Technology resources for COVID-19
Updated on April 8: Listed are some of the technological resources available to medical practices, allied health practices, pharmacies, hospitals, aged and community care during the coronavirus outbreak.
Medical practice business analytics platform Cubiko has released a free version of its practice intelligence software to help practices continue patient care and manage the business effects of COVID-19.
General practices are reporting that revenue is collapsing as patients stay at home as well as reduced income due to bulk billing arrangements for telehealth. The company's Cubiko Assist platform is aimed at helping practices to identify and continue treating patients with high care needs to prevent them presenting to hospital.
Cubiko says it is able to provide insights that equip practices to make the best use of available staff and resources, identify the effect on billing of telehealth appointments, and ensure coverage for upcoming appointments despite changes in doctors’ availability due to being quarantined or homeschooling children.
Cubiko Assist is integrated with Best Practice and current users of Cubiko have access to the new metrics now. Practices that don't use Cubiko can use Cubiko Assist for free for the next six months.
Nuance Communications has released free COVID-19 documentation templates for all Dragon Medical users in Australia and New Zealand. The templates are EMR-agnostic and provide structured templates to support clinicians with their documentation process.
Nuance says the COVID-19 templates will help to ensure the capture of crucial data points for COVID-19 patients. Rather than require clinicians to repeatedly enter data for each case, the COVID-19 templates allow them to enter key information to accurately and quickly capture patient acuity, complexity of symptoms, and risk of mortality.
Nuance has also taken steps to simplify COVID-19-related patient documentation with the development of free COVID-19 content packs, which include training videos and templates for Dragon Medical. The COVID-19 content pack is available to Dragon Medical One, Dragon Medical Network edition, and Dragon Medical Practice edition users in Australia and New Zealand.
EMR vendor Cerner has launched a specific COVID-19 updates page that can be filtered by region. The Australian section includes information on solutions that Cerner has distributed to help manage and mitigate coronavirus risks.
The page includes recommendations and best practices in areas such as operational readiness and communication, screening, testing, treating, and surveillance. For example, the clinical screening section includes information on enhancements to Millennium to help users effectively screen and monitor patient populations.
Cerner Australia is currently developing a COVID-19 clinical assessment form. It also has a guide on how to convert theatres to ICUs.
Cerner's chief clinical officer for Cerner Asia Pacific Monica Trujillo has set up a Cerner APAC COVID-19 collaboration group which meets every week to discuss developments and enhancements from Cerner as well as challenges.
Coviu is offering a free one- to two-week trial as well as discounts for its telehealth platform. It has also partnered with groups such as the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Association of Psychologists and the Australian Physiotherapy Association to provide discounts to healthcare providers who are currently feeling the pressure of having to reinvent the way they deliver care.
Coviu has integrations with practice management software providers including MediRecords, Halaxy, Cliniko, Nookal and AcuityScheduling. It is web-based, so clinics can simply add a link to their normal booking system to invite patients to a secure video visit.
Coviu also offers an online appointment booking feature which allows patients to book appointments from the practice website.
The system also supports virtual patient waiting rooms with music, pre-call and in-call credit card transactions, up to six participants in a call, document sharing, consent forms and custom entry and exit forms to help practices run a virtual clinic.
Coviu says it has gone from supporting about 400 consultations a day to over 10,000 as new businesses come online and has scaled up its infrastructure to accommodate more users and businesses.
Healthdirect Video Call
The Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN has joined the Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN in offering the Healthdirect Video Call service to local GPs for free.
Under Healthdirect's funding arrangement with the Australian government, there are a number of PHNs who have applied for and been granted access to the Healthdirect Video Call service. Those PHNs are able to offer use of the Video Call service to general practice and other health organisations within their networks for approved models of care.
Video Call, which is powered by Coviu, has a virtual waiting room environment for patients. A link is embedded in the practice website and patients simply have to click on the link.
Healthdirect has also created a COVID-19 Symptom Checker for consumers, which has been developed in consultation with the Department of Health on case definition. The tool includes questions about the patient's travel history, close contact and health symptoms and provides advice on whether users need to seek medical assistance. Since its launch, it has had 230,000 sessions.
Medtech has launched a patient pre-screening form to its ManageMyHealth system to identify high-risk patients before they book an appointment. The ManageMyHealth patient and provider portal is an integrated telehealth solution that is used by more than 600,000 patients in New Zealand and Australia.
ManageMyHealth can be used by all practices regardless of the practice management system, so practices can continue to use their existing PMS and do telehealth consultations during the coronavirus outbreak. The system allows practices to provide telehealth consultations, share health records, offer online appointments, repeat prescriptions and perform remote health monitoring.
Pre-appointment screening can mean the practice will have to turn away patients for in-person consultation to limit the risk of coronavirus spreading. As a provider portal, it can also be used in the event that practitioners need to self-quarantine as it is web-based and can be used to perform telehealth consults from anywhere at any time.
Patients can use their smartphone or tablet to participate in the video consultation and they simply need to download the ManageMyHealth app. ManageMyHealth also offers an online appointment booking feature which allows patients to book appointments from the app or the practice website.
Global Health has added an announcement bar to its HotHealth patient engagement platform to enable users to add notifications about the COVID-19 pandemic to their website. The company is also offering the HotHealth platform for free until June 15 to all new and current users.
