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Blog: Second phase of the NIMP takes flight

18 November 2022
By Kate McDonald
Image: iStock

There was some very interesting news this week from the Australian Digital Health Agency on progress with its modernisation program for the national digital health infrastructure. We jokingly refer to this as the NIMP, but there is in reality a huge amount of work going on under the bonnet to convert what is pretty much 12-year-old infrastructure into contemporary standards without breaking what has been established over the years.

We must admit that the first phase of the NIMP passed us by without us noticing, for which we do apologise. ADHA told us this week that it had moved the entire My Health Record platform into the Microsoft Azure secure public cloud in July, enabling all elements of the modernisation program to be cloud based. This is a big but very welcome move and will enable much more efficient data exchange in a cloud environment.

The second phase of the NIMP is the API gateway project, which has replaced the My Health Record Oracle stack with contemporary, web services-based APIs. The most important part of this project is rolling out this week and next, with the B2B gateway going live. This will ensure that all of the interfaces between clinical software systems used throughout the healthcare industry and the national infrastructure are now based on contemporary standards such as FHIR.

The next step is to enable the indexing of health information databases to exchange information between systems. Again, FHIR will enable this and it will be fascinating to watch. The mobile APIs have also been upgraded so it is likely that in the new year, My Health Record data can actually be consumed by mobile apps. This has been a long time coming.

The rest of the NIMP depends on what the federal government decides to do, but hopefully it will include work on indexing the datasets held by many different organisations so clinicians and researchers can access data when they need it. The new platform includes contemporary capabilities for verification, authentication and endpoint management that promises to overcome the siloes of the past.

We are quietly confident that the new approach is the right one. Let us know if you think differently.

In other news, the ACT’s big bang go-live for its Digital Health Record seems to have been a success. There was a very minor glitch with some people signed up for the My DHR consumer app receiving an SMS notification of an old test or appointment, but that seems to have been fixed. There are undoubtedly going to be issues with such a big project but if this is the extent of it for consumers, it has all gone swimmingly.

We have yet to hear about any grumbles from ACT Health clinicians or IT people. There surely must be some. Let us know here.

We asked ACT Health how they think the go live has gone. Here’s what they told us: “The ACT’s Digital Health Record went live across the ACT public health system at 5:30am on Saturday morning. Existing records have now transitioned from a number of retiring systems into the Digital Health Record. From last weekend, the care people receive through the ACT public health system will be recorded in one central system.

“Due to historical data coming into the new system, approximately 75,000 of MyDHR patients received an unpromoted notification early Monday 14 November 2022. ACT Health had anticipated some transitional issues during the implementation of the Digital Health Record, and we have worked quickly to address them. Relevant updates to the system have since been tested and applied to resolve this issue.

“Overall, we are pleased with the implementation of the Digital Health Record and will continue assisting our public health care staff in their transition to using the new system.

“If any individual has a concern about the information in their MyDHR, they should contact the DHR support line on 02 5124 5000. The support line is open 24/7.”

The Medibank hack saga also continued this week, with more details released at this week’s AGM. Here’s the latest. Our poll question last week asked whether you thought Medibank was correct in its decision not to pay the ransom.

You did: 91 per cent to nine per cent. We also asked whether you thought ransoms should ever be paid. Here’s what you said.

This week we ask:

Do you have confidence that the infrastructure modernisation project is on the right track?

Vote here or comment below.

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3 comments on “Blog: Second phase of the NIMP takes flight”

  1. If the ATO can consolidate >300 servers into <30, then Health should be able to move to the cloud. It is not the IT skills that prevent it; it is the bureaucrats.

  2. Is the ACT Digital Record evolving using the experiences of the RCH, Melbourne or ‘going it alone’? What early implementaiton measures have been reported to make it Territory-wide? It will be interesting to monitor the progress of this implementation.

  3. Last week we asked in our poll: Do you have confidence that the infrastructure modernisation project is on the right track?

    We have to say this poll received the fewest votes in the history of our opinion polls. Nonetheless, most respondents said yes: 61.5 per cent v 38.5 per cent against.

    We also asked that if you voted no, could you provide practical advice as to why? Here’s what you said:

    – Lack of transparency

    – Changing the infrastructure won’t fix the big problems which are with the data – incomplete, no context, much less useful than clinical systems. And most Australian’s can’t and/or don’t care about managing their own health data.

    – no

    – prohibitive cost

    – Moving to an API-based standard is great for standardisation, noting it doesn’t really assist or support large-scale analytics.

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