Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 11th June, 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

A pretty quiet week as the wait for the wimper that will be the start-up of the NEHRS. The hosing down of expectations has really reached fever pitch and what will now be interesting is to see just what is actually delivered when and for how many.
Of some amusement is to see how gradually the term NEHRS is being adopted  by more and more reports and releases. I wonder why this is happening as I have not heard any official commentary - other than the Ministerial Speech a month or two ago.
On a related matter I am told Standards Australia are saying the approved term is now ‘eHealth’. Just so you know!

September start for PCEHR

4 June, 2012 Michael Woodhead
GPs will have to wait until September for software to allow PCEHR features such as shared care summaries to be set up, health department officials have said.
While patients will be able to register for the PCEHR system from 1 July, the actual system will be introduced via a “slow rollout” that will see operational features coming online later in the year, officials told a Senate Estimates committee meeting last week.

Just another day in the e-health evolution

Emma Connors
Anyone hoping for fireworks when a new $467 million-plus e-health system goes live next month is going to be disappointed.
In recent weeks, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has been hosing down expectations. Last week, it was the turn of the Health Department secretary Jane Halton.
“One July is the beginning, not the end point,” Ms Halton told a Senate estimates committee hearing last week.
“We do not expect everyone to be registered on that date and we did not expect all the capability to be available on that date.”

Doctors in dark about electronic health records

Posted June 06, 2012 12:54:04
Local doctors say they have yet to see details about how a new electronic health records scheme will work.
The Federal Government is due to begin rolling out the system next month.

E-health software products to be available to GPs within months

5th Jun 2012
GPs can expect to connect to the national e-health record system (NEHRS) within months, according to experts who say clinical software packages incorporating the system will be widely available by September.
The system’s 1 July launch date has been significantly played down over the past six months by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, who has said it would now only signify the date when patients could start to register for a record.
But evidence from National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) officials during senate estimates last week suggested practitioners may not be far behind and Medical Software Industry Australia president Jon Hughes said GPs would be in the vanguard.

Publicity truck hits the road, but AMA warns ehealth launch will drive into bugs

June 6, 2012
THE government's ehealth agency has deployed a truck to tour Australia promoting electronic health records.
Pathology and X-rays are headlined on the side of the truck as patient info that ''travels with you'' once ehealth kicks in.
But there is still a long way to go - perhaps years - before patients will be able to log on to their diagnostic records, despite the July 1 start for the personally controlled electronic health record.

E-health's 1 July launch to be soft

By Josh Taylor, on June 4th, 2012
The government has been preparing for the launch of personally controlled e-health records (PCEHRs) for two years, but what will be available on 1 July will be far from a complete e-health record system.
When the government announced the e-health record system in 2010, it was vague in detailing exactly what would be on offer from July 2012. The intention was that personally controlled electronic health records would be "rolled out from July 2012", but what the Australian public would actually be able to do from day one was a mystery.
Previous Health Minister Nicola Roxon held press conferences extolling the virtues of the system, which she said would eventually be like accessing a bank account online.

Litigation warning on eve of e-Health

FOUR weeks before the introduction of a $1 billion e-Health scheme, key medical indemnity insurers are warning GPs not to participate as they could be exposed to a new wave of litigation.
There is concern doctors could be sued if patients are harmed because records are not kept up to date or clinical information is omitted. They are also worried by the ability of patients to restrict access to parts of the record.
Insurers are advising doctors not to use the e-Health records until the issues are settled.

GPs advised to avoid ‘absurd’ PCEHR

5 June, 2012 Sarah Colyer
Medical indemnity insurers are warning GPs not to take part in the looming national e-health system as they will be liable if patient records are hacked.
Under conditions labelled “absurd” by MDA National, GPs wanting to take part in the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) scheme would have to sign a contract agreeing that the government is not liable for breaches of patients’ records.
Doctors’ medical indemnity insurance policies would also not cover them if someone in their practice accessed a patient’s record without authorisation.

Premiums may skyrocket due to e-health

5th Jun 2012
AS THE government continues to bargain with GP groups over the conditions practices must agree to when using the national e-health record system, experts have warned the legal liabilities attached to the records could push premiums up.
The first draft of the agreement caused outrage across the profession by requiring practices to assume all legal liability for the system and grant health department officials unrestricted access to their premises and records.
Department officials were due to meet RACGP representatives today to discuss the latest draft of the agreement, which sources said was the fourth so far, but MO understands the major GP organisations are still unhappy with many of the conditions.

