  This will reduce the amount of clicks needed to configure new staff for practices.

         

        Letter Writer Improvements

        Several new fields have been added to the letter writer mail merge library including reason for visit, notes associated with medical conditions including current, past and selected, preferred name and all providers.

         

        Patient Header 

        The hover state on the patient header is now shown in full without having to scroll up or down.

        Drug Recipe

        Your custom drug recipes now support more than 6 ingredients.

        Unread Mail Indicator

        On the patient record there is now an alert to show if this patient has any unread correspondence in any of the provider’s inboxes.  Click here to learn more.

         

        Prescribing Approval Process

        Prescribed authority prescriptions functionality has been improved with additional information now displayed on the approval screen including: Hotline Number, Patient Name, Patient Medicare Number, Patient DVA, Prescriber Number, Authority Form No and Authority item.

        These changes have come about from customers like you, who have given us their feedback.  MediRecords is committed to continuous improvement to allow for ease of use of our product.

        See you next month for more exciting new features and functions within MediRecords.

        Megan Harker

        Megan Harker, Support Team Lead

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          MediRecords Product Update March 2021

          Product Update March 2021

          MediRecords Product Update: March 2021

          Megan Harker

          Megan Harker, Support Team Lead

          Big things have been happening in MediRecords already in 2021.
          New year, new staff and new features!

          Active Ingredient Prescribing

          The mandatory Active Ingredient Prescribing was instated on Feb 1stMediRecords released its’ new functionality in anticipation of this legislation and user may have found a slight change to their workflows.    

          Each prescription is now printed with the Active Ingredient of the medication, as well as the brand name if chosen.  There are exemptions from the requirement, and the full article can be found on our Knowledge Base here.

          Ability to add GAP to Agreements 

          Users can now add GAPs to Agreement invoices to transmit through Eclipse.  
          Health Funds such as Bupa and HBF only accept claims through the Agreement channel, and prior to this update, a gap was unable to be added onto the invoices transmitted through this channel.

           

          Date of Service field is now seen in Unclaimed Amount

          Previously the screen only showed the invoice date for all unbatched invoices in this area, meaning the user needs to click into each invoice to check the date of service.  But no more! We’ve updated the screen to also include the date of service as well as the invoice date for ease of use.  

           

          Theatre List Report 

          Specialists have access to a new report that contains information about their Procedures for a particular date. This can be found in More > Reporting > Patients > Theatre List Report. 

           

          Investigations Defaults 

          Users can now adjust their preferences for which menu defaults in Investigations between All Requests and their Favourites. 
          This can be configured in the user preferences 

          Changes to Resource and Contact Creations 

          We’ve made some changes recently to the way resources and contacts are saved in MediRecords.  

           Previously there were three areas to save your contacts and resources: 

          • Private – only the creator can see  
          • Practice – only those in the Practice can see  
          • Community – All MediRecords users can see 

          We have removed the ability to create Community resources and contacts to reduce the number of items in the grid when searching for these items.  Community contacts and templates will only be supplied by MediRecords 
          If you have a suggestion or requirement for a resource that would be beneficial for other MR users, please contact the Support Team. 

          Changes to Correspondence to the Patient App  

          We’ve recently made some changes to the way correspondence is sent to patients via the app.  The only correspondence sent to the app will be those that are marked as FINAL.  Anything in DRAFT will not be shared.   

          Multiple Patient Billing 

          Did you know MediRecords has the functionality to support multiple patient billing?  A function that would assist our users who service Residential Aged Care Facilities or any other clinics that see multiple patients for Medicare or DVA Bulk Billing.  
          This function can be found in Accounts > Sales, or can be accessed through the patient grid.  

          Contact our Support Team if you would like more information about Multiple Patient Billing.

          Number of Ingredients in Drug Recipes Extended

          For those practices who use Drug Recipes, you may have noticed that the ingredient listing has been extended to 6 ingredients from the previous 4.  This should make life a little easier for all our practices who use this function for comprehensive extemporaneous preparations.   

          This change came about from feedback from a valued customer just like you! 

           

          If you need any help with any of these new features, or any others, then please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly support team via email at support@medirecords.com, on 1300 103 903 or through the chat function on your MediRecords webpage. 

          Megan Harker

          Megan Harker, Support Team Lead

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

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

            Matthew Galetto MediRecords banner

            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. 

            Matthew Galetto MediRecords banner

            Matthew Galetto, CEO & Founder

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              MediRecords Product Update November 2020

              Product Update Spring 2020

              MediRecords Product Update: November 2020

              Product Update Spring 2020
              Megan Harker

              Megan Harker, Customer Support Coordinator

              An Overview of the Spring 2020 Updates from MediRecords

              You may have noticed in the last few months that MediRecords have been pumping out new features and updates fairly regularly. Here’s a quick overview of just some of the new functionality, in case you missed anything:

               

              Appointment Updates

               

              Tiles Re-Coloured and Appointment Information

              We have introduced vibrant new colours in the appointment book to differentiate between appointment status. These can be seen if you ‘Appointment Colour Palette’ is set to ‘Status’.

              The ‘Appointment Type’ is also displayed as text next to the patient name for extra visibility.

              We have also introduced ‘Hover State’. This means you can now see the status of an appointment quickly and easily by hovering the mouse over the appointment.

              Easier Access to Patient Records

              You can now open a patient record from multiple areas of the appointments calendar, just by clicking their name. This feature can be found when hovering over an appointment, when viewing a provider’s calendar by month, and in the Agenda view.

              More Appointment Types

              We have also increased the number of different appointment types you can use. Filtering by ‘Inactive’ will reveal the editable tiles, with up to 60 different types of appointments.

              You can find out more about editing Appointment Types here.

              Improved Provider Filter

              The Provider Filter has been adapted to reduce loading times. You can now easily search and select the providers that you want to see the calendars for by using the search box.

              For more information on the Provider Filter and how to set your calendar defaults, see here.

              Patient Appointment Search

              Alongside the Provider Filter, we have implemented improvements to how you search for a patient’s appointments to include an ‘All Providers’ option, if the provider has not already been selected.

              This ensures you don’t miss any appointment information.

              Billing Updates

              In-Patient Billing

              Our in-patient billing functionality has had a huge overhaul and is continuing to be improved.

              Health Fund schedules, including AHSA, being updated have been enhanced and derived items are now automatically calculated. We have also removed the automatically populated $400 gap that was being applied to every item, and keep an eye out for the ability to add a Gap payment to an Agreement early 2021. You can now also bill ‘In-Patient Invoices’ directly from the Calendar and Waiting Room.

              Additionally, when invoicing from the Appointment screen, the invoice will populate with the service date automatically defaulting to the date of the appointment.

              Improved Invoicing

              Invoices have been improved to now include number item lines, and an item counter.

              You can also choose ‘Immediate’ in your payment terms.

              If you need any help with any of these new features, or any others, then please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly support team via email at support@medirecords.com, on 1300 103 903 or through the chat function on your MediRecords webpage.

              Megan Harker

              Megan Harker, Customer Support Coordinator

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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?

                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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