As we wrap up another busy year and turn our focus to the long-awaited summer holidays, we also take the opportunity to reflect on progress towards our goals of improving access to primary care and system integration.
As one of our key stakeholder groups, we are delighted that general practitioners have been so involved with many of our initiatives. We cannot achieve our goals without your input and you have provided it in spades this year.
Equally, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) has continued to advocate for primary care and to create the vehicle for your voice to be heard and inform significant health system reforms. This year, this has included the Sustainable Health Review, the Outpatient Reform Program, whose online GP survey is currently underway, and Urgent Care Clinics planned to be rolled out in 2019.
Currently, WAPHA engages with all general practices state-wide in some form. A snapshot of our activity over a recent month included:
• 324 face to face practice visits by our primary health liaison team;
• 2,352 email, website and phone contacts through Practice Assist, a joint venture with Rural Health West; and
• 1,172 views of our GP Connect and Practice Connect newsletters.
A record 345 practices have agreed to securely share their data with us. Of those, 73 per cent are actively extracting data for us to cleanse which allows them to better understand the health needs of their patients, improve patient care by implementing patient recall and reminders, and identify at risk patients for more targeted intervention and screening.
Our education events were attended by 804 GPs, including 70 practice principals, and 335 GPs are actively engaging with HealthPathways WA, our clinical decision-making support service. We are highly optimistic this will translate into an improved patient journey and outcomes.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the My Health Record expansion program which has been much talked about among health professionals and consumers alike, as well as the media.
Our My Health record trainers have achieved all their targets, engaging with 100 per cent of general practices and pharmacies to offer education and training to enable them to be ready for the end of opt-out which is now 31 January 2019.
Amidst the debate around security and privacy which has led to a strengthening of the system, it’s important not to lose sight of My Health Record’s potential as the foundation of a truly connected national digital health system.
This will create the conditions for more timely and improved communication between GPs, hospital doctors and staff, and other health professionals. It will also lead to better treatment decisions and health outcomes for consumers, and greatly reduce unnecessary expenditure that can be re-directed to useful treatment.
Thank you for your continued support and on behalf of everyone at WAPHA, I wish you a safe, relaxing and enjoyable festive break.
CEO WA Primary Health Alliance