We highlight key benefits for doctors in Australia to use My Health Record, Pharmacy stores rankings of customer satisfaction and more information about the government’s support for Medicare in Medical Imaging.
Doctors in Australia and My Health Record
Pharmacy Stores and Customer Satisfaction
More About Medical Imaging and Medicare
Doctors in Australia and My Health Record
According to this year’s reports from My Health Record – 90% of general practices and 83% of pharmacies have signed up to My Health Record and around 90% of Australians now have a My Health Record.
What are the figures from this year telling us? Below we discuss facts about the enrolment and possible benefits for using My Health Record.
Current My Health Record enrolment
The system was built by the Australia Digital Health Agency. The ADHA estimates around 20 million clinical documents are now online. Some of those include 3.3 million discharge summaries, 10 million pathology reports and 2.1 diagnostic imaging report.
Looking at the figures, General Practice is leading the way with My Health Record. Over 7000+ practices are enrolled, compared to 4700+ pharmacies, 2700+ additional healthcare providers such as Allied Health, 900+ Public and Private hospitals, 200+ Aged Care Residential services and around 100 Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging providers.
General Practices connected to My Health Record grew from 82% in April 2018 to 92% in April 2019. During that time they experienced:
- 13% increase of shared health summaries uploaded by GPs
- 52% increase of prescription records uploaded by GPs
- 60% increase in the views of clinical documents by GPs
Due to the nature of the consultations and referrals to Allied Health, Pharmacy and Hospital Specialist services, it is estimated General Practitioners are using as well as uploading records more often.
Faster access to information
General Practice has been on the forefront of healthcare initiatives and computerisation. GPs may have various benefits to using new systems because such systems have the potential to increase the quality and access to records and the safety for the patients overall.
With My Health Record, a GP can access information such as pathology results, prescriptions and hospital discharge letters, all which can help in making informed decisions about their patients.
SA Health and Adelaide GP Dr Daniel Byrne are one of the many who welcome My Health Record. My Health Record could be a ‘game changer’, as it gives correct up-to-date information on a patient’s record. When all the records connect and contribute to reports in bulk, the reports then can be sent directly to the requesting doctors but still be kept in the system as a record of the patient’s history for any future doctors.
Dr Byrne gave examples including a patient returning from an emergency, having all the tests and necessary records perfectly detailed in their record for him to access and follow up on. He has also used the system to look up MRI results and helped patients with complex diseases to map out the suitable next steps in their care.
Improving medication safety
My Health Record could help to prevent medication errors that lead to harmful and Adverse Drug Events by increasing the accessibility to patient information.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) highlighted that more than 250,000 Australians are hospitalised each year because of medication errors, inappropriate use, or misadventures – noted in the PSA’s recent Medicine Safety: Take Care report.
The more healthcare providers and organisations consistently upload to My Health Record, the better the visibility of the patients’ profile could help pharmacists, allied health, specialists and medical imaging providers to make safer decisions when providing care for their patients.
Assist in unpredictable cases
Unpredictability is one of the biggest challenges for both patients and their doctors. Sometimes, small changes in a patient’s body can be the difference between an ordinary day or a trip to the emergency if not managed properly.
One such case happened in Sydney, with My Health Record being credited in helping a GP to save one of her patients from an unnecessary hospitalisation because something unpredictable happened.
The GP sent the patient for testing before a knee-replacement surgery. The ECG result was added into a Shared Health Summary and uploaded to the patient’s My Health Record.
Later that evening, the patient suddenly felt chest pains while at home. An ambulance took them to a hospital, where another doctor checked the patient’s My Health Record and saw the previous ECG results. After double checking everything in this patient’s record, the patient was then sent home.
Rather than a new doctor going through all kinds of costly and time-consuming tests for a patient who seems they are experienced chest pains, this new doctor can use My Health Record to see everything that has previously been done and discussed with this patient. This patient was able to be discharged, rather than unnecessarily spend nights at the hospital for a new doctor to investigate their issues.
What are you thoughts about using My Health Record? We would love to hear from you. Contact one of our friendly consultants Today.
Pharmacy Stores and Customer Satisfaction
Over the years, the Roy Morgan Institute has been tracking customer satisfaction in Australia’s pharmacies. What do some of their findings say about the pharmacies in Australia this year?
In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Guardian was a frequent winner of the Roy Morgan Pharmacy/Chemist of the Year Customer Satisfaction Award. How has that changed this year? Find out more below.
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, Apr 2017-Mar 2018, n=15,067 and Apr 2018-Mar 2019, n=14,722. Base: Australians 14+.
Guardian scored first again in early 2019
It was announced that in March this year, Guardian had the lead in Pharmacy satisfaction. They came in at 93%, with a larger % increase of satisfaction compared to the others – 6% increase compared to around 1-2% increases for the others.
The other Pharmacies are not far behind though and these figures based on satisfaction points can vary every couple of months. Priceline Pharmacy came in at 92%, barely surpassed by Guardian. TerryWhite Chemmart and Discount Drug Stores both share the third spot with 91%. Chemist Warehouse and Amcal complete the top 5 with a shared fourth and fifth spot of 90%.
Of the 12 million Australians who shop at a pharmacy or chemist in an average month, it is worth noting that 56% are women (6.7 million) and men make up for the remaining 44% (5.2 million).
It is estimated that one of the major factors for Australian women’s shopping has to do with beauty and health-related products. Whether they shop online or go to pharmacies and chemists, Australia has access to a variety of products that are in demand with Australian women.
