Sunday, October 03, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 03 October, 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:

It seems to have been mostly a quiet week, except for those at iSoft who seem to be suffering death by a thousand cuts with repeated downgrades coming every few weeks.

I am always a little nervous when things go quiet. One suspects those bureaucrats may be planning to unleash yet another ill-considered and under consulted plan upon us all. I don’t know about you but I find the lack of public information on what is going on and what is planned pretty worrying.

I think it is time for a well-timed leak or two to let us all know what is going on.

By far the best comment this week has been a clearly well informed anonymous informant reminding us all know just how often major IT tenders cost the providers squillions and then go nowhere - with the Government happily stealing off with the intellectual property contained in the bids.

The track record of major projects of the scale of what seems to be being planned with the PCEHR should make for careful consideration of all the risks before leaping ahead!

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/361916/wcc2010_e-health_held_back_by_doctors_/?eid=-255

WCC2010: E-health to be held back by doctors?

Tech-wary doctors, under investment in technology, could be responsible for slow e-health takeup

  • Lisa Banks (Computerworld)
  • 23 September, 2010 14:34

Technophobic healthcare practitioners along with immature technology could be preventing the accelerated rollout of e-health in Australia, according to one e-health industry expert.

Speaking at the World Computer Congress 2010 in Brisbane, John Neville from Data Agility, a provider of e-health technology, said while e-health records will be a natural progression, the challenges on the road ahead will be intense.

“The science of IT is nowhere near as mature as the science of medicine, and doctors don’t trust IT systems,” he said.

"If you want to implement a medication management system into a hospital that in any way, shape or form gives guidance, provides decision support or tells a doctor what to prescribe, you better be very, very sure that the science behind that system is more robust than the science behind the doctor's brain."

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/362347/e-health_urgency_required_overhaul_industry/?eid=-6787

E-health urgency required to overhaul industry

Former Queensland Health CIO, Peter Grant, picks apart the problems in health informatics

A former CIO of Queensland Health has called upon the health informatics industry to rethink the way the way health IT and e-health projects are implemented.

Speaking at the World Computer Congress 2010 in Brisbane, Peter Grant, who spent eight months in the role during 2007, warned the focus was in the wrong place for his successors and equivalents in the industry.

“When you’re the CIO of health your job isn’t to make the hospital work properly, it isn’t even to make a network of hospitals to work properly,” he said. “It’s to make the whole ecosystem work properly, so you’re dealing with all of these other professionals and all of these other organisations outside of your organisation, and we just haven’t been thinking that way. Each hospital thought of themselves as the only centre of the universe.”

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http://www.australiandoctor.com.au/articles/b7/0c06c6b7.asp

GPs must drive e-health records process

21-Sep-2010

By Dr Sam Heard

AS a senior GP, a director of the openEHR Foundation* and CEO of a software company working to enable shared electronic health records, I want to share my thoughts on the role of clinicians in the rapidly developing e-health environment. I want GPs, as well as practising generalist physicians, to take a key role in the design of their future health records.

The Federal Government’s agenda for the introduction of electronic health records (EHRs) is broadly aligned with international efforts to harness technology to improve healthcare. Suddenly the information we record during consultations is being seen as the key asset for improving healthcare.

The sharing of summary and consultation data, medication lists and laboratory and radiology results may well change the face of healthcare. However, clinicians around the world are largely excluded from these advances, due to the technical nature of the solutions offered. But this is largely our record of care.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/britains-fivium-wins-45m-deal-to-upgrade-pbs-processes/story-e6frgakx-1225930184811

Britain's Fivium wins $4.5m deal to upgrade PBS processes

BRITISH workflow specialist Fivium will replace the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme's paper-based processes with a computerised system.

Under a $4.5 million contract , Fivium will transform the PBS's paper-based back-office processes with a computerised drug-tracking and listing system.

The PharmCIS project also involves new IT tools to support more efficient pricing of new medicines, and streamlining the work of the PBS Advisory Committee.

