Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th August, 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

An amazingly full week - must have been stimulated by the warmer weather and the feeling of an escape from winter.
Also interesting we are now seeing some real and perceptive discussion on many levels from a range of blogs.
Enjoy the range and do click through to read the full blogs. A nice counter to the endless Government spin!

Sharing the Spin

2013-August-09 | 09:53 By: Filed in:
My spin detector spun into the red zone last week following an article posted on a well known commentary web site in the Australian e-health space. The article opened with:-
As the adoption of the personal e-health record (PCEHR) in Australia starts to snowball, we are likely to see fewer medication errors and improved diagnostic and treatment decisions according to a recent global survey of 3,700 doctors.
The Accenture Doctors survey report makes no mention whatsoever of shared electronic health records. Neither is there any attribution by the survey respondents of health IT, let alone shared EHRs, leading to “fewer medication errors”. None! 
The Accenture report defines 3 key concepts used in the survey questions, and I assume and hope that these terms were clearly passed to the participating doctors prior to answering the questions. The key term repeatedly referenced in Accenture’s doctors survey is HIE – Health Information Exchange. Accenture’s definition matches that of Wikepedia –
“the mobilisation of healthcare information electronically across organisations within a region, community or hospital system”.

WA govt invests in e-health initiatives in Budget 2013-14

Budget allocates $8 million over four years for telehealth project
The Western Australian government is investing in several e-health initiatives this financial year, including $8 million over four years to develop and deliver on an emergency telehealth service in the state’s Goldfields region.
According to its FY14 budget papers, the $8 million will provide medical and support staff who will deliver emergency medical services to remote healthcare providers "outside of standard working hours or when local doctors are not available".
As part of the state’s ongoing asset investment expenditure, $237 million in total will be used to purchase ICT infrastructure and health equipment, with $4.5 million in total for a clinical incident management system and $10.7 million in total for corporate and shared services reform programs. Almost $5.5 million has been set aside for telehealth services for the Southern Inland Health Initiative.

BioGrid Australia analytics offers insights into disease

NEW technology is being rolled out that could hasten the process of determining the impact of new medication on chronic disease sufferers.
According to Maureen Turner, many people who suffer from bowel, prostate or breast cancer, especially in the older generation, have comorbidity -- the co-occurrence of one or more diseases or disorders in an individual -- in chronic disease areas such as diabetes and heart condition.

Ms Turner, who runs BioGrid Australia, says a powerful data analytics system being implemented will be used to flesh out the effect on diabetes patients with bowel cancer taking a particular drug versus those who are not.

Test results loaded on shaky e-health foundations

The Federal Government is pushing ahead with the roll-out of extra functions for electronic health records despite concerns that it is yet to get the system’s fundamental design right.
In the face of calls from the AMA for it to focus on refining the basic functions of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record to improve its clinical usefulness, the Government has announced the allocation of $8 million to enable patients to upload pathology and diagnostic imaging test results to their shared health summaries.
Announcing the move – which has been a long-standing element in the rollout of the e-health record system - Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said it was the “landmark next step” in the evolution of the PCEHR.
“We expect both doctors and patients will find the new functionality useful, as it will reduce the need for them to chase down results or duplicate tests,” Ms Plibersek said. “In an emergency, having this kind of information on a patient’s e-health record could save lives.”

Patients slow to join eHealth

Date August 11, 2013

Ewa Kretowicz

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

LESS than 3 per cent of Australians have signed up for eHealth records in the year since its launch despite a major push for registrations.
The Government's $1 billion eHealth system reached 647,431 patient users on Tuesday. Of those 35,769 were from the ACT.
The most populous state, NSW, topped the tally with 202,677 registrations while the Northern Territory had the fewest with 12,816. But according to the Department of Health and Ageing by Friday registrations jumped to 665,328, an increase of almost 18,000.

