Monday, May 06, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 6th May, 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

It is less than a fortnight now until the budget where we will find out what funding will be provided for e-Health in the years going forward. It will be very interesting indeed as this will give us a clear idea of Government commitment in the area.
Other than that we again see some more efforts and warnings on security and privacy and lots on a Report from Frost and Sullivan on APAC e-Health. Qld Health gets a mention again as well.
As usual we have a few pieces of news on the NBN and a few other technical matters. Back next week.

PCEHR software deadline inundates provider with inquiries

1st May 2013
PRACTICES anxious to meet today’s personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) deadline have inundated their software providers with inquiries as the RACGP holds workshops around the country explaining the new system.
To qualify for e-health incentive payments, practices must have their software upgraded by today to include the PCEHR interface.
Craig Hodges, general manager of the practice software company Best Practice, said his company had made a PCEHR-interface upgrade available since late last week. Since then, about 2000 of Best Practice’s 2500 customer practices had downloaded the upgrade.

Aged care med chart gets mixed response

30th Apr 2013
GPs working in aged care have given a mixed response to a new standardised medication chart rolled out by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, welcoming a one-size-fits-all document but questioning the fact it is not yet e-health ready.
The department confirmed it was phasing in a National Residential Medication Chart (NRMC) in 20 aged care facilities in NSW before considering a national rollout.
A spokesperson said the new chart, which was not compulsory, would eventually have “both paper and electronic capacity when fully rolled out; however the current trial is paper-based, reflecting on operational use in residential aged care facilities”.

Budget threat to Aussie eHealth revolution

Budget difficulties could see Australia lagging behind a forecast digital revolution in healthcare for the Asia-Pacific region, according to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.
It notes that the Australian government has been actively promoting electronic exchange of health information as part of the National E-Health Strategy.
However, while the market is fast progressing towards sophisticated electronic medical record (EMR) solutions, healthcare providers find it difficult to obtain budget approvals. 

Australia to lead APAC e-health record uptake: analysts

But national rollout lags behind government targets.

Australia has been crowned the fastest-growing market for electronic health record systems amid the Federal Government’s $628 million PCEHR scheme.
Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan this week pegged the Australian healthcare IT market at $783 million in 2012, expecting it to grow to $1.4 billion by 2018.
The market was expected to grow 10.3 percent a year in that period, including software and applications as well as professional services for implementation and support.

Australia leads Asia-Pacific in eHealth

Australia’s PCEHR scheme has driven growth in our healthcare IT market, and is the fastest-growing in the Asia-Pacific region, according to research released this week by market analysts Frost & Sullivan.
The report found that Australia’s National eHealth Strategy has been a key driver for market growth.
Australia’s health IT market, worth an estimated $783 million in 2012, will continue to grow at 10.3 percent a year over the next five years, and will be worth an estimated $1.4 billion by 2018.

Digital repository allows pathologists to share images

Image diagnosis can be made by researchers across Australia using the Hitachi Content Platform
Pathologists working in different parts of Australia will be able to share gigabyte-sized image files and perform a diagnosis together following the rollout of a networked digital repository.
The Hitachi Content Platform (HCP), bundled with Pixcelldata’s Collibio software, allows pathologists access to review and collaborate using images from proprietary scanner systems.
HCP is an information repository that houses images, referrals, reports and associated metadata.

The doctor is online

29 April, 2013 Amanda Sheppeard
The rise of Dr Google has been well documented internationally and recent statistics suggest Australians are using the internet to self-diagnose and manage medical conditions just as much as the rest of the world.
Figures from the international Bupa Health Pulse Survey 2012 showed that almost half of Australians have used internet information to self-diagnose.1 This reflects a similar trend in other countries such as China (53%), New Zealand (49%) and the US (45%).
The survey examined how people across 13 countries use online health resources to become better informed. Internationally, 87% of people said they had used the internet for health-related activities.
More than half (56%) used it to access information about a medicine, making this the most common usage. Getting advice on a condition was another popular use (35%), along with looking for a hospital or clinic (34%).

GPs concerned about call centre glitches

Posted Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:01am AEST
A number of Hunter GPs are concerned patients are being disadvantaged by technical glitches between a national medical call centre and the local service.
The local call centre has been operating since 2003, mainly to direct patients to the GP after hours service across the Hunter, long before the National network was set up.

Queensland Health payroll hit by mood shift

THE mood among those implementing the Queensland Health payroll system became poisonous as the full extent of problems emerged, an inquiry has been told.
IBM executives who won the lucrative outsourcing contract became defensive and abusive, according to Brett Cowan, who was tasked with testing the system before it went live.
"Personally I have never seen a vendor behave so rudely or aggressively," Mr Cowan told the Queensland Health Payroll Inquiry.
Describing the attitude of one IBM executive who was particularly vocal in meetings with Queensland public servants, Mr Cowan said there was a clear impression IBM was not so much interested in completing the project as having a "win".

