Getting started with digital health

‘Digital health’ refers to any form of health care provision that is delivered by digital means.

Examples include electronic health records such as My Health Record, real-time prescription monitoring with SafeScript, secure messaging between providers, electronic prescribing, electronic referrals and requests, and telehealth consultations.

Our Primary Health Care Improvement team can help practices with the following digital health processes. Call us on (03) 9347 1188 or email primarycare@nwmphn.org.au for support.


Digital health infrastructure: getting set up in your practice

There are a few things your practice needs to do before it is ready to connect to digital services, such as My Health Record, or process pathology eRequests. This is to ensure information can seamlessly flow between health care providers, medicine dispensers, specialists, pathology labs and patients.

  • Healthcare Identifiers

    The Healthcare Identifiers Service produces a consistent set of identifiers for individuals and health care providers, so that we know for whom care was provided, who provided it, and where it was provided.

    There are three types of identifiers:

    • Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI): the person who received care. IHIs are assigned to every person enrolled in Medicare or registered with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
    • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI-I): the person who provided the care. This includes GPs, allied health professionals, nurses, dentists and pharmacists.
    • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O): the organisation where the care was provided, such as hospitals or general practices. Sole practitioners can also apply for a HPI-O.

    Read more about Healthcare Identifiers on the Medicare website.

  • Roles and responsibilities

    Healthcare organisations must have people assigned to certain roles. These roles authorise them to carry out certain actions.

    Responsible Officer (RO) role

    The RO is the person who is registered with the Healthcare Identifiers Service and has authority to act on behalf of the “seed” organisation and relevant “network” organisations.

    Organisational Maintenance Officer (OMO)

    The OMO is a person who is registered with the Healthcare Identifiers Service. They act on behalf of a seed and/or network organisations (if any) in day-to-day administration of the Healthcare Identifiers Service and the My Health Record system.

    The My Health Record website has more detail about roles and responsibilities.

  • PRODA and online services for providers

    Provider Digital Access (PRODA) is an online identity verification and authentication system. It lets you securely access government online services that are useful in day-to-day general practice and primary care. You can use your PRODA account to access a range of services for providers, including:

    Visit the Services Australia website for the full list of services available to access.

    Anyone who works in health care services, including health professionals and administration staff, can register for a PRODA account. You can also register an account for an organisation.

    Once you have a PRODA account, you can use it to log on to HPOS. HPOS will allow you to check patients’ Medicare card details and to check what MBS items the patient has claimed (for example: for GP Management Plans and Team Care Arrangements).

    Each person who requires access to HPOS must have their own PRODA account.

    GPs, nurses and administrators will need to set up their own PRODA accounts. The GP uses their account to delegate HPOS authority to a nurse and/or an administrator. Each delegated person will then be able to open HPOS, under programs, using their own PRODA account.

    For more information and to register for a PRODA account visit the Department of Health website.

  • NASH or Medicare-PKI Certificates

    Human Services Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates allow health professionals to securely access online services. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates help you to:

    NASH is used to securely access and share information using national digital health systems, such as My Health Record and secure messaging. Health care providers use NASH by installing a NASH-PKI certificate into their clinical software. NASH certificates were originally provided on CD but they are now only available as a file downloaded from HPOS.

    Certificates can only be requested by a responsible officer or organisation maintenance officer, who must log on to HPOS.

    Contact your clinical software provider to find out whether a NASH-PKI certificate, Medicare-PKI certificate or both types are required.

    More information about applying for your health care identifier and NASH PKI certificate is available on the Services Australia website.

What next?

Visit the links below to find out more about digital health services and the support we can provide: