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Argus for Allied Health Professionals
Would you like to be able to send your medical letters and reports to your referring doctors by a simple means that will make your referrers’ lives easier and probably reduce your costs?
Would you like to be able to receive referrals and progress letters from referring doctors or specialists, or exchange patient clinical information with other allied health practitioners, all by electronic communication using the same simple mechanism?
Would you like to be able to view the reports, file them, and be able to retrieve them on your computer simply and safely?
Argus is a software product designed specifically for clinical needs that can provide all these facilities and is growing rapidly in popularity amongst GPs, specialists and hospitals.
Not only can Argus be used to send reports to referring doctors but it can also deliver to you hospital discharge summaries and notifications etc, all at almost no cost to you.
You can use your patient record system to create your report letters and other clinical correspondence and send these directly from within your letter writing facility via secure email using Argus. The list of clinical software packages that achieve this is expanding all the time.
Alternatively, if you do not operate an electronic patient record system you can still send your reports electronically using Argus, simply by having Microsoft Word® connected to Argus. Similarly, practitioners without a clinical records system may still receive electronic referrals using a free document viewer called ArgusMail, or simply pick them up using Microsoft Word®.
- There is no paying per message for sending or receiving messages by anyone: allied health provider, hospital, GP, specialist, pathology or radiology provider
- Argus seamlessly integrates with existing email services, internet service providers and clinical software
- Argus uses HIC approved methods for securing data transfer and encrypting records
- Argus is becoming increasingly popular as the mechanism of choice because of its simplicity and capability to serve a range of messaging needs
- Contributes to better relationships with healthcare providers by speeding up reporting processes, therefore encouraging co-operation between providers
What is Argus?
Argus is a program that provides safe, simple and secure transfer of clinical and patient data via email.
It runs on any practitioner’s computer alongside existing software that you use and enhances internet email with additional features for clinical needs such as security through use of PKI encryption, HL7 Standard formatting of the clinical data for computer-to-computer interoperability and additional mechanisms that ensure all documents are received reliably by the intended recipient.
ArgusMessenger is the core of the Argus product which manages the sending and receiving of encrypted messages.
Because Argus uses open, commonly-used internet technologies (e.g. email) all healthcare providers can implement Argus easily and cheaply and use whichever Internet Service Provider they choose, with the option of either dial-up or permanent broadband connection.
- Utilises standard internet email to send and receive clinical messages
- Adds PKI encryption, a failsafe mechanism for assurance of message delivery and HL7 message structure
- Can be used with dial-up or broadband internet connection
- Provides a range of interface methods for interoperability with patient management software
- Interfaces with a wide range of clinical software for receiving clinical reports and sending documents plus an exclusive Argus/Microsoft Word interface
- Runs on most Windows, Macintosh or Linux computers
- Provides a local address book of clinicians and organisations with recipient email addresses and access to their PKI public keys to encrypt messages
- Access to an Australian Argus Users Directory via the internet to update address book entries including PKI keys and email addresses
How can Argus help me?
Argus helps your practice by using the existing technology solutions you have in place to send and receive secure and encrypted data to the health professionals you wish to report to and receive reports from.
If your referring GPs or specialists are pressing you to send reports to them electronically, Argus is the ideal solution for you. It is inexpensive for both your practice and the GPs and specialists, it is secure and it is reliable. More importantly, doctors prefer receiving reports via Argus because Argus can be automatically inserted into their patient record system rather than requiring time-consuming cutting and pasting which would be necessary if ordinary email was used.
In addition, a growing number of allied health practitioners are choosing to send reports electronically rather than by mail, and in those cases, the practitioners are enjoying significant reductions in postage costs.
Argus can enable your practice to securely exchange clinical information including patient encounter reports, service coordination and care plan documents with other providers, and to receive referrals, all by a simple, electronic method.
Once you have started using Argus, the range of communications can be expanded as more and more other medical providers start using Argus and commence sending and receiving documents in the same way.
The aim of Argus is not to change the way you work, but to make the administrative and reporting work you do easier, faster and more reliable
Argus encrypts all data sent by email and decrypts all received messages using the Public Key Encryption (PKI) Standard. The PKI system is the same as used by HIC for their electronic claiming through HIC Online.
Security of sending clinical data is also dependent upon ensuring that anything sent is actually received by the intended recipient. Argus utilises the international Standard HL7 method of ensuring that a message has arrived at the receiver’s mailbox, by automatic acknowledgement of receipt by the recipient’s Argus to the sender’s Argus.
What support is available?
Argus provides a full Help Desk support capability during regular business hours (EST). Fully secure client-controlled direct access to the Argus client server can also be offered. This enables Argus technical personnel access to the Argus server to provide near equivalent to on-site attention.
Regular updates to the product are issued periodically with enhancements that are based on user feedback and other identified opportunities to improve Argus.
Recommended Minimum Requirements for Argus Installation
It's easy to start using Argus, and if you use HIC On-line you probably meet the minimum requirements already.
- A dedicated Argus server machine is recommended for most medium to large practices, with Windows 98 and later, Linux and Apple OSX
- Broadband is recommended, although any level of Internet connectivity may be used, from dial-up to a permanent broadband connection
- An email address dedicated to clinical messaging
- PKI location certificate for the practice (Argus can provide this if you do not use HIC Online)
- An interface between the patient administration or clinical system and Argus – various options are possible, so speak to an Argus Business Analyst