FHIR DSTU / Connectathon Stable Version Posted

Posted on August 9, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
We’ve posted the stable version of the FHIR specification that will be used for the DSTU ballot opening in a few days, and also this version will be the one used for the connectathons in Cambridge and Sydney. Some minor cosmetic changes are anticipated, but nothing of substance, in particular there will be nothing that changes the schema anymore. So we are now in the connectathon freeze.
The new FHIR spec has undergone a major cosmetic redesign. The old sidebar was very functional – at least to me – but also attracted a lot of attention about being unfashionable etc. And then it got too long, and it wasn’t good anymore. So with the help of Studio-Joyo (thanks heaps), we’ve updated to a very current look (based on bootstrap, for those who care). We’re still settling things down, and I think it looks much much better, and we’ve got it working as efficiently as the old one too after a little bit of teething (though I still have to figure out what’s happened to the Google search button). It’s been an interesting process – the requirements for a web site and a formal standard aren’t quite in alignment. But we’re nearly there after a marathon effort.

Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services ahead of the game in eHealth

Eighteen-year-old IT trainee Tiara Wilkinson is playing a key role in the e-health revolution that is quietly taking place in Australia’s remote north-west. 
From her soundproof booth at the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council (KAMSC) in Broome, Tiara is part of a team providing helpdesk support, training and ‘data cleansing’ to around 500 clinical and medical admin staff in 17 medical clinics stretching across 300,000 km in the Kimberley region - plus a few extras, like the Halls Creek Pharmacy and Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services.
The four members of the MMeX support team, headed by Lucy Falcocchio, look after a web-based electronic health record system called Medical Message Exchange (MMeX), developed in a collaboration between KAMSC and the University of Western Australia by a team from the University of WA.

The 2013 PCEHR Quiz for clinicians and managers

Reliable information about the issues surrounding the PCEHR is not easily accessible, unless you read the 93 pages of the PCEHR Act 2012. How good is your knowledge of the national eHealth records system and are you aware of the pitfalls and risks? Do the 2013 PCEHR Quiz to test yourself.
1. Who has access to the data in the PCEHR?
a. The consumer and their clinician(s)
b. The consumer, their clinician(s), the system operator, health care organisations, repository operators, portal operators and contracted service operators
c. The consumer, their clinician(s), and the system operator in case of emergencies

NEHTA visit: not exactly Khrushchev vs Kennedy

My email inbox was overflowing, there were text messages wishing me good luck, journos calling and a press photographer was rocking up at the practice. On Twitter NEHTA’s visit had been dubbed ‘Khrushchev vs Kennedy’, others said that Geraldton was like the little Astrix & Obelix village, resisting the mighty Roman legions of Julius Caesar with the druid Getafix’s magic potions. But the analogies turned out to be wrong (in a good way)…
Dr Mukesh Haikerwal and Dr Nathan Pinskier, the two prominent clinical leads working with NEHTA to get the PCEHR off the ground, had decided it was time to visit us in the west. Also present at the Meeting was AMA(WA) rep Michael Prendergast, Panaceum Group partner Dr Elly Slootmans, CEO Richard Sykes and our operations manager Louise – who has spent about 100 hours earlier this year to get the practice PCEHR-ready before we realised that the risks of signing up would be too high for the business and the doctors.

eHealth: where digital meets surgical

By Andrew Birmingham on Aug 8, 2013 1:28 PM

After a slow start Australia's key ehealth initiatives are gathering steam, creating opportunities for smart resellers.

It’s 2025 and you’re on the light hover-rail to work. The trim of your Samsung Glass glows green indicating an incoming message. Into your visual field, your doctor pops up to tell you that the remote sensing of your general health signs - blood pressure, aerobic capacity, weight, and cell count all suggest the optimum period for reconstructive work on your busted leg has arrived.
More to the point, it's a good thing you skipped breakfast you’re doctor tells you (that’s something else the sensors noted) as a spot has opened up in surgery this morning. She wants you to divert to the Royal North Shore immediately where a 3D printer is already producing  the spare parts for your knee replacement.
“And lay off the cheese burgers, your body fat count is up three points since we last spoke.”

