Best Practice fully PCEHR-compliant for February roll out

Best Practice Software has been listed on NEHTA's ePIP register for full PCEHR compliance, with the company soldiering on amid Queensland's devastating flood.

The Bundaberg-based company will begin rolling out its PCEHR-compliant version later in February, but users will already qualify for the first four ePIP requirements – due by tomorrow – as long as they have applied for their Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) and their NASH certificate for secure messaging.

The listing of Best Practice on the ePIP register, along with CSC's practiX for electronic transfer of prescriptions, means all six members of NEHTA's GP desktop software vendors panel have now achieved full compliance with the new eHealth system.

Best Practice's general manager, Craig Hodges, said the company had received numerous messages of good will from customers and that the support team was fully functional, despite the floods that have submerged part of the town and left some homeowners stranded.

“Bundaberg has been through a lot – the second major flood in two years and we were hit by tornadoes,” Mr Hodges said. “It's a terrible sight. We have three team members who are stranded at the moment but they're safe at home and only one is in an evacuation centre.”

Best Practice CEO and founder Frank Pyefinch is stranded at his home, but Mr Hodges said Dr Pyefinch and his wife Lorraine, a former Bundaberg mayor, are helping people on their street and cooking for some who have lost power.

“I'm cut off and can't get into the office,” Dr Pyefinch said. “The office is not too badly off and everything is still working and functioning in terms of the support staff. A lot of surgeries have emailed and said they hope everything is all right and we'll try not to bother you.”

Mr Hodges said the flood waters had peaked on Tuesday night. “The challenge then comes the clean up. We were hit by the tornadoes as well, it all came at once, but there is great spirit amongst the team.”

The company has provided free copies of its clinical software and computers for use in local disaster clinics for volunteer doctors treating evacuees and those people who have been displaced by the floods.

The Wide Bay Medicare Local has coordinated the establishment of two emergency clinics staffed by volunteer doctors and health professionals to treat evacuees. Mr Hodges said the Best Practice software and computers would be used to keep an accurate record of all consultations which can be forwarded at a later date to people's regular GPs.

Best Practice is encouraging readers to consider donating to the Queensland Floods Appeal 2013 through the Australian Red Cross.

Mr Hodges said the team was very pleased to have reached the PCEHR milestone. "By the end of February we aim to have the update to the product out, which will have the PCEHR interface," he said.

There does seem to be some confusion amongst the general practice community as to whether they need proof that they fulfil the first four requirements, but Mr Hodges said his advice was that as long as the software was registered on the ePIP register, practices would be eligible.

"The register of interest will confirm for practices whether their software complies with the requirement by today, and we have mentioned that in our correspondence to our customers," he said.

"The register is the main receptacle of information and shows what is and what's not compliant. We're collating our information but we didn't want to bombard people with information that they don't necessarily need to know right now. We had practices asking us, 'do software providers write to practices to advise if their products comply?' and we are saying 'no, go back to the ePIP register to check'. That is what NEHTA is saying as well."

Mr Hodges, who was appointed general manager of Best Practice in November, said the last two years had been very busy for the company, particularly with the PCEHR work, but there were further challenges ahead.

“It has been a real milestone getting the platform ready for our customers, but now it's about encouraging them to determine what eHealth can do for them in their business,” he said.

“I think that is part of the relationship – talking about the fact that they have the capability now, and this is how you can explore all of the benefits available to you. But I also think we are seeing more ways in which patients are able to participate in their health management, and I think that will be a challenge.”

Mr Hodges is a chartered accountant and certified HR professional with experience in media, agriculture and the public service. He has also been a member and chair of a private hospital committee for a decade, and said the medical industry has been a consistent theme throughout his career.

Dr and Mrs Pyefinch have charged him with the goal of making Best Practice the leading Australian medical software by 2014, but Mr Hodges said he also had a personal vision for BP that it become the medical software provider most connected to its customers.

The popular Best Practice Summit, usually held early in the year, has been put back to 2014 to allow the company to concentrate on finalising its eHealth work, he said.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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