Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th March, 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

The early part of this week will definitely the calm before the storm - if, as presently expected - the Senate Community Affairs Committee hands down its PCEHR Report on the 13th of March. I suspect the later part of the week will then be spent figuring out what the report means.
I have to say the best thing I read this will was the commentary from Jenny O’Neill on all matters e-Health - and especially her mention of the PC-LES (the Personally Controlled Largely Empty Shell) -  I suspect this will be the most accurate characterisation of what is actually delivered by July 1, 2012.
Remember the PC-LES - we will hear much more of this I think!
Also. remember it is only about 2 months until the release of the Federal Budget. This will be the news of that month when we see what funding is provided for e-Health in general and the PCEHR in particular.
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MSIA: From eHealth blue sky to eHealth grass roots - will the twain ever meet?

Written by Jenny O'Neill on 08 March 2012.
This article first appeared in the 20 February 2012 edition of Pulse+IT Magazine.
Beyond the Wave sites, the usual measured approach to investment in clinical software seems to be occurring by healthcare providers and software companies without a lot of regard for the national agenda. Which begs the question — how can the grass roots of eHealth become more readily engaged in the blue sky vision to help deliver on the government’s health reform agenda?
Since the Federal Government’s announcement that all Australians will be able to sign up for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) by 1st July 2012, you would think there would be frenetic activity going on at every level of the sector towards that common goal. But with blue-sky-thinking outpacing grass-roots-doing at a ratio of around four hundred and sixty seven million to one, the world of eHealth is in danger of spinning off its axis into the blue beyond.
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Labor oversight on e-health position 'improper'

CONSUMER groups have rejected Labor's plan to install the Health Department secretary as head of the personally controlled e-health record system due for launch on July 1.
In a little-heralded addendum to the PCEHR's concept of operations in January, Health jettisoned previous commitments that the secretary would only act as official operator on an interim basis, until an independent oversight body could be formed.
But key advocacy groups have attacked the appointment as totally inappropriate, the Senate inquiry into the PCEHR Bills has heard.
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PCEHR may be hacked, warns IT security group

8 March, 2012 Gemma Collins
Patients could have their private medical records hacked by online criminals once the PCEHR goes live in July, a leading IT security group has said.
Providing the PCEHR over the internet, presumably via a standard internet connection, means the records could be open to fraudsters, compromising the confidentiality of the records, according to AusCERT in its submission to the Senate enquiry on the PCEHR Bill.
The University of Queensland based IT security group accuses the Department of Health of being “misleading” and “misrepresenting” the level of risks of the shared record system by saying the system will be secure.
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PCEHR open to hacking, says AusCert

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 09, 2012 5:00AM
INDEPENDENT computer emergency response team, AusCERT, has issued a blunt warning that the personally controlled e-health record system will be wide open to hacking.
"The current proposal by the Australian government to provide PCEHR over the internet will allow for the exposure of these records to theft and compromise," AusCERT told the Senate inquiry into the PCEHR Bills in submissions released yesterday.
 "Online criminals have for many years been attacking PCs at work and home to gain access to the systems and data they desire.
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Software Developer Conference Hosted by NEHTA & DoHA

Engage with vendors and implementers prior to the launch of the PCEHR in July 2012
With the final set of PCEHR specifications and the initial release of the National Infrastructure due mid March we are reaching a critical time regarding the further development of relationships with the Software Development community that support the healthcare industry.  The focus of this session is on describing the core components of the concept of operations and what will be in place for July as features of the National Infrastructure.
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Gemma Collins: Are we prepared for the PCEHR to go live?

9 March, 2012 Gemma Collins
July 1 is a big day in the health reform calendar. It’s the day when patients are going to be able to have access to their own e-health records, as the long-awaited PCEHR goes live.
Not surprisingly the PCEHR was the hot topic of the two-day International Primary Health Care Reform Conference this week in Brisbane. And the first session on e-health opened with a pre-recorded video presentation by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh who was behind the evaluation of the UK’s equivalent to the PCEHR - the Summary Care Record.
For 20 minutes we hear about all the disastrous problems GPs and patients have been facing in the UK with the new system. It has created “mutual misunderstanding” and “mutual mistrust” between everyone involved, with NHS staff blaming patients about not being able to get into the system, and the IT companies blaming GPs and managers for the problems. And even three years after it was implemented and billions of pounds were spent, only 400 shared records out of a possible two million are being accessed a week and only 20 in hospitals.
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E-health market set to grow as Australia ages: KPMG

Population living longer which would mean more health requirements, says KPMG partner
IT companies are been urged to look at opportunities in the e-health market as Australia faces an aging population over the next 10 years.
KPMG Australia partner, Bernard Salt, told delegates at Gartner’s Infrastructure, Operations and Data Centre Summit that as the baby boomer generation retires and lives longer, the requirement for e-health will rise.
“As of 2012, the average life expectancy for an Australia woman is 84 while for men it is 82 years,” Salt said. “The first baby boomer, born in 1946, turned 65 last year and this is a generation that expects to live a lifestyle in retirement that preceding generations did not.”
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Glitch in online health records

Steve Lohr
Computerised patient records are unlikely to cut healthcare costs and may actually encourage doctors to order expensive tests more often, a study published this week concludes.
Industry experts have said that electronic health records could generate huge savings – as much as $US80 billion ($74 billion) a year, according to a Rand Corporation estimate.
The promise of cost savings has been a major justification for billions of dollars in US federal spending to encourage doctors to embrace digital health records.
Note: The article mentioned here has caused a pretty intense debate - links to which will be in the overseas links this week.
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Exploit GPs or patients to pay: PCEHR dilemma

