This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) Has Lost Patience With NEHTA. This Is Getting Serious.
The following appeared today.
Medical software group raises e-health safety issues
November 10, 201112:00AM
The peak medical software group is concerned about the Healthcare Identifiers service.
THE Medical Industry Software Association has warned unresolved patient safety and liability concerns relating to the year-old Healthcare Identifiers service leave members at risk of liability "for any and all adverse outcomes" arising from use of the service.
"Implementers should take legal advice with respect to potential liability, inform their software indemnity insurers and ensure end-users sign comprehensive waivers," the MSIA says in a white paper adopted by members at its annual CEO Forum last month.
The eight-page white paper -- obtained by The Australian -- was provided to all members of the Healthcare Identifiers (HI) stakeholders working group, including the National e-Health Transition Authority, federal Health department and Medicare, for their consideration.
Members should consider implementing existing Medicare Online patient checks for Medicare and Veterans’ Affairs numbers "as a proven alternative without the risks of fines and criminal liability", the paper said.
"More than six months was spent negotiating with Medicare in an attempt to have it accept liability for system failures or data errors. Medicare refused to do so."
The current HI developer agreement is "restricted solely to accessing Medicare’s development environment, while the use of the live HI service is governed by the HI legislation and associated regulations".
"This leaves software implementers potentially liable for any and all adverse outcomes arising from incorrect functioning of the system or bad data supplied by the service," the paper said.
In February 2010, a serious glitch in Medicare’s systems involved the potential incorrect updating of up to 30,000 patient records held in doctors’ own systems after a coding error during routine maintenance.
Medicare was alerted by software vendors who noticed the problem, but the agency was slow to act. Eventually, it was forced to write to 2700 medical practices, warning them to check for flawed data return messages generated over a three-day period.
"It is known that the Medicare data is not perfect, despite investing a large effort in cleaning its patient data over the past two years," the MSIA said.
"However, it is possible that duplicate and/or replicate IHIs will occur either in its database, or be introduced by operator or system errors in patient management and downstream systems.
"At present, even if Medicare is aware of a problem with an IHI, it has no mechanism for informing anyone."
The MSIA said it had repeatedly requested a copy of a patient safety risk assessment of the HI service apparently conducted a year ago from Medicare, the Health Department and the National e-Health Transition Authority. The information is needed by its members who are tasked with upgrading their products to interface with the system.