Sunday, November 07, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 07 November, 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 quiet week indeed. I wonder will we see anything useful come from the Summit in a few weeks. Readers here seem pretty dubious.

See here:

A bit of a theme seems to be emerging that the management of comparative health information is increasingly tricky as payments become linked to information outcomes.


Hundreds of patients shunted off surgery lists

Julie Robotham

November 4, 2010

Western Sydney hospital man- agers systematically bumped hundreds of patients off surgical waiting lists, artificially improving the area's performance, a damning external review has found.

The patients were reclassified - after waiting almost a year - as not being available to have their elective surgery, typically a fortnight or less before their operation would have become officially overdue, according to the report by the auditor O'Connor Marsden & Associates.

In a sample of 896 patients moved into the ''not ready for care'' category - either for medical or personal reasons - not a single instance was adequately documented. The time patients then spent in this category ''generally seemed excessive'', according to the report, with many people recorded as taking unusually long holidays.


Hospitals go under online microscope

MyHospitals website gets WA backing

  • AAP (AAP)
  • 01 November, 2010 16:01

Patients will be able to jump online to compare the performance of hospitals via a website to be launched in December.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said work on the MyHospitals website could now be finalised with the signing on of the West Australian government.

While WA is the only state not to sign up to a national health reform agreement in April it had now agreed to take part in the website, Ms Roxon said.

MyHospitals would show how a hospital performed compared to national average waiting times for elective surgery and emergency department care, list the medical services provided, bed numbers and if outpatient services, such as allied health, were provided.


Victims still awaiting identity theft laws

LAWS to prevent identity theft and giving victims a means of untangling financial and legal damage are still held up in federal parliament.

The draft laws were introduced two years ago by former Home Affairs minister Bob Debus.

The Identity Crimes Bill adds three identity offences to fill gaps in existing laws: trafficking in identity data (carrying a penalty of up to five years' imprisonment); possession with intent to commit a crime, and possession of equipment for the purpose of identity theft (both a maximum three years' jail).

The laws will also allow victims to obtain a magistrate's certificate confirming misuse of their personal information, to assist in their negotiations for reparation with banks and other authorities.


Doctors off pace in e-health

1 November 2010 | by Nick O'Donoghue

Pharmacists will not be able to make any substantial progress in e-health until other health care professionals embrace computerisation, according to the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

Speaking at Pharmacy Australia Congress 2010 (PAC10), PSA president Warwick Plunkett said the profession had taken e-prescribing as far as it could go without doctors becoming more involved in e-health.

“E-prescribing is to the forefront of what pharmacists have been involved in, and we’ve been ahead of the game.


New apps for speedy patient care in remote WA

03/11/2010 03:34:00

Patient care - particularly in remote areas - will be faster and more efficient thanks to the launch of iPhone and iPad versions of world-renowned clinical software developed at The University of Western Australia.

Health professionals will no longer have to transport boxes of patient notes over long distances and doctors will be able to support clinics after hours.

Medical Message Exchange (MMEx) was developed as an e-health platform at UWA's Centre for Software Practice. Used by more than 7,000 health professionals in Australia for secure information sharing and clinical patient management, it is a web-based clinical system. It incorporates the latest technical standards from the National e-Health Transition Authority, evidence-based clinical protocols for chronic disease, and specific modules for management of cancer and wounds.


Concern over data pool

THE Privacy Commissioner has raised concerns over Attorney-General's Department plans regardings ISPs.

It plans to force them to keep records of emails and telephone calls made by their customers and provide them to police for criminal investigations.

The Attorney-General's Department has been holding confidential discussions with the internet industry over the past six months as it examines the proposal, which has drawn fire from privacy advocates but which police say will help them in crucial investigations.


How e-health can help improve men’s health

4 November 2010.

Currently five men die every hour in Australia from potentially preventable illnesses, which are not detected early enough, yet despite this staggering number, men are still reluctant to go and see a GP. Dr Ronald McCoy, a board member of a men’s health program, The M5 Project, developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), is hoping that new e-health systems may help to detect preventable illnesses earlier and ultimately lead to better health outcomes for men.

“Men face a higher death rate than women when it comes to cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, respiratory disease and mental health problems including suicide and accidents. Many of these conditions are preventable. Men tend to present later with health problems, visit the GP less frequently and when they do, they have shorter consultations and are less likely to come in for preventative health checks.


State and Territory Implementation Plans

The States and Territories have collaborated with NEHTA in a joint approach to integration of the HI Service. The cornerstone of this approach is the identification of early implementations to build experience of implementation of the services and specifications across the healthcare provider and vendor community.


E-Health conference: Revolutionising Australia’s Health Care

28 October 2010.

Australia’s leading health experts, consumer groups and information technology specialists will come together to discuss the technological revolution in the delivery of health care at an e-health conference to held in Melbourne on 30 November and 1 December 2010.

