28 October 2022: UK health technology company Kinata has partnered with local electronic referral provider MEDrefer, to integrate their systems to reduce referrals to hospital specialists and allow better patient care in the community.
“Based upon our experience in the UK indicates that critical pressures on Australia’s healthcare can be alleviated if we remove some of the inefficiencies that are a legacy of the 20th century,” Kinesis Commercial and Operations Director Ben Harrison said of the company’s entry into the Australian market.
Kinata’s “pre-referral” platform, Kinesis, has saved the NHS more than £14 million ($25 million) by allowing patients to be triaged by specialists prior to referral. GPs are also provided with specialist advice on treatments to ensure patients arrive in secondary care at the right time.
“Two-thirds of patients attending outpatient clinics can be treated in primary care if GPs have better access to specialist support. Patients can also avoid long waits for outpatient clinic appointments while hospitals are able to focus on more urgent cases. A considerable amount of unnecessary spend can be avoided by patients getting the right care at the right time.”
The combined platform can support telehealth for rural and remote areas, mitigating the need for patients to travel significant distances for appointments.
“Our joint mission will change the way healthcare is delivered in Australia by integrating GP and specialist care in a way that hasn’t been achieved until now,” MEDrefer CEO Brian Sullivan said.
“Our integrated systems will manage the whole pre-referral and referral process and journey, all in one space, making it easy for clinicians to collaborate and increase the amount of quality care provided within the community.”
MEDrefer’s platform allows GPs to issue electronic referrals automatically populated with atomic data to a referral template directly from a patients electronic medical record. The system also allows GPs to search for specialists based on location, availability, special interests and language, and refer or treat according to the patient’s condition and circumstances.
MEDrefer Pty. Ltd. proudly announces the release of MEDrefer Enterprise, a central hub of clinical and management activity for Australian health communities.
The MEDrefer platform is an affordable solution that captures live, atomic, de-identified data from eReferrals and other eForms to a secure cloud platform. It provides on-demand access of local clinical and management activity, enabling fast responses to population health and clinical service analytics to DoHA and leading PHNs.
Our unique FHIR-enabled platform represents the only single solution that allows faster responses to the particular challenges faced by PHNs in managing the health and wellness of their communities. Once established, the system operates seamlessly without the need for regular interaction with local primary care clinics.
MEDrefer is an established and highly developed eReferral platform featuring Australia’s leading online directory of Specialists, Allied Health and Hospitals, allowing referring clinicians to search and find the most appropriate speciality service, refer via electronic auto-populated forms and thereafter keep track of the status of every referral they issue.
Our national Healthcare Services Directory combines native self-managed listings with those synchronised from Secure Messaging Networks like Medical Objects and the National Health Services Directory (NHSD) and Provider Connect Australia (PCA) via their integration. Our delivery model is unique, with multi-sourced listings de-duplicated and linked to a single master record as an authoritative point of truth.
Once Specialists, Allied Health or Hospitals are synced from their various source directories, listings can be enhanced to include their special interests, location, availability and languages to quickly request advice and guidance, share images with remote diagnostics, or simply request further information. Furthermore, each directory listing can link to one or more custom referral eForms published by the recipient service to list their minimum data requirements for patient intake, removing the need to consult a separate template directory
Our Advice and Guidance solution licensed from the UK, allows patients to be assessed and managed by hospital specialist/s consulting with the local GPs to evaluating a patient’s status, determining if they could be treated locally with secondary assistance. If possible, apart from saving time and travel for the patient, it also assists the local GP to gain experience they would not normally receive. Overseas experience shows a 62% reduction in hospital attendances, and we expect this service is even more appropriate in Australian communities.
The MEDrefer platform not only improves the quality of care to patients, but importantly, provides valuable data insights into opportunities to improve the delivery of primary care for PHNs, Local Hospital Districts and the Government.
Whether users are GPs, Specialists, Allied Health, Hospitals, Patients, PHNs, or Government there will be a benefit for all, and we welcome the opportunity to work with partners who share our vision.
Aged care is undergoing a digital transformation as providers seek to unlock the benefits of technologies in improving care outcomes, costs and efficiencies.
