A health assessment at this stage in life can assist patients to make the necessary lifestyle changes to prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease.
Improving the completion rates of health assessments in general practice can be a great Quality Improvement (QI) activity, benefiting both patients and the practice.
The 45–49-year-old health assessment is for patients “at risk of developing chronic disease”. The decision that a patient is at risk of developing a chronic disease is a clinical judgement made by the GP. However, at least one risk factor must be identified.
Risk factors that the GP may consider include, but are not limited to:
Identifying patients and practice processes
Health assessments work best if there is some pre-planning. Some questions you might want to consider before conducting a series of assessments are:
What is included in a 45–49-year-old health assessment?
Health assessments are generally made up of the following elements:
Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)
Health assessment MBS items are used, and practice nurses can contribute to the assessment.
The 45–49-year-old health assessment can only be claimed once for each patient, and there are four time-based health assessment items, consisting of brief, standard, long and prolonged consultations:
Opportunities for your practice
Conducting the 45–49-year-old health assessment is a good way to engage your patients and to provide health promotion and prevention messages to them.
Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may have resulted in a reduction in preventative health activities; due to this the GCPHN QI Team focus in 2022-23 is to provide support for general practices to increase the number of eligible patients with a health assessment recorded.
General practice staff are encouraged to consider participation in QI activities with a focus on health assessments as a component of their COVID-19 pandemic recovery phase. This will support identification of vulnerable and at-risk patients and implementation of appropriate preventative health interventions that may be missing or overdue.
An activity like this may help your practice to meet PIP QI/ accreditation requirements. QIMs that support preventative health activities including comprehensive health assessments can include:
Additionally, health assessments provide a critical opportunity to identify if a patient has developed a chronic disease. This may lead to the patient being recalled to the practice for a GP Management Plan or a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which can improve care for the patients through proactive care planning.
Completing this assessment also helps to build your relationship and trust with patients, making them more likely to return to you or your practice for their future care.
Resources to support with identifying eligible patients
Resources to support your practice with implementing a health assessment QI activity:
Resources for general practice
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