Implementing Telstra Health’s Communicare has helped South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation streamline its processes, including data collection and reporting, for better planning and service delivery.
Moving from paper to paperless can seem an insurmountable task. But improving patient care and communication, and mitigating risk are compelling reasons to make the shift, and easy-to-use technology makes all the difference.
Cabrini Health Australia is a Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare service based in Victoria with a mission to help those most in need. The organisation recently replaced its outdated paper-based referral system with the Allied Health Centre eReferral Program powered by Telstra Health Secure Messaging.
GPs can now easily refer patients to Cabrini via the letter writing function of their clinical software. The sensitive patient information within the referral is securely encrypted before being delivered and decrypted by the recipient. The system can be used to send and receive a wide variety of sensitive patient information including operation reports and discharge letters.
Cameron Barnes, Director of Health Information Services and Information Governance at Cabrini, oversaw implementation of the solution. According to Cameron there were numerous business advantages associated with implementing the secure messaging solution.
“Health can lag in uptake of current technologies, let alone something that's a little cutting edge, so I wanted to get on board,” Mr Barnes says. “The vision has been about speed and legibility of health information being available at the bedside, as well as remotely for all users of the health information.”
Improved service planning and reporting
“In the community-controlled sector, they have greater reporting obligations. It’s not just meeting the needs of clinicians, it’s also at the back-end, being able to extract their data, understand their population and be able to extract the requisite stats that their funders require,” says Vlad Matic, a Medical Management Consultant and General Practitioner who works with community healthcare organisations to improve their performance.
Deaves says that prior to implementing Communicare, the organisation had to extract data from multiple systems for its reporting.
“It was very challenging and caused a lot of grief with manually cross-referencing to ensure our data was accurate. Communicare provides a single point of truth, so that we can plan and deliver better services,” he says.
“We have a number of programmes that also require a lot of customisation in order to ensure we’re collecting the right information and Communicare has a number of options for customisation.”
Streamlining the patient journey
Communicare’s multi-disciplinary approach enables better collaboration between programs and services in a team-based environment.
“Before we had three or four different systems, and our staff spread right across those systems, so it was very fragmented and disjointed. It made the patient journey very difficult to track to see what they were up to and who had provided support,” explains Nathanael Curtis Wellbeing Services Manager at SCMSAC.
Curtis says Communicare has greatly simplified the patient journey, putting everyone involved in client care on the same page.
“You can see exactly what’s going on and there’s no questioning of who else has seen or supported this person.”
Easy to implement and use
According to Matic, the entire Communicare implementation process at SCMSAC went remarkably smoothly.
“The lead up to implementation and then the follow-up afterwards with the staff from Telstra Health was just awesome,” he says.
“They understood our needs and if they didn’t, they took the time and trouble to understand and address them. Indeed, I think the implementation of Communicare at South Coast Medical Service was one of the least disruptive, smoothest implementations I’ve seen.”