Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 22nd 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 news that a company called IMS is paying pharmacists to provide information from their computers on the prescribing habits of GPs in order to market more effectively to them. This is wrong at just so many levels it is really rotten!
Other than that we have all the old favourites (Qld Health, ePIP, PCEHR and so on) with the odd new slant.
One health issue that may have slipped under the radar is the relatively imminent (June 30) change in the funding model of hospitals that relies on a level of IT that is probably not in place. This might result in another pretty big mess blowing up before the election.

Activity-based health funding stoush brewing in Liberal states

Joanna Heath

Liberal-led states are heading for a fresh stoush with the federal government on public hospitals as new statistics show funding from state governments far outstripping Canberra’s contributions.

The National Partnership Agreement on Hospital and Health Workforce Reform, struck in 2008 to assist states and territories in the transition to former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s National Health Reform Agreement, is due to expire on June 30 .

The $1.4 billion funding deal will be replaced with an activity-based health funding system, where federal funds are allocated on the basis of demand. Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has said the earlier deal was a one-off and will not be renewed.

A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on ­Friday showed state governments provided 52 per cent of funding for public hospitals in 2010-11, compared to 37 per cent from the federal government. The proportion of federal government funding has fallen since 2008-9 .

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Definitely one to keep an eye on.
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Govt unlikely to meet e-health sign-up target

Data already delivering insights.

The Government will likely struggle to meet its target of 500,000 registrants for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) by June, after it was revealed only 109,000 Australians had registered in the last nine months. 
The system, launched last July, has been plagued with issues, including with its online registration system and availability for general practitioners.
Speaking today at a conference on big data in health, Department of Health & Ageing chief information and knowledge officer Paul Madden encouraged attendees to sign up to the program.
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75% Medical Director customers have upgraded and are eligible for the PCEHR

More than 75% Medical Director Customers have upgraded and are eligible for the PCEHR ePIP incentive due on the 1st of May 2013.
“As part of the government’s ePIP incentives program, practices stand to receive up to $50,000 per practice. The final requirement which is due on the 1st of May 2013 means practices must use a compliant software (version) for accessing the PCEHR and creating and posting Shared Health Summaries  (and when available Event Summaries) and apply to participate in the eHealth system by applying for a HPI-O.
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Doctor-shoppers adopting new scams

12 April, 2013 Kate Cowling
Doctor-shoppers are faking hospital discharge summaries and enlisting friends to impersonate GPs in desperate attempts to secure opioids, a prominent GP warns.
The faked summaries are “very good quality” and barely differ from a real discharge letter, according to Medicare Local chair and Sydney GP Dr Harry Nespolon, who raised the alarm last week.
He said the letters, sometimes written on hospital stationary, had replaced prescriptions as scammers’ method of choice, particularly since computerised scripts have made replication difficult.
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Pharmacists slammed for selling script data

18 April, 2013 Antonio Bradley
Pharmacists are selling doctors' names, contact details and prescribing histories to a business that sources marketing data for pharmaceutical companies.
The news has emerged as doctors across Australia begin receiving letters from IMS Health, announcing the launch of a new service where it passes on prescribing data to "clients", including pharmaceutical companies.
The RACGP is so concerned that it is seeking advice on whether the practice is legal.
A copy of the letter obtained by Australian Doctor states: "IMS has contractual arrangements in place with pharmacies for the transfer to IMS from the pharmacies of certain information, including potentially data about you.
This information is collected by the pharmacies in the course of fulfilling patient prescriptions."
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Data selling poses ethical questions

19 April, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue  
Pharmacists are being urged to remember their obligations under the Privacy Act and the PSA’s Code of Ethics following reports that some are selling data relating GP prescribing patterns.
Grant Kardachi, PSA national president, expressed concerns that pharmacists could fall foul of the law by providing information to IMS Health for a new service passing on prescribing data to "clients", including pharmaceutical companies, as reported by Pharmacy News.
“At PSA we are concerned that passing on any data would breach Australian Privacy Laws as well as breaching our Code of Ethics,” he said.
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Pharmacists under fire for selling doctors' details

Date April 20, 2013

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Pharmacists are selling information about doctors' prescribing habits and their contact details to private companies, in a potential breach of ethical standards health experts say puts patients at risk.
Doctors and consumer groups have condemned the sale of information about prescribing patterns, saying it could be used by drug companies to inappropriately influence the drugs given to patients.
Pharmacy Board of Australia chairman Stephen Marty said the board's code of conduct said patients and clients had a right to expect information about them would be held in confidence.
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Looks like the NEHTA @eHealthAus budget didn't cover the tour bus in the end
(Fun Picture)
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Patient engagement and the PCEHR, have we got the balance right?

