ADHA partners to standardise secure messaging platforms

Wednesday, 11 September, 2019

ADHA partners to standardise secure messaging platforms

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is partnering with 42 organisations to improve interoperability across 56 secure messaging products and help clinicians axe the fax (and the scanner).

It comes as part of a program — announced by the agency in March — to accelerate software providers’ adoption of new secure messaging standards and support the move to paperless communication.

Currently, most clinicians can only correspond electronically with healthcare providers who use the same secure messaging software. However, the ADHA’s scheme should allow clinicians to more easily address messages to healthcare providers on secure messaging platforms and ensure messages and acknowledgements are sent in standard formats.

General Practitioner (GP) Clinical Advisor to the Agency’s Secure Messaging Program Dr Nathan Pinskier said ensuring providers can communicate quickly, easily and securely allows them to provide safer and more efficient care.

“When patients are visiting different doctors and healthcare providers, or they are referred by a doctor to a hospital or vice versa, it is increasingly important that information relating to that patient’s ongoing care — such as referrals, specialist letters and discharge summaries — can be exchanged by secure electronic communications,” Pinskier said.

“The work program being undertaken with these organisations will make it easier for healthcare providers to use secure messaging platforms by enhancing the software available to them in terms of functionality, usability and interoperability.”

ADHA Chief Operating Officer Bettina McMahon said secure provider-to-provider communication is a key component of digitally enabled and coordinated care across the Australian health sector.

“We have made significant progress on secure messaging by working with industry on a provider directory model that breaks down barriers between clinicians, while still leveraging the investment that the secure messaging industry has made to date,” McMahon said.

“This is the next step that will ensure those new standards are adopted quickly so GPs, hospitals, specialists and other health practitioners can reap the full benefits of secure messaging, which include timelier receipt of clinical information and not having to chase or resend referrals.”

The ADHA said software providers must implement the new standards by May 2020.

Image credit: ©

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