A Global Health spokesperson said the announcement bar will give HotHealth users a simple solution to communicate changes directly on their site. The announcement or notification bar allows a one or two-sentence announcement space at the very top of the homepage.
Users of GlobalHealth's PrimaryClinic practice management software can conduct remote video consultations and triage patients through HotHealth. It enables healthcare providers to digitally communicate with patients through video conferences, community engagement tools, online bookings and online forms, which can be used to further screen patients prior to consultations.
GPs and their patients can access the video conferencing function via their computer, tablet or the HotHealth phone app, and appointments are set up and scheduled the same as a face-to-face consultation, with an allocated time slot and an active link to join the consultation. Once all parties have joined the video conference, they can see and hear each other through the microphone and camera on their devices.
Melbourne firm CollabCare has opened its TeleConsult platform up to users in the general practice, allied health and mental health sectors to assist with the coronavirus outbreak. TeleConsult is the platform that underlies the TeleConnect video conferencing platform for Telstra Health's National Telehealth Connection Service (NTCS) and is also used in the acute care and aged care sectors on an enterprise level.
CollabCare has now moved its new version of TeleConsult from clinical trials into general release. It is powered by a WebStream video engine, which provides a bridge between popular consumer-grade WebRTC based peer-to-peer services such as Facebook Messenger, Google Meet/Hangouts and GoToMeeting and the more structured media control engines (MCU) associated with professional-grade video systems.
CollabCare also offers a virtualisation service targeting virtual wound care for surgical and chronic wounds, patient follow-up and remote management care planning via its CarePath service app, and dementia support via its MemoryShare app.
AutoMed Systems has a telehealth and phone solution that is fully integrated with MedicalDirector and Best Practice. It allows patients to book online or via an app and be placed directly into their doctor's waiting room.
The solution includes appointments, confirmations, reminders and recalls as well as payments on line for mixed billing practices. The GP has full access to patient notes at their desk or anywhere they have a laptop, with access to allergies, investigations and results. They can also write scripts or investigations.
Patients do not need to register with a third party. AutoMed charges the patient a $3 fee if the patient is privately billed, although if the patient is bulk-billed there is no charge to the patient. AutoMed is offering practices a free one-month trial.
Online appointment booking service HealthEngine has released new functionality to allow practices to do a phone or video conference through FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp that supports both the COVID-19 telehealth MBS appointments and privately billed appointments.
The HealthEngine telehealth solution includes a new appointment type that practices can set up and offer now. Practices decide what type of consultations they will offer the patient and the price (for private billed); phone consultation and/or video consultation via FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp are available.
Patients pre-screened for COVID-19 in the booking form and deemed at risk will be restricted to the new phone/video appointment type and won’t be able to book an in-person appointment via HealthEngine.
The MBS rebate solution is being offered to HealthEngine customers at no cost. HealthEngine will charge $5 per month and a 5% usage fee per telehealth appointment for privately billed appointments with prepayments handled by the secure payment platform Stripe.
HealthEngine also offers patients a free coronavirus risk assessment tool.
COVID-19 telehealth guides
Quick guides to telehealth
The University of Queensland's Centre for Online Health has released some quick guides to telehealth for practitioners and patients.
For health professionals, there is a quick start to video conferencing with tips on optimising video and audio quality and how to set up a video conferencing space. There are also tips on purchasing peripherals like webcams, headsets and speakerphones for telehealth, and a comparison guide to three cloud-based video conferencing platforms: Coviu, Healthdirect Video Call and Zoom.
For patients, there is a guide to what telehealth is that explains the basics and how to find telehealth services, as well as what patients should do to prepare for a video consultation.
The director of the Centre for Online Health Anthony Smith and his colleagues have also published a paper in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare about using telehealth for global emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australasian Telehealth Society (ATHS) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) have released two guides to getting started with telehealth to help manage the COIVD-19 outbreak.
MBS items are now available to deliver services by video conference or telephone during the pandemic. The items, their fees and who is eligible is available on the MBS website and the items have been integrated into practice management systems and billing systems.
To help practices looking to use the new capability, the ATHS and ACRRM have provided a quick guide to getting started with telehealth, using video conferencing or the telephone. There is also a comprehensive guide that offers advice on managing appointments and conducting remote consultations.
ATHS suggests starting small and keeping it simple and to ask for help from organisations like ACRRM or the practitioner's own college, a National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Primary Health Networks or the ATHS itself.
NZ telehealth resources
The New Zealand Telehealth Resources Centre and Health Navigator NZ have released online information to help patients begin to use telehealth more to access health services.
Health Navigator has information and resources for both consumers and clinicians. These include a guide for consumers/whānau on what telehealth is, FAQs about why this change is happening, what patients can expect, the health conditions that suit telehealth, how to prepare for a telehealth appointment and more.
The site also has information for health providers about the changes and telehealth in general.
The NZ Telehealth Resources Centre has a large range of resources to advise clinicians on security, software, hardware, interoperability and how to implement a telehealth service.
MBS items and billing services
Claiming.com.au is a specialist provider of Medicare integration services and is offering its API endpoints to developers of telehealth solutions who are rolling out applications to help with the COVID-19 crisis.
