09 April 2024

The start of 2024 has been busy with the expiry of NASH (National Authentication Service for Health) certificates for many general practices, specialists, pharmacies and allied health providers.

Many of these organisations would have received an email from SWSPHN a month before their certificates expired, reminding them to renew and offering assistance with downloading and installing their certificates.

What is NASH?

NASH was introduced in 2012 and is a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) solution used to access digital health services such as:

  • Electronic prescribing
  • My Health Record
  • Secure messaging
  • Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service

Why is it used?

NASH is used by healthcare provider organisations and supporting organisations to:

  • authenticate and securely access digital health services
  • digitally sign documents and other transactions
  • encrypt health information for secure exchange

On 24 March, access to the HI Service and My Health Record using the Medicare PKI Certificate was switched off. Now, the only way to access these services is by updating to the NASH SHA-2 certificate.

Sites which are still using the Medicare PKI Certificate to access the HI Service will get a reminder email from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) informing them to update to NASH SHA-2.

For sites which have already updated to NASH SHA-2 and are still getting a reminder email, please check with your software provider to ensure your NASH certificate has been updated and installed correctly.

Most software vendors will have updated their software, so the only certificate required is the NASH certificate.

For more information click on the link below or if you have any questions, please reach out to the SWSPHN Digital Health Team at digitalhealth@swsphn.com.au


National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) – (digitalhealth.gov.au)

National Authentication Service for Health – Services Australia

02 April 2024

Prescribers are now able to submit applications in SafeScript NSW for approval to prescribe Schedule 8 Pain Management Medicines, Schedule 8 Benzodiazepines, and Esketamine and Ketamine when used to manage treatment-resistant depression.

This extends the approval management functionality introduced last year enabling prescribers to manage their applications for approval to prescribe medicines under the NSW Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) and psychostimulants (dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate).

More than 50 per cent of all applications to prescribe medicines under the OTP and psychostimulants are submitted through SafeScript NSW, with some receiving immediate approval (where required criteria are met).

This has improved the overall application process by reducing the time it takes to make an application and waiting for approvals to be processed.

SafeScript NSW’s approval management functionality offers an efficient and centralised way for prescribers to:

  • easily submit their applications online
  • monitor application progress
  • receive responses to their applications faster, with approvals issued immediately in some cases
  • cancel or exit an existing approval if it is no longer required

For more information, including resources to optimise your experience using SafeScript NSW, download this fact sheet.

18 March 2024

Many practices in South Western Sydney have been reporting they are receiving duplicate electronic discharge summaries.

Normally, when a patient is discharged from hospital they are provided with a paper copy of their discharge summary for them to give to their GP and a digital copy is forwarded to the GP.

If the doctor at the hospital decides to make changes or add new information to the discharge summary, a new digital copy will be sent.

For example:

  • discharging clinician at the hospital has created the discharge summary document for the patient and has sent the digital copy to the GP
  • five to 10 minutes later, they make changes or add information to the discharge summary and a new copy with the changes is sent electronically to the GP
  • for the receiving GP, this will appear as if the document has been duplicated as there may have been only minor changes
  • if the GP reads the document in its entirety, it may become clearer the document contains updated information, however the wording does not inform the GP of what has been added or changed

Top tip: Take a look at the end of the discharge summary document for the document version number.

Electronic discharge summaries not being delivered?

Shortly, we’ll be in touch with practices and GPs in our catchment who have previously not consented to their information being shared with South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) for the purposes of maintaining practice and practitioner records in SWSLHD’s systems.

SWSPHN has been working closely with SWSLHD to audit and finalise secure mechanisms for sharing practice records.

This will help ensure electronic discharge summaries have the best chance of being distributed to the correct practice and GP after a patient admission.

Top tip: You can also check My Health Record for any electronic discharge summary records for your patients.

Digital health questions? Contact our team

If you are having any issues with electronic discharge summaries (including delivery) or any other digital health issues, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at SWSPHN at digitalhealth@swsphn.com.au.

01 February 2024

Any healthcare organisation, whether a large, multi-clinic medical practice or a solo private provider, must have a My Health Record security and access policy in place if registered to participate in the My Health Record system.

