Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 26th 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

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Well last week was a ripper. Firstly we had a report on the PCEHR from the Senate, which despite the spin from NEHTA and DoHA, was pretty critical of how the PCEHR Program had been managed.
Secondly we have now had the Opposition has declared its position. This has to mean there is now considerable uncertainty with respect to the future of the PCEHR Program.
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Disarray surrounds database

  • by: Sue Dunleavy and Karen Dearne
  • From: The Australian
  • March 24, 2012 12:00AM
THREE months before the latest holy grail of the health system is launched, Labor's Personally Controlled e-Health Record is beginning to look like a pub with no beer, or an electronic health record with no clinical details.
The program is $300 million over budget and the list of significant technical, security and organisational flaws is growing, as is the likelihood it will go the way of Britain's $18.4 billion version of the PCEHR. It was dismantled last September after just 8.25 million people out of 60 million opted in and only 1203 GP practices loaded records on to the program.
This week government members on a Senate inquiry into the PCEHR reported concerns the system may not be ready on July 1. Coalition members called for it to be delayed for 12 months.
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E-Health start faces delay says Opposition Senator Sue Boyce

OPPOSITION Senator Sue Boyce says the Gillard government’s personally controlled e-health system will not start on July 1, as its enabling legislation has just vanished off the face of the earth”.
“The government has not put up its PCEHR Bills for debate in the Senate in this last sitting session before the Budget,” she said in a statement.
“The very earliest the Bill can be passed now is the week of May 8 to 10, just seven weeks before the PCEHR program is due to start.
“Coalition members have been warning the government for more than 12 months that their start-up date was too ambitious.
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Rules for personally controlled e-health record system released

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 21, 2012 11:35AM
THE proposed rules and regulations for the operation of the personally controlled e-health record system by the federal Health department have been released two days after a Senate inquiry into the PCEHR legislation reported its findings.
The head of Health's e-health division, Fionna Granger, invited public comment on the PCEHR System: Proposals for Regulations and Rules paper, by April 11.
"The Personally Controlled E-Health Records Bill 2011, currently before Parliament, provides the legislative framework for the operation of the PCEHR system but not the particular operational detail," she said.
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Concerns raised over e-health plan

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 20, 2012 10:28AM
THE results of a Senate inquiry into the Gillard government's Personally Controlled E-Health Record Bills have split along party lines, with the Labor majority recommending the bills be passed and Coalition senators calling for a delay until July 1 next year so that unresolved issues can be addressed.
In "additional comments" on the main report, the Greens have recommended five amendments to enhance the legislation, including greater privacy protections.
The PCEHR Bills will now be debated in the senate, following their passage in the lower house last month.
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Senate Committee qualifies e-health approval

Coalition Senators seek pushback.

A Senate committee examining proposed legislation for the Government's e-health records scheme has recommended the bills be passed as long as their operation is reviewed in 2014.
Senators on the committee approved the bills' passage without amendment, although they accepted a range of shortcomings raised in the evidence given to the committee.
The Greens sought four amendments, including around data protections. 
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Conflicting recommendations spur hot debate over PCEHR

21st Mar 2012
LEGISLATION enabling the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system is set to be hotly debated in the Senate after a parliamentary inquiry splintered into conflicting recommendations from government, Greens and Coalition senators.
Government senators on the Community Affairs Committee recommended the bills enabling the system be passed and reviews of the governance structure and a possible transition to an ‘opt-out’ model be conducted after two years.
An opt-out model would provide every Australian with an e-health record by default, rather than requiring them to sign up of their own accord.
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GPs key to e-health success: Plibersek

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 22, 2012 5:30AM
HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek wants GPs to take a lead role in reforming healthcare through the adoption of e-health systems.
"E-health is an important area with great potential to improve the convenience and quality of care for patients," she told a conference for GPs in Canberra.
"It's also an area where the government is keen for GPs to take a lead role."
Ms Plibersek said the government would start to roll out the personally controlled e-health system from July this year.
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Patients will have to pay for eHealth

 PATIENTS will have to pay up to $280 out of their own pockets if they want a personally controlled eHealth record from July because there is no Medicare rebate available to cover the cost of a doctor setting it up.
A Senate committee last night also raised concerns the government's $470 million eHealth scheme may not be ready to go on its proposed starting date of July 1.
The Senate community affairs legislation committee said the government should rethink the key design principle of the system and consider switching from a model where patients have to opt in to one where they must opt out.
The committee received evidence from consumers and doctors that the system might not fly if not enough patients decided to opt in. It says when the scheme is reviewed in 2014, the government should consider switching it to an opt-out model.
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DoHA secretary signals future for NEHTA

Department of Health and Ageing secretary Jane Halton has moved to ease concerns about NEHTA’s future, stating the organisation will continue to function into the second half of this year.
The current round of funding for the National Ehealth Transition Authority expires after June 30. However, Ms Halton has revealed the government’s lead ehealth organisation will continue to function beyond that deadline as it continues to work on the government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project.
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DoHA expects ‘measured’ PCEHR adoption rate

The federal government’s incoming ehealth System Operator has revealed she is expecting consumers will not rush to sign up for personally controlled electronic health records, and has not set target rates for adoption.
Jane Halton, secretary at the Department of Health and Ageing and PCEHR System Operator from July 1, pending legislation, also said more than 1.4 million consumer identities were registered in the PCEHR system via the wave sites where the ehealth system is being trialled.
Speaking exclusively to eHealthspace.org ahead of her appearance at Health-e-Nation 2012, Ms Halton said: “I do not expect that the entire nation will opt in on 1 July, and actually we don’t want that.”
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Concerns raised over e-health records for elderly

NEHTA conceded that the system may not be "senior friendly"
The suitability and accessibility of the Federal Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system for the elderly has been brought into question by a Senate committee investigating cyber safety for senior Australians.
The committee voiced concerns to the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) — the body charged with the rollout of the PCEHR — around just how “senior-friendly” and easy to use the system would be for the demographic.
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NEHTA to front Senate cyber safety hearing

NEHTA is taking steps to reassure government and health industry stakeholders that it is comprehensively addressing a range of ehealth privacy and security concerns.
Industry groups including AusCERT have questioned the efficacy of the ehealth agency’s standards and technologies for protecting the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
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NEHTA rejects claims of mismanagement

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on March 19th, 2012
The Nation E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has issued a 21-page rebuke to claims from the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) that the $466.7 million e-health program is being mismanaged by the government authority.
At a Senate inquiry into e-health legislation last month, MSIA made a number of claims that the specifications for the individual health identifier (IHI) — which links a person to their personally controlled e-health record — risk patient safety, because when a person changed gender or birth date information, they would be issued with a duplicate health identifier.
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Delay launch of PCEHR for a year - Senators

20 March, 2012 Michael Woodhead
With only three months to go before the launch of the PCEHR, opposition Senators say the rushed program faces too many problems and unanswered questions and should be delayed for a year.
A Senate inquiry into the PCEHR program has divided along party lines, with the Opposition saying the short timeframe for implementation is unrealistic and that there are still unresolved issues around patients being unable to control who has access to their records,  governance and the complex infrastructure of the system.
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Coalition calls for e-health launch delay

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on March 20th, 2012
The Coalition has called for the Federal Government to delay the launch of personally controlled e-health records (PCEHRs) for all Australians by one year until 1 July 2013.
The Senate committee investigating the legislation required for the implementation of the $466.7 million PCEHR system yesterday called for the passage of the Bills in its report handed to the Senate yesterday. However, a dissenting report from coalition senators Sue Boyce and Bridget McKenzie noted that the majority of participants in the inquiry are extremely concerned about the launch date being just four months away.
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E-health records sign onto australia.gov.au

Whole-of-government sign-on system gains second member.

The Department of Health and Ageing has settled on the Federal Government’s single sign-on portal as the primary method of accessing consumer e-health records when they are made available later this year.
Consumers who opt for a personally controlled electronic health record from July 1 will be required to link their record to their login credentials on the australia.gov.au online portal in order to access the record online.
The e-health records portal itself will be hosted by the department, the designated systems operator for the project.
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Call to consider 'opt-out' e-records

20 March, 2012 Paul Smith
An inquiry into patient controlled e-health records is calling on the Federal Government to rethink its plan for patients to opt into the $467 million system and consider an opt-out scheme instead.
There have been long-running concerns that the success of the initiative will be undermined by low patient take up when it goes live in July.
On Monday night the Senate's community affairs legislation committee released its report recommending the current bill to create the personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) system be passed.
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NBN key for Royal Children's Hospital

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on March 22nd, 2012
Although the new Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne is already equipped with a fibre backbone, director of ICT architecture Brendan Kelly says "thank god" for the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The new 357-bed Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 26 October 2011.
The hospital has a 10-gigabit fibre backbone; 108 fibre joins the hospital with two other hospitals in the area. Kelly told journalists at CiscoLive! in Melbourne today that it was a "sparkly new facility".
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Aussie to webcast rare surgery

By Luke Hopewell, ZDNet.com.au on March 20th, 2012
Medical pioneer and self-professed evangelist professor Andrew Renaut will once again broadcast live, unedited footage of a rare surgical procedure over the internet to medical students and professionals. Renaut, however, is being cautious not to turn his educational webcast into a reality show.
Renaut has been broadcasting his surgeries for the past five years, with the last procedure aired in 2010. The professor is now gearing up for another webcast on Thursday that will see an unedited laparotomy, colectomy, ileorectal anastomosis and repair of ventral hernia broadcasted online with the support of the Australian Institute of Medical Education.
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eHealth display rolls out