On Monday, the Australian government released new Medicare-funded telehealth items for both COVID-19 and general consultations. Claiming.com.au is able to assist developers of telehealth and other applications to fast-track the integration of online claiming capabilities into telehealth and related software.
Claiming.com.au has a simple set of API endpoints that developers can use to quickly add functionality for verification of patient details with Medicare, DVA and health funds; submission of bulk bill, DVA and ECLIPSE claims; and retrieval of processing and payment reports.
Synapps MBS is a completely mobile medical billing system developed by billing specialists Synapse Medical Services. The app can be used to help practices wanting to set up a bulk-billing COVID-19 clinic, whether on-premises or in a car park.
Synapse founder and CEO Margaret Faux says the app has the only compliant bulk bill function in Australia and it has all of the COVID MBS items updated in it. Users can sign up online, then download the app from App Store or Google Play and be billing within hours.
Synapse will then Medicare to switch the user's provider number over to Synapps and they can begin to bill.
Ms Faux is also providing daily updates for doctors around the country about how to use the new COVID billing items, which can be quite confusing. She says anyone can sign up to receive her daily newsletters every evening, not just clients. They are also available on the Synapse website.
The Australian Department of Health has released the new item numbers for bulk-billed telehealth consultations and pathology services. Details are available here. PMS vendors are now implementing the new numbers in their software.
Resources for GPs
ISA Healthcare Solutions has rolled out changes to the care planning tool in its MMEx web-based electronic medical record to support several of its customers who are involved in setting up COVID-19 fever clinics.
The tool allows for new treatment protocols to be applied rapidly to MMEx's patient records and facilitates both standardised data entry and accurate reporting. The changes are also broadly applicable to general practice, ISA says.
As a centrally hosted service, MMEx is updated with the latest MBS codes from the Department of Health as soon as they become available, allowing users immediate access to the new COVID-19 telehealth codes.
ISA has also updated the MMEx reference section to include official resources relating to the COVID-19 outbreak so users have easy access to this information while they are performing their clinical work.
Other changes include new templates for making diagnostic tests and a standardised notification of a suspected case of COVID-19 to the relevant authorities.
General practices can now send interactive and up to date COVID-19 information packages to high-risk patients using SMS tool GoShare Plus.
Practices can access the COVID-19 content bundles via GoShare Plus in Pen CS's CAT4, use the COVID-19 recipe that identifies high-risk patients (e.g. patients with a chronic disease or over the age of 70), and send to a list of patients via SMS.
GoShare Plus brings together CAT4’s data extraction functionality and GoShare’s patient education bundling functionality enabling GPs to send credible and approved health information via SMS to patient lists.
GoShare developer Healthily has developed two interactive communication packages that incorporate World Health Organisation and Australian Department of Health guidelines. The two packages – ‘COVID-19 Prevention’ and ‘What to do if you have symptoms’ – are kept up to date and have undergone consumer review.
Pen CS has released a number of COVID-19 resources for general practices, including its COVID-19 Disease Tracker, which shows COVID-19 presentations in general practice Australia-wide. The disease tracker complements the COVID-19 app released last month for use with Pen's Topbar.
The disease tracker shows real-time presentations of individuals presenting in the practice with diagnosed conditions including COVID-19, asthma, COPD and diabetes.
Pen CS has also released a general practice COVID-19 report and a PHN COVID-19 disease prevalence report showing hot spots of positive presentations.
It has also launched a consumer outreach messaging platform that includes SMS and voicemail messaging for sending targeted information to consumers. It can be used to issue quarantine updates, shutdown news, healthcare advice and guidance and supermarket shopping hours.
Data insight software firm Cubiko has added a COVID-19 dashboard to its platform, which is able to draw data from across clinical practice management, accounting and staff rostering systems to produce customised dashboards for practice owners, practice managers, doctors, nurses and receptionists.
Dashboard items include revenue per hour, appointments per hour, bulk billing rates, room utilisation, and recalls and reminders.
The company also plans to release new features to help manage telehealth consultations, manage the diaries of absent staff, maximise room space and check in on vulnerable patients.
Cubiko is integrated with Best Practice Software.
Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are being encouraged to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic and are one of the groups eligible for the new MBS items for remote care by telehealth. Technology firm Net-Health has been working with Caloundra Health Service in Queensland to provide remote monitoring of women with gestational diabetes, using its Net-HealthData platform to track their clinical signs.
Patients use common bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitors such as LifeSmart or Accu-chek and their associated apps, with the data collected and sent to Net-HealthData's platform. Algorithms are set for each patient within Net-Health based on their individual profile, so if their readings fluctuate, an alert is sent to the doctor or nurse monitoring them. The doctor can intervene by sending a message through Net-HealthData to tell the patient to change their dosage, or if necessary they can do a telephone or video consultation through the platform.
Patients are not able to message back but they are told that if they want to talk to their clinician to call them. Patients whose signs are normal can continue to self-manage.
With the new MBS items, general practices can set up similar clinics for patients with other chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and for pulmonary rehabilitation. The clinic just needs to ensure a practice nurse is monitoring the Net-HealthData inbox. The platform is integrated with Best Practice and MedicalDirector.
