Monday, November 22, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 22 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:

The first two entries point out just how hard procurement and implementation of Health IT for the Public Hospital Sector can be. I had missed the WA report, but is makes very sobering reading. As far as South Australia’s choice of a United States provider over the locals I can only say it has all the hallmarks of a ‘courageous decision’ being a selection of software which will need considerable ‘localisation’ to meed State and Federal Information requirements.

It will also be interesting to see how the relationship with NEHTA is playing out in SA given the Tender for this system hardly mentioned them and their role.

See here:

It is interesting that it has taken 10 months from tender release to initial decision being taken. Of course the tender negotiation might take a good while yet!


Western Australia Auditor-General slams WA Health failures

Patient administration system to take up to eight years to be fully delivered throught WA

Western Australia residents will have to wait until at least 2014 before the state’s health department will replace its ailing patient administration system (PAS).

According to the WA Auditor-General's latest report decade-long efforts to fix the system had been hampered by allocated funds not being spent. Further a replacement system would take up to eight years to deliver to regional and rural areas of the state.

The PAS is an electronic health record system which stores personal information about patients of public health facilities and helps manage care from admission to discard. All major medical facilities use such a system to coordinate patient care and guarantee clinical outcomes.

However, a report published by WA acting Auditor-General Glen Clarke into WA Health’s project to replace its problematic existing PAS — at an estimated cost of $115.4 million — found a myriad of problems.


Allscripts picked for Southern Australia

19 Nov 2010

Southern Australia Health has named Allscripts as the Vendor of Choice (VOC) for a major project to upgrade clinical IT systems across the huge sparsely populated state.

Southern Australia Health now plans to deploy the Sunrise Enterprise 5.5 suite of advanced clinical, access management and financial solutions to its 80 metropolitan and rural hospitals and health clinics, which serve a population of 1.6m in an area approximately 40% larger than Texas.

The Allscripts Sunrise Enterprise suite will replace more than 30 obsolete information systems and databases across SA Health.


South Australia's Public Health System Selects Allscripts as Vendor of Choice for 80-Hospital Electronic Health Record Project

SA Health Cites Allscripts Success with International Healthcare Organizations

Sunrise™ Enterprise Implementation to Provide Foundation for Improved Quality, Efficiency of Care

CHICAGO and ADELAIDE, Australia, Nov. 17, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- SA Health, the public health system of South Australia, today named Allscripts as the Vendor of Choice (VOC) for a strategic initiative to improve patient care, satisfaction and clinical workflow across its network of hospitals and health clinics. SA Health plans to deploy the Sunrise Enterprise™ 5.5 suite of advanced clinical, access management and financial solutions.

SA Health's 80 metropolitan and rural hospitals and numerous health clinics serve a population of 1.6 million in an area approximately 40 percent larger than Texas. The selection of Allscripts as VOC is part of the Government of South Australia's $300 million (AUD) initiative to implement an integrated Electronic Health Record (EHR) that will improve patient safety and the health system's efficiency by providing a single, secure, electronic patient record across all SA Health facilities.

Allscripts has been selected to provide the project's central hub, called the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS), which will give healthcare professionals timely, secure access to a patient's vital information wherever and whenever they need it.


All eyes on Roxon's e-health forum

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 19, 2010 5:44PM

A SLIM line-up of international and local talent has been roped-in for Nicola Roxon's two-day, invitation-only e-health records talkfest in just over a week's time.

The Health Minister and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy are the star attractions for around 400 selected guests at the Melbourne Convention Centre on November 30-December 1 event where Ms Roxon's $466.7 million personally-controlled e-health record (PCEHR) plan will be workshopped.

Most of the speakers will be familiar to attendees, as they are regulars on the e-health conference circuit: National E-Health Transition Authority chief executive Peter Fleming, Consumers Health Forum executive director Carol Bennett, KPMG head of healthcare and former chief executive of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority Shane Solomon, NEHTA clinical lead Mukesh Haikerwal, and Australian Medical Association federal vice-president and GP Steve Hambleton.


Breasts mismatch prompts review

Kate Hagan

November 18, 2010

THE mammograms of more than 5000 women will be reviewed due to a computer mismatch between images and names at BreastScreen Victoria.

BreastScreen Victoria chief executive Vicki Pridmore said a radiologist noticed on September 16 that the name on a mammogram did not match the client's details on an adjacent screen, and manually fixed the problem.