Pathology results will miss this year’s eHealth debut

The long-anticipated eHealth initiative will make its debut on July 1 this year, and it’s been a long journey to date. But the journey’s not over yet, especially for pathology which won’t be included in this year’s eHealth rollout. It’s not a case of omitting pathology from eHealth, but more a case of advocates such as the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) ensuring that pathology results are uploaded and viewed in the safest possible way.
“The RCPA have been working cooperatively with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA) on this project,” explains Dr Bronwen Ross, Deputy CEO of the RCPA. “However, patient safety is paramount so we have been making sure pathology results will be uploaded into eHealth records in a way that ensures their complexity and context are not lost in the transition.”
The official title of this new eHealth patient record is the National Electronic Health Record System (NEHRS), although older information may refer to it as a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). Whatever its name, Professor Michael Legg from the Centre for Health Informatics and eHealth Research at the University of Wollongong says the roll out will be slow with the initial benefits mostly favouring people who are outside of their normal caring group of health practitioners.

KPMG audit recommends Newman Government act swiftly and take multi-pronged approach to fix Queensland Health

A MULTI-pronged attack is the only way to stop continuing problems with the Queensland Health payroll system, an audit has revealed.
The KPMG report has recommended the Newman Government act swiftly to homogenise the highly variable awards of health workers, replace paper rosters with an electronic system by 2014 and move pay dates by a week to end the clash with rostering so last-minute shift changes can be logged in time.
It also urged the Government to accelerate the recovery of $91 million in mistakenly overpaid wages to help avoid a hefty fringe benefits tax bill that could climb as high as $110.4 million if the overpayments have to be written off.

QLD Health payroll: IT "train wrecks" preventable

The Australian Computer Society says project committees are not utilising existing knowledge on project management effectively
IT project "train wrecks" such as Queensland Health’s $1.2 billion payroll failure are preventable, but require foresight, skilled senior staff and above all else, planning, according to the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
“At some point the scope [of the project] changed quite substantially, or an understanding of the scope changed during the course of the project, and it appeared that the overall project leadership therefore changed,” ACS president, Nick Tate, told CIO Australia following the release of an audit by KPMG into Queensland Health's payroll system.

$1bn to fix Queensland Health payroll

Mark Ludlow
The cost of Queensland Health’s payroll debacle will exceed $1.2 billion over the next five years, according to an audit by KPMG.
The report, which has been tabled in state Parliament, found the cost of fixing the payroll system to the end of this financial year was expected to reach $416 million. A further $837 million would be needed to keep it running until the end of 2017.

NEHTA Videos

The National E-Health Transition Authority Limited (NEHTA) was established by the Australian, State and Territory governments to develop better ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information.

NEHTA inks contracts with aged software panel vendors

NEHTA has recognised the importance of the aged care sector in a move to boost provider readiness for the PCEHR. With this in mind, NEHTA has signed contracts with shortlisted vendors on the aged care vendor systems software panel.

NEHTA signs up Aged Care Software Vendors for eHealth Panel

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) CEO Mr Peter Fleming said today NEHTA has successfully completed the Expression of Interest (EOI) process for Aged Care Vendor Systems and had executed contracts with all shortlisted vendors.
Mr Fleming said the objective of the EOI was to establish a vendor panel for vendors to provide software solutions to aged care providers, including those operating residential aged care facilities and community care services, with the primary objective of driving Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) uptake.
"NEHTA recognises the importance of consulting closely with the software industry as we build the new eHealth records system," Mr Fleming said.

Secure Message eXchange (SMX) for healthcare organisations

7 Jun 2012
Three of the leading organisations providing secure electronic message services to the health industry have formed a collaboration to enable exchange of messages between their respective customers.
The founding members of the Secure Message Exchange (SMX) are Global Health, HealthLink and DCA, who service the industry with their ReferralNet, HealthLink and Argus products respectively, and have a combined presence of over 85% of the current messaging users.
Up until now, users of each product could only send and receive electronic messages to other sites with the same vendor product. With the SMX, systems from each of the vendors’ products will be able to seamlessly interchange messages, Australia – wide.

