HealthLink begins SMD commissioning process

Secure messaging network provider HealthLink will begin the process of Secure Message Delivery (SMD) commissioning in general practices from tomorrow.

Practices that have applied to take part in the eHealth Practice Incentives Program (ePIP) need to have SMD commissioned by August 1 to remain eligible for payments.

HealthLink's national eHealth manager, Nikki Breslin, said SMD commissioning was a series of tasks that configures, tests and ensures the practice is ready for SMD.

HealthLink rolled out its SMD-compliant version in January, but there is still a checklist of tasks to go through before SMD is commissioned, she said.

“We’re putting in place the last piece of the puzzle,” Ms Breslin said. “The commissioning of sites for SMD is the final step in eHealth readiness, and HealthLink is getting GPs ready.”

Practices need to have a number of prerequisites in place before commissioning can be done. These include being registered for a Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O), applying for and installing a NASH security certificate, and applying for a contracted service provider (CSP) link.

“The CSP link enables us to perform a query on the Healthcare Identifier Service for each and every secure message,” Ms Breslin said. “It returns information from the endpoint location service (ELS) with regard to capabilities of the recipient site and which SMD network to deliver the message to.

“It is something that has to be in place to allow us to do that query on their behalf.”

Practices that have all of those requirements in place can then contact HealthLink to agree on a time and date for the commissioning process to begin. Ms Breslin estimated it would take about 30 minutes.

Commissioning is done remotely but the responsible officer (RO) or organisation maintenance officer (OMO) needs to be involved.

“It is quite a technically complex process with back-end changes on our end,” she said. “What they see on their end is a loop-test type arrangement. They will send a message out, we will send a message in, and that's part of the NEHTA checklist that proves they are operationally ready.”

The checklist is completed and signed by the SMD commissioning agent – usually the secure messaging service provider – but practices must keep a copy for audit purposes.

“We see it as an opportunity to help improve practices' knowledge about secure messaging and particularly the new functionality that is being introduced by their vendors,” Ms Breslin said.

Those practices that have all of the requirements in place and are ready to be commissioned can call HealthLink's new SMD Commissioning hotline on 1800 125 036 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule a call-back.

“Practices are at various stages of the process – some have their HPI-Os but they don't have their NASH, but we really want them to let us know when they are ready to be commissioned,” Ms Breslin said. “We'll then set a mutually acceptable time and date.”

HealthLink said its service is installed in over 6300 GP sites, with more than 90 million secure messages sent over its network every year.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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