Sidebar: Getting Started With Secure Electronic Communication

The success of a secure electronic communication technology deployment is greatly effected by the actions of the health care organisations a practice routinely communicates with. As such, before deploying a solution, practices should:

1. Talk To Their Division

Some Divisions have been quite instrumental in driving the adoption of secure electronic communication technology. Unfortunately others have not. Contact your Divison to see whether they have any plans to assist your area with a widespread rollout of one or more secure electronic communication solutions.

2. Talk To Other Specialists And GPs

There are many examples where grass roots advocacy by GPs and specialists has been successful in driving the adoption of this technology. Practices should discuss the secure electronic communication plans of the practices that they routinely refer to, or receive referrals from.

Realising the importance of the technology, some practitioners now include a brief paragraph at the end of all paper correspondence indicating their preferred secure electronic communication solution. To assist in promoting awareness of the technology generally, I encourage all practitioners with the capacity to send or receive doctor-to-doctor correspondence to adopt a similar approach.

3. Talk To Their Hospitals

While the IT capability of hospitals varies greatly, practices should take the time to discuss whether discharge summaries and other hospital correspondence can be received electronically. Legacy hospital software systems tend to be far more ridged than the modern solutions used by medical centres, however an increasing number of hospitals are starting to add this capability.

4. Talk With Their Labs

With few options available historically, many pathology and radiology organisations developed their own solutions for the secure electronic delivery of results. Having spent significant amounts of money developing, deploying and supporting such solutions, many have resisted the advances of vendors and practices wanting them to move to more widely adopted solutions. Despite this, some groups now provide practices with several options including solutions that can also be used to send outgoing correspondence.

5. Discuss Their Needs With The Vendors

Market consolidation will be required before secure electronic communication technology becomes widespread. Fortunately for the health sector, this is inevitable. As consumers in a highly competitive market, practices should discuss their needs with multiple vendors. The developer of the practice’s clinical software should also be contacted for their opinion.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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