Monday, February 27, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27th February, 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

By the time this appears we will have the political situation sorted out - for the time being - and we will all still be wondering just why you would take any Australian politician seriously ever again.
Out of all this we have certainly discovered more about the nonsense that has gone on behind health policy - see the first article - in the last few years. The sad thing is that the PCEHR seems to have been one of the ‘thought bubbles’ that came from that unstable period. It will be fascinating to see what the Government decides to do with the PCEHR over time.
I predict it will be months (probably years) before we really know what the real outcome of the recent machinations will be. The effects on e-health will take a while to emerge - so for now we have to just let the ructions pass - and wait.
-----

Rudd wanted referendum on federal health takeover

24th Feb 2012
IN THE last days of his prime ministership Kevin Rudd wanted a referendum on a federal takeover of the health system during the 2010 election, former health minister Nicola Roxon revealed today.
As Mr Rudd arrived back in Australia after spectacularly quitting as foreign minister overseas, verbal attacks between his supporters and those of his successor, Julia Gillard, became increasingly frank ahead of an expected leadership showdown on Monday.
Ms Roxon, promoted to attorney-general under Ms Gillard and now backing the prime minister, said Mr Rudd was told a referendum on a health takeover wouldn't succeed but he nevertheless "thought it would be a good tool to be able to win the election".
-----

Feeling anxious? Soon there will be an app for that

BENEDICT CARE
February 15, 2012
The very idea of psychotherapy seems to defy the instant-access, video screen chatter of popular digital culture.
Not for long, if some scientists have their way. In the past few years researchers have been testing simple video-game-like programs aimed at relieving common problems like anxiety and depression. These recent results have been encouraging enough that investigators are now delivering the programs on smartphones — therapy apps, in effect, that may soon make psychological help accessible anytime, anywhere, whether in the grocery store line, on the bus or just before a work presentation.
The prospect of a therapy icon next to Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja is stirring as much dread as hope in some quarters. "We are built as human beings to figure out our place in the world, to construct a narrative in the context of a relationship that gives meaning to our lives," said Dr. Andrew J. Gerber, a psychiatrist at Columbia University. "I would be wary of treatments that don't allow for that."
-----

Health staff spend $340,000 on travel

INTERNATIONAL travel costs of Health Department employees during 2011-12 totalled more than $340,000.
The costs of trips varied from $1515 for a study trip to Oregon in the US to $48,247 for four staff to travel to the UK and US for the reference check stage of the new statewide electronic Enterprise Patient Administration System.
SA Health chief executive David Swan said the $344,408 spent on overseas travel played an important role for the department.
Note: I think the money spent of system reference checks was a very good thing. The rest others can comment on.
-----

NEHTA: eHealth specifications testing resumes

Posted on February 17, 2012
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has now resumed testing specifications after halting eHealth records trials, said NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming.
Back in January, NEHTA discovered that due to detected technical incompatibilities for specifications pushed to the eHealth trial sites, the implementation of primary care eHealth software has paused.
Hoever NEHTA has now re-commenced testing for the national Accenture platform to support the eHealth records this month, ensuring the system interoperates with other vendors’ software.
-----

The NBN's digital productivity potential

  • Published 9:05 AM, 22 Feb 2012
  • Last update 11:17 AM, 22 Feb 2012
After some five years of public debate on the National Broadband Network (NBN) it is heartening to see that more and more people are getting the message that the network means more than just fast internet access. Increasingly key decision-makers in business and government are reaching an understanding of the transformation that is underway in the economy.
It started with the music industry, followed by the publishing industry. The retail sector is learning its lessons the hard way but it is now beginning to understand the new environment. The entertainment industry is still trying to stop the tsunami by employing armies of lawyers, but it will soon also be engulfed by the changes. The banking sector is making a much smoother transition, while the demise of Kodak is another example of ‘missing the boat’.
One by one, all sectors of the industry are being confronted with the business transformation that the internet is bringing with it, and yet, incredibly, the ICT industry itself is still struggling with it (Sensis, Nokia, Microsoft, Motorola, Nortel, etc).
-----

