Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 16th January, 2012.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. 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

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The main news this week has been reporting of the submissions made to the Senate Enquiry into the PCEHR Legislation.
Here is the link to get you to the extra submissions as they appear.
There are certainly a range of views out there about the PCEHR, what is should do, who should access it and so on. Some even seem to think it might not be such a good idea - what a surprise!
As an aside has anyone seen anything actually emerging from the Adoption and Change Management Partner. One might have expected we would be hearing heaps from them - especially in response to the submissions but I am yet to hear a peep. They are fast running out of runway as they say!
Other than that some interesting developments on other fronts and some amazing news that really dwarfs the PCEHR in importance!
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Frustration as e-health questions go unanswered

10th Jan 2012
VITAL questions about the personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR) – that the government expects GPs to manage – have gone unanswered by the health department almost three months after they were asked in Senate estimates hearings.
The department’s silence on the 38 questions has hamstrung medical software providers who were counting on the responses for the preparation of submissions for a Senate inquiry into the legislation that will enable the scheme.
With the window for submissions to the inquiry due to close this Thursday, sources within the medical software industry have told MO the department’s lack of response has caused considerable angst among providers.
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NeHTA rejects electronic health record fears

Despite the warning of healthcare professionals around consumers controlling the information in their e-health record, NeHTA will not alter the system's design
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA) will maintain its current design for personal e-health records despite acknowledging concerns that increased consumer control over health information could potentially result in poorer health outcomes for patients.
In its submission (PDF) to the Senate inquiry into the Federal Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) Bill 2011, introduced in November, the body charged with the rollout of the PCEHR conceded that access to accurate clinical information was essential for healthcare professionals but said the system’s design would not be changed.
“Some medical professionals have raised concerns that if consumers are able to restrict access to information in their PCEHR, this will create clinical risk because healthcare providers will be basing their decisions on only part of the story,” the submission reads.
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Senate Inquiry Holds PCEHR Program

Thu, 01/12/2012 - 09:57 by Makomborero Midzi
In a recent report, it has been made clear that Former health minister Nicola Roxon effort of making way for PCEHR program to bring about changes in the nationwide health IT and change management project would take some time to draw the desired level of results. It has been known that Nicola Roxon had done a lot to bring the PCEHR program available "to every Australian who wants one” by July 1 this year, but the Senate Community Affairs committee which reviewed the proposal has found some loopholes in it.
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Diagnostics delayed in e-health plan

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 13, 2012 8:07AM
WORK on integration of diagnostic images into the Gillard government's personally controlled e-health record scheme is yet to commence, despite the system being due for operational launch on July 1.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists says it has been involved with the National E-Health Transition Authority's diagnostic services reference group for some years, but work has not progressed beyond a draft plan.
While private pathology and radiology providers have long been able to send their test results to doctors electronically, and digital imaging and picture archival systems allow labs and doctors to exchange x-rays and scans, Nehta ruled diagnostic imaging out of scope for the lead PCEHR implementation sites until "more work can be done on defining a model of access".
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Rural sites overlooked in e-health plan

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 13, 2012 8:21AM
RURAL and remote communities say they've been overlooked with lead sites for the $500 million personally controlled e-health record rollout concentrated in well-equipped centres.
"The implementation approach so far has focused mainly on sites that are well supported to take up new technology and business approaches," the National Rural Health Alliance has told the Senate inquiry into the PCEHR Bill and related matters.
"There is a need to establish implementation sites in challenging but high need primary care settings, so as to seed rural/remote uptake and lead the widespread adoption that will be necessary.
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Calls for greater e-health transparency

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 13, 2012 8:28AM
THE Consumers Health Forum has called for greater accountability and independence in governance arrangements for the Gillard government's personally controlled e-health record system, due for launch on July 1.
The peak body also wants strong consumer controls over access to medical records, and suggests reconsideration of the opt-in model in its submission to the Senate inquiry into the PCEHR Bill and related matters.
Former health minister Nicola Roxon introduced enabling legislation for the $500 million PCEHR program into parliament late last year, without addressing key governance issues raised in earlier consultations.
While the Information Commissioner will be able to investigate complaints of breaches of patient data under the 24-year-old Privacy Act, the present patchwork of state and territory health and privacy laws will still apply where medical records are held in local systems.
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Whither the PCEHR?

Techno Blog | 12 January 2012 |
BY KAREN DEARNE
2012 will be a pivotal year for local health IT initiatives, with the Senate inquiry into the Gillard government’s $500 million personally controlled e-health record program already under way.
The nationwide PCEHR system is due for launch on July 1.
The first submissions have been published on the Community Affairs committee website, and we can expect many more over the next few weeks ahead of public hearings in early February.
Co-founder and chief executive of HealthLink, Tom Bowden, and his operations chief and immediate past president of the Medical Software Industry Association Geoffrey Sayer, have provided a useful scene-setter in a thoughtful submission that questions whether the PCEHR is the right approach for Australia.
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Healthy growth in eScripts but large gap remains

