Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24th September, 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 much more interesting week, with a lot of reporting on all sorts of initiatives from the developer and private sector - in the absence of much from the Government.
It is clear that ‘under the radar’ there is a lot going on. I hope some of this leads to some really useful outcomes over time.
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Doctors could reject e-health records

Consumer power restricted.

Consumers who customise their personally controlled electronic health record could miss out on its intended benefits, a Parliamentary committee into cybersafety was told.
Consumers Health Forum chief executive Carol Bennett told a committee hearing that doctors could refuse to use a patient's e-health record if that patient declined access to certain medical documents associated with the record.
The Federal Government's PCEHR initiative, launched on July 1, allows consumers to opt-in into the record and determine which clinicians or doctors can view records and health summary information associated with the record.
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e-Health records: beware of assumed benefit

Ray N Moynihan
Med J Aust 2012; 197 (6): 319.
doi: 10.5694/mja12.11282
Ray Moynihan rings some notes of caution coming from experiences elsewhere
Change is perennial in health care, but some changes are more significant than others, like the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) currently being rolled out across Australia. An ambitious reform, its much-touted benefits are safer and more effective care, less duplication of unnecessary tests — and, of course, enhanced datasets for researchers. As with most things medical, potential adverse consequences can attract less attention than promises, so it may be timely to explore a few experiences elsewhere.
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New electronic health records for patients

Released 10/09/2012
The ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Health Katy Gallagher MLA today launched a pilot of a new secure system for Canberrans to access their health information online.
My eHealth enables patients to access personal information relating to their health care.
"My eHealth is a secure, online service which improves patients' access to their health information, and helps them keep track of their appointments," the Chief Minister said.
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Medical apps lack medical input

17 September, 2012 Michael Woodhead
Patients are increasingly relying on smartphone health apps for medical guidance, but many apps are lacking in evidence or may be used inappropriately, doctors have warned.
Paediatricians in the UK say they are seeing an increasing number of parents turning to health apps for medical advice and as a guide to what is ‘normal’ for their children.
In some cases the apps can promote ‘best practice’ and early recognition of medical problems, they say, but there is also the potential for mishaps, they write in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.
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Online cognitive behaviour therapy cuts suicidal ideation

19th Sep 2012
PATIENTS with suicidal ideation should not be excluded from internet cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT), results from a new Australian study suggest.
Research on nearly 300 patients prescribed an iCBT program by primary care clinicians showed that suicidal ideation dropped from 54% to 30% after the six-lesson online course, regardless of sex and age.
The course covers psycho-education, behavioural activation, cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, graded exposure and relapse prevention, with content presented in the form of an illustrated story in which the character gains mastery over their depressive symptoms.
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Skin cancer receives tele-treatment

An Australian led team has developed a new camera to more accurately detect melanoma as part of an innovative technological system to combat the scourge of sun-loving Australians.
The camera is the work of MoleMap by Dermatologists, a melanoma surveillance and diagnosis service which sees nearly 30,000 patients a year across Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Known as tele-dermatology, MoleMap’s system involves a patient’s skin abnormality being photographed by a doctor or nurse. The images are sent electronically to a patient database and are reviewed remotely by a dermatologist who reports anything significant back to the GP.
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Medtech Launching eRx eScripts

Australian GP users of popular clinical software Medtech32 will have improved medication management at their fingertips with the launch of eRx eScripts in version 9 of the software this month.
Beta testing was successfully completed in June.
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Medtech Global to launch Patient Portal, PCEHR functionality in v9

Medtech Global is in beta testing for a major upgrade of its Medtech32 clinical information system, which will feature the company's ManageMyHealth patient portal along with new PCEHR capabilities.
The ManageMyHealth portal is one of the company's flagship products, chief technology officer Rama Kumble said, allowing patients to book appointments online, receive email or SMS reminders from their doctor about tasks such as monitoring blood glucose levels or taking medications, as well as request repeat prescriptions or enquire about pathology results.
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Standards – we’re doing so well…

