Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 21 March, 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:

It has to be said that e-Health has rather taken a back seat with what is presently going on in both Japan and Libya, to say nothing of the emerging problems in Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

We live in very uncertain times and it seems to me those things we can actually manage and deliver properly we should just get on and do and clearly e-Health falls into that category rather than the external and far more difficult categories.

It would be good to think this might actually happen but I have to say with the shenanigans we are presently seeing from NEHTA and DoHA (with continuing secrecy and lack of leadership, governance and transparency) I sadly am fearful this will not be the case.

I hope the world will look to be a better place in a week’s time (with reactors safe and fighting stopped) when I next contribute a comment. E-Health might take a little longer to look better!


NT leads in developing e-health platform

THE Northern Territory is first to adopt a jurisdiction-wide e-health platform, selecting InterSystems's enterprise integration hub Ensemble to connect shared medical records and messaging services across the sector.

Northern Territory Health chief information officer Stephen Moo said the aim was to create a robust hub to handle growing volumes of clinical messaging and resolve interoperability issues.

"We've got critical mass in e-health adoption by our clinical community, they're becoming reliant on it and we need a high-calibre service," Mr Moo said.

"This investment will give us an integrated enterprise solution.


NT preps for e-health roll-out with hub

By Josh Taylor, on March 15th, 2011

The Northern Territory Department of Health has unveiled plans to roll out an e-health communications system across the territory in preparation for the implementation of the Federal Government's e-health agenda.

The e-Health Enterprise Integration Hub being implemented by InterSystems and DWS Advanced Business Solutions will build on the territory's existing secure messaging delivery system that was aligned with the standards proposed by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). The system will be able to use individual health identifiers, personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) and the National Authentication Service for Health.

The current health network provides electronic healthcare records to some 40,000 of the territory's 200,000 residents, NT Department of Health CIO Stephen Moo told ZDNet Australia. The network relies on "system to system" interfaces to connect to 105 sites together processing 60,000 transactions over the network each month.


Northern Territory implements e-health hub

Hub will allow connected healthcare applications in the Northern Territory to utilise clinical data from other systems and provide a single point of integration for each application

The Northern Territory Department of Health and Families (DHF) has implemented an enterprise grade e-health integration hub across its entire jurisdiction.

The hub, provided by InterSystems, will allow connected healthcare applications in the Northern Territory to utilise clinical data from other systems and provide a single point of integration for each application with an architecture that simplifies the task of creating and maintaining interfaces.

DHF CIO, Stephen Moo, said the agency’s aim was to create an e-health hub to ensure healthcare providers could share clinical information easily and securely for the best healthcare outcomes.


myMedirecs Introduces Personal Medical Alert USB Devices - Puts Medical Records Control in the Hands of the Patient

NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 03/15/2011 - myMedirecs Corp has broadened its range of Personal Medical Alert USB devices that carry the award winning myMedirecs Personal Medical Records Management suite, providing immediate access to critical medical information.

myMedirecs, a leading provider of Medical Records Management solutions, has released an enhanced range of USB devices that carry a person’s critical medical information using the myMedirecs software, which can be readily viewed by first responders, hospitals and medical practitioners. The immediate availability of such information can be beneficial to both patient and practitioner as it empowers those who provide emergency and general medical services with current information on which to make informed decisions that could well be life saving.

"Consumers are becoming more aware of the importance and value of maintaining copies of their own personal electronic health records, particularly for emergency situations, and even the more typical of requirement such as travel and relocation." says Karyn Harris, Research Coordinator at myMedirecs. "Your health is one of your most valuable possessions, likewise your medical record information, it’s yours, shouldn’t it be under your control?" asks Harris, adding. “We plan to release further initiatives in support of this objective in the near future.”


MSIA: Taking shortcuts will get you lost

I spend a lot of time in Auckland. Auckland is a wonderful and beautiful city. I like to think Auckland is well known to me. I know Auckland CBD better than the locals. I know how to get to where I want to go. But because I know Auckland, it doesn’t mean I know the surrounding suburbs of Auckland, the surrounding regions of Auckland, nor the rest of New Zealand.


