Monday, May 07, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 7th May, 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

There is really only one issue to be faced this week and that is the outcome for e-Health from the budget. It is released Tuesday evening and after that all will be a great deal clearer.
Until this happens we can all just relax and enjoy the nice Autumn weather!

Also while waiting you could do worse than spend a few minutes reading Grahame Grieves useful blog on HL7 - link about 1/2 way down this entry.

Your medical records could be online

By Leanne Hudson First published: April 29th, 2012

Did you know?

The Australian Government is also setting up an electronic prescriptions scheme, aimed at cutting the abuse of prescription painkillers.
Imagine if any medical practitioner could access your healthcare records at the click of a mouse. The emergency department could treat you more quickly, specialists could compare test results instantly and you wouldn't have to remember the last time you had a tetanus shot.
Welcome to the world of eHealth, a program the  Government has invested $466 million in. Its aim is to create PCEHRs (Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records) that centralise a patient's healthcare information and, with their permission, present it to registered healthcare providers.
Advocates of the scheme say it will ensure a safer, more efficient healthcare system, but critics raise issues including privacy, access and consent. "I don't think privacy has been addressed enough," says Professor Julie Zetler, senior lecturer in the department of marketing and management at Macquarie University, who is researching the ethics of eHealth. Zetler also has concerns about security – how do you prevent unauthorised use of the records?

Rising cost to fix SA Health problems

By Nick Harmsen
Updated May 02, 2012 08:18:58
The South Australian Health Department will pay consultants $1.7 million to fix major issues with its new information technology system.
Health Minister John Hill has revealed officials were warned of potential problems two years ago.
The minister needed to hire external consultants to help reconcile $90 million of accounts due to major problems introducing a new IT system.
Last month, health officials revealed they had paid about $500,000 to fix the mess, but now the estimated cost is $1.7 million.

Costs of botched payroll to double

  • by: Michael McKenna, Queensland political editor
  • From: The Australian
  • May 02, 2012 12:00AM
THE cost of fixing Queensland Health's botched payroll system is set to spiral into one of Australia's most expensive bureaucratic bungles with the newly elected Liberal National Party government warning of a potential doubling of the estimated $220 million repair bill.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg yesterday accused the Bligh Labor government of lying about the extent of problems with the $40m payroll system, which left thousands of health workers underpaid, overpaid or unpaid after it was implemented in 2010.
The payroll debacle -- which forced Queensland Health to claw back about $75m in overpayments from its employees last year -- was ranked in internal Labor polling ahead of the March 24 election as one of the top reasons for voters turning against the Bligh government.

GP shop-front part of e-health push

Updated May 04, 2012 07:37:49
Hunter Urban Medicare Local needs to sign-up 20,000 people for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.
The organisation representing Hunter GPs is ramping-up preparations for its electronic health system by opening a new shop-front office today in the Hunter Street mall.
Hunter Urban Medicare Local needs to sign-up 20,000 people for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record by the end of next month.


April 30, 2012

Bloom fading from e-health golden wattle

It sounded like a great idea in 2010: a personally controlled electronic health record that would allow Australians to access and share medical records in a nationwide database. The system, it was argued, would support better medical decision-making, reduce errors and save time and money.
To that end, the government set aside A$467 million and targeted an ambitious launch date of July 1, 2012.
Medical groups such as the Australian Medical Association lauded the notion, asserting that a shared electronic health record would help doctors deliver better care as they’d have access to a patient’s full clinical records no matter where he was treated. Health and consumer advocates were equally effusive. The proposed system would yield improved health outcomes, reduce medical mistakes and provide confidential health records.

‘We’ve been clear’: Dept rejects PCEHR criticism

1st May 2012
THE health department has rejected suggestions it has been anything but “clear and unequivocal” about funding arrangements for GPs compiling PCEHR records, as doctors’ groups continue to question the details.
AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton has accused the department of using “weasel words” to obscure the fact there is no new funding for GPs to prepare e-health records.
The RACGP last week released a series of scenarios, developed with support from the department, to give GPs examples of how the PCEHR would work with existing MBS items.

E-health, Myki the big Vic budget winners

By Josh Taylor, on May 2nd, 2012
As the Victorian Government looks to cut spending and produce a surplus, the majority of tech funding in the Victorian Budget, released yesterday, targets e-health investments and the state's troubled transport smart card Myki.
Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu said yesterday that the Budget "delivers the right economic strategy to put Victoria's finances onto a stronger foundation for the future, while managing the tight financial constraints imposed by international economic uncertainty, a weaker national economy and consequent declines in state revenue".
The government has allocated $100 million over the next four financial years to the Victorian Innovation, E-Health and Communications Technology Fund. This will support health IT projects, including system and software upgrades and installations, according to budget documents. The Coalition-led government has also dedicated $8.3 million per annum in funding over the next two years as part of the state's contribution to National E-Health Transition Authority's (NEHTA) core operations.

Australian Healthcare Product Purchasers Intention Statement NPC and eProcurement Edition 1

On behalf of the NEHTA Supply Chain Reference Group, we would like to announce the release of the Australian Healthcare Product Purchasers Intention Statement NPC and eProcurement Edition 1 PDF (395.71 kB)
As a part of NEHTA’s Supply Chain Reform Programme Review conducted in 2011, suppliers indicated that they were unclear as to how their product data loaded on the National Product Catalogue (NPC) was being used by Australian Healthcare Buyers. Accordingly, the purpose of this Intention Statement is to provide pharmaceutical, medical product and consumable suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, etc. in the Australian healthcare market with a snapshot of current NPC and eProcurement activities in the public and some private healthcare provider market.

