Medtech Global to launch patient portal, PCEHR functionality in v9

Medtech Global is in beta testing for a major upgrade of its Medtech32 clinical information system, which will feature the company's ManageMyHealth patient portal along with new PCEHR capabilities.

The ManageMyHealth portal is one of the company's flagship products, chief technology officer Rama Kumble said, allowing patients to book appointments online, receive email or SMS reminders from their doctor about tasks such as monitoring blood glucose levels or taking medications, as well as request repeat prescriptions or enquire about pathology results.

Accompanying the patient portal is a new provider portal, allowing GPs to have offsite access to patient files, communicate with patients by email, and one-click integration with Medtech's VitelMed mobile teleheath solution.

Medtech will also launch a patient self-check-in system with Medtech32 version 9, either through a kiosk or tablet PCs at the practice. The idea is to encourage patients to check themselves in upon arrival, update their details, fill out registration or consent forms and to sign up to the patient portal.

Mr Kumble said the development of ManageMyHealth was driven by the need to increase practice efficiency. “Practices want to be in touch with patients for the things that they need to do well, but they don't want to be unnecessarily hassled by too many phone calls and too many emails and faxes that they have to respond to,” he said.

“Also, the doctors can share some clinical information with the patient in a very secure manner. It's the little bits of information that they'd like the patient to be aware of as well as recalls – if they forget about an appointment or a goal or measurement, that is automatically shown.”

Using secure portals that other health professionals can access would also improve team care for chronic disease management, he said.

“ManageMyHealth provides an infrastructure to do team care. Multiple people can look at it and each individual has different access to it and can participate in the care of that patient. For example, if you want to do a multi-medium depression program on it, where the GPs participate along with the mental health nurses, they can put the person on a self-care program and do some monitoring.

“If the depression levels reaches a particular score, it can automatically generate a recall for the patient to come back to the practice. That's one example and the other one is goal-setting. It is evidence-based. The doctor says you have to reduce your weight, your cholesterol and your goal for the next 12 months is this, otherwise you are in danger of a stroke. The patient can see on every visit or every day how they are doing or not doing.”

Mr Kumble said there were two models the company was trialling for the self-check-in function, a traditional kiosk model with a touch screen or tablet PCs, which can be anchored to a chair or the front desk for security.

While trying to encourage patients to use the online product, self-check-in was important for walk-in patients, he said. The kiosk would be situated in a semi-private area near the front desk so when new patients walk in the receptionist can ask them to check themselves in.

“You self-check-in and the doctor knows you have arrived and so does the front office,” he said. “It also gives practices the opportunity for push out any information. For example, if you over 50, 'please make sure you come in for flu shots in March' or 'we are doing flu shots now, ask your doctor'. We will tightly integrate that because we know who the patient is.

“We have a patient dashboard in our practice management system, so when the patient comes in it reminds the doctor of all things they need to look at. That information can also be used to remind the patient through the kiosk, such as 'you haven't had a cholesterol check for two years'. It's a communication medium.”

Mr Kumble said the jury was still out on tablets, mainly for security reasons. Kiosks are popular as “no one can run away with them!”

“We are just starting with this and we'd like to cautiously learn from it. We are learning from New Zealand where people are using ManageMyHealth more but here [in Australia] customers are asking more for self-check-in and new patient entry. We are doing the 'human engineering' trial now.”

Medtech will also release a number of add-on products in v9, including a clinical audit tool that brings up patient files from the query results onto a patient palette for data clean-up, and NPS RADAR integration for independent and evidence-based information on new drugs, research and PBS listings. Users can also choose whether to use eRX Script Exchange or MediSecure for sending electronic prescriptions to pharmacies as the system can integrate both.

“One of the focuses we wanted to have in this release is, apart from having Medtech32 as the core product, I wanted to bring in a lot of companion products, because we live in an ecosystem,” Mr Kumble said.

Medtech is also adding further functionality to its Medtech Online customer service portal, which allows users to watch training videos, find technical advice and pay invoices online. Mr Kumble said the training function would be invaluable to practices worried about having to train new staff, as they can now do it online.

Regarding PCEHR functionality, Mr Kumble said Medtech was “motoring along”. The company achieved integration with the Healthcare Identifiers Service some time ago and the current version of Medtech32 is able to look up a patient's IHI.

Medtech has demonstrated it can download a CDA document and has achieved its CCA certificate for shared health summaries. The technology is available for uploading documents but Medtech still has to go through the CCA process, which should be some time soon in the next month.

“We have shown the actual workflow to a group in Brisbane,” Mr Kumble said. “They were pleased to see us showing how this all works in the practice situation, the workflow part of it."

Medtech has added a colour-coded icon to the toolbar in Medtech32, which will alert the doctor to the patient's PCEHR status, he said.

“It will show whether they don't have one, whether they have one which you have access to, whether they have one that you don't have access to. When new documents are uploaded, let's say the patient visits another doctor and new significant events have happened, you will be told. If you want to know you can optionally download it or just ignore it.”

As part of its PCEHR integration strategy, Medtech also hopes to use the self-check-in kiosks as a way of encouraging patients to register for a PCEHR. “NEHTA is pushing for assisted registration for the PCEHR. What better can there be than a simple kiosk? That's our innovation on top of what NEHTA is trying to do.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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