Interim NASH certificates available for PCEHR access

Healthcare providers who are registered with the Healthcare Identifier (HI) Service can now apply for an interim National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) certificate and begin viewing their patients' personally controlled electronic health records.

As reported by Pulse+IT last week, interim NASH tokens are being posted to healthcare providers and organisations who have registered for an HPI-I and an HPI-O respectively and have applied through the Department of Human Services for a certificate.

The interim NASH certificates will allow doctors to not only view a patient's record through the provider portal, but to upload documents to the patient's PCEHR as soon as conformant software begins to be rolled out, which is expected to begin next month.

The tokens are an interim measure designed by Medicare Australia to allow access to the PCEHR, following the failure of IBM to have the full NASH service available by its June deadline. There is no word yet on when it will be ready.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services said the interim NASH certificates are the required credentials for validating identity for access to the eHealth system and are different to, and do not replace, DHS's PKI certificates used for HI Service access and other online Medicare services.

The spokeswoman said healthcare providers, both individuals and organisations wishing to apply for interim NASH certificates, should complete the application form available on the DHS website.

“At this stage the interim NASH certificates can only be used to connect to the national eHealth system,” she said. “Once a patient has provided consent to the organisation, authorised doctors can search for a patient's record through the eHealth provider portal. If a doctor has the demographic information of a patient and either the Medicare/DVA number or IHI, they can search for, and then verify and access the record.”

Authorised users can retrieve a patient's IHI through HI Service-compliant software, or by phoning the HI Service operator.

The spokeswoman said NEHTA was currently assisting the Wave 1 and 2 lead sites to register for interim NASH certificates. “Instructional material is being prepared for healthcare providers more broadly and will be available from the eHealth website. Healthcare providers need to apply directly to the Department of Human Services for an interim NASH certificate.

“Interim NASH test certificates are available on application for software vendors developing the personally controlled electronic health record system.

“Providers with interim NASH certificates will be able to access the provider portal to view a patient's eHealth record right now. When conformant software is available, providers will be able to upload clinical documents to the eHealth system as well as view patient records on their clinical information system.”

She said the interim NASH certificates can only be used for the PCEHR. Existing DHS PKI processes still apply for Medicare Online Claiming and the HI Service.

Despite this temporary solution, Pulse+IT understands that contracted service providers (CSPs), which provide cloud-based clinical information systems, may have to wait for an additional type of authentication certificate before their solutions – and their users – can interact with the PCEHR.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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