Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th April, 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

Quite an interesting week with the Coalition actually admitting near to universal broadband was actually a good idea and being prepared to but quite a large sum of money up to have it happen. No major party now thinks universal broadband is a bid idea - Yeehaa!
Other than that we have recruiters wandering around at vast expense and glacial progress being made in sign-up and certainly usage rates of the PCEHR - which of course are secret.
Again the Queensland Health Payroll Enquiry provides some amusement and we see increasing confirmation that Windows 8 is not the success it was hoped to be.

eHealth records: there are alternatives to the PCEHR

When Dr Mukesh Haikerwal tried to connect his Melbourne practice to the PCEHR system, the eHealth records database was offline. He contacted the Department of Health and Ageing and said: “Hey guys, the PCEHR is offline!” The answer from the help desk: “No it isn’t.”
Image: other eHealth record solutions in Australia offer advantages over the PCEHR. E.g. the confidential patient data only goes to health providers selected by the patient, and not to the government.
Dr Haikerwal commented in the Sydney Morning Herald: “If the Qantas website was like this, you would say, ‘I will go to the travel agent instead.’” I’d like to mention here that Dr Haikerwal is a clinical lead, meaning that he should get the Rolls Royce treatment from the help desk (clinical leads are also supposed to promote the PCEHR amongst colleagues). If this is the Rolls Royce treatment, then I have no hope whatsoever…
We’re all wondering what the government is doing with the eHealth budget. It appears The Australian knows the answer as it reported last year: “NEHTA has spent part of its $218 million budget on more than 731 functions for stakeholders, including lavish seafood dinners, after-dinner speakers, flights and accommodation in five-star hotels. The authority spent $871,000 on taxi fares in the past two financial years, $118,000 on business-class international airfares and $2.1m in total on travel.”

Privacy issues barriers to PCEHR use

10 April, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue  
Pharmacists have highlighted their inability to legitimately access patient data outside consultation and the need to invest in staff training without compensation, as barriers to their use of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
An Australian study found many pharmacy owners and managers were concerned about medico-legal issues surrounding the PCEHR, which was introduced to consumers in July 2012, stating that they would only be able to access the data during consultations with the patient’s consent.
Results from the research, published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, showed that pharmacists were concerned about the policing of their access to patients’ PCEHRs and potentially unwarranted disciplinary action for accessing and viewing a patient’s PCEHR outside of consultation time.

Analysing past mistakes to manage health records’ futures

Dr Karin Garrety is a researcher at the University of Wollongong’s Centre for e-Health and is on a mission to uncover the worst eHealth decisions ever made – so that the next generation of eHealth implementations can be more effective.
"This is a really interesting time in the development of the internet and the development of information technology for use in health," she says.
“The people implementing these systems are coming up against problems that we haven’t encountered on this scale before. It involves very complex issues, and involves many different professional groups who have different information needs.”
Dr Garrety is part of a five-person team working on an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Discovery project under the Human Society field of research.

Outrage as eHealth record sign-up squads hit Australian hospital patients in bid to boost numbers

  • Sue Dunlevy
  • News Limited Network
  • April 14, 2013 12:00AM
BUREAUCRATS armed with clipboards have been sent into hospitals and nursing homes to cajole patients to sign up for an eHealth record their doctors still won't be able to use.
Nine months after it was launched, the Government's $1 billion eHealth system holds just 414 patient records and is only a fifth of the way towards its target of signing up 500,000 patient users by June 30.
There are currently only two hospitals using the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system and they have uploaded just 155 discharge summaries.
And the system remains barely operational because fewer than one per cent of doctors have signed up for the Healthcare Identifier service number they need to be able to access patient records.

FREE peer-to-peer eHealth education seminars: registrations now open!

8 April 2013. FREE peer-to-peer eHealth education seminars: registrations now open! Are you ready for tomorrow’s clinical consultation when a patient asks you about their personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record?
From April to June 2013, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) will run free peer-to-peer education seminars across Australia. These seminars will highlight a number of key aspects on how to effectively use the national eHealth record system to get the most benefits for your patients and practice.

See-through brains to clear up mental mysteries

Date April 11, 2013 - 10:10AM

Sharon Begley

If Dr Karl Deisseroth were an architect, he might be replacing stone or brick walls with floor-to-ceiling glass to build transparent houses. But since he is a neuroscientist at Stanford University, he has done the biological equivalent: invented a technique to make brains transparent, a breakthrough that should give researchers a truer picture of the pathways underlying both normal mental function and neurological illnesses from autism to Alzheimer's. In fact, the first human brain the scientists clarified came from someone with autism.
Deisseroth and his colleagues reported in the online edition of the journal Nature on Wednesday that they had developed a way to replace the opaque tissue in brains (harvested from lab mice or donated by people for research) with "hydrogel", a substance similar to that used for contact lenses.

