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My Aged Care e-Referral – fast, convenient and secure
By Jean-Christophe Meunier, HealthLink, eHealth Manager
Time is a precious commodity in any general practice, so it’s essential to use technology that’s designed to provide you and your patients with a great service.
The Australian Government’s My Aged Care service is the entry point for older Australians to access government-funded aged care support and services. Demand for this service is set to increase in line with an ageing population.
The Department of Health and Aged Care recognises the central role General Practices play in managing health and well-being concerns for older Australians. Therefore, GPs and Practice Nurses can make referrals directly to My Aged Care on behalf of their patients.
Each year, My Aged Care receives around 250,000 referrals from health professionals, including referrals from GPs, specialist clinics and hospitals.
Referrals can be time consuming though. Manual processes, such as faxing forms, risk errors that can affect the quality and accuracy of information collected by My Aged Care.
To address these problems and ensure faster connection to services, General Practices can use the My Aged Care e‑Referral SmartForm.
The e‑Referral SmartForm has been introduced by the Department of Health and Aged Care in partnership with HealthLink to facilitate the direct submission of referrals. These SmartForms are currently integrated with Best Practice, Genie, Medical Director and MedTech Evolution Practice Management Systems (PMS).
The My Aged Care e‑Referral SmartForm is quick and easy to use because it’s securely integrated by HealthLink into the patient record within your PMS. Upon launch, the SmartForm pre-populates all the patient and practice details, enabling files to be attached from the patient’s record. Forms can be filled out during a patient consultation, asking the patient questions while they are there, getting the referral right, first time.
Adopting an integrated referral solution for General Practices and My Aged Care achieves the following goals:
- Health professionals can use their PMS for referrals, without needing to switch to a different system;
- The process is fast and easy for health professionals, allowing referrals to be made during consultations rather than being an administrative burden later;
- The pathway from referral to assessment is more streamlined, meaning patients have more timely access to care;
- Using pre-populated records improves the quality and accuracy of information received by My Aged Care; and
- My Aged Care receives more referrals from health professionals (particularly General Practices).
Once the e‑Referral is submitted to My Aged Care, a Confirmation Number is provided by My Aged Care on the Submitted Form, and a copy is instantly saved back into the patient’s file within your PMS.
Since e‑Referrals launched in October 2019, My Aged Care reports more than 40,000 e‑Referrals have been sent. Quality has improved as e‑Referral ensures My Aged Care receives complete, detailed, legible patient and medical information every time. The faster a referral is processed, the less time a patient has to wait to be assessed.
A General Practice in Adelaide hasn’t looked back since it started using My Aged Care e‑Referrals. Nurse manager Casey Franchi, who works at Chandler’s Hill Surgery, uses e‑Referrals on a regular basis.
“They are so easy to use and save so much time. All the patient details are pre-populated, which makes filling it out so much faster, more accurate and more efficient”
“The e‑Referral is in the patient file so you can easily and securely access any documents to upload to back up the referral.”
“Life is so much easier now and I would recommend them to any general practice. The time saved means I can focus on the important stuff like caring for patients and not on filling out forms.”
The Director of the My Aged Care Online Services and Information Section, Kylie Sauer, says e‑Referrals have improved the experience of GPs by offering better integration into their existing workflow and taking away the need to exit their PMS to send a referral.
“Sending a referral by fax takes longer. By pre-populating patient information and GP details, e‑Referrals are the fastest and most efficient way to refer patients to My Aged Care,” she says.
“Faxes are particularly slow to process on the My Aged Care end, which results in patients waiting longer to be referred for an assessment.”
“We encourage health professionals to use e‑Referrals where possible, to save time and provide the best service for their patients.”
Step-by-step tutorial videos on how to use e-Referrals are available https://au.healthlink.net/products/smart-forms/my-aged-care/#mac-user-guides for Best Practice, Medical Director and Genie. A PDF guide https://au.healthlink.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/AU-MTE_-Forms-Guide-1.0.pdf is available for Medtech users.