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After-hours GP co-op modernises its document storage to simplify daily operations

For an after-hours medical deputising service that started in 1974, using two-way radio to communicate (hence the name), Radio Doctor Illawarra has long since moved into the digital and mobile phone age. What the not-for-profit co-operative also needed was to modernise its practice management systems and processes, so it could provide better after-hours care to its patients in the Shellharbour and Wollongong areas.

The problem: weighed down by paper-based management and inefficient organisation

Radio Doctor’s head office staff struggled to keep on top of their mostly paper-based policies and procedures. While they stored some documents in computer folders, staff still found it difficult to find what they needed and update them – especially at accreditation time.

Administrative Officer, Lenora Carney, said they were looking for a ready-to-implement digital solution where everything they needed was in one place and easy to update.

“The service started so long ago that our policies needed an update. It was difficult keeping them, and all the doctors’ documents; registration, immunisation and other requirements updated … Having to deal with the daily stuff, while chasing doctors for their information was time consuming. Also, making sure everyone was aware of the updates was hard, especially as we had to look for everything when they were in different piles,” Lenora said.

“Our General Manager had looked online and at what other practices were using. But we’re not like your typical practice, so what they were using didn’t really relate to us,” Lenora said. “[Other options] just seemed complicated, like we’d have to create our own system and then when we saw PracticeHub … you’d done it all for us. You’ve got resources we can refer to … and it just seemed like a great fit.”

Lenora added that it was their upcoming accreditation and an online PracticeHub demo that triggered their purchase of the software.

“Come accreditation time, we wanted everything that was required so we could find it, to make sure our policies and procedures were up to date. PracticeHub was organised the way we liked; the way the manual was set up, made it easy to meet accreditation requirements. We were really impressed!”

PracticeHub’s solutions: Logical set up and links to related documents

Radio Doctor Illawarra implemented PracticeHub in 2017, the year before their accreditation was due, so they had ample time to learn and update the platform. By accreditation time, it was easier to meet the requirements.

PracticeHub’s logical set-up also impressed Lenora, as did the fact its included policies and procedures templates are aligned with the 5th edition of the RACGP’s standards, and easily tailored to your own practice. This is testament to the fact the platform has been built by former practice managers who know what’s needed to make running a practice simpler, safer and more efficient, with the flexibility to customise documents to a practice’s individual needs.

Lenora especially loves the links feature. “On the manual pages, you can click on links to get to other documents related to policies and procedures. You have it organised, say, under insurances and registers for equipment – it’s all connected. So, if you’re on a manual page and it’s talking about equipment, boom! There’s a link to information about that specific equipment.”

The overall results: huge time savings in accreditation and ongoing compliance tasks

Accreditation was much easier for Radio Doctor this year because they could update their documents as they went along, not all last-minute, and they didn’t have to chase doctors for updates. All up, this saved around one to two months in admin time, or 50% of the time they spent on these tasks without PracticeHub.

Lenora said PracticeHub’s reminders feature is another great time saver. “Reminders for regular check-ups for certain equipment, medicine re-stocking … insurances coming up … it gives you time to look into what needs to be done.”

She has also seen at least one week’s admin time saved using the new Ahpra Alerts and Certificate of Insurance apps, which give real-time updates on practitioner Ahpra registration and indemnity insurance statuses.

“Some of our doctors have their own practices as well, so trying to get information back can take a while – phone calls, several reminders and emails. The apps’ reminders help with this. And without Ahpra Alerts, it would be very hard to monitor [doctor registrations],” Lenora explained.

Feedback on PracticeHub: more efficient documentation, easy updates and added value support

Before using PracticeHub, Lenora and her part-time admin team member were bogged down with tonnes of paper files, making it hard to find files quickly. Keeping documents up to date was also a challenge. Now all their documents are in one central hub and linked, their practice management is far more efficient – especially with all their staff, from doctors to drivers, able to access and review policy updates.

“I knew PracticeHub was going to make a huge difference, make things a lot easier and save time.”

Lenora adds that she finds the extra resources useful, in particular the after-sales support. She knows she can contact PracticeHub for an answer to specific questions and get a speedy, expert reply.

“And I love your training webinars. I watch them and every now and again, there’ll be new ideas I never thought of doing. It’s helpful. And I like the monthly newsletter. It provides great value.”

About PracticeHub

By switching from paper-based documentation to PracticeHub’s secure cloud-based platform, you’ll not only free up office space, but free up time and resources spent on laborious, repetitive but essential tasks. This helps you reduce human error and the risks inherent in that.

Learn how PracticeHub saves you time in your daily operational tasks and in meeting your compliance requirements.

Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant and PracticeHub are not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2021.