No systemic problems with healthcare identifiers: NEHTA

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has rejected claims that there are systemic problems with the implementation of the national Healthcare Identifiers Service.

Appearing before the Senate committee into the PCEHR bill today, NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming rejected claims made earlier by the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) that the HI Service was unsafe and that information on safety assessments had not been released.

He also said last month's announcement of a temporary pause in the roll out of clinical software was not driven by media inquiries but had been discussed previously with the Wave 1 sites, a statement backed up by the CEO of the Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local, Abbe Anderson, in earlier testimony.

Responding to questions about problems with Individual Healthcare Identifiers, Mr Fleming said that occasionally there may be duplicate numbers allocated but that Medicare has a process for rectifying this with the individual. “There is no systemic issue,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Medicare Australia told the committee that Medicare has a very formal process in case there is a duplicate number and “we have documentation around this,” the spokeswoman said. “We are not aware of what the MSIA was referring to.”

Mr Fleming also rejected the allegation that NEHTA had not released any analyses of patient safety implications of some of the PCEHR components. “There have been a number of analyses done and that has been fed through to the community,” he said. “As we work with jurisdictions we've done detailed analyses and have published the implications on some individual matters.”

He said an overall document on patient safety issues covering all of the different components of the PCEHR will be provided before July 1.

“There are a great number of standards and specifications produced and a huge amount of paperwork generated,” Mr Fleming said.

“These are very detailed documents and as such are embedded into that component. It is our intention that once we have been through those individual components we will do a full report and we will make it available before 1 July. Releasing individual analyses could be taken out of context.”

Committee member Rachel Siewert, Greens Senator for WA, told Mr Fleming that the committee was due to report shortly and so would require more information as soon as possible.

A number of questions were put on notice, including more information concerning the announcement of the pause in the desktop software roll out and the accountability mechanisms NEHTA has in place.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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