ePIP deadline extended for SMD commissioning

General practices interested in maintaining compliance with the eHealth Practice Incentives Program have been granted an 11th hour reprieve, with the deadline by which they must have a secure messaging solution commissioned being extended until October 31.

The 'commissioning' process refers to a series of technical and administrative steps that practices - usually with the help of their secure messaging provider - need to undertake to ensure their messaging software is updated and configured in such a way as to allow it to interconnect with other healthcare organisations using the SMD protocol.

These requirements are outlined in a 20-page document available on the NEHTA website.

Over the past few months, numerous sources involved with the deployment of SMD have expressed concerns about the preparedness of many general practices to commence the SMD commissioning process, with many unable to produce their NASH certificate or associated password despite their role in recent ePIP requirements.

Others have reported difficulty updating their listings in the Healthcare Provider Directory, with recent changes to Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) relating to contracted service providers also causing confusion.

A document obtained by Pulse+IT this evening - but not yet published on either the Medicare Australia or NEHTA ePIP websites - states the following:


General Practices will be provided with additional time to commission a compliant secure messaging product.


Under requirement 2 (Secure Messaging Capability) of the PIP eHealth Incentive a practice: ‘must have a standards-compliant secure messaging capability to electronically transmit and receive clinical messages to and from other healthcare providers, use it where feasible, and have a written policy to encourage its use in place.’

The PIP eHealth Incentive Guidelines outline that to meet this requirement practices must have a Secure Messaging Product as listed on the PIP eHealth Product Register for Secure Messaging Delivery and install this product in line with the 'Commissioning Requirements for Secure Message Delivery' by 1 August 2013.


Practices will be considered to comply with Requirement 2 of the PIP eHealth Incentive if by 1 August 2013 they have booked, arranged or registered for a compliant secure messaging product to be commissioned. This commissioning must then be completed by 31 October 2013 at the latest.

For auditing purposes practices must retain evidence that a suitable booking has been arranged by 1 August 2013. All other aspects of this requirement and all of the other requirements of the PIP and the PIP eHealth Incentive must also be met as outlined in the PIP eHealth Incentive Guidelines.

Further Information

For further information on this matter please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the PIP enquiry line on 1800 222 032 (call charges apply from mobile phones) Monday to Friday, between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, Australian Central Standard Time. The PIP eHealth Incentive Guidelines are available at humanservices.gov.au > Incentives and Allowances > Practice Incentives Program (PIP) > What’s new in PIP.

The Commissioning Requirements for Secure Message Delivery are available at http://nehta.gov.au/pip.

Update - July 29

The document reproduced above is now available for download from the NEHTA website, however staff operating the PIP enquiry line are not aware of the change to the requirements.

Update - July 30

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Ageing issued the following statement to Pulse+IT this morning:

"The Department of Health and Ageing issued an amendment to the PIP eHealth Incentive Secure Messaging Capability requirements on 26 July 2013, in consultation with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), the Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA) and the Department of Human Services (DHS). The amendment will be distributed to general practices through Medicare Locals. For further details on this amendment, practices are advised to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the PIP enquiry line on 1800 222 032.

"The amendment advice has also been distributed to other peak bodies including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners; the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine; and the Australian Medical Association for provision to their members."

The spokeswoman also indicated Medicare Australia would update its website to reflect the amended secure messaging requirements, however at the time of writing these updates have not occurred.

The spokeswoman advised that:

"Practices that are currently participating in the PIP eHealth Incentive and meet the amended Secure Messaging Capability requirements will continue to be eligible for future eHealth Incentive payments.

"Any practice that doesn’t meet the amended Secure Messaging Capability requirements should advise DHS by 31 October 2013."

Posted in Australian eHealth

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