Shared care management and remote monitoring platform CareMonitor has added a COIVD-19-specific pathway that enables practices to remotely manage patients with the virus.
The system allows the clinical team to push out specific assessments (PROMs and PREMs) such as how severe is your cough and do you have runny nose. It also lets users set specific target values for various health metrics such as temperature to measure fever severity, and educational content to the patient via the CareMonitor mobile app.
CareMonitor has built over 40 care pathways to manage people with complex and chronic conditions. It can be used by hospitals or general practices regardless of the practice management system they are using to do telehealth consultations and remotely monitor patients.
However, if practices use Pen CS's Topbar, then CareMonitor can seamlessly link into Best Practice, MedicalDirector and Zedmed.
Data can be automatically synchronised from bluetooth-enabled devices such as thermometers, blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters. All of this information is collated in real time to provide healthcare practitioners with a population level view so that they can target at risk patients.
Cloud-based practice management system vendor MediRecords has added a COVID-19 Case Definition form that can be accessed from the MediRecords clinical consultation screen in the same way a doctor would access a general examination form. The data captured is recorded in the consultation notes and is clinically coded to SNOMED-CT-AU using its clinical terminology server OntoServer.
MediRecords says that over the next few days, it plans to add a number of action buttons to the bottom of this form which will automatically create follow up actions and automate diagnostic test ordering processes.
MediRecords has also updated its diagnostic test ordering and clinical findings capabilities, and has uploaded patient education fact sheets. The new MBS item numbers were made available when they were first released last Friday.
For telehealth consultations, MediRecords is fully integrated with Coviu and appointments managed in MediRecords are synced with Coviu. Other capabilities include email and SMS reminders to support two-way appointment management and 'Add to Calendar' functions with direct links to the virtual consult in all communications to the patient.
MediRecords also has a patient mobile app that allows patients to receive pathology request forms, medications and results remotely without having to go into the practice.
Resources for PHNs
Digital Health Guide
The team behind the Digital Health Guide has added new resources to its platform specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the hundreds of existing resources it already covers. These include apps and web-based solutions relating to mental health and physical activity, which will be useful for people dealing with the mental health effects of self-isolation and quarantine.
The Digital Health Guide has recently added support for bundles, which allows health providers to "prescribe" sets of resources to a patient at one time. An example is a bundle created for COVID-19 social isolation, including apps for meditation or mindfulness, mood tracking and a number of reputable information sources.
Users are free to define their own bundles and then quickly prescribe these resources to patients.
The Victorian government has released a real-time data set tracking COVID-19 in Victoria. It lists how many confirmed cases, how many people have recovered and deaths. It is also tracking the number of people tested.
Other data includes the mode of acquisition of the virus – most from travel overseas or contact with a confirmed case – as well as a breakdown by sex and age group. A very handy graph shows the growth, and reduction, in daily and cumulative cases.
WA Health has also launched a WA health map, providing a graphical representation of COVID-19 case data to give Western Australians a quick impression of the location of cases in the state.
Outcome Health's POLAR system provides population health reporting dashboards to general practices and Primary Health Networks. POLAR has now released COVID-19 dashboards for PHNs to help them plan their responses.
PHNs are tasked with identifying and establishing COVID-19 respiratory clinics. Having real time access to information through a suite of clinical data, including diagnosis, pathology, and demographics allows PHNs to focus resources on the areas or clinics most in need.
The dashboards include geospatial information on where COVID-19 pathology tests are taking place by either practice or postcode as well as SNOMED mapping for individual diagnosis. The data is de-identified at a patient level and broken down into demographic groups, looking at chronic disease profiles, co-morbidities, medications and age ranges.
Outcome Health says a practice version of the report is being released this week.
Resources for allied health
TrackActive is making its physiotherapy and hand therapy exercise prescription software free for 90 days to help clinics stay open during the pandemic and service patients by telehealth.
TrackActive allows practitioners to create and send customised exercise programs to patients via PDF, a secure mobile web login or to the TrackActive iPhone or Android patient app. The software features clear instructional images, video and descriptions.
Patients are able to log program completion, session difficulty and symptoms through their mobile phone. Practitioners can use a dashboard to stay informed and get a snapshot of their patient’s progress in between or before consultations. It also has PROMs capabilities.
The software is integrated with the Cliniko and Nookal practice management systems.
Resources for hospitals
Allscripts has released its Virtual Triage system for emergency departments in Australia and New Zealand. The system involves an online questionnaire that assigns risk weightings to responses and then automatically triages them into one of four categories:
- No further intervention needed
- A virtual telehealth on-demand waiting room
- A follow up queue for email or phone call back
- Location of nearest COVID-19 testing facility (when available)
The system can triage a large number of patients simultaneously rather than one at a time. It is also EMR-agnostic and patients can be sent a link by SMS or email.
Elsevier has made all its research and data content on its COVID-19 Information Center available to PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories globally, such as the WHO COVID database, for as long as needed while the public health emergency is ongoing.
Elsevier created the COVID-19 Information Center in January with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus, with the aim of providing clinicians with a one-stop access to key relevant knowledge about the disease.
The Information Center is updated daily with the latest research information on the virus and includes links to more than 19,500 freely available articles accessible via Elsevier Connect and ClinicalKey, Elsevier's medical knowledge search engine and tool.
