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Honeycombs First Birthday: A Year in Review

A year ago, I opened the doors of Honeycomb Health. The floors were completed the day before opening, the computers had not arrived and there were phones but no internet. So, not quite the vision!

In the time since then, so much has happened and the day-to-day of the practice has begun to have a rhythm.

I have been very blessed in the development of Honeycomb with an immense amount of support from colleagues, family and friends. My first serious conversations were with the successful practice manager/owner and all-around superstar, Kylie Payne and her team at Interconnect Healthcare. They are the reason I was able to learn the complex process of setting up a medical centre. Kylie managed the fit out and set up and, when in week one we had no reception staff, she sent us the hilarious Kerrie who stepped in to support the reception team, hold the fort and teach us how to set up a treatment room!

In February we had our first medical students. We were lucky enough to have 2 wonderful, final year students from Deakin University, Daniel and Kate. While we may not have been overflowing with GP work at that stage, they learnt non-traditional things like, how to put together furniture, and the in-depth joy that is how to work with Medicare! If they ever decide to go into General Practice, I’d have them back in a heartbeat.

Nursing support in general practice is something that I feel I have taken for granted in years past. The job of starting a practice from scratch and developing good processes largely falls on the nurses and the admin team, I am so grateful to my nursing team and in particular, Susie, who works tirelessly for the good of the patients at Honeycomb and to ensure that we deliver high quality, comprehensive medical care.

Over this first year, our allied health team (check them out here), both on-site and within the community, continues to expand and nurture us. Jo, from Everyday Nutrition was the first person I ever floated the idea of Honeycomb with, and Liz and I recently did our first collaborative consultation working together but with our patient in the meeting too, driving the direction of what and how we offer our knowledge and experience. We continue to grow, this month we are welcoming Dr. Rachelle Opie from Food For Thought, who has a particular interest in diet and mental health which complements the general and IBS dietetics from Everyday Nutrition.

The team at Tailored health has been a pivotal force behind the development of Honeycomb. With shared values and an abundance of enthusiasm, Ben and his team have been a constant source of support even with them not being on site. The initiation of virtual team meetings with them assisting in refining the process means that we are truly embodying the concept of interdisciplinary care.

Before the doors even opened, Steve and Sophie, from Restore Movement were in discussions about how we could strengthen our long-standing relationship. Steve was one of my first mentors and Sophie has looked after my patients for years, as well as myself and my family. Having her on site has brought me the wonderful experience of the ‘corridor consult’, checking in with each other and making sure that we are all on the same page. While having the rest of the Restore Movement team around the corner and in constant contact, gives us the security of providing excellent quality care. Sophie getting busier each week and a possible increase in the days that we have physiotherapy on site is an exciting part of things to come.

Lyn, my experienced and lovely psychologist, who I have known my entire GP life, has been the most wonderfully supportive colleague and is always a nurturing presence in the building.

The reception team are the backbone of everything that happens at Honeycomb and my team, led by the vivacious Ashleigh are the fun and joy and light as well as the reason everything works. Watching them find their rhythm together, problem solve, and interact with everyone in such a positive way is so lovely. They are constantly thinking of the next thing that will make us better and brighter.

Multi-talented that they are, Laura brings yoga and meditation into our space every week, which has helped me personally on my journey to ‘practice what I preach’, enact myself care and participate in joyful movement and mindful moments. Nic brings her bubbly, empathy into everything she does, constantly worries about the needs of others and is always open to something fun!

Ashleigh has recently accepted the position of Practice Manager and after nearly a year of her doing the job unofficially and being the driving force behind us achieving our Accreditation certificate, having her at the helm is a massive step towards quality improvements in the practice as well as a constant source of surprise and fun.

When Dr Ingrid van Tinteren and Dr Tamara Jones came on board, my world changed. I have been blessed to work with gorgeous people my entire career but for quite some time at Honeycomb, I was essentially a solo GP. While it was ok and necessary, having Ingrid and Tamara come on board has confirmed that a team makes everything better. Dr Tamara who is an extremely thorough and compassionate GP but also a wonderful friend, comes to us regularly and provides a valuable service to our female patients with IUD insertions.

Ingrid is a fabulous, dedicated doctor who has been and continues to be a wonderful asset to the Honeycomb team. We work in a wonderfully collaborative way, constantly working to refine our practice of medicine and the processes at Honeycomb. The women’s health day initiative that we hosted in September was coordinated by Ingrid and has sparked wonderful interest in a regular program that we hope to launch next year.

