Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 29 May, 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

As far as I am concerned the main news this week is that Paul Madden, CIO of the Commonwealth Department of Health has recognised that e-Health (forget the nonsense PCEHR) is a decade long journey and not something that can be undertaken based on political deadlines.

Senate Estimates is on tomorrow (May 30). We shall see what flows - look forward to some commentary later in the week!


Evaluation of features to support safety and quality in general practice clinical software

Read the full text

PDF Evaluation of features to support safety and quality in general practice clinical software

24 May 2011 Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) offers an opportunity to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care and is now the norm in many countries. There is evidence to show that e-prescribing (often with clinical decision support) is associated with a reduction in medication errors and incomplete or unclear orders, improved drug allergy detection and greater adherence with clinical practice guidelines. There are however also reports of unintended negative consequences of e-prescribing, for example unfavourable effects on workflow and the introduction of new types of errors.


A future where we carry our genomes on our smartphones

Steve Dow

May 29, 2011

IT COULD be a grief-saving app of the future, the day we carry our gene sequence in our phones.

When two people want to have children, they'll bump genomes and a database might reply: ''Think again, you both have faulty disease-causing copies of the same gene.''

That's the hope of the Australian geneticist Richard Cotton, who heads the international Human Variome Project, which aims to collect all variations of all genes that cause all disease from all countries.

It's a Herculean task, but Professor Cotton is spurred by a "vivid imagination" and the rallying of clinicians, geneticists and researchers from more than 30 countries.

The 70-year-old founder of the Genomic Disorders Research Centre at Melbourne University, who yesterday spoke at the TEDx ideas conference at CarriageWorks, Eveleigh, regularly taps his imagination to "feel the pain" of those families whose loved ones are stricken with commonly fatal diseases such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington's disease.


Experts gather for CSC clinical advisory council

CSC Australia has established a clinical advisory council, funding participation by key medical thought leaders, as it steps up its local health presence.

CSC's chief medical officer Robert Wah was keynote speaker at the "kick-off" meeting in Sydney last week.

Dr Wah said the intention was to "start getting clinical input" that would become a valuable source of expertise to be tapped by current e-health projects around the nation.


Health shortlists infrastructure tenders

Fujitsu, CSC and at least two consortia of smaller e-health providers are believed to be among those shortlisted for potential participation in the Federal Government’s $467 million personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) initiative.

The national infrastructure partner, one of four such partners sought by the Department of Health and Ageing for the e-health rollout, would deliver, integrate and provide continued maintenance for enabling systems including core system infrastructure; operations and call centres; reporting and template servicing; and separated portals for use by both consumers and healthcare providers.


Health Communication Network sale divides analysts

PRIMARY Health Care's potential $300 million sale of its general practitioner software business, Health Communication Network, has divided the market, with some analysts questioning the strategic rationale of selling the division.

Primary on Friday confirmed a report in The Australian that it was considering the sale of HCN, which provides software and IT services to doctors, and that it was mulling over an incomplete draft proposal, tipped to be from private equity, or global health firms.

In late trade, Primary was up 1.7 per cent at $3.56 in a weak market.

Indeed, analysts expect healthy bidding tension for the unit as governments worldwide increase spending on e-health, and amid HCN's likely role in implementing any national rollout of an electronic health record system, a longer-term ambition of the government.


Health Communication Network up for sale

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • May 24, 2011 11:55AM

LOCAL GP software leader Health Communication Network is poised for sale by owner Primary Health Care, which is considering whether to sacrifice the division to pay down debt.

Primary yesterday confirmed it was looking at a draft proposal for a sell-off of HCN.

"The terms of the proposal are incomplete, and the proposal itself remains subject to board consideration,'' it said in a statement to the ASX.

"Primary will provide full details to the market, should a decision be made to proceed. However, there can be no assurance that that will occur.''


Market shows interest in e-health company

Conspiracy theorists wondered if the government was plotting an e-health joint venture after an official was seen at the Primary Health Care office.

The recent sighting of the federal government's Health Department chief information officer Paul Madden at the Sydney headquarters of Primary Health Care's Health Communication Network sparked speculation of some sort of joint venture for its e-health strategy.

That is not thought to the be the case.

However, the good news for Primary shareholders is that the company's decision to test the market's appetite for that asset has been well received.


