Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13 June,2010.

Here are a few I have come across this week.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.

General Comment:

The most interesting thing this week was the ongoing discussion of the comments made last week at Senate Estimates as people thought through what it all might actually mean.
I have to say that despite my best efforts I am still to get any clarity about what is meant by the term Personally Controlled EHR (PCEHR), precisely what is intended, and just where it fits with the rest of the alphabet soup of IEHRs, PHRs, SEHRs and so on.
One can only conclude they really don’t know, or if they do, they think we are not entitled to know.
There has now been a month since the Budget (with this detail lacking announcement) was announced and the time for clarity has well and truly arrived.
The other obvious issue is that there has been some apparent change in the popularity of the Government due to the RSPT among other things. The impact of this on present e-Health plans, and all sorts of other things, is clearly under a cloud right now!
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BioGrid develops SaaS e-health platform

App can be applied to any long-term medical condition
Rodney Gedda (CIO) 11/06/2010 10:16:00
Melbourne-based medical research organisation BioGrid Australia has developed an e-health application which promises to break down information siloes between institutions by offering it as an integrated service.
BioGrid aims to provide an innovative medical research platform that facilitates “privacy protected research” across hospitals and medical research organisations.
BioGrid director Dr Marienne Hibbert said developing the portal provided an interesting example of consumer involvement in an IT project.
“The issue around consumer health is if your information is locked up in a clinic or hospital,” Hibbert said.
“If you have a personal record with important information it needs to be presented in a way people can understand.”
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Aboriginal health records get cyber treatment

By Louisa Rebgetz
Posted Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:00pm AEST
The Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance in the Northern Territory has welcomed a $1.5 million funding boost to expand e-health services to remote Indigenous patients.
The service has been trialed over the last four years and enables data detailing people's medical records to be stored at a central location.
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Indigenous health sees $4.3 million IT boost

By Jacquelyn Holt, ZDNet.com.au on June 11th, 2010
Indigenous health in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Victoria and South Australia will receive $4.3 million to upgrade IT services.
The Minister for Indigenous Health Minister, Warren Snowdon today announced plans which will see the money distributed across four Aboriginal health organisations to assist over 50 health services in the four states.
The Nganampa Health Council in South Australia will receive almost $2 million for IT systems maintenance and a web-based reporting trial. The Aboriginal Medical Services Association (AMSANT) will see just over $1.5 million for the development of a shared IT arrangement with other Aboriginal medical services and to evaluate the viability of an e-health system in the Northern Territory.
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Be careful of snake oil: health reform

  • AT THE COALFACE: Terry Hannan
  • From: The Australian
  • June 12, 2010 12:00AM
RECENT television advertisements claim: "Under the new health reform, the Australian government is delivering the most significant improvement to our health system since the introduction of Medicare."
The historical e-health reform evidence demonstrated worldwide would counter this claim. The answer is not in providing more hospital beds, training more doctors and nurses, and expanding the number of general practitioner services. This flawed model is essentially a propagation of the present healthcare delivery system, which is based on the costly, inefficient and poor quality widgets model of care.
Present models are no longer affordable, and to ensure success Australia must remove itself from non-data driven recommendations for health care. Real change can be made only with the use of effective health information technology tools. The phrase "electronic health records" is oft-quoted but poorly understood.
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Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history

By Ben Grubb, ZDNet.com.au on June 11th, 2010
Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.
The Attorney-General's Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.
Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection.
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Building a case for e-health in aged care

Published on Tue, 08/06/2010, 11:04:13
The two national aged care peak bodies have joined together under the banner of the Aged Care Industry IT Council (ACIITC) to commission a study into the sector’s IT readiness.
The comprehensive, stratified survey will be conducted by Campbell Research as part of a national project to roll out electronic prescribing and medication management throughout the sector by 2013.
The ACIITC hopes to develop a strategy for implementing a secure repository that GPs, pharmacists and aged care facilities will be able to access.
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HealthSMART to roll out e-health smartcards

Part of $360 million Victorian e-health initiative
Victoria's Department of Health will shortly commence implementing an e-health smartcard to manage access to key Victorian public health sector (VPHS) applications via a new single sign-on portal, as part of its whole-of-health ICT strategy, HealthSMART.
The two-factor authentication system will consist of a smartcard management system card printers, contact smartcard readers, a hardware security module, middleware and mini-driver for network authentication, and an application for performing certificate and PIN management functions.
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Complete health identifier service still months away

Software vendors to come online in Q1 2011 as NeHTA rolls out "evolutionary process"
Despite efforts to have the healthcare identifier (HI) service up and running by 1 July, the National eHealth Transition Authority (NeHTA) believes the service could take years to fully implement.
A spokesperson for the authority behind the implementation of the identifier service told Computerworld Australia that the system required additional software vendors, live testing and education for healthcare providers before the system was rolled out nationwide.
Recent amendments made to the Healthcare Identifiers Bill - the legislation that will enable the service to be implemented - has pushed back its reintroduction into Parliament to 17 June, and potentially pushed back the service's starting date back from its original July timeframe.
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ID theft threat largely ignored: survey

June 7, 2010 - 1:07PM
Most Australian's aren't protecting themselves against identity theft even though more than half those surveyed had lost a wallet or other personal information over the past three years, according to a debt data firm.
Research by Veda Advantage shows only 30 per cent of people have taken simple measures, such as buying a personal shredder, to protect themselves from ID theft.
The credit/debt data monitor also said 80 per cent of people were worried about identity fraud.
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Google privacy probe toothless