She said she became aware of the problem more than two weeks later, on October 4, and instructed radiologists to double-check clients' details against mammograms.


Software causes mammogram mismatches

By Luke Hopewell, on November 18th, 2010

BreastScreen Victoria has written to 5339 women after data mismatches occurred in its mammogram screening software.

BreastScreen Victoria radiologists conduct mammograms by looking at two screens: one containing a patient's file data and the other containing the image. The breast X-ray is then reviewed independently by two radiologists and, if the two cannot reach a conclusion, a third is brought in for further consultation.

Radiologists flagged a problem in the screening process in early October. The program taking the X-ray images failed to match them to correct patient details. The information mismatch has cast doubt over whether mammograms were reviewed a second time by doctors between 16 September and 4 October.

BreastScreen Victoria's chief executive officer, Vicki Pridmore, has however said today that no woman needs to be re-screened, as all mammogram images have correct patient names embedded.


Funding announced for software innovators in general practice

19 November 2010. NEHTA today called for proposals from general practice clinical desktop software suppliers wishing to support the Federal Government’s first eHealth implementation sites in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The Request for Proposal will establish a panel of general practice clinical desktop vendors interested in working with NEHTA and the site project teams to incorporate new national eHealth specifications and standards into their existing products.

Successful panelists will be instrumental in helping to test and fine-tune initial specifications for the Personally-Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). These are currently being defined by NEHTA in consultation with clinical, consumer and industry representatives.

The PCEHR is a landmark initiative in the National Health and Hospital Network Reform package which aims to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care and ensure long term sustainability of the healthcare system. More than $466m has been allocated by the Federal Government to deliver the first phase of the PCEHR enabling Australians to choose to register for an individual summary by the end of June 2012.


GP software vendors offered e-health funds

By Suzanne Tindal, on November 20th, 2010

The National E-health Transition Authority (NEHTA) yesterday put out a call for clinical desktop software suppliers to test and tweak standards for the planned electronic health record at implementation sites in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The request for proposal aims to form a panel of vendors who will build e-health standards and specifications into their general practice desktop products and give feedback. The standards and specifications are currently being worked on by NEHTA.

The government will pay the panellists to help offset the costs of software modification, part when the software is changed to conform to standards and part when general practices take up the product in the implementation sites.


NEHTA calls for vendor submissions to support e-health sites

Federal transition authority seeks software suppliers as part of $466 million e-health investment

The National e-health transition authority (NEHTA) has called for submissions from clinical desktop software suppliers wanting to support the first e-health sites in states across Australia.

The submissions will help test initial specifications for the personally-controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), and successful applicants will form a panel of clinical desktop vendors responsible for working with the NEHTA.

The initiative is part of a $466 million investment by the federal government aimed at enabling Australians to register for individual summaries by June 2012.


NEHTA calls for GP software proposals

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 19, 2010 6:00PM

MEDICAL software-makers are being asked to help "test and finetune" currently undefined specifications for the Gillard government's $467 million personally-controlled e-health record program, which is yet to be explained in detail.

The National E-Health Transition Authority has called for proposals from GP clinical desktop suppliers willing to join a panel and work alongside it and the three e-health implementation sites announced by Health Minister Nicola Roxon in August.

During the election campaign, Ms Roxon announced $12.5m in total funding for GP divisions in Brisbane, NSW’s Hunter Valley and Melbourne to act as pilots over the next two years.

NEHTA received an extra $300,000 to co-ordinate the project; earlier the three parties -- GP Partners, Hunter Urban and Melbourne East -- had been invited to develop "lead implementation site" proposals for which they were paid $100,000 each.

Selection of the sites raised industry eyebrows as there was no public consultation or tender process.


‘ECG for the mind’ wins invention award

16th Nov 2010

Chris Brooker

VIEWERS of ABC TV’s popular New Inventors program have voted a ground-breaking diagnostic technique for detecting mental and neurological illness as this year’s winner.

The EVestG, is a new diagnostic technique that measures the patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (balance) system, fast-tracking the detection of illness.

It was voted the winner by both the program’s expert panel and the People’s Choice.

The developer, Brian Lithgow, is a senior lecturer in electrical and computer systems engineering at Monash University, with research interests in neurological, neurodegenerative and vestibular diagnostics. He saw “the diagnostic potential of measuring and comparing different patterns of electrovestibular activity because the brain’s vestibular system is closelyconnected to the regions of the brain that relate to emotions and behaviour”.