85% of hospitals embracing BYOD, survey shows

Most employees are restricted to Internet access only
A survey of the networking priorities of 130 hospitals found that about 85% support the use of personal devices like iPads, Blackberries and Android smartphones at work.
The survey, performed by Aruba Networks , focused mainly on network issues and showed varying levels of access to business apps through employees' devices.
Of the 85% who indicated they support physician and staff use of personal devices at work, 53% said that the workers are currently relegated to Internet access only, while 24% provide limited access to hospital applications.
-----

iPads not safe for clinical diagnosis: new research

Apple’s iPad should not be used for making diagnosis in clinical settings, new research from the University of Sydney has warned.
According to Dr Mark McEntee, a senior researcher at Sydney University’s discipline of medical radiation sciences, iPads (and other portable devices) don’t have the screen brightness or resolution to compete with high-end clinical monitors.
“iPads and other secondary screens should not be used for clinical diagnosis,” he told eHealthspace.org. “There is a range of safety concerns associated with using mobile screens.”
-----

Faith lost over e-health record, few GPs see value

21st Feb 2012
JUST 5% of GPs understand how the government’s personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR) will work and what will be expected of them when it is rolled out on 1 July, while only a quarter think the system will help with consultations.
The apparent lack of faith in the government’s e-health records system was revealed in a survey of 150 GPs, conducted by Cegedim on behalf of MO, which also found 76% of GPs still held concerns over the lack of remuneration on offer to compensate for  time spent by doctors curating the electronic records.
-----

Ratings websites a sore point with doctors

21st Feb 2012
MOST GPs haven’t bothered to look up their names on ‘doctor-rating’ websites but more than half hold concerns such sites could harm their practice or reputation, according to survey results released today.
The Cegedim survey of 150 GPs, conducted on behalf of medical defence organisation Avant, found that while 77% of respondents had not bothered to look for ratings of themselves or any other practitioner, 60% were concerned such ratings could be damaging.
And, although more than half of respondents felt it was “reasonable for a patient to give their doctor a rating on a website out of 10 based on their staff, knowledge, helpfulness and punctuality", Avant CEO David Nathan said patient ratings weren’t always that fair.
-----

Conference tackles health care supply chain

February 21, 2012 
Representatives from nearly 30 countries will converge in Sydney for the 21st GS1 Global Healthcare Conference, 20-22 March 2012.
Held in Australia for the first time, the conference will be hosted by not for profit supply chain standards organisation GS1 Australia.
It aims to raise the bar on patient outcomes through efficient and timely access to medical devices, consumables and pharmaceuticals in the healthcare sector.
-----

Addict prints own prescription

PRESCRIPTION drug addict Matthew John Liddell had used a doctor's computer to print out his own prescription while the doctor was out of the room, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
Liddell, 26, had lost a leg in a car accident in 2008 and had been prescribed the narcotic pain reliever OxyContin for the ensuing four years, the court heard.
However, he became addicted to the drug and doctors wouldn't prescribe it for him anymore.
-----

Australian sperm donors' details could be linked to birth certificates

20 February 2012
The state parliament in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, is considering whether sperm and egg donors' details should be mandatorily recorded on their children's birth certificate.
Under the current law, only the two legal parents of the child can be recorded on the birth certificate but there are concerns that this limits the child's access to details of their biological parents later in life.
Donor information in the state is at present collected on a central register kept by the Department of Health. The NSW Health Central Register includes mandatory information about donors including their full name and address, ethnicity and medical history. Information is collected for children, born as a result of fertility treatment using donated gametes or embryos, conceived after 1 January 2010. Prior to this date such information could be provided voluntarily.
-----

Allied eHealth

Published on Tue, 21/02/2012, 09:49:06
Allied health professionals need incentive payments to encourage their participation in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) program, according to national peak body, Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA).
AHPA president Vittorio Cintio has commended the overall objective of the PCEHR legislation, which he said would give consumers more control over their health information and allow healthcare providers quicker and in some cases, shared access to patient records. 
But he wants the government to provide support for allied health professionals to be able to participate in the eHealth system, just like it does for GPs.
-----

Liberal MPs to vote for e-health records

LIBERAL MPs will vote to pass the Gillard government's legislation on personally controlled e-health records in the lower house, but warn they may move changes when the findings of a Senate inquiry are released.
Opposition e-health spokesman Andrew Southcott said the Coalition supported the concept of shared e-health records, but had concerns about the way the system was being implemented.
"Labor's implementation of the PCEHR since taking government in 2007 has received enormous criticism from industry for the poor management of the program's development and progress," he told the house last week.
-----

