Murray PHN eNews #94 | New Murray HealthPathways milestone


Edition 94  | New Murray HealthPathways milestone

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New HealthPathways milestone
At the end of March, the 200th pathway was localised for our region and published on Murray HealthPathways.Since the launch of HealthPathways on 9 November 2016, more than 70,000 pathway pages have been viewed by almost 4,000 users.

Our mental health pathways have been the most viewed pages, and the most popular searches are for: diabetes, gout, hepatitis C, nephrology, chronic pain, family violence, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and COPD.

More than 350  health professionals have been involved in the development of pathways, lending their local knowledge and expertise to the process, ensuring that evidence-based clinical resources are available to all  health professionals in our region.

HealthPathways is free to access and helps clinicians better manage their patients, while improving the local health system by lowering demand on acute and residential care services  as patients are better managed in the community.  HealthPathways also improves the coordination of care and works towards reducing avoidable hospital admissions.

To register for HealthPathways, to learn more or  to suggest a Pathway  click here.


Optimal Care Pathways
Victorians living in regional and remote locations commonly have a lower five year cancer survival rate than those in urban areas.We are working with a number of partners  to improve the quality of cancer care and patient experiences by implementing Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs)  in primary health settings.

Our project has a  current  focus  on Prostate  Cancer - the most common cancer diagnosed in men in Australia - and Oesophagogastric Cancer, due to poor prognosis.

GPs have an important role in supporting the cancer patient with managing side-effects of treatment, managing co-morbidities, coordinating supportive care and potentially providing end of life support.

For more details on the OCP project  click here.
For Oesophagogastric Cancer resources, click the links below:

For Prostate  Cancer resources, click the links below:
The adoption of Optimal Care Pathways into primary health is supported by the Victorian Government.

Advance Care Planning Week
Next week - 16 to 22 April - is Advance Care Planning Week. Health professionals are encouraged to start the conversation around advance care planning with their patients.Murray PHN HealthPathways Clinical Editor, Dr Margi Gould is a committed advocate for Advance Care Planning. Here she answers questions on the subject:

Why are you passionate about Advance Care Planning (ACP)?

Like a lot of healthcare workers who advocate Advance Care Planning, I have both personal and professional experience of how ACP can make decision making at the end of life easier for patients, their loved ones and healthcare professionals. No doctor can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it is unusual for an individual's own GP to be available when decisions regarding treatment options and place of care need to be made.

When ACP has occurred it can be very comforting to know that the patient is getting the treatment they wanted.

As a doctor how would you recommend other GPs talk to patients about Advance care planning?

The conversation should be open and honest, especially about prognosis and patient expectations. Ideally it should take place when the patient is relatively well and stable.   It can be an ongoing conversation over several consultations that results in the completion or updating of paperwork such as an “Advance Care Directive†.

Why do you think GPs might be unsure about talking to patients about Advance care planning?

GPs may be unsure of which forms they need to complete and unsure about the legal status of ACP. They may also worry about upsetting a patient (“My doctor thinks I’m going to die†).  A survey by Palliative Care Australia found that only 11 per cent  of Australians have talked to their doctor about their wishes for care at the end of their life, while 93 per cent  of Australians would like it if their doctor asked them about their care wishes.   It doesn’t hurt to start the conversation and, like all skills, ACP improves with practice.

For more information on Advance Care Planning, click here

Ambulance Victoria care plans

General practitioners may receive a call from the Ambulance Victoria (AV) Referral Service regarding the development of a patient’s AV Care Plan.  You may be asked to share information about your patient's medical history, medications, pathology and ongoing medical treatments.

AV Care Plans are tailored care plans for patients who are frequent callers to Ambulance Victoria requesting emergency ambulance attendance, where alternative community care providers or self-care advice is more appropriate. For more information, click here

My Health Record in Pharmacy - National accredited webinar  
The Australian Digital Health Agency is holding a nationally accredited webinar for pharmacists from 6.30-8pm on Monday 23  April 2018.The  webinar will cover: features and benefits, communicating to patients,  privacy and security, and clinical information and be presented by Shane Jackson, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

For full details and to register click here.

