What is POLAR GP

POLAR GP is an ‘in practice’ software product for GPs, Practice Managers and other staff to use within their practice to support internal operations, patient-centred care, quality improvement and business development. 

Filters can be easily added or removed by clicking on the charts and tables across multiple tabs. For example, practices can identify at-risk patients on a range of clinical indicators, audit appropriate medications and immunisations, track patient and practitioner outcomes, improve data quality and pinpoint business development opportunities.

If you have POLAR GP installed in your clinic it can be accessed via the POLAR website. Please contact Gippsland PHN if you are unsure if your clinic has POLAR GP installed.

  • Extensive data mapping
    • POLAR GP maps free-text and coded GP diagnosis to Australian SNOMED-CT and a Higher Order Diagnosis categorisation systems so free-texted diagnoses are not lost. This is the only program that currently does this in Australia
    • POLAR GP maps medications to the World Health Organisations ATC Drug classification
    • POLAR GP maps Pathology data into GP relevant categories
  • Identifying patient cohorts for appropriate activities such as health assessments, immunisations, GP management plans and team care arrangements
  • Data quality relevant to accreditation and other data management activities
  • Understand and track what MBS items are most commonly utilised and what activities could increase specific MBS items
  • Easy to export patient lists

POLAR GP is suitable for use by all general practice staff:

POLAR GP Users

polar gp users 

The POLAR GP HARP report is now available in all POLAR GP clinics. This new report was developed as part of the Ambulance Victoria – South Gippsland Nurse Led Care project and allows practices to identify patients at risk of hospitalisation. This report gives clinicians the ability to filter patients based on the Western HARP model into categories of Urgent, High, Medium and Low.

The Western HARP model aims to determine the risk of people with chronic or complex care needs presenting to hospital for treatment in the following 12 months. The risk screen is based on calculating an accumulative score for a chronic and complex patient based upon:

  • presenting clinical symptoms
  • service access profile
  • risk factors
  • complications
  • psycho-social issues
  • self-management

To access this new report, you can open it from the Report page of POLAR Explorer.

harp logo

The sharing of data forms part of Gippsland PHN’s commitment to working closely with general practice, improving our understanding of general practice needs across the region, allowing us to respond accordingly and improve patient outcomes.

Gippsland PHN provides the POLAR GP data analysis to support quality improvement, maximise MBS items and improve data quality in general practice.

There is no direct cost to the practice. POLAR GP is fully subsidised by Gippsland PHN and there are no ongoing product costs.

The provision of POLAR GP to general practices will require an agreement for the practice to send de-identified patient data to Gippsland PHN for population health planning, advocacy initiatives, other quality improvement and evaluation activities by Gippsland PHN. It may also be used for ethics approved research purposes to benefit Australian’s health the health care system in conjunction with third parties such as universities and other research centres.

If you are interested in getting POLAR GP installed in your practice and would like a demonstration, please do not hesitate to contact Liz Porter at Gippsland PHN on p: 03 5126 2899 or e: liz.porter@gphn.org.au

Promotional materials available:
POLAR GP Brochure
POLAR GP in Gippsland
POLAR GP licensing Agreement

polar practice support menuThere are several training resources available for POLAR GP on the recently updated the POLAR GP Support web page. Which has had all resources updated to reflect the new look and feel of POLAR GP browser reports.

This page includes education resources such as:

  • Q&A Webinars
    Outcome Health record regular webinars about POLAR GP that provide the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback to a POLAR GP developer, helping you develop your skills using POLAR GP by receiving instant demonstrations on screen. Register for upcoming webinars via our events calendar or view past webinars on the POLAR GP support web page.
  • Videos
    Short training videos that go over specific pages and topics in more detail and are great to watch when first using the tool.
  • Walkthroughs
    Several walkthrough instructions have been developed that outline how to complete various searches within POLAR GP.
  • Data Definitions
    Please refer to this glossary of terms if you are unsure of how data is collected/calculated in POLAR GP.
  • Report Overview and Mapping
    Several mapping documents have been developed that clearly outline where data is collected from within your clinical information system.
  • Quick Reference Guide
    A general overview of POLAR GP which points out the important components of the interface.

Upcoming Training Events

POLAR GP Q&A Webinars
Outcome Health record regular webinars about POLAR GP that provide the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback to a POLAR GP developer, helping you develop your skills using POLAR GP by receiving instant demonstrations on screen. Register for upcoming webinars via our events calendar or view past webinars on the POLAR GP support web page.

These resources are all available on the POLAR GP Support web page. Which can be accessed using your POLAR GP login details.

