PCEHR child development function links to mobile app

Community nurses, paediatricians and maternity hospitals as well as GPs are being encouraged to interact with the PCEHR with the introduction of the new Child Development function.

The Child Development component uses much of the work developed by the Greater Western Sydney Wave 2 site, including the My Child's eHealth Record mobile app released last week.

At the moment, only NSW parents can use the full capability of the function, but the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) are currently in discussions with the other states and territories to add their different health check schedules and child-parent questionnaires to the national system.

Les Schumer, NEHTA's national design manager, said the app had been designed so that when new information is added to the Child Development section, it will not require a new version of the app as it pulls data straight from the PCEHR.

“As soon as we get those child questionnaires and health check schedules from the other states and territories, we'll load them up on the system and they'll become instantly available in the app,” Mr Schumer said.

The design of the new My Child's eHealth Record app has been based on the NSW version, built by Deloitte and NSW Health, which is being used as part of the eBlue Book project in Greater Western Sydney. Apart from some changes in the graphic design, including the colour, the main differences will not necessarily be noticeable to users.

“It's extremely similar and it was all based on the same design,” Mr Schumer said. “In fact, the whole child eHealth record functionality leveraged a lot of the design that was developed out of the Greater Western Sydney eBlue Book project. That includes the mobile app.

“Most of the big differences are under the hood, as we are interfacing the mobile app through to the national eHealth record system. We are also authenticating the user, so you are using the log-on credentials from my.gov.au. Most of the changes under the hood are related to what we are connecting to and log-on authentication.”

The only other significant difference is the health check schedules and questionnaires used by different states, he said. “We have had to accommodate those differences within the design, which is why when you get the app one of the first questions you are asked is what state you are in.”

The NSW eBlue Book project allowed a number of healthcare practitioners, including community nurses and GPs, to add to and view information on the child's record, along with parents. NSW did this through a clinical repository, but the national system works differently, Mr Schumer said.

“The whole thesis of the child eHealth record functionality is to fully engage the parent, the community nurse, the general practitioner, the paediatrician and the maternity hospital in providing information into the record,” he said.

“What GWS and NSW Health did was they used their portal infrastructure to enable GPs and community nurses into the record, but the GPs to be honest weren't particularly happy with that arrangement.

“What they preferred to do was use their local clinical system like Best Practice or Medical Director and put information in there, rather than having to log into something else. And that is the approach we are taking with the national system in general.

“What we are hoping to do is work with the GP desktop vendors and get them to build that functionality into their systems and that will make it a far more seamless experience for the GPs.”

Mr Schumer said community nursing was a little more complex, as depending on the state, community nursing is often not well supported with clinical information systems.

“In NSW they have a system called CHIME that some of their community nurses use. What NSW did in their pilot was interface their CHIME system into their eBlue Book. The nurse would put it into CHIME and it would go from CHIME into the eBlue Book.

“In NSW that's the way we would look at doing it for the PCEHR – to look at interfacing community nursing systems into the PCEHR – and again it would be a seamless experience for community nurses. What we do in other states will depend on what sort of infrastructure is available.”

For the acute care sector, hospitals can either provide direct access to the PCEHR through their clinical systems or through the provider portal.

“If a hospital has integrated with the national eHealth record system, as many of them are currently doing, it will be available through their own systems, or they could look at it through the provider portal,” Mr Schumer said.

He said there was no firm deadline on when the other states and territories will have their jurisdiction-specific child development information for both the My Child's eHealth record app and the Child Development function, but that they were all interested and were currently considering it.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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