Secure Messaging Connectathon hosted by IHE Australia in Canberra

Australian Health IT developers gathered in Canberra in April to enhance and test their products’ capacity to securely transfer clinical information.

The event proper ran from Monday through Friday of the week starting 19 April, with an Open Day hosted on Wednesday giving interested parties the opportunity to learn about the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative in Australia and observe a “Connectathon” in action.

During an IHE Connectathon, software developers endeavour to enhance their products and demonstrate an ability to exchange data with other relevant systems. If successful in this process, software vendors are able to publish a conformance statement, providing purchasers with an authoritative, independent guide to their product’s abilities.

13 participants took part in the Connectathon, which focused on achieving interconnectivity using the web service messaging profile according to the new Standards Australia Technical Specification for E-Health Secure Message Delivery (ATS 5822:2010). The Specification was developed through a collaboration between Australian Health IT software developers and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and was released in its final state in early March this year.

Both senior management and technical staff from NEHTA attended the Connectathon, with representatives from the organisation’s Secure Messaging, and Compliance, Conformance and Accreditation (CCA) teams on hand to support the event. Throughout their process of aiding the development of the Specification, NEHTA coded a functioning piece of messaging software to test the practicality or otherwise of implementing the Specification. The learnings from this development process were shared with other participants at the event to assist them with the development of their own software. The source code of NEHTA’s implementation is available from the organisation’s website: http://www.nehta.

The Connectathon Open Day attracted 45 participants from industry, government, and GP Divisions. Jon Hilton, HISA Board member and leader of the IHE Australia Patient Care Working Group, presented on the development of the Patient Centered Coordination Plan Profile to support Care Coordination and Planning across different healthcare organisations and information systems. This profile, based on the IHE Cross Enterprise Document Share (XDS) platform, supports the development of care teams, exchange of care plans, patient progress reports and tracking of key tasks and outcomes.

IHE Australia was contracted by the Department of Health and Ageing to run the Connectathon under established IHE rules and procedures. To support the event, IHE Australia commissioned the expertise of the Australian Healthcare Messaging Laboratory (AHML) to develop procedures and a secure messaging test facility.

The results from the Connectathon are currently being validated and IHE expects to announce the results in mid-May via the event’s website: http://ihe-australia.

IHE Australia has held three previous Connectathons with the support of vendors, professional associations and others interested in the implementation of standards based e-health communication systems. IHE Australia is sponsored by HISA, MSIA, HL7 Australia, and RANZCR, with ADIA, RACS, and HIMAA engaged as supporting members.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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