The deadline to complete Secure Message Delivery (SMD) commissioning has been extended from 1 August to 31 October.
Practices would still of had to registered by the original deadline, 1 August, in order to remain eligible for eHealth Practice Incentives Program incentives.
HealthLink's national eHealth manager, Nikki Breslin, said the deadline was extended due to difficulties practices were experiencing with healthcare identifiers and digital certificates.
HealthLink provides electronic communications services to 7300 healthcare providers across Australia (including 80 per cent of Australia’s general Practices) as well as all of New Zealand’s 1050 general practices, and 900 other New Zealand healthcare provider organisations.
There are more than 2500 general practices on the SMD commissioning register, with HealthLink having commissioned more than 1000 Australian general practices.
“SMD commissioning itself is straightforward” said Breslin. “This is not unlike any other project HealthLink undertakes, leveraging off our expertise in support and deployment. Our technology and processes enable us to support practices to achieve this.”
HealthLink has been engaged in the development and implementation of SMD-compliant interfaces for more than two years.
“This has been a major project and one that has used a lot of technical resources over the past couple of years," said Geoff Sayer, HealthLink’s operations manager.
“We have emphasised the need for standards compliance in the introduction of SMD to the marketplace to minimise clinical risk and maximise certainty “
He said the commissioning process is seeing an increased awareness and expectation among healthcare providers to exchange information as practices are keen to make use of their new capabilities.
“Healthcare facilities and hospital are also preparing and seeking our assistance to either transition their existing methods or to start using SMD”.
In Canada, HealthLink has completed a pilot messaging project in the city of Kelowna (British Columbia) and is currently working with two of BC’s largest electronic medical records vendors (Optimed and Osler systems) to roll the HealthLink service out on a much broader scale.
Sayer said the Canadian environment is architecturally different from New Zealand’s.
“Because of the huge geographic spread of practices, hosted software-as-a service solutions are favoured over the traditional client/server architectures still prevalent in New Zealand. Meeting the demands of this major jump in system sophistication has required quite a lot of development work; however,we are now able to deploy into all of the regions we are active in.” active in.”