NEHTA and MSIA release joint statement to the software industry

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) have released a joint statement to address some concerns software developers have expressed regarding the way industry has been engaged by the government-funded organisation. NEHTA has been undertaking its e-health work program for over five years, however its shifting focus from specification design to implementation has seen increasing amounts of interaction with industry throughout 2009 and 2010.

Signed by MSIA President Dr Geoffrey Sayer and NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming and distributed at the start of October, the letter is the second joint statement released by the organisations, the first being a memorandum of understanding relating to NEHTA’s Compliance, Conformance and Accreditation (CCA) activity. In-line with the thrust of the CCA agreement, the latest letter to industry is designed to allay concerns that NEHTA is, or has the potential to become, a competitive force in the e-health space.

Tensions relating to competitive behaviour emerged during the Secure Message Delivery (SMD) specification design phase, raising concerns that industry was helping NEHTA to develop SMD specifications, while at the same time NEHTA was aiding the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families to develop an early form of SMD designed to unseat an existing secure messaging provider.

The statement assures industry: “It is not NEHTA’s intention to interfere in commercial market processes nor provide information and support to individual companies that provides an unfair competitive advantage; rather it is NEHTA’s intention to offer the same level of information, support and conditions to all companies.

“While NEHTA is responsible for developing guidelines and specifications defining core elements of our national e-health infrastructure, it is the ICT industry that will take the vision to market through its products and services.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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