HealthLink has resolved its differences with the Ministry of Health and the Health Information Strategy Committee (HISAC) over security standards.
The private provider had declined to sign a secure interconnection agreement announced last November, citing a lack of clarity about the application of the standards sponsored by the ministry and HISAC.
HealthLink chief executive Tom Bowden says the parties have now agreed to uphold the disputed security standards, following their endorsement by a working group of secure network providers.
“HealthLink had earlier refused to sign the network interconnection agreement until it could be certain that the computer systems of more than 700 HealthLink client organisations could be adequately protected,” he says. “HISAC has now given HealthLink a written undertaking that secure network providers will be required to observe two following rules:
First, the legal demarcation point for responsibility for security is at the local area network port of the network security device that is connected to the Health Network.
Second, all currently accredited Health Network services have been accredited on the basis that the network security device is managed and that neither the customer nor any third party is able to make alterations to it.
HealthLink has accordingly sent HISAC a letter requesting connection to the new neutral interconnection switch to the New Zealand Health Network.
“We are very pleased that HISAC and the ministry have done the right thing and renewed their commitment to the use of security standards. Ensuring that patient information is kept private is vitally important and it is not an area in which we can take chances,” Bowden says.
HealthLink is a health systems integrator, providing services to more than 4,000 New Zealand health sector organisations, including more than 700 general practices which use its SECURIT secure network service.