Imagine you have brought your car to a workshop for a service. It’s an innovative workshop, so when the mechanic is finished with your car, he uploads the service information to a customer-friendly cloud system which you can access via your computer or mobile device. So far so good.
But… in this system customers are also able to shield entries off. Let’s say you don’t want a certain repair on your file because it was the result of an accident, so you make it invisible for anyone else but you. As a result, the next mechanic who works on your car is unaware that he’s missing information, and may do unnecessary work or worse, make mistakes.
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Payroll staff face axe

Date April 19, 2013 - 12:01AM

Bridie Jabour

Almost 150 Queensland Health payroll staff positions have been cut this financial year and the voluntary redundancies could continue until hundreds more are gone.
Almost 100 full time equivalent positions were cut from the health payroll offices across the state before Christmas and 40.67 full-time equivalent positions will go by June 30 in a round of voluntary redundancies.
The latest round of cuts will reduce Queensland Health payroll staff to 832 full-time equivalent positions, with Health Minister Lawrence Springborg blaming the size on the raft of staff who had to be hired to handle the bungled IT system.
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Royal District Nursing Service picks up international Outstanding ‘ICT’ Innovation award

Today in Singapore, executives from the RDNS (Royal District Nursing Service) accepted the "Outstanding ICT Innovation" award in front of 300 international delegates to the 4th Ageing Asia Investment Forum.
The award recognised the RDNS telehealth project, which allows a community nurse to make a ‘virtual visit’ to a patient at home via a video hookup to supervise medication, check some vital signs such as blood pressure and do a visual health check.
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Public seeks privacy in gov's big data strategy

Final big data paper coming in June or July
Australia’s national big data strategy should have “privacy by design” as a guiding principle, according to comments received by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).
AGIMO just closed its three-week consultation period to collect feedback from industry and the public on a big data issues paper released last month. AGIMO is reviewing the comments and plans to release a final big data strategy in June or July this year.
“The overwhelming majority of the responses were positive and constructive,” AGIMO wrote in a blog post. “This input is now being carefully considered and will guide the development of a Big Data Strategy.”
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16 April 2013, 1.40pm AEST

Who’s afraid of the bad, big data? You might want to read this

Rob Livingstone
Fellow of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at University of Technology, Sydney
Privacy and technology go together like music and dance: it’s only when both work well together that the magic happens. But what about privacy in the age of big data, an era in which your every move has been recorded somewhere in the digital world through your electronic transactions?
Does the fact we’re churning out ever greater volumes of data mean we are safe, by virtue of pack anonymity, or are we at risk of serious violations of the individual’s privacy rights?
Your personal digital footprint – that indelible record of your every interaction in the electronic world – is just a tiny drop in the ever increasing sea of global data.
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Twitter could improve your health

16th Apr 2013
IT’S usually considered the bane of workplace productivity but Twitter may have genuine preventive health benefits when it comes to heart disease, a Sydney University study has found.
The study of 15 health-focused Twitter accounts, nine professional organisations and six medical journals found that, through their “inherent networking” reach, social media sites such as Twitter could enhance education, awareness and overall management of cardiovascular disease.
“The popularity and rise of Twitter has made it a readily available, free, and user-friendly tool to disseminate information rapidly to a diverse audience, for example, to engage health professionals and heart attack survivors," the paper’s lead author Sydney University Associate Professor Julie Redfern said.
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Twitter’s health potential revealed: study

16 April, 2013 AAP
Twitter could be the future of heart disease prevention programs, according to a new Australian study.
The fast and far-reaching way that information spreads through the social network has the potential to save lives through education about the illness, researchers at the University of Sydney have concluded.
Their study examined the activity of 15 health-focused Twitter accounts, which together covered more than one million followers, nine professional organisations and six medical journals.
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Michael Georgeff & Stan Goldstein: Vital connections

THE basic structures through which health care is delivered in Australia are much the same now as they were in the 1970s.
Yet, over the same period, the health care burden has shifted massively from acute conditions requiring rescue care to long-term chronic conditions requiring preventive and longitudinal care. The sustainability of the health care system is under strain from an ageing population with a health workforce struggling to meet the growing demand.
The health care system cannot continue in this form. Greater, more effective collaboration among teams of health care providers and their patients has been promoted as key to its survival.
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NEHTA continues to drive Supply Chain uptake

19 April 2013. With almost 300,000 uniquely identified products on NEHTA's National Product Catalogue, the next stage toward eProcurement is increasing the use of unique identifiers of locations in the supply chain.
The importance of expanding the network of Global Location Numbers to all suppliers and buyers in healthcare is critical for providing the tools to ensure delivery of the right products to the right client at the right time to the right place and for the right price. This ensures that all parties have the ability to benefit from efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced productivity and in turn continuity of care to their clients. To help achieve this NEHTA has released its Global Location Number Uptake Strategy.
NEHTA is also working closely with the small to medium enterprise (SME) market to drive supply chain uptake.
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New Message Implementation Guidelines for healthcare supply chain

15 April 2013. The NEHTA eProcurement Solution is a standards based national approach for business-to-business (BRB) electronic trading across Australian healthcare organisations.
NEHTA has developed a standardised set of eProcurement messages leveraging both GS1’s global eMessaging standard GS1 XML and the Australian Standard AS 5023.
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Vibrating fork fights the battle of the bulge

