Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd July, 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 quiet week with the level of discussion on the NEHRS / PCEHR dropping below the radar. One has to wonder just what happens next with no future plans available and nothing to see if you log on!
Other than this we have discussion of the CareTrack study and a couple of small e-Health initiatives that have been started - a very good thing indeed! Pity there is not a bit more support for such things coming from Government as well as the support for the NEHRS. I am sure some improved leadership and governance would help balance things out.
Last of course we have one man’s view of the way the world will finally - in zillions of years - end - not that I expect to be around.

E-health system yet to come online

Updated July 17, 2012 08:32:04
Two weeks after the introduction of the national e-health system, patients in Canberra still cannot obtain a working electronic health record.
The Federal Government announced July 1 as the start date for new online medical records system, which aims to improve the availability of information for doctors and patients.
The secure electronic records are expected to include medications, allergies, immunisations, doctor and hospital notes, and prescriptions.
In the ACT, residents can sign-up to get their own Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), but doctors are currently not able to add medical information.

NEHTA has 'delivered' e-health foundations for PCEHR: Madden - Updated Version

FUNDING of $135 million for the National E-Health Transition Authority will support a new work program over the next two years following its delivery of Australia's e-health foundations.
But the health department cannot yet provide any details of NEHTA's forward work plan allocated $67.4m in the recent budget -- a sum to be matched by the states and territories under Council of Australian Government funding arrangements.
Health chief information officer Paul Madden says NEHTA has "delivered" specifications for all foundation capabilities, including infrastructure and services.
Mr Madden said The Australian was wrong to suggest $1 billion had been spent on the national e-health program since former health minister Nicola Roxon unveiled her personally controlled e-health record vision in mid-2010.

States not ready for e-Health system

GENERAL practitioners will have to wait up to three years to receive secure discharge summaries digitally signed by hospital doctors following more delays to the Gillard government's e-health system.
State and territory health departments say they are not ready to use healthcare providers' 16-digit unique identity numbers created for the national system to verify the identity of doctors or other medical staff creating a patient's discharge summary.
Healthcare providers individual identifiers - dubbed HPI-Is - were created and assigned to all registered doctors two years ago as part of the Healthcare Identifiers service launch, which also saw unique 16-digit identifiers allocated to every Australian enrolled on the Medicare database.

Setting the records straight - Pharmacies confront the e-health revolution

19 July, 2012 Fran Molloy
Australia’s new e-health system launched on 1 July. What will it mean for pharmacy? And for health consumers? Fran Molloy talks to pharmacists who have been involved in the pre-launch trials about the impact on their processes and how their consumers responded.
Although Australians were able to register for a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) from July 1, it will be some time before the system starts to deliver benefits to pharmacy patients.
However, once people start getting on board and information starts to flow around the system, the eHealth record trials show there will be some real practical advantages for pharmacists.
 “We had one gentleman, a regular patient, come in to the pharmacy and he swore black and blue that a doctor he had seen at the hospital a few days ago had changed his medication,” said Linda Dew, manager of Soul Pattinson’s Pharmacy at Geelong, which participated in the trial.

New e-health system ignores available data

DESIGNERS of Australia's electronic health system are more intent on capturing data than using existing information to improve patient care.
Mikael Hagstrom, vice-president of SAS, a global leader in data analysis software, says Australia isn't alone. Health care worldwide lags the banking, telco, retail and other sectors in the application of intelligence tools. He claims advances in digital imaging, diagnostic tools, real-time electronic medical records and the ability to mine patient information from data streamed live from remote monitoring systems will "transform healthcare delivery".
It can happen now, he adds, simply by using information that's already available.

More GPs sign up for online booking

18 July, 2012 Paul Smith
Increasing numbers of general practices are signing up for online booking services that allow patients to identify doctors with vacant timeslots, despite fears the systems could fragment care.
Sydney-based booking system 1stAvailable launched in April and charges practices $50 a month to use its service.
Health Engine, another online booking system in WA, started in February, while Clinic Connect offers online booking to patients at 150 practices Australia-wide.