Written by Kate McDonald on 10 January 2012.
The companies behind Australia's two electronic prescription platforms say transactions are up by several magnitudes from the same time last year, although many GPs and pharmacists are not yet using the technology.
eRx Script Exchange has seen overall dispense transactions grow by 40 per cent in 2011, while MediSecure Script Vault has seen an increase of 287 per cent in original scripts to the end of November 2011.
While final numbers are not yet available, eRx said it expected to pass previous records and handle more than 4.2 million dispensing transactions in a single week in the week leading up to Christmas, traditionally the busiest time of the year for dispensing.
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Insurance firm wants to mine e-health data

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on January 12th, 2012
Insurance company Bupa wants the Federal Government to provide anonymous patient data from the Personally-Controlled E-Health Records (PCEHR) system to companies for research on Australian health.
Under legislation currently before parliament, only the consumer has control over access to information in their own e-health record, and decides which health practitioners are able to see what information contained in their e-health record.
However, Bupa Health Dialog, a subsidiary of the insurance giant, believes that this is far too constrained, and that in the interests of research, all data should be anonymised and made available to research Australian health consumers.
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Teens to control own e-health records

BY PETER JEAN, HEALTH REPORTER
14 Jan, 2012 10:47 AM
Teenagers will be able to stop their parents accessing their personally controlled electronic health records which are due this year.
Under a Bill before Parliament, Australians could voluntarily sign up for personally controlled electronic health records that would contain clinical information entered by health-care providers such as medical history, medicines, hospital summaries, referrals, specialist letters and event summaries.
Health consumers or their authorised representatives would also be able to enter information about over-the-counter medications they were taking, allergies and adverse reactions they suffered.
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E-health records plan high risk, Senate inquiry told

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • January 12, 2012 11:01AM
THE Gillard government's $500 million personally controlled e-health record program has diverted funds and attention from other more useful health IT projects, a Senate inquiry has been told.
"It would be most unwise to count upon the PCEHR implementation going to plan,” HealthLink chief executive Tom Bowden and head of operations Geoffrey Sayer say in a joint submission to the PCEHR inquiry.
"It is a high-risk strategy. Other centrally directed projects elsewhere (are failing) and in some cases have been halted.
"There are also mounting concerns that attempting to roll out a national solution within a very tight timeframe is placing considerable pressure on the sector, and may well hold back sustainable e-health service development for a long time to come.”
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Mater coders start e-health ball rolling

By Suzanne Tindal, ZDNet.com.au on January 12th, 2012
As the deadline approaches for the government to launch its personally controlled e-health record program scheme, which will enable any Australian to say yes to a national record that links their medical consultations, Queensland Mater hospitals have been working feverishly to do their part.
Mater Health Services operates seven hospitals in South-East Queensland. Its Brisbane hospital was one of the sites that received money from the government to be one of the first to try to implement e-health records to integrate with the national system.
Mater Health Services has an obligation under its contract for the funding, which is required to get e-health records running on its systems and hook up to the national system on 30 June. When the organisation signed on, it had been using InterSystems as a platform for its patient administration services.
Now, Mater hoped to tweak the platform to be able to talk to Medicare, fetching health identifiers for its patents. Every Australian has been allocated with a unique health identifier, which will enable the individual entries made by doctors be linked to form a cohesive electronic health record.
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InterSystems HealthShare Supports National Healthcare Identifiers Service and Secure Messaging Delivery Standards

Mater Health Services’ electronic health record interface to the Australian Government’s Healthcare Identifiers Service one of the first to gain NEHTA accreditation
SYDNEY, Australia -- January 11, 2012 -- InterSystems Corporation today announced that it has provided software to healthcare organisations -- including InterSystems HealthShare™ to Queensland’s Mater Health Services -- to rapidly develop systems that support the Australian national Healthcare Identifiers Service and Secure Messaging Delivery standards.
InterSystems HealthShare is a strategic platform for healthcare informatics and the creation of an Electronic Health Record on a regional or national scale.
By supporting Australian connected healthcare services and standards, InterSystems is accelerating the delivery of systems under government electronic health record initiatives. Through compliance with Australian standards, InterSystems will also lower the cost of maintaining connected care systems.
Mater Health Services, which operates seven Mater hospitals in South-East Queensland, has already used HealthShare to develop an interface to the national Healthcare Identifiers Service. The interface was one of the first to gain accreditation under the Compliance, Conformance and Accreditation program operated by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
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E-health law to block overseas access: CSC

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on January 9th, 2012
A legislative ban on storing data for personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) overseas could inadvertently prevent consumers from accessing their records while abroad, according to IT services company CSC.
The legislation currently before parliament that will enable the PCEHRs has a requirement "not to hold or take records outside Australia". This is designed to prevent Australian customer data to be held outside of the country where there is less control over privacy of the data held, but, as CSC Healthcare Australia New Zealand national director Lisa Pettigrew noted, it could effectively ban patients who are overseas from accessing their own data because data from the records may be cached outside of Australia.
"CSC understands the intent of this section to limit storage of records in repositories overseas; however, as written, this section will evolve to become problematic with the proliferation of devices used by consumers. Consumers will access their data via mobile devices overseas, and this will result in data, de facto, being accessed and potentially held or cached, outside of Australia," she said in a submission (PDF) to the parliamentary inquiry on the legislation.
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Registry to record all breast implants

January 15, 2012
EVERY woman who has a breast implant will have her details recorded on a new national registry so that faulty devices can be detected early.
As the scandal over defective French-made PIP implants continues, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons is preparing to record the information of every breast implant patient, the surgeon and the type of operation.
The registry, one of the first in the world, would act as an early-warning system for any future problems with implants. It would be similar to the National Joint Replacement Registry, which gets some government funding and quickly detected problems in Australia with DePuy hip replacements, now the subject of global litigation over their failure rate.
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Stanford encourages Oz entrepreneur

By Mahesh Sharma, ZDNet.com.au on January 12th, 2012
PhD student Jenna Tregarthen felt helpless as she watched her best friend suffer from an eating disorder, but that all changed when she was accepted into one of the world's most exclusive entrepreneurship programs.
Her Recovery Record app proposal was one of 10 accepted into the Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship program at Stanford, where she developed the app that allows patients to track their behaviour, and also uses positive engagement and game mechanics to encourage patients to complete homework that has been assigned by their therapist.
At the time, Tregarthen was completing a PhD in health psychology at the University of Wollongong, specifically looking at how to change people's behaviours over a prolonged period of time. She was motivated to apply for the program after becoming frustrated by the limits of research and associated data to translate to real-world change in peoples' lives.
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Internet addiction as damaging as drugs

13th Jan 2012
AAP
INTERNET addiction affects nerve fibres in the brain causing similar changes to those exposed to alcohol, cocaine and cannabis, a Chinese study shows.
The discovery indicates that being hooked on the internet can be just as physically damaging as addiction to drugs.
Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a recently recognised condition characterised by out-of-control internet use that impairs quality of life.
Denied access to their computers, people with this disorder may experience distress and withdrawal symptoms including tremors, obsessive thoughts, and involuntary typing movements of the fingers.-----

GLOBAL HEALTH LTD : Global Health and GP2U Telehealth announce new secure eHealth communication service

10 Jan 2012
In an exciting step forward in the area of eHealth Australian companies Global Health and GP2U Telehealth today announced an exclusive collaboration combining Global Health's secure messaging platform ReferralNet with the new GP2U Telehealth video conferencing service.
The combined service provides a simple, highly secure, easy to use and more importantly, interoperable Telehealth solution which allows Australian health professionals and specialists to make video conference consultations freely available to GPs and their patients.
Telehealth is where a patient and specialist undertake a consultation via video conference in real time. While video conferencing may never replace the need for face to face consultations, in some circumstances it is acknowledged that it is a highly desirable and valuable solution particularly for those situations where physical access to a specialist or health professional may be difficult or impossible for a patient.
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See eHealth in action in Canberra January 2012

Visit the the Model Healthcare Community in Canberra in January 2012 and see eHealth in action.
The Model Healthcare Community will be on display in Canberra in January 2012 at the Department of Health and Ageing, Sirius Building, Furzer Street, Woden from 16-20 January. Please click Click here to register for a tour.
It will then move to Calvary Hospital, Bruce for tours from 23-27 January - to register for a tour click here Click here
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Intel exploring ways to help Stephen Hawking speak

Racphael Satter
January 11, 2012 - 9:10AM
CAMBRIDGE, England – Intel is looking for ways to help famed British physicist Stephen Hawking reverse the slowing of his speech, according to a senior executive with the American chipmaker.
Hawking was 21 when he was diagnosed Lou Gehrig's disease, an incurable degenerative disorder that has left him almost completely paralysed. While an infrared sensor attached to his glasses translates the pulses in his right cheek into words spoken by a voice synthesiser, the nerves in his face have deteriorated and those close to him say his rate of speech has slowed to about a word a minute.
Speaking late Sunday on the sidelines of a conference celebrating Hawking's 70th birthday in the English city of Cambridge, Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner said his company had a team in England to explore ways to help the celebrity scientist communicate more quickly.
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Survey throws light on the mysterious dark matter that holds the galaxies together

  • by: Jonathan Leake
  • From: The Times
  • January 09, 2012 12:00AM
DARK matter, the mysterious, invisible substance once seen as an astronomical oddity, could have helped form the entire cosmos - including our own Milky Way.
An international team of astronomers has spent five years building the most detailed map yet of the distribution of dark matter through the universe. Their findings suggest that the billions of stars that make up galaxies are held together only by the huge gravitational pull generated by clumps of dark matter.
The findings have emerged from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey, which studied 10 million distant galaxies to measure how light from them had been "lensed" - bent by the gravitational pull of clumps of dark matter near its path.
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Milky Way teeming with 'billions of planets'

January 12, 2012
The Milky Way is home to far more planets than previously thought, boosting the odds that at least one of them may harbour life, according to a study.
Not long ago, astronomers counted the number of "exoplanets" detected outside our own solar system in the teens, then in the hundreds. Today the tally stands at just over 700.
But the new study, published in Nature on Wednesday, provides evidence that there are more planets than stars in our own stellar neighbourhood.
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Enjoy!
David.

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