The Aged Care Technology Consortium – which includes MEDrefer – offers a suite of innovations that solve enduring challenges in aged care and easily connect into an aged care provider’s existing IT infrastructure to achieve:
A nationwide survey of residential aged care staff has found almost one in ten works in a facility reliant on paper records for care management, while “critical digital systems” are yet to be widely implemented in a sector in “dire need of disruption”.
Conducted by the Aged Care Technology Consortium, the survey highlighted frustration at staff shortages, poor shift handovers including for “deteriorating” residents, time consuming compliance reporting, and digital systems that don’t integrate.
One respondent said: “No [digital] system talks to each other – even from the same providers! Whether it’s clinical care systems, finance systems, incident management systems, HR systems – nothing talks to each other.”
Another commented: “Paper based systems are not acceptable in this day and age.”
The Consortium’s founding companies – MEDrefer, Webstercare, Extensia, Foxo, Visionflex and Humanetix – have joined together to integrate their technologies to help prevent unnecessary transfers to hospital emergency departments, and provide early identification of health needs, improved services in rural and remote areas, more staff time for patient care, better engagement with families, and health record sharing.
“Aged care providers can find it confusing to choose digital systems, and often their systems don’t connect or share information. We have taken some of the frustration out of the digital transition process because, ultimately, aged care needs to modernise. Our older Australians deserve better,” MEDrefer founder and CEO Brian Sullivan said.
MEDrefer is a member of the Aged Care Technology Consortium – a collaboration of digital health companies that have come together to connect their systems and provide solutions for residential and in-home aged care providers.
The Consortium recently undertook a nationwide survey of residential aged care providers and found a concerning lack of critical digital system implementations.
The survey conducted in June gathered responses mostly from facility managers (37%), followed by nursing directors (20%), CEOs (13%) and care managers (7%).
It found that most respondents (53%) work in a facility with a digital medication management system, while 29% said they have implemented a pain management platform.
About 9% of respondents reported being reliant on paper records for care management; 8% said their workers have access to a digital incident management system; and only 3% said their facility has implemented a visitor management platform.
The survey also revealed the respondents’s major workplace challenges include documentation completeness (29%), incident management (19%), shift handover and ease of administration (18%), monitoring care quality and managing escalations (16%), and compliance and auditing activities (15%).
In Pulse+IT, MEDrefer founder and CEO Brian Sullivan says aged care providers can find it confusing when it comes to choosing digital systems, and often their systems don’t connect or share information.
That’s why MEDrefer has joined with a suite of proven innovators to connect our systems and provide integrated technologies for referrals, communications, workflow and administration, telehealth and remote monitoring, medication management and health information sharing.
“We have taken some of the frustration out of the digital transition process because, ultimately, aged care needs to modernise,” Brian says. “Our older Australians deserve better.”
Western Australia has completed a successful pilot of its GP Urgent Care Clinic Network, with MEDrefer contributing its digital referrals capability to the project providing patients with rapid access to non-life threatening emergency care.
As part of the state’s effort to lower the growing pressure on hospitals, the initiative has provided a vital alternative for patients who would otherwise have attended WA emergency departments.
Since its implementation as part of the pilot in May 2020, MEDrefer has been used across 150 general practices in the state, allowing urgent care clinics to report back about patients’ conditions to their usual GPs.
“The urgent care clinics have been enthusiastic in their take-up of technology that transforms the way GPs communicate,” MEDrefer founder and CEO Brian Sullivan said.
“Not only does our digital platform enable easy access, it also allows GPs to receive reports about their patients, ensuring ongoing visibility of their care needs. It eliminates the need for paper, saves time for clinicians and admin staff, and lowers the risk of errors caused by transcribing patient details. No longer should GPs operate in entirely unconnected silos when information can easily be shared electronically regardless of the practice management software they use.”
Usually, MEDrefer enables referrals from GPs to specialists and hospitals. This was an adaptation of the system.
According to the state’s Department of Health, almost one-fifth of attendances to WA emergency departments in 2017-18 could have been treated by GPs.
Earlier this month, the ABC reported Western Australia recorded the highest total for ambulance ramping for the month of May in history. St John Ambulance figures showed paramedics spent a total of 5,252.6 hours ramped outside hospitals that were unable to take in additional patients.