Mental health help goes online

Date July 22, 2012

Rachel Browne

For years the advice has been to avoid consulting Dr Google for any medical concerns but new Australian research is showing online programs have marked benefits for people experiencing mild to moderate mental health problems.
The leading mental health group the Black Dog Institute and the federal government will launch a new online self-help service called myCompass tomorrow, offering help for people with mild depression, stress or anxiety.
Part of the federal government's e-mental health strategy, the program is supported by research showing the effectiveness of online help for mild mental health disorders.

Consumer advocate backs level of PCEHR patient control

The head of Australia’s peak healthcare consumer body has criticised Australian Medical Association president, Dr Steve Hambleton, over comments he made this week about the level of patient control over the eHealth record.
Dr Hambleton said in a statement the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) was flawed because patients “might not give access to their treating GP, or they could omit or remove important medical information without consultation with their doctor.”

Data doctoring sparks hospital records privacy concerns

Date July 19, 2012

Noel Towel

The privacy of hundreds of thousands of patient records at the Canberra Hospital was vulnerable to compromise because of the poor quality of data management in the Emergency Department, according to the Auditor General.
Auditor-General Maxine Cooper told an Assembly Committee this morning that the poor quality of the department's systems had implications that went beyond the "data doctoring" scandal.

Roxon doubts over security plans to store web history

Date July 21, 2012

Dylan Welch, Ben Grubb

''THE case has yet to be made'' for a controversial plan to force internet providers to store the web history of all Australians for up to two years, says the Attorney General, Nicola Roxon, who has acknowledged the financial and privacy costs of such a scheme.
She expressed her reservations in an interview with The Herald in what may be a sign the government does not have the appetite for forcing through Parliament the most controversial proposal among more than 40 national security proposals.
The proposals, if passed, would be the most significant expansion of national security powers since the Howard-era reforms of the early 2000s.

Data trail easy to follow for Big Brother

Date: July 21, 2012
Policy changes could mean the end of online privacy, write Dylan Welch and Ben Grubb.
'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.''
Thus spake the world's First Digital Citizen, Google supremo Eric Schmidt, during an American television interview in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, it provoked outrage when it was uttered, not least because Schmidt himself once blacklisted an online media company for publishing details of his private life gleaned from Google searches.

AMA outlines major problems with PCEHR

Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Steve Hambleton, has reiterated his organisation’s dissatisfaction with the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) in its current form.
Dr Hambleton said in a statement it will be some time before large numbers of patients or their doctors register with the system because of “serious adverse claims around privacy, security and compatibility.”

1stAvailable taps Klaus Bartosch as executive chairman

AUSTRALIAN online healthcare search and appointment service has secured experienced executive Klaus Bartosch as executive chairman.
Bartosch is well known for his successful tenure with then ASX-listed Hostworks, an online media managed services company, prior to its sale to Broadcast Australia.
While there Bartosch worked closely with customers including,,,, GraysOnline and ninemsn.
Just back from a charity cycling event in Canada where he raised funds for the fight against cancer, Bartosch describes 1stAvailable as a terrific business. "It is an opportunity to make a huge difference to the healthcare experience of many Australians," he says.
press release
July 17, 2012, 8:36 a.m. EDT

MMRGlobal and VisiInc PLC Announce Major eHealth Record Solution for Australia

LOS ANGELES, CA and PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, Jul 17, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- MMRGlobal, Inc. MMRF -0.56% (MMR) and VisiInc PLC have announced a combined product offering representing an immediate solution within Australia for the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR) standard as defined by the government's National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). The product incorporates MMR's Australian eHealth patent portfolio combined with VisiInc's Vistime solution and addresses the opportunities created from the launch of Australia's Personal Health Record on July 1 as well as interoperability of numerous eHealth and telehealth platforms being used in countries around the world.

