Monday, April 08, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 8th 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

Another quiet week with all sorts of odd places asking people to sign up for e-Health - but with nonsense being spoken as to what exactly it will all mean.
Other than that we are seeing a wait and see period leading up to the election in September.
I would expect little to happen before then.
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Telehealth for urbanites a waste: expert

4 April, 2013 Antonio Bradley
Telehealth funding is being frittered away on Australia’s urbanites and should be redirected to remote and rural areas, an eHealth leader says.
The claims, from WA rural GP Dr Trevor Lord come off the back of a study which finds telehealth may not be good value for money.
The study, published in the BMJ, found that adding telehealth services to the usual care of mainly urban patients with long-term conditions added further costs but did not significantly improve health gains.
Telehealth included giving patients remote monitoring equipment such as glucometers and pulse oximeters.
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Patients urged to sign up for digital medical records

By Georgia Kelly-Bakker

April 1, 2013, 6:43 p.m.
THE medical records of South East patients can now go online following the announcement that Mount Gambier’s Pangula Mannamurna has connected to the Federal Government’s eHealth record system.
The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service is the first facility outside New South Wales to offer the national system and operators are calling on all residents to get on board.
“We are trying to encourage everybody to join on to eHealth, not just our clients,” Pangula Mannamurna administration officer Stefanie Birkholz said.
“Anybody who wants our assistance in setting up their own eHealth record can do so by coming into the service.”
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Health milestone as medical records go online

WANT to gain access to and control over all your medical records?
Though it's still in the early stages of development, this is what will be available as the eHealth system of electronic medical records unfolds.
A milestone was reached in Mackay on Tuesday when the first Mackay patient's personal health summary was uploaded by a GP in Slade Point.
Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local chairman Dr Kevin Arlett said the federally-run program would be useful for a variety of reasons.
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Immunisation reminder app launched

2nd Apr 2013
GPs in NSW now have an additional ally in efforts to ensure child immunisations are kept up to date with the state’s health department launch of a new app.
NSW Health has released the Save the Date app, which calculates the next date an immunisation is due and sends parents a reminder to make the appointment.
All parents have to do is enter their child's name, birth date and GP contact details into the app. The app will then send a series of reminders to prompt the parent to call their GP to schedule an appointment for each immunisation with parents able to call their GP straight from the app.
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St Vincent's helping to create connected healthcare communities for their patients

26 March 2013. St Vincent's Hospital is situated in the heart of Sydney's busy Eastern Suburbs precinct and is one of the twelve lead eHealth sites across Australia. On average, at least ten patients per week are now presenting to St Vincent's with their personally controlled electronic health record (eHealth record) and this number is increasing.
For the majority of these patients, when they leave the hospital a Discharge Summary will go to their eHealth record. Over time as more healthcare professionals register to use the system the better connected our health system will become and when a GP opens a patient's record, they will see meaningful, clinical data.
Rachel Byrne, national eHealth record system project manager at St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney, said that only last week they had over 30 patients with a PCEHR across St Vincent's Hospital, St Vincent's Private Hospital and the private specialists in St Vincent's Clinic.
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E-health take-up 'missing its target'

  • by: SEAN PARNELL, HEALTH EDITOR
  • From: The Australian
  • April 02, 2013 12:00AM
THREE Australians have been allowed to use a fake name to sign up for an electronic health record but even taking pseudonyms into account, the federal government will fall well short of its registration target.
Little-known provisions in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record program allow people to register using another name for privacy reasons, for example, if they are taking extra precautions to avoid an abusive spouse or are worried their reputation will suffer if their health status becomes publicly known.
But in gaining the right to withhold their identity, the first three Australians to take up the provision for pseudonyms may have also lost the right to claim government benefits.
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E-health letter free-for-all

 Medicare Local has infuriated GPs by suggesting they tell their patients there is “no cost” for creating shared e-health summaries for the Federal Government’s national e-health system.
The summaries — listing medications, diagnoses, adverse reactions and immunisation histories — are meant to form the backbone of the billion dollar PCEHR. But there has been furious debate over the plan when it emerged the government was providing no dedicated funding to GPs to either create or update the shared summaries.
Now Tasmania Medicare Local has enraged local doctors over a letter sent to practice staff last week which tells them how to handle questions from patients about the records.
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Comment - 6Minutes - 04/04/2013

