The go-to resource for GP registrars
Online clinical decision-support platform HealthPathways is a tool every GP registrar in South East Queensland should know about.
In fact, General Practice Training Queensland (GPTQ) now endorses HealthPathways as an ‘essential resource’, recognising the platform’s ability to provide both training (in practice) and education (exam preparation) support to the next generation of GPs as they develop their skills in primary care.
GPTQ Medical Educator and South Brisbane GP Dr Scott Preston has played a key role in implementing HealthPathways in South East Queensland over the past two years, working in collaboration with a team of other GPs, hospital clinicians and a broad network of allied health professionals to develop the localised content.
He describes it as a framework for delivering connected care.
“HealthPathways gives GPs and registrars instant access to up-to-date clinical information and treatment guidelines, as well as a series of care pathways which have been developed to help them navigate our complex healthcare systems,” Scott explains.
There are four localised sites, servicing the catchments of Brisbane South, Brisbane North, Darling Downs and West Moreton and a fifth site—servicing the Gold Coast—is set to go live later this year.
“Each site has its own localised web of referral pathways, connecting GPs with nearby medical specialists, hospitals, and allied health services,” Scott says.
The central goal of the platform, which has been adapted from a successful model first trialled in New Zealand, is to improve patient experiences and achieve better health outcomes through greater collaboration between healthcare professionals in local communities.
HealthPathways supports GPs at every stage of their career.
“The pathways provide a great learning framework for GP registrars in particular,” Scott explains.
“By helping them to map out clear and connected treatment plans for their patients from day one they assist in establishing a mode of practice that is plugged into local networks,” he says.
“GP registrars also regularly tell us how valuable they find the clinical information and treatment guidelines, particularly for exam preparation as it addresses core components of their study recommendations for GP Fellowship exams,” Scott adds.
Second year GP registrar Lauren Vogelzang was introduced to HealthPathways when she embarked on her first practice placement at Stellar Medical in Lowood, west of Brisbane and describes the platform as a “game changer”.
“I cannot say enough good things about this tool,” Lauren says.
“It has helped me through the somewhat overwhelming transition from working in a hospital setting to working in primary care as a GP, giving me much needed support and more confidence.”
Lauren was encouraged to explore HealthPathways by one of her medical educator mentors.
She quickly discovered the range of ways the system could assist her in her work.
“As an on-the-spot reference tool it is excellent,” Lauren says.
“I can quickly access pertinent information about a condition that maybe I’m not familiar with or I need the latest treatment guidelines on,” she explains.
“And with the landscape of medicine continually changing, it provides an opportunity to practice up-to-date, evidence-based medicine with each and every one of my patients,” she says.
The platform’s focus on enhancing processes for referrals between GPs and specialists makes it an invaluable resource, according to Lauren.
“It helps me determine if I need to refer a patient, how urgent that referral needs to be, and then for each individual case it steps me through what is needed to facilitate a referral that is going to be smooth and effective,” Lauren says.
She describes HealthPathways as ‘super user-friendly’.
“The system takes next to no time to become familiar with and it is so quick there are no clunky moments during patient consultations where I’m searching for information,” she says.
“Within 10 to 15 seconds I can pull up what I’m looking for. I can actually involve the patient in the process by showing them how HealthPathways has been tailored to help create the best care plan for them,” she says.
Lauren suggests the platform can also enhance communication with patients.
“I can tell that a lot of my patients benefit from seeing the evidence behind what I am telling them,” she explains.
“And I know they feel more comfortable about the path forward if I am able to talk them through the next steps in a clear and easy to understand way,” she adds.
“HealthPathways is a tool all GPs benefit from,” she says.
“I can see it being something I will utilise for years to come.”
How HealthPathways works
HealthPathways is designed for use during General Practice consultations, and is available across Queensland thanks to state government funding provided by Clinical Excellence Queensland at Queensland Health.
Each ‘pathway’ provides the GP or GP registrar with a set of clear and concise guidelines for assessing and managing a patient with a particular symptom or condition.
Pathways also include valuable information and guidance on making requests to services in the local health system; such as actioning referrals for specialist care and allied health services within the hospital and community sectors.
In addition, some HealthPathways sites list GP to GP referral options, recognising special interest areas among local GP networks.
The platform’s collaborative approach to patient management is designed to improve workflow through all health sectors.
For access to HealthPathways in your area, contact your local PHN for more information or click on the links below: