HealthLink passes SMD milestone

Secure messaging provider HealthLink has announced it has commissioned over 1000 general practices to use its SMD-compatible offering.

Having a secure messaging solution that uses the SMD protocol commissioned is one of the requirements general practices seeking to maintain compliance with the current eHealth Practice Incentives Program must meet.

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. The authority also hosts the PIP eHealth Product Register, which contains a list of nine organisations offering SMD solutions.

Nikki Breslin, HealthLink's national eHealth manager said the organisation had over 2500 general practices on its SMD commissioning register, and is working towards having these practices operational before the recently extended deadline.

"HealthLink continues its commissioning effort to ensure the remainder of practices meet PIP incentive eligibility requirements before or by the October 31. Many practices are still trying to make sense of their requirements or have made late applications for healthcare identifiers and NASH certificates.

"SMD commissioning itself is straightforward. This is not unlike any other project HealthLink undertakes, leveraging off our expertise in support and deployment, our technology and processes enable us to support practices to achieve this."

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.

Geoff Sayer, HealthLink's operations manager indicated the organisation's SMD development work had been a major undertaking, consuming a lot of technical resources over the past few years.

"We have emphasised the need for standards compliance in the introduction of SMD to the marketplace to minimise clinical risk and maximise certainty."

Ms Breslin said that due to the scale of the project and its relevance to the PIP, the organisation is seeing an increased awareness and expectation amongst healthcare providers to exchange information as practices are keen to make use of their new capabilities.

“We are receiving more calls from allied health, specialists and other community organisations who want to participate or are being encouraged to by GPs. Healthcare facilities and hospital are also preparing and seeking our assistance either transition their existing methods or to start using SMD."

Posted in Australian eHealth

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