Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 10 January, 2011.

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:

Given a lot of people are still away on leave it has been a pretty slow week.

As you can see, from two recent blogs, not so in the US as they bounced into the new year with some gusto.

In New Zealand it also seems there are big moves afoot which we will be reading about in coming months according to my sources - with the basic infrastructure having been put in place this is now beginning to deliver real clinical value as additional applications are added.

In NSW there has been just continuing denial about just what a fiasco HealtheLink has become. My spies tell me over half of those practices who were signed up did not use the system once in 2010. I wonder will there ever be an honest review of all this?


Transparency call on privacy: patient records

  • Karen Dearne, IT writer
  • From: The Australian
  • January 08, 2011 12:00AM

AUSTRALIANS will finally have a chance to shape the nation's $467 million electronic health record system.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has agreed to release confidential plans for widespread debate.

The Labor government's "personally controlled" approach to a nationwide system of sharing patients' medical records has caused much confusion since it was announced a year ago.

But Roxon says a draft concept of operations will soon be issued for public consultation.

"I've said time and again that I'm committed to working with stakeholders to make sure we develop the right e-health system," she says. "Our e-health conference in November was seen as a great starting point for [broader] consultation.

"The next step will be a public discussion paper on the operating concepts for the personally controlled e-health record."


Rush for $55m e-health funding

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 07, 2011 10:26AM

THERE's been a rush for a slice of $55 million e-health funding on offer, with more than 90 proposals arriving in response to a call for potential test sites.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the large number and quality of the applications for pilot grants showed people were keen to get the personally-controlled e-health record program up and running.

"There is strong momentum behind delivering the government's $467m PCEHR system by July 2012," she said in a statement.

"Over 90 applications were lodged (before Christmas) to implement the second wave of e-health sites, with bids received from healthcare organisations and medical professional groups, as well as national and regional industry."


National solutions taking shape

6 January 2011.

In a step towards having a set of solutions designed to enable consumers, providers and the Australian health industry to interact electronically, NEHTA has released updated specifications for Electronic Transfer of Prescription (ETP) 1.1 and e-Referrals.

Electronic Transfer of Prescription (ETP)

The ETP 1.1 package includes specifications designed to support the electronic transfer of prescriptions nationally, in all care settings that make use of formal and legal electronic prescriptions, particularly those involving the transfer of a prescription across an organisational boundary (i.e. for example, from general practice to community pharmacy).

Comment: Links to full documentation on the site.


NEHTA to award NASH contract in weeks

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 06, 2011 5:02PM

A DECISION on the smartcard plus public key infrastructure tender for the National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) is near.

A National E-Health Transition Authority spokeswoman said it was "still in the final stage of determining the successful bidder".

"The outcome will be announced in a matter of weeks," she told The Australian.

NEHTA was unable to provide any information about the number of bidders on the shortlist.

AushealthIT blogger David More suggested IBM Australia may have won the contract.

IBM Australia has been seen as a frontrunner due to its work with NEHTA on authentication systems, while IT firms Accenture and CSC have worked on systems integration and security-related projects.


Report: Decision near for Aussie health smartcard

A decision will be reached soon about Australia’s new health smartcard.

Australia's National E-Health Transition Authority will soon announce the successful bidder in the tender to implement a new healthcare smart plastic card system in the country, according to a recent report in the Australian.

According to the report, the contract will involve designing and implementing the new National Authentication Service for Health and Public Key Insfrustructure, a system intended to provide secure authentication for health data using smart plastic cards and other secure technologies.

A spokesperson for NEHTA told the Australian the decision is in the final stages and the winning bidder would be announced in a number of weeks.


Intel, GE Healthcare in medical alliance

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 04, 2011 2:59PM

INTEL and GE Healthcare have launched a joint venture company focused on the emerging market for medical home monitoring systems.

The partnership will also focus on residential support technologies based on sensors that send alerts in case of a fall and other applications involving movement detection.

Care Innovations will spend more than $US250 million developing new fall prevention, medication compliance and personal wellness systems over the next five years.

Launched today after clearing US regulatory authorities, Care Innovations is an expansion of a healthcare technology alliance between the partners since early 2009, and brings together their existing telehealth and chronic disease management assets.

The market for home monitoring products is expected to reach nearly $US8 billion worldwide by 2012, due to the combined pressures of an ageing population and rising medical care costs.

Intel’s local digital health group will move under the Care Innovations banner, a company spokesman said.


Mandatory ISP filter still on the agenda: Gillard

The Federal Government’s mandatory internet service provider (ISP) level filter is still on the agenda, according to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

The Federal Government’s mandatory internet service provider (ISP) level filter is still on the agenda, according to the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Gillard said the government had “worked through” with ISPs on a system that would meet its stated policy objectives while not slowing internet speeds.

“We obviously want people to have faster internet speeds because this is the transformative technology of the future and that’s why we’re building the National Broadband Network,” she said.

“But we’ve been working with internet service providers to try and make sure that we’re not slowing speeds. People want fast internet, but we are dealing with content that is really repulsive and illegal content.”


Study reveals clear view of asthma

Monique Freer

January 3, 2011

IN A world-first research project that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of asthma, Melbourne scientists are producing videos showing exactly how air moves through the lungs.

A team of scientists from the Monash Institute of Medical Research is using a synchrotron - a type of particle accelerator - to observe how gases travel through each part of the lung.

''We can track the movement of the lung and each little part of the lung … and we can precisely define how each little region of the lung is behaving,'' said lead researcher Stuart Hooper.


Refusal to release cabinet files casts NSW as 'state of secrecy'

Louise Hall

January 3, 2011

THE state government is refusing to release cabinet documents despite passing a 10-year publication embargo because they reveal personal opinions of ministers at the time.

The refusal raises questions about the Keneally government's commitment to its new freedom-of-information regime and the promise to make publicly available large amounts of previously secret information.

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, cabinet documents cease to be exempt from public requests for access if 10 years have passed since the calendar year in which the papers were written.

Comment: This is part of the reason why no lessons will be learnt from the Healthelink project in NSW.


Telstra still in negotiations with NBN

January 7, 2011 - 1:49PM

The head of the government funded company charged with responsibility for building the national broadband network says discussions with Telstra are continuing.

NBN co chief executive Mike Quigley said the company is still in talks with Telstra over the nation’s largest telco’s participation in the NBN.

‘‘The discussions are still taking place, we are hoping to do it as soon as we possibly can but it’s a complex process,’’ Mr Quigley told reporters in Sydney today.

‘‘I accept that it’s taken some time but I would also be remiss if I tried to hurry it beyond what was a proper process.’’


Rewarding quest for universal truths

AFTER years of painstaking effort and a fortune spent on spacecraft, scientists in July revealed a groundbreaking image of the universe. It looks like an egg.

Though the image may appear underwhelming to the untrained eye, it has cosmologists agog with its potential.

For the swirls of red, blue, yellow and white represent much more than they seem at first sight. It is a substantial technical triumph and the image -- or, more precisely, the data behind it -- could hold the best evidence yet of how life, the universe and everything began.

The image appears egg-like and to have edges only because it is spread out in two dimensions. Think of a map of planet Earth laid out flat. In just the same way, this image of the universe has been unwrapped from a sphere, so that in fact the left and right edges are really the same points.

What it shows is a complete scan of the heavens from the Planck satellite orbiting the sun about 1.5 million km from Earth.




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