Monday, December 17, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 17th December, 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 fun / horror filled week with children murdered in the US and hackers attacking medical centres while at the same time we watch the Qld Payroll Story keep on giving and we wonder just when some accountability will emerge for the unloved PCEHR fiasco.
My weekly check of my PCEHR reveals a rather faster log in - avoids 1 screen - and a still very slow actual system - as well as an update of my medications to the middle of October.
This is the last blog for this year - amazing breaking news being all that will flush me out until mid to late January.
Enjoy the holiday period and the company of those you care for.
Thanks for all the support and comments. It has made it all worthwhile!
For those of a statistical bent I will note that the blog has now had over 400,000 visits and 700,000 page views since it was kicked off. Again thanks!

Hacked QLD medical centre assures patients records intact

11th Dec 2012
THE co-owner of a Gold Coast medical centre, which was the target of eastern European computer hackers, has given assurances patient health records have not been stolen despite being held for ransom.
Miami Family Medical Centre co-owner David Wood told MO he went to access patient files on his computer at the medical practice he owns on 1 December and found the screen on the server was locked and instead contained what he called a “ransom note”.
“Basically saying your system is locked, your data encrypted, you won’t be able to de-encrypt it and you need to make contact,” he said.

Russian hackers hold Gold Coast doctors to ransom

By Sara Hicks
Russian hackers are holding a Gold Coast medical centre to ransom after encrypting thousands of patient health records.
The hackers are demanding a ransom of $4,000 to decrypt the sensitive information held on a server at the Miami Family Medical Centre.
IT security expert Nigel Phair says this latest attack is a "wake-up call" with businesses around Australia hacked five to 10 times a week.

Aust govt justifies insourcing bungled IBM e-health project

Summary: The National E-Health Transition Authority has said that the work IBM was doing for the e-health project before being dumped can now be done internally by the organisation, thanks to advancements in technology.
By Josh Taylor | December 11, 2012 -- 05:32 GMT (16:32 AEST)
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has defended the decision to implement its own authentication service for e-health records after its multi-million dollar contract with IBM fell apart.
IBM's AU$23.6 million contract with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) was signed in 2011 for delivery by June 30, 2012. IBM was tasked to develop a system that would use public key infrastructure and secure tokens, such as smart cards, in order to provide an authenticated service. This was so that healthcare personnel and providers could exchange e-health information, including referrals, prescriptions, and personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHRs), as part of the Australian government's AU$466.7 billion investment in e-health.

Data is not a dirty word

Date December 14, 2012

Peter Martin

Economics correspondent

Kim Carr believes the country's wealth of data could be used to make a huge difference to people's lives, allowing early intervention in health and social problems.
Kim Carr wants to use government data to know what you need, even before you know you need it.
KIM Carr is impatient. Fiona Stanley is angry. Between them Australia's new Minister for Human Services and the former Australian of the Year want to solve some of Australia's most intractable problems by mining what could be Australia's greatest resource - its data.
Unexpectedly, the Victorian senator has found himself sitting on top of more data than any minister before him. In March, Julia Gillard withdrew his beloved manufacturing portfolio a few months after taking away innovation, industry, science and research. Human services looked like a consolation prize, or a punishment for backing Kevin Rudd in the leadership struggle.

Privacy fears under Medicare Locals

14 December, 2012
Medicare Locals have been accused of a "gross breach of patient privacy" for forcing GPs to hand over sensitive health information on patients wanting to access subsidised psychological services.
Bayside Medicare Local in Melbourne wrote to GPs in the area in October, telling them to attach a copy of patients' mental health treatment plans with every referral request for the Federal Government's Access to Allied Psychological Services scheme.
The Medicare Local would then use this information to determine if individuals deserved access to the program, which subsidises psychological care for a capped number of patients.

Case Study: Linking restless nights with black dog days

Preventing depression is the aim of a new online-based sleep improvement clinical trial being run by the Black Dog Institute. Will Turner reports.

Research shows people with depression and anxiety are over-represented among the 10 percent of Australians who report ongoing problems with insomnia. Yet beyond hearsay, little is known about the the impact a better night’s sleep could have on keeping these disorders from taking root in the first place.
The Good Night Study will shed light on this issue by testing how a web-based training program to address insomnia affects the mental wellbeing of people who may be at risk of developing a mood disorder. Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the study is being led by Professor Helen Christensen, the Black Dog Institute’s executive director.

Premier Campbell Newman to announce inquiry into Queensland Health payroll debacle

THE health payroll debacle will be investigated by a Commission of Inquiry, with Royal Commission powers.
The Courier-Mail has learnt Premier Campbell Newman will on Thursday announce the inquiry, which will have a three month time-limit and will likely commence early in the new year.
Details of the inquiry are expected to be released at a press conference on Thursday morning featuring Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg.