The information centre also includes evidence-based nursing clinical skill guidelines, care plans for treatment, and patient engagement resources.
UpToDate and its parent company Wolters Kluwer have opened a number of resources to help clinicians and patients grapple with the impact of COVID-19. UpToDate has made available its topics on COVID-19 and patient education for free, and a variety of resources from the Wolters Kluwer health portfolio are available for open use through the COVID-19 resource page on the Health Clarity website.
UpToDate is an evidence-based clinical decision support resource which covers more than 11,800 topics across 25 specialties. Its content is used by over 80 per cent of hospitals and GPs in Australia and New Zealand. Wolters Kluwer says its COVID-19 content has increased exponentially over the last eight weeks.
Free resources on COVID-19 include resources for nurses from Lippincott, resources for doctors from UpToDate and Emmi and resources for researchers and providers from Ovid.
Esendex is providing free access to its Studio platform to healthcare, aged care and related industries in Australia and New Zealand during the pandemic. The Studio platform allows customers to create branded landing pages or attached PDFs as part of an SMS.
These are being used by Esendex customers to get mass critical communications out to patients, staff and families. Esendex says SMS has proven to be highly effective in distributing important communication, with open rates up to 98 per cent, and 90 per cent of SMS read within three minutes.
Bulk SMS can be sent via an online portal or through a simple API connection. Esendex's general manager for ANZ, Jonathan Walsh, says customers are using it to distribute policy information, update and remind staff on hygiene requirements, communicate to families of patients, fill vacant shifts, send appointment reminders, and to check up on patients that are in isolation.
Mr Walsh says many customers need to get out more information than the 160 characters in a standard SMS, so this solution is allowing them to ensure that all critical information can get out in a timely manner. The company is also providing its managed send service at no fee.
Osler is putting together some free resources and has released a new app to support nurses, doctors, paramedics and allied health professionals to learn and refresh their skills and knowledge in the face of the probable requirement that they will be asked to perform new roles.
An example is nurses who work in recovery who may be asked to perform a role of an ICU nurse as resources become stretched as the pandemic spreads. Osler has resources that can assist this but is also looking for funding to expand existing resources before the pandemic hits with force.
Osler's new app provides free access, grouped as a curriculum, for the various roles that healthcare staff may play. It also allows access to podcasts to help people stay up to date with the latest, a list of important resources and a discussion room so clinicians can share information.
ICNET clinical surveillance software
Baxter Healthcare has launched updates for its ICNET infection and outbreak management software for hospitals with new functionality to track COVID-19 across hospitals and state health networks.
The ICNET platform is designed to detect, manage and prevent outbreaks with real-time analytics to identify infected patients and their location within the hospital system for fast isolation and treatment. Syndromic surveillance, contact tracing and outbreak alert functionality are now available for the prevention and control of COVID-19.
Baxter is also launching Outbreak Manager and KeyCloak software for ICNET to further analyse data and link electronic medical records across local health districts. The company is also working with an Australian state health department to implement ICNET Protect to link the ICNET Protect database directly to Australia’s National Immunisation Registry.
Alcidion has developed a dashboard and mobile solution as part of its Miya Precision platform for improved home and hospital monitoring. The dashboard displays risk based on relevant criteria for all test results including COVID-19 as well as time since diagnosis, location, isolation status, active problems, action plans and other triage considerations.
The company is working with existing customers to use the Miya Precision Hospital at a Glance capability to provide them with the heightened visibility of patients of interest, accessible to all clinicians across the hospital.
It has also configured the New Zealand Ministry of Health COVID screening assessment in its Patientrack system, developed with input from a respiratory physician, and has made a new COVID-19 screening assessment available for Australian customers. These assessments have been added at no extra cost.
Alcidion says the pandemic has also spurred one customer in New Zealand to speed up its rollout of the company's Smartpage clinical communications system to other clinical areas and registrars to provide effective communication between clinicians, with access to patient status 24/7.
Cloud-based dictation, transcription and workflow management provider iMedX is rolling out a number of business continuity software products to help during the coronavirus pandemic, including clinical documentation workflows for telehealth that enable clinicians to dictate, review and approve securely from home.
Typists can also transcribe from home and the system integrates with all leading patient administration and electronic medical record platforms. iMedX is the new name for Ozescribe.
iMedX can provide remote clinical coding services should hospital coding resources be affected, and remote scanning and coding through iScanX, which is suitable for providers with paper medical records. iScanX enables healthcare services with paper records to scan their episode/medical record to the iMedX secure server, where coders then code documentation remotely.
Sysmex New Zealand
Digital health and diagnostic technology company Sysmex New Zealand is working with healthcare providers on ways to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes base modules in Sysmex’s clinical information system Eclair 7.4 such as custom lists and clinical forms.
A clinical form can be created in Eclair to capture clinical and epidemiological criteria to assess a patient for COVID-19 testing, such as travel history and clinical symptoms. Data captured is available when reviewing laboratory results for each patient.
A custom list can be built to view a complete picture of how many patients have had COVID-19 tests, all SARSCov2 results, plus other diagnostic data for ongoing patient monitoring. Data can be easily shared via csv or xls file with relevant health authorities such as the New Zealand Ministry of Health for statistical reporting.