Joondalup Health Campus left paramedics waiting the longest, followed by Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
“In the last two years there have been increased reports of ambulance ramping outside hospitals, people needing to be driven to the ED as there are no available ambulances, and people dying waiting for an ambulance,” according to the AMA.
“The AMA’s Ambulance Ramping Report Card shows that states and territories are falling short of their performance targets, and longitudinal data demonstrates that the time it takes to transfer a patient from the ambulance to the care of the hospital emergency department has been overall increasing year on year. This is a clear indication that our hospitals are in crisis.”
In May, the Western Sydney Care Collective – a collaboration between Western Sydney Local Health District and WentWest, the Western Sydney Primary Health Network – announced $10.9 million in funding from the NSW Government would be used to establish up to 12 urgent care centres in Western Sydney in an effort to integrate primary and hospital care and lower pressure on the area’s emergency departments.
This month, National Cabinet agreed to “identify practical improvements to the health system and specifically the connections between GPs and hospitals”.
The Commonwealth also said it would work with states and territories “to determine the final locations for Medicare Urgent Care Clinics”. Before the election, Labor pledged $135 million to trial 50 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics based in general practices and community health centres, which are slated to open in July 2023.
The crisis is being exacerbated by people remaining in hospital beds who could be released, such as those waiting for home care or NDIS packages.
Growing pressures on the hospital system mean acute care clinics provide important services, including by providing treatment to older people in the community.
In WA, the GP Urgent Care Clinic Network pilot – delivered by the state’s Department of Health in partnership with the WA Primary Health Alliance – has enhanced the capacity of general practices to care for patients with urgent but non-life-threatening conditions, including:
Skin and soft tissue infections and symptoms, such as cuts and lacerations, mild burns and rashes, bites and insect stings
Musculoskeletal injuries such as minor fractures, sports injuries and minor neck and back pain
Other potentially urgent medical symptoms such as urinary tract infections and wound infections and abdominal pain.
Supported by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA Faculty and the Australian Medical Association (WA), the network was designed to ensure people could receive the right care in the right place – in the community.
MEDrefer provides a seamless nationwide directory of specialists and an eReferral delivery system that is safely stored in the cloud and integrated into practice management software.
The upcoming release of the MEDrefer eReferral platform supports new Australian industry standards for secure messaging, developed by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) in collaboration with healthcare software vendors like ourselves, furthering our commitment to deliver the highest quality referrals via the most secure channel available.
In addition to our market leading eReferral search engine and directory, MEDrefer now integrates with Australian provider directories compliant with the Australian Profile for Provider Directory Services (PD 2 on FHIR R4) such as those maintained by secure messaging vendors. This integration allows MEDrefer users to easily search for and refer to Australian providers who use secure messaging services which implement this new standard, such as Medical-Objects, Argus and HealthLink, in addition to those already using MEDrefer to receive referrals.
Our support of the new secure messaging standard builds on MEDrefer’s long established “guaranteed delivery” framework. This ensures message delivery regardless of the technical capability of the receiving site, thereby maximising our reach to cover the broadest range of healthcare services. GPs and other referrers can be confident that the message will always get through to their chosen recipient in the quickest, most secure way possible, ensuring safe transfer of care for their patients.
Beyond message delivery, MEDrefer’s eForm based referral authoring mandates the minimum information required by recipient specialist services, auto-populated from the GP’s electronic patient record. Along with the referral letter, the structured form data can be delivered to the recipient site to support triage, decision support and to streamline patient registration by eliminating the need for manual transcription by admin staff.
When combined, the new messaging standard and our next generation referral forms deliver the highest quality referrals to the right recipient at the right time via the most secure channel available.
The new release (V9.0 and V1.8 of our Windows app, MEDrefer Manager) is scheduled to go live this Friday, October 2nd.
Many medical practices are losing patients through bad Facebook reviews without even realising it. Even if you don’t have a Facebook page for your practice, there may be an unofficial page where patients regularly check in through their smart phones and in many cases, leave negative reviews. With Facebook one of the first places that prospective patients look when choosing a new doctor, bad reviews may mean your practice is missing out on new patients.
Thousands of these unofficial Facebook pages exist and many have comments such as “I thought a recent waiting time of THREE HOURS for a five minute procedure was a tad too long!”* with 1 star ratings to boot.