Former IT minister not worried about Qld Health payroll inquiry

Summary: Former Queensland Labor IT Minister Robert Schwarten, who oversaw the health payroll debacle, isn't worried about the upcoming commission of inquiry and has said that his hands are clean.
By AAP and Michael Lee | December 14, 2012 -- 01:58 GMT (12:58 AEST)
The former state IT minister who was in charge of the IBM payroll project for Queensland Health says that he isn't worried about having to testify at an inquiry set up by the Newman government.
Yesterday, Premier Campbell Newman announced a AU$5 million commission of inquiry into Queensland Health's bungled payroll system, to be headed by retired Court of Appeal Judge Richard Chesterman QC.

Phones become mobile medical labs

  • by: Jennifer Foreshew
  • From: The Australian
  • December 11, 2012 12:00AM
A SYSTEM that turns a smartphone into a mobile medical lab will let researchers cut data collection times from several months to just a few days.
The system is designed to make heart rate research cheaper, portable and straightforward.
Created by University of Sydney PhD student James Heathers, the system uses a sensor placed on the finger instead of electrodes on the chest, and a signal is sent through a hardware receiver.
The system uses software specifically designed to read the signal.
The data can be exported straight from the phone and sent to a researcher.

Too much business influence on ID verification plan?

ACCAN sees “no clear case” for National Trusted Identities Framework.
A proposed National Trusted Identities Framework (NTIF) appears to provide few benefits and “a number of risks” for consumers, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).
Under the proposed NTIF, the government and private sector could share consumer identity information with the goal of faster identity verification.
However, in a submission today to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, ACCAN said “no clear case” has been “made from a consumer perspective that the NTIF is needed.”

WA Health deploys predictive analytics

Western Australia is set to harness predictive modelling technology currently used in industries such as finance and retail for the benefit of its public health system in 2013.
Initiated by the WA Department of Health, the Predictive Analytics Project will enable new ways of forecasting health service activity such as inpatient, emergency department and ambulance demand.

Opportunities abound in Australia’s ageing population: Report

By Michelle Hammond
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Australia’s ageing population provides opportunities to develop a range of social, workforce, and industry research and technological innovations, according to a new government report.
 The Australian Innovation System Report is an annual series of reports, starting in 2010, on the performance of Australia’s national innovation system.
 The latest report suggests innovative firms of all sizes are almost twice as likely to report an increase in productivity compared to those that do not innovate.

SoundSorter will get the toddlers talking

  • by: Jennifer Foreshew
  • From: The Australian
  • December 11, 2012 12:00AM
A SHORTAGE of speech pathologists in NSW has prompted the trial of innovative technology aimed at supporting preschoolers with speech difficulties.
The study will see 1250 children screened across 18 early childhood education and care sites in NSW from early next year. The trial will then provide "interventions" for 128 children.
Led by Charles Sturt University's Sharynne McLeod and Jane McCormack, the research will adapt a computer program developed at the University of the West of England, in Bristol, for Australian children.

Windows open on a healthy future

  • by: Jennifer Foreshew
  • From: The Australian
  • December 11, 2012 12:00AM
CASE STUDY: Western Health
PROBLEM: Needed to cater for one of the fastest-growing catchments within Australia and ensure ICT systems were flexible and secure.
PROCESS: Deployed Windows Server 2012.
RESULT: Prepared for future growth. Able to reduce storage footprint by 56 per cent, deploying virtual machines is about 40 per cent faster.
PUBLIC health services provider Western Health is located in one of the fastest growing catchments in Australia and needed to prepare its IT systems for the future.
Western Health is the biggest public health services provider in western metropolitan Melbourne. It has hospitals at Footscray, Sunshine, Williamstown and Sunbury as well as aged residential care services and drug and alcohol services. It delivers a range of emergency, elective, surgical, sub-acute, obstetrics and pediatrics services.

Cloud 101: Australia's cloud outlook

Competition among cloud providers in Australia, particularly in the IaaS space, is set to heat up
The high level of virtualization in Australia and customer concerns about off-shore hosting of data and latency make the country a tempting location for cloud providers to set up shop, despite the high cost of real estate and labour.
Gartner forecasts that Australian spending on public cloud will reach $2.4 billion this year, up 18.8 per cent from 2011. The analyst firm is predicting that spending on cloud services in Australia will have a compound annual growth rate of 16.0 per cent from 2011 to 2016.
Last month Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its Sydney Region, which comprises two Availability Zones, and in August Rackspace announced the launch of a data centre in western Sydney[1], with the company promising to bring its full suite of offerings, including cloud services based on the open source OpenStack collection of software, to Australia.

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