The findings also showed more generic differences in satisfaction ratings among men and women. Women rated Guardian and Priceline pharmacies higher compared to men who slightly preferred TerryWhite and Discount Drug Stores.
Different Generations (Baby Boomers, X, Y, Z) and their preferences
Pharmacies and chemists have customers across the generations, including:
- 26% Baby Boomers
- 25% Generation X
- 23% Generation Y
- 15% Generation Z
- 11% Pre-Boomers
The biggest customer group for March 2019’s winner Guardian, was the Baby Boomer generation.
A Roy Morgan survey of 15,000 people has also revealed additional insights on these findings. Both of the Boomer generations are estimated to have not only a higher healthcare spending when compared to the younger Generations but also a higher loyalty and satisfaction for certain brand pharmacies.
It is important to know who your customers and patients are and what they value the most from the pharmacy stores as that will impact their satisfaction and loyalty over time.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of pharmacies is another Pharmacy Review we can consider with findings in 2019. They have compared 18 pharmacy brands based on a number of factors such as their services & professional advice, range of products, prescription availability & dispensing, availability of qualified pharmacists, value for money and overall satisfaction points.
Some pharmacies focus on low prices, while others put an emphasis on providing quality services and support. Canstar Blue’s research therefore also identified the importance of the drivers for satisfaction and which ones were valued higher:
- 24% valued the services and advice provided
- 22% valued the range of products
- 21% valued the prescription availability and speed of dispensing
- 17% valued the availability of qualified pharmacists
- 15% felt the value for money was an important factor
While pricing is an important element for many customers and patients, receiving good service and advice was the bigger driver of customer satisfaction this year so far.
Despite there being a number of pharmacy chains available, we are often creatures of habit.
In fact, 42% of respondents to Canstar Blue’s survey generally stick to their same pharmacy chain. When asked about their loyalty for the same pharmacy, the 42% of respondents mentioned important factors such as:
- Convenience of getting to their preferred pharmacy’s location
- Strong customer service and expert advice
- Range of products
- Cheapest prices for the products
- Helpful script management services such as text notifications
- Loyalty or other Points-based programs encouraging repeated visits
The pharmacy-patient relationship as you can see from some of these findings is of the utmost importance.
What factors do you think contribute the most with customer and patient satisfaction? This week’s GP blog also discusses the benefits of using My Health Record with nearly 5000 pharmacies in Australia signed up for it.
We would love to hear your thoughts. Let us know by scheduling a call Today with our friendly consultant Sean Kelly and find out more what pharmacist jobs in Australia he can discuss with you.
More About Medical Imaging and Medicare
We have previously discussed How the Medical Imaging Industry Grew in Australia and mentioned that from the 1st of July 2020 bulk billing will be made available for a lot of diagnostic imaging and x-rays.
What else do we need to know about next year’s changes?
Cost of x-rays and ultrasounds to decrease
Patients will pay less for their x-rays and ultrasounds under a new government pledge to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.
From 1 July 2020 – for the first time in 20 years, the government will expand indexation of Medicare to around 90% of all ultrasound and diagnostic radiology services.
The scans that are eligible for the pledge are: mammograms, pregnancy ultrasounds, echocardiograms, angiograms, image-guided procedures, CT scans for the diagnosis and management of cancer and X-rays for fractures.
2019 Federal Budget proposal for cheaper x-rays, ultrasounds and medications
In April, the Federal Government revealed the Budget proposal for the coming financial year. The Budget included $81.8 billion of spending on healthcare, which will increase to $89.5 billion leading up to the 2022 to 2023 financial year.
For those worried about the cost of having x-rays or ultrasounds, Medicare will provide a rebate or an increased current rebate to make these diagnostic services more affordable. This would also hopefully decrease the number of Australians who skip radiology each year because of the costs involved. Reported to be around 300,000 every year according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
When these measures make it through parliament, Australians will benefit from cheaper x-rays, ultrasounds, medications for several cancers and illnesses and an increased hospital infrastructure.
On top of reducing some of the x-ray and ultrasound costs, Medicare will also provide a greater rebate for MRIs for women with breast cancer. This increased rebate is expected to benefit 14,000 Australians with breast cancer every year and accounts for $32.6 million of the Budget.
Reducing the costs of cancer treatment: a $2.3 billion pledge by Labor leader Bill Shorten
Cancer treatments can be costly and varying on multiple factors and out-of-pocket costs, ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars in some instances. This year Labor leader Bill Shorten pledged to help reduce these costs.
The “bill shock” of hidden payments can potentially be crippling, particularly when the primary income earner is the one getting the treatment.
“Out-of-pocket costs” are all the additional expenses that patients pay for healthcare services that are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.
Common areas for costs include diagnostic scans, medication, specialist consultation fees, radiation therapy, surgery fees and rehabilitation. Not to mention additional expenses relating to travel and care for things back at home for the patient.
Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF) has reported that half of Australians undergoing treatment have out-of-pocket costs in excess of $5000. More than one in four cancer patients paid more than $10,000 out of their pockets over two years, and one in three paid between $2000 to $5000.
Medicare on average covers 63 per cent of the total costs of cancer care, ranging from 51 per cent for prostate cancer to 89 per cent for lung cancer patients.
The Cancer Council, Breast Cancer Network Australia and Consumers Health Forum all have welcomed Bill Shorten’s announcements to support the costs for these treatments.
Do you think support from the government for these treatments will benefit many Australians? How will the new Medicare indexation affect you at work? We would love to hear from you.
Schedule a chat with our friendly consultant Judith Butcher at Gorilla Jobs and find out what suitable jobs in Radiology or other Medical Imaging areas she has for you.
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