Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 16th September, 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

By the time you read this we will know who is going to be the Coalition team in the health area. One constraint seems to be that the actual ministry has to be a bit smaller by 2 out of 30 than the shadow ministry.
I have also been told that Mr Dutton would not be all that unhappy to be selected elsewhere but is seems he has Sport to keep him busy.
Other than this there is a lot happening with the NBN which will be interesting play out and to see how the roll out is altered by the change in Government.

Christian Rowan: E-health success

Christian Rowan
Monday, 9 September, 2013
AUSTRALIA’S experiment with the personally controlled electronic health record has had a bumpy start — the resignation of key clinical advisers from the National Electronic Health Transition Authority does not augur well for its future.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on setting up and promoting the PCEHR. Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge that our precious electronic health dollars could have been better prioritised elsewhere.
There will be many reasons given for the disappointment of the PCEHR, which had failed to reach even its own modest target of 500 000 registrations by July 2013. However, in simple terms, the success of electronic and information technology (IT) projects, large or small, depends on leadership and clinical engagement.
Both have been lacking in the rollout of the PCEHR, as borne out by low participation by GPs and the inability of public hospital systems to integrate their records successfully.

Inside South Australia's e-health transformation project

SA Health CIO David Johnston talks about the biggest e-health project the state has ever undertaken
Rolling out a state-wide electronic health record system is no mean feat for the CIO of SA Health, David Johnston. The government organisation last month switched on enterprise patient administration system (EPAS) that is set to transform 12 hospitals across South Australia.
“This would be the largest IT-enabled project that the state has ever undertaken,” Johnston told CIO Australia. “It’s a significant initiative because it means that if it works here then it’s completely applicable to other states or countries, other jurisdictions.
“It’s basically leaping the industry forward by about 40 years; health is where manufacturing used to be back in the 1960s. It’s one of the last industries that has held out in terms of its usage of technology.”
The e-health system launched on August 25 at Noarlunga Health Service, with more than 2000 electronic medical orders placed in the first day. The system has been configured for about 30,000 users, and around 1200 people who have been trained to use the system at the Noarlunga hospital. The complete rollout across all hospitals is to take place over the next two years.

Telemedicine savings confirmed

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 9 September, 2013
THE significant cost-savings generated by a north Queensland telemedicine initiative for remote oncology patients have been roundly welcomed by telehealth experts across a range of specialties.
Professor John Wilson, leader of the Monash Alliance telemedicine collaborative program, described the results from the initiative as “fabulous” and said advances in technology meant savings delivered by such telemedicine programs would only increase.
The retrospective analysis, published online today by the MJA, evaluated the teleoncology services provided by the Townsville Cancer Centre and its six rural satellite centres, finding net saving of more than $320 000. (1)

Thumbs up for telemedicine

9 September, 2013 David Brill
Telemedicine is finally delivering on one of its greatest promises: huge cost savings for the healthcare system, Australian research shows.
After a big initial outlay, Townsville Cancer Centre has now saved more than $320,000 by extending video consults to some of state's furthest-flung cancer patients, a study has found.
From Mt Isa, for example, patients previously had to travel 900km each way to see a medical oncologist in Townsville.
Now they don't leave their local area — and it took just 105 consults for the scheme to break even.

GS1 Australia and NEHTA launch GS1 Recallnet Healthcare

Created on Monday, 09 September 2013
GS1 Australia with the support of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) is pleased to announce the official launch of GS1 Recallnet Healthcare – an electronic product recall notification management system for therapeutic goods.
Officially launching at GS1 Australia’s Supply Chain Week 2013 in Sydney on 10 September by Peter Fleming, CEO, NEHTA, with Maria Palazzolo, GS1 Australia’s CEO, Martin Edwards, Director Information Services, Health Purchasing Victoria and Karen O’Donnell, Quality, Regulatory, Environmental and Health Officer – Australia and New Zealand at ArjoHuntleigh, GS1 Recallnet Healthcare is an online portal designed to improve patient safety by streamlining the management of product recall and non-recall notifications.

GS1 Australia and NEHTA launch Electronic Medical Product Recall

The recall process for therapeutic goods in Australia is set to be streamlined with tonight’s official launch of GS1 Recallnet Healthcare at GS1 Australia Supply Chain Week 2013.
In launching the service Maria Palazzolo, CEO of national supply chain standards administrator GS1 Australia, acknowledged the passion, focus and leadership of the National E-Health Transtition Authority team together with the many organisations involved in developing Recallnet Healthcare for the Australian health industry.  
Speaking on behalf of NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming, the NEHTA project lead Mark Brommeyer noted the system was developed over three years by GS1 Australia in association with NEHTA, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), state and territory health departments and a number of medical device and pharmaceutical suppliers. 