Posted on September 17, 2012 by Grahame Grieve
Vince MacCauley has written an article about standards development in Healthcare IT in Pulse IT. He starts with an interesting claim:
Software standards in general and eHealth software standards in particular provide a methodology and governance framework to encapsulate community agreed best practice in a readily accessible and stable specification.
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Orion Health opens Singapore office

16:04 September 21, 2012 
Press Release – Orion Health
Orion Health Solidifies its Place in the Asian Healthcare Market Expands Regional Presence with Opening of Singapore Office
News release
Orion Health Solidifies its Place in the Asian Healthcare Market
Expands Regional Presence with Opening of Singapore Office
Singapore, 21 September 2012– To support its burgeoning success in Asia Pacific, Orion Health, New Zealand’s largest privately owned software exporter and a global leader in eHealth technology, today announced the official opening of its new Singapore office. This new facility provides a new home for the company’s Singapore-based services, development and technical support teams.
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ED performance data biased

THE validity of the emergency department waiting time performance data published on the MyHospitals website has been called into question by a study that shows hospitals with higher proportions of urgent cases are disadvantaged by the reporting methods.
The study of 158 Australian emergency departments (EDs), published in the latest MJA, presented an analysis of waiting times reported on the website according to the proportion of patients in each of five triage categories — resuscitation, emergency, urgent, semi-urgent and non-urgent. (1)
Correlating the data this way showed that hospitals with a higher proportion of patients in the “emergency” category had poorer waiting time performance, indicating that performance data was biased in favour of EDs that reported fewer urgent patients.
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Medibank Health Solutions to deploy video access to medical specialists

Telehealth services organisation to enable patients to access video consultations with its offsite specialists
Medibank Health Solutions is gearing up to extend its online consultation service – Anywhere Healthcare – to enable patients in regional Queensland to connect with selected medical specialists over a video link provided at their GP’s office.
Next month, Medibank is rolling out the service to around 20 GPs under the first phase of the program. The organisation is targeting medical practices in rural areas where individuals don’t necessarily have easy access to medical specialists such as psychiatrics and clinicians trained in chronic disease management.
Medibank delivered the Anywhere Healthcare service using online medical consultation software from American Well, which it purchased in mid-2011. The software is hosted at Medibank’s data centres in Melbourne and Sydney.
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Clinical Messaging – the Electronic Lifeblood of the New Zealand & Australian Health Sectors

by Tom Bowden on September 20, 2012
The New Zealand health sector has one of the highest levels of clinical messaging in the world – by my estimation we are second behind Denmark.  Clinical messaging has a wide range of uses, predominantly it is used for the exchange of pathology and radiology reports, specialist letters, discharge summaries and to send information to and from a range of databases.
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US patient records stolen by staff, possibly sold

Miami hospital hit by second breach this year.

The University of Miami Hospital has fired two employees suspected of stealing and possibly selling the personally identifiable information of patients.
The health system announced the breach last week — the second to occur there this year — and began notifying those affected. A website detailing the incident also was set up. 
A hospital spokeswoman declined to provide the number of patients impacted by the theft, in which employees accessed “face sheets” — documents that include the names, addresses, dates of birth, insurance policy numbers, the reason for the hospital visit, and the last four digits of patients' Social Security numbers, according to a letter sent to affected individuals.
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Johanna Westbrook: Cost of archaic care

FOR vulnerable residents in aged care facilities, a missed page at the end of a fax can lead to a medication mix-up with potentially devastating consequences.
It was shocking enough to see the recent report on the ABC’s Lateline that thousands of dementia patients may be dying prematurely due to the routine prescription of antipsychotic drugs. But, sadly, our work at the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, at the University of NSW, shows that this may be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of poor medication practices in aged care homes.
We have been undertaking research in a number of residential aged care facilities to look at the challenges they face in being able to safely deliver all types of medications to residents.
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Committee recommends bill containing new penalties after serious privacy breaches