Maintaining and promoting this policy is an important way of ensuring the system is used safely and responsibly by staff.

There are several useful resources to assist you with developing or maintaining your policy and meeting the ongoing participation obligations.

A key requirement of any healthcare organisation’s policy is to ensure that users of My Health Record receive training before being authorised to access the system.

The training should include:

  • how to use the system accurately and responsibly
  • legal obligations of the healthcare provider organisation and people who access the system on behalf of the organisation
  • the consequences of breaching those obligations

Users need to understand when they can view or upload information to My Health Record as well as the appropriate and lawful use of the emergency access function.

15 January 2024

Provider Connect Australia (PCA) is an efficient way to update the business details of GPs and other healthcare providers moving in and out of your practice.

The free PCA, an initiative of the Australian Digital Health Agency, provides a single place to update your business information and services, which can automatically update your National Health Service Directory listing and your local Primary Health Network.

This ensures your information is correct and saves you time by reducing the duplication required if you had to manually inform all your business partners when changes occur at your practice.

Your business partners not using Provider Connect Australia?

PCA is working to add business partners.

If your business partners are not using PCA, let them know they can contact pca@digitalhealth.gov.au to get signed up to start receiving updates about changes at your practice.

How to sign up

Follow the steps from this guide Provider Connect Australia – Register or contact SWSPHN’s Digital Health team at digitalhealth@swsphn.com.au for assistance.

Find out more
18 December 2023

SWSPHN has made its mark in the transformative interoperability journey by being featured in the Australian Digital Health Agency’s (ADHA) Interoperability Plan.

But why is this recognition so important for local GPs and how are they pioneering groundbreaking future planning?

The significance of interoperability

Interoperability is all about ensuring healthcare systems, from hospitals to general practices and aged care facilities, can seamlessly share patient information, improving the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care. It’s the foundation of a connected healthcare ecosystem, enabling healthcare providers to access relevant patient data whenever and wherever needed.

Local GPs: the vital connection

Participating South Western Sydney GPs are the pioneers of SWSPHN’s iRAD project, leading the way in shaping the future of healthcare in Australia.

Their role in this interoperability transformation is pivotal, and here’s why:

  1. Better patient care: Interoperability empowers GPs with instant access to patient histories, test results and critical medical information. This access ensures well-informed decisions and improved patient care.
  2. Time savings: With streamlined data sharing, GPs save valuable time which would otherwise be spent searching for patient records or waiting for critical information. This leads to increased patient throughput and more focused care.
  3. Patient experience: Patients receive more coordinated and personalised care when their information seamlessly moves between healthcare providers. GPs play a crucial role in delivering this comprehensive care.
  4. Improved diagnostics: Access to a patient’s complete health record helps GPs make more accurate diagnoses and prescribe the right treatment plans. This not only improves patient outcomes but also reduces the risk of medical errors.

SWSPHN’s interoperability project: a game changer

SWSPHN’s recognition in the ADHA’s Interoperability Plan showcases our commitment to advancing healthcare through seamless data exchange. By pioneering this endeavour, we are setting an example for other regions to follow.

Why local GPs are the groundbreakers

Local GPs are the frontline of healthcare. You interact daily with patients and have the firsthand experience to understand the importance of interoperability. You are the voice which advocates for improved systems and champion the cause of shared health records, efficient referrals and better care coordination.

iRAD: a beacon of progress

SWSPHN is pioneering the iRAD project. This initiative is transforming the way patient data is accessed and shared among hospitals, general practices and healthcare professionals. By facilitating informed decision-making and fostering high-quality patient outcomes, iRAD has set a new standard for healthcare interoperability.

The road ahead

Australia’s healthcare landscape is witnessing remarkable advancements in interoperability, thanks to pioneers like iRAD, and local GPs working with SWSPHN are at the forefront driving this transformative change. The spotlight on SWSPHN’s efforts in the ADHA’s Interoperability Plan underscores your crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare. Through the collective efforts of GPs, healthcare organisations and policy makers, a healthier, more interconnected future is on the horizon – and local GPs are leading the way.

Download the National Healthcare Interoperability Plan

16 November 2023

After 24 March 2024, the HI Service, My Health Record and electronic prescribing will no longer support connections from NASH SHA-1 or Medicare PKI certificates.

