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Get started with digital health
Technology is transforming primary healthcare. It is changing how North Queenslanders engage with the healthcare system and plays a huge role in how patient information is collected, stored, and accessed.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has advice and resources for getting started with digital health. Find it here

Digital Health

Electronic medication management seeks to improve the process of prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring of medicines to ensure good health outcomes and cost-effective use. 

The Australia Digital Health Agency has information and resources about electronic medicine management. Find out more here.​​​​​​

Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (ETP)

ETP involves the creation of an electronic message alongside the paper prescription, which is transmitted to a Prescription Delivery Service (PDS). At the time of prescribing, a barcode is generated and printed on a paper prescription. A pharmacy then dispenses the prescription by scanning the barcode which downloads the prescription information from the PDS. 

Benefits

  1. Reduces the likelihood of transcription related dispense errors.
  2. Assists in meeting the Practice Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP) requirements.
  3. Enables upload of prescription and dispense records to My Health Record.
  4. Supports the technical requirements for electronic prescriptions.
  5. Improves quality and efficiency of both prescribing and dispense processes.
  6. Improves communication between prescribers and dispensers.

Prerequisites

There are currently two prescription delivery services available for providers — eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure. The two services are interoperable, meaning prescription information sent using one PDS can be downloaded by a pharmacy connected to the other PDS.

Access ETP Checklist for General Practice to ensure you are registered with a Prescription Delivery Service (PDS).

Electronic Prescribing (ePrescribing)

Electronic prescribing allows for the prescribing and dispensing of medicines without the need for a paper prescription, which can improve efficiency and medicines safety.

Electronic prescribing is an initiative as part of the National Health Plan. It was originally due to be rolled out next year, but its delivery has been progressed to support telehealth consultations and to help protect healthcare providers and patients from infectious disease, in this case COVID-19, by removing the need to present to your GP in person to get a prescription.

Instead of a paper prescription, the patient can choose to receive their prescription via an app, SMS, or email in the form of a link to a unique QR code or ‘token’.

The token is scanned by the pharmacy to unlock the electronic form of the prescription from an encrypted and secure electronic prescription delivery service. If the patient has a repeat for a prescription, they will receive a new token from the pharmacy that replaces the original token.

Electronic prescriptions will not be mandatory. Patients will have a choice to receive either an electronic or a paper prescription from their prescriber (but not both).

By the end of the year, pharmacy will also be able to access and dispense from an ‘active script list’, which provides a list of all the patient’s current prescriptions, including repeats.

Benefits

  • Provides greater choice for patients.
  • Makes prescribing and dispensing medicines more efficient.
  • May reduce prescribing and dispensing errors.
  • Supports electronic medication charts in hospitals and residential aged care facilities.
  • Removes the need for handling and storing a physical paper prescription.
  • Supports digital health services such as telehealth services to ensure continuity of patient care.
  • Provides an opportunity to protect community members and health care providers from exposure to infectious diseases (COVID-19 for example).
  • Maintains patient privacy and integrity of personal information.

Training resources

Peak body links

More information

For prescribers

  • The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) website contains information, factsheets, and checklists for prescribers. 
  • The My Health Record website contains information on sending prescription and dispense records to a patient’s My Health Record.
  • RACGP website contains information for patients.
  • Prescribers wanting to order digital media assets:
    If you would like to order any digital media assets in preparation for electronic prescribing, please see below login details for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Digital Health Resource Library. Here you can order online and point of sale items at no cost to you:
    Log in to the Digital Health Resource Library:
    • Username: GP
    • Password: digitalhealth
      You can simply download and copy any of the online assets and paste to your social media sites/websites. Any point of sale advertising items, just add to the cart, enter your address, and the agency will send the assests directly to you at no cost.