In the e-health world, we want to move away from where we are to what we believe will be a better place, and indeed a place that we haven’t been to before: the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). While slightly longer than a long weekend, there is limited time (July 1, 2012) to connect a considerable number of pieces together to achieve the deadline. We of course have to be careful that we don’t break the pieces in doing so, or we won’t be able to make them fit.

Careful planning and detailed maps will give you the best chance of getting you where you want to go. The beauty of careful planning and detailed maps is you can share these resources with others. Planning and objective setting can also temper overzealous ambition, while still delivering tangible benefits from the journey. Remember the journey itself can bring delights and benefits.”


Medicare launches online cash claiming tool

Medicare customers are now able to claim doctor's consultations online

Medicare Australia has launched a new online service enabling customers to claim doctor’s consultation fees online and reduce the time taken to claim benefits manually at their local branch.

Human Services minister, Tanya Plibersek, said in a statement that the new online service would provide convenience to millions of Medicare customers.

“By first signing up to Medicare’s online services, and then entering the required details, customers will receive direct payments into their bank account,” Plibersek said in a statement.


Thousands flock to Medicare online claims

By Luke Hopewell, on March 17th, 2011

Medicare Australia has gone live with a new online claims system that allows customers to submit their bills for refund online.

The new claims system, which has been live for just over two weeks, has already attracted almost 1950 successful claims, Medicare told ZDNet Australia in a statement today.

Customers can access the online claims system using their Medicare Australia Online Services log-in, a system that already has over 2 million registered users.


NSW Health ups CIO ranks with new IT support director

New career follows two recent CIO roles

A month after appointing a new CIO for its e-health and IT strategies the NSW Department of Health has appointed a director of strategy and architecture for health support services (HSS) ICT.

Tim Hume has accepted an offer of appointment to the “key position” of director, strategy and architecture with HSS ICT, based in Chatswood, NSW.

Hume will work with HSS ICT CIO, Greg Wells on project planning and implementation of each stage of NSW Health’s ICT Strategy.

New IT leaders will drive the development, implementation and operation of NSW Health’s ICT strategy and network in conjunction with the department’s health networks


Digital identity: an emerging legal concept

Read the full text

PDF Digital identity: an emerging legal concept

10 March 2011This study discusses digital identity in a transactional context under a national identity scheme.

It contrasts the right to identity to the right to privacy in the context of a national identity scheme, and defines identity theft and its consequences.

The analysis and findings are relevant to the one proposed for the United Kingdom, to other countries which have similar schemes, and to countries like Australia who have the long term goal of establishing one.

Under a national identity scheme, being asked to provide ‘ID’ will become as commonplace as being asked one’s name, and the concept of identity will become embedded in processes essential to the national economic and social order.


Medications kill more than cancer or heart attacks

MEDICINE-RELATED deaths are killing more people than heart attacks or cancer.

And one in three prescriptions checked by a medication screening program had an error, according to a new book launched today.

Around half a million Australians experience an adverse effect from their prescription medication every year, says pharmacist Ken Lee, whose study "How Safe is Your Prescription" will be launched at the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference today.

His research shows about 190,000 hospital admissions a year are associated with medicines and their harmful side effects. And the inappropriate use of medicine is costing Australia about $660 million a year.


Bionic eye project short-sighted in rejecting US bid

AUSTRALIA lost an opportunity to access state-of-the-art research for creating a bionic eye when it rejected a partnership with a US company trailblazing its development.

This month Los Angeles-based Second Sight Medical Products became the first company granted a commercial licence to sell its bionic eye, Argus II, in the European Union.

Second Sight says its device will be on sale in Europe within months and Australia was "on the radar screen" as a future market.

Australia also has sought to develop and market a bionic eye, but clinical trials here are not due until 2013, and commercial approval may take years.


