Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13 September, 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 subscription payment.

General Comment:

A very interesting week with a new Government established and a new Cabinet put in place a day or so ago.

It will be a little while until we can form a view as to how it will all work out.

Specific e-Health and Internet and NBN matters will doubtless become clearer over coming weeks.

We will just have to ‘stand by’.



Information revolution transforms healthcare

ARCHITECTS, doctors and IT professionals are discussing how technology can transform healthcare services.

The discussion comes as public hospital projects worth more than $33 billion are in the design or construction phase nationally.

A two-day digital hospital design workshop in Melbourne attracted 130 people, who planned to explore ways of overcoming healthcare and workforce problems through better operational processes and more integration with primary care.

NSW Children's Hospital Westmead information services and planning director Ralph Hansen said connectivity and integration through technology had changed healthcare delivery.



Aiming for co-ordinated care: public hospitals are undergoing a quiet revolution

  • Karen Dearne, IT writer
  • From: The Australian
  • September 11, 2010 12:00AM

PUBLIC hospitals are undergoing a quiet, if stop-start, revolution.

They are moving away from "doctors' egos and heroic interventions" to a culture of teamwork and community outreach. The shift is reflected in a new willingness among medicos, architects, administrators and technologists to hammer out key design issues together.

At stake is the $33 billion or so being spent on facilities under construction or being planned across the nation. These new hospitals will form the healthcare backbone for the next 50 to 60 years.

Reflecting a keen interest to get it right, this month 130 doctors, nurses, architects and information technology professionals gathered in Melbourne for a two-day Digital Hospital Design workshop hosted by Sydney-based Cisco Systems.

"For a long time, healthcare IT was about delivering a piece of information; now it's about bringing people together," explains Brendan Lovelock, Cisco's health practice leader. "We're discussing ways to combine IT with the built environment to make hospitals more effective and create better experiences for patients."



Election result a win for IT, e-health

  • Fran Foo, Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 07, 2010 5:52PM

THE Australian Computer Society has renewed calls for a minister dedicated to an IT portfolio as industry awaits a new Finance Minister.

The call was made as key rural independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor decided to back Labor, giving Julia Gillard the numbers to form the next government.

Mr Windsor said the most critical issue to winning his support was Labor's NBN.

"To miss that opportunity for millions of country Australians was too good an opportunity to miss ... you do it once, you do it right and you do it with fibre," Mr Windsor told reporters today in Canberra.

ACS chief executive Bruce Lakin hopes the Gillard government will consider consolidating IT into a single portfolio. He lamented the fact that in the past there have been instances where the ACS had to deal with several ministers to resolve a single IT issue.



Aged Care Residential Home Chooses Tablet PCs to Drive Mobility and Paperless Initiative

Motion’s new C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant ‘sold itself’ as mobile wireless solution

SYDNEY and AUSTIN, TX – August 12, 2010 – Residential aged care home Jacaranda Village is one of the first Australian healthcare organisations to take delivery of the new Motion C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) as it commits itself to mobility solutions and aims to be paperless within two years.

The aged care facility ordered the new Motion C5v for nursing staff through Melbourne-based aged care solutions experts Axishealth; and early reaction to the new wireless technology is universally enthusiastic.

Jacaranda Village CEO Susan Bowditch said that they wanted to work more efficiently, while operating within their limited resources. “We have been working for some time finding ways to work smarter. So far this has generally been in areas of work practices and equipment, such as trying to cut down staff time spent walking up and down corridors. This is our first serious venture into technology solutions.

“We discussed our goal of going paperless for greater efficiency with Axishealth’s Doug Smith, who suggested adding a solution of mobile tablet PCs to more efficiently use our specialist aged care software i-Care.



Jacaranda Healthcare Launches Landmark Electronic Hospital Information System in Papua New Guinea

Technology Releases - Enterprise Software

Today Australian-based Jacaranda Healthcare launched Papua New Guinea’s first Electronic Hospital Information System with the Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Don Polye present.

Ken Blaikie, Director of Jacaranda Healthcare said that through the vision of the Directors of the Port Moresby Private Specialist Medical Centre, a major step forward has been taken for health management in Papua New Guinea.

The software system being implemented by Jacaranda Healthcare allows for seamless access of data between multiple hospital departments and ensures patient information is instantly available to suitably authorised healthcare workers. Delivering significant improvements in the coordination of general medical services, specialist medical consultations, pharmacy, radiology, pathology, dental, obstetrics, minor surgery and other services within the centre.