Orion Health lands $18.5m Irish deal

3:00 PM Tuesday Jun 5, 2012
New Zealand software company Orion Health has won an $18.5 million contract with Northern Ireland's public health service.
Auckland-based Orion Health's seven-year deal with Health and Social Care Northern Ireland involves the implementation of its Electronic Care Record (ECR) software, which allows better sharing of patient data between healthcare organisations.
The contract follows a successful pilot of the ECR in Ulster Hospital, Belfast City Hospital and two general practices in 2009 and 2010, said Orion Health chief executive Ian McCrae.

E-health record conditions still up in the air

4th Jun 2012
The health department is still at odds with GP groups over conditions it expects practices to sign up to in order to participate in the national e-health record system, almost two months after its first draft caused outrage across the profession.
The first draft of the conditions required practices to assume all legal liability and grant department officials unrestricted access to their premises and records; it prompted the AMA secretary general to warn the conditions would “deter every medical practice in Australia from participating”.
A second draft, which was sent to GP groups in mid-May and subject to strict confidentiality rules, failed to win the support of the RACGP while a third draft is due to be discussed between college and department representatives tomorrow.

Records defects risk patients health

A LACK of uniform coding in the electronic health record system could see doctors prescribe penicillin to a patient who was allergic to it, with devastating results.
Incomplete or missing patient records, missing allergy status alerts and a lack of a common medical coding system are "tolerable risks" for the new $1 billion national electronic health information system, says the body charged with delivering the system.
The National e-Health Transition Authority has identified these key clinical risks in the federal government’s personally controlled e-health record system in a clinical safety case report lodged on its website late last month.

ThoughtWorks recruits to build open e-health standard

Seeks Aussie developers for Agile project.

ThoughtWorks is recruiting Australian software developers to build an open, global medical records standard for developing nations on a voluntary basis.
The Agile software development house last night held the first of a weekly series of “hack nights for humanity”, aiming to support the OpenMRS platform.
OpenMRS is a community-driven, open source platform, that was created by two US philanthropic organisations in 2004 to facilitate the exchange of medical information between clinical and research organisations.

Pulse 2012: User identity lessens security risk for Mater Health

Health provider identifies what websites patients, clinicians are browsing to avoid risks such as malware
Concerned that patients and clinicians could be unwittingly exposing NSW private health provider Mater Health to malware, IT security manager Peter Param decided that its broadband network needed monitoring.
Speaking at Pulse 2012 in Sydney, Param told delegates that it does intend the monitoring to be for nefarious “Big Brother” uses, but to cut down activity on its network which could be classed as malicious and dangerous for the provider.

Medicare Locals chief hits back at Dutton

The Federal Opposition’s pledge to pull the plug on Medicare Locals will leave patients languishing in the hospital system, the leader of the network warns.
The network of Medicare Locals — due to be in place by July — was attacked by Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton last week when he described it as an "unnecessary bureaucracy".
Pledging to "defund" the network, which has cost $477 million to set up over the past four years, Mr Dutton claimed Medicare Locals would divert funding from frontline services.
However, Dr Arn Sprogis, chair of the Australian Medicare Local Alliance, hit back at Mr Dutton’s claims.

Modified iPads being used by spinal injury patients

Spinal injury patients with limited hand function are able to access the internet through modified iPads
Spinal patients at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney are using modified iPads to help them browse the Web and connect with family and friends.
The specially configured iPads have been modified for the needs of patients with paraplegia and tetraplegia, who often spend around six to nine months in hospital undergoing rehabilitation after an accident.
The iPads were first trialled by three patients at the hospital, with another six iPads deployed later as part of the trial.

'Diet glasses' fool wearers into eating less

June 5, 2012 - 9:32AM
Goggles that trick the wearer into thinking the plain snack in their hand is a chocolate biscuit, or make biscuits appear larger have been unveiled in Japan, offering hope to weak-willed dieters everywhere.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed devices that use computer wizardry and augmented reality to fool the senses and make users feel more satisfied with smaller - or less appealing - treats.

