LEECARE ROLLS OUT PCEHR ASSISTED REGISTRATION, PREPARES FOR EMM
WRITTEN BY KATE MCDONALD ON 12 FEBRUARY 2014.
Aged care software vendor Leecare Solutions has rolled out assisted registration functionality for the PCEHR in its Platinum 5.0 software, having received its notice of integration (NOI).
The company is also preparing for the imminent launch of a new medications management module for its web-based software after extensive testing in pilot sites over the last five months.
Leecare Solutions director and CEO Caroline Lee said that while she had no figures on exactly how many of her clients were using assisted registration for the PCEHR, it was now widely available. Most organisations using it seem to have decided on assigning one nurse or a quality manager at each site to sign residents up for the system.
Dr Lee said while the future of the PCEHR was not assured, she was keen to see it go ahead for the aged care industry, particularly for the sharing of information between the acute and aged care sectors.
The aged care sector is still hopeful that a transfer document can be created and added to the PCEHR to facilitate the sharing of information about elderly people as they move between hospitals and residential aged care facilities.
The idea is that the document would contain an up-to-date list of medications and diagnoses as well as behavioural observations that acute care clinicians could quickly refer to when an elderly person is admitted to hospital from residential care. It would also include new or altered medications as well as observations from the discharge nurse.
Such is the need for a transfer document that several regions have devised their own, Dr Lee said, but it would be beneficial for all concerned if the PCEHR was used as the prime mechanism.
“I have no doubt that the vendors can develop and create a transfer document as it is just another form,” she said. “For us the technology is there, the ability is there, it's just making it happen and having the commitment from the government.”
Dr Lee said such a document had the potential to revolutionise the transfer of information for aged care. “A lot of organisations are already doing it regardless through some other means. There are local communities working out transfer forms between hospitals and aged care sites, so there's a lot of work already done.
“People are sick of waiting, and that just demonstrates the need, the urgent need of it, but it also demonstrates the ingenuity of people just getting on with it and doing it themselves.”
However, using the PCEHR as the transfer and sharing mechanism would be the obvious option, she said.
“If they could do it in that way, it means everybody gets access to it who should get access, not just people who are connected to each other. That is one of the problems: you are limited by how you connect to each other. We are trying to break down those limitations and barriers and get good health, and the information sharing is just so important.”
Dr Lee, who is also president of the Aged Care Industry Vendors' Association (ACIVA), admits to a certain amount of frustration that assistance from the government for the aged care sector has been lacking somewhat.
Leecare was part of the Pathfinder project, along with ComCare and AutumnCare, which was set up in 2012 to work with aged care provider RSL Life to investigate what systems and processes would be required to get the aged care industry involved in using the PCEHR.
However, despite handing in a report on the project 18 months ago, it has not been released. Several sources have told Pulse+IT that this lack of documentation on the processes and a lack of guidance in general had stymied the uptake of the PCEHR in aged care.
Dr Lee said it would take time for the PCEHR to show any benefits to aged care, where many believe it is needed most.
“[Uptake] will take time because the industry still hasn't been given a communication strategy from the government,” she said. “Unless that happens – and Pathfinder is finally released – nobody even knows what we're talking about.
“The vendors themselves are basically issuing instructions to clients and bypassing the whole process.”
She is still keen for the initiative to go ahead, however, but said that will require assistance from the government.
“The benefits that can be achieved by using it for new admissions or people returning from hospital and communicating between health professionals are immeasurable. There is so much benefit that they could get but the thing that is missing is the training of people on the ground.
“The development is there, the software vendors have built it, NEHTA has worked hard, the government committees have monitored everything – all of those elements have been done, and what's missing now is training the people who are going to use it to realise the benefits. But they can't use it unless they are shown how to.”
With PCEHR compliance and assisted registration now up and running, Leecare has turned its attention to extensively testing its new medications management module on the ground. It will be released in the very near future, Dr Lee said.