The Courier-Mail

Scheme for DIY medical checks


PATIENTS would be encouraged to perform DIY health checks under a plan to obtain better value for taxpayers.

Testing blood pressure, some tests for diabetes, weightloss progress and ordering repeat prescripti­ons, all from the comfort of a patient’s lounge room, are being considered by a Federal Government review team.

Patients would inform medicos of outcomes and likely be contacted by a nurse if their results were concerning.

A patient on a weight-loss program whose movement was being tracked by a smart device could also receive a geeup if they had not done enough exercise.

The plan, being developed by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group, is helping the Government reform how Medicare is funded and better use technology.

It signals a move away from a fee-for-service model, where doctors bill the taxpayer for each Medicare service provided, and removes some items doctors can claim on the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

It could mean arthroscop­es, which can diagnose or treat conditions such as torn cartilage, torn ligament or arthritis, may no longer be claimed for older patients because there is no evidence they are beneficial for osteoarthr­itis.

Health Minister Sussan Ley said making more use of technology was good for patients.

“Embracing digital health doesn’t mean pushing more people toward ‘Dr Google’. It’s about enabling clinicians to play an even closer role in the day-to-day management of their patient’s health and that’s a good thing,” Ms Ley said.

It comes as patients, for the first time, bill Medicare one million times a day. Taxpayers paid for 368 million services on the MBS in the past financial year, costing $20 billion.

In that time in Queensland, more than four million patients billed Medicare 74 million times, costing $4 billion.

Advisory group chairman Steve Hambleton, who will deliver recommenda­tions to Ms Ley in November, said his plan could save money.

“Patients would not be left on their own,” he said. “We want to activate the patient so they are move involved in their own health.’’


Steve Hambleton

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