Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 18th February, 2013.

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

Two things set the tone for me this week.
1. Senate Estimates updated us on just how little usage the NEHRS was getting 8 months after launch.
2. We have this quote (from first article) “The scheme has been compared to the government's bungled roof insulation system by the Coalition's eHealth spokesman, Andrew Southcott, who called it ''Pink Batts on steroids''.”
So the NEHRS is going very slowly and the Opposition (with and election in 7 months) is saying they are far from convinced.
No wonder those in DoHA who are in charge of all this are pretty panicked and paralysed in their decision making. Heads will roll around all this no matter who wins the Election and the time needed to fix things is now too short. The Liberals being seemingly being odds on to win can’t be making the e-Health Gurus at DoHA sleep well at night.
We weekly check of my NEHRS was uneventful - other than the fact that has apparently had a 12 hour outage over the weekend.

Senate Estimates Transcript will be posted when available.

Numbers for eHealth lagging

By Tim Barlass

Feb. 17, 2013, midnight
THE federal government's controversial eHealth system to get the nation's medical records available online has had a dismal uptake from the public and the medical profession.
The scheme has been compared to the government's bungled roof insulation system by the Coalition's eHealth spokesman, Andrew Southcott, who called it ''Pink Batts on steroids''.
The eHealth scheme was launched with fanfare in July, with an advertising truck touring Australia to encourage 500,000 people to register in the first year. The Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, declared: ''We estimate eHealth will save the federal government around $11 billion over 15 years. That's pretty good bang for your buck.''

Doctors shun e-health records scheme

  • News Limited Network
  • February 14, 2013 11:30PM
LESS than 1 per cent of the nation's health practitioners have signed up to the $1 billion e-health scheme aimed at providing patients with electronic records of their medicines, test results and medicines.
And the 56,000 patients who have registered for a record are getting nothing, because doctors can't yet upload their health details.
The Personally Controlled e-Health record went live eight months ago in July, but most doctors still can't use it even though their software has been updated.
----- to reveal result of patent breach probe

A US software firm hopes to conclude investigations into a possible infringement of its patents by the National E-Health Transition Authority in less than three weeks., a subsidiary of MMRGlobal, flagged the investigation last week, claiming that "both state and federal governments in Australia, through Nehta, appear to be infringing on patents and other intellectual property issued to".
The Gillard government has developed a personally controlled e-health records system, an online, opt-in platform that stores an individual's health information. Nehta manages the PCEHR implementation process.

NEHTA shrugs off health records patent threat

Low take-up of health records more concerning.

The body responsible for the Australian Government's electronic health records system has paid little attention to threats made by a US firm claiming that the PCEHR violates its patents.
The chief executive of the National E-Health Transmission Authority (NEHTA), Peter Fleming said he had not contacted the Health Department over the patent claim, hearing about it first via a newspaper article.
US-based MMRGlobal issued a news release last week claiming that NEHTA was infringing on its patents (including Australian patent numbers 2006202057 and 2008202401) and other Intellectual Property (collectively, the "MMRIP") issued to, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of MMRGlobal.

Pharmacies lag in using electronic prescriptions

Most pharmacists still manually type original prescriptions into their dispensing software, even though electronic prescriptions are now compatible across nearly all GP and dispensing programs.
From mid- January, Australian GPs and pharmacists have been able to generate and dispense scripts across both electronic prescription exchange services (MediSecure Script Vault and eRx Script Exchange) following an ACCC-approved collaboration between the rival software companies to allow interoperability.
The two companies were allocated over $1.2 million for technical work to ensure the interoperability and will collect an estimated $8 million in transaction fees under the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, signed off in 2010.

ACCC agreement to boost e-prescribing

14 February, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue
The ACCC is set to authorise an agreement between two competing e-prescription systems that will allow them to talk to each other.
The body issued its draft determination yesterday, following the granting of interim approval for the deal, which will enable the Pharmacy Guild of Australia backed eRx system to “talk” to the MediSecure system.
The Department of Health and Ageing has also supported the move, which is expected to boost electronic prescription use.