Quick links to this edition's stories

Vision Initiative coming soon to Moira Shire    eye health  

The Vision Initiative and Murray PHN are working in partnership to eliminate avoidable blindness and vision loss in Moira Shire. Moira Shire residents are identified at being at increased risk of vision loss with 19 per cent never having had an eye test. In Australia, 90 per cent of vision loss is preventable or treatable, if detected early.
General practices are often the first point of contact a person has with the health system and play a critical role in identifying patients at risk of eye conditions, educating them on eye health and vision care and referring them to have regular eye examinations. To assist with integrating eye health and vision care into general practice, the Vision Initiative will be meeting with general practices across the shire to provide information about the program and free resources for your practice and patients.
These visits will take place from May 2018.  If you would like to organise a meeting in advance,  call the Vision Initiative on 9656 2020  alternatively you will be contacted by a Vision Initiative team member. For more information on the Vision Initiative visit and other adult vaccines can be recorded on Australian Immunisation Register    immunisation  

Your patients may need proof of vaccination for employment or to enrol in child care or school. You can record vaccines on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for people of all ages. This includes vaccines for adults such as Zostavax, pneumococcal and private vaccines for flu and travel.

The quickest way to submit information to the AIR is using your practice management software or the AIR site. If you don’t have access to the AIR site, you can request access. Patients can see their Immunisation History Statement by using their Medicare online account through myGov. They can also use the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Cervical screening and women aged under 25    cancer screening  
A reminder that on 1 December 2017, the National Cervical Screening Program was renewed and the Pap test was replaced by the human papillomavirus (HPV) Cervical Screening Test. Routine cervical screening is now recommended for women aged 25 to 74 years old.

Pap tests are no longer eligible for Medicare rebates - patients may be charged if this test is requested.   Routine cervical screening is not recommended for women under the age of 25. These patients may be charged for pathology testing of routine cervical screening tests. Patients of any age - including those aged under 25 and over 74 years - with abnormal vaginal bleeding require diagnostic testing, which is covered by Medicare. For more information, click here.

Hepatitis A information for homeless rough sleepers    immunisation  

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a public campaign to  provide information about hepatitis A and the availability of its associated vaccine.  Rough sleepers are now able to access the vaccine after evidence has emerged that they are at an increased risk of developing the acute infection.

The department has developed a guide that can be shared with members of the public and others who do not have a medical background. Click here for more details.

'Ask the Flying Doctor' service launched    telehealth  

The Royal Flying Doctor Service's (RFDS) has launched 'Ask the Flying Doctor,' an initiative designed to help GPs practicing in rural Victoria seek specialist RFDS advice to help treat and manage patients.  The free service offers access to leading specialists, including psychiatry, respiratory and endocrinology, who are part of the Flying Doctor Telehealth service.

'Ask the Flying Doctor' has evolved out of broad consultation and feedback from many rural GPs across Victoria that often practice in isolation. The email support service offers GPs the option to seek an opinion from one of the RFDS Victoria specialist team. Click here for more information.

Thank you to Health Voices who responded  to our last survey on the Influenza Virus.  Results - from over one-third of you - are currently being collated and will be shared back with you shortly.

In the meantime if you, or if you have a friend or family member who you think we should hear from, suggest they become a Health Voice in their community by registering at: The more voices we hear, the better.

Murray PHN CPD
For the full Murray PHN CPD events calendar click here.

Murray PHN news

Murray PHN invites submissions from appropriately qualified and experienced providers to submit tenders for the provision of data governance and cyber security to Murray PHN across all office locations.

Pre-qualification closes Friday 20 April at 4pm.

Note - in order to submit a proposal you must be registered for TenderSearch. For full details and to register, go to:

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Copyright  © 2018 Murray PHN, All rights reserved.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this newsletter is accurate. Information in this  newsletter  may be duplicated in other media with due  acknowledgement  of the originating sources. Murray PHN does not  necessarily  endorse products and/or  services  advertised in this publication.Murray PHN gratefully acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.
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