This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 25th 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.
Quite an interesting week. Cyber security seems to be managing to lift its awareness which can only be a good thing.
The second article reporting on the lack of Government transparency will seem rather apt and relevant to the e-health space I suspect.
For the rest we have the MJA covering information use in the health sector and, we are still seeing reporting on the patent issue - with some interesting reporting on who is doing what with whom.
Pharmacy owners are being urged to increase their IT security in the face of a new threat from foreign computer hackers.
Speaking to Pharmacy News, Paul Naismith, CEO of Fred IT, expressed concern about the potential for hackers to hold pharmacies ransom, following reports that a number of Australian health professionals’ IT infrastructure had been attacked recently.
Mr Naismith said the problem would be the number one IT security trend to watch out for in 2013.
“It’s an ongoing thing that pharmacists need to be reminded of,” he said.
A THREE-YEAR-OLD policy to revolutionise transparency in government is struggling from a lack of leadership at the highest levels, the federal information commissioner has warned.
A review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner calls for political leaders to force cultural change in the public service or risk being left behind by peer countries with more open governments.
It says the government should require, rather than just suggest, that so-called ''high value'' information be published openly on the central website created for the purpose more than two years ago, data.gov.au.
THE national clinical lead advising on the e-health program has revealed frustration at not being able to access the system that he helped introduce.
The admission comes as two senior academics take aim at what they call a “lack ofcompulsory basic standards for e-health records in general practice”.
National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) national clinical lead and GP, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, who is also the chair of the World Medical Association (WMA) Council, told Fairfax newspapers at the weekend that he was one of the few doctors linked into the complete e-health service and went live with it at his Melbourne practice in mid-December to test the system.
AUSTRALIA'S chief clinical adviser on e-health has been touring the country to discuss the beleaguered electronic medical records program with GPs, with a message for those who have had problems using the system.
National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) national clinical lead and GP Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, who is also the chair of the World Medical Association (WMA) Council, told MO he had already been to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth and would be in Sydney tomorrow as part of the tour in collaboration with various AMA state entities.
“I have been talking about the e-health system and how people can participate in e-health,” he said.
Australia’s National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) is the latest health authority to be approached by medical patent holder MMRGlobal, which claims that the government’s PCEHR system has breached its Australian patent.
In a press release issued last week, MMRGlobal announced it would investigate the potential breach, and also stated it had begun legal action against US online pharmacy Walgreens for patent violation.
NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming told the Senate Estimates committee last week that the company had not contacted NEHTA.
However the former CEO of MMRGlobal’s Australian subsidiary, Probir Dutt, claims to have had a number of meetings with NEHTA staff before Mr Fleming joined the organisation.
MELBOURNE law firm Davies Collison Cave has dropped MMRGlobal as a client just days after the latter said it was investigating alleged patent infringements by the National E-Health Transition Authority.
Robert Lorsch, the Los Angeles-based MMRGlobal chief executive, claims Davies Collison Cave told him that his company would have to be dropped from the client roster due to a "conflict".
"We used Davies Collison Cove (for patents) and one of the reasons that they're not involved right now is they have a conflict because they're also representing the government," Mr Lorsch told The Australian.
I’M standing in the corner of a room that has all the trappings of a state-of-the-art operating theatre.
There’s a huge, flat-screen TV high on the wall, halogen lighting systems, and an operating table stuffed with numerous hydraulic gadgets. And a couple of metres away, its four large arms raised like a spider about to envelop its prey, is a robot.
In front of me, next to a bank of computers and machines that go ‘ping’, is a grey console — the control system for the robot.
The concept of monitoring and reporting on safety and quality in health care is not new. As Diane Watson, CEO of Australia’s National Health Performance Authority reminds us in this issue of the Journal (doi: 10.5694/mja13.10097), as early as 1860, Florence Nightingale called for the uniform collection of hospital statistics, so that outcomes could be compared “by hospital, region, and country” (Evid Based Nurs 2001; 4: 68-69).
In 2013, we are more able than ever to collect, interpret, share and act on such information, yet significant obstacles, some of which are explored by contributors to this issue of the Journal, remain.
THE concept of monitoring and reporting on safety and quality in health care is not new.
As Diane Watson, CEO of Australia’s National Health Performance Authority reminds us in the latest issue of the MJA ADD LINK, as early as 1860, Florence Nightingale called for the uniform collection of hospital statistics, so that outcomes could be compared “by hospital, region, and country”.
In 2013, we are more able than ever to collect, interpret, share and act on such information, yet significant obstacles, some of which are explored by contributors to this issue of the MJA, remain.
Clinical registries of patient treatment and outcomes provide vital information to improve care, but they will only be credible if they are as complete as possible.
THE absence of compulsory basic standards for electronic health records in general practice is an “unacceptable” situation and its resolution is very much overdue, according to two experts involved in collecting GP data.
In an editorial in this week’s MJA, two senior members of the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) program, which collects information about clinical activities in general practice, have called for the urgent development of “nationally agreed standards for the electronic health record (EHR)”. (1)
“We now have a variety of EHR systems with inconsistent structures, data elements and terminologies”, Associate Professor Helena Britt and Associate Professor Graeme Miller, director and medical director of the Family Medicine Research Centre, wrote.
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.''
Documents showing a customer's cardholder account details and address were found in a rubbish bin used by a bank branch in Sydney.
Some Sydney bank branches, lawyers' and doctors' offices have been found guilty of not properly disposing of personal information in rubbish bins which could be used by criminals for the purposes of fraud or identity theft following a private investigation.
THE Australian Medicare Local Alliance has asked for an almost doubling in Commonwealth funding for Medicare Locals, calling for an extra $610 million to fund two ambitious new programs — targeting chronic disease and early childhood.
The first federal budget submission from the AML Alliance — since its establishment last year — asks for $130 million per year over four years for a chronic disease prevention and management program plus another $92 million over three years for an early childhood development program.
The proposed additional $160 million per year, described by alliance chair Dr Arn Sprogis as “tiny” compared to the overall health budget, would be on top of the $171 million originally allocated to the 61 primary healthcare organisations when they were created from general practice divisions.