This arrived via the NEHTA RSS yesterday.
Northern Territory pushes the button on new e-health messaging system
15 December 2009. A new e-health messaging system is now in operation in the Northern Territory.
A national consortium of health organisations this week pushed the button on an innovative secure messaging delivery system in the Northern Territory which aligns with emerging national e-health standards.
The system, known as the Web Services Messaging Application or WSMA, uses new web-services technologies to send health information between different clinical software systems. It is based on a first generation messaging specification, drafted by NEHTA earlier this year, which is the front-runner to a national specification for secure messaging delivery currently pending release.
Sponsored by the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families (DHF), with software developed by local IT firm Diverse Systems Consulting, the project has been a joint initiative of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), General Practice Network NT, and commercial software vendors Communicare Systems Pty Ltd and PEN Computer Systems Pty Ltd. The new system is part of the Northern Territory’s ongoing program of e-health innovation aimed at improving clinical information exchange and service delivery, particularly for patients in remote areas.
The WSMA application is designed to securely and efficiently transfer thousands of electronic messages a day containing critical healthcare information used to update the records of approximately 40,000 people who have already registered for the Northern Territory’s eHealthNT Shared Electronic Health Record service.
Under a self-assessment process a Declaration of Conformance was issued to affirm WSMA’s compliance with NEHTA draft specifications. Future WSMA releases are expected to undergo formal testing under a new national software conformance assessment scheme, specifications for which will shortly be released by NEHTA for industry comment.
Integrated within the established clinical software packages offered by PEN and Communicare, WSMA will be used in most of the Territory’s Aboriginal community controlled health clinics, public hospitals and a growing number of urban general practices.
NT DHF Chief Information Officer Stephen Moo said that, through its eHealthNT program, the Territory was committed to building state-of-the-art e-health solutions in line with NEHTA standards.
Design work has already commenced for the next generation of WSMA to be commissioned once the final NEHTA specification has been released. Future plans include developing NEHTA compliant eReferrals and eDischarge Summaries, enabling clinical information exchange between healthcare providers in the Northern Territory and providers in South Australia and Western Australia.
Test messages have already been successfully sent from SA Health systems to NT DHF systems demonstrating the e-health vision in action with information flowing seamlessly between interoperable systems in conformance with a national standard.
Read the full release (with contact details) at the NEHTA site:
This release is really a classic ‘red rag’ to a tired old bull!
What it tells us is that the NT Health Department have had some vendors build a system based on what is thought will be NEHTA Standards (Those are not yet done.) and that this has been given a great new acronym (WSMA).
We are then told WSMA has been designed to do something – not that it is not actually doing it yet.
Also we are told that this trial implementation has been integrated with some community service software providers and that WMSA will be used within them.
We are then told further design work is underway for the actual working and standardised WMSA.
We are then delighted to be told that with test messages already sent (content totally un-specified) they are “demonstrating the e-health vision in action with information flowing seamlessly between interoperable systems in conformance with a national standard”. Now that is grand and wonderful is it not?
The obvious thing that is required here is that this release should have happened when there were some actual runs on the board and that attached to the release were some concrete technical details as to what has actually been achieved, how well it is working, what issues and leanings etc have been achieved.
To date not one of the 40,000 souls mentioned seem to have benefited from all this. When that happens is the time for the release!
The bottom line is to ‘toot you horn’ when you actually have something real to toot about!
This blatant chase after good PR is both transparent and unseemly. Note this is not to at all diminish or discourage what NT, Health and its partners are trying to do, but rather to condemn the publicity seeking nonsense coming from NEHTA.