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Hello from the Frontline



I hope you’re all having a wonderful year so far. To those I have met on my travels I can’t thank you enough for your kindness and enthusiasm at my training events.

                                                                                                                                                             eHealth update 

People who know me know I call myself  the eHealth Queen after spending what felt like the entire year last year training eHealth. The Government’s formal PCEHR review has finally been released – read it here – with a most significant recommendation for changing to an opt-out system. You can also read my thoughts on eHealth here in a recent interview with Pulse IT ‘Barriers to PCEHR uptake on the frontline‘. 

I thank Pulse IT for giving me the title ‘on the frontline’ which I proudly adopt because I am indeed lucky enough to travel Australia meeting hundreds of medical practice staff each year. In addition I get to visit 1 or 2 new practices each week as well as help out a handful of practices semi-regularly with my ‘practice management’ hat on. I sure have heard a lot of feedback about eHealth and emerging technologies and I know it can be hard to keep up with the constant health IT changes so I highly recommend subscribing to Pulse IT for regularly updates – click here for Pulse IT.

eHealth & Data Quality 

What became evident with eHealth training last year was a need for assistance with the task of database cleansing. Many practices still have paper records or hybrid systems. We are always all at different stages of computer usage and of course all vary widely in our interest and acceptance of their use in clinical practice. Having worked in the medical industry for 25 years myself I certainly am one of the biggest fans of technology progress (eHealth) because I have seen the time-saving and safety benefits but I always say there is no point sharing information that is inaccurate so I am thrilled with the focus on data quality this year. I am now commonly training Pen Computer Systems (Classic CAT & Cleansing CAT) in my Medical Director and Best Practice software workshops and focussing on both data quality and chronic condition management for GPs, Practice Nurses and support staff.

I am happy to report significant advances in data quality and general acceptance of eHealth. I have provided training and support for many Specialist practices and allied health organisations in the use of secure messaging and a few are also now beginning to upload to the PCEHR. Practices across Australia are reporting they are now receiving specialist reports electronically and the recent addition of electronic hospital discharge summaries is igniting excitement as a significant time-saving, quality improvement.


Hot Topics

Some hot topics of discussion at recent training events have been:

–        online appointments

–        practice websites with online registration forms

–        emailing & sms contact between practices and patients

–        clinical photo sharing applications

–        online results sharing

–        minimising medico-legal risk

& the No. 1 Hot Topic has been….Privacy!

Information sharing, Clinical Audits, Data extraction, Social Media interaction with patients, Proactive preventive health reminders versus direct marketing.  How do you obtain and document patient consent? What do you need consent for?  Doesn’t a patient consent when they become your patient? What do we need to include on our patient registration forms? Great conversations to have in light of the new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

While those of us working in this medical world are usually already fine-tuned to focus on privacy, these new principles have forced us to step up and re-assess our practice policies and security. The responsibilities of Information Management/Information Technology often fall on the Practice Manager so I have placed some helpful checklists and links on the Practice Management (free resources) page of my website to help with the process of learning about the new Principles and reassessing your current practice systems to ensure compliance – click here for Practice Management Free Resources. This page will be updated regularly as more information becomes available and resources developed.

Your feedback is vital Adelaide

It was an absolute pleasure to meet everyone at the Perth and Adelaide HCN Education Days recently as well as all the MD & Best Practice software Database Cleansing and eHealth workshops I have run this year in Melbourne, Sydney (home), South Coast, North Coast & Outback NSW as well as Perth & Adelaide. You can download a copy of my HCN Education Day presentation here –Katrina’s MD Presentation (abridged) from HCN Education Day 2014.  MD & PracSoft users might also like my favourite MD & PS tips – click here to view MD & PS user tips. Some really progressive, exciting ideas were shared and I thank you all for so generously sharing what works well in your practices and what features you would like to see developed in your medical software.

For Medical Director, PracSoft and Blue Chip users here’s your chance to have your say directly to HCN on software development:
Message from HCN:  ‘ We welcome you to participate in our short Patient Portal Survey. Your feedback from this survey will assist us in providing insight into developing online appointments and reminder applications for PracSoft and Blue Chip. We value your time and thank you for contributing to future developments”.- Click to complete HCN Survey

Training Resources

I am conscious of the ongoing challenge of upskilling staff in new technology & processes so will continue to develop interactive and effective resources for practices on key areas. Following on the success of my eHealth training packages sold to many Medicare Locals across Australia and delivered to hundreds of practices, I have now also developed a ‘Data Quality & Chronic Condition Management’ training package which focuses on the PEN Classic CAT & Cleansing CAT Audit Tools combined with either Best Practice or Medical Director.  These packages include multimedia presentations and interactive user guides. Email [email protected] for more information if you feel this would benefit your practice/s.

Hope to see you soon

In the next two months I will be training Medical Director, PracSoft and Best Practice Software as well as Pen Clinical Audit Tools in Perth (love WA), Melbourne, Newcastle, Tamworth, Armidale, Gunnedah, Wollongong, Bomaderry, Lismore & Coffs Harbour. Let me know if  you would like a practice visit while I am in town. I also still run the Medical Director and PracSoft courses monthly in Sydney + Advanced in Melbourne for HCN – Click here for calendar of HCN Training Course Sessions.  For those who can’t make my events I also offer training via regular Webinars and individual online training.

I wish you good health and happiness and hope to connect with you again soon.

Katrina Otto 


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