HTR to hook up aged care to the PCEHR

Cloud-based electronic health record vendor HTR has officially launched its Telhealth clinical information solution and is working with a large aged care provider to connect it to the PCEHR.

HTR, which provides a number of custom solutions for the healthcare industry, formally launched Telhealth at the Health Informatics Conference (HIC) in Sydney last month. It says it is the first company to have demonstrated connectivity to the PCEHR, presenting at a health consumers' conference in WA with NEHTA in late June.

The solution has actually been available since 2011, when it passed its compliance certification for the secure messaging delivery (SMD) standard, and currently has four clients, including an aged care provider with licences for 13,000 beds. The company was unable to reveal the name of the provider, but HTR's project manager, Adrienn Volcz, said it had signed a contract with the provider to help it deliver PCEHR services in the aged care sector across Australia.

“It is not an aged care-specific product but it is most suitable for the 65+ age group,” Ms Volcz said. “It is also applicable to younger people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease and need the help of many healthcare specialists. It is designed for people who need regular medical attention from multidisciplinary healthcare providers.”

Ms Volcz said Telhealth's main point of difference was that it was web-based, meaning users don't have to install software locally. It provides an electronic health record function as well as admission, discharge and transfer functions for admitting residents or patients to an aged care facility or medical centre and to discharge or transfer patients from a hospital, aged care facility or clinic.

It also has the capability to create and manage shared care plans, prescribe and manage medications and to send and receive secure messages from other healthcare professionals. According to Ms Volcz, Telhealth is only one of two clinical information solutions that meet the Australian technical standards for SMD.

“As far as we know there are only two software vendors who can do this,” she said. “Using Telhealth, doctors can send a message securely to any system as long as it is using the Australian Standard. Implementation of the standard is beginning now but as it becomes more widespread, we'll then develop a directory.”

Telhealth also has full PCEHR functionality, including the ability to create, upload and download shared health summaries, event summaries and discharge summaries. The company has completed NOC testing and is currently going through CCA testing for the various PCEHR components, she said.

HTR has also developed a number of mobile applications for Telhealth, including the ability for doctors to prescribe using a mobile phone.

“Because it is cloud-based, they can use an iPad, they can use a desktop, an iPhone or any Windows-based or Android-based device – it doesn't matter as it's agnostic. Windows 8 is coming out but it really doesn't matter to us – they can use any device they like.”

The mobile functionality allows healthcare professionals to provide care to older Australians in their homes or in aged care facilities, she said. “For example, for people who are house-bound, aged care professionals can visit them to take their blood pressure or sugar level readings, or to check their eyes or administer medication, and to send information securely to other healthcare professionals for review remotely.

“Nurses can also use HTR Telhealth mobile applications to record and send their progress notes to their supervisors for review and actions, and carers or patients can use the mobile apps to book medical appointments with their healthcare providers.”

The company is also targeting general practitioners with the solution, particularly those who don't want to bother with installing and maintaining software locally. HTR has added a Google Map function for GPs wanting to refer patients to a specialist nearest the patient's home. “It will search for the nearest and the availability of a specialist, although we need the specialist to register with us and to give us their calendar,” Ms Volcz said.

For the aged care client, Telhealth is working to connect its systems up to the PCEHR. “They have 13,000 beds and they think the PCEHR is a very good concept,” she said. “Because we were the first ones to integrate with the PCEHR, they decided it would be very easy to work with us.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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