Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th August, 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

An eclectic mix of links this week. All sorts of e-Health initiatives seem to be happening while the ‘official’ one seems to be ‘resting’ - dead parrot style.
Unsurprisingly the costs of the NBN seem to be creeping up and the expected time to full delivery seems to be lengthening - how typical of a large Government run technical project.
Lastly there seem to be all sorts of security problems, digital life casualties (warning of the risks of the cloud) and a major shift looming in higher education. It will be interesting to see how this works in areas of practical skill and human engagement. I suspect some knowledge domains will be much slower than others to transition.
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Time's up for GP waiting

·         By Evelyn Yamine, Health Reporter
·         The Daily Telegraph
·         August 07, 2012 12:18AM
PEOPLE needing to see a doctor will be able to shop around for the next available appointment using a new website that could end the frustration of hours spent in GP waiting rooms.
Patients can use the 1st Available website to search for GPs and other healthcare professionals, such as chiropractors and dentists, and book an appointment online any time of the day or night.
According to a Newspoll survey commissioned by 1st Available, 53 per cent of Australians said they had difficulty getting an appointment with healthcare professionals at a time that suited them.
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Authority fails to 'deliver' on e-health system

THE National E-Health Transition Authority has redefined "delivery" in relation to technical specifications released to the software industry, whereby "delivered does not mean complete".
A NEHTA Specification Dashboard provided on March 14 to the ICT Implement Group managing the introduction of the personally controlled e-health record system included an unusual disclaimer.
"'Delivery' does not mean complete in the sense of all components of the specification bundle. NEHTA has provided partial releases of the 'specification bundles' in some situations to support market access to specifications as soon as possible. For example, some Conformance Profiles are yet to be published. Otherwise, components required for software vendors to commence work on NEHTA Specifications are present," it says.
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Doctors-only online community goes live!

7 Aug 2012
Australian Doctor’s new secure online doctors-only network has gone live! It’s a space to talk with colleagues, learn from each other and share your ideas. Join up today at just4docs.com.au.
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Patients reject eHealth

Date August 12, 2012

Tim Barlass

Only 5029 people have joined the federal government's controversial $466 million eHealth system since it was launched on July 1.
Figures obtained from the Department of Health and Ageing show that each individual to take up the personally controlled electronic health record system has so far cost the government $92,662.
Patients can volunteer to join the system, which stores all their health information, including test results and prescriptions, in a national database. It is the first time patients will be able to access their medical details.
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Primary software unit under review

Edited by Sarah Thompson and Anthony Macdonald
It was about a year ago that Primary Health Care’s Ed Bateman shelved plans to sell the company’s general practitioner software business.
So it’s about the right time for the rumour mill to crank up again about a new Primary attempt at selling the business, which is not core to the company’s business of medical centre, pathology and radiology operations.
The theory is that Primary could generate roughly a couple of hundred million dollars by selling the business formerly known as Health Communication Network to a bidder with more experience and a bigger portfolio in the technology game.
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Medibank reveals details of healthbook uptake

Posted on August 11th, 2012 by Catherine Obuch
Health insurer Medibank has reported a pleasing uptake of its new healthbook personally controlled health record, with eight per cent of its target group using the new service regularly since its launch at the end of May.
The development of healthbook was one of the projects funded by the federal government as part of the Wave 2 sites for the implementation of the PCEHR. Initially targeting members with chronic illnesses who take part in one of Medibank’s Better Health programs, the plan is to connect it to the national PCEHR infrastructure and to broaden the offering to other Medibank customers, particularly the parents of young children.
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E-health bureaucrats spend $5m on travel

THEY'VE produced an e-health record that so far can't be used by doctors, but the bureaucrats in charge last year spent more than $5 million on travel and on stakeholders in five-star hotels.
The National e-Health Transition Authority, with 257 employees, told a Senate estimates committee it spent $4.3m on travel in 2011-12 and more than $1m on events, conferences and dinners in five-star hotels.
Liberal National Party senator Sue Boyce said that after five years and hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, all NEHTA had managed to deliver was a toll-free number.
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Test results at fingertips in Berwick

BY JAMES TAYLOR
07 Aug, 2012 12:00 AM
MEDICAL imaging has gone mobile and a Berwick clinic is one of the first in Victoria to put the technology to work.
Berwick Medical Imaging has begun using a new app for the iPhone and iPad that gives GPs and specialists the ability to review patient MRI, CT, ultrasound and X-ray images any time and anywhere.
Clinic director Michael Gray said the MIA Direct App had already proved effective in Queensland practices and would greatly benefit local patients and doctors.
"Before the introduction of this app, doctors had to be at their primary office or computer terminal to receive and access patients' diagnostic scans.
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Profiling a new media outfit that focuses on ehealth

, by Melissa Sweet
At a time when there is no shortage of negative headlines about ehealth, one new media venture is taking a positive approach to reporting developments in the area.
eHealthSpace.org describes itself as an online community for health professionals who are committed to clinical reform and its enablers, including health technologies and change management practices. Its website says: “…we believe in health technology’s ability to enhance, rather than detract from, the patient care provided by skilled health professionals.”
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Aus tightens e-health privacy laws

Medical and healthcare records to be managed under the Australian government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) programme will be protected under new privacy safeguards that are being rolled out nationally.
These safeguards expand the powers of the Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, to more closely monitor the way in which patient records are accessed, shared and stored by medical practitioners, healthcare staff, and technology solutions providers.
Privacy Commissioner Pilgrim says Australia’s eHealth reforms lay the foundations for major improvements to how healthcare services are delivered nationally.
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Roxon puts web surveillance plans on ice

Date August 10, 2012

Philip Dorling

A CONTROVERSIAL internet security plan to store the web history of all Australians for up to two years has been stalled by the federal government until after the next election.
Security bureaucrats have drafted legislation to expand internet surveillance and security powers, but Attorney-General Nicola Roxon decided to first refer a discussion paper to a parliamentary committee.
Senior intelligence officials, who have been pushing for the increased powers, complain the legislation will be delayed until after the election due next year.
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Annette Katelaris: What influences clinical decision-making?