Video game sharpens elderly brains

9 September, 2013 AAP
A video game can help elderly people fight cognitive decline by revealing that the brain is more versatile than previously thought in healthy ageing people, researchers say.
US investigators recruited volunteers aged 60-85 and trained them over a month to play NeuroRacer, which requires participants to race a car around a winding road and press a button when specified road signs pop up.

Zoom sur le « personally controlled electronic health record », le DMP australien

Le mag numéro 9 | 12 sept. 2013
Au-delà des frontières européennes, des programmes de santé publique visent à mettre en place un dossier de santé électronique pour assurer la coordination et la continuité des soins sur tout le territoire. Le Mag a traversé les océans pour essayer de comprendre pourquoi et comment l’Australie, vaste territoire (près de 7.7 Million de km2) composé de 23 millions d’habitants a souhaité mettre en place le « DMP » australien baptisé le « Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record » ou PCEHR.

Pioneering eHealth doctor Trevor Lord retiring from Kimberley

When Trevor Lord turned up to start work at the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council three years ago as a very experienced GP with an extensive history in medical technology, he expected the Council to have a basic record system in place.
“When I came up here, I was a NEHTA clinical lead and very involved in eHealth, and I had no idea that they had this unique internet-based clinical record system stretching across the whole region,” he said.
“The shine came off pretty quickly when I realised that they were using an Internet-based system in the Kimberley which has the worst bandwidth stability in Australia.”

Smartphones raise privacy issue in healthcare

Date September 12, 2013 - 1:00PM

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

We've all heard the urban legend of the patient who turns up in hospital emergency with something inserted where it shouldn't be.
But is the easy availability of camera phones encouraging doctors and nurses to take a souvenir snap of the occasion?
A study of one big Australian hospital has found about half of all doctors and nurses take photos of patients in hospital – and one in five using their personal smartphone.
Study author and researcher at RMIT University in Melbourne Kara Burns said the easy availability of camera phones was improving patient care and medical training, but raised serious privacy issues.

Hospital docs taking photos on smartphones face legal ramifications

13th Sep 2013
A FIFTH of Australian hospital doctors take photographs of patients using their smartphones, new data shows, potentially exposing themselves and their hospital to legal ramifications because the images aren’t secure.
The study, performed by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, showed that 48% of 170 clinicians from a tertiary hospital took medical photographs, 20% of them on personal mobile phones.
However, only 62% of clinicians who photographed patients for medical files indicated they always got consent, and written consent occurred in only 36 cases, compared with verbal consent in 78 cases.

7 online safety tips for doctors

It is good to see that social media and eHealth are becoming mainstream topics at national health conferences. At the recent GP Education & Training Conference in Perth (GPET13) I attended two workshops about our professional online presence.
The first one was about the benefits of social media and was attended by GP supervisors, registrars and students. The second one, sponsored by a medical defence organisation, warned about the dangers of the online world, and interestingly there were mainly GP supervisors in the room.
Before I continue I must declare that I was one of the presenters at the first workshop. But it was good to be reminded by professor Stephen Trumble about what can go wrong. His excellent presentation created a lively discussion. Here are seven random points I took home from the workshop.

Long delays before privacy complaints assessed

Date  September 13, 2013 - 5:18AM

Ben Grubb

Australia's federal Privacy Commissioner has blamed the federal government for long delays in assessing breach-of-privacy and freedom-of-information complaints.
Complaints about privacy are not being allocated to case officers until just over five months after submission, taking about 19 weeks longer than the usual four-week period.
Separately, freedom-of-information matters (complaints and requests for reviews) are not being allocated to officers for up to seven months.

Election 2013 results and the future: experts respond

Australia has elected a Coalition government. So what will this mean for key policy areas?
Our experts take a closer look at what’s in store for business, the economy, the environment, the National Broadband Network, health, social policy, immigration, science and education.

Primary care

Stephen Leeder, Director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney:
General practice is the field where new initiatives will probably appear first under the new Coalition government. The general practice workforce is not evenly distributed and is in short supply in many rural and regional settings.
In response to a call from the Australian Medical Association in the last week of the campaign, the Coalition promised an additional A$50 million for general practice infrastructure.
What will happen with subsidies for private health insurance, funding for prevention, support of medical and health research, or the biggest infrastructural challenge facing Australian health care, IT and computerisation?

Technology helping those with disabilities

Date September 5, 2013

Katie Cincotta

Mandy Lau was inspired to create a Braille alphabet puzzle after a night of darkness.
Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation isn't the only progress being made for those living with disabilities. Recently we've looked at three new assistive technologies - two of them home-grown - helping people who have autism or hearing or sight impairments.