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http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/move-to-stop-speed-pushers-slows-up-20101002-161w4.html

Move to stop speed pushers slows up

Michael Duffy

October 3, 2010

WHAT has happened to Project STOP? The Pharmacy Guild introduced this computerised system to stop criminals buying large quantities of cold tablets and products that contain pseudoephedrine. These are used to manufacture amphetamines.

The idea is that online, real-time reporting of the driver's licence numbers of purchasers, or attempted purchasers, will allow pharmacists to identify “pseudo runners” and refuse to sell to them. Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham, commander of the Drug Squad, thinks it is a great idea. But only 60 per cent of pharmacists have taken it up so far, and half are not using it effectively.

Back in August 2009, police approached NSW Health and asked for the use of STOP to be made compulsory in all the state's 1500 pharmacies. Superintendent Bingham says extending the system would not require legislation but, after a year, police have heard nothing. Last week Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt told us she had asked her department to look into the matter. The Sun-Herald will follow up this important initiative in a few months.

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http://www.zdnet.com.au/qld-health-rolls-out-personalised-payroll-339306365.htm

Qld Health rolls out personalised payroll

By Josh Taylor and Luke Hopewell, ZDNet.com.au on October 1st, 2010

After receiving a scathing report from the Queensland Auditor-General into the Queensland Health payroll disaster, Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas has today announced that a personalised payroll system has now been rolled out across the state's facilities.

The original SAP-based payroll system, implemented in March, was found to have missed critical testing phases and lacked correct governance across the project.

An auditor-general's report into the payroll bungle found that a lack of appropriate testing and oversight led to some staff being underpaid, others not at all, and even a case where deceased employees were paid and put on active work rosters.

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http://www.zdnet.com.au/govt-consolidates-public-service-id-system-339306366.htm

Govt consolidates public service ID system

By Darren Pauli, ZDNet.com.au on October 1st, 2010

The Federal Government has today launched a single agency to issue commonwealth security clearances for public servants and contractors.

The Australian Government Security Vetting Agency will replace the need for some 100 agencies to issue individual clearances, and save some $5.3 million a year, according to the government.

It is expected to process some 48,000 clearances a year from 300 government agencies.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the agency will cull inconsistencies and duplication under the existing system.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/city-beat/troubled-isoft-ripe-for-takeover/story-fn4xq4cj-1225932809111

Troubled iSoft ripe for takeover

PREDATORS could be sizing up struggling iSoft Group following the 84 per cent slump in its share price this year, analysts say.

Following major shareholder Oceania Capital Partners, formerly known as Allco Equity Partners, yesterday lashing the company's performance under former boss Gary Cohen, Deutsche today downgraded its recommendation to “sell” from “hold”.

By early afternoon its shares were trading at 12 cents, giving iSoft a market value of about $128m, compared with a peak market value of about $1.7 billion in February 2007. In this year alone, almost $700 million has been wiped off its value.

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http://www.zdnet.com.au/new-deal-sees-isoft-down-not-out-339306317.htm

New deal sees iSoft down, not out

By Luke Hopewell, ZDNet.com.au on September 30th, 2010

Ailing healthcare IT provider, iSoft, has today announced a deal to restructure its debt facilities, as part of a plan aimed at clawing the company's bottom line back into the black.

In a market update issued to shareholders today, iSoft chairman Robert Moran said that "the reorganisation and extension of our debt facilities removes the short-term financial uncertainty that we have faced over the last few months and provides a stable platform for us to execute upon the next stages of our plan."

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/major-shareholder-lashes-isoft-for-poor-performers/story-e6frg8zx-1225932549570

Major shareholder lashes iSoft for poor performers

  • Damon Kitney, Michael Bennet
  • From: The Australian
  • October 01, 2010 12:00AM

HEALTH IT company iSoft Group has been lashed for poor performance under former chief executive Gary Cohen, who has resigned as a director.

Major shareholder Oceania Capital Partners, formerly known as Allco Equity Partners, said yesterday it fully supported board renewal and improved corporate governance at iSoft.

"However, OCP remains extremely disappointed that iSoft's potential and our expectations to date remain unmet," OCP chairman Ian Tsicalas said.