E-scripts boost after software agreement

15 February, 2013 Paul Smith
Peace has broken out in the long-running war between Australia’s two rival e-prescribing software systems raising the prospect of a major boost in e-prescribing.
Over the past five years, MediSecure system, backed by the RACGP, has been fighting it out with its bitter rival — prescribing system eRx Script Exchange, supported by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Until this year, the systems did not speak with each other, undermining the hope that e-prescribing would reduce transcription errors.

Telstra aims to lead in e-health

  • From: The Australian
  • February 16, 2013 12:00AM
TELSTRA is making a play at the $120 billion-a-year health industry with the creation of a business that will help connect healthcare professionals with patients over broadband and mobile networks.
The unit, which comes under the remit of customer service boss Gordon Ballantyne, will see Telstra partner with healthcare authorities and providers to deliver services direct into patients' homes.
"We want to play a part in better connecting those who are in poor health. We want to help deliver health to the community using all of our innovation and the scale of our business," Mr Ballantyne said.
"We think there's a role for Telstra to play whether it is providing integrated platforms, in-home consultations or other services."

Bringing eHealth to Penrith and Blacktown medical practices

12 February 2013. Penrith and Blacktown based healthcare providers and staff will have an opportunity to get a first-hand look at eHealth when the Model Healthcare Community tour comes to town.
EHealth is changing the way healthcare is delivered in Australia.  The benefits of easier sharing of health information between hospitals, community health, general practitioners and patients are being seen now. During the interactive tour, led by a clinician, attendees will see how this works in practice.

App helps spinal patients get their lives back

iPhone and iPad app based on guide created by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
A new iPhone and iPad app enables people with spinal cord damage to access information that will help them get their lives back on track after a life-changing injury.
The app was created by Apps-House and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA). It is based on ‘Back on Track’, a guide to life after a spinal cord injury, developed by SCIA.
SCIA said the app provides information about transport, financials, legal matters, employment, bladder care, assistance dogs and clothing. It also helps patients find disability service providers and accessible places to visit, and provides news and information about spinal cord injuries.

Tablet to treat what ails you

Date February 7, 2013


Garry Barker is a tech columnist

Health practitioners are using iPads to monitor patient care.
AMONG the dusty grey cells within my skull, I harbour the thought that humanity's enthusiasm for the iPad should surprise no one. Homo sapiens have used tablets for millenniums. Moses had several and, despite the continuing frailty of our species, they're still operational.
Initially iPads were seen as consumer devices, but were quickly adopted for more serious purposes, such as education and healthcare. Educational apps grew from the demand of schools, but healthcare has always been in the iPad's DNA, perhaps because Steve Jobs, the first to clearly see what a tablet should be, was passionately interested in medical science.

Vic government’s ICT strategy claims up to $400 million in savings

Reusing and sharing of systems and avoiding vendor lock-in are main ways the Victorian Coalition plans to save money.
The Victorian Coalition government has unveiled its whole of government ICT strategy, which it claims will result in savings of up to $400 million by the end of 2014.
Technology minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said at the release of the strategy yesterday that the Coalition aims to salvage the previous Labor government’s ICT blowouts.
“The previous Labor government adopted a piecemeal approach to ICT that saw at least $1.44 billion of taxpayers’ money wasted in cost blowouts on projects like HealthSMART, myki and the LEAP database,” Rich-Phillips said.
Media Release
Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

Gillard Government secures SMS-access to 000 for hearing and speech impaired

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced that people with hearing or speech impairments will be able to contact triple-0 via SMS for the first time, under a new and improved National Relay Service (NRS).
Following a competitive tender process, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) has signed new contracts with Australian Communication Exchange and WestWood Spice to deliver the National Relay Service (NRS).

