Funding to encourage adoption of secure messaging

Matt Woodley

28/03/2019 3:23:50 PM

The incentive, aimed at clinical software providers, is part of the push to eliminate paper-based messaging in healthcare.

Doctor's computer
The initiative aims to replace paper-based communication with secure messaging.

While GPs and healthcare professionals already utilise secure messaging systems, many of the software platforms are not compatible with one another, resulting in the use of fax machines or post to send information.
To combat this issue, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is offering $30,000 to software vendors to help fund the integration of new features into existing systems that will allow health professionals to securely send information across differing platforms.
All private vendors that currently operate a clinical information or secure messaging system with secure messaging capabilities, at two different sites as a minimum, are eligible for the bonus.
ADHA advisor and former Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee – eHealth and Practice Systems, Dr Nathan Pinskier, said the initiative is an important step on the path to mainstream adoption of secure electronic communications in healthcare.
‘Secure communications will provide more efficient, safer and direct transfer of clinical information between healthcare providers,’ he said.
‘Numerous coroners’ reports have highlighted the risks of a continued reliance on legacy systems such as fax and post. It’s time for healthcare as an industry and profession to adopt 21st century communications solutions.’
Eliminating paper-based messaging in healthcare is a priority of the National Digital Health Strategy, which was approved in 2017 by all states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council.
The software industry, the clinical community and ADHA also agreed on new interoperability standards for secure messaging in 2018 in an aim to ensure different systems can communicate with each other.
Consumers Health Forum of Australia Chief Executive Officer, Leanne Wells also supports the initiative and said a connected health system requires modern communication technologies.
‘Manila folders of paper records and fax machines aren’t good enough in the 21st century,’ she said.
‘Secure, robust and interoperable messaging is fundamental to creating the patient-centred health system Australia needs and deserves.’
The appropriateness of using fax machines was again called into question last year, after a Victorian coroner took aim at the old technology after a man died because vital health information was sent to the wrong number.
However, while the adoption of new technology has been slow, the ADHA is confident that the incentive program and recently established standards will accelerate the roll out of new software solutions.
‘We are delighted by the way the software industry has collaborated on the development of these standards, and are pleased to be supporting them in accelerating the rollout,’ ADHA Chief Operating Officer Bettina McMahon said.
‘We are now moving from a proof of concept and standards development stage to one of national scaling.’

Australian Digital Health Agency Ehealth fax machines


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Drake   13/04/2019 12:02:21 AM

I believe that in medicine we need to use more modern technological developments, applications or programs. The modern level of technology development is very high and it allows to create programs or platforms that are important for treatment or rehabilitation. For example, I believe that in the future it will be possible to effectively use the technology of virtual reality. Now this technology is more used as entertainment, I often play VR games in the center of virtual reality - But the development of this technology will allow to use it in medicine. The main thing is that all modern technical inventions are actively introduced in many clinics in Australia.

penelope martin   28/04/2019 5:55:58 PM

The state of practice is that everyone uses e-mail. Public hospitals encourage the use, aged care facilities all send messages re patients and their documents , specialist encourage us to contact them via email.
I am so loathed to do this because of the risk of not only the wrong email address but the possibility of scattering of private information. That is the only reason I use fax still despite criticism from others.
I welcome this long overdue advance. We only have Argus which helps in some cases only.