MediRecords and ADHA improve secure messaging options for users

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MediRecords Product Update: Improved Secure Messaging Integrations for Users

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Matthew Galetto, Founder & CEO

Thanks to support from the Australian Digital Health Agency's SMIO program, users can now enjoy improved secure messaging integration

MediRecords users will soon be able to enjoy improved integrations with multiple secure messaging providers.  

Having completed its evaluation, The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has confirmed we have met the Secure Messaging Industry Offer (SMIO) development requirements, which seeks to improve interoperability between secure messaging services. 

Ultimately this will allow our users to: 

  • find other healthcare professionals more easily via the Agency’s central directory service, 
  • message users of different secure messaging providers; and  
  • be confident that this will meet current and future Australian encryption standards.  

This means our users are one step closer to breaking away from paper-based correspondence. 

 

What is the Secure Messaging Industry Offer (SMIO)?  

One of the ADHA’s main goals in their current strategy is to eliminate clinicians’ dependence on paper-based correspondence by 2022.  

Secure messaging is central to achieving this, allowing clinicians to communicate and share patient information online, on multiple devices, without the significant security risks of using email or consumer services such as WhatsApp. 

A significant barrier to realising this has been the lack of interoperability between different secure messaging software products. This has created challenges for clinical end-users and inhibited the adoption of secure messaging in Australia, as clinicians using different products cannot communicate with each other.  

The ADHA has been working closely with software providers and the clinical community to address this via the Secure Messaging Industry Offer. They are providing developers of clinical information and secure messaging systems, like MediRecords, with incentives to deliver improved interoperability as soon as possible. 

 

How will this benefit our users? 

As outlined above, the main benefit of the SMIO is that it will allow users of different clinical secure messaging systems to communicate and share patient information. More specifically, MediRecords users will be able to enjoy: 

  • Enhanced searching across multiple secure messaging providers via a federated provider directory service; 
  • Interoperability and message exchange with different secure messaging enabled software products by utilising standardised messages; 
  • The ability to securely exchange messages based on current and future Australian encryption standard. 

All this will allow clinicians to break free from the limitations and frustrations that come with paper-based communication, and ultimately allow you to provide better care for your patients. 

  

What are the requirements? 

To ensure MediRecords meets the standards required, we have been working with the ADHA to update the platform to meet the SMIO developer requirements. These requirements were agreed by an ADHA technical working group, comprising representatives of software providers and other government bodies. 

The group outlined the technical standards for looking up provider addresses using a federated provider directory model, and on which message formats will be supported. These were successfully trialled in two proof-of-concept projects in 2018, leading to the current Secure Messaging Industry Offer. 

  

When will we be rolling out? 

We currently expect to release this update on 30th October 2020. We may however choose to release this earlier is possible, so keep an eye out.  

Our release version will be V3.7.

 

About the Australian Digital Health Agency 

Since 2016, the ADHA have existed to improve health outcomes for Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems and the national digital health strategy for Australia. 

The Agency is responsible for national digital health services and systems, focussing on engagement, innovation and clinical quality & safety. They achieve this by putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them. 

For more information visit https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/ 

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Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

Survey Results: What do Clinicians really look for in Practice Management Software?

Andrew Dyson

by Andrew Dyson, Digital Marketing Lead

COVID impact, working habits and rejection of Telehealth?

Throughout July we ran a survey for users of Medical Practice Management Software, like MediRecords. The aim was to listen to, and learn from, both our own users and those who use alternatives.

In this article we have summarised some of the more interesting insights around:

  • the impact of COVID on doctors
  • the working environments of clinicians
  • what users want from practice management software, and
  • How important Telehealth features are to clinicians.

If any of this sounds interesting, then please read on! But before we get into it, we would like to say a big thank you to all who took part in the survey.

As with all survey data, the stats can often be interpreted in many ways. If you have any insights or explanation for what we found in the survey, we would love to hear from you via marketing@medirecords.com.

About the Survey & Audience

Our survey was delivered to GP clinics via fax, email and through The Medical Republics e-newsletter. Whilst the survey was open to clinicians, practice managers, nurses and business owners, most respondents primarily identified as clinicians.

We ran our survey throughout July, which ended up being an interesting time. The initial explosion of conversations around Telehealth had begun to quieten down (more on this later), whilst Victorians began seeing lockdown restrictions gradually being enforced as they experienced their ‘second wave’.

One noticeable skew was that the audience had a significant amount of professional experience, with over 40% having over 20 years in General Practice, which is worth bearing in mind as you read this article:


 

 

GP’s Working Environment

We were keen to understand how GPs tend to work, as this allows us to better understand how MediRecords can be as useful to clinicians as possible.

We found GP’s were split fairly evenly between those who work in one location, and those who work across multiple locations. What is not clear if this means they work across multiple practices, or often from home, something which could be influenced by the current pandemic.

Far more clinicians work on multiple devices rather than one, which us unsurprising given our consumer habits across phones, tablets and computers. It is particularly interesting for practice management software however, as ease of working across devices and locations is very difficult on server-based solutions such as Best Practice and Medical Director, compared with cloud solutions like MediRecords.


