Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 18 July, 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:


Well, yesterday our less than a month old Prime Minister went to the Governor-General and called an election for August 21, 2010. As she said when she took the job ‘game on’!

From the e-Health perspective we have the following so far:

Julia Gillard's address to the nation

GOOD afternoon Australians one and all.

Can I say good afternoon to members of the Canberra press gallery and at least say to them they’ll be relieved to know their days of standing on street corners waiting for the election to be called are over.

And can I say to Australians on the 24th of June I had the very great honour of becoming Prime Minister of this country, the greatest country of all.

And on that day I acknowledged that I had not been elected by the Australian people. And I said then to the Australian people that I would ensure, that in the near future, they would to able to exercise their birthright, their vote, to select their Government and their Prime Minister.

Today I honour that pledge, and today I seek a mandate from the Australian people to move Australia forward.

This morning I asked Her Excellency, the Governor-General, to dissolve the House of Representatives so that elections can occur for the House and half of the Senate on Saturday, August 21.


Instead of supporting computers in schools and e-health, he would abandon all of it.


For the full speech go here:

From Tony Abbott we have:

Tony Abbott's mental health strike

  • Matthew Franklin and Adam Cresswell
  • From: The Australian
  • July 01, 2010 12:00AM

TONY Abbott has ignited the unofficial election campaign by targeting Labor's policy weak point of mental health with a $1.5bn spending package.

The package includes 800 new hospital beds.

Capitalising on health sector anger about Rudd government inaction on mental health, the Opposition Leader yesterday promised to fund 80 new mental health treatment facilities, including 60 serving young people.


Mr Abbott's policy documents released yesterday said a Coalition government would raise the funding by abolishing a range of Labor programs, including expanded funding for GP services, the GP Superclinics program, an e-health system and existing youth mental health programs.


More here:

So superficially, on the e-Health issue, there is no choice. Sadly, in my mind, it is actually rather like a Hobson’s choice or more accurately a Morton’s Fork.

See here:


“A Morton's Fork is a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives (in other words, a dilemma), or two lines of reasoning that lead to the same unpleasant conclusion. It is analogous to the expressions "between the devil and the deep blue sea," "between a rock and a hard place," or, as those in the Spanish-speaking world say, "Between a sword and the wall." This is the opposite of the Buridan's Ass.”

The reason I say this is that I have zero confidence that the present Labor Government approach will yield much, if anything, in terms of e-Health progress – while the Liberal Opposition seem to be saying they have essentially given up on e-Health.

A credible approach from either lot would be a vote winner for me!


Roxon vows hospital website will open next month, but won't say when


July 17, 2010

The federal government has rushed out a pre-election announcement on the long-awaited MyHospital website.

The Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, who said she could not say exactly when next month the website would begin operating, said she was announcing it because of speculation that the it might not happen.

Ms Roxon said the site would enable people to check how individual hospitals performed against national averages for elective surgery and emergency care, but would be based on 2008-09 statistics collected by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and would also list hospital services available.

However, information on the frequency of hospital-triggered infections and mistakes was not yet available from the states because of different reporting systems, Ms Roxon's spokeswoman told the Herald.


My Hospitals website ready next month


A NEW website comparing the nation's hospitals should be up and running before the federal election, the Federal Government says.

The government announced in April that it would introduce "transparent reporting" on every hospital's performance against new national standards as part of its $50 billion health reform agenda.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon today revealed that a scaled-down version of those reports would be available online on the My Hospitals website from August.

"My Hospitals will show how a hospital performed compared [with] national average waiting times for elective surgery and emergency department care," Ms Roxon said in a statement.

MyHospitals website to open next month, Roxon announces

THE government's MyHospitals website is scheduled to be up and running next month to compare the performances of public hospitals against national benchmarks.

Announcing details of the site today Health Minister Nicola Roxon said: “MyHospitals draws back the curtain on the performance of Australia's hospital system and provides an unprecedented level of transparency as the Gillard government works to deliver better health and hospital services for hardworking Australians,”

The minister said the website aimed to provide information on which hospitals were performing well and which hospitals needed to lift their performance and require further assistance.

It will cover hospitals in all states and territories with the exception of Western Australia, which did not sign up to the government's health funding reforms in April.


Deakin University to train medical students online

Project set to ease rural mental health workforce shortage

Deakin University has received funding to implement video conferencing facilities to teach students in Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat and Box Hill.

The federal government funding of $336,120 will allow students in these rural areas to fill mental health workforce shortages.

Minister for Indigenous health, rural and regional health, Warren Snowden, said the facilities will utilise video conferencing technology.


New mobile computing for Queensland emergency services

Queensland Ambulance and Fire and Rescue Service to get new mobile data terminals

The increasing availability of high speed wireless data networks and mobile computing devices has spurred the Queensland Government to expand its application of mobile data systems for its agencies providing emergency services.

The Government will set up a panel of providers as a method of giving agencies the flexibility to develop mobile data terminal solutions that meet their needs and utilises existing infrastructure.