NBN pre-poll rollout tilted to Labor seats

THE National Broadband Network rollout favours suburbs in Labor-held seats before the federal election due next year, with three out of every five to be connected to the $36 billion project falling in ALP electorates.
Analysis by The Australian of NBN Co's three-year rollout plan has shown that by June 30 next year 416 of the 700 suburbs to be connected to the NBN's fibre rollout, or 59.4 per cent, are in Labor electorates, compared with 34.9 per cent or 244 suburbs in Coalition seats.
The figures are supported by the seat split, which shows 58 per cent of the electorates that will have some part of the NBN rollout completed within 12 months are held by Labor, compared with 35 per cent for Coalition-held seats. Labor and the Coalition each hold about 48 per cent of the nation's electorates.

Turn off IPv6, say security experts

June 8, 2012 - 11:01AM
World IPv6 launch day - when businesses, web hosts and equipment manufacturers were encouraged to switch from the old internet protocol version 4 to the new version 6 - came without any noticeable hitch this week, but device owners should disable the protocol until there's a compelling reason to activate it, according to two security experts.
IPv6 will eventually replace IPv4 as the communications protocol that enables internet traffic to move between addresses and past switches, routers and other networking equipment.
The new protocol will deliver a range of inbuilt security features, like IPSec, that should improve authentication and encryption on the web in a way that supports an expansion of web addresses to include things like fridges, toasters, toilets and lights.


Anonymous said...

Michael Legg said "the roll out will be slow with the initial benefits mostly favouring people who are outside of their normal caring group of health practitioners."

What exactly does he mean by .... outside of their normal caring group of health practitioners?

Do you know David, I don't?

Anonymous said...

The reason they have dropped the name PCEHR in favour of NEHRS is because they have finally realised that eHealth Records which are Personally Controlled will not be acceptable to doctors and therefore to patients.

So, changing the name to National eHRS is simply a convenient way of going back to where it all started out before the bureaucracy and NEHTA got sidetracked by the Health & Hospitals Reform Commission which slid the Personally Controlled EHR into the national agenda without knowing what they were talking about.

Anonymous said...

It's not NEHRS or PCEHR, the "official" term is "personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system" first time, then "eHealth record (system)" after that. Check "".

Anonymous said...

The inclusion of 'Personally controlled' is not a reflection of the NHHRC's preference - refer to the united nations and human rights.

Anonymous said...

Personally controlled health record is very different from a Personally Controlled ELECTRONIC Health Record.

Giving the individual all the data on paper or even sending it to them electronically to personally control is one thing. But having an electronic health record which health carers need to depend upon for managing a patients health with the individual personally controlling what information the health care provider can and cannot look at is an anathema to practicing safe medicine.

Anonymous said...

PCEHR, NEHRS - it doesn't matter what its called. It's a moot point anyway. By all accounts there won't be anything worthwhile for anyone to use so it may as well be business as usual come 1 July.

Anonymous said...

"The reason they have dropped the name PCEHR in favour of NEHRS is because they have finally realised that eHealth Records which are Personally Controlled will not be acceptable to doctors and therefore to patients."

Nonsense, sorry. It's still the "personally controlled electronic health records system", or "eHealth records system" for short. Patients are 100 percent in control of their own record; and will still be able to set all the access controls you've heard about previously. Patients can hide or "effectively remove" certain records and choose which organisations can or cannot view them (not individual doctors however). I cannot see why there is such a fuss about this -- would you tell your physiotherapist under the current system that you'd had an abortion? Might you not think twice about telling your GP you'd had a psychotic episode if you were seeking treatment for haemorrhoids? Well.... what IS the problem exactly with translating this into an electronic system of controls?

Anonymous said...

"...would you tell your physiotherapist under the current system that you'd had an abortion? Might you not think twice about telling your GP you'd had a psychotic episode if you were seeking treatment for haemorrhoids? Well.... what IS the problem exactly with translating this into an electronic system of controls?..."

You are so right. I would be very angry if my physio could see my private records - surely there is no risk that the PCEHR would allow this to happen - even if I haven't yet had time to get online and hide my private records. And if the GP is prescribing something for my haemorrhoids, he surely doesn't need to know what psychotic meds I am taking because there won't be any interactions - surely? Anyway, if they think I am hiding something from them, all they need to do is look at my MBS/PBS data - being medical people, they'll know exactly what those item numbers and drugs are for...

6/12/2012 06:52:00 PM