It was interesting to see that almost as many people use Apple products as do Windows, again something that could make browser-based software more appealing to ensure consistency of experience and usability for GPs on whichever device they use.

Preferences for practice management software

We asked our GP respondents a lot of questions about their preferences are for practice management software. This information is best summarized in the two questions:

  • What do you like about your Practice Management Software ? And…
  • What do you not like about your Practice Management Software?

Surprisingly, the same sort of answer was most popular for both questions – Usability!

It can be easy to get lost in specifications and functionality lists when choosing Practice Management Software, but what this shows us all is that, fundamentally, it means little if the platform is not easy for clinicians to use. We suspect this will also be what drives most day to day frustrations users have with their current software.

(By the way, we think this is great news given the positive feedback we have had on MediRecords from our users. If you are struggling with usability there is a solution!)

So, are clinicians looking for something better?

We then asked if clinicians were planning on reviewing or upgrading their software over the next five years. Only 40% of respondents said they would consider doing so.

Many in the healthcare tech space may find this disappointing, but we believe it shows us the wider trend of reluctance to adopt and change with new technologies. Whilst many may be heralding a silver lining of COVID to be increased adoption of technology, the results suggest this mindset change will not happen overnight – even if pushed by a major event such as COVID.


If clinicians are still reluctant to change, what does this mean for Telehealth adoption?

We asked respondents to rank features in terms of the importance to them when choosing practice management software. Whilst we won’t be sharing the full results of this (hopefully you can understand, we want to keep some knowledge to ourselves!) what was surprising was that Telehealth was the second least important feature to the GPs we asked.



The timing of the survey may have had something to do with this. Whilst in the earlier days of the pandemic many GPs were trying to figure out how to incorporate Telehealth into their daily workflow, by July Telehealth MBS items had been live for over a month, with GPs finding that using the telephone was an easier, more familiar solution in the short term.

Again, this may reflect the reluctance of many to adopt new technologies, even if these technologies lead to better experiences for patients. We can see the benefits of telehealth via remote monitoring via projects such as Spritely’s recent trial in retirement villages in Christchurch, but clearly there is more work to be done to help clinicians see if there is a benefit for them.


So, what do clinicians want from their PMS?

Finally, we asked what GPs wished their PMS could do that it does not already.



The results here were less clear, with 27% of people wanted a feature specific to their practice’s requirements, and a further 20% wanting an integration with a specific other service.

This shows how personal and bespoke the needs of many practices are, and how software such as MediRecords must not only be flexible for different workflows, but also responsive to users when they need new feature. For more insight on the types of request we typically see, you can head over to ideas.medirecords.com to see the ideas our customer have come up with that we are working on.

Again, usability came up, this time as something that respondents wish their PMS offered. Given the large share of the market enjoyed by traditional solutions such as Medical Director and Best Practice, perhaps this reflects the need for clinicians to look at some of the newer, easier to use options that are out there.

Personally, we think MediRecords fits the bill perfectly! If you would like to find out more you can contact support@medirecords.com, book a demo, or enjoy a 30 day free trial now.


About the Author

Andrew Dyson is our Digital Marketing Lead here at MediRecords, and managed this latest survey. Prior to joining MediRecords he has worked on marketing projects, including in depth market research, for some of the largest employers in the UK.

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Are the benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare more than we realise?

Cloud solutions for healthcare

The benefits of cloud solutions for healthcare: More than we realise?

Michelle O'Brien

Michelle O'Brien

Cloud solutions for healthcare

Could the shift to cloud solutions provide the healthcare industry more benefits than we previously realised?

Cloud computing is finally changing healthcare.

The consensus on the overall benefits of the cloud for our industry appears to have shifted, which was perhaps inevitable given the increased interoperability, maturity of security and the significant cost savings cloud services provide.

However, I believe most organisations are barely scratching the surface when it comes to making the most of other benefits cloud solutions can offer. Some of the lesser known benefits, from small clinics right up to larger public health and enterprise organisations, include:

  • Improved health information exchange & interoperability
  • Predictable costs
  • Faster and more efficient scalability and fast system deployment
  • Improved backup and business continuity
  • Enhanced user experiences
  • More robust data security
  • Improvements in diagnosis and treatment through AI & Analytics
  • Easier compliance

I am a firm believer that cloud-solutions will provide healthcare organisations with even more benefits than many currently realise.

This is one of the key reasons I joined MediRecords, a leading cloud-based PMS, and why, over the next few months, I will be putting together a series of articles explaining each of the benefits listed above. Where it is relevant, I will be including examples of organisations who have achieved these benefits, and if possible, some tips on how your organisation may be able to follow these examples.

You will be able to find these articles via the MediRecords blog, via our company LinkedIn page, and via my own LinkedIn page. Feel free to send me a connection request!

In the meantime, if you are interested in finding out more about any of the above, you can always reach out to me directly, either via email (michelle.obrien@medirecords.com), or on LinkedIn.

Michelle O’Brien, based in our Sydney office,  is Head of Strategy here at MediRecords.

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