AUSTRALIAN companies are a step closer to fines of up to $1.1 million for severe or repeated breaches of privacy regulations.
A parliamentary committee yesterday recommended passing a bill containing the new penalties in a report tabled in the lower house. It became the first of two parliamentary committees examining the bill to deliver its findings. A Senate committee is also due to report to parliament this month.
The bill was a response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's 2008 report on privacy and attempts to update current privacy laws for the digital age.
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New e-health record privacy penalties may be broadened

18th Sep 2012
THE federal government is considering broadening tough new mandatory reporting laws for e-health records, including fines for those who fail to report breaches, beyond the realm of health care, MO can reveal.
The personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) will be subject to Australia’s first privacy mandatory reporting laws after the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released draft guidelines with fines of up to $55,000 for failure to notify.
Last week, Attorney General Nicola Roxon’s office confirmed that while the PCEHR would be the only area without “voluntary” reporting laws, “the government… is considering whether to introduce a mandatory data breach notification requirement more broadly”.
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Draft social media policy 'stifling' and costly: critics

17th Sep 2012
GPRA has raised concerns about AHPRA’s new draft social media policy, arguing that GPs need to “embrace” communication advances rather than “stifle” the progress and discussion that is possible using these platforms.
In a letter to the regulator GPRA said it supported moves to help educate doctors navigate the online world “but we fear it may be counterproductive to stifle the progress and discussion that is possible using social media.”
GPRA also asked why a separate policy was required when doctors were already bound by a code of conduct.
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Up to 15 per cent of Vic Human Services tech roles could go

  • by: Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 13, 2012 4:50PM
THE Victorian Human Services Department could slash up to 15 per cent of technology roles as part of the Baillieu government's workforce reduction program.
The department's IT division employs 300 workers, including contractors. Its chief information officer Grahame Coles said between 30 to 40 people could go as part of a state-wide voluntary redundancy scheme.
Human Services is set to lose 500 positions from its 1100-strong workforce.
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A robot with a reassuring touch

Date September 19, 2012 - 10:09AM

John Markoff

If you grab the hand of a two-armed robot named Baxter, it will turn its head and a pair of cartoon eyes - displayed on a tablet-size computer-screen "face" - will peer at you with interest.
The sensation that Baxter conveys is not creepy, but benign, perhaps even disarmingly friendly. And that is intentional.
It feels like a true Macintosh moment for the robot world. 
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A chip to repair the brain

Date September 16, 2012
Researchers are working on an implant to restore lost mental capacity, writes Benedict Carey.
Scientists have designed a brain implant that sharpened decision making and restored lost mental capacity in monkeys, providing the first demonstration in primates of the sort of brain prosthesis that could eventually help people with damage from dementia, strokes or other brain injuries.
The device, though years away from commercial development, gives researchers a model for how to support and enhance fairly advanced mental skills in the frontal cortex of the brain, the seat of thinking and planning.
The new report appeared on Thursday in the Journal of Neural Engineering.
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Australian engineers write quantum computer 'qubit' in global breakthrough

AUSTRALIAN researchers say the world's first quantum computer is just 5 to10 years away, after announcing a global breakthrough that makes manufacture of its memory building blocks possible.
A research team led by Australian engineers has created the first working "quantum bit" based on a single atom in silicon, invoking the same technological platform that forms the building blocks of modern day computers, laptops and phones.
It opens up the real prospects of new quantum computers performing calculations billions of times faster than now within a decade.
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Space shuttle Endeavour makes final flight

Date  September 22, 2012 - 1:50PM
The US space shuttle Endeavour took its final flight on Friday, making a spectacular series of flypasts over California before landing in Los Angeles where it will retire near its birthplace.
Piggy backed by a specially fitted Boeing 747, the shuttle flew over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge before heading south to take in the Hollywood sign and Disneyland, later landing at LA International Airport (LAX).
"It's so cool, and so sad," said Todd Unger, 28, who was among thousands who camped out from the early hours at the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city and the nearby iconic hilltop Tinseltown sign.
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Enjoy!
David.

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