The Smart Health Story
Smart Health was established in 2000 by Peter Flower and Jon Hughes. Smart Health is a health information technology provider that specialises in secure cloud-based eHealth solutions.
Our solutions are focused on shared care and managed health programs, including outpatient and ambulatory care Clinical Information Systems (CIS) for chronic disease), shared Electronic Health Records (EHR), repository solutions, conformance with eHealth standards, reporting databases and other solutions including integrated care. Smart Health is a long term innovator and pioneer in Australian eHealth solutions.
Smart Health’s existing cross-practice CIS solution is a product of innovation as is our secure cloud repository; we are leaders in innovative eHealth including:
Australia’s first cloud-based shared EHR repository
Australia’s first cross-jurisdiction, shared repository-based chronic disease information management solution
Australia’s first implementation of PKI-based authentication for access to cross-practice clinical systems
Australia’s first integration of a shared EHR repository, home tele-monitoring systems, tele-consulting and mobile access for patients
Australia’s first cloud-based shared EHR repository-based solution for multi-disciplinary care of cancer patients across multiple health services
Our approach is to:
Work closely with clinical champions and users to develop solutions
Deliver solutions which are fit for purpose, user friendly and offer value for money
Provide customers with sustained support , solution upgrades and enhancements that keep our applications current with best eHealth and clinical practice
Smart Health has been successfully pioneering and delivering eHealth programs since 2000, with a particular focus on the development and implementation of “Shared Care Information Management Systems” for multidisciplinary teams and integrated care.
Our beginnings were very humble. We started with a vision for shared patient clinical data based on requirements developed from our collaboration with far-sighted Australian clinicians. Early analysis showed that there was no efficient means of sharing clinical data within the Australian sector. These were the days when the Internet was mainstream in other industries but not yet accepted or understood by healthcare. These were also the days where dial-up Internet was the norm in private practices.
In early 2000, after gaining support from the then CEO of Brisbane Waters Private Hospital on the Central Coast of NSW, Graham McGuinness, Smart Health Solutions formed partnerships and engaged sponsors to begin Australia’s first shared Electronic Health Record project. Partners and sponsors in the project included Sun Microsystems, Schlumberger, Macquarie Bank, Cable and Wireless and the Central Coast Division of General Practice. In May 2000, the Commonwealth Government through the Information Technology On Line (ITOL) program, granted Smart Health funding to accelerate the development of the program. In 2002 an enhanced Smart Health-led consortium, now including the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, received a supplementary ITOL grant to further develop the program. It was on the basis of these programs that Smart Health has evolved to where it is today.
This humble work had many firsts including:
A secure, private cloud client/server eHealth implementation
Use of PKI and smartcard technology to authenticate users and secure data
An “opt-in” consent model based on Commonwealth Government approved terms and conditions
The appetite for shared EHR programs within Australian government healthcare authorities, despite enthusiastic beginnings, waned until bursting to life with the PCEHR program around 2009. In between times Smart Health maintained the vision but shifted its focus to supporting chronic disease patients in outpatient departments and other healthcare programs that required shared access to clinical data.
Smart Health, together with some leading Australian clinicians, pioneered the following eHealth firsts:
In 2004, Australia's first online solution for Renal Medicine was launched in NSW Health for the (then) New England Area Health Service. This solution has evolved and been enhanced to support other sites in NSW and Victoria.
In 2005, funded by the South Australian Health Department, Smart Health was implemented at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. This implementation enabled South Australian patients with Cystic Fibrosis who were referred to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for transplant services to have their healthcare histories available online to interstate clinicians.
In 2007, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing awarded Alfred Health in Victoria funding to implement Australian first state-wide shared EHR to support chronic disease. The program focused on Cystic Fibrosis patients with the potential to support all chronic diseases.
Along the way Smart Health, in partnership with Australian clinical champions, has developed and implemented support for other health management programs including Community Care, Infectious Diseases and HIV, Cancer and surgical interventions.
Innovation and pioneering continues at Smart Health and our footprint continues to grow as health services and governments begin to grasp the commercial and shared care benefits of secure, cloud-based eHealth solutions.
The requirement for security and privacy of patient clinical and other health information derives principally from:
The Australian Privacy Principles
Various state privacy legislation
Ethical business practice
Smart Health has been committed to the security, privacy and ethical use of patient health information since it commenced the development and live operation of secure on-line information management solutions for patient healthcare in 2000.
Our approach includes:
Voluntary participation by patients and healthcare providers
All patients and healthcare providers participating in managed health programs supported by Smart Health do so a voluntary (opt-in) basis.
Informed consent to participate by patients
All patients participating in our programs must provide informed consent by acknowledging terms and conditions provided as part of the enrollment documentation.
Authenticating healthcare provider access to patient information
Healthcare provider access to patient information is authenticated using two factor authentication.
Authenticating administrative access to patient information
Healthcare administrator access to patient information is authenticated using two factor authentication.
Patient authorisation of provider access to patient information
Healthcare providers only gain access to patient information when their healthcare practices are explicitly authorised to access health records by the patient.
Access to patient information is strictly based on existing healthcare practice information management arrangements
Health service providers are assigned roles and permissions that determine access rights to patient information.
Securing repositories of patient and provider information
Smart Health’s servers and data repositories are hosted by secure, accredited data centre operators.
Smart Health is committed to the use of national and international standards in eHealth programs.
“Integrated care is a subject we take very seriously and we plan to use the clinical information sharing capabilities of the Smart Health cloud systems to develop Monash Watch further as an integrated care leader and model for Australia.”
Professor Don Campbell, Professor of Medicine at Monash University and Head of the Division of General Medicine at Monash Health, Victoria.
“We have found Smart Health to be professional, knowledgeable and very easy to work with. One of Smart Health’s strengths in our tender process was its existing cross-practice, multi-disciplinary clinical information and repository solution, that can be readily customised to meet the requirements of new managed health programs, particularly programs that operate across multiple health practices and health services.”
Tracey Tobias, Manager, Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS), Victoria
“St Vincent’s and Mater Health has partnered for several years with Smart Health. Together we implemented Australia’s first online diabetes clinical information management solution. We have extended to renal and soon to our chronic care services and outpatient clinics. Smart Health is an Australian leader in chronic disease health record capability and has a team of ICT experts that continues to interpret and deliver on user requirements.”
David Roffe, CIO, St Vincent’s and Mater Health, NSW
"During my years working with Smart Health I have found them highly professional, reliable and value for money. Smart Health also has unique EHR capability and I thoroughly recommend them to others considering eHealth and EHR programs."
Professor John Wilson, Head Adult Cystic Fibrosis Service, Alfred Health, Victoria