HCN prepares for PCEHR connectivity as users adopt eHealth

Medical Director will have full interface capability with the PCEHR in advance of the deadline to qualify for the eHealth Practice Incentives Program (ePIP), according to Health Communication Network (HCN).

HCN CEO John Frost said Medical Director would have full PCEHR connectivity in place for users well before the May 2013 deadline. The company has been placed on the secure messaging delivery (SMD), electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) and Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI) ePIP registers for conformance.

Mr Frost said the company had seen a “significant uplift” in the usage of the various electronic mechanisms to share information by GPs, specialists and other healthcare providers. HCN claims Medical Director is used by 15,600 GPs and 1400 specialist practitioners.

Electronic mechanisms include custom referral templates, secure messaging, standards-compliant documents such as CDA format, and electronic transfer of prescriptions (ETP) recently, he said.

“It’s quite extraordinary to watch the organic growth of eHealth and the gradual uptake which naturally occurs as the technology sector as whole evolves,” he said.

“The eHealth PIP incentives that were recently announced will most certainly give the industry a push in the right direction. Clinicians are smart and have figured out that technology can enable huge efficiency gains for their businesses.”

HCN has recently launched a marketing push to encourage specialists and not-for-profits to upload custom-designed referral templates into Medical Director. The software has had this capability for a number of years but the company is now seeing much increased use of the functionality.

“Today a vast number of the referral templates we have in Medical Director are custom templates placed by specialists who want to receive the referral forms in a certain format or with certain information about the patient’s condition and care,” Mr Frost said.

“This is enabled by auto population of as many fields as possible via the patient information already captured in Medical Director. Both parties benefit: for the GP, to write the referral takes only a few key strokes and the specialist receives the eReferral electronically and with the details he or she requires. It’s simply efficient, convenient and safe.”

The secure exchange of eReferrals, discharge summaries, specialist letters, and pathology and radiology requests is also taking off, he said. Users can use the MDExchange component in Medical Director or sign up with popular secure messaging vendors such as HealthLink and Argus.

Similarly, ePrescribing is seeing an increased uptake, he said. “Having a patient’s prescriptions electronically available to pharmacists has significant patient safety benefits. Taking into consideration the numerous medication misadventure-related deaths in Australia annually, our partnership with eRx Script Exchange was a no-brainer. It’s very reassuring to see the uptake amongst clinicians and the support these initiatives are now getting from government to push patient safety.”

Health Identifier and CDA capability for specialist letters was released in Medical Director in January this year. Mr Frost said this will facilitate standards-based secure communication between clinicians and the ability to connect to the PCEHR, which is imminent.

“Currently these CDA templates have been designed by NEHTA, but we envisage that very soon corporate groups such as obstetricians, IVF practitioners, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists etc. will be requesting custom eReferrals containing patient information specific to their specialty. We can facilitate custom templates today through the Medical Director Letter Writer and this service is increasing in popularity.”

The names, phone numbers and address information for specialists, service providers and other clinicians are stored in MD's Address Book, which is used to populate eReferrals via the Letter Writer function as well as being used for specialist letters and pathology, imaging and cytology investigation requests.

“MDExchange also has a public database which can be searched by other MD subscribers and contains over 12,500 registered users, which can be added to the MD Address Book,” he said.

“Ultimately, the easier it is to exchange health information or collate it in a simple, easy to access manner, the better outcome we achieve for health in Australia.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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