The panel will act as a source of mobile data terminal hardware, peripherals and software as well as expanded network coverage via the incorporation of HSDPA (high speed 3G services), satellite networks or other private data networks.


Lawyer finds eHealth record loophole

By Mahesh Sharma

Jul 14, 2010 3:20 PM

Australians can choose to pay a premium for privacy.

Australian citizens will only be able to avoid information being recorded against their healthcare identifier number by using medical services anonymously or giving a false name and paying full price for medical services, according to a legal expert.

University of Melbourne law professor Loane Skene - who supports the healthcare identifier as a way to allow research organisations to access medical information without consent - raised the prospect during a speech at the University of Monday night.

The Healthcare Identifier Act came into effect on July 1. It assigns Australian citizens with a unique number to link all medical information contained in disparate databases.


Patient-doctor confidentiality needs review

13 July 2010 | by Nick O'Donoghue

Privacy laws need to be changed to allow doctors to discuss a patient’s genetic disorders with family members who may be affected, a medico-legal expert says.

Following a presentation last night, Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne and member of the Australian Health Ethics Committee, Loane Skene, told Pharmacy eNews there was a need for legislation to acknowledge the benefits e-health records could give doctors treating patients by providing information on other blood relatives

“In future we should take a more familial approach to health care, particularly acknowledge that a lot of information in the future will be genetic and whenever you have genetic information it has implications not only for you, but also for your close blood relatives.


SA Health chief bans iPads among staff

Issues a moratorium on purchases until IT team can assess the device

The chief executive of South Australia's health department issued a sternly worded letter to all staff in late May warning them off corporate purchases of Apple's flagship iPad device until the department's IT team could properly assess the device.

The letter - under the name of SA Health CEO Tony Sherbon - states that SA Health is issuing a moratorium on the purchase of iPads for an initial period of two months.

Sherbon told staff that while the potential use of the iPad within SA Health might be significant, the department needed to fully assess the device before it was implemented - with concerns around the security of patient information being one potential issue.


Nehta puts finishing touches to health identifier plan

NEHTA and the federal Department of Health and Ageing are finalising procurement for businesses to help develop Australia's e-health system.

Implementation partners, including IT companies, will be able to participate in the process in a few key areas, National E-health Transition Authority chief Peter Fleming said.

"We will be looking for implementation partners in the private sector that will work with us as we go through the journey of implementing the unique healthcare identifier program, then the packages such as discharge referral and then the electronic health record," Mr Fleming said.

He declined to go into detail about the tenders, but said "those things are being fleshed out a little bit further with DoHA".


Dr Mukesh Haikerwal named as one of 50 Australians currently most influential on General Practice in Australia

12 July 2010. Australia’s leading independent medical publication Australian Doctor has named Dr Mukesh Haikerwal as one of 50 Australians currently most influential on General Practice in Australia.

Viewed by many of his colleagues as a ‘young elder statesman’ Dr Haikerwal has been recognised for his work in various public roles, including that of commissioner on the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, and for his determination to get back to fulfilling his various public roles after being assaulted in 2008. Dr Haikerwal is currently the National Clinical Lead for NEHTA and is playing a pivotal role in e-health reform in Australia.


Queensland Health bungle a lesson on shared services

Failed project shows need for proper governance structures before starting a project, Ovum says

Queensland Health’s well publicised payroll blunder should serve as a sage lesson to private and public sector organisations on the dangers of shared IT service implementations, according to Ovum.

According to the analyst house’s public sector research director, Kevin Noonan, the failure of Queensland Health’s SAP-based payroll system suggested that the proper application, rather than a lack of IT tools and methodologies, was at the heart of the project’s woes.

“Shared services is certainly the flavour of the moment across Australian governments,” Noonan said in a research statement. “This is a sensible step given the significant potential savings in management and infrastructure costs, as well as the extra benefits in delivering coordinated services across agencies.


Queensland's whole-of-government existential crisis

IT procurement navel gazing as CorpTech gets overhauled

The Queensland Government will abandon its one-size-fits-all approach to payroll across government following the bungling of Queensland Health’s SAP-based payroll roll out.

The fiasco has also seen the Government set to overhaul whole-of-government IT provider, CorpTech, in a bid to have it better match agency needs.

"We want larger agencies with complex payroll requirements to be able to use the payroll system which suits them," Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, said in a statement on the new approach to public sector IT.

"At the same time, smaller agencies should have the ability to cluster with similar agencies and utilise the one payroll system."


Qld Health payroll bungle contaminates super

Fallout from Queensland Health's $100 million botched SAP payroll software upgrade has spread to contaminate the superannuation holdings and salary sacrifice schemes of government employees, the state's nurses union has warned


iSoft UK e-health woes lead to downward revenue revision

ASX-listed e-health provider hit by overhaul of UK health system IT program

ASX-listed e-health provider iSoft (ASX: ISF) has revised its revenue forecast down by another $10 million, following a halving of its share price last month.

As reported by Computerworld Australia iSoft on 2 June revised its revenues down for the full 2010 fiscal year by as much as $30 million following a confluence of market events.