By Karen Keast | Date of Posting: 20-03-2012
Allied health professionals, nurses and other healthcare providers across Australia will receive a first-hand look at how the new eHealth system will operate.
An innovative, interactive mobile display is touring Australia to showcase the Federal Government’s $465.7 million national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system, which will be available from July 1.
Now touring Australia, the National E-Health Transition Authority’s (NEHTA) Model Healthcare Community truck has been designed to outline the eHealth story and its initiatives, ranging from reception to consultation, specialists, pharmacy, diagnostics and hospital.
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ACMA calls for improved senior citizen cyber safety education

Face-to-face programs preferred over online sessions, according to ACMA research
Improving cyber safety education of senior citizens through more targeted programs would greatly improve their confidence and get more elderly Australians online, according to an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) submission to a Senate committee investigating cyber safety for senior Australians.
Speaking at the Senate hearing in Sydney, ACMA digital economy division general manager, Andrea Wright, said that most cyber safety programs are aimed at young people and the Authority is trying to change this.
During Safer Internet Day in 2012, for example, ACMA targeted grandparents with face-to-face presentations across Australia.
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Safety of older net users in spotlight

THE Health Department will give evidence on the security of the personally controlled e-health record system at a Cyber-Safety for Seniors hearing on Wednesday.
Joint select cyber-safety committee chairwoman Catryna Bilyk said the hearing would examine the benefits of moving vulnerable people, including "the fragile elderly", to the system when it launches on July 1.
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PCEHR operational blueprint in final draft: DoHA

Written by Kate McDonald on 19 March 2012.
An operational blueprint that will set out how the PCEHR will be managed after the system is launched on July 1 is in its final draft, according to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).
In a response to questions put on notice during a Senate committee hearing into the PCEHR last month, DoHA said the operational blueprint was being developed by administrative design company ThinkPlace.
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HealthLink launches electronic pathology ordering

Written by Kate McDonald on 21 March 2012.
HealthLink has launched its eLab electronic pathology ordering system on the Australian market.
eLab was originally developed as part of an international collaboration between HealthLink and Danish company Danish Medical Data Distribution (DMDD).
Called WebReq in Denmark, it has been up and running there for six years and is now used by all community-based practices and some hospitals to order more than 600,000 orders per month.
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Electronic medical records: why we should seek a second opinion

December 19, 2011
Opinion
There are fears that the US's overreach in Iraq and Afghanistan, in combination with its tenuous financial state, may spell the end of its global hegemony. But the superpower's downfall is just as likely to be caused by the cost of MRI scans as it is by defence spending.
Health remains the greatest non-security challenge Western governments face. The task of managing an ageing population, whizbang technologies and a demanding public is awesome.
Australia is not quite in the budget quagmire on health, but there is every chance its proportion of gross domestic product costs will continue to rise above the current 10 per cent. One of the great potential contributors to efficiency in what is notoriously the most inefficient of sectors is the electronic patient record. By allowing for more efficient sharing of information, health records stored as a transferable entity in digital form could transform the entire sector.
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Government kicks off NBN video conferencing pilot

The trial aims to increase access for rural Australians to services such as Centrelink and Medicare
The Federal Government has kicked off a video conferencing pilot over the National Broadband Network (NBN) which aims to give regional Australians increased access to services such as Medicare and Centrelink.
The trial will offer customers access to services under the Department of Human Services (DHS) portfolio which is part way through consolidating Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.
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NBN trial sites to roll out e-health, education projects

Home monitoring of type two diabetes patients in Townsville, local government video services planned by Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
National Broadband Network (NBN) trial sites inTownsville, Queensland and Armidale, New South Wales are in the process of rolling out separate trials over the NBN designed to help Townsville type two diabetes sufferers and, in Armidale, offer remote access to TAFE courses.
Speaking at the Cisco Live conference in Melbourne, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy First Assistant Secretary, Keith Besgrove, said the Townsville trial, which is scheduled to run for 18 months, would involve in home monitoring via video of the type two diabetes patients in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Health. The trial is due to commence within the next two months.
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Out with passwords, in with cognitive fingerprints

Randall Stross
March 19, 2012 - 12:14AM
We are moving to a world where you sit down at a console, you identify yourself, and you just start working, and the authentication happens in the background.
Imagine sitting down at your work keyboard, typing in your user name and starting work right away - no password needed.
That's a vision the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Defence Department, wants to turn into a reality. It will distribute research funds to develop software that determines, just by the way you type, that you are indeed the person you say you are.
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Enjoy!
David.

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