Sysmex New Zealand is offering to help existing Eclair customers implement the clinical form and a simple COVID-19 case list at no cost.
Patient Flow Manager
Telstra Health's Patient Flow Manager provides hospital clinical teams with consolidated operational and clinical information to help improve patient flow. Implemented at more than 125 hospital sites, it has been upgraded to identify high risk patients and identify positive or suspected COVID-19 patients, allowing hospitals to allocate resources accordingly and better manage the flow of this cohort of patients.
Patient Flow Manager can also be used collaboratively with mobile communications and task management tool Medtasker to provide a real-time directory to clinicians and strengthens communication, visibility and transparency within hospital administration.
The tool allows doctors to request tasks, delegate tasks to colleagues, receive test result notifications, seek second opinions on clinical photographs in a secure environment using FHIR and HL7 standards. It will allow hospitals to communicate swiftly what their COVID-19 responses are to staff.
Pre-admission and post-op pathways software developer Personify Care has launched a new COVID-19 module for Australian hospitals and health services that can be set up within 24 hours. The module allows pre-admission staff to automatically pre-screen patients on their mobile prior to arrival and provide clinical instructions on self-isolation and testing procedures.
The company plans to launch a New Zealand version this week and is making the functionality available at no cost to all current customers in Australia and New Zealand.
Personify Care CEO Ken Saman said his team was hearing that a significant amount of time is being spent by pre-admission clinic staff calling patients to screen them manually and provide them with proper instructions.
“The ability of staff to update clinical protocols in real time means that they can keep the protocol up to date with the latest guidance from health departments as the situation evolves,” he said.
Healthcare organisations can register for a free trial or try as a patient on their mobile.
Secure clinical messaging service Celo has released a new tool called Celo Broadcast to complement its current collaboration application. Using a smartphone with Celo installed, organisations can send targeted and closed loop communication to their staff for critical updates.
This allows healthcare organisations to provide critical and instant broadcasts to their entire organisation or tailored messages to specific teams. The tool includes real-time metrics to make it readily apparent who has and hasn’t read the messages.
Celo is offering the Broadcast feature to all existing and future Celo customers at no cost. It is also inviting all individual healthcare professionals across New Zealand and Australia to join the Celo network and use the Celo platform for free during the COVID-19 response.
The idea is to better facilitate cross-organisation communication between healthcare professionals during the pandemic. Healthcare practitioners can sign up to Celo with their work email address.
EpiSoft has extended its epi-me hospital pre-admission patient portal to screen incoming admissions for COVID-19 risk.
In addition to delivering the patient's full pre-admission information and health history straight into the hospital's patient administration system, epi-me is scanning the patient's responses to the COVID-19 questions and raising real-time clinical alerts for triage and escalation by the clinical pre-admission team.
EpiSoft's cloud-based oncology practice management system is also being used by cancer specialists to conduct remote consultations, as well as administrative staff working from home to support the delivery of care for infusion centres.
It can be used adjunct to any telehealth software. EpiSoft reports that customers have been using the new COVID-19 MBS items in earnest since their release last week.
The company is offering oncology and haematology practices a three-month free trial of the platform.
EIS Health Data Solutions has updated its TurboCoder and TurboGrouper clinical coding solutions with the February update from the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA).
IHPA published the first ICD-10-AM coding guidance for COVID-19 following advice from the World Health Organisation on February 7, effective immediately. Health information managers (HIMs) and clinical coders can use their coding software to meet this directive.
The WHO has advised that Emergency use of U07.1 is assigned for confirmed diagnosis of 2019-nCov acute respiratory disease.
EIS says it ensures that all IHPA updates are incorporated into its software promptly and users are alerted via the solution, email and web-based notifications. The updates are installed in seconds, ensuring the continuation of coding without downtime.
Anti-virus and anti-malware firm Emsisoft has partnered with incident response company Coveware to allow healthcare providers to access both companies complete range of ransomware-related services at no cost for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
The aim of the initiative is to get affected providers operational again in the shortest possible time so that patient care is minimally disrupted. There are no geographic limitations and the service is available to healthcare providers wherever they may be.
Emsisoft is anticipating an increase in ransomware incidents which could be significantly in excess of the typical seasonal spikes and, unfortunately, may coincide with COVID-19’s peak. Ransomware attacks have affected numerous healthcare organisations in Australia and New Zealand over the last few years.
Rostering solution Core Schedule has introduced a new feature that allows staff to be tagged as “not available – in isolation” so managers can see who is able to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The new feature has been added following the case of North Shore Hospital in Auckland, where more than 50 staff were put into a 14-day isolation period after being exposed to a patient with coronavirus.
Core Schedule is able to search through hundreds of staff to find everyone who is available to work and has any number of specific qualifications, is not ‘in isolation’, is not on leave, would not end up with an unsafe number of hours that week and would have a safe recovery period before and after the shift.
Core Schedule then sends a text message to just that group, which allows them to immediately pick up shifts from their phone. As the virus continues to spread, rosters will have to track individual staff attributes, such as ‘coronavirus immune’, which would allow EDs to handle high risk assignments and staff cohorting.