18th Apr 2013
AAP  
AN ELECTRONIC fork that vibrates when you eat too fast has gone on sale in the US, with its French inventors claiming it can help combat obesity and digestive issues.
Those who contribute at least $86 on the crowd funding website Kickstarter will get a HAPIfork, which comes in blue, green and pink, ahead of its planned general release to consumers in the US and Europe later this year.
"While our product is still a prototype, we're thrilled by the global response so far," said Fabrice Boutain, founder of the product's California-based developer HAPILABS, in a statement.
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Secure healthcare analytics in the cloud

Summary: If you want a quick, deep briefing on secure healthcare analytics in the cloud, you probably can't do better than this.
By Denise Amrich for ZDNet Health | April 18, 2013 -- 14:56 GMT (00:56 AEST)
As the IT industry moves more and more resources into the cloud, one of the fastest-growing segments of IT — healthcare — will likely take advantage of the rapidly scalable, metered capabilities that the cloud offers.
While all IT operations are concerned with security, healthcare has particular security requirements as governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). Recent rulings have also extended medical security responsibilities beyond just the healthcare providers to those business partners who provide services to healthcare providers.
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Wristband taking pulse of what's Up in daily life

AWBONE is having a second crack at producing a hi-tech wearable wristband that monitors movement and sleep, and helps a user meet predefined health goals.
The first wristband in 2011, while innovative, was a disaster. Bracelets bricked and there were reported incidents of batteries failing to recharge. It led to recalls and Jawbone returned to the drawing board.
Now Jawbone has upped-the-ante with version 2 of the Up, with a water-resistant wristband I have been trialling -- even showering with -- without technical glitches so far.
The revamped Up goes on sale here late this month in three sizes and eight colours -- four colours will be available initially. But now it has to compete with rival devices such as the Fitbit Ultra, Nike+ FuelBand, and Basis Fitness Watch. It's a crowded market compared to 2011.
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Seven top cyber safety measures for business

Date April 17, 2013 - 9:28AM

Cynthia Karena

One in five Australian businesses suffered an electronic breach or cyber attack in 2012. Most report an average of two attacks a year. Companies put their own ability to effectively secure their organisation at 4.5 out of 10. Australia is now 21st in the most attacked nations list, up from 24th.
Statistics on the lack of business cyber security and increase in cyber attacks abound. It's no wonder experts continue to warn that poor security practices can compromise company finances and put commercial and customer information in the wrong hands.
According to Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) 2012 Cyber Crime and Security Survey Report in February, 20 per cent of Australian businesses were the subject of hacking or other cyber-attacks last year.
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Datix partners with PowerHealth to meet growing demand for patient safety in Australia and New Zealand

Wednesday 10 April 2013
Datix has partnered with Australian software vendor PowerHealth Solutions to distribute patient safety software in Australia and New Zealand, to meet the growing demand for patient safety in this region. 
Healthcare is a high-risk industry with 1 in 10 hospital patients in developed countries being unintentionally harmed while receiving care*. The Datix patient safety system enables hospitals to understand their organisational risk by integrating and analysing information from key information systems. Armed with this information, hospitals can identify and take action on specific priorities such as infection control, safe surgery, and healthcare waste management.
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Sub-atomic computer bit a quantum leap

SYDNEY scientists have developed a "manufacturable" building block for a quantum computer, suggesting computers of incomprehensible power could be a decade or so away.
The new ‘qubit’ – the quantum equivalent of a conventional computing bit – is encased in a silicon chip. This gives it a massive advantage over rival technologies, which are contained in vacuum chambers.
Nature abhors a vacuum but manufacturers love silicon, which is used ubiquitously in computers and mobile phones and has 60 years and trillions of dollars of investment behind it.
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Google Glass tech specs revealed

Date April 17, 2013
  • About one day of battery life
  • 16 GB of usable storage
  • 5-megapixel camera, 720p HD video
Google has released technical specifications for its wearable computing device, Google Glass, and will begin shipping early editions of the smartglasses to app developers this week.
I always thought I'd be typing for the rest of my life. 
Eric Schmidt, Google chairman
Google, which is planning to step up its challenge to Apple and other smartphone makers, said Glass devices will feature about a day of battery life and an HD display "the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away".
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Scientists discover three Goldilocks planets

Date April 20, 2013

Los Angeles

NASA scientists said the Kepler mission had confirmed finding three planets, slightly larger than Earth, orbiting in their stars' so-called habitable zones - the ''Goldilocks'' region where temperatures are not too hot and not too cold.
Researchers don't know for sure but the planets' sizes and proximity to their stars mean that they could be rocky and could have liquid water - two attributes thought necessary for a planet to harbour life.
What is certain, the scientists said during a news conference on Thursday, is that the discoveries mark yet another step forward in the space agency's quest to find an Earth-size planet in a star's habitable zone.
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Enjoy!
David.

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