Tuesday, February 28, 2017
A Must Not Miss Discussion Of Some Of The Issues That Surround Clinical System Development In Australia.
This appeared a few days ago.
22 February, 2017
Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
You could forgive your average GP for starting to tire of hearing about the promise of the cloud and connected patient medicine.
It’s a promise that this newspaper talks about a lot, which the government has spruiked, spent a fortune on, and not delivered, and which seems increasingly to look like that elusive pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
After the launch of Australia’s first true cloud architected patient-management system, MediRecords, late last year, and a brief response to that launch by MedicalDirector, promising their own cloud version, things have been eerily quiet.
MediRecords may have made a rookie start-up error. The company built a working cloud system, and what it thought were all the necessary components required for a stand-alone practice. The suite includes the core patient-management system, a booking and kiosk system, application programming interfaces to two of the approved secure-messaging systems and to the major payment systems, and what is probably the only currently working patient-connected mobile app. And, it all works.
The problem is, most practices have a lot more complexity in their operational systems than even this seemingly comprehensive suite provides. As an example, Sonic won’t accept Healthlink as a secure messaging system from MediRecords so MediRecords has had to write something that talks to Sonic’s custom-built Fetch system, which, incredibly, is not even secure. Another example: MediRecords doesn’t talk to payment gateway Tyro, which for some bulk-billing surgeries, is the payment system of choice. So the group has had to go back to their code cutters and start working on meeting the additional needs of an average general practice, which run a plethora of legacy systems.
The irony for the backers of this interesting start-up is that they are having to spend money on coding so that an advanced cloud system can talk to lots of older, non-cloud architected systems, which in a few years probably won’t exist.
MedicalDirector is lucky that MediRecords has found itself stuck in legacy-connectivity mud. Its patient management system, and that of competitor Best Practice, have had years to develop all the quirky connectivity that makes most general practices work, even at a base level. And both Best Practice and MedicalDirector* have the luxury of “big brother” owners, who also own pathology labs, so that part of their connectivity tends to be locked down.
But that isn’t all of it. MedicalDirector launched its cloud-version of its market-leading patient-management system, Helix, way too early – probably prompted by a fear that MediRecords might take market share if MedicalDirector did not act. But Helix was, very likely, what is termed in the software trade “vapourware”. It didn’t really exist in a working format. No-one was able to get a hold of the product to actually test it, and when questioned about pilot and launch sites, the iconic and longest-standing patient-management system brand-owner wasn’t ready to talk. To date, no one has reported a working and properly architected cloud-version of Medical Director.
MediRecords is the only patient management vendor today with a working mobile patient app that talks to its patient management system. The problem with that however, is that they have only a few practices using the core system so far because of legacy connectivity issues.
Until now, it had been thought that in order to provide a fully functional and flexible patient-side app for a practice, a cloud-based patient-management system would be needed.
But The Medical Republic has learnt that a large-scale patient app play is being tested right now by at least one of the major corporate vendors, IPN, and probably by Primary Health Care and MedicalDirector as well.
Somehow, someone has worked out how to get a mobile device to talk through the web to the major, deskbound patient-management systems.
Pages more of fun, frustration and complexity here:
This is a real view from the coal face – by someone who is in the swamp and hoping to move forward.
Compulsory reading in my view. I would love to know what the ADHA makes of all these barriers to progress and what they have in mind to help ease the pain?
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Tuesday, February 28, 2017