Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24 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:

I have to say I think the best thing was the discussion that followed the bog on the excellent article on the state of the Health IT software industry last Tuesday from Karen Dearne in the Australian.

See here for the link and to read the comments - currently 27 of them.

It was also good to note that NEHTA was sufficiently connected to the rest of the world to note the debate that had been triggered by the PCAST report on just how health information should be managed and secured.

I first covered this report in mid-December, 2010 and you can read that coverage here:

It is fair to say that a lot of discussion has indeed followed and that the Office of the National Co-ordinator for Health IT is now conducting formal consultations on the report.

See here:

Deadline for comment have also been extended so I think this is being taken pretty seriously - as one might imagine a Presidential Commission report would be!

I suspect I will have a few comments on the news that the Victorian HealthSmart Project might be canned tomorrow.

See here:


Record system is back on track: Defence

DEFENCE has kick-started its overdue e-health record system for armed forces personnel, awarding a $6.1 million three-year project management contract to consultant and IT services provider Oakton.

DEFENCE has kick-started its overdue e-health record system for armed forces personnel, awarding a $6.1 million three-year project management contract to consultant and IT services provider Oakton.

The successor to HealthKeys, sidelined in 2009 after years of work with only 40 per cent of medical files converted from paper, was to be a commercial off-the-shelf system.


Electronic health market value proves unclear

THE Gillard government's personally controlled e-health records and telehealth incentives are expected to be hotspots for health IT this year.

But potential market size and speed of uptake are still uncertain.

IDC Australia senior market analyst Emilie Ditton is re-examining the prospects, after the research firm forecast in the middle of last year that the local health technology market would reach $2.4 billion this year.

"The government has committed to spending $467m on an electronic medical records system by 2012," Ms Ditton said.

"A number of vendors I have spoken to have identified this as an area of opportunity for them," Ms Ditton added.


Poor prognosis for medical software sector

THE medical software sector hit the wall last year, with large and small players that had geared for expansion hit by a triple whammy.

Long-anticipated e-health projects did not materialise, the global financial crisis had people scrimping every last penny, and currency exchange losses added insult to injury (see table).

Medical Software Industry Association president Geoffrey Sayer said it had been a tough period for the sector.

"The outlook for e-health in 2011 is challenging for everyone, to say the least," he said. If we are to be successful, we will need to establish a transparent leadership partnership between all stakeholders that delivers tangible and measurable benefits."

Australia's largest health IT company, iSoft, crashed hard, but it was by no means the only local firm to bleed red ink in a year that also brought a retreat from the sector.


Gamer danger: Kinect Xbox injury alert

Louisa Hearn

January 18, 2011 - 2:13PM

It has inspired a legion of gamers to abandon joysticks and couches in favour of jumping and gyrating their way around the lounge room, but doctors warn that Microsoft's Kinect controller may spell the start of a new generation of gaming injuries.

Collisions, sprains, ruptured ligaments and even broken bones now seem as likely to occur in the home as on the sports field for the 8 million people who have bought the new Kinect Xbox 360 controller since its release late last year.

Physical injuries first became associated with computer gaming after the release of Nintendo's Wii motion sensitive controller, which revolutionised game play and, wisely, the Wii remote was always sold with a rubber outer designed to limit the damage from contact with home furnishings and other players.

Now Kinect has dispensed with a controller altogether, replacing it with motion tracking technology, and freeing up gamers' movements completely. With the accompanying release of action-oriented games such as Dance Central and Kinect Sports, the injury count appears to be mounting.


Health departments shun official iPad trials

Consumers love it. Business professionals in a wide range of fields love it. Politicians (hello, Mr Turnbull) love it. Even babies love it. And increasingly, doctors and other medical professionals love it. But six months after the iPad launched in Australia and with the hyped Apple tablet selling like hotcakes, Australia’s health departments don’t yet appear to be that interested in the device.

In separate statements issued over the past week, the health departments of most of Australia’s largest states have made it clear they have so far shunned official trials of the device in medical facilities round the nation.

The Northern Territory, New South Wales and South Australia health departments have no formal proposal for clinical use of the device. Even Victoria — where former Premier, John Brumby, had promised to deliver an iPad to each Victorian public hospital doctor if re-elected, and where 500 devices were already handed over — seems to be far from considering an official trial in the healthcare field.


Stakeholder Engagement Analyst

  • CBD location, some interstate travel
  • Internal & external stakeholder management

Do you want to improve the health of the nation?

Do you want to be part of the largest national e-health transformation project in Australia, the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)?

NEHTA is currently recruiting people with a desire to make a difference to health outcomes, that are passionate about the use of ehealth to meet these goals and who have the relevant experience to deliver solutions in a highly complex stakeholder and technical environment. In these roles you will be working with consumers and clinicians who will be defining how models of care can be improved using the PCEHR. You will be delivering the solutions that will be in place for your grandparents, parents and your children... and for you as you engage with the public and private health system.

This is an exciting opportunity for an engagement professional with a proven track record of effective engagement with internal and external stakeholders.


Health appoints new CIO

By Josh Taylor, on November 22nd, 2010

The Department of Health and Ageing has announced the appointment of former Australian Taxation Office business solutions manager Paul Madden as its new chief information and knowledge officer.

The appointment was announced by department secretary Jane Halton in an email to staff on Friday.

"I am pleased to announce the outcome of the recent Chief Information and Knowledge Officer … recruitment process. As a result of this process, Mr Paul Madden has been promoted to this position," Halton said in the email provided to ZDNet Australia.


