Case study: encouraging patients to register for MyMedicare at Westview Medical Centre

Dr Michael Oladiran with patient at Westview Medical Centre in Werribee.
  14 March 2024  NWMPHN | Pictured above: Dr Michael Oladiran with patient Julian Perrin   

For people living in aged care homes and the GPs who support them, registering with MyMedicare unlocks significant benefits.

New incentives to support more regular proactive visits and care planning by GPs and practices are set to be introduced this year.

However, encouraging aged care patients to sign up to MyMedicare can be challenging. General advice on how to do this is available from official sources, such as Services Australia. Local knowledge, however, is often the best way to produce results.

This has very much been the experience of GPs Dr Michael Oladiran and Dr Jessica Urakpa from the Westview Medical Centre in Werribee.

After discussing the benefits of MyMedicare with their quality improvement program officer at North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network, the clinic identified a need to engage with their aged care patients and their families ahead of the changes to the General Practice in Aged Care Incentive. This, they realised, would require a nuanced approach.

In September 2023 the GPs collaborated to write 2 letters. One was created for all patients, including those living in aged care, and the other was geared specifically to the families of aged care residents. Both letters contained an overview of MyMedicare and explained the positive outcomes stemming from registration.

A couple of weeks later, Services Australia published MyMedicare resources designed for patients.

Staff printed copies of these resources and distributed them throughout the Westview clinic.

Tracey Webb and Donna Carver at Westview Medical Centre.
Informing patients about MyMedicare starts with practice manager Tracey Webb (L) and receptionist Donna Carver.

QR codes enabling patient registration were also placed at reception and in consulting rooms. GPs and other staff were provided with easy-to-read questions and answers, compiled by Dr Oladrian and practice manager Tracey Webb, so that accurate information was available if patients wanted to discuss the matter.

The practice, like most, runs an online portal for booking appointments. This platform was used to promote MyMedicare, giving users the option to click on a box to learn more. Doing so sent a message to reception staff, who then sent the user an email containing information and a QR code for registration.

Since the start of Westview’s recruitment campaign, more than 200 patients, including many aged care residents, have registered.

Dr Oladrian says he expects that number to continue to grow.

“We are still receiving interest as a result of campaigning efforts,” he says.

“We’ve learned that education for patients and staff is the key! When we send communications to patients, we make sure to include reference material. Promotion and campaigning have to be ongoing.”

The practice is now working on the next stage that will include meeting with residential aged care homes to further increase enrolments.

Donna Carver, Tracey Webb, Lauren Hwang and Dr Michael Oladiran outside Westview Medical Centre.
The Westview Medical Centre team (L–R): Receptionist Donna Carver, practice manager Tracey Webb, nurse Lauren Hwang and Dr Michael Oladiran.