QH payroll woes declining: Auditor-General

Still a backlog of processing

  • AAP (AAP)
  • 18 November, 2010 15:42

Fewer Queensland Health staff are being incorrectly paid, or not paid at all, following the bungled rollout of a new payroll system, a new report says.

See more on Queensland Health's IT

Auditor-General Glen Poole, in a report tabled in parliament on Thursday, says things are improving.

But there's still a backlog of processing that needs to be done and there's no accurate record of the total number of transactions that need to be fixed.

The new payroll system was introduced in March with disastrous results. Thousands of Queensland Health staff have been underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all in fortnightly pay runs.


New Zealand embraces healthcare records

While many countries including Australia play host to protracted privacy debates, New Zealand is forging ahead with a low-cost, pragmatic approach to centralised healthcare records. And as Joshua Gliddon reports, the plan has met little resistance.

The Challenge: Provide a central ehealth repository in the Auckland area. Long term, the challenge is to create electronic healthcare records for all New Zealanders.

The Approach: New Zealand has reformed its public healthcare sector over the last decade. Bureaucracy was reduced, and a long-term vision was set to see all New Zealanders with a personal electronic healthcare record by 2014.


Get ready for NBN: telehealth

  • AT THE COALFACE: Michael Williams
  • From: The Australian
  • November 20, 2010 12:00AM

TELEHEALTH is a proven means of efficiently providing specialist services to regional and rural people.

It provides equity of access to specialists, especially where there are large distances to specialist services, as in Queensland. It also can provide access to specialist team support when travel is difficult.

Health departments have installed technology and the connections delivering good telehealth, but we could be doing much more.

The National Broadband Network promises much faster data transmission, especially to businesses and homes in regional and rural areas. It is likely the NBN or its equivalent will enable rural telehealth opportunities beyond what is available at present.



iSoft's hard road

iSOFT Group, the problem child of the healthcare IT sector, has struggled for good news all year, and the situation isn't brightening.

The company announced this week that it had failed to meet requirements that would have seen two tranches of short-term debt, worth £82.5 million ($A134 million), mature in June 2013. As a result, the maturity date will be 12 months earlier.

When the new facilities were announced in September, the 2013 maturity date was expressed as being dependent on ''certain conditions subsequent'' being met by 15 November.


Lorenzo “not yet stable” says Connelly

18 Nov 2010

NHS CIO Christine Connelly says that Lorenzo 1.9 is not yet stable at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, the first site it was deployed into six months ago.

In an exclusive interview with E-Health Insider she says that Lorenzo 1.9, the electronic patient record software, bought by the Department of Health for trusts in the North, Midlands and East, is not yet stable or ready for wider deployment by local service provider CSC.

In October EHI reported that the lead clinician at Morecambe Bay had said the software wasn't ready at launch, following a September EHI report thatMorecambe Bay had launched a stabilisation plan to try and bring under control a host of problems with its Lorenzo EPR.


Banks' hard stand on iSoft debt

PRESSURE is building on iSoft Group, with its banks bringing forward debt repayment after the company failed to meet stricter covenants.

iSoft, which is reviewing its business with adviser UBS, said yesterday the maturity of two non-current debt facilities worth pound stg. 82.5 million ($134.4m) had been brought forward by more than a year to March 15, 2012.

The two tranches were to mature on June 23, 2013, but were brought forward after conditions were not met by Monday, November 15.

Shares in the health IT company, formerly IBA Health, closed 2.2 per cent lower at 9c.

The shares have slumped 88 per cent this year, wiping about $730m off the company's market value, prompting speculation it could be a takeover target.


Banks bring debt schedule forward as iSoft reviews operations

TROUBLED iSoft Group has been dealt another blow as banks bring forward repayment of debt after it failed to meet conditions.

iSoft, which is reviewing its business with advisor UBS, said today the maturity of two non-current debt facilities worth ₤82.5 million ($134.1m) had been brought forward by more than one year to March 15, 2012.

The two tranches were to mature on June 23, 2013, but were brought forward after conditions were not “able to be met” by last Monday.

Shares in the health IT company, formally IBA Health, fell more than 3 per cent, or 0.3 cents, to 8.9c on the news.


Pennine signs five year iSoft PAS deal

15 Nov 2010

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a deal to upgrade its 20 year old patient administration system to the latest version of iSoft’s Patient Centre (iPM).