Dr phone: using apps to check your health

  • From: AP
  • May 03, 2013 5:05PM
IT'S not a Star Trek tricorder, but by hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you can almost get a complete physical - without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office.
Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading.
Heart OK? Put your fingers in the right spot, and the squiggly rhythm of an EKG appears on the phone's screen.
Plug in a few more devices and you could have photos of your eardrum (Look, no infection!) and the back of your eye, listen to your heartbeat, chart your lung function, even get a sonogram.

Privacy Commissioner launches Guide to Information Security

Guide covers governance, ICT security, data breaches, physical security and standards
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Privacy Week has begun in earnest with the unveiling of a Guide to Information Security in Sydney today.
Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim told delegates at a breakfast briefing that the Guide includes a list of non-exhaustive steps which would be reasonable for an entity to take before new Australian Privacy Principles (APP) reforms take place in March 2014.

A privacy time bomb

Reading through the government’s newly released guide to information security, especially with the changes to the Australian Privacy act looming over the horizon, requires sorting through a mess of peculiar acronyms, extended dot points and open-ended questions.
Needless to say, it’s a complex document and it’s thorough. And perhaps this is just the kind of document needed to ensure that companies can’t wriggle their obligations when they are stung with a data breach. But could the complexity of the document prove to be its downfall? And are Australian businesses are in an urgent need of a wake-up call when it comes to data protection?

Exclusive: Data breach notification bill revealed

By Darren Pauli on May 2, 2013 6:25 AM

Privacy Commissioner to compel public breach disclosure under draft.

The Australian Government's plans for a data breach notification scheme have been shared with a small number of key stakeholders as a draft exposure bill, marked as Confidential.
The Exposure Draft Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013, obtained by SC, was the strongest sign to date that current Government plans to bring mandatory data breach into force.
The scheme was recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2008 and would force organisations to notify the Federal Privacy Commissioner, affected consumers and on occasion the media when data breaches occur.

Telehealth vendors not fazed by NBN debate

Faster broadband could reduce ballooning health IT costs, says Frost & Sullivan.
The NBN will be a boon to Australian healthcare regardless of which political party has its way on the final technology approach for delivery, officials from health IT vendors said at a lunch in Sydney.
The officials indicated that either the Labor party’s fibre-to-the-premises or the Coalition’s fibre-to-the-node plan could offer the minimum speeds and reliability levels required by telehealth and other bandwidth-intensive health IT activities.
The Coalition has said its FTTN version of the NBN, which would provide slower speeds than the Labour’s FTTP approach, will offer minimum speeds of 25Mbps.

Data collection poses privacy risk: expert

Consumer information is being amassed in a way that does not comply with the code governing data collection by market and social researchers, says the University of Sydney Business School's Terry Beed
  • AAP (Computerworld)
  • 29 April, 2013 13:12
An explosion in the amount of personal data being collected online poses a growing threat to privacy, a marketing expert says.
Consumer information is being amassed in a way that does not comply with the code governing data collection by market and social researchers, says the University of Sydney Business School's Terry Beed.
He says market research tools such as SurveyMonkey are now readily available to individuals or firms who may not use them correctly or ethically.

No secret safe in an online world

Date: April 28, 2013

Peter Munro

Privacy is hard to hold on to in the digital age.
Over a large flat white, ''no froth'', in a tall glass, John Raprager empties a black backpack of the tools of his trade. Out comes a wristwatch with a built-in video camera, the minuscule spy hole hidden above the six. ''It was a gift from my dad,'' he says. Laid across the cafe table are other surveillance devices disguised as a mobile phone, a car-key fob and a stick of chewing gum. He reaches for a packet of cigarettes. ''Is that also a camera?'' I ask. ''No, just cigarettes,'' he says.
The genial private investigator, from Lyonswood Investigation Services, has bags under his eyes and a ballpoint pen with a video camera in the pocket of his white shirt. He has been a private investigator for 21 years, spying on cheating spouses and light-fingered employees.

Information policy agency resource 1 — de-identification of data and information - consultation draft April 2013

22 April, 2013
An agency’s information is one of its most valuable assets. The Freedom of Information Act 1982 declares that government information is a national resource that should be managed for public purposes.

Privacy business resource 2 — de-identification of data and information - consultation draft April 2013

22 April, 2013
Many businesses and researchers collect and retain personal information and data. De-identifying that information in an information asset may enable the business or researcher to share or publish it without compromising individual privacy. This can be important, as organisations face strong pressures in a data driven economy to maximise the utility and value of information assets by sharing and publishing information and data.

Cyber attack hysterics miss the point

Supratim Adhikari  26 Apr, 12:42 PM3
The cyber security industry may have a penchant for hyperbole but just how big a minefield is the internet for businesses big and small? Whether we like it or not the web is no place for a novice and April has been a busy month in the information security space.
The latest flash point came in the form of a group of hackers who managed to send Wall Street into a tailspin, albeit briefly, last Wednesday. As it happens, this exploit was quickly superseded by news of the Australian Federal Police managing to nab the alleged kingpin of the hacking collective LulzSec.
The two events provide a fitting footnote to a month that has had its fair share of cyberattacks and threat perception reports.  

Conroy gets watchdog growling with $25m push to spruik NBN

  • by: Tom Dusevic, National chief reporter
  • From: The Australian
  • May 01, 2013 12:00AM
STEPHEN Conroy's department is spending $25 million to spruik the National Broadband Network to suburban voters in a campaign that has so far required a record 21 reviews by the body that vets government advertising.
The NBN metropolitan offensive, now running in major markets and approved by the Minister for Broadband, is the largest non-defence-recruitment ad campaign since Labor came to power in November 2007.
But the sales effort has not been smooth, with the Independent Communications Committee, which reviews taxpayer-funded campaigns to guard against overtly political content, convening on 19 occasions "in session" and twice out of session. A revised media plan was given the seal of approval on April 19.

In Pictures: 10 key Windows 8 features for healthcare professionals

From improved security and administration to better tablet battery life, there's a lot to like in Windows 8 for healthcare organizations.
Doctors and nurses depend on mobile computing devices every day. Whether they're standing by the patient's bedside or typing away in their office, clinicians need to enter and access patient data to make appropriate treatment decisions. Windows 8 mobile devices make it easier than ever for busy clinicians to stay productive in the healthcare environment. Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise offer 10 features that are especially relevant for clinicians who need to maximize productivity while protecting sensitive patient data.

Faster than a speeding atom: breakthrough to revolutionise computing

Date May 2, 2013

Nicky Phillips

Science Reporter

Australian scientists have developed a breakthrough technique to read information stored on single atoms that will significantly improve the accuracy of future quantum computers.
The University of NSW-led team is the first in the world to use light combined with electrical signals to detect and read information stored on single atoms - the atomic structures that will form the basic storage and processing units of super-powerful quantum computers.
''This is a revolutionary new technique, and people had doubts it was possible,'' said research leader Sven Rogge.

Vectoring could boost Coalition's NBN speeds

Date May 3, 2013

Stuart Corner

The new DSL technology of vectoring could significantly boost bandwidths over the last few hundred metres of copper in the Coalition's planned national broadband network (NBN), but the great unknown is the length of the copper over which it would be required to operate.
Vectoring is claimed to deliver bandwidths of up to 200Mbps, but a more realistic expectation is 100Mbps over 500 metres of copper. It is one of the technologies cited by opposition communication spokesman Malcolm Turnbull as capable of "dramatically" increasing broadband speeds on copper.
Vectoring is a variation of VDSL2, currently the most advanced technology for delivering broadband services over the telephone network. One of the main limitations of bandwidth in VDSL2 is the interference between signals on different pairs of wire in the cables that run from the telephone exchange to subscribers and that often comprise several hundred copper wire pairs.

Cyber spectacle right before your eyes

BE warned: another hi-tech revolution is in the air. Google has begun distributing the first of its highly controversial Google Glass specs to hundreds of trial users in the US.
The cyber headgear is not so much a pair of specs as wearable computer-phones, each with a tiny display, camera, bone-conducting speaker and microphone mounted on a spectacle frame and perched just above the wearer's right eye.
Google glasses will go on sale to the public early next year, and some analysts are predicting as many as nine million people will be wearing them by 2016.

1 comment:

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Re the QLD Health System
From this link:,qld-health-payroll-will-never-be-automated-ibm.aspx

"While we were building the computer system, Queensland Health had the business management and the training responsibility,” (Senior IBM executive Bill) Doak testified.

He said the silos created as a result were ultimately what tripped up the project, describing CorpTech’s role in managing IBM on behalf of Queensland Health as "the tail wagging the dog".
Doak blamed the nearly two-year delay on constant changes and information not being provided in a timely manner by Queensland Health.

"We were trying to freeze scope, they were trying to keep it open ended,” Doak said of one meeting in which the parties were trying to come to some agreement over scope.

Doak said each time change requests came in, IBM had to go back and redesign, rebuild and retest.

There were times well before that where from a system perspective we were prepared and very keen to go live,” he told the inquiry.
End quote.

In other words, and as I've said before on this blog, unstable and incomplete requirements is a major indicator of a failed project.

QLD Health hadn't worked out what they wanted and kept changing their minds. And then blamed the vendor for not delivering. It's not surprising there was friction and disagreement between the various parties.

It would seem that the big difference between the Qld Health system and the PCeHR is that NEHTA new exactly what they wanted - the Singapore system, and that's what they probably have got.

What remains to be seen is if the Singapore system is what Australia needs. The jury is still out on that one, but I know which way I'd vote if I were on the jury.