For dispensers

  • The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) website contains information, factsheets, and checklists for dispensers.
  • The My Health Record website contains information on sending prescription and dispense records to a patient’s My Health Record.
  • RACGP website contains information for patients.
  • With regards to a My Health Record security and access policy, please see this comprehensive guide by the PSA, which includes a policy template.
  • Software/clinical workflows:
  • Dispensers wanting to order digital media assets:
    If you would like to order any digital media assets in preparation for electronic prescribing, please see login details for the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Digital Health Resource Library. Here you can order online and point of sale items at no cost to you:
    Log in to the Digital Health Resource Library:
    • Username: Pharmacy
    • Password: digitalhealth
      You can simply download and copy and of the online assets and paste to your social media sites/websites. Any point of sale advertising items, just add to the cart, enter your address, and the agency will send the assets directly to you at no cost.

Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) is able to upload pathology results to a patient’s My Health Record for episodes that are referred as an electronic order (eOrder), also known as eRequesting, that includes the patient’s Individual Health Identifier (IHI) and the flag to indicate the patient has given consent to send pathology results to their My Health Record.

Doctors will then have a seven-day window for consultation and discussion of the results with their patients, after which patients can access their results in their My Health Record.  

To enable this to happen, requesting doctors must send their eOrders electronically from a compliant practice management system such as Best Practice (Lava SP3 and later) and Medical Director (3.17.2 and later) and each practice doctor needs to have the ‘Opt-in’ functionality enabled in their software. The practice also needs to complete the attached form and email it to marketing@snp.com.au or fax to (07) 3318 7409.

For more information, please contact your Medical Liaison Manager on 1300 767 284.

Download the My Health Record pathology results upload guide.

The HPP service provides summary patient healthcare details to registered and authenticated health practitioners. All information on display is provided via secure tunnel access to Queensland Health’s read-only clinical application, The Viewer. This read-only online access will allow GPs to view public hospital information including appointment records, radiology and laboratory results, treatment and discharge summaries, and demographic and medication details.

 

My Community Directory is a not-for-profit community information platform endorsed by NQPHN as a preferred access point for healthcare providers and community members to quickly and easily find health, social, and community service organisations and events. 

Having a single, robust, and well utilised services directory improves navigation of the healthcare system, for both providers and community, and strengthens the quality of service mapping. My Community Directory helps build community resilience and self-care by providing to-the-minute information about what services are available and when to users in any time or place. 

The benefits for providers include:

  • link to other services to enhance your referral network 
  • update your information at any time
  • promote events for free
  • see what other services are available in your area
  • build and communicate with your industry network
  • provide valuable data to map available services in our region
  • advertise for volunteer positions
  • have access to online resources and support
  • instant language translation of your business details
  • imbed directory and events page into your own business website. 

 

Visit your local My Community Directory here.

List your business of My Community Directory here

My Health Record is a secure online summary of a patient’s health information collected from patients, providers and Medicare. Primary care providers can quickly access information about patients’ history such as shared health summaries, discharge summaries, prescription and dispense records, pathology reports and diagnostic imaging reports. 

My Health Record is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health, which provides information, resources, training, and support on their Healthcare Professionals webpage. 

NQPHN strongly endorses the use of My Health Record because it allows:

  • timely access to up-to-date patient records, supporting clinical decision-making and continuity of care 
  • quick access to safety information, such as allergies and pre-existing medical conditions  
  • enhanced patient self-management 
  • a reduction of service and test duplication, increasing efficiency of service.

Register your practice for My Health Record here. If you are already registered, you can access the database here.  

You can access user support for My Health Record here.

The Australian Digital Health Agency offers online training on My Health Record. Find their resources here. 

Access resources and templates for General Practice on the RACGP website.

Shared services contacts

  • Provider Digital Access (PRODA) Help Desk: 1800 700 199

  • Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) Help Desk: 1800 723 471

  • Healthcare Identifier Service Help Desk: 1300 361 457 (for help registering an organisation in My Health Record and the HI Service) 

  • NASH PKI eBusiness Service Centre: 1800 700 199 (for help with a NASH PKI certificate request and any online technical support for software vendors).