OCP is a 24 per cent shareholder in iSoft and in June OCP managing director Robert Moran became non-executive chairman of the health IT group following the resignation of Mr Cohen.

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/362940/isoft_cohen_leaves_building/?eid=-6787

iSOFT’s Cohen leaves the building

Follows news that iSOFT’s revenues were down 20 per cent to $43 million

Besieged e-health company iSOFT has confirmed the departure of former chief executive Gary Cohen, just weeks after he quietly resigned from the CEO role in late August.

“iSOFT announces that Gary Cohen has resigned from the board and has completed all executive responsibilities with the company. Gary has assisted professionally and properly in the transition period,” a statement by the company this afternoon said.

“The board thanks Gary for his professionalism and assistance during the transition period,” iSOFT chairman, Robert Moran said.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/city-beat/weakened-isoft-reaches-deal-with-banks/story-fn4xq4v1-1225932255469

Weakened iSoft reaches deal with banks

STRUGGLING health IT company iSoft Group has struck a deal with its banking syndicate to re-organise its senior debt facilities.

ISoft, which commenced a review of its business in August after a $382.9 million full-year loss, said today its senior lenders have agreed to extend the group's existing senior debt facilities and remodel its financial covenants.

The banks have also agreed to provide a new senior revolving debt facility of up to ₤40m ($65m).

The restructure of the company’s debt structure is the first of several steps being undertaken by the board to establish a “more appropriate capital structure for the company”.

But the company is yet to find a permanent replacement for long-standing chief executive Gary Cohen who stepped down following its horrific result in August. Mr Cohen, who earned a total package of $1.1m last year, formally resigned today.

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http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/6271/isoft_new_director_to_lead_restructuring

ISoft new director to lead restructuring

28 Sep 2010

ISoft has appointed an executive director to lead on the restructuring of the company, which will include further significant redundancies over the coming year.

The company, which last month posted a statutory loss of £221m for the financial year 2010, said Ron Series will be based in the United Kingdom and will work closely with the executive management team to ensure an “efficiently executed restructure plan.”

Until now, Series has been heavily involved with the restructuring of Nakheel PJSC, the real estate arm of Dubai World. It had debts of almost £40 billion and made 10,500 staff redundant following problems caused by the financial crisis.

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http://www.abnnewswire.net/press/en/63858/iSOFT_Group_Limited_%28ASX:ISF%29_Company_Updates_On_Debt_Facilities_Re_Organisation_And_Business_Outlook.html

iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Company Updates On Debt Facilities Re-Organisation And Business Outlook

Sydney, Sep 30, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) has today lodged its Annual Report and audited financial statements for the year ending 30 June 2010. In addition, it announces the following to the market.

Debt facilities re-organisation

iSOFT and its banking syndicate have agreed on the terms of a re-organisation of the Company's senior debt facilities. The Senior lenders have issued to the Company a fully underwritten, credit approved and binding commitment setting out the terms on which the senior lenders have agreed to continue to extend the Group's existing senior debt facilities, including remodeled financial covenants as well as the provision of a new senior revolving debt facility of up to GBP40 million.

Securing the Company's debt structure is the first of several steps being undertaken by the Board of iSOFT to establish a more appropriate capital structure for the Company.

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http://www.i2p.com.au/article/electronic-transfer-prescription-etp-release-11-draft

Electronic Transfer of Prescription (ETP) Release 1.1 draft

Australia’s first national electronic prescription system has moved a step closer following the release of updated draft specifications. The suite of documents plans for a national framework and will be available for public comment until 15 October 2010.

The latest release expands on previous versions in three key areas, extending the transfer of prescriptions to a wider range of care settings including hospitals and residential care facilities, and addressing instances where the medications are supplied based on informal instruction from a prescriber before a formal prescription (owing script) is provided. It also introduces the transfer of fully electronic prescriptions signed with a prescriber’s digital signature.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/industry-sectors/telstra-ceo-david-thodey-to-take-nbn-deal-to-shareholders-by-mid-2011/story-e6frg9hx-1225931647586

Telstra CEO David Thodey to take $11bn NBN deal to shareholders by mid-2011

Telstra wants access to the wireless spectrum to evolve its Next G mobile network. Picture by AFP Source: AFP

TELSTRA wants to finalise the terms of its $11 billion national broadband network deal by this Christmas, its CEO said today.