Research confirms the importance of eHealth record system

5 August 2013
National research undertaken in June by Crosby/Textor for Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local has produced results that confirm the importance of eHealth records.
Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local CEO, Kristin Michaels said there is one particular research result that highlights the value of eHealth records for patient safety. 
“With 35 per cent of Australians visiting more than one GP practice during the last 12 months, there is a very real possibility that different treating GPs are not fully aware of the medical history of those patients,” Ms Michaels said.
“The situation is made potentially worse as a result of the way Australians behave as patients,” she said.
“Only 37 per cent of Australians tell their doctor every time there is a change to their general health or medical conditions and only 37 per cent always make sure their doctor has their most recent test results.”

DORA ‘bogged down’ in bureaucracy

6th Aug 2013
THE COMMONWEALTH-funded rollout of a real-time prescription monitoring system to prevent doctor shopping is some years away, and one state admitted there was no timetable for implementation despite the software being ready more than a year ago.
GPs have repeatedly called for an overhaul of systems to check patients’ prescription histories.
They complain that state and territory drug and alcohol services provide out-of-date information over the telephone, causing delays.

Individual identified every few weeks


Aug. 7, 2013, 8 a.m.
PHARMACISTS are being sent a department-issued circular every few weeks generally warning them about a serious case of doctor shopping in Tasmania by prescription drug misusers and addicts, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.
The news coincides with confirmation from the Health Department that Tasmania's successful real-time database system tackling mostly doctor shopping opiate abuse is about to be expanded.
It also follows a number of prescription drug-related deaths in New South Wales, which, like other states and territories, has so far failed to adopt the successful Tasmanian system .

Most Australians want doctors to access their eHealth information: Infosys

Recent study discovers that are ready for the digital healthcare system
A study by Infosys has found nearly all Australians are comfortable with sharing personal information with medical practitioners.
The business and IT consulting firm discovered that 94 per cent of people would be fine with sharing the information at a regular doctor’s office and 92 per cent at a local hospital.
78 per cent of respondents also showed confidence in doctors having the right security measures in place to protect their medical information.

Deadline for SMD commissioning extended

The deadline to complete Secure Message Delivery (SMD) commissioning has been extended from 1 August to 31 October.
Practices would still of had to registered by the original deadline, 1 August, in order to remain eligible for eHealth Practice Incentives Program incentives.
HealthLink's national eHealth manager, Nikki Breslin, said the deadline was extended due to difficulties practices were experiencing with healthcare identifiers and digital certificates.
HealthLink provides electronic communications services to 7300 healthcare providers across Australia (including 80 per cent of Australia’s general Practices) as well as all of New Zealand’s 1050 general practices, and 900 other New Zealand healthcare provider organisations.

PCEHR - Seed and Network Organisations

Created on Thursday, 08 August 2013
Webinar about the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record System - Seed and Network Organisations.

PayPal launches fertility app Glow

  • From: AFP
  • August 09, 2013 8:55AM
PAYPAL co-founder Max Levchin rolled out a new iPhone app designed to help couples conceive by calculating the best time to procreate.
The internet entrepreneur and partners in his latest endeavor released the Glow software at Apple's online App Store in the United States.
Glow also announced $6 million in backing from Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz and several investors.
Women can opt to contribute $50 monthly into a pool for 10 months, with the resulting cash divided evenly between those that haven't gotten pregnant while using Glow applications.

Patients see 'greater good' of e-health

26 July, 2013 David Brill
The average Joe feels much happier about sharing their personal health information than they do about other forms of data, a study has revealed.
The surprising finding comes from research by UK charity the Wellcome Trust, looking at people's attitudes to sharing personal data online.
While there was widespread concern that the Information Age had left the public vulnerable to snooping by governments, criminals and the media, people felt their medical records fell into a different category.

