Practice Update – Autumn 2014

Published in Practice Update

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Clinical content may change after this date. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a qualified health professional. Health professionals should rely on their own expertise and enquiries when providing medical advice or treatment.

From the MedicineInsight National ManagerMeet the MedicineInsight teamA big thank youPractice improvement around the worldMedicineInsight practice profileFor more information


From the MedicineInsight National Manager

Nancy Huang, national manager of the MedicineInsight program

Nancy Huang, National Manager MedicineInsight

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Practice Update. We are happy to let you know that the MedicineInsight community is growing, with over 185 participating practices across five states, representing well over 1000 GPs.

After successfully completing our pilot phase in 2013, we are now rolling out MedicineInsight to all Australian states. We’ve shown that the MedicineInsight data collection tool works well with the Medical Director and Best Practice clinical desktop systems to collect non-identifiable patient information. We are also encouraged with the response from practices on our analysis and reporting of their information. And we are continuing to enhance all aspects of MedicineInsight as we learn more about the needs of our practices.

Ultimately, MedicineInsight is looking to recruit 500 practices, creating a comprehensive primary health database that will help us better understand and improve medicine use. If you know of any practices that might be interested in participating, or your practice has other sites that would like to be involved, please send details to or call us on 1300 721 726.

In this Update, we’ll let you know a little about the feedback we are receiving from practices on MedicineInsight by meeting our dedicated evaluation officer, Isla. Our NPS MedicineWise Chair, Dr Janette Randall, shows her appreciation for your involvement and we look at some research from the US that tests a model for general practice transformation. We also visit Florey Healthcare in South Australia.

Thank you for your continued support of MedicineInsight.

Kind regards,

Nancy HuangDr Nancy Huang
National Manager, MedicineInsight

Meet the MedicineInsight team

Isla Hains, MedicineInsight Planning Evaluation Program Officer

Isla Hains, MedicineInsight Planning Evaluation Program Officer

For a new service like MedicineInsight, it is important to closely monitor our impact in practices. Measuring these effects is the role of our Planning and Evaluation Program Officer, Isla Hains.

"Over the past months we have started delivering type 2 diabetes reports to practices through all-of-practice meetings. We have evaluated 50 participants’ perceptions of these meetings, including the format and the information presented in the report," Isla says.

"The feedback has been encouraging with all participants finding the visit and content of the report to be appropriate and useful. Over 90% indicated that they understood the report results and found it useful. Around 20% also found some of the information presented to them was unexpected."

Top actions for participants as a result of the visit

  • Improving data completeness (72%)
  • Recalling patients if needed (70%)
  • Reviewing patients (54%)

"Overall, practices felt the meeting had been well prepared, that the information was interesting, well presented and ‘reviewed and explained concisely’. Participants appreciated the open, interactive and ‘non-judgemental’ atmosphere of the meetings, as well as wanting to ‘make more time’ for the MedicineInsight visit," Isla says. "Individual feedback based on the practice’s own data was also something the respondents found particularly valuable."

A big thank you

A message from Dr Janette Randall, Chair NPS MedicineWise Board
Dr Janette Randall

Dr Janette Randall
Chair NPS MedicineWise

I have been closely involved in MedicineInsight since its inception in 2011 as a program with great ambition and some almighty challenges. Two years have quickly flown by and we are now seeing some great results for all our toil. We have successfully delivered secure technology that works seamlessly with practice systems, we are producing reports that are valued by our MedicineInsight practices, and we have educational visits that are delving into the collected data to come up with improvements in clinical activity. These are no small feats and we still have plenty of challenges ahead.

I do thank the MedicineInsight team for their hard work, but none of this would have been possible without you, the practices who have committed to being part of understanding and improving prescribing in primary health.

This is just a short note to show my appreciation for your continued participation in the program and for considering the bigger picture as we build a national database to influence health policy and practice.

Thank you all for joining the MedicineInsight journey.

Practice improvement around the world

Click to see full text

University of North Carolina campus

Researchers from the US recently tested a model of how transformation in general practice occurs. The model identified three practice patterns: transformed practices with broad-based improvement, activated practices with moderate change and engaged practices with minimal change.

The transformed practices had highly engaged leadership and used data to drive decisions. In contrast, engaged practices were unable to sustain change – despite good intentions – because of multiple competing distractions interfering with transformation.

The study concluded that internal and external practice motivators and specific practice supports provided by a community-based quality improvement program appear to have an impact on engagement, rate of quality improvement and long-term sustainability.

MedicineInsight’s model of providing personalised feedback based on data derived directly from the practice as a base for supporting improvements in clinical activity seems to be supported by the findings of this research around how change and transformation in general practice can be sustained in the long term.

Donahue KE, Newton WP, Lefebvre A, Plescia M. Natural history of practice transformation: development and initial testing of an outcomes-based model. Ann Fam Med 2013;11:212-9. doi: 10.1370/afm.1497.

MedicineInsight practice profile

Adelaide skyline at night


South Australia was the second state in Australia to join the MedicineInsight journey. We now have 31 practices participating across the state. Florey Healthcare’s two busy sites in Pooraka and Prospect are located north of the Adelaide CBD and recently received a report and visit from MedicineInsight.

Florey Healthcare, South Australia

What is your patient population?

We have around 6000 patients, with a large elderly population.

What staff do you have at the practice?

Our practice has seven doctors, three nurses and a number of receptionists.

What would you say provides the greatest challenges for the practice?

Our greatest challenge is encouraging our patients to being committed to managing their conditions.

You recently had a practice visit from one of our MedicineInsight facilitators who delivered a report on your practice’s data. What was that experience like?

Our team found the MedicineInsight visit and report to be good. The information presented will help us focus on improving our data collection and we’ll also use it to improve our recalling of patients. We’re also interested in more visits from MedicineInsight.

Please note that the Florey Healthcare gave MedicineInsight permission to identify them for this newsletter.

Data quality tip

Recording BMI

Remember to use the designated boxes in your clinical desktop system to record both weight and height to calculate a patient’s BMI. This will make it easier to retrieve a patient’s past BMI results and track their BMI over time.

For more information

If you would like any information on MedicineInsight, email us on or call 1300 721 726.