Medicare Locals' performance to be compared, not GPs: NHPA

2nd May 2012
THE National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) has reassured GPs their individual work will not be tested when the organisation begins the task of assessing the effectiveness of Medicare Locals.
The new body hopes to use a set of 50 indicators endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to publish comparison data of hospitals across the country. About 30 of these would be used as a “departure point” for assessing MLs, NHPA acting CEO Dr Diane Watson said.
Some GPs have raised concerns the practice would amount to a “My School” style league table, which would pit doctors against their peers regarding performance in matters that were often unquantifiable.

Melb students through to Imagine Cup final

By Luke Hopewell, on May 2nd, 2012
Four Victorian students have secured a place in the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup to be held in Sydney, thanks to an innovation enabling a "digital stethoscope"

HL7 Progress Report

Posted on May 5, 2012 by Grahame Grieve
This blog post is based on a presentation I made to The Australian Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) at a recent meeting. The focus of this presentation was a CEO level summary of where HL7 is at, as context for how to understand the use of HL7 standards in Australia. Note that interoperability is a major piece of the landscape here in Australia, and most CEOs are somewhat (through to intimately) involved in it, and therefore at least familiar with the innards of a v2 message.
Use of HL7 in Australia
HL7 v2 was first used for exchanging patient management information in single-campus hospitals. Over the last 20 years, the use of HL7 v2 has grown from that to be used for diagnostic reports in hospitals and then between clinical providers, and also referrals and discharge summaries within and between providers. There is also some use for pharmacy messaging, though I am only aware of this internally to an institution.This use has been aided and fostered by a series of Australian standards known by AS 4700.x where x indicates the intended use of the standard.

Study Confirms e-Prescribing Systems Reduce Medication Errors

A recent study in Australia confirmed what many U.S. health organizations and officials promote: e-prescribing systems help to reduce a variety of medication errors.
April 28, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A recent study in Australia confirmed what many U.S. health organizations and officials promote: e-prescribing systems help to reduce a variety of medication errors. While many healthcare hospitals and clinics in the U.S. have already implemented e-prescribing and other online medical systems and processes, the government and organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA) continue to encourage their adoption. Widespread use of e-prescribing systems helps protect patients and avoid painful and costly medication errors.
e-Prescribing Method
Electronic prescribing, or e-prescribing, systems help to automate the process of ordering, dispensing and paying for prescription drugs. Typically a physician enters a script in a patient's record on the e-prescribing system, which is then forwarded to a pharmacy of the patient's choice. The prescription history, insurance coverage and any possible medication interactions or side effects for a patient are also tracked within the e-prescribing system. In addition, refills and other authorizations are managed through the e-prescribing interface.

Errors rife on GP scripts

3 May, 2012 Jo Hartley
One in 20 prescription items on GP scripts contain an error or inadequate instructions on monitoring the drug, a study commissioned by the UK general practice professional regulator has revealed.
Most of the errors were categorised as oversights rather than mistakes, such as the GP failing to write down how often a patient should take the medication or the prescription of an incorrect dose.
However around one in every 550 prescription items was judged to contain a serious error, which included prescribing penicillin to a patient with a known allergy to the drug, and failing to ensure a patient on warfarin was being regularly monitored.

Vision of future: experts close to turning bionic eye dream into reality

May 2, 2012
FIFTEEN years ago, the bid to create Australia's first bionic eye relied on university researchers pillaging old stereos for parts.
However today, 154 researchers led by biomedical engineers from the University of NSW could be less than a year away from their goal of saving the vision of degenerative eye disease sufferers.
In 1997, when the work began, Gregg Suaning and Nigel Lovell were unfunded, but dogged, researchers ripping old stereos asunder for spare parts in their attempts to build a bionic eye.

Pioneering electronic eye trials a success

4th May 2012
THE first UK clinical trials of an electronic eye implant designed to restore the sight of blind people have proved successful and "exceeded expectations", scientists say.
Eye experts developing the pioneering new technology said the first group of British patients to receive the electronic microchips were regaining "useful vision" just weeks after undergoing surgery.
The news will offer fresh hope for people with retinitis pigmentosa, they said.
Retina Implant AG, a leading developer of subretinal implants, fitted two patients with retinitis pigmentosa with the wireless device in mid-April as part of its UK trial.

Consumers win more power over credit data

Geesche Jacobsen
May 2, 2012
THE Australian Privacy Commissioner is to get greater powers to investigate and resolve complaints about privacy breaches, the federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has announced.
Consumers will also have a greater ability to see information held about them by credit reporting agencies, and to have it corrected, a spokesman for Ms Roxon said.
The changes - to be introduced to Parliament in the winter session - are the government's response to a Senate committee review of proposed national privacy principles, which were developed in response to a 2008 report by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Mobile phone radiation emissions may be cut

  • From: The Australian
  • May 05, 2012 12:00AM
AUSTRALIA'S radiation limits for mobile phones and transmitters may be changed for the first time in a decade, after a string of European countries lowered their limits.
The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency is setting up a panel of experts to aid its review of scientific literature published since 2002.
"Should evidence arise to indicate that the exposure limits do not provide adequate protection, then the standard will be revised," ARPANSA said yesterday.

The password dilemma

Matt Smith
April 30, 2012 - 12:18PM
Think about all the accounts you have online that require a password: email, Facebook, Twitter, Paypal, a multitude of forums, a handful of bank accounts.
Now think about how many of these accounts use the same, easy to remember password. The name of a relative, a footy team, or a cherished pet? Or did you make the worst mistake, and set your password as '123456', 'abc123', 'qwerty', or even the dreaded (but strangely common) 'password'?
You aren't alone with these mistakes, chances are that if your password is easy for you to remember, it's easy for a hacker to figure out.

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