To maintain connection to these services, transition to a NASH SHA-2 certificate before 24 March 2024.

If you are using a NASH SHA-1 certificate for purposes other than the HI Service, My Health Record or electronic prescribing, when the certificate expires you will only be able to request a NASH SHA-2 certificate. It is your responsibility to be aware of any impact this may have to the way you use NASH.

Visit digitalhealth.gov.au/nash for more information and resources.

Digital Health website


Need help with NASH certificate renewals?  Find out how SWSPHN can assist your practice.

15 November 2023

Secure messaging has become an indispensable tool for the reliable, secure and timely exchange of critical information between healthcare organisations and practitioners.

To ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of these communications, it is essential healthcare practices keep their contact details up-to-date with secure messaging providers.

The vital role of secure messaging

Secure messaging is the backbone of various healthcare services which require the swift transmission of sensitive data.

This method of communication plays a pivotal role in the following key areas:

  • Pathology and imaging results: The transmission of test results is crucial for diagnosis and patient care. Secure messaging ensures these results are delivered promptly and securely to the right healthcare providers.
  • Hospital discharge summaries: Effective care coordination relies on the seamless transfer of patient information between hospitals and primary care providers. Secure messaging streamlines this process, enhancing patient safety and continuity of care.
  • Referrals and correspondence: GPs often need to collaborate with medical specialists and allied health professionals. Secure messaging enables the exchange of referrals and essential medical information to deliver comprehensive patient care.

The importance of keeping information up-to-date

Maintaining up-to-date contact details for practitioners within your healthcare practice is vital. Failure to do so can result in significant challenges, including:

  • Practitioners being unsearchable: When a practitioner leaves your practice or joins a new one, their ability to receive secure messages depends on the accuracy of their contact details. Outdated information can lead to them becoming unsearchable at their new location.
  • Messages sent to the wrong place: Using old contact details may result in messages being sent to practitioners at their previous practice, creating delays, misunderstandings and compromising patient care.

Secure messaging providers in Australia

To effectively manage your secure messaging, it is crucial to be aware of some of the prominent secure messaging providers in Australia.

These providers facilitate secure and seamless communication within the healthcare sector:

Argus is a leading secure messaging provider, offering a range of services to support healthcare organisations for their communication needs.

This provider offers medical software and secure messaging solutions, designed to enhance the efficiency of healthcare communication.

HealthLink is another trusted secure messaging provider in Australia, dedicated to improving communication within the healthcare community.

Ensuring accurate secure messaging

To maintain accurate secure messaging, follow these steps:

  1. Update contact details: Ensure your practice regularly updates practitioner contact details with your secure messaging provider.
  2. Notify the provider: When a practitioner joins or leaves your practice, promptly inform your secure messaging provider to update their information.
  3. Seek assistance: If you encounter challenges or need guidance regarding secure messaging, don’t hesitate to contact the Digital Health Team at SWSPHN at Digitalhealth@swsphn.com.au
23 October 2023

Our Digital Health and Data Manager, Nick McGhie, has been awarded the “Best Paper Submission” at the HIMSS APAC 2023 conference in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

The conference in September was hosted by US-based HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) and aimed to activate digital transformation and advance digital health capability in the Asia Pacific region.

The award embodies the hard work and dedication Mr McGhie (pictured left), and our entire Digital Health and Data team have put into their goal to improve healthcare coordination, with iRAD, powered by dbMotion, at the heart of their strategy.

The award-winning paper ‘Real-time health information exchange’ focuses on the Integrated Real-Time Active Data (iRAD) tool, designed to revolutionise the real-time exchange of patient information, especially between hospitals and GPs in South Western Sydney. 

Mr McGhie said the presentation was more than just a product pitch but aimed to shed light on the lessons learned, ongoing challenges and their mitigation strategies. 

“I wanted to frame it as an accessible presentation of iRAD. There’s a lot of talk at the moment in Australia but, of course, internationally around health information exchange and how to achieve that,” he said.

iRAD was launched by SWSPHN in 2016, with a vendor selected in 2017. The project was first delivered at five sites in 2019, with more general and specialist practices joining the iRAD program in 2020. iRAD has now seen a significant expansion in scope and impact, with 25 per cent of primary care locations in South Western Sydney using iRAD. 

