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What are the Secure Messaging Standards in Australia?

Secure messaging standards in Australia

Secure Messaging in Healthcare

Healthcare is essential to live a healthy life, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Healthcare is an industry that will always be growing, which means that if your situation transitions to a place where you need to see a new doctor or a specialist, your very private and personal health records will need to go along for the ride. This requires secure messaging, which is currently going through a transition of its own in Australia.

Related Reading: Healthcare Industry

The Update: Mandatory Secure Messaging Standards in Australia

In January 2020, Australia’s State, Territory, and Commonwealth Governments released a joint statement in support of new and permanent standards for secure messaging. The joint statement was shared during a workshop in December 2019 that was attended by over 50 representatives from clinical and secure messaging software suppliers, clinical representatives, and governments.

The statement explained how the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) (formerly the NEHTA) has been working over a number of years to achieve interoperable secure messaging across different systems, accelerating the use of electronic messaging over less efficient methods like faxing and paper transmission. The workshop that took place stands as the official launch of the approach to national scaling for a standards-based approach to secure messaging that is consistent and secure across Australia.

Although there is a plan in place now for this key priority, it won’t be an overnight transition. The standards-based approach to secure messaging across Australia is part of ADHA’s National Digital Health Strategy 2018-2022, therefore it will take some time. However, once established, the standards are set to be mandatory in all procurements for applicable systems. The expansive and collaborative program is set to deliver substantial benefits to both healthcare providers and their patients.

Where Has There Been a Disconnect for Australia?

Historically, there has been a lack of a consistent approach to secure messaging and the exchange of information across Australian healthcare. Many Australian healthcare professionals in fact are already utilizing secure messaging platforms. However, the issue arises with compatibility, as many of these platforms are not compatible with one another.

To date, healthcare practitioners and organizations have been restricted to sending information on one secure messaging network. This has left gaps in their ability to securely deliver or receive documents and has forced healthcare professionals to use unreliable fax machines or other outdated methods of data transmission.

Reliable provider-to-provider communication is a key component of coordinated care across any health sector. When healthcare organizations can only exchange messages securely with other organizations that use the same secure messaging provider, disconnect is inevitable.

Although a number of secure messaging providers have connected their networks and are now interoperable, interconnectivity has remained a problem.

What is Secure Messaging?

Secure Messaging is a core foundational capability that is required to successfully enable interoperability and deliver confidential information safely, securely, and seamlessly across all healthcare providers and consumers.

Secure Messaging is often mistaken for an encrypted email or a digital fax – however, it’s neither! Secure Messaging was developed specifically for the transmission of client related information via a national standard. This ensures clinical governance and the right to privacy for patients.

What is Secure Messaging Delivery?

Secure Messaging Delivery (SMD) is a set of specifications that was developed collaboratively by the digital health community. This includes the ADHA, Standards Australia, secure messaging service providers, and desktop software vendors.

The set of specifications defines an approach to digital health communication by using widely supported IT industry standards. The purpose of SMD is to support the secure delivery of messages containing sensitive patient or clinical documentation and/or other private information between healthcare organizations. SMD applies to either direct delivery or through one or more messaging service providers.

The benefits of SMD include:
  • Reduced use of paper correspondence – less time resending or chasing clinical information or referrals, more efficient investigations, and less scanning, printing, filing, and posting. This can also reduce costs.
  • Privacy for patience correspondence – confidential information only seen by treating clinicians.
  • System notifications when a message has been received and decrypted by the intended recipient or organization.
  • The secure exchange or clinical documents and information, such as e-referrals and discharge summaries. This prevents the unauthorized interception of message content.
  • The potential to improve the quality of care provided with better timeliness when receiving private health information.
  • Decreased errors associated with transcribing and better overall workflow when integrated with clinical systems.

Find a Solution Now

There is no doubt that the benefits of a widespread digital health plan are tremendous for both the patient and the provider. Change can be hard, especially with technology, but inefficient, non-secure systems are not in anyone’s best practice. There’s no need to let your secure messaging capabilities slip through the cracks, mandatory standards or not.

Despite any software inconsistencies that may exist between providers, there are still solutions out there that can work seamlessly with the healthcare industry as a whole.

A contemporary and connected health system requires advanced communication technologies. GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer (MFT), a modern secure file transfer solution, can safely and seamlessly exchange private health documents.

GoAnywhere MFT works for healthcare organizations to safeguard sensitive electronic protected health information (ePHI) and electronic health record (EHR) data. It’s simple to implement, can help you comply with leading requirements, and can be easily integrated with existing software systems.

With a secure file transfer solution in place like GoAnywhere MFT, health providers can relax knowing patient information is encrypted in transit and at rest, no matter if it resides inside or outside a private network.

Keep Your Health Care Private

With GoAnywhere MFT’s free license, you’ll be able to do just that. The free license also includes an FTP Server, 5 Secure Mail accounts, and 5 GoDrive users.

See what GoAnywhere can do for your secure messaging capabilities.


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