“This will increase patient care standards and improve the efficient use of resources within the Centre. The system will also allow virtually unlimited expansion of services and users, future-proofing the use and access to vital health information.



Hospitals failing to treat critical cases on time

Julie Robotham

September 10, 2010

BIG regional hospitals are struggling to treat on time emergency department patients who need urgent attention, according to independent statistics that highlight a continuing bottleneck in the NSW health system.

The figures reveal a big variation across the state in how quickly patients in triage category 3 - whose condition is deemed ''potentially life threatening'' - are able to begin receiving medication or recommended treatment.

Government benchmarks say 75 per cent of such patients should start their treatment within 30 minutes of being assessed by the triage nurse.

But at Manning Base Hospital only 50 per cent were able to do so. At Calvary Mater in Newcastle the figure was 53 per cent, while at Lismore, Tamworth and Port Macquarie Base hospitals it was 56, 60 and 61 per cent, respectively.



Aged care turns away from Microsoft

Australia's aged-care industry has started rapidly developing low-cost alternatives to Microsoft's proprietary products after not-for-profit providers were slugged with licensing fee increases of up to 400 per cent by the software giant.



Clinical systems clarify medical messages

CHANGING demands in healthcare are behind changes in technology used in hospitals, Cisco Systems health practice lead Brendan Lovelock says.

"Ten years ago, IT in hospitals was all about accounting and building management systems, and if you were lucky there was a basic patient administration system," Dr Lovelock said.

"Now, health IT is an integral part of the clinical process, from intelligent monitors talking to the medication management system and collaboration not only internally but also with the patient's GP, family and other carers back in the community."

"Patient-centric" care relies on more effective communication and collaboration between all parties.



iSoft brothers turn full circle

Posted on: Sun, 05 Sep 2010 17:36:06 EDT

Symbols: OCCAF

Sep 05, 2010 (The Australian Financial Review - ABIX via COMTEX) --

Gary Cohen resigned as CEO of iSoft after the firm he co-founded posted a $A382 million net loss for 2009-10. It is only three months since Cohen, who founded the firm with brother Brian, quit as chairman so that leading shareholder Oceania Capital Partners could put its MD, Robert Moran, into the role. Experts disagree about whether iSoft will enter administration or undergo a trade sale. The firm has survived rocky patches in the past.

Publication Date: 4 September 2010



Darent Valley first with iSoft kiosks

08 Sep 2010

ISoft has won a deal to provide Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust with five self-service kiosks, which will be used to cut queues and reduce the pressure of incoming patients on reception and nursing staff.

The deal is iSoft’s first sale of Savience kiosks since agreeing a partnership with the company in February.

The kiosks will be implemented in Darent Valley Hospital’s reception area and fracture clinic and will allow patients to check-in for appointments and update their demographic information.

Paul Wilson, the trust’s outpatient project manager, said they should also help to cut 'did not attend' rates.



Little change on LSP contracts: Connelly

10 Sep 2010

The Department for Health’s director general for informatics has emphasised that local service provider contracts are still in place; although negotiations with CSC have yet to be concluded.

In a briefing at Richmond House to expand on a ministerial statement about the future of NPfIT, Christine Connelly said: “The Coalition government looked at the [BT and CSC] contracts and the best way to provide value for money is to fully honour them."

However, she added: "We will be looking to reduce what we spend both with suppliers and internally.”

She also confirmed that trusts choosing to go outside the programme will have to pay for systems themselves.



NHS IT juggernaut rumbles on

Coalition's conservative cuts

Analysis The major casualty of an overhaul of NHS IT has been revealed. The National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is no more - up to a point.

The death of an unwieldy acronym is hard to mourn, but otherwise the coalition's changes to the scheme are marginal. Indeed, if anyone is to suffer as a result of the decision to trim £700m from the scheme, it's unlikely to be BT or CSC, the last contractors standing.

Christine Connelly, the Department of Health's director general of informatics since 2007, insisted yesterday their multibillion pound contracts will be honoured by taxpayers.

"The best way to deliver value is to honour the contracts," she said.



Regional areas an NBN priority: Gillard

  • Joe Kelly, Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 07, 2010 6:02PM

JULIA Gillard said the federal government will work with NBN Co to ensure a priority roll out in regional Australia based on a uniform wholesale price.

Ms Gillard said the initiative would equalise the cost of telecommunications across the country, noting that a normal phone call from Tamworth to Sydney currently costs more than a local call made from within Sydney.