Healthcare Identifiers Licensed Material

On this page

Medicare Australia is the owner and distributor (by whatever means) of the official Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Licensed Material, unless we notify otherwise. The material is distributed through this website. Developers are bound by the terms and conditions of the Licence Agreement - Use of the Healthcare Identifiers Licensed Material for Notice of Connection when using the Material available for the HI Service. Medicare Australia will inform developers, and provide notice on this website, whether the HI Licensed Material contains any third party material which may require a separate licence.


Industry Brief Special Bulletin May 2011

NEHTA has released an information pack for industry members wishing to comment on the Federal Government’s draft Concept of Operations for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) before submissions close on 31 May 2011.

The resources include:

Audio recording and slide pack (see attached) from the ICT Industry Roundtable – more than 100 participants took part in this high profile discussion in Sydney, on 23 March 2011.

Audio recording from the 'Four-Cornered Roundtable' which brought together 200 key stakeholders from industry, government, clinicians and consumers, on 30 March 2011.


Search is on for the perfect anatomy alternative

23rd May 2011

Byron Kaye

WHEN books are a distant memory, medical students will be carving up synthetic cadavers and undertaking electronic simulations for anatomical training, experts say.

With the cost of cadavers rising – currently about $6000 per body – and technological advances offering ever more realistic alternatives, experts say the use of human cadavers is set to slow as educators look to more innovative options.

“Where the real future probably lies is with electronic or digital simulations which will… give a much more real perspective to students without the need for cadavers,” said GPET chair Professor Simon Willcock.


Local GP group bags telehealth funding

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • May 26, 2011 8:30AM

THE peak GPs' body will be paid $567,000 to develop telehealth standards and training ahead of the launch of new Medicare rebates for online consultations slated to commence on July 1.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners practically wrote a job application for the role in its January response to the Health department's discussion paper, Connecting Health Services with the Future.

“There will need to be an appropriate set of clinical and technological standards that define at least the minimum requirements for establishing and operating telehealth facilities,” the GP college said.


Healthcare funding model jeopardises telehealth

Healthcare funding models which effectively penalise doctors for keeping patients out of hospital are acting as a brake on widespread adoption of teleheath services.

David Ryan, executive officer of the Grampians Rural Health Alliance (GRHA), has warned that although the introduction of a Medicare claim number for video-consults from July this year will unleash demand for videoconferencing from GPs and private specialists, hospital based doctors who are paid by the States will have no incentives to adopt other telehealth services.

GRHA has already deployed a $7.6 million videoconferencing network connecting hospitals and medical centres in 40 towns in the Grampians region. That network is currently racking up 4,500 hours of videoconferences a year – a figure Mr Ryan believes could leap to 6,000 thanks in part to the advent of the Medicare rebate.


RACGP gets telehealth standards funding

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has reportedly been granted $567,000 in funding to develop telehealth standards.

The news comes ahead of next week’s Rural and Remote Telehealth Conference, as well as the addition of new telehealth items to the MBS on July 1.

The RACGP was unable to confirm details of the funding at press time, however it is understood the funding is intended to develop standards around the new MBS items.


Duplication nation

The roll out of e-health records present unique opportunities, and challenges, for aged care providers. Beverley Head reports.

The Federal Government has released a draft concept of operations document regarding the use of personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) in Australia, which are being touted as a cornerstone of national e-health programs that could revolutionise the way aged care is provided.

The Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, has said that the PCEHR initiative means "patients will no longer have to remember every immunisation, every medical test, every prescription as they move from doctor to doctor".

This national blueprint, and the consultation and development that will follow, will help to develop e-health records for all Australians who want one from 1 July 2012, she said.


iSoft takeover hits new roadblock

By Josh Taylor, on May 27th, 2011

The sale of troubled healthcare software company iSoft to Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has again come under threat, with shareholders raising concerns in the Federal Court yesterday over the purchases of convertible notes.

Oceania Capital Partners (OCP) is a 24.5 per cent shareholder of iSoft, as it has $39 million in convertible notes in the company. In a move to clear all company debts before CSC takes over, the company is seeking to buy up all of these convertible notes at face value.

This has concerned the other shareholders in the company, notably former chairman Gary Cohen's company RJL Investments, as CSC has offered just 17 cents per share to acquire the company.