Artificial nose sniffs out blood sepsis

  • From: AFP
  • September 09, 2013 9:03AM
AN "artificial nose" capable of detecting the odour from germs that lead to blood poisoning could help save many lives and reduce medical costs, a conference heard on Sunday.
Scientists who developed the "nose" said it can show within 24 hours whether a patient's blood has bacteria that cause sepsis, a gain of up to two days over conventional methods.
"The current technology involves incubating blood samples in containers for 24-48 hours just to see if bacteria are present," said James Carey, a researcher at the National University of Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Self-quantification: the informatics of personal data management for health and fitness

30 May, 2013
30 May 2013 | This report summarises the present state-of-the-art of Self-Quantification in health and fitness applications.
Executive summary
With advances in Self-Quantification applications and systems, it is now possible to capture and record data about nearly all aspects of human health and fitness, including mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual dimensions. By analysing these numbers, people have a better understanding of their health status and their relationship to the world around them. Furthermore, huge advances in sensor technology – in conjunction with widespread availability of wireless networks – have helped self-trackers to collect data whenever and wherever they want.

NICTA on its own after funding ceases

THE incoming Abbott-led Coalition government has no plans to merge National ICT Australia with the CSIRO but has confirmed it will have to seek alternative funding mechanisms to survive.
In the lead-up to the election, the Coalition had proposed discontinuing, after June 30, 2015, direct commonwealth funding to NICTA to the tune of $42 million.
"The Coalition is supportive of the work that NICTA is doing and we would expect that they will be able to access additional funding through the Australian Research Council," said a spokesman for Malcolm Turnbull, who is tipped to be communications minister.

After the election: What next for the NBN?

A new FTTN network will have significant implications for Telstra's copper network, requiring new negotiations between the telco and the government over a key $11 billion agreement between the two
The National Broadband Network, Australia's largest infrastructure project, is set for a shake-up as Tony Abbott slots into the top job.
The Coalition’s approach to the NBN, begun under Labor, has gone from promising to dismantle the NBN to saying in August 2010 it would spend up to $6.25 billion of public and private funding on an alternate broadband policy.
In April this year the Coalition finally announced its broadband policy, with 71 per cent of Australia to get fibre-to-the-node (FFTN); 22 per cent to get fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP); 4 per cent to get fixed wireless; and 3 per cent to get satellite.

Telstra wants fast action on new NBN deal

  • by: Annabel Hepworth
  • From: The Australian
  • September 09, 2013 12:00AM
TELSTRA has declared it wants a quick renegotiation with the Coalition over its multi-billion-dollar deal on the National Broadband Network, a move aimed at avoiding the tortuous negotiations it had with Labor over its involvement in the project.
Telstra chief executive David Thodey has ruled out settling for less than the $11 billion bounty -- in June 2010 dollars -- that it would be paid to lease its assets and migrate customers on to the NBN, but he has signalled the No 1 telco was prepared to strike a deal that involved rolling out the broadband in a different manner across the nation.
"The new government has committed that they will seek to renegotiate our NBN agreements and keep Telstra shareholders whole," Mr Thodey said.

NBN review: It's time to be independent

Date September 9, 2013 - 3:49PM

Paul Budde

The Coalition has 100 days to maximise the outcome of the NBN, warns Paul Budde.
Congratulations to the Coalition, it was a convincing election win as expected.
I sincerely hope that the new government will put politics aside and do a proper technical review of the national broadband network in order to thoroughly investigate what makes sense and what doesn’t. This should now be taken out of the hands of politicians and handed over to engineers.
During the election campaign the Coalition argued for a fibre-to-the-node solution and used information from other parts of the world to show this was a valid option.

Coalition to take axe to NBN Co

Date September 11, 2013 - 9:48AM

Adele Ferguson

The biggest certainty facing the country's national broadband network is that it will undergo a complete metamorphosis in the next 12 months with a new board, a new management team, a new culture and strategy, new cost structures and a new set of relationships in the telecommunications sector.
Three separate reviews and a forensic audit of NBN Co will be undertaken immediately, which will effectively give the incoming Abbott government a get-out-of-jail-free card to oust the existing board and take the national broadband network in any direction it wants - and it will.
Critics have described the NBN in its current form as ''overstaffed'', a ''bottomless pit of taxpayer funding'' and a ''quagmire wrapped in a minefield''.

Voyager 1 exits solar system in breathtaking achievement, 36 years after launch

Date September 13, 2013

Voyager reaches interstellar space

Pasadena, California: The spacecraft's technology was laughable by today's standards: it carried an eight-track tape recorder and computers with 240,000 times less memory than a low-end iPhone. When it left Earth 36 years ago, it was designed as a four-year mission to Saturn, and everything after that was gravy.
But Voyager I has become - unexpectedly - the Little Spacecraft That Could. On Thursday, scientists declared that it had become the first man-made object to exit the solar system, a breathtaking achievement that NASA could only fantasise about back when it was launched in 1977, the same year that Star Wars was released.
Voyager 1 is expected to keep sending back data - with a 23-watt transmitter, about the equivalent of a refrigerator light bulb - until roughly 2025.  

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