Monday, January 09, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 9th 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

Well some of us are back, and the new year is well and truly underway. I have tried to summarise the last few weeks.
Interestingly the climate seems to have changed.
When even the NEHTA sponsored bloggers are saying that maybe some more time should be allowed to elapse to get things right - while not yet accepting the PCEHR design may be deeply flawed - it is an interesting straw in the wind.
The next few months will surely tell and we can expect some ‘moving of the goal posts’ to be happening real soon now!
Happy and safe New Year to all!

Time is running out on e-records, says GP body

  • by: Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • December 19, 2011 12:00AM
AUSTRALIA'S leading GP organisation is warning time is running out for the federal government to explain how the system of electronic health records due to launch in July will work, with doctors now facing a "very, very tight" timetable to get it running.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, which represents 18,000 GPs nationally, is seeking an urgent meeting with new federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to discuss the problem, saying doctors now have no chance of getting the six-month head start they had requested to train staff and plan.
The Australian Medical Association is also seeking a meeting with Ms Plibersek, saying there were "still serious concerns about how (electronic records) are going to apply".

Who can access your e-health record?

Plenty, but nobody specifically.

Australia’s Department of Health has refused to name which government authorities will be able to view a citizen's eHealth record, in an otherwise detailed response to a Privacy Impact Assessment of the PCEHR (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record) scheme.
Access by law enforcement authorities was among a long list of issues explored in a Privacy Impact Assessment [pdf], prepared by law firm Minter Ellison and former deputy NSW Privacy Commissioner Anna Johnston. The report recommended 112 changes to the legislation and the technology that underpins the PCEHR system, currently under development.
The Department of Health has now accepted 75 of the 112 recommendations, accepting 20 more “in principle”, six more “in part”, “supporting” two”, and rejecting eight more, with one still under consideration.

E-health privacy under the microscope

By Suzanne Tindal, on January 3rd, 2012
What worries you most about the government's personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) plan? Is it the cost of implementation? Is it the fact that there's not a lot of incentive for doctors to take it up? Or is it the fact that if not implemented properly, it could be a privacy nightmare?
With doctors for parents, I know what would be concerning them the most. Doctors can be fanatical about privacy, and with good reason.
At the end of December, a report by Lawyers Minter Ellison and Salinger Privacy was released by the Department of Health and Ageing into the privacy implications of the legislation enabling the government's PCEHR plan, which hopes to provide every consenting Australian with an electronic medical record by 2012. The Department of Health and Ageing has also provided its responses to the recommendations in the report (PDF).

E-health trials exclude us: Rural Health

By Josh Taylor, on January 4th, 2012
The implementation sites trialling Personally Controlled E-Health Records (PCEHR) has left out rural Australia because it's less of a challenge, according to the National Rural Health Alliance.
While the group is supportive of the government's $466 million e-health program because of the benefits it would bring to rural communities, it has raised concerns with the approach the implementation has taken at this point.
In March last year, then-Health Minister Nicola Roxon announced $55 million in funding for nine lead implementation sites in places such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong, the Hunter Valley, the ACT and the Northern Territory, in addition to three existing sites that started in 2010.

Toddlers, touch screens and the parents' dilemma

SHE can barely talk, but 21-month-old Zahlee Robinson has no problems with her iPad. With sisters Chloee, 4, and Sophee, 5, she is a very early adopter of the touchscreen technology that is revolutionising the way children, as well as adults, connect to the world.
Their mother, Cheree Robinson, admits she gets the occasional disapproving looks when people see her daughters using their iPad and iPods in public, but she's enthusiastic about the educational apps that are already teaching them how to spell and add up. Not to mention the iPad's value as a "portable baby-sitter".

Rural doctors reach for Skype

Tim Barlass
January 8, 2012
RURAL doctors received $7.2 million from the federal government for software to enable them to communicate more easily with specialists, but some found downloading Skype was a better option for them.
Since the launch of the federal scheme six months ago, 1200 doctors across Australia have applied for one-off $6000 grants, which were part of the government's $620 million ''telehealth'' program.
But the head of a private nursing service that took part in the scheme said doctors who downloaded various paid software programs found they were not compatible.
''It's a great … initiative but the doctors should have been provided with more support and guidance about how to implement the technology,'' the chief executive of Hunter Nursing, David du Plessis, said.

Patients log on to stay out of hospital

Tim Barlass
January 8, 2012
ELDERLY patients given medical equipment to monitor their health on the internet go to hospital only half as often, a trial has found.
Fifty patients in NSW with an average age of 87, suffering serious heart or lung conditions requiring regular hospital stays, were chosen for the six-month trial last year.
Each was given a ''medibox'' linked to the broadband network so they could regularly type in details of their blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen and weight. Any change in condition was spotted by a doctor earlier than through less-frequent visits to a GP, the trial found, allowing for the quicker introduction of preventative treatment.

