Gatekeeper offers doctors healthy returns

The Australian Health Insurance Commission has begun its digitally encrypted online payments system, based on the public key infrastructure (PKI), to allow health care professionals across Australia to exchange payments electronically.

The system is a first for the federal government's multibillion dollar national medical payments administration and is also the first system to use digital certificates, issued under the commonwealth's "Gatekeeper" PKI strategy. Certificates Australia (CA) , the local subsidiary of e-security solutions provider Baltimore Technologies, won the business to supply the technology and hosting services for the venture.

The certificates will be generated and managed from CA's "highly-secure" domain .

In addition to securely exchanging electronic payments across the country, the online system will "streamline a number of health care administrative processes for patients, doctors, medical staff, pharmacists and others involved in the delivery of health services".

The sensitivity of the HIC's payment and medical information traffic predicated using PKI, which combines digital certificates, digital signatures and sophisticated encryption for "privacy, integrity, authentication and non-repudiation -- the four pillars of electronic trust".

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