Triple-0 app offers faster help

Date February 12, 2013

Georgina Mitchell

AUSTRALIA'S emergency services are set to launch a long-awaited triple-0 smartphone application to respond more quickly to people in a crisis.
The app, developed by the national Triple Zero Awareness Work Group, which includes police, State Emergency Service, fire and ambulance services, gives clear options for which organisation to call in a crisis, connects the call and provides GPS co-ordinates of the phone's location.
The director of community safety at Fire and Rescue NSW and chairman of the group, Assistant Commissioner Mark Whybro, said the app was designed to cut the number of people calling triple-0 when they needed the SES or Police Assistance Line.

John Kinghorn bankrolls back-pain venture

MILLIONAIRE businessman and RAMS home loans founder John Kinghorn has emerged as the prime investor for National ICT Australia spin-off Saluda Medical.
Mr Kinghorn, through his family charity Kinghorn Foundation, has invested $5 million in the company, which hopes to relieve chronic pain using spinal cord simulation.
"Saluda is pioneering the development of an implantable medical device utilising what we believe is leading edge technology and a scientific breakthrough in chronic pain management," Mr Kinghorn said.

Australian researchers target hospital superbugs

  • by: Chris Griffith in Canberra
  • From: The Australian
  • February 14, 2013 12:00AM
AUSTRALIAN researchers want to reduce the threat posed by hospital superbugs using DNA sequencing and data analysis.
National ICT Australia yesterday said it was researching techniques to help hospitals locate the original carrier of a superbug, to find its origin globally, and to identify in advance which antibiotics would effectively treat an outbreak.

NICTA researcher Thomas Conway said DNA sequencing was now cheap enough to make it affordable to perform DNA sequencing on all patients affected by an outbreak.

La Trobe Uni adds two new robots to its collection

The robots – one female and one male – join La Trobe’s existing robots, Matilda and Jack.
La Trobe University is trialling two new robots that will provide support to the elderly in their homes and nursing facilities.
The robots – one female and one male – join La Trobe’s existing robots, Matilda and Jack. The have spent the past 80 days travelling around the world receiving modifications.

Gadgetry helps doc diagnose

Date February 14, 2013

Bleeding Edge

Charles Wright is a tech columnist

From blood pressure to sharing essential information, high-tech equals health answers.
PERHAPS the only fun thing Bleeding Edge can recall about the experience of being admitted to Melbourne's The Alfred Hospital a couple of weekends ago was the truly impressive array of gadgets we were hooked up to.
Within minutes of clambering on to the gurney in the emergency department, we had had adhesive sensors attached to the Bleeding Edge abdomen; the nurses had popped a Bleeding Edge finger into a heart-rate monitor; and wrapped a sphygmomanometer cuff around an arm. At that point, our vital signs were suddenly the late-breaking news on the TV monitor.

Mars rover drills deep for dust

Date February 11, 2013
The Curiosity rover has drilled into a rock on Mars and is ready to dump a pinch of powder into its onboard laboratories for closer inspection.
The feat marked a new milestone for Curiosity, which landed last year on a mission to determine whether environmental conditions on Mars were favourable for microbes.
Using the drill at the end of its robotic arm, Curiosity on Friday chipped away at a flat, veined rock bearing numerous signs of past water flow.

Time to banish Facebook from your browser?

Date February 11, 2013
Are you ready to claw back the web from social media widgets?
Facebook didn't quite break the internet last week, but it had a pretty good crack at it. Many pages sporting Facebook widgets were diverting to a Facebook error page, throwing a major spanner in the works for many online publishers including this one. The problem was rectified soon enough, but it highlighted exactly how deeply ingrained Facebook and other social media widgets have become in the wider web.
These days it's pretty hard to find a high-traffic, content-heavy site which isn't plastered with social media buttons and widgets -- trying to use the likes of Facebook, Twitter and others to drum up traffic. They're even on this very page, lurking at the top just below my byline and begging you to share this page with your social networks.

1 comment:

Paul Fitzgerald said...

Senate transcripts are here - start on page 78 for the eHealth stuff.