Sometime after Ingrid arrived, around the middle of the year, we had the delivery of our custom designed desks. It might sound a bit boring, or mildly ridiculous that this was a momentous occasion, but it was one step closer to our space functioning in the collaborative and easy-going manner that we are working toward. It also meant that we have the capacity to have additional practitioners in all 6 of our consulting rooms.

The joy of being a GP and the reason I was drawn to it, is the privilege of supporting people through their lives and getting to know the individual context that all of our health sits within. We are never just a blood pressure or a cholesterol reading. The cold we have that makes us feel wretched can amplify the difficulties that we are having in our relationship or reveal a need for more time out from work. The patients of Honeycomb Health are the core of ‘The Hive’. It’s an honour to have so many people who have trusted me for over a decade (or sometimes more!) and to welcome new people into our community.

The preparation for the birthday party celebration on Saturday November 11th (9am-12pm) is the culmination of several months of excited discussions. What is Honeycomb Health about? What do we want for our second year and beyond? It has led to mortifying video interviews (watch them here) and lots of laughter. We hope that you can join us at the party and into the exciting second year and beyond.

Some fantastic progress photos of our Fairy Gum consulting room and our main waiting area from 2022 to now, 2023:

                                       

       

October focus: CONNECTION by Tailored Health

Each month we will focus on one of the six pillars of lifestyle medicine written by one of our allied health family.
This months focus is CONNECTION.

How movement shapes social connections

In today’s fast-paced, digitally connected world, maintaining social connections can be a challenge. Social interaction is a key pillar for our overall health, physical and mental, and is something that is worth prioritising! Furthermore, with October including World mental Health Day, it brings up the need to highlight connection and it’s importance in your health and wellbeing.

While finding connection can be hard at times, there is a powerful and often underestimated tool at our disposal to enhance our social lives: exercise! In this blog, we will explore the profound connection between exercise and social connection, highlighting how physical activity can improve not only our physical health but also our mental and social well-being to grow your community and connection.

Your mental health – why social connection is so important.

Human beings are inherently social creatures, and the quality of our relationships can significantly influence our psychological well-being. In fact, two of the top predictors of longevity are Social Integration and Close Relationships (1,2). Your being and the biology of your health exist within larger social contexts including family, neighbourhood,  community, society and culture. All of which are based on and start with connection.

The trickle on effects from good connection can be enormous and is not something we can overlook. Even the simple pleasure of having someone to talk to when you’re not feeling so great can have enormous rewards to your all-round health.

Exercise as a catalyst for connection

An often underutilised tool in the realm of social connection is exercise, and the social benefits it brings. We can, and should, use our exercise to boost wellbeing from a physical, mental AND social side! Exercise has direct and indirect ways of enhancing our connection, all with their own unique benefits and unique ways they can be tailored to you and your needs.

Direct ways that exercise can enhance social connection is by providing opportunities for social interaction. It’s a powerful vehicle for creating and strengthening connections with others whilst also strengthening all other aspect of your health (including your mental health directly!). Here’s some ways exercise can be transformed into a dynamic social activity:

  • Group Fitness Classes: Group fitness classes like yoga, spin, dance, our Empowering Exercise Group Classes provide a sense of community. You’re surrounded by like-minded individuals, all working towards a common goal of better health. These classes often foster a supportive and friendly atmosphere, making it easier to strike up conversations and build connections.
  • Team sports of sports clubs: Joining a sports team or league is an excellent way to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships. The camaraderie that comes from working together to achieve a shared objective can lead to lasting friendships. Joining a club can also help, with focus of most small clubs being a social place to gather.
  • Walking or Running Clubs (such as our 10am Wednesday walking group!): These clubs offer the chance to explore your neighbourhood, connect with others, and share your fitness journey. We personally LOVE our Wednesday morning walking group and the joy it brings to us and the community that comes along with us.

Indirect ways that exercise can enhance social connection are the other general health benefits it causes that lead to enhancing your connection by enhancing your mental and physical health. Here are some ways exercise and its general benefits can help you find more social connection:

  • Mood Improvement and Reduced Stress: Exercise has a profound impact on our mood and stress levels, making it easier to engage with others in social situations. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. These endorphins can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, making social interactions more enjoyable and less daunting.
  • Increased Confidence: Regular exercise can also boost self-esteem and self-confidence. As you achieve fitness goals and witness improvements in your physical health, you’re likely to feel more self-assured in various aspects of your life, including social interactions. Confidence can be a game-changer when it comes to initiating conversations, making new friends, or participating in group activities.
  • Enhanced Brain Function: Exercise isn’t just good for your body; it’s also great for your brain. Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function, including memory and problem-solving abilities. With a sharper mind, you’re better equipped to engage in conversations, remember people’s names, and contribute meaningfully to social interactions.
  • Shared Goals and Accountability: When you exercise with others, you often share common fitness goals and create a sense of accountability. This shared commitment can strengthen bonds and provide a reason to connect regularly. Whether it’s a workout partner or a fitness class buddy, having someone to share your fitness journey with can be motivating and socially enriching.
Conclusion

