eHealth the focus for next Medical Director release

Health Communication Network (HCN) is planning a mid-year launch for the next release of its clinical and practice management software products Medical Director and PracSoft, with added eHealth functionality the primary upgrades.

Assisted registration functionality for the PCEHR, which will allow practices to register patients in person through the software, will be available to users in the next version. It will also come with improvements to the view of the National Prescription and Dispense Repository (NPDR), allowing doctors to access both the prescribed and dispensed view.

HCN CEO Phil Offer said there will also be some improvements to the National Inpatient Medication Chart (NIMC), which GPs use if they prescribe for hospital inpatients.

“The improvements will allow you to save time by automatically generating multiple sets of NIMC print-outs for those with many regular medications, add more than five allergies on and improve readability, which is quite critical,” Mr Offer said.

HCN will also make some usability enhancements to its PCEHR interface following feedback from NEHTA's clinical usability program (CUP). “We are in the final stages of going through them now and we have been working very deeply with NEHTA to put those changes in,” he said.

“It's more about accessibility to the PCEHR functions so the patient's PCEHR information can be more easily viewed. Also, the author who is creating their shared health summary is now incorporated. Those are the main ones that they wanted.”

HCN is also adding some new functions to help GPs with accreditation, he said. “We are talking to the RACGP and hearing that they are tightening their focus on certain areas, so we are improving the ability to record a patient's ethnicity and issuing that both in Medical Director and in PracSoft.”

The last big release of MD was version 3.15 late last year, which Mr Offer said is now installed in over 70 per cent of the customer base. That upgrade also included the MD Sidebar and Widget Store, which HCN has been working on for several years to allow applications from verified third parties to be added quickly to the software without interrupting the user's workflow.

Functioning much like Apple's App Store or Google Play, the Widget Store allows users to pick and choose which apps suit them best and add them to the Sidebar. It is fully integrated so any changes made through a Sidebar app can flow into the patient's record if required, but the idea is to make it unobtrusive and reduce the amount of unnecessary prompts.

The Sidebar comes with two free apps pre-installed – a patient education app from Healthshare, which allows GPs to quickly find fact sheets and the like for patients, and a secure image capture and sharing app called ImageSafe.

In the last few weeks, HCN has also added an app that allows GPs to write medical reports for insurance purposes and submit them automatically to UHG, Mr Offer said.

“There are a number of other partners that we are now talking to and we'll be able to confirm in the next couple of weeks who the next ones are that we'll put in,” he said. “We are finding it a really useful way to be able to engage much more with partners and a quick way to be able to bring apps in from the market.”

Mr Offer has been in the CEO role for seven months, following a change in management structure for the market leader at the end of 2012. The company has since been doing some intensive consultations with customers, he said.

“HCN is travelling well and we are seeing renewal rates lift year-on-year. We are committed to getting the focus back onto the customer, so that's why we've been out there asking customers what they want in the next wave of releases.

“We are out there with many of our partners showing users the functionality that is there with the Sidebar, and we got some great feedback on that about the ability to easily find the fact sheets and send them out to patients, and take away some of the work that the doctors were doing before.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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