Researchers unlock mystery of how brain registers levels of pain

Date April 12, 2013
Scientists have discovered how to recognise pain in brain scans, paving the way for tests that accurately gauge its severity.
Magnetic resonance imaging brain scans were performed on 114 volunteers as heat ranging from warm to hot was applied to their left forearm.
Researchers from the University of Colorado, New York University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan believed they would find a unique pain signature in each individual, because pain is measured differently among people and some are more sensitive than others.

Online medical records a boon for Blacktown patients

By Nick Soon

April 12, 2013, 11:30 a.m.
KILDARE Road Medical Centre has become the first in Blacktown to register more than 1000 patients for their electronic health records.
It achieved this last week with the help of WentWest and Western Sydney Medicare Local’s eHealth assisted registration team.
Patients who register don’t have to keep repeating your health summary each time they go to their your doctor.
The centre’s chief executive officer, Peter Rushton, said their eHealth records would be there with key information such as current medications, allergies, adverse reactions to medications, chronic health issues or your children’s immunisations.

Question: Does HL7 free IP mean open?

Posted on April 12, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
Now that the HL7 IP is free, can I just send someone I am working with a copy of the specification?
No. While the IP is now licensed as free for use, it’s not actually open. In particular, only HL7 is allowed to distribute the specifications themselves. So you’ll have to direct your trading partners to the HL7 website to get a copy for themselves.
This is really to drive membership. HL7 has a real legitimate case for driving membership – developing the standard isn’t cheap, and has to be paid for somehow. In the absence of selling the standard, rent has to be extracted from somewhere.

Rapid IT development to transform healthcare in APAC

by CXOtoday News Desk Apr 08, 2013
The healthcare industry in the Asia Pacific region is undergoing a massive transformation and is increasingly looking to improve service delivery under the impact of an evolving consumer profile, disease patterns and increasing healthcare costs. According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, a large number of healthcare facilities in this region are leveraging Information and communication technology (ICT), to boost service delivery and improve ROI.
According to Natasha Gulati, Connected Health Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, and author of the report states that efficient, affordable and timely delivery of quality healthcare services is becoming a priority for healthcare companies. According to her, emerging technologies such as cloud computing, big data analytics, advanced visualization tools, mobile and social technologies can revolutionize healthcare delivery in Asia-Pacific.

IBM used rival's information to win QLD Health contract

Date April 9, 2013 - 3:03PM

Nathan Paull

IT giant IBM has admitted using leaked rival information to help secure a multi-million dollar Queensland Health payroll contract.
An inquiry into the bungled system is investigating whether IBM, which eventually won the contract, was given an unfair advantage during the tender process.
The probe was triggered after thousands of public servants were underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all following the system's implementation in March 2010.
The blunder is expected to cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

IBM given 'dry run' in payroll system bid

Date April 12, 2013 - 10:09AM

Nathan Paull

A former IBM boss has denied urging bureaucrats to favour the global IT giant in competition for a lucrative Queensland Health payroll system contract.
The Queensland Health Payroll System Commission of Inquiry heard on Thursday that Mr Burns favoured his former employer by giving it a "dry run" presentation to iron out faults before tender proposals were put to the government's IT arm, CorpTech.
The inquiry is investigating whether IBM, which won the contract, was given an unfair advantage over its rivals during the tender process.

IBM says it won Queensland Health contract fairly

Date April 8, 2013 - 7:44PM

Nathan Paull

Global IT giant IBM has denied it was given preferential treatment by a former staffer to win the multi-million dollar Queensland Health payroll contract.
An inquiry into Queensland Health’s bungled payroll system is investigating whether IBM, which eventually won the contract, was given an unfair advantage during the tender process.
The probe was sparked after thousands of public servants were underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all following the system’s implementation in March 2010.

Queensland Health payroll inquiry to grill former IBM top man

Terry Burns, once IBM's "top man" in South Africa, is expected to front the Queensland Health payroll inquiry on Wednesday
  • AAP (Computerworld)
  • 10 April, 2013 09:13
A man who played a key role in the Queensland government adopting his former employer's flawed health payroll system has denied any wrongdoing.
Terry Burns, once IBM's "top man" in South Africa, is expected to front the Queensland health payroll inquiry on Wednesday.
Mr Burns led a tender process that resulted in IBM winning a Queensland government IT contract in December 2007.
In March 2010, IBM rolled out a health payroll system that subsequently incorrectly paid thousands of nurses and staff, and which continues to be costly to operate. It will ultimately cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.

NBN and IPTV trial for dental students launches

The trial has been funded as part of an $18 million Broadband Enabled Innovation program
A trial has been launched at the University of Melbourne’s Shepparton campus which aims to deliver dental education to regional Victoria using high-speed broadband and IPTV.
The Uni TV trail will include live broadcasts, educational videos on-demand and other resources which will be accessible on the Uni TV multi-channel Internet protocol TV system.
The 18-month project will include a six-month trial by the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society in collaboration with the Melbourne Dental School at the University of Melbourne. It will also be delivered in partnership with Ericsson Australia, AARNet and Panasonic Australia.

