Penelope case management system links to PCEHR

The Penelope client and case management system from Canada's Athena Software that was implemented last year for the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) has successfully linked to the PCEHR.

Penelope, which is also used by a number of Medicare Locals to support community and mental health programs such as Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS), Closing the Gap and Partners in Recovery, has passed NEHTA's compliance, conformance and accreditation (CCA) process.

Authorised users can now obtain and validate a client's Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI), view a shared health summary and upload a discharge summary at the end of an episode of care.

Penelope was chosen last year to replace the bespoke management information system known as VMIS that was used by VVCS psychologists and social workers, who provide mental health counselling programs to Australian veterans, peacekeepers and their families.

Part of the tender for a replacement system was a requirement that it be able to interface with the PCEHR. Penelope was successful in the tender and was deployed within four months by Athena Software's Australian and New Zealand implementation partner, IT consulting firm Sinapse.

Sinapse partner Noel Thurlow said Athena Software has about 17,000 users worldwide and in Australia interfaces had been developed to enable reporting to government departments such as the former Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, now part of the Department of Social Services, which also covers the DVA.

Sinapse itself has a number of clients in the government and not-for-profit sector, particularly those working in mental health and relationship counselling, including the DVA, Medicare Locals and a number of large not-for-profits. It also works with ACSO, a community support organisation for ex-prisoners, and Relationships South Australia, NSW, Queensland and Tasmania. Athena's software is also used widely in New Zealand by Maori community organisations.

Penelope has also been implemented by a number of Medicare Locals for some of the mental health and community health programs they support, including most of the NSW Medicare Locals, Mr Thurlow said.

“We have customised Penelope for Partners in Recovery, ATAPS, Closing the Gap and a couple of other programs,” he said. “We had our first deployment with WentWest early last year and it has gone on from there.”

Sinapse, which has recruited former Pharmacy Guild national president Kos Sclavos as an associate partner based in Brisbane, is also in talks with Medicare Locals in other states to implement Penelope for their community and mental health programs.

“We've tackled the Medicare Local area because there was a big need there,” he said. “Victoria went out for tender before we knew about it and they decided on someone else, but we've been talking to Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland Medicare Locals.”

Mr Thurlow said Penelope is a cloud-based solution that can be used on any device, meaning the psychologists and counsellors contracted by the DVA or referred to by doctors for ATAPS can access it anywhere.

Psychologists and case workers who are authorised to use Penelope will have to apply for the HPI-I credentials to view the PCEHR, and access controls will be granted by the client, Mr Thurlow said.

“Security is something we are very strong on, especially around for private individuals' information, and the client has to agree with the counsellor that they can use the electronic health record.”

Allied health professionals won't be given access to the full medical information, but predominantly to the summary information held on the PCEHR, he said.

Athena Software is holding a roadshow in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in May, presented by Sinapse.

Posted in Allied Health

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