Call to flag RACF residents in GP software to improve aged care monitoring

Press/Media: Research


PULSE+IT 15 April 2021


General practice and residential aged care

Period15 Apr 2021

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitlePULSE+IT
    Media name/outletPULSE+IT
    DescriptionResearchers 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
    aged care.
    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.”
    PersonsAndrew Georgiou