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Just wondering if Front Desk is planning on becoming compatible with HealthLink?  
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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Andrea


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I asked that last week Molly, unfortunately got a 'no' from Smartsoft.  :(
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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Molly. Thank you for your post.

Currently Front Desk does not integrate with third-party secure messaging programs as there are many different products in the market offering this service, and historically, secure messaging has been less important to allied health practices when compared to the GP market.

We were monitoring the government’s eHealth initiative and were hoping this would be a common method to connect all secure messaging systems but this did not have any real traction with allied health providers. At this stage our official response is that we are monitoring this space.

There are some secure messaging systems that have developed integrations with Front Desk due to its popularity. We know that a product called Argus and perhaps others have integrations. When selecting a secure messaging program it is important that you choose one that is used by the GPs in your area as different programs may not necessarily communicate with one another. Ultimately secure messaging programs can be run separately to Front Desk and do not require integration if you are happy to simply attach sent documents and responses from these systems manually.
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Paul Bramley

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Was asked by one of our refers the other day if we were considering using "Medical Objects" for secure messaging.
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Elyssa Hamad Mkali

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Hi Paul,
this came up in digital health training yesterday: in Queensland Medical Objects is the main secure messenging service around. Where confusion comes in is probably the fact that we are still using fax and post so much, whereas the more folks move away from these technologies the more secure messaging becomes the norm and correspondence isn't missed.

Given the volume of correspondence we send and receive to GP practices, to dismiss it as not necessary in Allied Health is a bit problematic, and from a medicolegal perspective faxing is an outdated technology fraught with confidentiality issues. Compatibility with secure messaging is rapidly becoming an important consideration in choosing practice management and clinical software, and any practice manager who isn't taking it into consideration is behind the ball in a rapidly changing digital health space.
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Scott Wilson

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HealthLink is free to GP Practices, for Allied Health it is a paid service, and I am happy to pay for this.

I would really like FrontDesk to have HealthLink integration.  I was at a CESPHN event today and their IT person advised HealthLink has by far the biggest user base of all messaging systems.  I appreciate FD has been watching this space and as of this morning when I called Smartsoft, the answer was still no plans to integrate. I understand that there are only 3 significant providers of secure messaging.

I am told by CESPHN that in the inner west of Sydney more than 85% of all GP practices are on HealthLink.  I have no idea on the numbers elsewhere.  
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Steven, Business Care

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Hi Scott

Thank you for your post and your follow-up phone call to Business Care this morning. 
Your suggestion has certainly been noted. You do not require PMS integration to send and receive messages through secure messaging routes. For example, I believe that you are currently using Argus and taking advantage of their add-on that works with Front Desk’s Microsoft Word integration. 
At this stage, perhaps you could contact HealthLink and ask them for the alternatives they provide external to PMS integration and possibly also apply a bit of pressure on HealthLink to supply integration with Microsoft Word, similar to Argus.
Currently we still believe the volume of secure messaging to allied health professionals is low compared to other priorities in the allied health PMS space and that there are alternatives such as using external clients supplied by the messaging companies.
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Scott Wilson

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Thanks very much for your reply Steven, I appreciate it.  You are correct, we do use Argus, however this is largely for our specialists that we work with.  The majority of GP's in our area are using HealthLink as opposed to Argus.

I have also been in contact with HealthLink and am waiting for a call back from the appropriate person, I am not just asking FD to make adjustments!  

For me, it is also about efficiency - being able to write directly from FD and send letters etc through Argus means we reduce an extra step or double handling information.  Also direct integration, as I was led to believe at the presentation I attended this morning - means the formatting etc remains the same.  Using the native messaging service reduces the information to text only.

Again, at the meeting I attending this morning, we were told that PHN's are making uptake secure messaging services by Allied Health Practices a priority. As a result, they are talking about PMS providers that offer direct integration with these services.  There was one provider that moved from FD to another provider because of this.

The CESPHN have dedicated staff that they are offering to come out to clinics to assist with uptake of secure messaging, and in turn PMS compatibility, and if needed recommend a new provider. I have someone coming out next week to further explore HealthLink (note I am not thinking of changing our PMS).

Certainly this is worth noting from Smartsoft.  Thanks again Steven.  Cheers!
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It is 2017, Smart Soft. You are well overdue in integration of standards based compliant messaging from leading providers like Healthlink.

This is one of the key factors that has us looking at alternative PMS solutions this year. Please outline why this is not a priority for your business, whilst it is for ours - your customer?
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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Mark. Our position on this matter is still as it was in March this year, please see above. At this stage, we note that there is only one allied heath practice management software supplier in Australia that is integrated with HealthLink, so we are not alone regarding our position on this matter. Further, we note that this PMS supplier is yet to integrate with HICAPS.

Development resources need to be managed carefully to ensure maximum benefit to the user group and at this stage, this functionality has a lower priority than other items.