The Practices Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP) is an initiative run by the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services on behalf of the Department of Health. It aims to encourage general practices to update their digital health activities and implement new technologies as developments occur.

To take part in the incentive, the practice must be accredited or registered to be so. They must also have compliant medical software, which you can check here at the PIP eHealth Product Register.

The ePIP Guidelines are available on the Department of Human Services website.

Provider Digital Access (PRODA) and Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) are complementary tools from the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

Provider Digital Access (PRODA)

PRODA is an online identity verification and authentication system to allow you to securely access government services such as:

  • Medicare Online
  • Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Online (PBS Online)
  • Disability Medical Assessment Online service
  • Aged Care Provider Portal
  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
  • Practice Incentives Program (PIP)
  • Practice Nurse Incentives Program (PNIP)
  • DVA Webclaim
  • My Health Record National Provider Portal

To register for PRODA, click here.

If you are already registered, access your PRODA account here.

Health Professional Online Services (HPOS)

HPOS is a web-based service provided by Medicare that gives primary care providers the ability to send and receive information to or from Medicare securely. It is used by general practitioners, specialists, allied health professionals, nurses, practice managers, and practice staff.

The Australian Government Department of Human Services website has more information, including this overview of the HPOS home page

To access the full range of information and services available through HPOS, log on through Provider Digital Access (PRODA).

Useful links

 

As healthcare becomes increasingly digitised, providers and patients alike are demanding better security of data and personal information. Reliable, secure provider-to-provider communication is key. This requires a commitment to secure messaging – safe, streamlined, and confidential information sharing across all healthcare providers and consumers. 

Benefits for providers:

  • secure exchange of clinical information and documents
  • reduced use of paper and decreased need for scanning, printing, filing
  • less time chasing clinical information or referrals
  • patient confidence in confidentiality
  • send/receive receipts
  • faster access to information.

 

Visit the Australian Digital Health Agency to find out more, including information about their Secure Messaging Program.

Queensland Health’s Smart Referrals program streamlines the creation and management of referrals to Queensland specialist outpatient services with the aim of improving patient experience and safety. 

The program brings together GP Smart Referrals, Referrals Service Directory, Referral Lodgement and Tracking, Smart Referrals Workflow, and HHS Smart Referral. Smart Referrals integrates with HealthPathways.  

Smart Referrals aims to bring:

  • safety and quality of care - enhanced quality of referral information, informs clinical handover, triage and treatment of patients
  • workflow efficiency - faster, streamlined referral management supports better patient outcomes
  • patient experience - enhanced quality of referral information reduces wait times
  • GP experience - quicker and easier for GPs to refer
  • clinician experience - enhanced decision support information improves patient care
  • financial benefits - reduction in referral rework and avoidable appointments.

Find out more on Queensland Health website.

 

Useful links

Smart Referrals resources

What is telehealth?

Advancements in technology enables primary healthcare providers to improve health equity, access to services, and workforce needs through the use of telehealth.

Information and communication technology can be leveraged to provide telemedicine, medical education, and health education to people living in regional, rural, and remote areas. Practitioners transmit voice, data, images, and information to patients to diagnose, treat, or educate whilst being physically distant. This means patients can receive care in their community, without the need to travel.

The Australian Government Department of Health website has information on telehealth, including what services are Medicare-funded.

Find the standard Telehealth MBS Items here.

COVID-19 Telehealth 

In March 2020, the Australian Government announced new bulk-billed items for telehealth for vulnerable patients or vulnerable health practitioners relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic. These items are for GPs, specialists, consultant physicians, obstetricians, consultant psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, allied mental health workers, and midwives:

  • Bulk-billed pathology services where a medical practitioner has requested a test for SARS-CoV-2 under a new item.
  • Bulk-billed pathology services for a pathologist to test for SARS-CoV-2 and relevant respiratory viruses, if the treating practitioner did not request them.

View the updated items here.

healthdirect Video Call telehealth service is free for GPs until June 2021. Find out more here.

Resources

19 August 2020
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