Problems plaguing PCEHR provider portal

The healthcare provider portal into the PCEHR appears to have been experiencing major issues over the last few days and is now refusing to allow users to log on through any web browser.

Clinicians attempting to access the provider portal are being told to try to use their iPads, despite the fact that provider access requires an individual NASH token and the iPad has no USB ports.

The iPad also uses the Safari web browser, which is not listed as compatible with the provider portal, although it is compatible with the consumer portal.

The ehealth.gov.au website states that the provider portal is compatible with Internet Explorer 8 and 9 and Firefox, although clinicians say they have used other common browsers like Chrome and Safari in the past.

An IT expert told Pulse+IT that some browsers are more conducive to working with security certificates than others, which is why Firefox was probably chosen as the preferred browser. However, in addition to IE users being denied access, even Firefox is now rejecting users' authentication credentials.

Port Macquarie GP and former NEHTA clinical lead, Trina Gregory, said she and her practice manager had spent most of yesterday afternoon on the phone to the PCEHR helpdesk, which is staffed by Medicare/DHS, and the NASH division.

Dr Gregory said the PCEHR helpline operative told her to download Firefox if she wanted to use the provider portal, but she queried why the system had not been built to be browser agnostic.

“They said to my practice manager maybe you can access the provider portal using Firefox as other web browsers may not be supported, or it should be able to be accessed using mobile devices.

“We did explain that we had accessed the provider portal using the same computer and web browser previously and were not aware of any changes to this.

“Then they said you can only get on the provider portal using Firefox or your iPad, and I said, how am I supposed to stick a NASH token in an iPad?”

Pulse+IT's advice is that the directive on the provider portal error page to use an iPad is probably simply a copy of what appears on the consumer portal if there has been an error trying to log in. Clarification has been sought from the developers of the system.

Dr Gregory said she reinstalled her NASH certificates to see if this was the cause of the problem, but there was no difference. She was then forwarded to the NASH helpdesk, which confirmed her certificates are all current and working.

Dr Gregory said she was incredibly frustrated at the problems plaguing the system, which she still hoped could be fixed.

“We have spent so much money on this thing with no meaningful use,” she said. “I am one of many passionate people who really want this to work. I am passionate about eHealth and have been involved with NEHTA for six years, building the foundations.

“We all want this to work but we need to find out what can be done to fix this.”

Dr Gregory's former colleague on the NEHTA clinical leads team, Nathan Pinskier, said he too was receiving the same messages when attempting to log in to the provide portal. Dr Pinskier said he had tried to access the portal in IE, Safari, Chrome and Firefox, but all were either saying the browser was not supported, or rejecting his authorisation credentials.

Several clinicians, including the former head of engagement for NEHTA, Mukesh Haikerwal, have said they often preferred to use the provider portal rather than directly accessing the PCEHR through their clinical software as the interface was much more user friendly.

The portal has also been established to enable allied health practitioners to view the PCEHR and upload event summaries to the system in advance of the roll-out of conformant clinical software. While allied health software specialist coreplus has committed to continuing its PCEHR integration, another, myPractice, has called a halt to its work until the way forward for allied health becomes clearer.

Contacted today by Pulse+IT, a PCEHR hotline operator said there were no known problems with the provider portal.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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