At the time the company said its revenue for fiscal 2010 would now be in the range of $440 to $455 million while EBITDA was likely to be in the range of $45 to $60 million.


iSoft makes yet another profit downgrade, fuels speculation of private equity bid

Wednesday, 14 July 2010 10:34

Patrick Stafford

Troubled software maker iSoft has announced yet another profit downgrade, the second since June, with the company reportedly letting go about 600 staff.

The announcement comes after reports were published suggesting a number of private equity firms are eyeing the company, as its market value has plummeted to just $170 million from a peak of about $1.5 billion.

In an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange yesterday, chief executive Gary Cohen said the current estimate for the 2010 year is revenue of about $430 million, with EBITDA of approximately $40 million before "exceptional and one-off items".

This comes after a profit downgrade was made in early June, with the company then announcing an expected revenue level of $440-445 million, a decline from a previous downgrade to $500-520 million.


More executive changes at iSoft

By Josh Taylor, on July 15th, 2010

Following the departure of iSoft Australia and New Zealand managing director Denis Tebbutt last month, the company has today confirmed two more of its Australian executive team have left the company.

iSoft confirmed to ZDNet Australia that the company's ANZ operations director Rein de Vries and client engagement director Peter Hong had both left the company.

iSoft's head of brand and communications Sally Durant said that the departures were "part of a planned restructure that is part of the repositioning of the ANZ business for more focused growth".


Telstra and NEHTA get it right for GPs

By Suzanne Tindal, on July 13th, 2010

With very little fanfare, Telstra last week announced its involvement in one of the more sensible initiatives I've heard about this year.

It will provide software-as-a-service medical systems via its T-Suite platform to the members of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Currently there isn't any specialist medical software on T-Suite, but Telstra, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the college plan to work with GPs and vendors to work that out.


iSoft UK e-health woes lead to downward revenue revision

ASX-listed e-health provider hit by overhaul of UK health system IT program

ASX-listed e-health provider iSoft (ASX: ISF) has revised its revenue forecast down by another $10 million, following a halving of its share price last month.

As reported by Computerworld Australia iSoft on 2 June revised its revenues down for the full 2010 fiscal year by as much as $30 million following a confluence of market events.

At the time the company said its revenue for fiscal 2010 would now be in the range of $440 to $455 million while EBITDA was likely to be in the range of $45 to $60 million.

In February the company reported a full fiscal 2010 outlook of $470 million and an EBITDA of $113 million. The company reported that it was on track to meet those targets in March.


iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Corporate Results Forecasts For The Financial Year 2010

Sydney, July 13, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) today announced that whilst the audit of its financial results for FY10 is still underway, the current estimate of the outcome for the year is revenue of approximately A$430 million and EBITDA of approximately A$40 million before exceptional and one-off items.

Following the delays associated with the rollout of Lorenzo under its NPfiT contract, it is now expected that the development work on Lorenzo will continue until September 2012. This has led to an accounting adjustment of the revenue recognized to 30 June 2010 of A$4.1 million. This adjustment does not have any cash flow impact. The additional time required for delivery will mean that the revenue recognition of milestones, which are a fixed amount, under the percentage of completion method, will now be extended over a further 12 months. However, the additional time and cost to develop Lorenzo is expected to be supported by monthly revenue receipts during the development period.


iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Wins New Customers In Germany In Deals Worth A$5.8M

Sydney, July 12, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) has won contracts with five new customers in Germany in the past month totaling EUR3.9 million (A$5.8 million).

Both Stadtklinik Frankenthal and Rudolf Virchow hospital at Glauchau will switch to iSOFT's ClinicCentre solution by January 2011. ClinicCentre will serve as a central hub ensuring the availability of accurate patient and clinical information across the hospitals.

The 335-bed Rudolf Virchow is also taking iSOFT's BusinessCentre application for financial accounting and a third-party pharmacy solution. The seamless integration of these applications was a key factor in the decision.

NHS £13bn IT programme to be overhauled

Leo King
13.07.2010 kl 18:54 | Computerworld UK

The troubled £12.7 billion (US$19.1 billion) NHS National Programme for IT is set to be overhauled, after the Department of Health said it would slash spending on consultants for centralised programmes, and promised an "information revolution".

The troubled £12.7 billion (US$19.1 billion) NHS National Programme for IT is set to be overhauled, after the Department of Health said it would slash spending on consultants for centralised programmes, and promised an "information revolution".

The NHS, which is attempting to cut £20 billion from overall costs, will use a "more plural system of IT and other suppliers", the Department said in a white paper today. Chief executive David Nicholson will make an announcement in the next month.


Child porn filter move hits snag


July 13, 2010

HOPES that a voluntary filter of child pornography will become industry standard across all internet service providers have been dealt a blow, with significant mid-sized carrier Internode declaring yesterday that it will not participate.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy late last week announced the government would hold off on its filter proposal until a year-long review of refused classification rules had been completed.

At the same time the government said three internet service providers - Telstra, Optus and Primus, which between them represent about 70 per cent of Australian internet connections - would voluntarily block child abuse content, with the prospect that others might follow.




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