In today’s electronically connected world, we press a button on a keyboard and we expect an email to arrive at its destination. Did you know that that’s not always the case? How many times have you been told that your recipient never received that email? Did they overlook it? Did it get swallowed by the SPAM filter, the local filter, the company filter, or the ISP filter? Or was it ‘lost in the post’? When do you, the sender, first know that it’s not arrived? The most common email systems recognise there are issues here and have the ability to request a ‘read receipt’. But not only is it optional to request a read recipient, it’s optional to respond to it.
In the clinical world, there is already plenty of historical evidence of paper communication going astray, but in the electronic clinical world help is at hand. There is a recognised standard to ensure that you, the sender, know that the clinical information you send is correctly received and imported by the recipient system. The HL7 application “acknowledgement” message is specified in the International and Australian HL7 standards to acknowledge that your message has been successfully imported into the recipient clinical system and waiting to be read and actioned appropriately.
Not every computer EMR system in the health sector has implemented HL7 along with its application acknowledgements. To encourage EMR vendors to continue improving the quality of electronic messaging and to ensure their systems are interoperable, HealthLink has decided to investigate this small area of HL7 compliance and to publish our findings. It is imperative that every electronic message is received by the intended recipient in exactly the manner and format intended.
HealthLink has started contacting the seventy+ EMR vendors whose customers have dealings with Healthlink, inviting them to confirm their capabilities. We plan to collate and publish this information in the October issue of Pulse+IT magazine to better inform the wider health community.
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