Title PULSE+IT Media name/outlet PULSE+IT Country/Territory Australia Date 15/04/21 Description Researchers have proposed the inclusion
of a flag in general practice clinical software
that would populate the MBS and PBS
datasets in order to identify residential aged
care residents and enhance monitoring of
They have also recommended the federal
government continue and expand access to
MBS funded telehealth services to aged care residents following new figures showing how the COVID-19
pandemic saw a decline in face-to-face visits by GPs to Victorian RACFs.
The figures are based on data gathered through Outcome Health’s POLAR tool used by three Victorian
primary health networks and two in NSW covering 800 general practices and representing 30 per cent of
the Australian population.
They show that in-person visits to RACFs in the Victorian PHNs decreased considerably in 2020
compared to 2019, particularly in May, when they were down by 24 per cent, July (-20%), and the second
lockdown in August (-37%).
Although NSW experienced outbreaks in RACFs in the early part of the pandemic, the figures show GP
visits to NSW RACFs actually increased in 2020 compared to 2019. The researchers put the discrepancy
down to the additional lockdowns in Victoria.
In April 2020, telehealth made up 17 per cent of GP consultations in Victorian RACFs and 14 per cent in
NSW. In August 2020, they represented 30 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
“Telehealth has played an important role in supporting the delivery of GP services in RACFs during the
COVID-19 pandemic, with a much higher uptake of telehealth (up to 30%) among the Victorian general
practices,” they write. “This suggests a continuation of, and expanded access to, MBS funded telehealth
services to RACF residents should be supported by the government.”
Persons Andrew Georgiou