Former president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and current practitioner at Lennox Head Medical Centre has been a long-time user of TopBar ever since its first introduction into the market. The passionate advocate says it’s a really simple tool to learn and has benefited his practice in many ways.


How easy is it to incorporate the use of TopBar into your work flow during consultations?

It takes pretty minimal space on the screen, the prompts are relatively subtle and you do not have to stop what you are doing to click through to anything. Therefore, I do not find it intrusive at all.

TopBar is generally operated by practice managers, practice nurses and receptionists. As a general practitioner, what was the deciding factor to use it in your daily activities?

The MBS prompt is the main driver for my use of TopBar. It generates revenue for the practice and is a very useful tool. The other factor is the integration it has with the CAT tool. Our nurses are able to easily do checks on a range of things that I am interested in, for example, recently we looked at private statins in the elderly. Using the search database, finding an elderly patient and putting an alert in were all actioned through the use of TopBar.

Has there been any improvements in your practice after implementing TopBar?

The MBS prompt certainly increases appropriate use of chronic disease item numbers particularly the nurse chronic care item numbers. It is really handy to track those as it means we can utilise our nurses’ resources more effectively. Others prompts such as key health assessments, GP management plans and team care arrangements remind us when something is overdue, and even if there’s not a pestering complication at least it prompts you to reschedule a visit to address those. I also consider the home medication review prompt quite useful.

In terms of improvement in practice, the most enhancement in our practice workflow is the ability to, after getting together as a practice, decide on tackling a specific issue and being able to immediately do a CAT search and introduce prompts into TopBar. That’s the stuff that really changes things.

Any particular examples?

I think what is good about it is that there are a whole lot of different options. You might want to target blood pressure control, you might want to target a medication, or you might want to be searching if a drug has been withdrawn. There are many reasons for using CAT and the way that it integrates with TopBar without being in your face during consultations is really good.

And certainly, it assists the receptionists – it is really hard to keep up with the demographic of your patients even in a best run practice. You are trying to recall a patient for a specific result and find that the phone number is not up to date or the address has changed, and the opportunity for the reception to be prompted to check for those types of things is really helpful.

What are some of the things you feel could be improved about TopBar that would encourage more GP users?

Initially I had trouble with the recall process for GP management plans and team care arrangements as it would prompt immediately after an internal review but the thing I really like about Pen CS helpdesk was that they would address any issues I had really quickly. The responsiveness to any dissatisfaction I had with TopBar was really good which I think is great service and is really refreshing because certainly my fundamental issues with the clinical information system I use do not get addressed nearly as quickly as improvements I see in Pen CS.

Therefore, I suggest other general practitioners to at least experiment with TopBar for themselves as it is really simple to use and benefits your practice favourably.