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said the e-health conference is an important opportunity for stakeholders to discuss how electronic health and telehealth will drive the delivery of health care into the future.


NEHTA and MSIA release joint statement to the software industry

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) have released a joint statement to address some concerns software developers have expressed regarding the way industry has been engaged by the government-funded organisation. NEHTA has been undertaking its e-health work program for over five years, however its shifting focus from specification design to implementation has seen increasing amounts of interaction with industry throughout 2009 and 2010.


iiNet announces free calls to crisis and mental health support services

iiNet's home and net phone subscribers will be able to call service lines such as, Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline Australia, Suicide Callback Service, SANE Helpline, Kids Helpline, The Samaritans and Crisis Care

IT companies are continuing to lend support to charities, with internet service provider (ISP) iiNet announcing it will provide free telephone calls for customers calling crisis and mental health support services.

The ISP’s home and net phone subscribers, including Westnet, Netspace and AAPT, will be able to call service lines including Lifeline, Beyond Blue, Mensline Australia, Suicide Callback Service, SANE Helpline, Kids Helpline, The Samaritans and Crisis Care, free of charge.

iiNet’s chief executive, Michael Malone, said he believed access to services such as Lifeline should be available to everyone in need.


iSoft welcomes renewed commitment to NPfIT contracts

iSoft has yet to get milestone payments under the NPfIT but says its IPR in Lorenzo presents potential opportunities

In its annual report, which is published today, Robert Morgan, non-executive chairman of iSoft, says the implementation of the National Programme for IT [NPfIT] has been slower than the company's executives expected. This has meant that iSoft has not yet received a number of milestone payments associated with the NPfIT, and other related income has been delayed.

"However we are encouraged by the Department of Health's recent decision to continue with national applications already procured while moving to a more locally-led plural system for new contracts," says iSoft.


NHS Bury yet to sign-off Lorenzo

4th November 2010

NHS Bury has still not signed off the deployment verification certification for the implementation of Lorenzo Release 1.9 despite going live with the iSoft electronic patient record system a year ago.


ISoft: ‘We should have acted sooner'

02 Nov 2010

ISoft has told investors that it should have acted sooner to recognise the risk posed by its rapidly rising costs and uncertain revenues.

In its annual report, Robert Moran, the chairman who is also a major stakeholder in the company, admitted that it has been a “difficult” year for iSoft, which is one of the major contractors to the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

He said it had hit a “number of hurdles and “encountered unforeseen challenges” that had a significant impact on its financial performance and share price.

Earlier this year, iSoft posted a statutory loss of £221m (AUS $383m) for the financial year 2010, with total revenue down 20% to £249m (AUS $431m).

Last week, its share price dropped to an all time low of 10 cents and remain fixed at that rate.


Birmingham Women’s live with Lorenzo

01 Nov 2010

Birmingham Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that it has gone live with Lorenzo Release 1.9, which includes patient administration system functionality.

The trust went live with iSoft’s electronic patient record system, provided by local service provider CSC under the National Programme for IT in the NHS, over the weekend. The final clinical areas went live this morning.

Steve Peak, chief executive at Birmingham Women’s, said in a statement: “All areas of clinical activity were brought live by the project team in a phased manner over the weekend.

"By the morning of 1 November 2010 every area in our hospital was using Lorenzo. It is clearly good news to have taken this important step.


High Court limits iSoft damages


Last updated 05:00 01/11/2010

The High Court at Auckland has taken the sting out of a $14.5 million claim against troubled Australian-listed health software provider iSoft, capping the damages that could be claimed by Kiwi company i-health in their long-running dispute at $5 million including interest.

I-health's patient management software was acquired by then-British-owned iSoft in 2004, but i-health owner Brian Allen later took iSoft to court, accusing it of failing to properly market i-health's software, which meant shareholders missed out on performance-related payments.


New iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) System at Macclesfield Gets Pharmacy Robot Talking

London, Nov 1, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) said today that its latest pharmacy system is helping Macclesfield District Hospital further reduce dispensing errors, increase efficiency and free the department's 60 staff for more direct patient care.

The new version features a bi-directional interface to the hospital's Mach 4 robotic dispensing system so that it now updates the iSOFT pharmacy system automatically once medicines are loaded or dispensed, which improves stock control and reduces stock discrepancies.

It has cut the time to check-in new deliveries, which previously involved checking every drug pack individually. Now, packs are loaded on to the robot's conveyor and scanned, sorted and stored automatically. The robot updates the iSOFT system so that deliveries are reconciled against purchase orders automatically.


Stroke therapy gets high tech treatment

By Christopher Adams

5:30 AM Monday Nov 1, 2010

The Kiwi developers of a device that gives fresh hope to stroke and brain injury survivors have big plans for their product's entrance into the lucrative export market.