Core Schedule is able to show the status any employee as ‘in isolation’ with dates they cannot work. It also has daily dashboards of how many people are unable to work from Covid-19 and other sick calls, as well as understaffing alerts.
CRiS Care is making its COVID-19 clinical documentation tool freely available in Australia. The tool doubles as a data capture form and is based on the WHO reference reporting dataset. CRiS.care is a software solution for hospitals and medical facilities that delivers high-quality clinical documentation with a rigorous data structure to support clinical coding and activity based funding.
Clinicians can add clinical information for initial screening visits as well as follow-up data when the test result and clinical outcome is known. The data on individual patients can be retrieved at any time by clinicians registered at the same facility (clinic or hospital). Clinical documentation is accessed and updated by the whole healthcare team, with simultaneous access being possible from multiple team members in different locations. Standardised medical phrases are SNOMED-coded to support ABF.
Registered healthcare professionals can request access to this free platform here.
Resources for specialists
Genie Solutions says its practice management platform, including its Genie desktop and Gentu cloud offerings, is providing tools to help meet the changing requirements of practices and their patients during the crisis.
Gentu is a cloud platform that can help practices wanting to enable telehealth and improved remote access. New filtering and bulk communications functionality has been added to identify and communicate with patients based on appointment date ranges, as well as COVID-19 risk factors. Special pricing has been made available for telehealth-related applications.
Genie is also offering discounted and flexible additional licences to meet the need for increased remote access and telehealth. Customers can also now add online patient registration to their software, a new service that allows patients to provide detailed demographic information and telehealth consent online, reducing the time spent in waiting rooms.
SMSs relating to COVID-19 are being discounted by 50 per cent to assist practices with the increase in patient communication volume, backdated to March 1.
MBS item changes related to telehealth are being provided for seamless updates to billing and the company says further telehealth-related services are being expedited.
Clinic to Cloud
Clinic to Cloud’s practice management platform allows clinicians to offer telehealth appointments to patients through its customised appointment schedule, patient portal and compatibility with telehealth providers such as Coviu.
The integrated cloud technology creates a fully functional virtual practice, meaning patients who begin to display symptoms for COVID-19 can meet with their doctor remotely, avoiding the need for them to present to a medical clinic.
In addition to facilitating telehealth, Clinic to Cloud also offers additional features to triage patients and tailor up-to-date messages before attending appointments such as batch SMS, automated appointment reminders and recalls.
Clinic to Cloud’s patient portal also can provide customised screening questions and securely share the latest updates of how the practice is responding COVID-19.Clinic to Cloud website
Appointment booking services
Online appointment booking service Healthsite has added a new set of pre-screening questions to its system that all patients wanting to make an online booking must answer. If a patient indicates in their answers they could be at risk, the booking module will lock out the patient from proceeding with the booking. The questions can be entirely customised to the practice's own wording.
Patient engagement platform HotDoc has released new functionality that allows practices to screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms and to book a telehealth appointment. The screening capability allows clinics to get patients to self-identify if they meet the criteria and make a telephone-based appointment, which can be fully bulk billed.
The company has changed its triage flow to direct at-risk patients to book a telephone consult. HotDoc’s software prompts patients who meet eligibility criteria to call the practice or book a telehealth phone consult instead of a standard consultation and ensures up to date contact details are registered to enable the telehealth consult.
HotDoc also plans to release functionality to allow patients who don’t meet Medicare eligibility criteria to still make a telehealth booking. An upcoming version of HotDoc will support privately paid telehealth consults with payment taken during the booking.
HotDoc is integrated with MedicalDirector, Best Practice and Zedmed.
1st Group, the company behind the online patient engagement platform MyHealth1st.com.au, is rolling out online COVID-19 patient pre-appointment screening and educational resources to its 11,000+ customers, as well as a new telehealth service that will be available to any of its customers.
MyHealth1st integrates with over 50 practice management systems and services a broad spectrum of the healthcare market including hospitals, specialists, GPs, psychologists, optometrists, pharmacies, dentists, allied services and government agencies.
After pre-screening, practices will be able to refer the patient on to another facility more equipped to deal with coronavirus, serve directly only those patients that may be at risk or refuse online booking requiring the patient to call the practice.
Users of Best Practice Premier can pre-screen patients for COVID-19 using the BetterConsult tool, which issues a digital questionnaire. BetterConsult is part of the Bp Premier subscription and comes at no extra cost. Practices can activate the software by calling HealthShare on 1300 787 522 or booking a time for HealthShare to call and talk the practice through the installation and how to use it.
Orion Health has released a website called Covid Risk to showcase what it can create with its providers, based on their protocols, as a screening or onboarding tool for citizens. Patients may be enrolled through this site, through a provider’s existing site or through a call-centre. A self-registration form could be created to capture patient demographics and health questionnaires, which would then enrol the patient and match to the provider’s patient portal.
It is also rolling out a virtual pandemic outbreak monitoring platform to existing customers for free that will allow them to remotely monitor patients and staff who have been exposed and are quarantined at home. This will be available to users in New Zealand, France and the UK.
Resources for pharmacies
The federal government has allocated $25 million in its coronavirus support package to help subsidise home deliveries of medicines. To be eligible, pharmacies must be able to accept online orders.