6th Mar 2012
GPs will have to choose between being “exploited” or charging elderly patients more than $200 each to create shared health summaries for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) unless the government “foots the bill”, experts say.
The comments came as United General Practice Australia leaders unanimously expressed concern over the lack of preparation ahead of the system’s 1 July launch date and called on the government to ensure GPs were “properly funded and supported”.
A schedule of recommended fees for GPs who take on the ‘nominated provider’ role and create the summaries is still in development by the AMA, but Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton said the fees were likely to be time-based and include an intellectual property component.
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Djakic condemns dept's 'protracted', time-wasting approach

7th Mar 2012
AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic has blasted the department of health, warning its “arduous” and “protracted” oversight of Medicare Locals is wasting time and leaving the reform vulnerable to a “direct threat” from a future coalition government.
Dr Djakic’s comments to MO yesterday were the first visible dispute between his organisation, which has championed the nationwide transfer of 111 Divisions of General Practice to 62 Medicare Locals, and the department, which has been administering it.
But on the sidelines of the International Primary Health Care Reform conference being held in Brisbane this week, Dr Djakic said he was so concerned about the department becoming “another controlling influence” rather than a funding body that he could no longer stay silent.
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Authority is given, not taken

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Grahame Grieve
Real authority is not something that you can take, that you can purchase, that you can steal. It’s something that other people give you freely of their own accord. There’s no other way to get it. It’s important to distinguish power from authority – power is only ever taken, and never given. The two things are closely related – having authority in a sub-group (i.e. the armed forces, or the engineering department) can help you acquire power in a wider sphere. Authority is better than power, because having authority means that people want to do what you tell them.
In New Zealand, where I grew up, this notion is wonderfully captured in the word “mana”, borrowed and adapted from Maori:
“mana”, taken from the Maori, refers to a person or organization of people of great personal prestige and character. Sir Edmund Hillary, is considered to have great mana both because of his accomplishments and of how he gave his life to service. Perceived egotism can diminish mana…
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Feature: Medibank builds portal for consumer health

Written by Kate McDonald on 08 March 2012.
This article first appeared in the 20 February 2012 edition of Pulse+IT Magazine.
Health insurer Medibank is creating an online health record for its customers in which users can store their personal health information. It is aimed at allowing consumers to take control of their health information and will eventually link up with the PCEHR.
Health insurer Medibank is creating an online health record for its customers in which users can store their personal health information. It is aimed at allowing consumers to take control of their health information and will eventually link up with the PCEHR.
The Medibank healthbook is a personally controlled electronic record of an individual’s health information and history. healthbook will be overseen by 100 Medibank Health Solutions nurses who are already registered with their Healthcare Provider Identifier - Individual (HPI-I).
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Warner Chilcott's sales reps fit pieces of data puzzle on the go

WARNER Chilcott's Australian sales team could spend up to 90 per cent of their time churning data and struggling to make best use of it.
The acquisition of Procter & Gamble's global branded pharmaceutical business in 2009 gave Warner Chilcott significant scale and geographic reach.
With only a small sales force in Australia, the pharmaceutical company needed to have a highly targeted approach.
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Hospitals explore social media

Emma Connors
Hospitals have a lot to gain from social media, but it’s a steep learning curve.
Once upon a time people who were happy with their care wrote a thank you card to a hospital or a letter to their newspaper.
Now they put it on Facebook.
“I would like to thank the theatre staff of 21/2/12,” posted one former patient of Geelong Hospital on the Facebook wall of Victoria’s regional health service Barwon Health.
“Sorry for throwing you a curve ball during my procedure,” the patient went on. “And a huge thanks to the wonderful staff of HW4 for their care and help during my stay there. All are a great credit to Barwon Health.”
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Australia: New Bill – Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records

05 March 2012
Article by Wendy Blacker and Jessica Kinny
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011 (Cth) (Consequential Bill) has been introduced to ensure that the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011 (Cth) (PCEHR Bill), once enacted, operates appropriately and effectively.

The PCEHR System

In the 2010-11 Budget, the Government committed $466.7 million to a two-year program to build the national infrastructure for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system.
To date, individuals' health information has been dispersed across a range of locations rather than being attached to the patient, and individuals need to repeat their medical history each time they visit a new clinician. This could result in poor information flows, unnecessary retesting, delays and errors.
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Report slams medical device alerts

Julie Robotham
March 5, 2012
Government advice to patients and doctors on the safety of medical devices - including critical implants such as pacemakers - is inadequate and inconsistent, and does not reflect the seriousness of the damage they may cause, says a Sydney researcher.
''Reporting of incidents involving medical devices has become more frequent but most reports are not investigated or, after investigation, no action is taken,'' said Richard McGee, a researcher at the University of Sydney school of public health.
Dr McGee analysed alerts and statistics published on the website of the Therapeutic Goods Administration between 2000 and 2011, finding the agency had attributed 295 deaths and 2357 serious injuries to medical devices during that time.
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Windows 8: Training required

Windows 8 includes a more drastic interface change than previous versions of Windows. Here are the top questions new users are likely to ask
Every new version of Windows has included interface changes. Most of these have been minor--an icon moved here, a toolbar added there. Windows 8 will be different, using a completely new Metro interface as the primary environment, and removing important elements like the Start menu from the older but still accessible "desktop" interface. Even IT pros may need to do some web searching to figure out some features. What questions will your workers have, and will you have the answers?
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Windows 8 reviews: 'Mission accomplished', 'transcendent', 'unintuitive'

So far the overall vibe is positive
Early reviews of Windows 8 range from describing it as speedy and elegant to unintuitive, but those who have given the operating system a test drive seem to enjoy the experience.
Several point out that Internet Explorer 10 has two versions, one for touchscreen and one for a mouse and keyboard machine, that look and feel very different, which they find disconcerting.
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Enjoy!
David.

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