And it's no wonder, with the global medical technology industry now worth more than $400 billion annually, and growing by 6 to 7 per cent each year, according to the Medical Technology Association of New Zealand.

Able-X - the brainchild of Industrial Research engineer Marcus King - allows stroke victims to play simple video games using an "air mouse"attached to a handlebar, which is wirelessly connected to a computer.

Users make repetitive movements while playing the games, which re-teach their brains to work in conjunction with their bodies after a stroke or brain injury.


NBN upgrade could cost up to $400 a room

Georgina Robinson

November 2, 2010 - 2:18PM

Households wanting to make the most of the fastest internet speeds on the National Broadband Network will need to spend up to $400 a room rewiring their homes, plus a $150 connection fee.

But most families and individuals will not need to spend any money on extra gear to see a noticeable difference in download speeds, network engineers say.

With an anticipated eight-year roll-out on the $43 billion project, it is difficult to predict how technology will change and how much money people will need to spend upgrading their home networks.


Bombshells in NBN documents

  • EXCLUSIVE: Annabel Hepworth and Mitchell Bingemann
  • From: The Australian
  • November 04, 2010 12:00AM

THE Gillard government must urgently pass legislation to smash apart Telstra's near-monopoly position for the implementation of the $43bn NBN to proceed.

This has been revealed by previously secret documents.

A brief to the incoming government, obtained by The Australian under Freedom of Information laws, also makes the explosive revelation that NBN Co abandoned its support for key recommendations from the $25 million implementation study on the NBN.

Despite NBN Co being "heavily involved" in the McKinsey-KPMG study, the briefing says that "significant differences" emerged over the recommendations relating to the design of the high-speed broadband network and the nature of the prices and products that NBN Co will offer to customers.


Telcos fear NBN will crush them

TELECOMS industry stakeholders have raised concerns that NBN Co is reneging on commitment not to "squash" backhaul infrastructure competition.

The companies were responding to the government-owned enterprise's revelation that it may sell backhaul capacity to mobile carriers, reported in The Australian last week.

At the time a spokeswoman for NBN Co said the company "may provide fibre connections to mobile base stations where there is a commercial return".

One industry source said the move contradicted statements by NBN Co chief Mike Quigley at a Communications Alliance industry forum in Brisbane in September last year.


Telstra values its NBN deal at $16bn

TELSTRA'S proposed deal on the broadband network has taken centre stage in the company's latest stoush with the competition regulator.

The stoush involves the prices Telstra is allowed to charge rivals accessing its network.

Telstra has now suggested the deal could be worth $16bn, but it says the regulator values the deal with the NBN Co -- which would result in Telstra gradually decommissioning its copper network -- at only $11bn.

This is a widely used figure, comprising $9bn to pay Telstra to decommission its copper network and $2bn of benefits flowing to Telstra from a raft of new public policy reforms, including being relieved of the so-called universal service obligation.


11 uses for an old PC

Just because you bought a new PC doesn't mean you have to throw away the old one.

Loyd Case (PC World (US online)) 30/10/2010 05:16:00

You've finally gone and bought a new PC. It has a boatload of memory, lots of cores, and a fast, modern graphics card. But now your old computer sits in a corner, and although you know it's just a machine, it seems to be sulking like a puppy that missed its morning biscuit. It's weird, but you feel guilty with the whole idea of throwing it out.

After all, it's perfectly functional. When you first bought it, it was near state-of-the-art. If your new PC replaces one that's really on its last legs, by all means, take it to a reputable electronics recycler. But it's amazing how many users ditch perfectly good machines when they pick up a shiny new system.

You can do plenty of things with an old PC besides sending it to the recycling heap. Let's take a look at a few ways you might put that old system to work.


8 cool features of Chrome 8 beta

The version 8 beta release of Google's Web browser has several new and interesting features.

Howard Wen (Network World) 02/11/2010 07:28:00

The version 8 beta release of Google's Web browser has several new and interesting features.

Most are still regarded to be in an experimental stage and, therefore, are not activated by default. These can be turned on by typing about:flags in the URL bar.

1. Instant Web page loading and keyword search

Start typing the address or name of a site into the URL bar, and the Instant feature will guess which site you mean to visit (either based on which sites are ranked as most popular, or which pages you have saved in your bookmarks or history) and automatically load it, usually before you're even finished entering it.

Type a word or term into the URL you want to search, and Instant will immediately load and display search results from Google.

This enhancement to Chrome's URL bar can be convenient, but of course having a fast broadband connection and running Chrome on a speedy computer help make the experience "instant." Otherwise, this background Web-page loading could slow things down, getting in the way of your surfing.

Instant is not enabled by default in Chrome and must be switched on under the about: flags tab.




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