"Obviously we will be working through with NBN Co to do this priority roll out in regional Australia," she told reporters in Canberra today after rural independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott threw their support behind Labor allowing her to form the next government.



Deal on National Broadband Network to cost billions

  • Mitchell Bingemann and Anthony Klan
  • From: The Australian
  • September 09, 2010 12:00AM

JULIA Gillard's promise to deliver the ambitious National Broadband Network to regional areas before major cities will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and undermine the project's business case, the opposition has warned.

The Prime Minister promised to roll out the $43 billion NBN to regional areas first as part of a deal to secure the support of two independents needed to form a minority government.

But opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb warned yesterday that rolling out the NBN to the bush before lucrative metropolitan markets could jeopardise the project's economic case.

"The NBN business plan was to minimise the cost of the rollout and keep the maximum public exposure to $26bn by first attaining a critical mass in the cities that would allow them to generate revenues to assist the regional rollout, but now that whole thinking has been turned on its head," Mr Robb told The Australian.



Redrawn NBN rollout to put rural users first

THE government and the NBN Co will meet in coming days to tweak the business case for the ambitious $43 billion National Broadband Network.

The changes are intended to ensure that broadband-starved users are the first to receive the promised superfast internet services.

After a seven-week moratorium on the NBN's work schedule -- upheld during the lead-in to the election -- NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley can get back on with his job of connecting 93 per cent of the nation to a fibre-to-the-home network capable of 1000 megabit-per-second internet access speeds.

However, the task of completing the eight-year build will now take on new direction, as the concessions required to secure the support of the key rural independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor mean broadband-deprived rural areas will be the first to be connected.



AAPT chief executive Paul Broad sees NBN pitfalls

THE head of the nation's third-biggest telco has warned that the National Broadband Network could duplicate existing fibre in some areas.

He also said there were no guarantee that increased competition would lead to better prices.

"We've got fibre running down the centre of (independent MP) Tony Windsor's electorate -- I don't know if he knows that," said AAPT chief executive Paul Broad.

"We've got 24 strands of fibre up and down the east coast and we're only using two of them.

"Our number one worry is that we're going to re-nationalise the network and overbuild what's already there."



iiNet chief executive demands NBN cost-benefit analysis

  • Tracy Lee, Mitchell Bingeman
  • From: The Australian
  • September 10, 2010 12:00AM

THE country's third-largest internet service provider has renewed calls for a cost-benefit analysis of the National Broadband Network.

iiNet chief executive Michael Malone argued that any subsidy to provide access in rural and remote areas should be transparent.

"The one thing that's been missing from this debate is transparency. When [former prime minister] Kevin Rudd and [Communications Minister] Stephen Conroy came to power, they promised transparency but they've reneged on that," he said.

With the NBN rollout set to prioritise rural areas ahead of urban centres, there is speculation the change in implementation will push out the timeframe for the project to achieve a commercial return and could require a subsidy to connect the most remote users.



ISP filter could be buried

  • Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 07, 2010 3:44PM

LABOR'S controversial internet filter plan faces near-death despite the ascension of Julia Gillard as Australia's 28th prime minister.

Ms Gillard won the backing of independent MPs turned powerbrokers Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott despite Bob Katter supporting the Coalition and Tony Abbott.

The country has been in limbo since the August 21 poll didn't deliver an outright winner.

Labor went into the 2007 election pledging to censor the internet but since then Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has changed the shape of his plan several times. At last count Senator Conroy ordered a 12-month review into how refused classification content is rated.

Labor's mandatory filtering program will force all internet service providers to block web pages rated as refused classification on a secret blacklist.

The Coalition vowed to dismantle the plan regardless of last month's election outcome. And with the Greens set to hold the balance of power in the Senate from next July, it is almost certain Labor's filtering aspirations are as good as dead.



Fact or fiction? Top 8 Linux myths debunked

Think Linux is just for experts, or that it's less secure than Windows or Mac OS? It's time to dispel such false perceptions

If the idea of using Linux in your business is one that makes you nervous, chances are you've fallen prey to one or more of the many myths out there that are frequently disseminated by competing vendors such as Microsoft. After all, each Linux user means one less sale for such companies, so they have a powerful motivation to spread such FUD.

In fact, the ranks of businesses and government organizations using Linux grows every day, and for good reason: it's simply a good business choice. Let's take a look, then, at some of the top anxiety-causing myths and dispel them once and for all.




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