E-health letter free-for-all

Medical records are a doctor’s  records, for doctors to use and  share as they see fit.
Historically, there have been  disgraceful lapses, poor records,  false records, even funny records.  But most convey a useful message  for the next carer. Modern  professionals would agree modern  record-keeping is made easier by  computer technology.
Enter PCEHR. Confidentiality is  immediately breached. If records  are accessible to our patient  then they are accessible under  persuasion, coercion, accident or  theft to all the world.
Every practice has patients  for whom the full knowledge  of their medical records would not be in their best interest.  Even a differential diagnosis of a  temporary mental health  condition  often carries stigma, which in itself  can be harmful to the patient.
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Stoner pushes collaboration for innovation in NSW

Innovate NSW to provide grants to connect startups with researchers and top corporations.
  • Adam Bender (Techworld Australia)
  • 05 April, 2013 10:58
The New South Wales government today launched its $6.7 million Innovate NSW initiative, providing grants and other support to startups.
Through matched grants, Innovate NSW aims to spur collaboration among small to medium enterprises (SMEs), academic researchers, major corporations and end users. The NSW government announced the program in December.
“New South Wales is Australia’s innovation powerhouse,” NSW minister for trade and investment, Andrew Stoner said at a launch event in Sydney this morning. However, when it comes to collaboration the state “still has a considerable way to go,” he said.
…..
Innovate NSW will focus on e-health, advanced manufacturing, energy technology, online and interactive education and transport, logistics and infrastructure. Innovate NSW especially seeks ideas using “enabling technologies” including mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, advanced materials and biosciences, Stoner said.
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Health-IT early adopters well-poised for big-data advances in clinical medicine

But the majority of US health providers are in smaller practices that have been slow to embrace electronic medical records
Nearly a decade after research firms predicted major cost savings and clinical benefits from the use of health-IT, adoption rates among U.S. medical providers remain sluggish, with the industry slow to embrace the big-data movement.
Electronic health record (EHR) adoption has been fastest at larger, more technology-savvy medical organizations, while smaller practitioners -- which make up the bulk of U.S. clinicians -- have been slow on the health-IT uptake for a variety of reasons, chief among them the cost, but also the training time and effort needed to make the move from paper. Those that don't adopt EHRs by 2015 face decreased government reimbursements for Medicare patients under existing law.
Questions surrounding the effectiveness and financial impact of EHRs were raised in a January report from RAND Corp., which reconsidered its 2005 prediction that health-IT, including EHRs, could save the U.S. approximately US$81 billion annually. The new report on the technology noted that health costs have increased since the 2005 research and called the clinical benefits "mixed."
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Girls' gadget keeps tabs on UV risk

Date April 2, 2013 - 9:40AM

TARYN UTIGER

Prevention is better than a cure when it comes to cancer, and two New Zealand girls have had a bright idea to protect people from the sun.
Danielle Watt and Sarah Mount of Taranaki have created a bracelet with a sensor that changes colour when the wearer needs to apply more sunscreen.
The two 17-year-olds, who both know people suffering from skin cancer, are hoping the invention helps to prevent the disease.
"We call it the Exposure Band. It has a UV monitoring face in it and it alerts you when you need to put more sunscreen on. It's going to be especially great for kids," Miss Watt said.
The wristband, which comes in seven colours and fits children and adults, has been designed by the two New Plymouth Girls' High School students during the past eight weeks.
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Doctors’ letters that have made my day

2 April, 2013 Professor Max Kamien
I have been a doctor for over five decades. During that time I have noticed no change in GPs’ complaints about specialists communications and hospital discharge letters.  
Nor have there been many reports from specialists or hospitals about any improvement in the quality of GP communications to them. But the e-health and the personally controlled electronic health record system, may, in time, render such complaints superfluous.
I can only hope that this abbreviated e-health communication will not stifle the wit and creativity of those GPs and specialists whose words have enlightened my day.  
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Obama offers $100m to map human brain

