Scheduled releases for the Healthcare Identifiers system occur in March, June, September and December. There have also been a number of mid cycle releases since the introduction of the PCEHR system. Processes for emergency releases to fix critical issues have been implemented. Infrastructure changes are not tied to this release cycle. The process for determining the content of a release is managed by DHS. It would facilitate NEHTA’s role in assurance and stakeholder consultation and communication if there was earlier notification of the content of each release and improved processes in place for DHS and NEHTA to work together on the release strategy and plans.
While there is joint sign off of releases, NEHTA does not always have adequate notice of the content of each release to be able to fully perform their clinical safety or quality assurance role. It is important that the information needed to perform quality assurance role for the quarterly releases is made available on a timely basis. Developing a common view of the release strategy and development road map and plan would allow NEHTA to better plan assurance requirements and resources and jurisdictions or vendors to prepare for changes. There are concerns in the vendor community about the impact and cost of compliance on small vendors that will occur. Performance testing and project closure reports for releases are also required for NEHTA’s assurance activities. At the point of this Review a number of these reports were still outstanding29.