The upgrade should provide additional patient and clinical functionality by improving the clinical information available to staff across its four hospital sites in north Manchester, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham.

The deal will include the installation or trial of a number of web-based clinical applications from iSoft’s new Smart Solutions portfolio including order communications. Hardware will also be upgraded to HP’s latest iTanium hardware to deal with the significant downtime issues that the trust has been experiencing.


Vic iPad rollout a positive, says iSOFT

One of the world’s largest e-health vendors, Australia-based iSOFT, has welcomed an election policy which could see iPads rolled out to every doctor in Victoria’s public hospitals, flagging strong organic adoption of the Apple tablets and noting their potential to impact positively on long-term hospital problems such as scheduling across the health ecosystem.

The election promise was made last week by Victorian Premier John Brumby as part of Labor’s wide-ranging state health policy released ahead of the upcoming Victorian election. The Coalition has made a similar promise — but without specifically mentioning the iPad as a targeted device. Analyst firm Gartner has questioned whether Victoria’s Labor party had properly analysed what management tools and supporting infrastructure it will need if it wins the election and is required to deliver on the promise.


NSW archives inaccessible, says Auditor-General

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 17, 2010 4:58PM

NSW's State Records Authority is unable to archive digital records supplied by government departments and agencies due to a lack of "infrastructure", in breach of laws requiring access to public records.

Despite former NSW Premier Nathan Rees committing to a common records standard for email, webpage and digitised documents, the authority is refusing to accept electronic material because it cannot access the information contained within these records.

The standard, which sets out minimum requirements for electronic record systems and the creation of metadata, was adopted in August 2008; public sector agencies must be in full compliance by June 2012.


Funding cuts stymie NSW IT project

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 17, 2010 6:28PM

THE NSW Human Services department wrote-off a $5.2 million electronic records data management system in June, four years after the troubled community services IT project began.

NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat has recommended the department introduce formal project governance and management procedures for all major IT projects.

"Whilst staged work commenced in 2006, further work was suspended in July 2008 pending clarification of funding issues and development of clearer objectives between (the former) Community Services (now part of Human Services) and the lead agency, NSW Businesslink," he said in his annual report to parliament on human services and technology.


Gartner Symposium 2010: Enterprise IT spending expected to hit $US49.6 billion

Healthcare, utilities and the government sector are predicted to lead enterprise IT spending growth in Australia

IT spending among enterprise in Australia is forecasted to hit $US49.6 billion this year, following a strong 2010, while the Asia Pacific region is expected to rebound with a spending figure of $312.3 billion, according to analyst firm Gartner.

The forecast indicates enterprise IT spending in the region is expected to rebound this year with a 10.6 per cent growth, following a 1.3 per cent drop in spending in 2009. Additionally, IT spending growth is expected to jump 7.6 per cent in 2011 to reach $312.3 billion.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium in Sydney, Gartner senior vice president and global head of research, Peter Sondergaard, said the economic downturn was responsible for the decline last year and this year's spending growth was a result of budget freezes and the replacement of ageing hardware.


Labor creates its own problems over Telstra and NBN

STEPHEN Conroy began with a winning hand on the National Broadband Network, but he's since been busy digging himself into a hole.

Telstra chair Catherine Livingstone’s reassurance that dividends would stay at 28 cents a share for this year and next helped boost the stock price today, but uncertainty still rules.

That’s the trouble when you get politicians involved, and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy seems to be doing everything possible to turn a winning hand into a loss with his NBN games.

The starting point for Telstra shareholders is that the $11 billion deal with the government works out at around 88c per share, which, against a stock price trading up 2.7 per cent a share at $2.63, tells you the stock is a screaming buy.


Physicists set sights on 'spacetime cloak'

November 18, 2010 - 2:25AM

Jewellery robbers, magicians, exam cheats and practical jokers everywhere will have an interest in an offbeat idea launched by physicists on Tuesday: to make the passage of time invisible.

The scientists have conceived of a "spacetime cloak" which manipulates light and, in essence, conceals whole events from a viewer.

The theory is based on censoring the flow of events, which we perceive as a stream of light particles, also called photons, that strike the retina.

By exploiting a characteristic of fibre optics, the flow of photons can be slowed, events edited out and stitched back together, say the team from Imperial College London and Salford University, northwestern England.




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