“The scope of it now, it’s obviously increasing not just in the locations that are connected, but also the patients who are consented – over 20,000 now,” Mr McGhie said. 

SWSPHN’s iRAD project has transformed and improved the sharing of patient information within primary healthcare. 

“Why can’t you see that information?’ We hear it all the time,” Mr McGhie said.

“As patients, we get frustrated when our healthcare providers don’t have our complete health picture, and the frustration is mutual. Our region is diverse, with half the population speaking languages other than English at home, which adds to the challenge.

“Working with Altera, we’ve made a way to ‘share by default.’ Clinicians can now access patients’ information in real-time, even from outside their practice. Patient consent is crucial for this to work,” Mr McGhie said.

The Digital Health and Data team’s recognition at HIMSS APAC 2023 was a collective effort, with each member contributing their skills and showing their commitment to shaping a better future for healthcare data management within our region. 

19 October 2023

Our services, innovations, collaborations and commitment to improving the health of our community was on display today at SWSPHN’s first showcase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Centring around the theme of ‘strengthening Medicare’, a room of about 50 people including PHN Board members, PHN member organisations, PHN staff, service providers, committee members and GPs, gathered in the Dharawal Room at Campbelltown Catholic Club. 

We heard first from keynote speaker, Dr Stephen Duckett, Chair of the Eastern Melbourne PHN Board and former member of the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce, about the challenges facing general practice and primary care in the future. 

Dr Duckett told the gathering there had been a steady decline in the number of medical students choosing general practice. 

“What this means is that the world of primary medical care in 10 years’ time, 15 years’ time or 20 years’ time is going to be quite different from what it is today,” he said.  

“There’s going to be more patients, and either the same, or a smaller number of general practitioners, so we’re going to have to think about different ways of doing things.” 

SWSPHN staff then highlighted a small sample of some of the great work we do, including our innovative iRAD and New to General Practice Nursing projects, and an example of collaborative commissioning. 

Kristen Short, Director of Innovation and Partnerships, showcased our iRAD interoperability solution which connects health providers who are providing care for the same patient. 

“With iRAD, we just need to consent the patient and the information will flow, and be available once they return to their regular GP,” she said. 

Ms Short said South Western Sydney was the first location in Australia to have true interoperability working “which was super exciting”. 

So far, 85 practices are connected to iRAD, a psychiatrist and after hours clinics, and Ms Short said we were looking to expand locally to add another 35 practices in the next few months.  

“One of my favourite quotes from one of our providers is ‘I can’t do my job without iRAD’, they see so much value in it. 

“We’ve been working very hard for a few years on being able to view hospital information through iRAd. It will be a complete game changer for GPs to be able to quickly see any information if a patient is admitted to the emergency department or hospital.” 

SWSPHN’s Kristina Allen, Clinical Support Team Lead, and Lisa Cerruto, Clinical and Quality Improvement Officer, gave an overview of the New to General Practice Nursing program which provides support for nurses who are new, returning or transitioning to general practice within South Western Sydney. 

Val Burge, SWSPHN Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs Program Coordinator, followed with a presentation about working with service providers to have a greater impact on client outcomes, giving our work with the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Rendu House clients as an example. 

Stephen Suttie, Senior Operations Manager at Neami National, gave a presentation on the new, SWSPHN-commissioned Liverpool Head to Health Centre, a free, walk-in, mental health and wellbeing support service which opened in August.  

He discussed the benefits of working in partnership with SWSPHN to engage the community through the codesign process to deliver the best service they could. “What we deliver is a service that is there for people when they need it … which is really closely integrated with the community.” 

SWSPHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Keith McDonald PhD, closed the showcase with an exploration of SWSPHN’s new Employee Value Proposition – A Healthy Community. A Healthy Career. Right here, where you’re really needed – which not only tells, but shows why SWSPHN is a great place to work. 

Watch the staff EVP video 

Following the showcase, Board members met for SWSPHN’s AGM where our 2022-2023 Annual Report, which highlights even more of the significant body of work undertaken by our dedicated and passionate staff during the last financial year. 

Read our Annual Report