When connection forms such a big part of our physical and mental health, finding ways to find ways to help build our social sphere and connections is crucial. Exercise stands as a powerful tool to foster social connection and the skills needed to give you your best chance of finding others to connect with. The benefits of exercise extend beyond physical health; they encompass mental well-being and social bonds as well. So, whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a walk with a friend, or participating in group fitness classes, remember that exercise is not only a path to a healthier body but also a gateway to a richer and more fulfilling social life.

Prioritize exercise, and you may find that your social connections flourish in unexpected and rewarding ways!

Do you need help getting started on your exercise journey? Talk to us about what we can do for you, or book in for a first appointment to see how we can help facilitate your exercise and social connections.

References
  1. Holt-Lunstad, J. Why social relationships are important for physical health: a systems approach to understanding and modifying risk and protection. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2018. 69:21.1–21.22.
  2. The secret to living longer may be your social life | Susan Pinker. TED Talk, 5 Sept 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptIecdCZ3dg&ab_channel=TED

Demystifying GP Management Plans: A Comprehensive Guide to Medicare Requirements

What is a GP Management Plan?

GP Management Plans are part of a comprehensive and preventative health model. A GP Management Plan allows us to identify your personal health goals and who you want to be part of your health care team. Part of these plans is the Team Care Arrangement which invites your specialist doctors and allied health providers into the care team.

Medicare has specific eligibility requirements for a GPMP:

  1. You must have a condition that has been, or is likely to be, present for at least six months, including conditions like diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and heart disease.
  2. You must have 2 other care team members aside from your GP.
  3. You must be involved in the development of your plan
  4. GPMPs are not static documents; they are dynamic and need regular review to ensure they reflect the patient’s changing needs and circumstances. (Medicare allows us to do this every 3 months)

Why do a GPMP?

GPMPs facilitate better communication and coordination among healthcare providers. At Honeycomb Health we utilise a platform called Inca from Precedence Health. This cloud-based platform allows you access to your own medical summary and information, it also facilitates easy communication between you and your team.

Honeycomb Health is focused on a preventative care model. By addressing the various factors that contribute to your health, we can prevent issues from occurring or worsening.

At Honeycomb Health we have chosen to fully bulk bill all of our GP Management Plan (ie there is no out of pocket cost for these appointments).

Please be aware that Medicare does not allow us to do any other type of appointment on the same day as a GPMP. If you require a skin check or want to discuss your respiratory tract infection, we would need to reschedule the appointment for the GP Management Plan.

They also entitle you to 5 sessions with an allied health provider (per calendar year) that Medicare will provide a partial rebate for.

There are also 5 nurse appointments available (per calendar year) that can be used for a touch base, blood pressure checks, ECGs or other reviews as needed.

We can arrange a Multidisciplinary Team Meeting via video conference that allows your care team to meet with you together to discuss your progress and work with you to troubleshoot any difficulties.

Our Process at Honeycomb Health

Once we identify that you are eligible for a GP Management Plan you will be booked in for an appointment, 45 minutes with our nurse and 15 minutes with one of our doctors. – At this time the first part of the plan will be billed straight through to Medicare

The next step requires our admin team to reach out to your care provider and obtain their consent to be part of the GP Management Plan and the Team Care Arrangement. When we have obtained these consents can we bill the Team Care Arrangement to Medicare and send the EPC (Enhanced Primary Care) document through to your chosen allied health provider.

This informs them how many of the 5 sessions you have allocated to them Eg you may have 3 sessions with a physiotherapist and 2 sessions with a dietician.

We will book you in for a review appointment in 3 months’ time with our nurse – this is 30 minutes with the nurse and 15 minutes with the doctor. Then you can book in with your allied health provider and receive a Medicare Rebate for your attendance. Most of the time there is still an out-of-pocket cost for your allied health appointments.

We know this process is complex, please don’t hesitate to ask our friendly staff any questions you might have. If you would like to talk to our doctors about the possibility of a GP Management Plan. please follow these links to book an appointment: https://honeycombhealth.com.au/connect-with-us/

This is a link to further information from Medicare:
https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mbsprimarycare-chronicdisease-pdf-infosheet