Health groups fear 'sky-high' data fees for Medicare Locals

  • by: Adam Cresswell, Health Editor
  • From: The Australian
  • December 29, 2011 12:00AM
THE $416 million network of Medicare Locals is under a further cloud amid revelations the organisations could be forced to pay more than $100,000 a year in fees to the federal Health Department simply to access the data they need to carry out their role.
Some experts estimate that without a climbdown the fees, based on the rates Medicare Australia charges commercial clients for providing breakdowns of its data, could devour as much as one-third of the cash Medicare Locals will have to improve the health status of their populations.

E-records a costly experiment

19 December, 2011 Jo Hartley
A leading e-health expert has cautioned that the government’s national electronic records program could end up being a “very expensive white elephant” with few clinicians and patients signing up to it.
Dr David More issued the warning in his submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee’s Enquiry on Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011 and the Personally Controlled health Records Bill 2011.
Posted on Dr More’s blog, the submission points out that the $466.7 million PCEHR project was being introduced without any pilot, and with no evidence that it would make any significant difference to patient safety and clinical outcomes.

Ex-Fonterra chief Andrew Ferrier invests in Orion Health

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • December 21, 2011 12:00AM
HIGH-PROFILE New Zealand businessman Andrew Ferrier has joined Kiwi medical software firm Orion Health as an investor with a seat on the board.
Mr Ferrier stepped down as chief executive of the country's multinational dairy co-operative, Fonterra, in September.
He expects to take an active role as a director, and has taken a "significant stake" in the business through his family investment company, Canz Capital.

Paving the way for eHealth

Published on Thu, 22/12/2011, 03:40:33
The government is courting aged care software vendors and industry representatives ahead of the introduction of personally controlled eHealth records.
Last weekend, the National E-health Transition Authority (NEHTA) called for expressions of interest from aged care industry software vendors to join a panel and work together on the transition to the new standards set by the authority.
A statement from NEHTA said financial assistance would be provided to “successful panellists” to help them upgrade software products to the right specifications, and that vendors would need to have developed working solutions by June 2012.

Nehta courts aged care sector

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • December 20, 2011 12:00AM
AGED care software vendors have been asked to urgently prepare the sector for adoption of the Gillard government's e-health records system by June next year.
On the weekend, the National E-Health Transition Authority called for expressions of interest from aged care software developers to "establish a vendor panel" to support current and future e-health implementations.
"Financial assistance will be provided to successful panelists, who will be required to upgrade their existing software to provide the required functionality to meet Nehta specifications," Nehta said.

State health chief to quit

Josh Gordon and Julia Medew
December 21, 2011
VICTORIA'S top health bureaucrat has resigned, dismissing as ''absolute crap'' any speculation the government's handling of the nurses industrial dispute or public sector job losses was the reason.
In a cryptically worded message to staff, Health Department secretary Fran Thorn yesterday announced that she would be departing on January 19, but provided no explanation for her decision.
''I am not leaving because of the proverbial 'better offer' - it would be hard to better this job - but because I have concluded that for a range of reasons, it is the right time for me to leave,'' Ms Thorn said. ''This is a bittersweet decision for me.''

New interactive platform puts health data at your fingertips

19 December 2011
NSW Health has launched a new interactive web-based application that puts health data at your fingertips.
Health Statistics NSW allows users to access data and tailor reports about the health of the New South Wales population for their own use.
The new technology is the first of its type in Australia and puts New South Wales ahead in making information on the health of the population widely available in an interactive way through the internet.
The application allows users to find data easily, visualise and interpret data and produce customised reports.

E-health test site kicks off eDischarge pilot

A Katoomba-based hospital will share electronic discharge summaries with GPs and vice versa
A Katoomba-based hospital has kicked off a trial under which it will share electronic discharge summaries with GPs and vice versa, ahead of the Federal Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) launch in July 2011.
The trial is being conducted by the Greater Western Sydney (GWS) PCEHR lead implementation site and was funded by the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and the National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA).
It will be conducted between the Blue Mountains District Anzac Memorial Hospital and local GPs. The test site will be led by a consortium including Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, Western Sydney Local Health District, Westmead children's hospital, WentWest (Western Sydney Medicare Local), the Nepean, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury-Hills Divisions of General Practice.

HINZ 2011 - Presentations and Papers

Photos and Videos

Video recordings of the plenary sessions and some presentations are now available on Vimeo.
Some photos are now available on Flickr.
To see the photos from a particular event, select one of the following:
Copies of photos are available from Pix Ltd. Note down the file name under each photo and email your list.


Most presentations from the HINZ 2011 Conference are now available in Slideshare.
If you would like a copy of any of the presentations, please contact the author directly.


All papers in the Conference Proceedings are available for download below.

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