Medications app MedAdvisor allows patients to order their medications online through their regular pharmacy. Patients can also leave their repeat scripts at the pharmacy and use the Tap-To-Refill feature to get their scripts dispensed in advance. The app allows the pharmacy to send a notification when it is ready to be collected.
MedAdvisor's app is used by the Amcal pharmacy chain for its branded app as well as TerryWhite Chemmart and UFS. Priceline Pharmacy has its own app with similar functionality, as does the Pharmacy Guild. All require the pharmacy to activate the app in person.
Signature exempt eScripts
NZ pharmacy platform RxOne is working with GP practice management software vendors Indici and My Practice to integrate their respective systems to enable seamless and non-contact ePrescribing and dispensing between GPs and pharmacists in real time.
All three companies have accelerated their technology development in order to better manage and mitigate the COVID-19 risks for pharmacists and GPs. They say they aim to significantly streamline the prescription and dispensing process for both health professionals and their patients while concurrently reducing human touchpoints in the process.
Indici users will need to ensure they have RxOne Messaging installed, and the computer that it is installed on is switched on at all times. My Practice need Healthlink installed in order to receive signature exempt prescriptions.
Resources for aged and community care
Message Manager for RACFs
Telstra Health says its Message Manager software is enabling residential aged care providers to communicate with residents’ loved ones about changes or restrictions related to COVID-19.
The software combines SMS and email functionality, list management and historical communication records to ensure all elements of communication are captured and reported on from the one system. Historical communication records have been designed to enable staff to easily track what information related to COVID-19 has been communicated.
Message Manager allows providers to communicate with multiple families at once, either in groups such as per wing or to all facility primary contacts. Communications about visiting restrictions, health protocols, government changes, and the social and physical wellbeing of residents can be sent to residents’ families.
Message Manager has been developed as a tool within Telstra Health’s Clinical and Care Management solution, meaning all contact details are drawn from the clinical system to reduce data entry and maintain a single source of truth.
Lighting the Spark
Melbourne-based start-up incubator Agnes Health has partnered with home care provider Lively and smart home developer Umps Health to launch a charitable initiative called Lighting the Spark which will provide up to 200 older people with support in their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The support package will include the installation of Umps' monitoring technology to to detect and respond to illness or incidents in the home, telehealth access to GPs and social calls and virtual activities to relieve loneliness and isolation, and help getting set up online to connect and communicate with others from home.
Lively Home Care puts young people together with seniors to give them help with technology and household chores, shopping, pet care and personal care, while Umps Health markets a discreet set of smart devices that fit between any appliance and the wall to measure when those appliances are used.
The company recommends plugging the device on appliances such as the kettle, TV, refrigerator, bedside lamp and microwave. The sensors operate in the background and learn the regular behaviour and daily habits of the home owner, so if there is a change in routine that could indicate a health issue, alerts can be sent.
The Umps smart home is particularly useful for people with dementia, as it does not require them to wear a pendant or personal alarm. It also runs on the mobile spectrum so no internet connection is required.
Agnes Health founder Chris Gray said the Lighting the Spark initiative was launched two weeks ago with philanthropic support from 5point Foundation and aims to optimise the health, safety and connection of older Australians through the pandemic. It will also provide employment opportunities for younger members of the community, many of whom have faced sudden unemployment.
CareApp is offering its communication and engagement platform to aged care providers and home care providers for free for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The app allows occupational therapists and activity coordinators to upload photos, videos and audio as well as notes and newsletters to a secure environment, which the elderly person's family can then access.
CareApp describes the technology as being able to create a personalised and reassuring window into the care and wellbeing of a loved one in a secure, online environment. It also allows families to provide feedback to residential aged care facilities.
It can also be used in the community, including by home care providers and services such as Meals on Wheels to note and record safety and wellbeing checks. Meals on Wheels volunteers can do a wellbeing check at the time of the delivery, with the real-time information fed back to staff and made available to the family.
CareApp is available for iOS and Android devices and most web browsers.
Resources for teledermatology
MetaOptima has launched a teledermatology module to help skin cancer GPs and dermatologists to continue to operate during the social isolation and quarantine periods. The module gives practices the ability to remotely extend care to patients with a connected patient portal app for secure image acquisition.
DermEngine is the skin cancer management platform used by Sonic Healthcare's IPN clinics, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics and Sonic HealthPlus clinics as well as Healius and Fullerton Health clinics across Australia, and other GPs and dermatologists in Australia and New Zealand.
MetaOptima has developed a targeted onboarding approach for staff and invited patients to ensure they remain connected to the practice at every step. DermEngine's telederm module is also designed to accommodate private billing requirements through flexible payment options.
The company also markets theMoleScope, a skin magnifier that patients can use to image their moles and share the images with their dermatologist.
Firstcheck is offering its store and forward direct to consumer teledermatology solution to clinicians to enable remote servicing of patients with skin issues during the coronavirus outbreak.
Approximately 20 per cent of GP appointments in Australia and New Zealand involve a skin complaint and appropriate triage and remote advice using asynchronous store and forward teledermatology has the potential to free up GP time, Firstcheck says.
Firstcheck has developed a smartphone dermoscope that costs just $25 and enables mobile teledermoscopy and general teledermatology services as well as its main skin cancer applications.
Posted in Australian eHealth