Mobile immunisation reminder

30th Jul 2013
SAVE the Date has been developed by NSW Health and the South Australian Department of Health.
The app serves as a reminder tool for child immunisation, and is based on the current NSW schedule.
Users are able to enter their child’s name, date of birth and GP contact details. The app then provides reminders for when vaccinations are due, and allows users to contact their GP directly from the app to make an appointment.

eHealth Register of Conformity

Created on Monday, 05 August 2013
The eHealth Register of Conformity is managed by NEHTA on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing. It provides information on health software systems and organisations that meet national eHealth standards and specifications.

Signing up for eHealth

Aug. 5, 2013, 4:37 p.m.
More than 8,000 south east NSW residents have registered for their own electronic health record.
The Southern NSW Medicare Local eHealth team announced the milestone last week, putting the region in fifth place Australia-wide for personally controlled electronic health record registrations.
SNSWML eHealth Manager Virginia Voce explained that an eHealth record is a secure electronic summary of an individual’s health records and information. “You and the healthcare organisations you authorise can access it online whenever you need, from wherever you are in Australia,” she said.

Whyalla doctor leads the nation

By Kayleigh Bruce

Aug. 5, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
A local practice is leading the way in the future of ehealth, registering more patients to the electronic health record system that any other general practice in the country.
Westlands Surgery at Elliott Street practice manager Doctor Sim Hee Neoh has taken this cutting edge new system by the reins , registering about a quarter of the practice's regular patients.
"Most of our patients are very happy to be involved," Dr Neoh said.
Dr Neoh was one of 65 health delivery services invited to participate in the government's new ehealth system last year and now swears by it as an everyday tool that all doctors should be embracing.

Toongabbie doctors praise eHealth record system

By Nick Soon

Aug. 7, 2013, 3:41 p.m.
MANY doctors in Blacktown support the eHealth record system, saying it has defused a medical disaster waiting to happen.
They include Shanthini Seelan, Lumina Titus and Jerome Dimaano of Bridgeview Medical Practice in Toongabbie.
The doctors said their surgery has vulnerable patient groups that include the elderly with multiple medical conditions and medications and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds with English as a second language.
“Without patients’ having a reasonable knowledge of English, communicating important medical conditions and medications to them is a nightmare and a potential disaster waiting to happen,” Dr Seelan said.

Queensland should have ended IBM contract: report

This is the conclusion from a $5 million inquiry into the seriously flawed payroll system that started as a $6.19 million project, which will now ultimately cost taxpayers $1.2 billion
  • AAP (Computerworld)
  • 06 August, 2013 16:30
No one will be held criminally responsible and taxpayers will never recover the billion dollars wasted on the Queensland Health payroll bungle.
This is the conclusion from a $5 million inquiry into the seriously flawed payroll system that started as a $6.19 million project, which will now ultimately cost taxpayers $1.2 billion.
The five-month inquiry, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman, has found there's no way the state can recover its losses and makes no recommendation to refer anyone to the Department of Public Prosecutions.

IBM, Qld slug it out over botched health payroll system

Mark Ludlow and Paul Smith
The botched implementation of the Queensland Health IT payroll system is, by any measure, a massive stuff-up by the state’s public service.
The $6 million contract to global IT giant IBM is going to cost taxpayers $1.2 billion to fix.
Former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC came to that conclusion in his $5 million inquiry report released on Tuesday.
“The replacement of the Queensland Health payroll system takes a place in the front rank of failures in public administration in this country. It may be the worst,” Chesterman says frankly in his report.
Yet the report is almost equally scathing about IBM. It says “Big Blue” may have used underhand tactics to win the lucrative ­government contract, then walked away with a generous fee despite the disaster when it “went live”. Three years later, its system is so full of glitches that 800 people are still employed every fortnight to process 80,000 payslips for Queensland Health.
Australian healthcare costing and billing software vendor PowerHealth Solutions has won contracts with the Department of Health Western Australia and Tasmania Department of Health and Human Services for the Datix patient safety system. Western Australia has signed up for the Clinical Incident Management System, while Tasmania has gone for a broader suite including Risk Register, Safety Alerts, Patient Experience, Complaints Handling and Accreditation. Since PowerHealth signed an exclusive distributor partnership agreement with UK patient safety software company Datix earlier this year, the company has been busy promoting the benefits of the Datix solution across Australia and New Zealand.