Big reforms for government technology

  • GARY STERRENBERG, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
GARY Sterrenberg is overseeing one of the biggest government technology reforms ever as head of the 37,000-strong Human Services mega-department.
He is managing the integration of Medicare, Centrelink and child support agencies at infrastructure and customer support levels, and the linking of 20 government agencies in an online portal.
Mr Sterrenberg, the Department of Human Services chief information officer, took charge of the reforms from retiring head John Wadeson in October, three months after its service delivery reform began.
-----

Argus achieves CCA for secure messaging

Written by Kate McDonald on 22 February 2012.
Database Consultants Australia's (DCA) Argus version 6.0 secure messaging product has passed the Conformance, Compliance and Accreditation (CCA) assessment process for the National E-Health Transition Authority's (NEHTA) secure messaging delivery (SMD) implementation.
It was evaluated by two independent assessors in January and received its formal documentation of compliance from KJ Ross & Associates on February 15.
Argus' general manager Ross Davey said the team had been early adopters of the CCA initiative because it believed a common approach to clinical messaging will eventually lead to better capabilities for health professionals.
-----

GPs to challenge govt on e-health costs

20th Feb 2012
GPs concerned about a major workload increase from managing the federal government's personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) are planning to confront the government with the initiative’s true cost to their business before it goes live.
With the PCEHR to launch on 1 July, the AMA’s Council of General Practice agreed at the weekend to commence work that would calculate the likely extra cost to general practices and a new fee schedule to present to the government before then.
“I think the government thinks it’s going to happen by autopilot,” AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton told MO.
-----

Video games bring a see change

February 19, 2012
DOCTORS have treated people born with a rare eye disorder by prescribing a course of gun-toting video games.
Adults who played first-person shooter games for 40 hours a month improved enough to read one or two lines further down a standard chart used in eye tests, the researchers found.
Games that required players to respond to action directly ahead of them and in the periphery of their vision, and to track objects that were sometimes faint and moving in different directions, strengthened the visual system in adults whose eyesight had been severely impaired from birth.
-----

NHMRC funded research to be free to public

22nd Feb 2012
BEGINNING in July, all publications based on NHMRC-funded research must be placed in the public domain, the CEO Professor Warwick Anderson has announced.
The publications must be placed into an “institutional repository” within 12 months of publication, and will be available free of charge, he said.
Although the NHMRC decided on the proposal internally last year, the mandate was only made public yesterday, in an opinion piece written by Professor Anderson for the website The Conversation, an NHMRC spokesperson said.
-----

Nano-transistor breakthrough to offer billion times faster computer

Deborah Smith
February 20, 2012
SYDNEY scientists have built the world's tiniest transistor by precisely positioning a single phosphorus atom in a silicon crystal.
The nano device is an important step in the development of quantum computers – super-powerful devices that will use the weird quantum properties of atoms to perform calculations billions of times faster than today's computers.
Michelle Simmons, of the University of NSW, said single atom devices had only been made before by chance and their margin of error for placement of the atom was about 10 nanometres, which affected performance.
-----

Scientists try to make sense of nothing

Dennis Overbye
February 22, 2012
Why is there something, rather than nothing at all?
It is, perhaps, the mystery of last resort. Scientists may be at least theoretically able to trace every last galaxy back to a bump in the Big Bang, to complete the entire quantum roll call of particles and forces. But the question of why there was a Big Bang or any quantum particles at all was presumed to lie safely out of scientific bounds, in the realms of philosophy or religion.
Now even that assumption is no longer safe, as exemplified by a new book by the cosmologist Lawrence Krauss. In it he joins a chorus of physicists and cosmologists who have been pushing into sacred ground, proclaiming more and more loudly in the past few years that science can explain how something – namely our star-spangled cosmos – could be born from, if not nothing, something very close to it. God, they argue, is not part of the equation. The book, A Universe From Nothing, is a best-seller and follows recent popular tomes such as God Is Not Great, by the late Christopher Hitchens; The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins; and The Grand Design, by the British cosmologist Stephen Hawking (with Leonard Mlodinow), which generated headlines two years ago with its assertion that physicists do not need God to account for the universe.
-----
Enjoy!
David.

No comments: