Monday, February 04, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th 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

The year has now really begun now Australia Day has passed and certainly the pace of life has picked up with the Federal Election announced, senior ministers leaving and an Federal MP being charged with fraud. And that was just one week. Amazing!
On the e-Health front there is also some activity with ePIP requirements coming into effect and continuing silence on many aspects of e-Health. Qld Health Payroll gets back into the news and it seems there are some issues that need to be addresses in the data quality of Discharge Summary.
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Inquiry begins into Qld health payroll debacle

It will determine, who, if anyone, is responsible for the debacle.
  • AAP (CIO)
  • 01 February, 2013 13:14
An inquiry into Queensland's flawed health payroll system has started in Brisbane.
The inquiry, which is expected to cost $5 million, began on Friday morning with a directions hearing at the Magistrates Court.
It will determine, who, if anyone, is responsible for the debacle.
The inquiry head, former Court of Appeal judge Richard Chesterman QC, said his focus would be on the governance and procurement of the system that resulted from a deal between IBM and the Bligh Labor government.
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Queensland Health payroll bungle 'had real human consquences'

IBM must deliver its current and former staff for public questioning and may be forced to reveal confidential business documents to an inquiry into the billion-dollar failure of the Queensland Health payroll system it designed.
Opening the $5 million commission of inquiry yesterday, retired judge Richard Chesterman QC said the bungled rollout led to tens of thousands of government workers being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all, with some left "temporarily destitute" or "falsely accused of fraud".
The royal commission-style inquiry was set up by Premier Campbell Newman in December to discover what went wrong, why, and who is to blame for the $1.25 billion debacle.
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E-PIP data dump swamps GPs

31 January, 2013 Paul Smith
General practices battling to revamp their IT systems have been bombarded with 28 different guidance documents two weeks before the ePIP deadline.
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) put documents on its website on 17 January. The readings included such page-turners as the NASH PKI Health Care Provider Application Form and the Sample RO Authority Document for Seed HPI-O Application.
Dr Edwin Kruys, a GP in Geraldton, WA, said the whole process had been time-consuming and complicated.
"So far we've spent about 100 management hours on it to make sense of the complexity of guidelines, rules and regulations. My managers complain the support has been minimal, and only in the last few weeks has the Medicare Local come on board.
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Thousands of practices to miss out on ePIP

21 January, 2013 Kate Newton
Thousands of general practices are still not eligible for e-health incentive payments, just weeks out from the first deadline.
Australian Doctor understands at least 3300 practices are yet to apply for their organisation's health provider identifier, which is needed to use the e-health system.
From 1 February, general practices need to meet the four e-health criteria to continue receiving the Practice Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP) payments, which are worth up to $50,000 per practice a year (see box).
The deadline by which practices must be able to use the Federal Government's $1 billion personally controlled electronic health record system will not kick in until 1 May this year.
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Department of Health and Ageing to digitise 40 million patient records

Plan to convert 980,941 pages of Medibank and private health insurance patient records stored on microfiche into searchable PDFs
The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) will digitise more than 40 million patient records stored on old microfiche archive equipment between 1975 and 1984 before the government’s Medicare scheme was introduced.
In a tender issued on today, the DoHA said was looking for a supplier to convert images from microfiche to a digital image format, optimise the images for an optical character recognition (OCR) process, and convert them to PDFs with text and manual searching.
This historical data – which includes almost 1 million pages of Medibank and private health insurance records – is held on computer output microfiche or COM fiche cards, many of which have “degraded and marked with scratches due to wear and tear,” the DoHA said.

Patients urged to check medical records after errors havoc

Date February 1, 2013

Julia Medew

PATIENTS are being urged to keep a close eye on their medical records amid growing evidence that hospital staff are regularly making costly and dangerous mistakes .
Epworth Freemasons acknowledged on Thursday it had accidentally sent a Melbourne mother home this month with records showing she had had a baby boy instead of a baby girl.
The records listed the correct name and address of the mother, but said her male baby's testes had been checked, among other things. The documents also included the wrong doctors' name and said the mother had suffered a fractured pelvis when this was not the case.
The mother, who did not want to be named, told Fairfax Media the erroneous records had caused havoc in the first three weeks of her baby's life, making it difficult to register her infant with the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
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One in ten discharge summaries get diagnosis wrong

29 January, 2013 Sam Lee
Half of hospital discharge summaries omit significant clinical conditions and one in ten have the wrong diagnosis, an audit at a Victorian tertiary hospital has found.
The findings, from a random review of 150 discharge summaries, show that GPs may not be given the whole picture when they provide follow up patients discharged from hospital say Dr Nicholas Chin and colleagues at Maroondah Hospital.
And their findings could also have major implications for hospital finances under casemix-based funding systems, as each revised discharge summary entitled hospitals to $2000 in extra funding for the ‘additional’ illnesses that were left off the original summaries, the study authors say in the Internal Medicine Journal (online 24 Jan).
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Discharge summaries get diagnosis wrong

Date January 31, 2013

Julia Medew

SCORES of patients are leaving hospital with the wrong diagnosis in their medical records, causing massive discrepancies in hospital funding amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
An audit of 150 patients' discharge summaries at Maroondah Hospital in Melbourne between November 2011 and January last year found half were missing significant clinical information and one in 10 had the wrong diagnosis.
The findings suggest hospitals are putting patients at risk, giving GPs the wrong information to continue caring for patients after a hospital stay and incorrectly coding their work for government funding.
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Discharge reports found wanting

1 February, 2013 Paul Smith
Half of all hospital discharge summaries omit significant clinical information and one in 10 lack the main diagnosis, according to an audit of a tertiary hospital.
Researchers took a random sample of 150 summaries at Maroondah Hospital in Melbourne and found 12% were missing the principle diagnosis — including the diagnosis of sepsis in a patient treated for a UTI.
Acute renal failure, anaemia and electrolyte disturbances were the most commonly omitted comorbidities in discharge documentation.
One patient presented with fever, rigors, hypotension and elevated inflammatory markers and was treated for Proteus mirabilis urosepsis. On discharge, his principal diagnosis was documented as "UTI".
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Problems in patient care linked to deaths

Date January 30, 2013

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

A QUARTER of all surgical patient deaths involve potential problems with care that could or should have been provided differently, a massive national audit has found.
And one in every 20 deaths led to significant criticism of the care given to the patient, according to the Australian and New Zealand Audit of Surgical Mortality.
In about 1 per cent of cases, the clinical problems were found to have probably caused the person's death.
The audit's chairman, Guy Maddern, said the potential problems were those where it might have been possible to tackle the issue differently and bring about different results.
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Opinion: Privacy may make or break e-health

Is the e-health industry doing enough to help healthcare providers secure patient data?
Over the past five years, the government and industry have developed legislation and standards that enable healthcare institutions to effectively share electronic health data.
National e-health standards now cover key areas such as accurately identifying healthcare providers and consumers (national health identifiers), secure messaging, and repositories for personally-controlled electronic health records (PCEHRs). These standards attempt to address information privacy concerns and mandate security mechanisms to protect consumers’ sensitive health information.
Importantly, this level of protection has earned the support of consumer groups for the electronic distribution of health information outside of organisational boundaries. Consumer groups recognise the benefit of e-health and support the sharing of patient data between healthcare providers when the appropriate level of protection is applied.
But as new privacy legislation and penalties for breaches emerge, it’s time to consider whether the e-health industry is providing enough support to healthcare providers to help them secure private information within organisational boundaries.
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GP incentives program fails to deliver results

29 January, 2013 Kate Cowling
The GP Practices Incentives Program (PIP) did little to improve chronic disease management or lift ailing cervical cancer screening rates, a review suggests.
Research by a professor at George Washington University found no significant link between the 2001 initiative and health outcomes ten years later.
The University of Oregon’s Associate Professor Greene, who surveyed GPs and analysed Medicare data, said based on national claims, any improvement in cervical cancer screening or asthma management were statistically insignificant over the decade-long period.
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Kieran Le Plastrier: Ending e-health doubts

DOCTORS as a rule are a rather sceptical bunch. This is not a criticism; in fact, such a temperament is likely to have a collective and individual overall benefit.
It means we are less likely to be overly enthusiastic about new treatments and management choices, preferring to hold off until more evidence emerges to support or refute benefits to our patients.
Most clinicians are aware of the nature and variability of the quality of sources and protocols used to generate insight into new aspects of health care. We are encouraged as part of our continuing professional development to acquire and maintain the skills, knowledge and attitudes that allow us to form critically defensible rationale for our choices in the care of our patients.
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Tweet more health advice, agencies told

24 January, 2013 AAP
Public health authorities are being urged to tweet more to help spread emergency messages and advice.
New research conducted at the University of Sydney suggests Twitter is a great way to disseminate important, sometimes urgent information about public health.
But Professor Robert Steele said many government health organisations aren't tweeting enough.
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Free online toolkit for GPs

The AMA Council of General Practice has released an online tool to store GPs’ diagnostic programs.
The GP Desktop Practice Support Toolkit holds up to 300 different tools in one folder to save time during consultations. It is free to AMA members and can be downloaded here website
For AMA Members only the link is here:
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A healthy dose of politics

30th Jan 2013
Dr Andrew Southcott is making his mark as one of the federal opposition’s most outspoken health voices.
IT WASN’T exactly a lightbulb moment that convinced Dr Andrew Southcott to shelve a promising hospital career to join politics. Perhaps less dramatic, the junior hospital doctor had always had what he calls “the political bug”, and when the chance came to go from helping individuals to helping the country, he took it.
“Why someone would change career, especially a professional career, is always complex,” says Dr Southcott, now shadow parliamentary secretary for primary healthcare.
…..
Dr Southcott also cites his party’s support for several Labor-led health measures, such as tobacco control, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, e-health “in principle”, and changes to diabetes care.
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Hacking into health files

29th Jan 2013
A DOCTOR arrives at the general practice where she works and starts booting up her computer. A black screen stares back at her with a poorly worded message demanding money in exchange for her patient files to be “decrypted”.
It’s a disturbing scenario, and one that has been playing out with more frequency across Australian general practices.
In the era of e-health – where general practices generate, use and share patient health information on a daily basis – IT experts are warning that medical records being held for ransom and other health-related cyber crime is on the rise in Australia.
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US cyber crime sparks concern for PCEHR

17th Oct 2012
WARNINGS from a leading internet fraud investigator that e-health crime is the fastest growing crime in the US and is spreading have sparked renewed criticism of the security of the government’s personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR).
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay from Queensland’s Fraud and Corporate Crime Group has told MO that doctors in Australia are unprepared for cyber attacks on their business computer files.
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Facebook for cancer patients

Date January 29, 2013 - 9:07AM

Sarah Berry

Life & Style reporter

Socially isolated women are 34 per cent more likely to die from breast cancer than their counterparts who have strong support from family and friends, a study of 2200 women found.
Now, new websites are being established to help.
The Cancer Council began Australia's first social networking site, Cancer Connections in 2009 and now after seven years in the making, website Cancer.im launches on February 15.
It is designed to connect patients around the world in the same style as Facebook.
Dr Kevin Buckman, a co-founder on the site, says the platform is intended a one-stop-shop where people can connect and find information and research papers on the more than 200 types of cancer.
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How to mend a broken heart

