Monday, March 05, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 5th 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

Really  a quite big week - with the PCEHR legislation passing the House of Representatives.
Other than that there are some very interesting things happening all over the country - see the discussions on WA Aboriginal E-Health, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, skin cancer apps and so on.
The PCEHR is also being quite hotly debated by different interest groups with little overall clarity yet to emerge. The week after next may very well see the debate re-ignite with the release of the Senate Enquiry. We are, I suspect, in the calm before the storm!

E-health bill passes lower house

  • From: AAP
  • February 29, 2012 3:04PM
LEGISLATION to establish a national, personally controlled electronic health system has been passed by the House of Representatives.
The bill, which the federal government says will bring the management of health records into the 21st century, passed with the support of the coalition despite the concerns of some MPs.
Liberal MP Andrew Laming said Australia must learn from the experiences of the US and Britain where similar electronic records systems have been implemented.

Plibersek rejects PCEHR blow-out claims

Written by Kate McDonald on 01 March 2012.
Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has rejected claims in The Australian newspaper that the budget for the PCEHR had blown out by almost $200 million.
During a debate yesterday in which the PCEHR bill was passed unopposed by the House of Representatives, Ms Plibersek said the newspaper seemed to have double counted some of the sources of funding for the PCEHR and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
“The two main sources of funding for the eHealth agenda are the personally controlled electronic health records allocation and the COAG approved funding,” Ms Plibersek said.
1 March 2012, 2.20pm AEST

Everything you need to know about Australia’s e-health records


From July 1 2012, Australians will be able to register for their own Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). At least this was what Rosemary Huxtable, deputy secretary of the department of health and ageing has reaffirmed to a parliamentary senate committee. At that point, $467m will have been spent on the project.
To say that the project has its doubters and critics would be an understatement. The Medical Software Industry of Australia (MSIA), the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Consumers e-health Alliance are among the many groups that spoke to the senate committee about their concerns regarding the implementation of the PCEHR. Their complaints are varied and range from privacy, to governance and liability, through to doubts about whether anyone would actually use the system.
Interestingly, advocates and critics both agree on the potential usefulness of electronic health records to improve patient outcomes and increase the potential efficiency of health services – even though evidence is scant that electronic health records, in and of themselves, improve the quality of care.

Internet trial’s impressive results for chronic fatigue

1st Mar 2012
A SMALL trial of an intensive Internet-based intervention for adolescents with chronic fatigue syndrome has had impressive results in getting participants back to school and functioning normally, researchers say.
The study conducted in The Netherlands involved cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychoeducation delivered online with e-consults available from psychotherapists.
The study analysed 67 patients, aged 12 to 18 years, who were assigned to the internet program, called Fatigue In Teenagers on the Internet (FITNET), compared to a control group of 64 who received ‘usual care’ including group rehabilitation, physical training and face-to-face CBT.

Behind the news

28th Feb 2012
The PCEHR is a hot topic. MO asks the experts for their thoughts.
JUST 5% of GPs understand how the government’s personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system 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 widespread lack of faith in the system was revealed in a Cegedim survey of 150 GPs, conducted on behalf of MO, which also found 76% of GPs had concerns over the lack of remuneration on offer to compensate for the time they spent curating the electronic records.
The survey also showed how many GPs were worried about other issues related to the PCEHR, including the reliability of information (76%), privacy or security (67%) and medico-legal issues (71%).

NSW Health to implement medical supply and inventory system

The service aims to provide a national uniform set of data around medication
The National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has confirmed NSW Health will implement a medical supply and inventory system some nine months after it was trialled in the ACT.
The Master Catalogue Information Service (MCIS) aims to provide a national uniform set of data around medication. It will assist different health departments and jurisdictions automate validation, integration and synchronisation of the National Product Catalogue (NPC) data (published by suppliers), with the departments’ internal systems.
A spokesperson from NSW Health told Computerworld Australia the state has signed on to implement the MCIS but could not provide further detail about when implementation would commence.

Free app a smart way to check skin

March 2, 2012
A new iPhone app designed to help Australians check their skin for potential cancers and other damage is available.
The free program teaches users how to monitor their skin and know when to see their doctor.