David Thodey, the chief executive of the telecommunications giant, said he would then present the NBN participation deal for a shareholder vote by the first half of 2011.

It was towards that end, Mr Thodey told investors at its annual strategy day in Sydney, that Telstra hoped to finalise the terms of its participation by the end of this year.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/telecommunications/tony-abbott-demands-cost-analysis-for-the-national-broadband-network/story-fn4iyzsr-1225932115248

Tony Abbott demands cost analysis for the National Broadband Network

  • From: AAP
  • September 30, 2010 8:40AM

THE federal government expects legislation paving the way for the NBN to be introduced to Parliament before the end of the year.

But the Opposition will insist Labor also provides a cost-benefit analysis for the $43 billion initiative.

The cost of building the network has drawn criticism from Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim Helu.

Mr Slim said the cost, which equated to $7000 for every home, was too high and that the government should be using a multi-platform approach, instead of relying on fibre-optic technology.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/nbn-fails-to-win-support-from-business-which-doesnt-understand-its-economic-vision/story-e6frgakx-1225930197092

NBN fails to win support from business, which doesn't understand its economic vision

THE federal government has conceded that its NBN vision is failing to win business support.

Parliamentary Secretary Senator Kate Lundy acknowledged the problem during a panel session at the World Computer Congress in Brisbane last week.

After speaking on the government's technology-centric citizen engagement model, Senator Lundy faced pointed observations from Mark Toomey, founder and chief executive of technology consultancy, Infonomics.

Mr Toomey told the senator several key business groups did not understand the economic vision of the NBN.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/long-wait-for-service-providers-on-nbn-interconnect-information/story-e6frgakx-1225930245675

Long wait for service providers on NBN interconnect information

Mitchell Bingemann

From: The Australian

September 28, 2010 12:00AM

THE telecoms industry is awaiting the release of information on interconnection points in the $43 billion National Broadband Network.

Service providers also want to know whether monolithic data centres will be needed to handle the expected growth of data-intensive content.

More than 5000 telephony exchanges are used now to deliver internet and voice services over Telstra's copper network, but when the NBN's fibre network is rolled out and available to 93 per cent of the population, these exchanges will be replaced or upgraded into more than 200 interconnection points, or hubs, where fibre from premises will terminate and connect into backhaul networks required to move data nationally.

From these points, retail service providers will deliver services such as internet, voice and video through the fibre network to as many as 80,000 premises. The telecoms industry has been waiting for several months for information from NBN Co on where these points will be located and their physical layout.

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http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/vital-nbn-legislation-caught-up-in-senate-delays-20100927-15ssl.html

Vital NBN legislation caught up in Senate delays

Lucy Battersby

September 27, 2010 - 8:39AM

The legislation supporting the national broadband network is unlikely to reach the Senate before the last week of October and still relies on the support of an unpredictable minor party senator.

And legislation forcing property developers to lay fibre in new estates lapsed when the last parliament was prorogued, according to the Senate Bills List, and would need to be reintroduced into the House of Representatives where the balance of power is now held by independents and minor parties.

Crucial telecommunications legislation amendment bills and the fibre bill were missing from Senate and House legislation lists for this week.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-un-is-to-appoint-an-astrophysicist-to-be-the-first-contact-for-any-aliens/story-e6frg6so-1225929540635

The UN is to appoint an astrophysicist to be the first contact for any aliens

WHEN aliens arrive on Earth, they will no longer have to worry about who will greet them.

The United Nations, tackling head-on the problem of what to do if an alien says “take me to your leader”, is poised to designate a specific individual for the task.

Some would argue that the job should fall to the US president, the leaders of Russia or the European Union. Others might suggest the Pope. One thing is certain: humanity's lack of a leader would not make a good impression.

Instead the UN is set to select an obscure Malaysian astrophysicist who is head of its little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa).

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Enjoy!

David.

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