For support contact Gippsland PHN on p: 03 5126 2899 or contact your local coordinator:

Bernie Heaton-Harris
Coordinator Regional Services, Bass Coast/South Gippsland
bernadette.heaton-harris@gphn.org.au 

Daniel Webster
Coordinator Regional Services, Latrobe/Baw Baw
daniel.webster@gphn.org.au

Sarah Clarke
Coordinator Regional Services, Wellington/East Gippsland
sarah.clarke@gphn.org.au

When asked by our team, click the button below to download the TeamViewer Remote Support application.

polar remote support button

We provide software support for issues, updates, requests, training and advice, and documentation.

POLAR GP enables you to allow or restrict access to specific reports. For example, as a Clinic Administrator you may prefer all staff to have access to the Summary report but restrict access to the Summary Business report to yourself and the business owner.

You nominate a POLAR GP Clinic Administrator when you sign up. There can also be multiple Clinic Administrators for your clinic.

The processes for setting up accounts, managing access, and resetting passwords are covered in the resources below.
Clinic Administrator manual

Please contact us if you need help with these processes.

POLAR GP Quarterly Roundup Reports are available to all POLAR GP Practices. These reports provide practices with a quick snapshot of patient demographics and missing data within your practice. Including suggested areas that can be addressed in your practice that can prompt future project and initiatives. Intended to inform all general practice staff including the Practice Manger, General Practitioner, Nurse and Administration staff, these reports will be provided during general practice visits across the region.

Some of the key questions these reports hope to answer are:

  • Who are our Patients?
  • How Does Our Practice Compare?
  • What’s Missing?
  • What should we focus on?

Your Quarterly Roundup report will be provided to your practice manager every three months. If you have any questions on the content of these reports please contact Gippsland PHN.

polar roundup report

Why use POLAR GP?
POLAR GP is useful for insight and planning across clinical and business and accreditation for general practices of all sizes.

POLAR GP allows your general practice to:

  • Access and review patient data
  • Undertake quality improvement and data cleansing
  • Improve planning capabilities including internal service needs, health campaigns and patient education
  • Inform patient-centred care and improve patient health outcomes
  • Identify “at-risk” patients on a range of clinical indicators

Who can use POLAR GP?
POLAR GP is suitable for use by all general practice staff, including practice principals, general practitioners, registrars, nurses, practice managers, business managers and receptionists.

What is the cost to the practice?
There is no direct cost to the practice. POLAR GP is fully subsided by Gippsland PHN, and there will be no ongoing product costs. An agreement to provide de-identified practice data to Gippsland PHN is required for the use of the tool, for the purposes of population health planning as well as ethics approved research purposes to benefit Australian’s health the health care system in conjunction with third parties such as universities and other research centres.

How does POLAR GP work?
The POLAR data extraction tool automatically extracts patient data from the general practice clinical information software and practice management software. The identified and de-identified practice data is encrypted using industry endorsed algorithms similar as those used in the banking sector. The encrypted identified data is stored locally with the POLAR software. The encrypted de-identified data is uploaded directly to the POLAR data warehouse (located in Australia).

When POLAR is opened at the practice the locally stored identified data and the de-identified data drawn from the POLAR Data Warehouse are unencrypted locally and matched, enabling reports to be viewed and analysed.

How will POLAR GP benefit patient care?
POLAR GP will support internal operations including patient-centred care and quality improvement activities. For example, on POLAR GP, your practice can identify at-risk patients on a range of clinical indicators, audit appropriate medications and immunisations, track patient and practitioner outcomes and improve data quality. This in turn will aid identification of service needs, education requirements and provision of care to your patient population.

FAQ’s – De-identified Data

How do we collect and access a general practice de-identified patient data?
General practices must sign the POLAR Data Sharing & Licensing to allow us to have a copy of their de-identified patient data.

Once the agreement is received, we supply and install into each general practice the necessary tools to enable the on-premises collection and storage of patient data, and uploading of de-identified patient data to the POLAR Data Warehouse. Data is extracted within the practice, de-identified and securely sent to the POLAR Data Warehouse.

How do general practices notify their patients about population health planning activities?
We strongly encourage general practices to notify patients that their data could be used for a secondary purpose such as population health planning. We recommend general practices display a poster in their patient waiting room. The poster should also state that patients can request that their data be excluded. Please see the below links:

POLAR GP Data Sharing Poster
POLAR GP Data Sharing Brochure      

POLAR opt out poster       POLAR opt out brochure

FAQ’s – Technical

What is the POLAR GP installation process?
After we receive the POLAR GP licensing agreement the installation process will be carried out by Gippsland PHN staff member and will be followed up with face to face training and support with a nominated practice champion/s.
The installation is carried out in two parts – Installation of the data extraction tool, with support from practice IT support. This will take approximately 20 minutes. Two days later we will then confirm the first extract loads correctly and provide training to the clinic. Remote installation can also be conducted in many cases.

Who supports POLAR GP?
Support for POLAR GP is provided free by the Gippsland Primary Health Networks (PHNs). For support contact Gippsland PHN on p: 03 5126 2899.