What GPs will need for the ePIP

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) will establish an eHealth product register to allow practices to check whether their software adheres to the new requirements of the eHealth Practice Incentive Program (ePIP).

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek issued a statement after the May budget saying the new ePIP requirements for general practices would include secure messaging, healthcare identifiers, clinical coding of diagnoses, electronic transfer of prescriptions, and the capability to upload shared health summaries and event summaries to the PCEHR.

According to a recent NEHTA webinar (PDF download) for medical software developers, the first four capabilities will be required to be in use in general practices by February 2013, with practices needing to be able to upload shared health and event summaries to the PCEHR by May.

According to NEHTA, the first requirement – integrating IHIs in practice records – will enable users to access the HI Service to find a patient's IHI and to record the practice's Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) and each practitioners' Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI-I).

Requirement two, secure messaging capability, will enable clinical messaging that is “standards-compliant” and able to “interoperate with other products which conform to the same specification”. Three suppliers of secure messaging services – HealthLink, DCA (Argus) and Global Health – are currently working together to ensure their services can interconnect using the Secure Message Delivery (SMD) specification (ATS 5822‐2010).

Requirement three is for data records and clinical coding, although details on what exactly this will include are unknown. According to the NEHTA document, this will focus on diagnoses and the use of medical vocabularies. It is unclear whether this will be SNOMED CT codes, which Pulse+IT understands are not incorporated into any general practice clinical software at the moment.

As specifications for the electronic transfer of prescriptions are not yet finalised, it is expected that practices will simply need to use the services of either eRx Script Exchange or MediSecure, or both.

Initial PCEHR capabilities are believed to be nearing completion for the majority of popular GP software programs, with several major upgrades due in the next two months from Medical Director, Best Practice, Genie Solutions, Zedmed, Medtech32 and aged care software vendors such as iCare, HTR and Leecare. Popular specialist programs such as Genie and Shexie will be able to interface with the PCEHR, as will acute care specialist Emerging Systems.

Practices wanting to check whether their software is compliant will be able to access a product register, similar to the one that exists for the current ePIP scheme. It will be available from the NEHTA website.

Pulse+IT is awaiting further information from the Department of Health and Ageing and NEHTA.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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