ePIP SMD commissioning deadline arrives

General practices interested in maintaining compliance with the eHealth Practice Incentives Program must have commissioned a secure messaging solution by the close of business today.

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.

While originally intended to be completed by August 1, practices were given extra time to complete this particular ePIP requirement, as outlined in a document circulated in late July:


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.

In July, a spokeswoman from the then Department of Health and Ageing (now Department of Health) 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 Department of Human Services by 31 October 2013."

Medicare Australia statistics indicate a substantial fall in the number of practices that have been able to maintain compliance with the current ePIP requirements, which have been progressively introduced this year.

In the February 2013 PIP quarter, 5039 practices received a PIP payment, with 4560 (90.5 per cent) of these receiving an eHealth Incentive payment for the quarter.

In the May 2013 PIP quarter, 5036 practices received a PIP payment, with 3697 (73.4 per cent) of these receiving an eHealth Incentive payment for the quarter.

The May 2013 statistics refer to the period February 1 to April 30, which was the first period in which requirements relating to the following areas needed to be met:

  • Integrating Healthcare Identifiers into Electronic Practice Records
  • Secure Messaging
  • Data Records and Clinical Coding
  • Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions

Medicare Australia has advised Pulse+IT that ePIP claiming statistics relating to the implementation of the PCEHR in general practices, which had a PIP deadline of May 2013, will be released in December 2013 as part of the August 2013 PIP quarter statistics.

Statistics relating to the impact the SMD commissioning process has had on the number of practices claiming ePIP payments will not be published until 2014.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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