Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 26th November, 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

Again a very quiet week. We have seen some interesting comparative work on IT use in General Practice and a number of (rather small) telehealth initiatives.
My weekly visit to the NEHRS revealed that the performance is still pretty dreadful - 5-10 seconds from click to complete page being painted (on a fast internet link).
At least my name remained stable over the week!

Aussie GPs lag behind on e-record use

21st Nov 2012
AUSTRALIA’S high rate of GPs keeping electronic patient records has declined since 2009 and Australia lags behind other countries in terms of electronic exchange of patient summaries with doctors in other practices, new research shows.
A survey by the Commonwealth Fund of 10 countries – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the US – found progress in the use of health information technology in healthcare practices, particularly in the US.
Yet a high percentage of primary care physicians in all 10 countries reported they did not routinely receive timely information from specialists or hospitals.
Of the 500 Australian GPs surveyed, the use of electronic medical records was high but fell from 95% to 92% from 2009 to 2012 while the other nations mainly recorded increases.

Australian GPs drag the chain on e-mail

20 November, 2012 Julie Robotham
Australia’s general practices lag the world in communicating electronically with patients even though more than 90% store patient records electronically.
In an international survey of primary care doctors, only 20% of the 500 polled in Australia said they accepted patients’ questions or concerns by e-mail.
Even fewer – 7% - allowed patients to go online to book appointments or request referrals, and just 6% accepted electronic requests for script refills, according to the study from US health policy foundation The Commonwealth Fund.

GPs see specialists as poor communicators

21 November, 2012 Paddy Wood
GPs think specialists are poor communicators who rarely provide timely information about patients and often alter medications without notice.
In a survey of 500 Australian GPs, just 13% said specialists made information about patients available when it was needed.
Less than a third agreed they were always advised of changes that specialists made to their patients’ medications or care plans, and 32% said they always received a report from specialists with “all relevant health information.”

Script exchanges together

FRED IT’s eRx Script Exchange is set to become linked to rival MediSecure, with the government providing almost $10 million in funding to make the systems interoperable. According to an application revealed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the so-called ‘Electronic Transfer of Prescription (ETP) Prescription Exchange Service Interoperability Initiative’ aims to “significantly improve the uptake and use of electronic prescriptions”. E-prescribing is a significant policy component of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, and according to early analysis there are large numbers of electronic prescriptions being lodged by prescribers “ but the number being downloaded by dispensers is quite low” - due to patients presenting to a pharmacy which is not connected to the prescription exchange containing the e-script.

Invitation to Participate in the SMD-POD Project

20 November 2012.  NEHTA is pleased to invite Secure Messaging Vendors to participate in the Secure Message Delivery – Proof of Inter-connectivity and Deployment (SMD-POD) project.  The purpose of the project is to provide financial assistance to Secure Messaging Vendors to "provide proof that standards-based secure messaging can be deployed in a scalable way, utilising National Infrastructure Services, and to also demonstrate that different conformant Secure Messaging Vendor products are capable of interconnecting within the Australian Primary Care sector and with other healthcare providers".
General Practice is a key sector; the inter-connectivity to other healthcare providers is vital because GPs communicate with each other and also to others, such as Medical Specialists and Allied Health Professionals. In addition, hospitals with gateways can also introduce Secure Messaging to the customers of all participating Secure Messaging Vendors. This activity will allow more healthcare providers to participate and use technology (eHealth).

Projects to Better Connect Health and Aged Care

Applications have been opened by Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler, for more than $17 million in projects to better connect Australia’s aged care system with the health and hospitals systems.
16 November 2012
Applications were opened today by Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler, for more than $17 million in projects to better connect Australia’s aged care system with the health and hospitals systems.
“Successful applicants will carry out innovative projects that will see aged care providers work intensively with healthcare providers and medical insurers,” Mr Butler said.
“This will help give older people better access to complex health care, including palliative and psycho-geriatric care.”

New Telehealth Centre officially opened at Princess Alexandra Hospital

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and the Queensland Minister for Health, Mr Lawrence Springborg today officially opened a new telehealth centre at Princess Alexandra hospital, which is making healthcare more accessible to people living in regional and remote Queensland.
The centre is part of the $5.1 million Princess Alexandra Hospital Online Outreach Services project (PAH Online), which is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments through the Digital Regions Initiative program.
"This centre is a glimpse into the future of healthcare delivery right across Australia," Senator Conroy said.

Feds announce $3.3m aged care telehealth program

Virtual access to general practitioners will be trialled under a $3.3 million five year telehealth pilot at residential aged care facilities (RACF) announced by the federal government.
Commencing in February 2013, the program will involve up to 30 RACFs and is intended to develop a business case for video consultations as a means of delivering better GP access to residents.

Better access to specialist neurological care for regional NSW

9 November 2012
People in regional NSW will have remote access to multiple sclerosis clinics in Sydney thanks to a new telemedicine facility in Dubbo.
The facility will improve the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases, who often find travel to be physically and mentally exhausting and, for some, unaffordable.
"It is logistically impossible for many patients with multiple sclerosis to travel to our clinic on a regular basis, potentially compromising their medical care," said Dr Michael Barnett, leading MS neurologist and researcher at the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI).

The state of broadband 2012: achieving digital inclusion for all

Read the full text

30 September 2012With this Report, the Broadband Commission expands awareness and understanding of the importance of broadband networks, services, and applications for generating economic growth and achieving social progress. High-speed affordable broadband connectivity to the Internet is essential to modern society, offering widely recognized economic and social benefits (Annex 1). The Broadband Commission for Digital Development promotes the adoption of broadband-friendly practices and policies for all, so everyone can take advantage of the benefits offered by broadband.

