MasterCare – A Clinical Psychologists Perspective
A Personal Account from Richard J Bell | Clinical Psychologist from Victoria and Western Australia
I am a Clinical Psychologist with 18 years experience in public mental health settings in Victoria and Western Australia. I made the leap into the unfamiliar environment of a small private practice in an under-resourced outer suburb of Melbourne.
Referrals trickled in for a while and then grew to a healthy flow as local GPs took up Medicare items for their patients. My clinical and management experience in the public system impressed upon me the need for an efficient system for creating and storing clinical records… and of course, the endeavor needed to run as a business: reports to GPs, billing clients and batching off to Medicare.
The Magic of MasterCare
I had been tracking MasterCare, the clinical section of Global Health’s product offering. Specifically the development of their mental health assessment and outcome measuring system for some years, and when I got my hands on the software, I was impressed!
This system, I believe, was built to drive the medical records for the Mental Health Service of the Australian Capital Territory. The comprehensive features of this program jumped out at me and screamed extensive collaboration with clinicians, the clinical governance gurus and the quality assurance committee. The system has a range of assessment and report templates, including drop down menus and tick boxes to make life easier. The prompts for the mental state examination leave no rock unturned… and then at the push of the “wizard” button, MasterCare constructs a report.
A paperless clinical record is possible, entries can be PDF’d, dated and tamper-proofed. But if this sounds too fancy, the basic functions of storing client demographics and templates for letters and reports enable you to keep up with your letters to GPs. The system is flexible, and with assistance from the support team you are able to design templates for your specific needs.
Now for Digital Transactions
While awaiting the arrival of my laptop, I spent a few weeks filling in Medicare Bulk Bill vouchers with the prescribed black pen. Time consuming, repetitive, black pens like black socks, go missing and the snail mail processing lived up to its name. MasterCare has an online billing system which links client information from my MasterCare EMR database with Medicare claiming formats.
Bulk Bill claims have the Medicare rebate delivered to my bank account via EFT in 3 – 4 days. For clients who pay upfront and above the rebate, the online system delivers the rebate to the client’s bank account. The online billing system requires a computer connected to the Internet and some initial, confusing but achievable form faxing to Medicare. Card readers and EFTPOS terminals are not required. So I can run the system from home and take printouts of the necessary paper work to my private practice. This seems to be fairly fuss free and reduces the need for computer or Internet access in my private practice room.
Focus on Clinical Work
I have been known to tinker with clinical database development in the past and the temptation to homebrew a database for my private practice was intrusive and distracting.
However, to my relief, Global Health with MasterCare EMR provided a system which impressed me and now cocoons my practice, enabling me to focus on my area of expertise – the clinical work.