Specialist Letter

Product

Context

Specialist letters are used in replying to a referral or reporting on a health event. They contain information related to the event or the requested diagnosis or treatment by a specialist.

When a specialist creates a specialist letter document it will be sent directly to the intended recipient, as per current practices. A copy may also be sent to the individual’s My Health Record.

Specialist letters in the Australian context

This product is a specialists’ clinical response to a general practice referrer, as recommended for use in Australian referral systems. Within this package this clinical response is known as the electronic specialist letter. The eHealth prescription record is an electronic representation of the legal prescription.

Context in digital health

The purpose of the specialist letter core product is to define the clinical content for a nationally-agreed response to a referral for exchange between healthcare providers in Australia. The specialist letter is a point-to-point communication that can be optionally shared with other participating providers.

Specialist Letter Diagram

Figure 1: High-level overview of clinical document delivery

These flows are described below:

  1. After receiving a referral the specialist consults with a patient and writes a specialist letter in their local system, as a response to the referrer.
  2. The authoring system converts the clinical information into a structured electronic document.
  3. Other healthcare providers, usually the patients’ primary healthcare provider, can view the specialist letter by downloading it from the My Health Record system or receiving the document directly from the specialist (point-to-point).

 

Specifications

The Australian Digital Health Agency has provided the following specifications that apply to the specialist letter described above:

Current Specifications: 
Identifier: 
EP-1796:2014

Specialist Letter documents are used in replying to a referral or reporting on a health event and contain information related to the event or the requested diagnosis or treatment by a specialist.

By operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule 2016, on 1 July 2016, all the assets and liabilities of NEHTA will vest in the Australian Digital Health Agency. In this website, on and from 1 July 2016, all references to "National E-Health Transition Authority" or "NEHTA" will be deemed to be references to the Australian Digital Health Agency. PCEHR means the My Health Record, formerly the "Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record", within the meaning of the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth), formerly called the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (Cth).

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