The dilemmas behind creating a better you

Date November 22, 2012

David Ewing Duncan

Cutting-edge therapies are under way that may lead to a host of physical enhancements.
If a brain implant were safe and available and allowed you to operate your iPad or car using only thought, would you want one? What about an embedded device that gently bathed your brain in electrons and boosted memory and attention? Would you order one for your children?
In a future election, would you vote for a candidate who had neural implants that helped optimise his or her alertness and functionality during a crisis, or in a candidates' debate? Would you vote for a commander in chief who wasn't equipped with such a device?
If these seem like tinfoil-on-the-head questions, consider the case of Cathy Hutchinson. Paralysed by a stroke, she recently drank a canister of coffee by using a prosthetic arm controlled by thought. She was helped by a device called Braingate, a tiny bed of electrons surgically implanted on her motor cortex and connected by a wire to a computer.

Martin Delatycki: Genetic explosion

THE announcement in 2003 that the human genome had been sequenced brought much excitement to both the scientific and the general community. Almost 10 years on, what has changed as a result?
We can now diagnose many disorders, allowing individuals and families options in terms of medical care and preventive treatments. Discovery of new genetic causes of disease is a daily event. Discovering genes took many years in the 1990s but can now take a matter of weeks.
We are now on the cusp of a quantum leap in what can be done. Next-generation DNA sequencing, which is also called massive parallel sequencing, allows the exome or genome to be sequenced in hours.

UXC wins $40m contract for Gold Coast hospital

UXC will supply all ICT infrastructure for the hospital.
UXC has won contract with Lend Lease worth more than $40 million to provide and install ICT equipment at the new Gold Coast University Hospital at Southport.
UXC will supply all ICT infrastructure for the hospital.
The contract includes a data centre, wired network and wireless LAN, unified communications, IP telephony and firewalls and security.

Sydney hospital ditches PCs, chooses zero clients on wheels

Summary: How do you deploy an additional 200 to 300 desktops in a hospital that just doesn't have the room? The answer is: you don't — not physically, anyway.
By Michael Lee | November 19, 2012 -- 05:40 GMT (16:40 AEST)
Speaking at VMware's vForum 2012 event in Sydney last week, Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAH) solutions architect for Information Services John Hoang led the audience through the way in which the private hospital uses virtualised and mobile workstations in a bid to move toward a paperless, digital hospital.
Hoang said that SAH had been "dreaming of what we would consider a healthcare nirvana — a complete paperless, digital hospital. One where we're able to capture all patient data electronically, deliver information to clinicians in a digestible matter, and do so in a manner that is synergistic to the way clinicians work."

Privacy commissioners seek greater power as breaches increase

Regulators lack "clear mandate," said New Zealand privacy commissioner Maria Shroff
Privacy commissioners of Australia and New Zealand said they need more enforcement authority to combat data breaches and other privacy concerns.
Regulators “have to be responsive” to increasing privacy incidents, New Zealand privacy commissioner Maria Shroff said in a speech this morning at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Privacy Summit. If breaches continue to occur, “people will lose trust.”
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received 1357 privacy complaints in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told the Privacy Summit in a separate speech.

NSW Information Commissioner sends email to wrong list

Do as I say, not do as I do
The Information Commissioner in the Australian state of New South Wales, an officer whose job it is to offer and enforce best information management practice for the State, has apologised after sending an email to the wrong list.
The email in question advised of a conference at which the Commissioner, Deirdre O’Donnell, is due to speak.
But the mail, intended for members of the NSW Public Sector Right to Information/Privacy Practitioners Network, ended up elsewhere.

e-med Medical Dictionary

By Wednesday Digital | November 23, 2012
The e-med Medical Dictionary is a searchable database of medical information that can be used as a starting point for medical enquiries. The app can also be used by anybody to initiate free consultations with the e-med nurse and contains extra functionality for current e-med members.

Government cracks down on identity fraud

Date November 22, 2012

Jane Lee

PEOPLE who use the internet or a phone to use other people's identities to commit a crime could be sentenced to five years in jail under a new law.
The law, passed on Wednesday, expands the crime of identity fraud to include a number of activities such as flying interstate or booking domestic flights online using a fake identity.

Big future for ehealth in USA and UK

Barack Obama’s reelection is being seen as a major step forward for ehealth in the USA, while the UK government has committed to 100 percent patient access to ehealth records by 2015.
The main reason put forward by health IT experts why Obama’s victory is a win for ehealth is the secure future of the Affordable Care Act, which was the president’s major health reform in danger of repeal by Republican contender Mitt Romney.

Windows 8 PC orders weak, says analyst

Sales at Asian firms that assemble PCs for HP, Dell and others show lower expectations for Windows 8 pop
Computer sellers have scaled back their expectations of the sales pop they'll get from Windows 8 this year, according to an analyst.
Brian White, of Topeka Capital Markets, said that his checks of Asian computer manufacturers -- the relatively unknown firms that build desktop and notebook PCs to specifications issued by the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Dell -- found that orders last month climbed by less than half the average of the last seven years.
"With all of the sales numbers out for our ODM Barometer, October sales rose by 2 per cent month-over-month and below the average performance of up 5 per cent over the past seven years," White said in a note to clients earlier this month. "This is weaker than our preliminary estimate of up 5 per cent month-over-month in October and speaks to the continued challenges in the PC market."

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