THE Office of the Privacy Commissioner has not set a deadline for its investigation of Google but regardless of the outcome, it has no power to prosecute the internet giant.
Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis launched a probe into Google on May 17 to determine if people's privacy was breached when its Street View cars captured personal information while inadvertently tapping into unsecure wireless networks.
The possible data breach took place in more than 30 countries and Google is facing at least one civil lawsuit in Oregon, US.
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Intervention and Prevention

Obesity (2010) doi:10.1038/oby.2010.119

12-Month Outcomes and Process Evaluation of the SHED-IT RCT: An Internet-Based Weight Loss Program Targeting Men

Philip J. Morgan1, David R. Lubans1, Clare E. Collins2, Janet M. Warren3 and Robin Callister4

Abstract

This article reports the 12-month follow-up results and process evaluation of the SHED-IT (Self-Help, Exercise, and Diet using Information Technology) trial, an Internet-based weight loss program exclusively for men. Sixty-five overweight/obese male staff and students at the University of Newcastle (Callaghan, Australia) (mean (s.d.) age = 35.9 (11.1) years; BMI = 30.6 (2.8)) were randomly assigned to either (i) Internet group (n = 34) or (ii) Information only control group (n = 31). Both received one face-to-face information session and a program booklet. Internet group participants were instructed to use the study website for 3 months. Participants were assessed at baseline, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up for weight, waist circumference, BMI, blood pressure, and resting heart rate. Retention at 3- and 12-months was 85% and 71%, respectively. Intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis using linear mixed models revealed significant and sustained weight loss of −5.3 kg (95% confidence interval (CI): −7.5, −3.0) at 12 months for the Internet group and −3.1 kg (95% CI: −5.4, −0.7) for the control group with no group difference. A significant time effect was found for all outcomes (P < 0.001). Per-protocol analysis revealed a significant group-by-time interaction for weight, waist circumference, BMI, and systolic blood pressure. Internet group compliers (who self-monitored as instructed) maintained greater weight loss at 12 months (−8.8 kg; 95% CI −11.8, −5.9) than noncompliers (−1.9 kg; 95% CI −4.8, 1.0) and controls (−3.0 kg; 95% CI −5.2, −0.9). Qualitative analysis by questionnaire and interview highlighted the acceptability and satisfaction with SHED-IT. Low-dose approaches to weight loss are feasible, acceptable, and can achieve clinically important weight loss in men after 1-year follow-up.
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iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Releases Market Update On National Programme For IT

Sydney, June 7, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) issued a market update on 2 June 2010 partly referring to a deferral of decisions in relation to the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) for our partner CSC (NYSE:CSC) being due to an uncertain political climate in the UK and ensuing election.
In addition, further comments regarding government change were given as a reason for delays in NPfIT procurements in the South of England. Both these statements were iSOFT's opinion and cannot be taken as fact.
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A brain, but not as we know it

DREW TURNEY
June 10, 2010
We are closer to the ultimate neurology experiment: building a brain, writes Drew Turney.
The 17th-century philosopher Rene Descartes claimed there was a disembodied driver in the brain, a kernel of intelligence that viewed sensory input and wielded consciousness to act upon it.
Though we're no closer to discovering the soul today, we know about dendrites, axons (cell components) and synapses (empty, electro-conductive space).
But what is still a mystery is how even though the brain comprises little more than these simple structures, it has somehow given rise to everything from language to love, from Beethoven to Big Brother.
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Cancer patients denied surgery

KATE BENSON
June 8, 2010
EXCLUSIVE
HUNDREDS of patients in Sydney, many needing spine and cancer surgery, have been left off hospital waiting lists for up to a year because overworked staff did not file the paperwork.
The mistake, which doctors say has affected more than 800 people, some in acute pain, has forced the health department to order a blitz on the centralised surgery bookings system in western Sydney. But angry surgeons claim some patients have already deteriorated as a result of the fiasco.
The error has also made politically sensitive hospital performance figures - much vaunted by the health department - look better than they are.
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Calls to expand e-mental health

June 7, 2010 - 11:39AM
The internet offers huge potential to bridge the gap between mental health services and those marginalised Australians most in need, experts say.
Professors Helen Christensen and Ian Hickie have joined forces to call for a major expansion of "e-mental health" in Australia.
Web-based mental health services could attain new reach into rural Australia while also placing help only mouse clicks away from the nation's internet savvy teens, they write.
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Experts call for web-based mental health services

AAP
The internet offers huge potential to bridge the gap between mental health services and those marginalised Australians most in need, experts say.
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Just 16 per cent tipped to take up NBN

ONLY 16 per cent of homes and businesses passed by national broadband network fibre-optic would choose to connect to it, even after 15 years.
The surprisingly low estimates were prepared by the Tasmanian government and have been released to The Australian under Freedom of Information law, in a ruling by state Ombudsman Simon Allston.
Also released are documents showing Tasmania initially wanted the NBN rolled out mostly via wireless technology - rather than fibre - as a more cost-effective delivery method.
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Seven free software tools for top productivity

DAVID WILSON
June 7, 2010 - 12:51PM
If you're still chained to Internet Explorer, switching to Google's Chrome browser might be the ticket.
The web is a thrifter's paradise. The giant network teems with free applications that tackle everything from spyware to website building.
Yes, free stuff has dodgy associations. You may recall those free but trashy plastic gifts once routinely stuck in cereal packets. The modern equivalent is the spam that promises you a free laptop but only brings more junk mail messages.
Despite free stuff's dubious aura, some tools that you can download at no charge are top-class. That means lean (low on megabytes), stable (rarely liable to crash), plus - above all - effective.
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Enjoy!
David.

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