Web technologies provide portal to shared care

This story first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

At their simplest, shared care software packages can prove to be an easy way for general practices to create general practice management plans (GPMPs) and team care arrangements (TCAs), both of which attract a full Medicare rebate. But at their best, they can provide a platform to fully automate and streamline shared care for patients with complex and chronic illnesses, and to break through healthcare information silos.

While shared care software is not exactly new, getting busy GPs to actually use these systems has always been a struggle. The concept behind them – in which all of a particular patient's care providers can view and add to an electronic shared care plan – is sound, but a combination of lack of time, lack of incentive and lack of IT capability with some healthcare providers has meant that their use is still not particularly widespread in Australia.

That is changing somewhat as Medicare Locals have begun to invest in these systems on behalf of local primary care providers, and it is possible that even with the government's planned move to fewer and larger Primary Healthcare Networks (PHNs) the momentum will not end as evidence mounts that shared care plans can work for patients with common chronic diseases.

A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia last year, for example, showed that using a web-based platform for GPMPs and TCAs for patients with types 1 and 2 diabetes led to a boost in the number of plans that were regularly reviewed, which in turn led to an improvement in patient adherence to best practice self-management. It also showed clinical improvements in overall levels of measurements such a blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

That study involved the use of cdmNet from Precedence Health Care, probably the best known shared or collaborative care product on the market. cdmNet has been around for a number of years and its use is particularly strong in its home state of Victoria.

Others are emerging, however, including Ocean Informatics' Multiprac CP, which has been installed by the Western Sydney Medicare Local (WentWest) and rebranded as the LinkedEHR, as well as New Zealand company HSAGlobal's CCMS, which not only has a footprint in Australia for use in the Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) program and in district nursing, but is also the technology underlying New Zealand's ambitious National Shared Care Plan program.

We take a look at what these three platforms offer.

To read the full story, click here for the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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