Study reports on care shortfalls, urges better use of IT

A major study has found significant quality shortfalls in the delivery of health care in Australia, and urged better use of information technology to address the issue.
The $2 million CareTrack study published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) assessed what proportion of health care encounters result in appropriate care being received by patients. The National Health and Medical Research Council-commissioned study involved patients with 22 common conditions and found that “whilst there are areas of excellent practice, there are also large gaps in the provision of appropriate care.”

Doctors argue over 'recipes'

  • by: Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • July 21, 2012 12:00AM
THE authors of Australia's taxpayer-funded CareTrack study, which cost $2.5 million and took more than two years to conduct, are under no illusions about the challenge they have set themselves - to review and, if necessary, rewrite guidelines that will outline what treatments are considered best practice for the 22 most common medical conditions seen by doctors.
As Jeffrey Braithwaite puts it, the need is pressing. While many guidelines exist, they are often problematic for various reasons.
They may be out of date, conflict with other guidelines, be poorly backed up by the relevant medical literature, or may just be presented in a way that makes them hard for busy doctors to use.

Supercomputer mimics common cold in search for way to treat it

Date July 17, 2012

Julia Medew

AUSTRALIAN scientists have used a new supercomputer to simulate the movement of the virus that causes the common cold for the first time.
The breakthrough opens up new targets for potentially life-saving drug treatments.
While the common cold does not cause much harm to healthy individuals, it often exacerbates lung conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, causing hospitalisations and deaths.

Sim Man 3G helps medical students

NICOLA KALMAR, Broome Advertiser Updated July 16, 2012, 5:14 am
A state-of-the-art, high-tech mannequin, which simulates a real- life patient, is helping a group of young doctors prepare for real emergency scenarios.
The Sim Man 3G is a life-size dummy that provides simulation based education to challenge and test students’ clinical and decision-making skills during realistic patient care scenarios.
Sim Man arrived at Broome Hospital from Perth last week, provided by WA Country Health Services, through government funding.

Tech entrepreneur Gary Cohen promises to transform Hyro

TECHNOLOGY entrepreneur Gary Cohen is back at the helm of a publicly listed company, having struck a deal with the board of Hyro to transform the business into a leading investor in digital technology assets.
A month after narrowly failing in his bid to stop the sale of Hyro's assets to the Nasdaq-listed Kit Digital, Mr Cohen's private investment company Marcel Equity Group has announced a cornerstone investment in the remaining shell.
It intends to invest $1.2 million in Hyro in return for a 19.8 per cent stake, with funds to be used to discharge debts and buy a substantial stake in the privately held Global Internet Technologies, owner of marketing play Social Loot, takeaway food site Menulog and shopping comparison site Get Price.

Scientific research will be free online

Date: July 17, 2012

Ian Sample

LONDON: The British government has revealed controversial plans to make publicly funded scientific research immediately available for anyone to read for free by 2014, in the most radical shake-up of academic publishing since the invention of the internet.
Research papers that describe work paid for by the British taxpayer will be free online for universities, companies and individuals to use for any purpose, wherever they are in the world.
The universities and science minister, David Willetts said he expected a full transformation to the open approach over the next two years.

Machines 'pose threat to humans'

Date July 19, 2012

Asher Moses

Technology Editor

ONE of the founding engineers of Skype and Kazaa is in Australia to sound a warning to the human race: fasten your seatbelts, as machines are becoming so intelligent that they could pose an existential threat.
Jaan Tallinn argues human-driven technological progress has largely replaced evolution as the dominant force shaping our future.
Machines are becoming smarter than people, but Mr Tallinn warns that if we are not careful this could lead to a ''sudden global ecological catastrophe''.

Universe could end with 'Big Rip'

July 19, 2012 - 8:23AM
Stars will disappear, the sun will go out and then the Earth and our bodies will be ripped into pieces.
This Big Rip, Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt says, might be the way our universe ends and it may happen "on literally a human time scale".
At a public talk by the Australian Astronomical Observatory in Sydney last night, Professor Schmidt - a joint winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics - described how our universe is rapidly expanding.

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