Medical Director is simplifying the new ePIP incentive so much you can earn about $42.50 for each tap of your keyboard
Medical Director’s ePIP tool simplifies the new ePIP incentive so much you can earn about $42.50 for each tap of your keyboard
According to Medical Director’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Andrew Magennis, it takes only 200 keystrokes per quarter for a GP practice to earn the new ePIP incentive using Medical Director’s new ePIP tool.
In May, ePIP switched focus from practices having the communications capability to upload shared health summaries to them actually sending them to the MyHealthRecord (MHR) database. A practice can earn up to $50,000 per year if they send up to 0.5% of their SWPE (standardised whole patient equivalent) count in shared health summaries to the MHR database per quarter over one year.
The problem is, how does anyone know when the 0.5% is achieved and where they are up to each quarter in order to achieve it? After announcing the incentive, it was quickly realised that because of privacy concerns the government couldn’t actually monitor and report back to a practice how much they‘d done, so the problem was left to the practices to sort out.
But try to do that in your average patient management system (PMS). Firstly, you have no idea how many you’ve already done and to do the count and keep track of it is hugely time consuming. Until recently, it was a manual job to find each patient, confirm they were registered, ensure they were seen by a registered doctor and keep a running tally each quarter.
According to Dr Magennis, the Medical Director tool, released just before July 1, simplifies the process down to something like 200 keystrokes for complying practices per quarter. A complying practice is one that is registered for the MHR who also have doctors who are registered.
Now Medical Director will alert a registered GP that their patient is registered for MHR with a green tick on the screen and show the status of their shared patient summary. Dr Magennis told TMR that, depending on whether the practice has kept that patient’s record well enough updated, it is approximately only four key strokes for that patient’s record to be uploaded.
Take an average practice that services about 15,000 patients per year, and you’ve got to upload about 75 patients per quarter, at 4 keystrokes per patient. OK, that’s 300 keystrokes, so Dr Magennis is a little off in his math but that is still an impressive return at $42.50 per keystroke – much more if the practice already has a lot of patients loaded and ready to go.
The Medical Director tool automatically interrogates the practice database for patients who have already been loaded and provides and update for a practice manager with alerts to say how many shared records need to be loaded in order to meet the quarterly ePIP target. In this way, the ePIP incentive can be much more easily managed by the practice.
If use of the new tool in MD is anything to go by, the government has finally hit upon a new incentive that might actually work. According to Dr Maggenus, a few weeks after they introduced the tool, ePIP made up 20% of the calls to their service centre.
The issue now is, what actually is getting uploaded in a health summary? There are no quality protocols and standards protocols for a health summary upload. You just have to upload one. The variability between practices is likely to be huge and as such it will potentially soon be another issue for the beleaguered MHR program. And even if doctors do upload well documented and reasonably standardised summaries, then the patient can alter it themselves if they don’t like what they see anyway. The MHR has a long way to go, incentives or not.
The other issue in getting the ePIP might be how many e-scripts your practice sends. The guideline isn’t that clear on this part of the incentive:
“Requirement 4—Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions
The practice must ensure that the majority of their prescriptions are sent electronically to a Prescription Exchange Service (PES).”
Who monitors it and reports this back?