Secure messaging vendors Telstra Health and Global Health have achieved 2-way interoperability. Healthcare providers using Global Health’s ReferralNet or Telstra Health’s Argus secure messaging platforms are now securely exchanging clinical documents, including referrals, specialist letters and discharge summaries.
Securely exchanging patient information between healthcare practitioners and organisations is paramount in improving patient care, whilst maintaining the privacy of personal information and reducing health care administrative costs. The messaging interoperability between Telstra Health’s Argus secure messaging platform and Global Health’s ReferralNet secure messaging platform which was initially announced in October 2016, was delivered in 2 phases:
- Following the successful completion of limited field testing of messages sent from ReferralNet subscribers to Argus subscribers in January 2017, an increased rollout in one-way interoperability, from ReferralNet to Argus, commenced in March 2017;
- Limited field testing of messages sent from Argus subscribers to ReferralNet subscribers commenced in August 2017.
This is now deemed complete with full, 2-way secure message exchange between ReferralNet and Argus commercially available and in use.
Interoperability was delivered without changing existing message formats or workflows in order to minimise disruption and maximise its benefit to users.
The volume of messages exchanged has been growing steadily since March 2017:
- 600+ messages have been exchanged across 50+ ReferralNet subscribers and 150+ Argus subscribers;
- Over a dozen different clinical software vendors including those commonly used by Allied Health, Specialists, General Practitioners and Hospitals (such as Best Practice, Medical Director, Cerner, Genie, ZedMed, HealthKit, Mediflex, Audit, MasterCare, PrimaryClinic and Microsoft Word) have been involved in this message exchange;
- A wide variety of public sector and private sector healthcare specialities including GPs, other medical specialists, Allied Health providers, Hospitals, Diagnostic Imaging providers, Pharmacies, Aged Care and Community Health services have been involved and benefited;
- The clinical correspondence exchanged includes Referrals, Progress Notes, Specialists Letters, Discharge Summaries, Diagnostic Results and Home Medicine Reviews, using the existing infrastructure and business practices with no disruption to providers or clinical vendors.
Secure Messaging interoperability was achieved using the existing Secure Message Delivery (SMD) standard specification (ATS 5822-2010 eHealth Secure Message Delivery) that was jointly developed by the Australian government, the software industry and Standards Australia.
Existing document formats used within clinical systems in both HL7 and CDA are digitally signed and encrypted with destination addresses resolved through federated lookups from multiple provider directories, including government maintained directories and each messaging vendor’s subscriber directories.
Cross vendor support mechanisms have been established to handle issues that may arise as messages are sent, received and acknowledged across each network.
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO, a Melbourne GP and well-respected evangelist for the use of technology in the Health sector said: “I am so excited that we have now broken the nexus of eHealth from a ‘superhighway to nowhere to a joined-up system. Messages on one system can now actually be produced, encrypted, sent, logged, received, noted and acted upon in another system: no fuss No FAX! It’s not rocket science – but it is hard yakka to succeed and implement change.”
Michael Boyce, Head of Core Businesses, Telstra Health said: “This collaboration between Telstra Health and Global Health is a strong example of industry working together towards an interoperable health system. The enthusiastic participation we’ve experienced on this project from Global Health and practitioners across the health sector demonstrates the huge appetite from industry to make progress in this area. We’re looking forward to building on this success to enable the secure transfer of clinical information across more of the sector.”
Dr Nathan Pinskier chair of the RACGP eHealth & practice systems expert committee said: “This is a great example of the value of software industry and provider collaboration. It achieves an outcome that the RACGP has been advocating and moves the healthcare sector another step closer to achieving the benefits of an interoperable eHealth environment and the long-overdue retirement of the fax machine.”
If you are a current ReferralNet Customer and would like to take advantage of the 2-way interoperability with Telstra Health’s Argus, or if you are interested in finding out more contact the ReferralNet team.
About Telstra Health
Telstra Health is the largest Australian health software and technology provider, enabling healthcare providers to better connect with each other and the patients they serve, improving the quality, safety and efficiency of health services. Telstra Health is committed to being the leading provider of digital health solutions that shapes a connected future for healthcare.
Argus enables health services to communicate securely and reliably, transmitting confidential information without risking privacy or care standards. It automatically imports documents and patient notes into the patient record with clinical applications.