The Australia Digital Health Agency has opened bids for the first phase of its massive national infrastructure modernisation program that will refresh a core component of the My Health Record.

Late on Friday, the agency approached the market for a health API gateway solution to replace the Oracle API gateway that has underpinned the electronic health record since its inception.

It comes more than 12 months after the ADHA first called for information about potential future options for My Health Record, which is currently operated and managed by Accenture.

Accenture has held the lucrative national infrastructure operator (NIO) deal for the system since 2011, when it was known as the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).

Under the contract, the IT services provider built the system’s core IT infrastructure and a number of portals to access the record with a consortium consisting of Oracle and Orion Health.

But with that deal set to expire in June 2021, the ADHA is now seeking to conduct a “series of activities that may result in multiple service provider contracts delivering flexibility and competition”.

“The range of services similar to those currently provided by the NIO will be provided by potentially multiple service providers in the future,” tender documents state.

The first cab off the rank is a new gateway that will serve as a “foundational capability” for the country’s future national digital health ecosystems.

Tender documents reveal the gateway will initially serve the My Health Record system, but that it will also become a “single point of access to the national digital health infrastructure”.

In doing so, the agency hopes to reduce the “cost and technical and operational complexity faced by health consumers and providers today”.

All federal, state and territory government agencies will be expected to use the API, as well as “developers of health consumer and provider user system applications”.

“The health API gateway solution will enhance web and mobile access to the ecosystem and is extensible to other public and private health systems and service,” tender documents state.

“Ecosystem service providers will publish their APIs in the health API gateway (where appropriate).

“This facilitates the assertion of information from clinical systems to all digital health ecosystem service providers, and the retrieval of information from multiple ecosystem service providers, via a single endpoint.

“The health API gateway will support any data format that can be published by ecosystem service providers such as SOAP or RESTful web services.”

The successful tenderer will need to migrate the existing My Health Record API gateway which currently processes 1.26 billion transactions each year.

Around 1.25 billion of these transactions “were initiated as requests from external client systems to the APIs managed by the existing My Health Record System API gateway”.

Following the gateway project, the ADHA said it will “consider further steps to continue the modernisation of the national infrastructure”.

“It is anticipated that the next stage will be to modernise the remainder of the national infrastructure currently provided by the NIO … with a focus on addressing end-of-life issues and capability uplift,” it said.

More to come

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