Licence to puff with smart-card advocated

5th Aug 2013
PEOPLE may need a licence to smoke if suggestions in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of Australia were adopted.
Issuing adult smokers with a smart-card licence might be the solution to reducing unlawful tobacco sales to children and helping adult smokers to quit, a law professor and a cancer expert wrote. 
They said the concept of a smokers' licence balanced the reality of mass demand for tobacco against the fact that smoking was highly addictive and led to premature death.

Smartcard licence scheme proposed for smokers

Date August 5, 2013

Julia Medew

Health Editor

Australian smokers should have to carry a ''smartcard licence'' to purchase cigarettes so health authorities can track their behaviour and better target quit messages to them, health and legal academics say.
In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia, University of Sydney Law School's Professor Roger Magnusson and chief executive of the Cancer Institute NSW Professor David Currow said a licence scheme could also make it harder for children and adolescents to buy cigarettes.
InterSystems' Platform for Strategic Interoperability and Active Analytics Enables Healthcare Organisations Worldwide to Achieve Breakthroughs in Connected Care
Sydney, Aust. -- August 7, 2013 -- InterSystems, a global leader in software for connected care, announced today that the InterSystems HealthShare® strategic informatics platform has received IHE USA certification for health IT interoperability and security. Under the independent certification program, a joint initiative of the nonprofit IHE USA and ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon that offers third-party testing and certification of security and health IT products, InterSystems HealthShare is among the first healthcare IT products to receive interoperability certification -- helping healthcare organisations move forward on the path to connected care.
The certification program stemmed from a growing concern among healthcare organisations that today's software, medical devices, and IT systems are often incompatible, making it complicated and expensive to share patient data in a secure manner. Achieving interoperability across disparate systems and across organisations makes it possible to achieve the quality and safety benefits of a comprehensive, up-to-date electronic patient record.

Telstra to face challenges in broadening its business: analyst

Analyst John Brand said Telstra might find itself in a more challenging market now that some of its “easy wins” are over
Analyst John Brand said Telstra may find it challenging to broaden its business in the future, despite strong financial results from the telco on Thursday.
Brand, who is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, said the telco’s strong results, particularly from its Network Application and Services (NAS) division, was a surprise.
“We know they’ve had some good successes with large wins, but the results are actually still a little bit surprising, so I think there are some numbers in there which if you broke them down.….would reveal some different perspectives on the business,” he said.
 “Overall, I think they’re obviously positive numbers and the question really is more about how they can make the transition into the network application services space on a broader scale.”

IBM Research unveils new chip architecture inspired by the human brain

Summary: The long-term goal is to build a chip with 10 billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses -- all while only consuming roughly a kilowatt of power and taking up less than two liters in volume.
By Rachel King for Between the Lines | August 8, 2013 -- 04:01 GMT (14:01 AEST)
IBM Research has debuted what it is boasting to be a "breakthrough" new software ecosystem and programming model inspired by the human brain.
Introduced amid the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks in Dallas this week, the cognitive computing project is a new silicon chip architecture inspired by the power, function and "compact volume" of the brain.
Also following up the introduction of two prototype cognitive computing chips back in 2011, IBM reps asserted that the particular model being unveiled today breaks the mold of sequential operation underlying the traditional von Neumann architecture separating CPU and memory.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The key term repeatedly referenced in Accenture’s doctors survey is HIE – Health Information Exchange.

Yes, you are about to witness a turning away from PCEHR, SEHR, etc, to a big push for the HIE or any other exchange.

The Exchange concepts were pushed heavily some years ago without much success. As disillusionment around SHR, SHS starts wane the HIE hype will take over and the world will continue going round and round and round and round and round and round until .......... until the bureaucrats get settled in to the new game of survival of the sycophants.