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Lawyers crawl over NASH debacle

  • 25 October 2012
  • Written by 
  • Published in Deals

The collapse of the $24 million contract to develop a National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) is now in the hands of lawyers following IBM being stripped of the project.

The National E-health Transition Authority, Nehta, awarded IBM the $23.6 million NASH contract in March 2011. IBM was charged with developing an access authentication framework using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and secure tokens to manage access to information stored in PCEHRs (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records).

Ten days before Australians were able to register for PCEHRs (from July 1) Nehta announced that the IBM developed security system would not be ready. However the launch of the PCEHR went ahead with the Department of Human Services providing an interim security solution.

That interim solution is continuing to operate.

While there has been lukewarm response to the PCEHR from the general public, data continues to be loaded into the system.  Medicare data, including MBS, PBS, Australian Organ Donor Register and Australian Childhood Immunisation Register data, has now been incorporated into the eHealth record system.

With regard to NASH, Nehta this week confirmed that it had terminated the design, build and operate contracts it had with IBM.

According to a spokesperson; “There is an interim NASH developed and being operated now by the Department of Human Services for the PCEHR system. This situation with IBM does not affect consumer access to the eHealth record system in any way, and given the interim NASH solution has been delivered, this does not impact healthcare providers from accessing and uploading eHealth records.

“There is a second component which will support secure messaging and an announcement on this is expected in the very near future."

IBM meanwhile issued a short statement saying it had; “terminated its agreements with the National E-Health Transition Authority and E-Health Authentication Services Pty Ltd to design, build and operate Australia’s National Authentication Service for Health. IBM is unable to comment further as this is an ongoing legal matter.”

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