Doctors spend a lot of time learning facts but don’t get much formal education on how to think.
Ideally, this skill is learnt ― or “picked up” ― during the years of clinical teaching at the bedside, in the clinic and in the operating theatre.
Errors in clinical interpretation and reasoning can occur at any point during patient care. These are often due not to a lack of knowledge or competence, but to the decision-making processes of humans in situations that are clinically complex, uncertain, and pressured by time and emotion.
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Federal Privacy Commissioner investigating AAPT data breach

Timothy Pilgrim will determine if the internet service provider’s (ISP) practices were consistent with Privacy Act
Internet service provider (ISP), AAPT, which was the target of a data breach by hacktivist group, Anonymous, is now under the spotlight of Federal Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim.
A server used by AAPT was compromised in the attack. Pilgrim said in a statement that both AAPT and the server’s owner, Melbourne IT, are being investigated over the data leakage which included documents showing federal government accounts, information from departments such as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and names of AAPT staff members.
“I opened an investigation into AAPT and Melbourne IT after customer data had been compromised in a recent hacking attack,” he said.
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Extra $3.2bn needed to fund NBN

  • by: Annabel Hepworth and Mitchell Bingemann
  • From: The Australian
  • August 09, 2012 12:00AM
THE funding required to roll out the super-fast National Broadband Network has blown out by $3.2 billion, with the vast majority of the extra money to come from taxpayer funds.
The NBN Co's long-awaited new corporate plan, released yesterday, reveals that the government will now be forced to inject $30.4bn in equity into Labor's flagship infrastructure project - an extra $2.9bn from the $27.5bn forecast when the last plan was released in December 2010 - because the cost to construct the project by mid-2021 has risen by $1.4bn to $37.4bn and revenues will be $600 million lower across the next decade. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy defended the need for the higher equity, which will be financed mostly through the issue of Aussie Infrastructure Bonds over the decade-long construction of the broadband network.
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Revised NBN to require opt-out

HOMES will be automatically connected to the National Broadband Network under new plans revealed by the network builder.
But the compulsory supply of battery backups to ensure phones remain active in power outages has been canned.
Under the new build method, known as "build drops", the NBN Co will connect fibre directly from the street to a hub on each premise passed by the new network and will require home and office owners who do not want a connection to opt out, rather than in as under the previous build plan, which was to run fibre cable to premises whose occupants had agreed to get a connection.
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$3b rise in bill to bring households up to speed

Date August 9, 2012

Lucy Battersby and Ben Grubb

THE cost of the nation's biggest infrastructure project has blown out by $2.9 billion over the next 10 years and the deadline pushed back by six months.
The NBN Co chief, Mike Quigley, and the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said construction costs would rise by 3.9 per cent to $37.4 billion and the deadline for rolling out the high-speed internet connection to Australian homes had been pushed back to June 2021.
Higher labour costs, longer network distances and future upgrades to wireless and satellite broadband equipment have pushed up the cost. Operating expenses - primarily staff costs - have jumped from $3.7 billion to $7.8 billion, while savings have been made in other areas.
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Apple cloud burst: how hacker wiped Mat's 'life'

Date August 6, 2012 - 10:17AM

Asher Moses

Technology Editor

"It's been a shitty night" ... Mat Honan has recounted how his web world fell apart.
What would you do if your entire digital life started evaporating before your eyes and there was virtually nothing you could do about it?
I really worry about everything going to the cloud ... I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years. 
This is the nightmare scenario that greeted US technology journalist Mat Honan, who had all of the contents of his iPhone, iPad and Macbook Air wiped, and lost control of his Gmail and Twitter accounts, all in the span of just over 15 minutes.
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Free courses from world's top unis a swipe away in online revolution

Date: August 12, 2012

Amanda Dunn and Katie Cincotta

Global e-learning is transforming higher education.
IMAGINE a university degree that is like a passport: a subject from Swinburne stamped alongside another from Sydney University, with courses from overseas colleges such as Stanford or Harvard thrown in. You could earn your degree without travelling further than your laptop, and far more cheaply than on campus.
Far-fetched? The proliferation of websites offering courses from top universities - MIT and Stanford among them - and the globalisation of learning generally means this scenario may one day be possible. Higher education is in the middle of a digital revolution, and who has access to it, and how it is done, will shift dramatically in the next few years.
''The world of tertiary education is changing fundamentally, and the pace of change is greater than ever before,'' says Monash University vice-chancellor Ed Byrne, likening it to the 15th-century invention of the printing press. "People are being educated in a totally global context for the first time."
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Enjoy!
David.

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