Fortunately, it’s an easy process to claim these unofficial pages and then deal with the bad reviews. MEDrefer has written a guide to show you how to do so, step by step.
You have the option to Claim the page (so you can edit the unofficial page) or Merge the page into another page you create or already own. Merging the page will allow you to keep all check in reviews and page likes, but remove all the other page information which was on the unofficial page.
*Real comment from a review on an unofficial Facebook page.
How to Fix Unofficial Facebook Pages
Firstly, check if you have an unofficial Facebook page for your practice. You can easily do this by typing the name of the practice into the Facebook search bar and checking the results that appear.
How to Merge or Claim an Unofficial Page
Visit the unofficial page that you wish to merge or claim.
Click on the ellipsis (…) at the top right of the page, next to Like, Save, Suggest Edits.
On the menu that appears, click on “Is This Your Business?”
You will have two options: Claim the page, or Merge the page.
Select the option you wish to use.
You will need to provide a business phone number OR copies of business documents so Facebook can verify your ownership of the business.
Note: Both “Merging” and “Claiming” will not remove or change reviews.
2 Ways to Deal with Bad Check in Reviews
Unfortunately, Facebook does not allow you to pick and choose which reviews show on your business page. There are two main options to deal with bad reviews.
Claim the unofficial page where the bad reviews appear and then delete it in the settings section.
On the page which has the bad reviews, click on the About section, Page Info, then the Edit button beside the address section. Uncheck the box next to Show map, check-ins and star ratings on the Page. This will remove all reviews AND the review option from your page.
Some categories suitable for medical practices include: Doctor, Hospital/Clinic or Health/Medical/Pharmacy. You can add extra categories once you finish setting up your Facebook page
Fill in the information in each step or skip to come back and do it later.
An example unofficial Facebook page with 6 reviews, 13 likes and a 2.2/5 star rating.
Does all this seem far too complicated? Contact MEDrefer and our helpful support staff will be happy to help you further with any issues you may be facing with your Facebook page/s. You can contact us by email via email@example.com or phone 1800 556 022
Should you wish investigate having your own website, we can also help.
The healthcare industry is one of the last to step into the field of technology but it’s a step that many doctors will soon have to take to maintain their communication with colleagues and patients. It’s also important to be aware of how to manage brand reputation on the Internet.
So what does every medical practice need to succeed in the world where technology meets healthcare?
An email address
Surprisingly, a large number of practices don’t have email addresses. This can impact on their working relationship with other practices and also their patients. It can make it difficult to track online listings, such as on Google Places and receive important updates from medical organisations such as the AAPM, RACGP and AMA.
A good clinical software system
Keeping track of patient records on programs not designed for the purpose can create a bigger burden on reception staff and make tracking down information less time efficient and more complicated. A good clinical software program will help you maintain records, provide links to up to date medical information, let you backup your records securely and provide integrations with major medical resources and programs.
Electronic referral tracking
Many leading organisations are calling on medical professionals to flick the fax because of how insecure and illegible they often are – it’s very common for faxes to get lost or even get sent to the wrong fax number. GPs also have no way of knowing if a patient ever followed through on a referral after the patient leaves their practice. MEDrefer allows GPs and referring Specialists to track the entire referral process from the appointment time and date through to the final report and offers a range of other marketing, data storage and integration benefits to GPs, Specialists and Allied Health professionals.
With many patients now using a Google search as the first step in finding a practitioner, you need to make sure that you’re one of the first practices they set eyes on. You don’t need a fancy expensive website but at the very least, you need to stake your place in cyber space. A website can be as simple as one page with a slogan describing your practice, a paragraph about your services, an embedded Google map and your contact details. Talk to us about your requirements for a practice website
A Facebook page
Facebook is one of the first places patients will search for a local business and it’s also one of the first places they’ll leave a good (or bad) review. Many practices are not even aware that they may already have a place holder page on Facebook, where patients can give them ratings.
If you create your own page for your practice, you can request that Facebook merges all the other pages into it, so you can monitor incoming comments and reviews from patients.
If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s also worth setting up a Twitter account, which you can connect and post to directly from your Facebook page.