Unsupported web browsers at fault with provider portal: DoH

The Department of Health has rejected claims that there have been problems with the PCEHR provider portal, saying issues reported by several clinicians were caused by the use of unsupported browsers.

As reported yesterday, clinicians who attempted to access the PCEHR through the provider portal say they have been unable to do so over the last week when using their regular browsers, with an error page telling them that the portal only supported Firefox, Internet Explorer and the iPad.

However, even when they tried to use Firefox and IE, they still encountered problems having their authentication credentials verified. GP Trina Gregory also queried why clinicians were being told both by the PCEHR hotline and a note on the error page to use an iPad to enter the portal, when that device does not feature a port in which to attach the necessary NASH PKI security token.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the portal remained operational, although there “were reports of problems with the use of non-supported browsers, as well as issues with loading new NASH certificates”.

“Healthcare providers are aware of the browsers which are supported and they are notified on the eHealth website,” the spokesperson said.

“When healthcare providers access the PCEHR through their clinical information systems, there are no issues related to the type of system or browser they have. The issue with the loading of new NASH certificates is being followed up with [the Department of Human Services] and the specific user.”

Asked to provide a list of recent outages with the system, both unplanned and planned for maintenance, the department said there had been one planned outage that affected both consumer and provider portals since the start of the year. “There were three unplanned outages that affected the consumer portal, one of which also affected the provider portal,” the spokesperson said.

Pulse+IT has been told by several sources that many clinicians prefer the look and interface of the provider portal rather than that provided by their clinical software. However, despite 5154 individual NASH PKI certificates having been issued as of December 31, 2013, very few clinicians seem to be actually using the portal.

The department says that between January and mid-February this year, an average of 15 provider portal log-ins per week has been observed. “In January 2014, 36 providers accessed the Provider Portal,” the DoH spokesperson said.

“It is important to note that healthcare providers will mainly access the PCEHR through their clinical software, and the provider portal was developed mainly to support those providers that don’t use or have access to PCEHR compliant clinical information systems,” the spokesperson said.

Former NEHTA clinical leads Mukesh Haikerwal and Nathan Pinskier have said that the provider portal has a much more logical user interface, although Dr Haikerwal said the “paltry” number of clinical documents available on the PCEHR shows that many participating ePIP practices are choosing not to do so.

As of Wednesday evening, there have been 19,227 discharge summaries uploaded to the PCEHR by hospitals, and 15,544 shared health summaries curated and uploaded by GPs.

The department provided a list of log-ins to the provider portal per month between January 2013 and 2014. (This is a cumulative number of log-ins, meaning individual clinicians would have logged in several times over the month in question.)

PCEHR provider portal. Source: DoH
MonthNumber of log-ins to provider portal
January 201341
February 201325
March 201325
April 201339
May 201350
June 201337
July 201396
August 201365
September 201347
October 201366
November 2013126
December 201392
January 201487

Posted in Australian eHealth

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