Thursday, January 19, 2012

HCN Joins The NEHTA Supporting Club. Too Little To Late Or A Smart Move?

This release appeared a little while ago. The release is dated 19 Jan, 2012.

Medical Director Launches eHealth Initiatives

Health Communication Network (HCN), the market leading clinical software vendor, has today announced the release of 3 key components relating to Australia’s eHealth strategy.  Health Identifiers (IHI, HPI-I, and HPI-O) have been introduced in Medical Director and PracSoft, and Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) handling for discharge summaries and specialist letters (reports) have also been released to market with Medical Director.  This is a strong indicator of HCN’s commitment to the National eHealth strategy with regard to improving clinical outcomes at the point of care.
This release enables over 5,700 medical practices nationally to start using Health Identifiers and is a big win for the National eHealth Transition Authority (NEHTA) and DoHA in driving the National eHealth Strategy to fruition. John Frost, HCN CEO, comments:  “HCN is committed to the government’s eHealth strategy and will ensure that those aspects of eHealth that are important to our customers and their patients are delivered.  Over coming years the increased use of IHIs will, we expect, have a profoundly positive effect on reducing the incidence of misidentification which today is a major cause of medical misadventure.  I’m proud that HCN, through our market leading products, can assist clinicians in more reliably matching discharge summaries and specialist letters with the correct patient file through the automatic use of IHIs.  Further, as the acute sector increasingly adopts the use of CDA Discharge Summaries our GP and specialist doctor customers will finally receive one of the most frequently requested benefits of eHealth.” 
These new features will improve the communication of important clinical information between doctors without disruption to the clinical workflow and will not be a burden for practice managers.  “We understand the challenges placed on modern general practitioners and specialists and strive to ensure that the eHealth initiatives delivered via Medical Director and other HCN products add value to the clinicians and practices overall without impost on an already time poor profession; patient care is not compromised by labour intensive or time consuming tasks associated with eHealth initiatives.” says John Frost.
About CDA:
Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) is an XML-based mark-up standard for specifying the encoding, structure and semantics of clinical documents for exchange.  Medical Director now accepts CDA-based Discharge Summaries and Specialist letters (reports).
About Health Identifiers
The Federal, state and territory governments have developed a national Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service) which will uniquely identify healthcare providers and individuals who seek healthcare. The HI Service will give individuals and healthcare providers confidence that the right health information is associated with the right individual at the point of care. 
The HI Service aims to improve the security and efficient management of an individual’s personal health information with strict privacy laws governing how these numbers are used.  Health Identifiers are a very important factor that could drive significant improvements in patient safety.
I leave it to the reader to assess what this release actually means.
I would note that Medical Director does not seem to be able to SEND anything based on CDA (referrals etc.) and that somehow CDA based referrals, lab reports and so on seem not to be mentioned as being received either.
Please let me know what you think all this means - when HCN Products don’t seem to be sending any CDA documents to the PCEHR. Just how does that fit with the present National Strategy? Or have I misread?
This comment is really odd.
"This release enables over 5,700 medical practices nationally to start using Health Identifiers and is a big win for the National eHealth Transition Authority (NEHTA) and DoHA in driving the National eHealth Strategy to fruition."
Is this an admission of a response to NEHTA / DoHA pressure or just rather odd phrasing? 
I would note the release does not mention the PCEHR. Maybe all this is to follow?



KH said...

There are several odd things about this announcement.

Firstly, the update is designated 3.12.1a perhaps indicating that it was intended for inclusion in 3.12.1 which was released on 6 September. HI's and the CDA document handling missed out on that release, but was it for technical or political reasons?

Secondly, HCN has published a media release but the download is not yet available via HCN's automatic update mechanism nor from the website; neither have subscribers received email notification of the update (well not this subscriber). For a brief period there was a "download" link on the website but this has disappeared, along with the Release Notes. This could just mean that they are having a minor technical problem.

Does the omission of any reference to the PCEHR indicate that HCN supports HI's and the CDA as worthwhile parts of an ehealth strategy in their own right, quite apart from any role in a PCEHR implementation? I know I do.

Anonymous said...

HIs and CDA are clearly important, whether or not the PCEHR sees the light of day or gets airborne (which is clearly in doubt).

I imagine that HCN is, like most other vendors involved in NEHTA funded projects, trying to salvage something useful from the wreckage. Good on them!

We need to take every opportunity we can to make progress, however difficult the terrain.