NPS study into GP clinical software shows room for improvement

NPS better choices, better health (NPS) has continued its research into Australian clinical software, previewing an as yet unpublished paper in an editorial piece featured in the February 2011 edition of Australian Prescriber.

The editorial overviews a process undertaken by NPS whereby seven general practice clinical software products were selected and assessed against a comprehensive list of desirable features. This list of features was published in 2010 by Sweidan M, Williamson M, Reeve J, Harvey K, O’Neill JA, Schattner P, et al, in their paper: Identification of features of electronic prescribing systems to support quality and safety in primary care using a modified Delphi process.

In their recent editorial, authors James Reeve and Michelle Sweidan lament the lack of standards guiding the development of general practice clinical software in Australia, stating: “Over 90% of general practitioners use one of the 20 or so commercial systems that are available to write prescriptions, order pathology and other tests, record medical progress notes or communicate with other healthcare providers. Despite the widespread use of e-prescribing systems, there are no clear standards or guidelines for their development. This has led to a variety of systems with markedly different capabilities, particularly in terms of assisting general practitioners to prescribe safely and effectively.”


Analytics enhances patient safety in Victoria

Victorian Health Services implemented a new system to deliver greater quality and safety, as well as a depth of reporting into incidents which could potentially result in harm to patients.

The Victorian Health Incident Management System (VHIMS) serves as a tool for collating, analysing and identifying trends and is a useful and important step forward in reporting errors and sentinel events.

In an official statement, Victorian Health Minister David Davis said, “Improving health outcomes for patients is a key focus of the Baillieu Government and we have now made fully operational a new management tool which will help to deliver better safety and higher quality services for Victorian patients.”


SA to introduce real-time reporting on pseudoephedrine sales

Replaces paper-based system, mandatory by July

Mandatory real-time reporting of the sale of pseudoephedrine will be introduced into South Australia, with Project STOP scheduled to be implemented in July.

Minister for health, John Hill, said the system will replace a largely paper-based monitoring system, and will alert pharmacists and authorities to people who are potentially using pseudoephedrine to create illegal drugs.

“The new system will alert pharmacists and the authorities if people are going from one pharmacy to another, accumulating large amounts of medication to be used in the manufacture of illegal drugs,” Hill said in a statement.


Satellite not good enough for outback broadband

RURAL health providers fear the 3 per cent of Australians living in remote areas who would benefit most from broadband access will be further disadvantaged by the satellite services they will end up with under the National Broadband Network.

"We have been frustrated over plans to deliver world-class broadband to 97 per cent of the population," National Rural Health Alliance chairwoman Jennifer May has told an inquiry into the NBN.

"For us, the missing 3 per cent -- those who live in quite remote and poor reception areas -- provide the real test.

"If the small proportion of Australians to whom it is difficult to deliver fast broadband do not receive it, the relative disadvantage of those in rural and remote areas will be further enshrined."


Telstra $11b NBN deal vote delayed

Ben Grubb

March 18, 2011 - 12:51PM

Telstra has pushed back a crucial shareholder vote on its $11b financial heads of agreement with NBN Co, the government-owned company charged with building the federal government's national broadband network.

The deal, which requires shareholder approval, was to be put to a vote in the first half of this year.

If approved, the deal will see Telstra hand over millions of customers to the federal government's national broadband network and shut down its ageing copper and cable networks. It will also mean that the rollout of the new network will take a lot less time.

But in a statement to the Australian Stock Echange this morning, Telstra said that it had "now reached the point where a 1 July meeting is no longer practicable".


Bitter split emerges in race towards Medicare Locals

17th Mar 2011

Byron Kaye

GP networks vying to become Medicare Locals (MLs) have been urged to cooperate after a joint bid by three divisions to become Australia’s biggest primary care hub collapsed into a bitter split.

With the 4 April deadline for the first round of ML tenders looming, the Sydney-based General Practice Network Northside (GPNN) unexpectedly broke from neighbouring Northern Sydney General Practice Network (NSGPN) and Manly Warringah Division of General Practice (MWDGP) to prepare a solo bid.

