DSS plans to build hospital interface with My Aged Care
The Department of Social Services (DSS) is investigating the development of an interface between hospital information systems and the new central client record for people receiving aged care services as part of the roll out of the My Aged Care system.
While it is still early in the planning stage, the manager of the access reform branch for the Aged Care Gateway at DSS, Craig Harris, told an industry sector briefing in Sydney today that the development of a hospital interface was part of wider plans for a business-to-government (B2G) interface between aged care service providers and the department.
At present, My Aged Care is a web-based system that predominantly holds information on aged care for consumers, support for consumers to find Commonwealth-funded aged care services in their local area and online fee estimators for pricing of home care packages and residential care.
The next phase of the project is to launch a consumer portal through the myGov government services website, which also acts as a gateway to the PCEHR, Medicare, Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office, as well as separately web-hosted provider and assessor portals.
Elderly people first accessing aged care services or current clients whose needs have changed will be registered by the My Aged Care contact centre for a central client record containing information such as the client's contact details, the name of their GP and what services they are currently receiving under community-provided aged care packages such as home help, Meals on Wheels and nursing care.
After the initial screening, they will be referred for a comprehensive assessment of needs through a standardised national screening and assessment form (NSAF) conducted by aged care assessment teams (ACATs) or new regional assessment services (RAS).
All referrals by ACATs to community and residential aged care services will now be handled electronically, with aged care service providers registering to use the system through the Australian Business Register's (ABR) AUSkey system.
Carers, families and healthcare providers for the client can also be registered as a representative and will be able to view the central client record through the myGov consumer portal.
In future, the plan is to develop a hospital interface so nurses preparing to discharge an elderly patient back into the community can see what services are available to them. As one attendee at today's briefing said, hospital-based nurses can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find out if the patient can be appropriately discharged.
Mr Harris said the department was working with the Aged Care Industry IT Council on developing the B2G interface as the industry believes it would be beneficial to have an integrated system to speak to each other rather than having to double-enter data in localised systems.
He said DSS was also working with the jurisdictions to look at how to develop a hospital interface that could be used in the discharge planning process.
“That hospital interface we think is particularly important in relation to the client and getting them back into the community or residential care,” Mr Harris said. “[Hospitals] have relationships now with the ACATs but we need to reinforce that relationship.
“That can come in a number of different scenarios and we’ll start working on that with the jurisdictions. We are now developing a project to start looking at that in more detail.”
Mr Harris also confirmed that the central client record will not go live with a link to the PCEHR but the plan is to do so in future.
He said GPs can be registered as a representative to access the central client record to find out what services their patients are currently receiving, but there was a realisation that it was unlikely that GPs would do that. As with the PCEHR, GPs are only likely to view the central client record if it is integrated within their own clinical information system.
“What we are building into the future is connectivity with the PCEHR,” he said. “The way we have designed the system is that we can be a repository within the PCEHR. The My Aged Care client record would be available there for a doctor coming in, looking at the health record and the aged care record would be there as well.”
However, aged care service providers who are not registered healthcare providers will not be able to access the client's PCEHR through My Aged Care, he said.
“Obviously it doesn’t work the other way for a service provider coming in and seeing the health information, as that shouldn’t happen.”
Posted in Australian eHealth