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Meeting interoperability standards for secure messaging in Australia

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Fax machines remain embedded in the Australian healthcare industry. Despite the availability of more secure messaging platforms and other technologies, 90% of healthcare organisations still rely on fax as a secure, trusted method of information exchange.

Enabling secure provider-to-provider communication in healthcare by way of secure message delivery (SMD) will eliminate healthcare’s reliance on paper-based messaging mediums like fax machines and scanners and improve interoperability between healthcare organisations across Australia.  

SMD will allow healthcare providers and practitioners to spend more time on patients, improve organisational efficiencies, reduce patient security risks and produce better patient outcomes.  

Although there are many benefits to adopting SMD in Australian healthcare, there are also many barriers relating to the transition from paper-based messaging mediums like fax and interoperability between different clinical systems currently in use.

Notifyre addresses these barriers by offering a multi-channel communications platform that will seamlessly connect to more secure, advanced and interoperable technology products like SMD. This allows healthcare organisations to seamlessly transition to secure messaging in their own time.


What is secure message delivery (SMD)?

As defined by the Australian Digital Health Agency, secure messaging ‘is a foundational capability that supports a wide range of interactions that reflect the many ways in which organisations communicate with each other.’  

Secure message delivery allows seamless and secure provider-to-provider information exchange of a range of clinical documents including referrals, reports, specialist letters, results, hospital discharge summaries and more.

SMD software, as outlined by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), is currently designed for use by general practitioners (GP’s) to securely send letters and other messages from within their existing clinical software. It’s also designed to automatically import incoming messages into a GP’s clinical inbox, enabling the message to be filed easily into a patient’s record.  

Interoperability between clinical systems, however, has not yet been achieved. SMD software has also not been designed to send clinical documents to patients – presenting another barrier for adaptability of SMD products.

Source: Australian Digital Health Agency  


Why is secure message delivery essential in the Australian healthcare industry?

Secure message delivery (SMD) is essential in healthcare organisations across Australia due to the sensitive nature of information being transmitted through communications channels daily and the need for secure and interoperable connectivity between clinical systems.

Many healthcare professionals, providers and practitioners within Australia are communicating sensitive patient information through unsecure channels like email, or are using secure messaging platforms that are not compatible with each other, causing a breakdown in communication between healthcare organisations.

Interoperability bridges the gap and enhances information sharing across organisational boundaries. Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Chief Executive Tim Kelsey told Healthcare IT News that interoperability is the key to making the future of Australian health digital.  

‘We can’t possibly imagine a world full of precision medicine when we’re communicating ubiquitously using fax machines. It will never happen and it calls out for the development of secure messaging.’


How will secure messaging benefit healthcare organisations?

1. Improve organisational efficiencies and productivity  

The 2018-19 Australian Digital Health Agency Annual report found that general practitioners waste 10% of their time daily in searching for paper records.  

Transitioning to SMD will remove the need for healthcare providers and practitioners to spend time on faxing, scanning and documenting information – where their time is better spent directly with patients.

It will also reduce administrative costs by eliminating the need to purchase paper, ink, toner and maintain traditional fax machines.

2. Meets security & compliance standards

Adopting SMD eliminates manual processes, in turn reducing the risk of human error and the potential for a data breach. From 1 July to 31 December 2020, Australia’s healthcare sector accounted for 23% of all data breaches, making it the highest reporting sector in the country.

With high security measures in place, SMD technology also meets security and compliance requirements in healthcare when transmitting protected health information (PHI).  

3. Create better patient experiences

By spending more time with patients and less time on manual communication processes, healthcare providers and practitioners will create better experiences for patients, improve patient satisfaction with their organisation and in turn improve overall patient outcomes.


How will secure messaging benefit patients?

1. Protects patient’s privacy

Using SMD for transmission of sensitive patient information protects a patient’s privacy by ensuring all data is encrypted at every stage of the transmission process.

2. Improves communication with healthcare providers and practitioners

SMD technologies allow for better communication between healthcare providers and their patients. Patients will have access to their medical records, as well as instantly be notified of test results, exam results and other medical information as soon as its ready.  

3. Allows for quality patient care

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon told Healthcare IT News that “so much time is spent ringing up other departments, scanning, faxing, moving paper from one side of the room to the other, etc. It’s very inefficient and I rather have my clinical and non-clinical staff talking to patients instead of waiting on machines to do things.”

By adopting SMD, manual communications processes can be eliminated, allowing healthcare providers and practitioners to spend more time focusing on patients’ needs, improving the overall quality of care.


Notifyre: Australia’s only transitional communications platform

Notifyre is the leader in providing secure communications for the Australian healthcare industry. Our multi-channel communications platform provides the Australian healthcare industry with the ability to continue using traditional communications mediums like fax. However, by supporting a range of solutions built across our proprietary block-chain based environment, Stirdie, Notfyre will assist healthcare organisations across Australia to integrate new, interoperable communications products like secure message delivery as and when they become available.

Get in touch with the Notifyre team on 1300 032 936, or sign up today to try the Notifyre platform.

Security & Compliance
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