Medicare Web Services and PRODA

Services Australia is upgrading the technology used by Practice management software such as Bp Premier that connect to Services Australia for some digital health services. Bp Premier currently connects to Services Australia via a Medicare Client Adaptor which utilises a Medicare PKI certificate also known as a site certificate. Practice management software vendors will be replacing this Medicare PKI certificate method with a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account. This change also will lead to the replacing of the Medicare Client Adaptor to Web Services technology.

IMPORTANT  Services Australia have provided software developers, including Best Practice Software, with an update on the final stages of the project to migrate online services to Medicare Web Services (MWS).

The majority of our Bp Premier practices have migrated to Saffron SP3 or later and are fully compliant with Medicare Web Services. For our remaining practices still running an earlier version that uses older ‘adapter’ technology, Services Australia advises that the agency will remove access to Medicare Online claiming (including Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian Immunisation Register) for the remaining sites using adaptors.

This will be over a 6-8 week period commencing from 4 October 2022.

I haven’t upgraded to Medicare Web Services yet. When do I need to upgrade by?

If your practice is running Bp Premier version Saffron SP2 or earlier, you are using the older adapter technology. Services Australia will contact your practice in the weeks after 4 October 2022 to inform you that your ability to claim using the adapter will be removed. To continue to use online claiming services, you must upgrade your version of Bp Premier.

You can upgrade at any time before this by downloading the most recent version from the Bp Premier Downloads page. Review the release notes for version Saffron SP3 here.

The rest of this article answers questions you might have about upgrading to MWS and PRODA authentication.

What are web services?

Web services are a type of online technology that allow for secure communication and transmission of data between two devices or software packages over the internet.

What are the benefits of web services?

Medicare web services:

  • are more secure than certificates
  • are inline with current technology standards
  • are portable across devices and software
  • can be easily updated
  • do not require additional hardware or software installed.

What is Provider Digital Access (PRODA)?

Bp Premier's access to Medicare web services will be facilitated through Provider Digital Access (PRODA). PRODA is an online identity verification and authorisation system that provides secure access to government online services.

Currently, Bp Premier's access to Medicare is facilitated through PKI certificates. Using PRODA to authenticate and identify users and organisations provides a higher level of security than existing methods.

Learn more about PRODA here.

Which version of Bp Premier will support Medicare web services?

In Saffron SP2, Medicare, DVA, and Concession verification use Medicare Web Services. Online claiming and Australian Immunisation register functionality use Medicare Web Services as of Saffron SP3.

NOTE  After upgrading to Saffron SP3, to use Medicare, DVA, and Concession verification functions, online claiming and Australian Immunisation Register functionality, you must successfully set up a connection with Medicare Web Services if you have not already done so in Saffron SP2.

Which services are affected by this change?

Medicare services that will connect through web services include:

  • Medicare Online
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) via Medicare Online
  • Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) via Medicare Online.

Future editions of Medicare web services may add services such as My Health Record and the HI services.

What will change in Bp Premier?

The impact of the switch to Medicare web services in Bp Premier to users will be minimal.

However, there will be some changes to the way online claiming and AIR are set up in Bp Premier. You will need to configure details about your PRODA account in Bp Premier. All changes to workflows will be documented in the Bp Premier Knowledge Base and Best Practice Software trainers will give regular webinars on how the changes will affect your practice.

What can I do now to prepare?

If your Practice does not currently have a PRODA account, Best Practice suggests creating one ahead of time and ensure you are familiar with its interface and the appropriate authorisation levels are set up for your organisation. This will become important when linking Bp Premier to your organisation's PRODA account. If you already have a PRODA account you can jump right into linking Medicare Online as a service provider to your Organisation. See Connect to Medicare Web Services for more information.

Will I still need to use certificates?

You will no longer be required to import the Medicare or 'site' PKI certificate in Bp Premier. However, you will still need to install and update some other types of certificates, such as the NASH certificate for accessing the Health Identifier and My Health Record services.

What is a 'B2B device'?

You may notice the term 'B2B device' used in relation to PRODA. You can consider your practice's Bp Premier server instance to be a 'B2B device' for the purposes of registering with PRODA. Full instructions on how to sign up and configure Bp Premier for web services will be available in the knowledge base when the Program Update is released.

See Managing B2B devices (Services Australia) for more information

Where can I find more in formation?

Services Australia have created an eKit with further information on preparing your practice for web services.

Download the services Australia web services eKit

Services Australia also have PRODA eLearning resources available for health professionals.

Visit the Services Australia website for more information

This article will be updated as further information about Medicare web services and Bp Premier becomes available.

Last updated 06 September 2022.