At a Federal Court hearing yesterday, seeking court approval to send out the documents for the scheme of arrangement for the takeover ahead of the shareholder vote, Justice Arthur Emmett said that shareholders may be of the belief that as the convertible notes are being paid out in full, they may not be getting the full value for their shares.


Morecambe Bay says Lorenzo now stable

23 May 2011 Jon Hoeksma

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has told eHealth Insider it has stabilised Lorenzo and now has only a small number of outstanding issues with the software.

The position indicates a remarkable improvement from the position at the end of March, when EHI understands the trust had almost 600 fixes remaining for the iSoft electronic patient record, almost a year after going live with the latest version.

The trust told EHI that it has made steady progress since then, and that: “486 of the 537 issues at the end of March 2011 are fixed. This leaves 51 lower priority issues open awaiting retest on build 646.”

It went on to state that the software “has been stable since December 2010”. EHI further understands that the trust is about to stand down key project managers. The clinical leads in the project left at the end of March.


Former chief Gary Cohen fails to derail iSoft sale

THE sale of Australia's former e-health star iSoft to US-based IT services group CSC is back on track with the NSW Supreme Court dismissing an action by iSoft founder and former chief Gary Cohen.

Last month, CSC offered to buy the struggling software firm for about $188 million, an offer accepted by major shareholder Oceania Capital Partners.


NSW court dismisses iSoft founder

After hearing evidence and submissions, NSW Supreme Court found RJL’s propositions relating to Pre-emption Deed were without foundation

The NSW Supreme Court has dismissed litigation by RJL Investments against investor Oceania Healthcare Technology Investments (OHT) relating to a Pre-Emption Deed on shares held in iSoft.

RJL is owned by former executive chairman and CEO of iSoft, Gary Cohen, who commenced legal proceedings against OHT, which is a subsidiary of Oceania Capital Partners (OCP).

RJL claimed circumstances had arisen in the CSC proposal to purchase iSoft, which required OHT to provide a transfer notice of approximately 15 business days to acquire a portion of the shares in iSoft held by OHT.


Hurdle removed in CSC iSoft buy

By Suzanne Tindal, on May 23rd, 2011

The NSW Supreme Court last week removed an obstacle to CSC's purchase of iSoft, according to iSoft investor Oceania Capital Partners.

Oceania Capital Partners said a month ago that RJL Investments, a company controlled by former iSoft executive chairman and founder Gary Cohen, had filed legal proceedings against Oceania subsidiary Oceania Healthcare Technology Investments (OHT). Cohen left iSoft in August last year.

Cohen's firm claimed that the circumstances of the CSC proposal forced OHT to serve a transfer notice to RJT, providing it with 15 business days to acquire 15 per cent of the shares. Oceania had control of 24.5 per cent of issued iSoft shares.


Tools for the future

One shortcoming of Productivity Commission's draft report was the omission of a detailed examination of the role technology will play in delivering better quality healthcare to ageing individuals, writes George Margelis.

The Productivity Commission should be commended for driving such a wide ranging review of Australia's ageing services framework. The intergenerational report showed us the issues we are facing with a large and rapid increase in the ageing population. As someone on the tail end of the baby boomer generation, I think it is important to recognise that this ageing tsunami is not a bad thing. The alternative to ageing is far less palatable for those of us entering that phase of our life. It demonstrates that the various health and social policies of the past decades have, to a large degree, had the desired effect of improving the health and wellbeing of the population. The consequence of that is a population that is getting older and, human physiology being what it is, requiring aid.


Fedora 15 released, first with GNOME 3

New service manager to speed up boot time

The Red Hat-backed Fedora project has released version 15 today and is the first major Linux distribution to include GNOME 3 as the default desktop environment.

GNOME 3 was released last month, however, Ubuntu 11.04 shipped with its own Unity interface, not the default, like Fedora 15.

GNOME 3 includes the new “GNOME Shell” user interface which requires 3D video acceleration, which Fedora provides with open source drivers for Nvidia, AMD (ATI) and Intel, including support for “Sandybridge” GPUs.

With Fedora 15, 3D support in Nouveau, the open source Nvidia driver, is now available by default, and the mesa-dri-drivers-experimental package does not need to be installed.

KDE users also get the latest version with KDE 4.6 available for installation. And, not to be outdone, the smaller Xfce desktop environment is bumped up to version 4.8.




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