Best Practice previews new version at Summit

Dr Frank Pyefinch

Speaking at the launch of the inaugural Best Practice Summit, company founder, Dr Frank Pyefinch, previewed a selection of new features included in the latest version of Best Practice. Best Practice is a clinical and practice management solution which counts over 1400 Australian general and specialist practices as customers.

The new version, dubbed "Build 532" includes many enhancements ranging from simple inclusions such as the addition of fields for postal address details in the patient demographic screen, through to more comprehensive functionality including a new Document Scanning Module.

The Skin Module in the new version of Best Practice includes a wider range of drawing templates and the appointment book now permits small icons to be displayed in each cell to more easily differentiate appointment types.

Acknowledging ongoing government e-health initiatives, the software now allows practices to insert patient Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHI) into the patient demographic screen. These numbers were allocated to all Australians by Medicare in 2010 to simplify the linking of data between disparate clinical systems, however they have not yet been used on any meaningful scale pending requisite development by software vendors.

After entering a patient's 16 digit IHI, the software performs a basic check to ensure the number is a valid IHI. Future versions of the software will allow practices to automatically retrieve and verify patient IHIs from the Medicare Australia Healthcare Identifier Service, negating the need for practice staff to have to manually enter such numbers. Automatic retrieval of IHIs has been shunned by most medical software developers to date, many citing concerns about the potential liability the Medicare Australia developer contracts impose on software vendors.

Fields for practice identifiers and provider identifiers are also included in the new build. Unlike patient IHIs, practices and providers are required to apply for their identifier numbers through Medicare Australia and the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Authority (AHPRA) respectively.

Of the new features in Build 532 announced by Dr Pyefinch, the revamped Document Scanning Module garnered the most interest from Summit attendees. The software now supports a workflow that allows practice staff to bulk scan documents and subsequently allocate these documents to clinician 'inboxes'. Clinicians can then review and action these documents electronically, streamlining a process that historically required the clinician to review documents in hard copy prior to them being scanned.

In a related improvement, the new version of Best Practice now allows users to view PDFs within the program, negating the need for an extra program - like Adobe Acrobat - to be launched. Leveraging this interface improvement, Build 532 allows for the display of pathology results containing graphical content. In collaboration with both Healthscope and HealthLink, Dr Pyefinch has developed this feature to allow users to switch between displaying traditional text based pathology results and a more richly formatted PDF representation containing graphs, diagrams or photos. The underlying 'atomic' data imported from the HL7 clinical message is retained, which allows the system to intelligently process such information in ways that PDF does not support.

Build 532 includes an expanded range of patient education sheets, which along with other PDF resources, can now be displayed within Best Practice. A library of 3D video animations are also included in the new version. Published by Push Pull Medical, these visual patient resources have been packaged under Best Practice's existing subscription pricing structure.

Finally, the new version of Best Practice includes integrated spell checking functionality in the Word Processing Module, which is typically used by doctors to write referral and other letters.

All delegates were presented with a disk containing Best Practice Build 532 at the conclusion of the three day event. The official widespread rollout of the software will follow in the coming days, with the update to be distributed via the Best Practice online software update service, and via DVD on request.

During his presentation, Dr Pyefinch indicated that Best Practice is currently able to convert data from MD2, MD3, MedTech32 and Promed Clinical. A conversion routine for practices looking to convert data from Practix is also under development and is due for release in the coming weeks.

A selection of photos from the Best Practice Summit are available at the Pulse+IT Facebook Page

Posted in Australian eHealth

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