Digital health start-up Tyde is poised become the first digital consumer healthcare platform to achieve the government’s highest level security accreditation, with the My Health Record-connected app due to receive the gold standard status in August.
The Australian Signals Directorate – the nation’s cyber spy agency - will finalise its Information Security Registered Assessors Program validation process following a rigorous process to determine Tyde’s security defences.
“I could literally take my shirt off and show a few scars,” Tyde co-founder and CEO Romain Bonjean told Healthcare IT News Australia.
In what will be a first for a non-government digital healthcare service, Tyde voluntarily submitted itself for IRAP certification and has been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to meet the top grade.
The distinction will place Tyde’s data security standards at the same level as those applied to government departments.
“It's an exacting process. We are novel in so many ways. We did a lot of discovery alongside the Australian Digital Health Agency as we were developing and building that secure cloud that connects to their secure cloud,” Bonjean said.
The benefits of the process flowed both ways.
“We then covered a lot of issues on their side and helped set certain agendas in terms of privacy rules. We're currently doing a big privacy impact assessment to enhance the concepts of sharing and take it to a level that's more appropriate than the one currently apparent in My Health Record, including getting a full consent engine, which is our next release.”
Achieving the IRAP credential will be the culmination of bold ambitions and hard graft on the part of a company that launched in 2016.
“There’s an old saying: the pioneer gets the arrows.”
The Tyde app, which has been purpose-built to connect with My Health Record, allows people to access their health data and share it with healthcare providers.
This week the Federal Government opened its My Health Record opt out period and was met with a barrage of data privacy concerns but, according to Bonjean, the national online health information repository is set to become an enviable piece of Australian infrastructure.
“We see My Health Record as being a unique opportunity worldwide in creating a personal health record system that actually populates itself.”
He said despite the kinks and criticisms the ambitious government project is on the path to success.
“The My Health Record perception in the industry as a whole and in the community has shifted from something that may very well fail and go nowhere to a fait accompli. The opt out will have some kinks but it looks like it will succeed as planned this year,” Bonjean said.
“What we've also detected in the most negative corner of the industry [is that] people are starting to say there is some usefulness to My Health Record. So what we always have is a long-term view … We understand it's a long process in getting more data, in getting better usability, in getting greater adoption across a varied demographic. But it's a good time to be alive.”
[Read more: Technical chaos and privacy backlash as My Health Record opt out period begins | RACGP claims gaining patient consent for My Health Record uploads is not the job of doctors and calls for improved incentives]
Digital entrepreneur Bonjean has established a number of technology businesses including photo search and editing app Lumific, which was acquired by GoPro. He co-founded iVox, Australia's first wholesale VoIP provider, which merged with Telcoinabox during its IPO in 2013. His first foray into healthcare was a company called Lumigenix, a consumer genomic testing business similar to the Google-backed 23andMe, where he later worked.
Founded two years ago with $800,000 in seed capital, Tyde recently raised an additional $3 million. The app is free for consumers and earns revenue by charging healthcare providers and payers a fee per use. As a patient goes into coordinated care, such as for heart failure treatment, Tyde charges providers to coordinate their care over the platform.
With plans to go global as other countries adopt national electronic health records, connecting into My Health Record is an important part of the company’s development.
As the government’s creation of its health data portal kicks up a gear, after 17 years and $2 billion it has seemingly been belaboured by what is a mammoth technological challenge, but Bonjean insisted that's the surmountable aspect of the project.
“It's never been a technological issue. You could argue that the Accenture architecture is a bit aged and they should have a more modern FHIR translator, etc, and that's great but these are very minor issues. I mean, the banking industry sorted itself ages ago, the project management industry sorted itself ages ago. These are smaller barriers.”
He said in a true public/private collaboration, tech companies have been charting world-beating progress in Australia. The problem lies elsewhere.
“It's a highly technology-driven industry [but] I don't think the industry has a technological problem. We present it as a technological problem – CDA, PDFs, interoperability – that's all you hear in the corridors of the industry, but that's a furphy. We have a political problem.”
Bringing the different branches of the healthcare sector on-board has created delay, he claimed.
“That means the royal colleges have an opinion, they have a feeling that they own the IP so they instruct the members to give a minimum amount of data to My Health Record because of the fear of losing power or you name it."
The real challenge for the government in the ongoing implementation of My Health Record therefore continues to be the diplomatic one.
“The issue is genuinely political. Why is it that even though pathology is meant to be on, it's only trickling in? Why is that radiology reports are coming in but not that? Why are doctors not using e-referral? Why is the Pharmacy Guild not connecting properly? Then when you start peeling layers after layers you realise, well, it's quite political.”
But Bonjean said the politics are only delaying the inevitable.
“The reality is, it's there today and it's working and doctors are connecting to it. More and more doctors will be obliged to connect to it because that's on the roadmap.”
Five third-party apps are authorised by the ADHA to provide consumers with ‘view only’ access to their My Health Record, including Tyde, the myGov app, Healthi Mobile, HealthNow and HealthEngine.
So far about 5.9 million Australians have a My Health Record, with the entire population due to have one created for them by the end of the year unless they opt out before October 15.
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