Tasmanian hospitals connect to PCEHR, WA to follow

Tasmania's four major public hospitals are now connected to the PCEHR and are uploading discharge summaries, with Western Australia shortly to go live as well.

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has listed Royal Hobart Hospital, Launceston General Hospital, North West Regional Hospital and Mersey Community Hospital on its schedule of public hospitals linked to the system, joining over 100 Queensland hospitals, 27 in NSW, 10 in South Australia and one in the ACT.

A NEHTA spokesperson said the four Tasmanian hospitals are using the Healthcare Information and PCEHR Services (HIPS) middleware product, which was developed by SA Health and a vendor partner as a way to connect to the PCEHR in the absence of conformant clinical information systems.

Tasmania has gone to market for a number of new IT platforms to replace legacy products recently, including a new integration engine to replace Java CAPS, an upgrade to the master patient index, an outpatients referral tracking system for Royal Hobart Hospital and a statewide emergency department information system.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) plans to go to tender in April for a child eHealth record solution that must link to the PCEHR.

It also plans to provide a clinical portal through which clinicians in each of the three Tasmanian Health Organisations (THOs) can view and interact with the PCEHR as part of the Connected Care 2012-16 strategy. This will also include an eReferral module, clinical dashboard, patient flow and bed management tool, an integrated patient journey board and authentication.

Sources have told Pulse+IT that this contract has been awarded to Adelaide firm Alcidion for its Miya platform, which is being used as part of the Cradle Coast eHealth site to develop an advance care directive repository for the PCEHR.

However, sources say there is some disquiet within DHHS about the work being done on the PCEHR. Much of the money for the health IT strategy has come from the $325 million bailout package awarded to Tasmania in June 2012 by the then federal government.

Pulse+IT has seen correspondence from within DHHS stating that the discharge summary integration and the PCEHR viewer is only being pushed forward due to the availability of federal funds. The correspondence states that “the actual value to clinicians and patients is questionable”.

WA is also very close to connecting with the PCEHR but has been delayed somewhat due to the differing clinical software products used for discharge summary information and the ageing TOPAS patient administration system still used in some hospitals.

Hospitals that use WA's Notifications and Clinical Summaries (NaCS) system, through which they can view discharge summaries generated by systems such as Royal Perth Hospital's TEDS, are understood to be the first to go live.

It is part of a plan to roll out NaCS as a state-wide solution to centrally host and electronically share clinical documents such as emergency department discharges, inpatient discharges and outpatient letters.

General practices that currently receive eDischarge summaries directly into their clinical software will continue to do so. Hard copies will continue to be faxed and posted.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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