Date January 31, 2013

Alok Jha

Transplants could become unnecessary if scientists can repair damaged organs with reprogrammed stem cells.
Every few seconds someone, somewhere has a heart attack - many of them fatal. During an attack, the heart remodels itself and dilates around the site of the injury to try to compensate, but these repairs are rarely effective. If the attack does not kill you, heart failure later frequently will.
''No matter what other clinical interventions are available, heart transplantation is the only genuine cure for this,'' says Paul Riley, professor of regenerative medicine at Oxford University. ''The problem is there is a dearth of heart donors.''
Transplants have their own problems: successful operations require patients to remain on toxic, immune-suppressing drugs for life; and their subsequent life expectancies are not usually longer than 20 years.
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Only one in seven opt in for superfast internet

  • by: Mitchell Bingemann
  • From: The Australian
  • January 29, 2013 12:00AM
JUST one in seven homes passed by the government's National Broadband Network have connected to the superfast fibre-based service.
The NBN Co revealed late yesterday that while construction of the $37.4 billion project had passed 72,400 premises with its fibre footprint, only 10,400 had signed up for a service.
Opposition Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull described the take-up figures as "sluggish".
"The latest NBN rollout figures have been released today, a public holiday, in the hope that little attention will be paid to the dismally slow progress of the construction," he said yesterday.
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Sir Tim Berners-Lee On Open Data, Privacy, eHealth And The Birth Of The Web

Alex Kidman Today 2:00 PM
At the launch of the CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship, inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee spoke on a variety of connected world topics, including the importance of making certain bits of data private, and why new projects are essentially bobsleds.
Berners-Lee gave the keynote speech, which covered a variety of areas. He equates the birth of the web with good managerial practice, noting that
One of the reasons that innovation happens is because great bosses let you do things on the side.
In his case, that revolved around using his new (at the time) NeXT computer.
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Government internet snooping takes more than it gives, says web founder

Date January 30, 2013

Stephen Hutcheon

THE founder of the world wide web has warned of the dangers posed by governments intent on increasing the monitoring and filtering of the online activity of their citizens.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said while it was important to fight organised crime and for a state to defend itself against cyber attack, there were enormous negatives associated with excessive government oversight of the internet.
''The whole thing seems to me fraught with massive dangers and I don't think it's a good idea,'' he said in Sydney on Tuesday in reply to a question about the Australian government's data retention plan.
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Lunar moonbase will be 3D printed out of parts of the moon, researchers reveal

  • By Will Colvin
THE idea that a moonbase could actually be a reality within our lifetime is exciting enough, but researchers have revealed plans to 3D print the structure using materials found on the actual moon.
Architectural firm Foster + Partners and the European Space Agency have revealed they will 3D print the parts necessary to build the moonbase.
"What in the world is 3D printing?" you ask.
Picture a regular inkjet printer, but instead of finding ink inside the cartridges, it contains almost any substance necessary for building the desired item - from metals, to plastics, rubbers even food. If you're still confused about how it works, scroll down to watch a demonstration YouTube video, then get all excited about the fact that it won't be long before we have a 3D printed structure ON THE MOON.
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Enjoy!
David.

2 comments:

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Re: Patients urged to check medical records after errors havoc.

It is worth reading this report. It prompts the question: Apart from the really glaring errors, like recording the wrong sex of a baby (it was a girl, not a boy), that her male baby's testes had been checked, and that the mother had suffered a fractured pelvis when this was not the case, how is a patient supposed to check the more specialised information?

And getting back to an earlier question: what is the mechanism for correcting the information?

And here's a few more: Who resolves disputes regarding health information? Who is responsible for correcting errors and mistakes made by health professionals who use incorrect information?

Is it too much to hope that these health information issues have already been resolved?

Anonymous said...

21 January, 2013 Kate Newton
Thousands of practices to miss out on ePIP.

Media beat up I say. The first of Feb has come and gone and the sky has not fallen in. Our practice of 10 doctors is fully compliant. Those that are not are resisting change. Quite simple really - change or pay the price of not doing so.