In his division’s newsletter, due to be sent to members this week, NSGPN chair Dr Harry Nespolon suggested he had been “double crossed” and questioned whether GPs could “trust or support such an organisation”.


iSOFT agrees £5.4m PAS renewals with two NHS trusts

Monday 14th March 2011

Two NHS trusts in Yorkshire have renewed contracts with iSOFT for patient administration systems (PAS) in deals that include new HP hardware and total £5.4 million.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has extended its contract for iSOFT’s PatientCentre PAS for three years with the option of a further two years, while Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a three-year extension.

Hull has similarly extended its contracts for iSOFT’s radiology information and theatre systems. Under a new managed services agreement, iSOFT will to continue to host Hull’s systems at its data centre at Prestwich for another three years.

Both deals include a move to HP’s latest iTanium hardware for improved performance, extra resilience, and reduced risk. It also provides a platform to introduce other iSOFT clinical applications such as e-prescribing.


iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Agrees New Five-Year Deals With iSOFT 7 Worth GBP12.6M

Sydney, Mar 16, 2011 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) said today that the group of seven NHS trusts in England, known as the iSOFT 7, will extend their agreements for patient and clinical management systems for five years, in deals totalling GBP12.6 million (A$20.2 million).

The contracts are worth GBP4.8 million (A$7.7 million) in licence fees and GBP7.8 million (A$12.5 million) for maintenance and support and run to April 2016.

All seven are to extend contracts for iSOFT's patient administration system (PAS). The four of these trusts that use iSOFT's clinical management solution for order communications, results reporting and prescribing will also extend licenses, maintenance and support for a further five years. The trusts will take control of the contracts from NHS Connecting for Health.


iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Agrees GBP5.4M Patient Administration Systems Renewals With Leeds And Hull NHS Trusts

Sydney, Mar 16, 2011 (ABN Newswire) - Two NHS trusts in Yorkshire have renewed contracts with iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) for patient administration systems (PAS) in deals that include new HP hardware and total GBP5.4 million.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has extended its contract for iSOFT's PatientCentre PAS for three years with the option of a further two years, while Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has signed a three-year extension.

Hull has similarly extended its contracts for iSOFT's radiology information and theatre systems. Under a new managed services agreement, iSOFT will to continue to host Hull's systems at its data centre at Prestwich for another three years.


iSoft - Hard Landing

March 14, 2011


Two years ago iSoft was being added to the local market's benchmark index, the S&P/ASX 200. Last December, Standard & Poor's dropped it from the 200, and this Friday it will scrub the company from the ASX300.

Yesterday the shares fell below 4¢ each during trading, finishing the day down 0.5¢ at 4¢ - a decline of more than 10 per cent.

Not only is iSoft's market worth struggling to hold $40 million, compared to $600 million last May before investors lost faith in its management and direction, a long-contemplated equity issue now becomes even more difficult.

At the end of December iSoft had more than $230 million in debt. Only $33 million was due in the next 12 months (the largest part of which comes from a syndicate that includes NAB's Clydesdale/Yorkshire banks), but unless its bankers remain convinced that the share price is not reflecting iSoft's internal metrics, that timing could change.


Linux Kernel 2.6.38 arrives with desktop 'wonder patch'

New Kernel brings improvements to the virtual file system, Btrfs compression and memory management

Version 2.6.38 of the Linux kernel was released by Linus Torvalds overnight, including the much-hyped performance improvement patch amid many feature enhancements and bug fixes.

Back in November last year news broke about a 233 line patch to the Linux kernel by developer Mike Galbraith that could noticeably speed up the Linux desktop experience.

The patch to the Linux scheduler can reduce latency by as much as 60 times.

It changes how the process scheduler assigns CPU time to each process so the system will group all processes with the same session ID as a single scheduling entity.

Once kernel 2.6.38 makes its way into the Linux distributions people will begin to experience the patch in their desktop experience.




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