UGPA calls for incentives to use PCEHR

Written by Kate McDonald on 02 March 2012.
The heads of the major general practice associations have called on the federal government to properly fund and support GPs to assist in the smooth implementation of the PCEHR.
At a meeting in Canberra yesterday, United General Practice Australia (UGPA) expressed concern about the lack of preparation for the practical implementation at practice level of the PCEHR, which is due to be introduced on July 1.

MDOs join call for e-health delay

27th Feb 2012
MEDICAL defence organisations have added to the chorus urging the government to delay the launch of the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) and warned GPs will have to overhaul their practices to comply with the system’s data security provisions.
MDA National president Associate Professor Julian Rait said the government had not properly considered the “very serious data security issues” involved because it was trying to rush the system out by its 1 July launch date.
“We think there has been an excessive amount of political pressure put on the people that are doing this without all the proper tests and checks required to do it properly and safely,” he said.

AMA calls for hospital IT funding

Kate Hagan
February 27, 2012
TECHNOLOGY is urgently needed to replace paper-based records that are compromising patient care in public hospitals, doctors say, as the state government continues to defer any decision on the future of Victoria's troubled HealthSMART program.
In a state budget submission, the Australian Medical Association has called for $310 million over four years to provide technology for public hospitals, including systems for managing patient medications.
The funding would also link public hospitals with GPs and aged-care facilities so they could share patient information for better continuity of care and adherence to treatment.
AMA Victoria president Harry Hemley said GPs and nursing homes received only sketchy written information, if any, about a patient's medications and treatment following a hospital stay.

The Model Healthcare Community Roadshow is Coming to You

24 February 2012. The use of technology in the provision of health services will improve the quality and safety of healthcare to individuals. The Model Healthcare Community (MHC) is the most prominent eHealth engagement tool currently available in Australia. It is an interactive and dynamic display that showcases the NEHTA eHealth foundations and solutions and highlights the investments by the Governments of Australia in a national eHealth system. An MHC installation is on permanent display at the RACGP offices in Melbourne. Another installation is taken to peak stakeholder conferences around Australia. A third installation was on site at The Canberra Hospital, Calvary Hospital and DOHA in December/January 2011/12.

Accenture: Australia behind on healthcare IT adoption

Monday, February 20, 2012
By Anne Widjaja
A new Accenture study on healthcare IT reveals that Australia’s physicians are behind in their adoption and use of healthcare information technology.
The Accenture study, ‘Connected Health: The Drive to Integrated Healthcare Delivery’, analysed how eight countries’ health systems are utilising healthcare IT and creating ‘connected’ systems of efficient healthcare delivery. The countries surveyed included Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.
The findings were the result of over 160 interviews with health leaders and a survey of 3700 physicians across the eight countries (500 in Australia), supplemented by extensive secondary research.

Fletcher: Governments can't dictate technology adoption

Attacks NBN and e-health records.

Liberal MP and former Optus executive Paul Fletcher has delivered a stinging attack on the ambitious technology projects of the Labor Government, arguing Australia has not learned lessons from numerous failed IT projects in the private and public sector.
Fletcher savaged the National Broadband Network (NBN), the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project, and the ‘one PC per student’ Digital Education Revolution in a speech to a conference of technology journalists on the Gold Coast Sunday.
He compared these schemes to – among others – the UK’s failed e-health project, the cash flow problems and subsequent Leighton buyout of Nextgen Networks, SingTel’s write-off of Optus’ HFC Network losses and the collapse of mobile telco One.Tel.

Tim Donovan & Nigel Armfield: A tele future

TELEMEDICINE — the use of information and communications technology to provide health care at a distance — has evolved significantly in the past 2 decades.
Now, with the introduction of Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS) item numbers for video-based GP-to-specialist consultations, the use of telemedicine is spreading from the public hospital setting to the private sector. MBS items provide an incentive for clinicians to make better use of telemedicine services.
Neonatal care exemplifies the healthcare impediments of distance and time and the advantages telemedicine may provide.
In Queensland 54% of all livebirths and 82% of all high-risk births occur in hospitals more than 50 km from the state’s three tertiary hospital nurseries. The mean time to reach a sick infant is 2 hours, during which time support has traditionally been provided by telephone alone.