Medical Students To Be Trained With Telehealth

Medical students will be trained in important areas of practice where it has been difficult to get enough clinical experience, thanks to a new telehealth network, Unicare e-health, established at the University of Adelaide. The project makes it efficient and easy to communicate via video from the university to hospitals, rural general practices, specialist practices and other health services.

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal (AO) re-elected to WMA

10 April 2013. NEHTA's Head of Clinical Leadership and Stakeholder Management Dr Mukesh Haikerwal (AO) has been re-elected Chair of Council of the World Medical Association.
Dr Haikerwal, a Melbourne GP and former AMA president, was handed another two-year term at the association's council meeting last week.

Melbourne virtual nurse service nominated for Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation award

Telehealth leaders Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) is planning a real-time video consultation between a volunteer in Singapore and a senior Australian nurse next Tuesday to demonstrate its ‘Happy Healthy Home’ project.
RDNS is a finalist in the ‘Outstanding ICT Innovation’ award category at the 1st Asia Pacific Eldercare Innovation Awards 2013for its broadband telehealth project.
Organisers hope that a senior Singaporean official will agree to a live video link with a senior nurse in Melbourne who will check the volunteer’s blood pressure and perform a medication management simulation.

Researchers replace passwords with mind-reading 'passthoughts'

Date April 10, 2013 - 10:14AM

Camille Bautista

Remembering the passwords for all your sites can get frustrating. There are only so many punctuation, number substitutes and upper case variations you can recall, and writing them down for all to find is hardly an option.
Thanks to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, you may not need to type those pesky passwords in the future. Instead, you'll only need to think them.
By measuring brainwaves with biosensor technology, researchers are able to replace passwords with "passthoughts" for computer authentication. A $US100 headset wirelessly connects to a computer via Bluetooth, and the device's sensor rests against the user’s forehead, providing an electroencephalogram (EEG) signal from the brain.

Turnbull bets utility over bling in the NBN bout

Ultimately the difference between Stephen Conroy’s national broadband network and Malcolm Turnbull’s boils down to the 'vision thing' – and the best part of $15 billion, or perhaps far more.
Conroy’s gold-plated 100 Mbps fibre-to-the premises broadband network is predicated on the 'if you build it they (consumers and applications) will come' approach; Turnbull’s fibre-to-the-node network on providing fast-enough and affordable broadband sooner and far more cheaply.
Conroy’s plan makes existing infrastructure that is still perfectly useable redundant and creates a new national wholesale monopoly funded by taxpayers; Turnbull’s leverages off the existing infrastructure, envisages competition and has user-pays and private co-funding options.

Coalition pledges cheaper, slower NBN

Date April 9, 2013

Jonathan Swan

The Coalition says its national broadband network will be about $17 billion cheaper than Labor's and will be built two years sooner, but will use slower technologies than in Labor's version.
By the time the Coalition's network is finished in 2019, Australians will pay about $24 a month less for broadband than under Labor's plan, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.
Under the Coalition's plan every Australian will have access to ''fast'' broadband by 2016,  Mr Turnbull pledged at the policy announcement in Sydney.
Mr Turnbull defined ''fast'' broadband as 25 megabits per second download speeds, about six times faster than today's average speeds, and similar to the fastest speeds available in today's market.

PC sales plunge as Windows 8 flops

Date April 11, 2013

Bill Rigby

Microsoft's Windows 8 appears to be driving buyers away from PCs and toward smartphones and tablets, according to research firm IDC.
That's leading to the fastest drop in PC sales the firm has ever seen.
Global shipments of PCs fell 14 per cent in the first three months this year, IDC said. That's the sharpest plunge since the firm started tracking the industry in 1994.
The report comes after a year of bad news for the PC. Consumers, especially in wealthy countries such as the US, are steering their dollars toward tablets and smartphones rather than upgrading their home PCs. It's the biggest challenge to the personal computer since the IBM PC was released in 1981.


Thinus said...

I guess this is why HCN still does not support W8 six months after it was officially released and why MD does not work on a W8 machine

Keith said...

Thinus said...
"I guess this is why HCN still does not support W8 six months after it was officially released and why MD does not work on a W8 machine"

There are other reasons: software companies usually only introduce support for a new OS when releasing a new version of their products so that they can update their installer to recognize and be compatible with the OS. In the case of HCN, MD3.14 was released about the same time as Win8, but there was insufficient time to include Win8 support. HCN tech support indicate that they expect Win8 to be supported in the next release of MD.

The broader question of falling PC sales is believed by most industry observers to be due to factors other than Win8. Incidentally, I've tried Win8 on an older workstation and am impressed. Yes there is a learning curve but it's mostly good, and the related product Windows Server 2012 (Essentials) is a cracker, and should be perfect for many medical practices!