Date April 4, 2013

Nicky Phillips

Science Reporter

Over the past two centuries, modern science has charted vast quantities of our solar system and constructed detailed models of the invisible particles that make-up the world's matter.
But when it comes to understanding the human brain, a complex machine comprising 100 billion neurons that make trillions of connections, scientists have no map to guide them.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced his ''Brain Initiative'', a bold new plan - with $100 million initial funding - to conquer the human body's most mysterious frontier.
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Medicare Locals to stay? Libs send mixed message

5th Apr 2013
HEALTH Minister Tanya Plibersek has launched an attack on the Opposition after a Liberal candidate appeared to break from Coalition policy by praising Medicare Locals and pledging to keep them if elected.
Shadow health minister Peter Dutton has repeatedly said he would put an end to MLs, saying the 61 new organisations formed from the 110 general practice divisions represent an unnecessary new layer of bureaucracy.
MLs have joined Labor in denying the organisations represent any additional bureaucracy and calling for the Opposition to clarify its position.
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Coalition to end the NBN monopoly

If the Coalition wins this year’s election, two things will happen to the NBN: it will no longer be a monopoly and it will become about half user pays.
I understand one of the key elements of the Coalition’s NBN policy, to be released in a few weeks, is that Telstra will be able to compete with the NBN Co as a wholesale provider of broadband internet access using its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable.
Under the current deal between Telstra and the NBN, Telstra is to be paid for migrating customers from both the copper access network and the HFC to the NBN, other than pay TV customers.
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NBN debate full of 'erroneous' information

Date April 4, 2013 - 3:06PM

Trevor Clarke

It is only going to get worse. Ever since it was first announced more than four years ago, the national broadband network has polarised people, including those whose official public comments add considerably to the debate. Some of it is erroneous and misleading, according to the experts. And even then, experts' opinions vary.
IT Pro asked about a dozen Australian academic institutions to compile a list of statements they believe are inaccurate. Three of them responded with the following comments. You might like to add your own in the comments below.
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Healthcare analytics market to exceed $10bn by 2017

Summary: If you've been wondering where the growth is in IT, one area is healthcare. Just one segment alone, healthcare analytics, is projected to grow past $10 billion by 2017.
By Denise Amrich for ZDNet Health | March 31, 2013 -- 22:44 GMT (09:44 AEST)
With all the doom and gloom we've been reading about the PC market recently, many of you may be wondering where, exactly, the growth opportunities are in IT.
Well, wonder no more. The answer is healthcare IT. I've been talking about the growing need for electronic health records for quite some time now, and certainly EHR is a growth market.
But what can you do with all that information? How can we move from gathering information for more effective billing to gathering and processing information for more effective healthcare itself?
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PC market losing more ground to tablets: survey

Date April 5, 2013
Up and up ... 2.4 billion tablets, smartphones and PCs are expected to sell in 2013. Photo: Reuters
Sales of traditional desktop and mobile personal computers are expected to drop 7.6 per cent this year as consumers shift to tablets and other devices, a market tracker says.
The report by the research firm Gartner said all connected devices — PCs, tablets and mobile phones — are on pace to grow nine percent this year to 2.4 billion units, but that the mix is changing.
A proliferation of lower-priced tablets with increased power is accelerating the shift from PCs to tablets, said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi on Thursday
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Particle hunter on space station may have found dark matter

Physicists get clue to mysterious matter that may makes up a fourth of the universe
A $2 billion device attached to the outside of the International Space Station has found particles that could be the building blocks of dark matter.
CERN, also known as the European Organization for Nuclear Research, reported today that it is collecting and analyzing data that could offer the first glimpse of dark matter -- mysterious and so-far elusive matter that is thought to make up a quarter of the universe.
Scientists know that dark matter, which neither emits nor absorbs light, is there because of its gravitational influence on the rest of the universe. Beyond that, they know little about what it is.
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Enjoy!
David.

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