Medtech gears up for 9.2.0 release with patient portal push

Medtech Global is gearing up for the release of the latest version of its Medtech32 clinical and practice management software with an increased focus on the capabilities of its ManageMyHealth patient portal.

The company is currently in beta testing for version 9.2.0 with a view to a general release in mid-June. The new version will include a number of improvements to the software's PCEHR capability following Medtech's work on NEHTA's clinical usability program (CUP), including the development of a wizard to speed up eHealth document creation and uploading.

Medtech Global's CTO Rama Kumble said the company was also making a big push with its ManageMyHealth patient portal. Launched in Australia in 2012 and in widespread use in New Zealand, where Medtech is by far the market leader in general practice software, ManageMyHealth allows practices to offer online appointment bookings, repeat script request functionality, recall reminders for pap smears and immunisations and the ability for patients to view their medical records or lab results from within the portal.

It also allows practices to communicate electronically with patients to use this in a secure way, and is configurable for each individual practice and their preferences.

ManageMyHealth is integrated with Medtech32, and according to Mr Kumble, offers practices the ability to conduct more chronic disease management programs while increasing the efficiency of the front desk.

“One difference between our online booking and some of the others on the market is that it is very tightly integrated into the practice management system,” Mr Kumble said. “It manages all of the communications that happen between the practice and the patient, and allows the front desk staff to manage incoming online appointment requests from within the Medtech32 application.

Mr Kumble said the software was in use at the East Brunswick Medical Centre in Melbourne, which commenced patient registration in June last year and averages 185 registrations per month. “They found that patients are happy with the flexibility offered in relation to being able to access booking appointments at the times that suit them,” Mr Kumble said.

“The reception staff are also happy to be able to offer an alternative to patients who find calling the surgery by phone sometimes difficult when staff are busy taking other calls.”

East Brunswick Medical Centre practice manager Maureen Goss said ManageMyHealth puts the patient in control of their appointment and reduces telephone calls to the practice. '[It] also reduces patient frustration if the day and time they were seeking is not available to them,” Ms Goss said.

“With the online appointment service they can see when their doctor is at the practice and what the available time slots are.”

In New Zealand, ManageMyHealth is used for a number of national programs, including Beating the Blues, an online cognitive behavioural therapy-based program for mild to medium depression. It is also used to bridge the gap between the primary and secondary care sectors, as some hospital clinicians can access the system.

Medtech has also worked with medical emergency information and identification service MedicAlert to allow hospital doctors and emergency personnel to “break the glass” and access a patient's medical history through ManageMyHealth in case of emergency.

“In New Zealand we use it very effectively in two areas,” Mr Kumble said. “One is practice efficiency and improvement, and bridging the gap between the primary and the secondary sectors.

“The current mode of information exchange between primary and secondary sectors is usually through discharge summaries, but through ManageMyHealth, when someone shows up in the ED or in hospital, they are able to access their record there and see what medication changes have been made recently.

“This is really the beginning of the framework for delivering services to customers on a larger scale or on a one-to-one basis.”

Version 9.2.0 will also see the fruits of Medtech's work on the CUP, which is aimed at overcoming some of the usability and workflow problems that have dampened many clinicians' enthusiasm for the PCEHR.

Mr Kumble said Medtech had designed a new wizard to assist users to generate documents such as shared health summaries, eReferrals and event summaries in a step-by-step fashion. The new feature will allow filtering by date range and allow individual items to be selectively included or excluded from the lists.

The newer version, MT32 9.2.1 will also allow batch IHI searching and validation, although this will be kept as a separate utility as Medtech does not expect practices to do much batch IHI processing. Most practices are doing IHI validation when the patient arrives for an appointment.

New functionality for practices that work closely with allied health professionals will also be included, he said, including DVA allied health claiming via Medicare Online, and recurring appointment booking and group appointment booking which are both tightly integrated with ManageMyHealth SMS reminders.

“Allied health needs more of a recurring type of appointment,” Mr Kumble said. “If you have a physio, for example, they like to book you in and put you on a program so you come in every two weeks at a certain point in time.

“We also have customers who are in the allied health sector where they book multiple patients with group appointments, such as mental health therapy or hydrotherapy classes. In the GP world it's one-to-one but for allied health it's one-to-many or many-to-many.”

Version 9.2.0 will also see full integration with the Pen Clinical Audit Tool (CAT), which has already been trialled in beta. This will allow practices to have a population overview of the practice data and to do population health reporting, as well as become involved in the Improvement Foundation's Collaborative programs.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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