Healthscope looks for growth-focused CIO

By Suzanne Tindal, on January 17th, 2011

Healthscope is on the lookout for a new chief information officer, advertising for an executive with at least 15 years IT experience to take the reins of its technology.

The employer of 18,000 staff is currently undergoing rapid growth, according to the advertisements on MyCareer and Seek, with the new CIO to be tasked with overseeing growth in the IT division.

According to a more detailed position description on Healthscope's website, the CIO will be directing a unit with around 60 staff and a budget of $25 million annually.

The department services 45 Healthscope-owned hospital facilities and three facilities managed for the Adelaide healthcare alliance. Healthscope also has an international pathology business comprising of 60 laboratories in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.


Consultant fills in key role in e-health pilot

BUREAUCRAT turned private consultant Anthony Honeyman is overseeing the federal Health Department's handling of more than 90 proposals for grants under the $55 million e-health pilot fund.

A partner of government consultancy specialist Apis Group, Mr Honeyman is filling in for e-health systems branch head Sharon McCarter this month.

Apis won a $1.4m select tender to provide project management services to Health for the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) initiative for six months to June 30.


Web of services helps battle the blues: depression

* Paul Christensen

* From: The Australian

* January 22, 2011 12:00AM

FROM online men's sheds and iPads to data mining for diagnosis, the national depression initiative beyondblue has seen it all since it was established a little more than 10 years ago.

"It's been a wonderful journey," recalls beyondblue's chairman, former Victorian premier and Hawthorn Football Club president Jeff Kennett. "I never expected it to be a period of enlightenment for me, but it's certainly been that."

For Kennett, that means enlightenment about human nature above all: "There have been some sad stories, there have also been a lot of good stories."

The initiative originally was envisioned as a five-year project, but Kennett believes that what kept it going is a willingness to embrace new forms of communication, such as the Shed Online, an electronic version of the men's shed movement.


Tasmanian Department of Health ditches paper, goes digital

Over 60,000 patient records to be converted

As part of its goal to introduce electronic health records, The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services is to shortly convert 60,000 paper based records into a digital format.

The records, which are held at North West Regional Hospital and Mersey Community Hospital in Tasmania, will be scanned and put into the North West Area Health Services digital records system. An additional 140,000 records will be digitised in the future.

North West Regional Hospital currently uses a paper-based patient record system that is managed electronically by a software system called iPatient Manager (iPM). This is used state-wide as the Department’s Patient Administration System (PAS). iPM will still be used once patient records are scanned.


Obama ehealth report ignites controversy

A report issued to US president Barack Obama on health information standards has caused controversy in health informatics circles.

Written by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the report calls for a single universal standard for the electronic exchange of health information within the US. It also calls for a national infrastructure to facilitate the creation of the standard.

“It is a controversial report,” said NEHTA chief architect Andy Bond. “It is very broad in its coverage, and is based on a presumption that you can create XML to create the building blocks of a universal exchange language. It’s a nirvana vision, and it disregards the fact that people have been working in this area for the last two decades.”

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has a glittering membership, including Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, and Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive of Google.


Juanita Fernando: Privacy lags as e-health rolls out

CONCERNS about e-health privacy are growing around the world.

Most recently, the British Medical Association Scotland called for stronger measures to protect patient confidentiality, particularly with the way patient information can be shared between medical users.

The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) has highlighted similar concerns about the situation in Australia.

Empirical research findings show clinical end-users frequently covertly share credentials such as user names and passwords so they can share health data.

This may occur because the clinician who has the necessary password access to health data is absent or a particular system has not been used for a while and their password has expired.


Vodafone security still vulnerable: report

Published 2:47 PM, 16 Jan 2011

Telecommunications provider Vodafone has moved to urgently overhaul its security systems, with a series of breaches leading the firm to order daily password changes and scrap shared access logons, according to a Fairfax Media report.

Last week, Vodafone staff in New South Wales were fired for hacking into databases to illegally access customer information, leading to NSW police being called in.

The company has launched an investigation to determine whether any of its employees sold customer database passwords to criminals.


Julia Gillard backs FOI exemption for taxpayer-funded NBN

JULIA Gillard is standing by an exemption from freedom of information laws for NBN Co - the publicly-owned company building Australia's biggest infrastructure project.

As an incorporated company, NBN Co will avoid FOI scrutiny, unlike Australia Post, the ABC, SBS and Telstra before it was privatised.

The Prime Minister today confirmed the public would not get access to information held by the company rolling out the $36 billion National Broadband Network.

“My understanding is that this is the ordinary operation of the Freedom of Information Act; that a body like NBN Co would not be subject to it,” Ms Gillard said.


Vint Cerf's message to Australia: internet censorship isn't effective

  • UPDATED Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 21, 2011 7:38PM

JULIA Gillard's bid to censor the internet is not an "effective move", says Vint Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet and Google's chief web evangelist.

Dr Cerf's advice is to attack the source of a problem at the production layer, instead of focusing on the distribution layer.

The federal government wants to force every ISP to filter websites rated with a refused classification tag, in accordance with a secret government blacklist.


Your bonsai corporate data centre: network attached storage devices

NETWORK attached storage boxes are finding their way into growing numbers of homes and small businesses.

Essentially a box filled with hard drives, a NAS device provides the centralised, secure storage that's becoming increasingly necessary in today's digital world. With gigabytes of data stored in everything from notebook PCs and tablets to mobile phones and cameras, managing it all has become a challenge.

In large organisations, such management is the responsibility of the IT department, but in smaller businesses and the home, it often rests with the resident techie. Charged with keeping track of everything from files and documents to photos and video, they find themselves searching for a straightforward way to keep everything in order.




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