Jumping on the telehealth bandwagon

28th Feb 2012
There’s a $6000 telehealth rebate waiting for you – so why aren’t you claiming it? Mark O’Brien looks at how to get started.
WHEN it comes to telehealth, West Australian GP Dr Mike Civil is what you might call an early adopter.
Since putting together a video-conferencing unit for about $2000 last year, Dr Civil’s Stirk Medical Group at Kalamunda has claimed about 300 consultations under the telehealth MBS items rolled out by the government last year.

Mobile health records connect outback communities

The Kimberly Aboriginal Medical Services Council has introduced an electronic health record to provide continuity of care for indigenous populations scattered over a vast geographical area.
The Challenge: To maintain continuity of care for a highly mobile population scattered over a wide geographical area.
The Approach: Create an electronic medical record accessible by clinicians, specialists and nursing staff.
The Outcomes: Information is easily shared between clinicians, making it easier to deliver high quality, continuous care.
The Lessons Learned: Without an electronic record, a clinician visiting a remote community is flying blind without a patient’s history. The record turns the lights on.

Health data cache helps war veterans

February 28, 2012
Emma Connors
Armed with a treasure trove of patient data, researchers have worked with doctors and pharmacists to improve the quality of life for many war ­veterans and their families.
Seven out of 10 war veterans are over 75 and, like others their age, most have multiple chronic health conditions and so are big users of health services.
Veterans are also entitled to free healthcare and most have agreed to let the government centralise their medical records in a single database.

Leap year blamed for HICAPS stumble

29 Feb, 2012 11:26 AM
Today's extra day in February has caused the payment system used by the health industry to crash, preventing 150,000 customers from using private health care cards for medical transactions.
National Australia Bank-owned Health Industry Claims and Payments Service (HICAPS) warned customers they may encounter troubles with the terminals used at medical and insurance offices today.
“Due to a software issue you may be experiencing difficulty with your terminal today,” the company said.
The HICAPS failure follows problems at Commonwealth Bank, which saw its ATMs and eftpos systems fail earlier today.

Unfinished business: student perspectives on disclosure of mental illness

Read the full text

Fears of stigma or prejudice prevent many Australian students from reporting their mental illness - they want to be treated like any other student, according to this National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) study.
In stark contrast, the study shows that teachers believe students should disclose their mental illness to receive the right support.

Care quality at risk in hospital cost-cutting

  • by: Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • March 03, 2012 12:00AM
A HOSPITAL funding expert has warned the new activity-based funding system due to be introduced in July will compromise standards by encouraging hospitals to offer services that are cheaper rather than those that cost more but work better.
The funding system, a key component of the government's health reform program, aims to align hospitals' budgets more closely to the work they do, but also to encourage efficiency by setting a national benchmark "efficient price" for each service.
The theory is that inefficient hospitals that need more money to provide care similar to other hospitals will have new incentives to improve their performance. But a discussion paper put out by the government body in charge of introducing the new system, the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority, has triggered concerns among some experts that it will encourage hospitals to cut corners that please the accountants and not the patients or their doctors.

One step closer to quantum computing

March 1, 2012 - 7:50AM
IBM is jumping into an area of computing that has, until now, been primarily the province of academia: the quest to build a quantum computer.
A computer that took advantage of the oddities of quantum physics could solve in seconds certain problems that would occupy present-day computers for billions of years.
But for now, it is impossible to build such a computer because the bits of information it would need for the calculations fall apart before a calculation can be completed. The problem is, in essence, like trying to knit a sweater with yarn that unravels before the first purl.

1 comment:

InformaticsMD said...

Re: "TECHNOLOGY is urgently needed to replace paper-based records that are compromising patient care in public hospitals, doctors say"

Where is the objective evidence that this is so? Where are the rigorous studies?

It seems most medical errors have little to do with documentation. See for instance .