Practice Review: frequently asked questions

Why did I receive this report?

As part of our national therapeutic programs, NPS MedicineWise regularly sends a Practice Review to approximately 30,000 medical practitioners across Australia. The purpose of the Practice Review is to support prescribers in their professional development and quality improvement by showing individual prescriber data on selected medicines and/or medical tests.

 

Can this Practice Review qualify for CPD?

Yes, this qualifies for CPD as a self-recorded activity.

 

I didn’t receive a Practice Review but would like to receive one

All providers across Australia are sent a Practice Review. The only exceptions are practitioners who have claimed less than $1000 in MBS consultation schedule fees during the last April to June period.

If you are a medical practitioner, your Practice Review will have been mailed to the preferred mailing address (or primary/secondary mailing address) that is registered for you with Services Australia. You can update your address online through Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

We are unable to resend Practice Reviews as they are prepared as a set in one operation and mailed automatically.

 

How can I change my mailing address?

 

Will my data be audited?

No, your individual data will not be used for any regulatory purposes. It is strictly confidential and is for your personal reflection only.

See also ‘How does NPS MedicineWise get my data?

 

Where does the data come from?

The data are from Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) and include:

  • all relevant medicines that were prescribed by you and dispensed on the PBS and/or
  • all relevant MBS items that were referred by you and claimed on the MBS.
 

How does NPS MedicineWise get my data?

NPS MedicineWise has a contract with Services Australia for the supply of specific MBS and PBS data which contains individual provider names and numbers, and aggregated patient data. This information is securely stored by NPS MedicineWise in Australia and is protected using multiple layers of accredited security controls, including best-practice encryption methods.

This information is only accessed in accordance with strict information security protocols by NPS MedicineWise staff who have obtained an Australian Government security clearance and by duly authorised personnel at NPS MedicineWise’s accredited mail house subcontractor.

 

What should be considered when interpreting the data?

PBS data

The indication for prescribing cannot always be determined from PBS data. For example, if you prescribe asthma medicines for patients with other non-asthma conditions such as viral respiratory wheeze, your overall prescribing captured in a report on asthma medicines may be higher than you expect.

Practice Review reports include dispensing data for medicine(s) prescribed by you that were dispensed and the time periods shown apply to the date of dispensing.

All practices are different, for example, practices specialising in palliative care, cancer care or acute care may have different prescribing rates that are still appropriate.

MBS data

The data will only include MBS item codes that were claimed on the MBS.

The report includes referral data, and the time periods shown apply to the date the tests were performed.

 

The data do not look as I’d expect, why could this be?

There are several reasons why your data might surprise you.

Some graphs show data as a rate per 100 or 1000 Medicare consultations or unique patients

If your prescribing rate is higher than you expect, this may be because your number of Medicare consultations or patients is low.

  • For example, if you prescribed 60 prescriptions for your patients but only claimed 500 Category 1 Medicare consultations in your practice then your rate of prescriptions per 100 Medicare consultations would be 12.
  • On the other hand, if you prescribed 60 prescriptions but claimed 2000 Category 1 Medicare consultations in your practice then your rate of prescriptions per 100 Medicare consultations would only be 3.

Providing data as a rate allows for comparison with your peers regardless of the size of your practice.

Data reflect prescriptions you wrote that were dispensed

Keep in mind possible delays between the date that you prescribe the medicine and date it is dispensed for the patient. 

Similarly, for MBS items, the data reflect tests that were referred by you and claimed on the MBS. It is possible that there are delays between the date of your referral and the date the test was claimed on the MBS.

Discrepancies may occur between the data provided and your practice data

This may be because of inaccurate recording of your prescriber number in the pharmacy, or because your prescription or referral pad has been used by another doctor.

 

My data looks high because I predominantly work in a specific demographic, was this taken into account?

We recognise that the context of prescribing or writing referrals varies for every provider, however because of limitations of the data we are unable to tailor each provider’s data. The data provided in Practice Reviews is for your reflection only. Consider the data and reflection points in relation to your patients and in the context of your own clinical practice.

See also ‘What does the Practice profile show me?’

 

What should I do if I have concerns about the data in my Practice Review?

If you have read the previous sections about considerations when interpreting your data and still have questions, email NPS MedicineWise at [email protected]. If we are unable to resolve your concerns, we will facilitate investigation of your query with Services Australia.

If you are worried that your data shows fraudulent activity, you can:

  • report suspected fraud by calling Services Australia on 131 524, or 
  • contact the police.
 

Can I request a patient list that relates to my data?

No, this is not possible. NPS MedicineWise does not request data from Services Australia at an individual patient level. All patient data received is de-identified data per provider.

 

What services are included in a Medicare Category 1 consultation?

The Medicare Category 1 consultations used are as listed on the Medical Benefits Scheme

 

If my data shows that I am above or below the median of GPs, does this mean I need to change my prescribing or referral habits?

It is important to note that the prescribing of the median of GPs is not always an indicator of best practice. 

In some situations being higher/lower than the median is a good thing. We encourage you to interpret your data alongside the points for reflection. If your prescribing habits are in line with the best practice guidelines, then the graphs and tables in your Practice Review can be a strong motivator for reinforcing best practice.

If you realise that your prescribing or test referral habits are not in line with best practice guidelines, you may want to change your behaviour.

 

What is the RA?

RA stands for Remoteness area and is a comparator group, based on areas devised by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that includes all providers practicing in a similar geographical location. The different RA classifications include:

  • major city
  • inner regional
  • outer regional
  • remote
  • very remote

Note, if a provider has been allocated to multiple RAs over time, the Practice Review will use their current RA. Similarly, if a provider practices in multiple locations over different RAs, then the Practice Review will use the RA where the majority of claims have been lodged during the report period.

 

What does the practice profile show me?

The practice profile is provided to help you interpret your prescribing and referral data. It indicates the spread of numbers of patients in your practice by age group, as well as total numbers of Medicare and concession patients in your practice compared to other providers in your RA. 

Understanding the profile of the patients in your practice can help contextualise the other graphs and tables in the report.

 

What is MedicineInsight?

MedicineInsight is a quality improvement program developed and managed by NPS MedicineWise with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health. Insights from primary care are drawn from the aggregated clinical data of all participating general practices.

MedicineInsight data may be included in some Practice Reviews, where relevant, to complement the PBS data and enable you to reflect on your patients and your clinical practice.

Find out more about MedicineInsight

 

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have any further questions, contact NPS MedicineWise: