Best Practice gearing up for summit

Dr Frank Pyefinch

Medical device integration, SMS appointment setting and the launch of a new touchscreen patient assistant tool to help manage chronic diseases are some of the highlights of the upcoming Best Practice Summit, being held in Bundaberg from 8 to 10 March 2012.

The focus of the summit, which was first held in March this year, is eHealth and the RACGP standards for clinical software.

Local GP Pat Byrnes will describe his new Patient Assistant Tool (PAT) for chronic disease management, which he has developed with the assistance of Best Practice software engineers.

Dr Byrnes, who won the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) General Practitioner of the Year Award in 2010, has designed the application for tablet PC use and to integrate with popular practice management software such as Best Practice, Medical Director and practiX.

The application allows the patient to use a tablet in the waiting room to answer questions normally asked by the nurse. The questions trigger appropriate educational information, with the waiting room becoming in effect a virtual consulting room.

The process continues in the consulting room where the doctor uses PAT on his or her desktop with a click option instead of touch. At the end PAT automatically generates a general practice management plan (GPMP) specifically determined by the patient and the doctor answers.

The software is currently the subject of a University of Queensland trial to ensure clinical outcomes are improved.

The summit will also feature workshops on remote access to Best Practice when using a iPads, iPhones or laptops, as well as a new function in Best Practice to allow SMS messages to be sent from the BP appointment book.

Best Practice Software's support and training officer, William Dunford, said the new SMS function will be released in the next month and will be fine-tuned in time for the summit in March.

He also said Best Practice was adding the NPS Radar, which provides regular updates on new drugs and those newly list on the PBS, to the software, and has finalised the coding required to integrate more medical devices such as ECGs and spirometers.

“We are now waiting for companies like Edan, QRS and Welch Allyn to start putting it into their software,” he said. “We've given them our bit of code that makes their software talk to ours so most probably in March those vendors will have software that will support device integration.”

Mr Durnford said he was expecting about 250 delegates to the March summit, which will be held at the Bundaberg campus of Central Queensland University.

“We had to turn away quite a few people last time, especially some local people, so we have moved to a bigger venue.”

More information is available from the summit website, which will shortly be open for registrations.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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