cdmNet to go national with collaborative care plan

A pilot project to evaluate the effectiveness of collaborative care for chronic disease using Precedence Health Care's cdmNet web-based technology has been declared a success and will now be offered nationally.

The Collaborative Care Cluster Australia (CCCA) project has been trialling cdmNet as a platform to improve chronic disease management in a number of healthcare provider organisations in Victoria, including Southern Health and the South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local, as well as by over 1000 GPs and 3000 allied health professionals.

It has been independently evaluated by Monash University as being effective in managing diabetes patients in particular. Leon Piterman, pro vice-chancellor of Monash University, said the system was first trialled in Geelong with diabetes patients.

“Following that, it was trialled in Melbourne’s south east, involving seven to eight chronic illnesses,” Professor Piterman said. “Monash University’s role has been to evaluate it. We’re now able to demonstrate that it improves adherence to the care plan and follow up of the plan. This leads to definite improvements in the control of diabetes, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids and so on. We are seeing improvements in the clinical condition of diabetes patients and cardiovascular risk factors associated with diabetes.”

Jon Hilton, Precedence Health Care's programs manager, said the aim was to see if it was possible to work with a number of organisations to improve the quality of care in collaborative chronic disease management using cdmNet as a platform.

“We are declaring this cluster a success and it is now self-sustaining and it's going national,” Mr Hilton said. “The organisations collectively have agreed to continue to work together on a national basis.”

Those organisations include Cisco Systems, Fred Health, Bupa, Diabetes Australia Victoria, the Royal District Nursing Service, the RACGP, Southern Health and the South Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local, and research organisations including Baker IDI, Monash and CSIRO’s Australian e-Health Research Centre. The AEHRC's Dr Rajiv Jayasena is the senior project manager for the CCCA consortium.

“The idea of the trial was to prove the concept that these groups could work together and that we'd all see benefits from cdmNet,” Mr Hilton said. Precedence Health Care is now working on an engagement framework and training materials for Medicare Locals who want to set up a similar service.

cdmNet is a GP-led platform using web-based technologies that allows users to create general practice management plans (GPMPs) for chronic disease. The care plan and health records are shared across the care team and with the patient through the internet.

It produces and distributes documentation, provides patient reminders, monitors progress against the care plan, automatically schedules follow up and review and manages Medicare compliance.

GPs, allied health professionals and patients can access the patient’s record via a secure, encrypted internet-based login. It also enables communication, referrals and reminders via email and text messages.

Mr Hilton said it was a “self-sustaining” system, in that it will be offered to GPs as a fee for service package. GPs receive payments to prepare and oversee chronic disease management plans for patients, funded by Medicare as part of the National Chronic Disease Strategy. Precedence Health Care receives payment for each care plan produced using the service.

Precedence claims that cdmNet can increase GP productivity by 250 per cent, with regular users able to increase their annual chronic disease management revenue by $35,000 per annum per GP.

Cameron Profitt, a GP from Bannockburn Surgery in Geelong who was part of the original pilot group and has been using cdmNet for several years, said the fact that it simplifies the general practice management of chronic illness makes it worthwhile.

“There is a cost involved, but even if you’re paying a portion of the consulting fee for the use of cdmNet it’s worth it because you save so much time,” Dr Profitt said.

“I’ve found cdmNet handy and useful for chronic disease management, and particularly the inclusion of allied care. It reduces the bureaucracy and time spent communicating back and forth.”

“cdmNet has definitely helped with including the allied health team. These days, there are few allied health professionals that aren’t using computers, so we can send them emails and so on. It makes referrals much easier and saves paper and office staff time.

“In the past, for a care plan you had to fax off a letter to an allied health professional or call them, and then document the response. Now you just approve a plan and an email is sent to the team.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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