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Posted by Yianni Serpanos, November 11th, 2015

Australian eHealth is building momentum. But what does it all mean for Allied Health professionals?

1. What’s the current situation with eHealth in Australia, in context of Allied Health?

By now most health practitioners have heard about eHealth.  Although it’s been mostly focused on the members of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and Australian Medical Association (AMA), Allied Health practitioners should consider eHealth for their profession given that there is a lot of interaction between GPs & specialists and Allied Health practitioners.

Referral letters and reports that are key documents provided patients/clients are referred to you from GP’s.

The reforms in this area cover privacy of patient/client information around their identity and the health services being provided, as well as communication security of patient/client health related information between health practitioners.  There are now over 2 million Australians who have shared summaries within Australia’s myHealthRecord (formerly PCEHR) system in which case you are bound to come across more and more patients/clients who are working with GP’s & specialists using electronic health records.

2. How does being ready for eHealth benefit me, as an Allied Health practice manager?

By being eHealth ready, you will:

  • conform with the expectations of GP’s & specialists in terms of standards and/or quality of systems and operational processes;
  • allow all the health practitioners involved with a particular patient/client to securely and easily share relevant health information;
  • lower the risk of breaching health privacy principals; and
  • allow for minimal disruption to the referrer’s day to day workflow.

As an Allied Health practitioner it will be easier for GP’s & specialists to choose you when electing referrers.

3. Which coreplus features are directly linked to ‘eHealth readiness’?

  1. coreplus has an electronic health record (“EHR”) that captures key information about patients/client. In the future, the coreplus EHR could connect with the myHealthRecord.
  2. The coreplus Secure Message Delivery Hub (the SMD Hub) effectively receives client health information via a securely encrypted network.

The EHR and SMD Hub features of coreplus are foundation elements of eHealth readiness for Allied Health practitioners.

Additionally, utilising Medicare claim processing as well as Private Health Insurance claiming & payments within coreplus;  Allied Health practitioners have all the core eHealth elements covered.

4. What will happen if I’m not eHealth ready?

In general terms, the culture of the health care industry has NOT moved as quickly as the legislation and regulations and therefore you will likely continue to be able to obtain referrals by fax or email and consider this to be ok. However, in practice it’s a quality issue as it does not conform with the eHealth and privacy principal frameworks in place.

Having said this, given the Australian Government has implemented eHealth adoption within the GP, Hospital and specialist sectors, you are likely to be coming across the need to have the ability to receive eReferrals and share patient/client health information using the registered systems already in place. Your practice will present well if it has systems that are considered to be in line with current standards, are of high quality and lower the risk to adverse patient/client outcomes from leaked or hacked patient/client information from patients/clients who have had their privacy breached by your practice not complying with the eHealth privacy principals.

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