Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 30th 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

A really, really quiet week.
What is interesting to note is just how quiet the new government is being so far.
A new website has appeared at www.health.gov.au. Was pleasing to see it seems to be reasonably organised - but it is not clear just where the archives are.
As of 29 September, 2013 there is not a single news related media release.
As far as what the health Department looks after you can find that on Page 23 of 45 of this document.
The Personally Controlled EHR Act (2012) is administered from here. Just which minister is responsible is not clear.
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The PCEHR: Moving forward

I can confirm that the Government is not going to build a massive data repository. We don’t believe it would deliver any additional benefits to clinicians or patients – and it creates unnecessary risks (~Nicola Roxon)
I’ve studied the PCEHR but I’m still not sure what the government has built and for what purposes. I was always under the impression that the PCEHR was designed to assist clinicians to improve patient care through better data flow. But this may not be the case.
The recent resignation of NEHTA’s top National Clinical Leads is an ominous sign. If the Department of Health does not start sharing ownership of the PCEHR soon and improve governance of the system, the PCEHR will fail. Here’s a quick rundown of the issues and how to move forward.
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Peter Dutton shifts into high gear for e-health overhaul

HEALTH Minister Peter Dutton has moved swiftly to initiate a review of the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health record system at the behest of Tony Abbott.
Mr Dutton has received initial briefings on the PCEHR from key stakeholders such as the Department of Health.
The Coalition will undertake a comprehensive assessment of the true status of the PCEHR implementation as outlined in its health policy released in the lead up to the election.
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Guild supports PCEHR audit

24 September, 2013 Kirrilly Burton
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has backed a review of the $1 billion Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system by Peter Dutton, the Minister for Health. 
In the Coalition’s health policy released in the lead up to the election, it said it will undertake a “comprehensive assessment of the true status of the PCEHR implementation.”  
“Unfortunately, the Labor Government has failed to deliver on its PCEHR. Despite the $1 billion price tag, only 4000 records are reported to be in existence,” the Coalition said.   
“In Government the Coalition implemented successful incentives to computerise general practice and will continue to provide strong in-principle support for a shared electronic health record for patients.”
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Guild keen to discuss PCEHR with Coalition

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia supports the concept of an electronic health record and has invested significant time and financial resources to see such a system become a reality. 
The Federal Election has just concluded and one significant area of policy difference between the major parties is in the area of eHealth. We welcome and support the direction of the incoming Coalition Government where a focus will be on electronic prescriptions and medication management. However the Coalition has announced they will undertake an audit of the current Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) System and we wait to see the outcomes of the new Government’s audit and the subsequent policy changes before we review our position. 
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Aniello Iannuzzi: Time for change

Aniello Iannuzzi
Monday, 23 September, 2013
EVEN though voters consistently place health high on their list of important issues, both sides of the political divide somehow managed to dodge the issue in the recent election campaign.
“Voting for change” and “6-point plans” seemed to grab the media’s attention rather than health.
In the hope that new Prime Minister Tony Abbott and new Health Minister Peter Dutton read MJA InSight, here is my 6-point plan for health change:
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Commonwealth agencies to be cut by Abbott Government

  • Steve Lewis
  • News Limited Network
  • September 22, 2013 10:00PM
AGENCIES responsible for tackling obesity, capital city planning and security advice on asylum seekers are to be slashed as Tony Abbott takes the axe to Labor's reform agenda.
Less than a week after taking office, the Coalition Government has scrapped plans to build a multimillion-dollar embassy in Africa, and will also wipe $100 million off research funding.
The Prime Minister has also pulled the pin on a key Kevin Rudd initiative - Community Cabinet - as he instructs his new ministry team to put the broom through the bureaucracy.
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Call to introduce real-time prescription monitoring

25th Sep 2013
BLEAK figures on the increase in deaths due to acute prescription drug toxicity in Victoria in the first half of the year provide new impetus for introducing real-time prescription monitoring, an expert believes.
Figures released by the Coroners Court of Victoria show prescription pharmaceuticals contributed to 82.3% of the 176 deaths due to drug overdose from January to June.
Benzodiazepines overtook opioids as the most prevalent contributor (58%) to death, with diazepam contributing to more deaths (84) than heroin (67) for the second year.
Alcohol was contributor to 30% of the deaths compared to 21% for 2102, while codeine contributed to one in four deaths.
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Ephedrine bust shows benefits of Project STOP

26 September, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue
A 274kg haul of illegally imported ephedrine seized by a Department of Agriculture and Food officer in Port Melbourne this week is leading to calls for Government to fund Project STOP.
The find was made when the officer was testing several thousand bags of basmati rice imported from India, and was the third biggest in Australian history.
Speaking on ABC Radio National’s The World Today, Kos Sclavos, Pharmacy Guild of Australia national president, said the bust indicated that Project STOP has been effective preventing illicit drug manufacturers from sourcing materials through pharmacy.
“Unfortunately, historically, as we know this product was being misused and diverted to make speed, and so we’ve put in a system in place,” he said.
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Mind of amputee controls new leg

  • RON WINSLOW
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • September 27, 2013 12:00AM
IN an advance that could eventually improve the mobility of thousands of people living with amputations, researchers say a 32-year-old man has successfully controlled movements of a motorised artificial leg using only his thoughts.
Aided by sensors receiving impulses from nerves and muscles that once carried signals to his missing knee and ankle, the patient was able to climb and descend stairs. Importantly, he was able to flex the device's ankle, enabling a near-normal gait, something not possible with prosthetics.
It was "night and day" between the experimental bionic leg and the mechanical prosthetic limb he used every day, said Zac Vawter, a software engineer from Washington State who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident four years ago.
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On the future of CDA

Posted on September 28, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
I’ve had several questions about my comments on the future of CDA in the Structured Documents working group (SDWG) this week, so I thought I’d clarify here.
The context of this work was a question from the CDA R3 team whether they should close down the existing CDA R3 work, and instead focus on FHIR as a vehicle for CDA R3.
I think there was some confusion about this – in no way should this idea be understood as “abandon CDA” or even “stop working on CDA R3″, which I heard it characterized as. It’s simply proposing that the underlying format for the next release of CDA will be based on the technical vehicle of FHIR rather than the technical vehicle of the RIM Based ITS(s). The same functional use cases get carried forward to the next version of CDA, and the same basic requirement applies: that there be a conversion process to go forward from CDA R2 to CDA R3, just as there was for CDA R1 to R2.
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Medical apps face tougher scrutiny

24 September, 2013 David Brill
Diagnostic smartphone apps are set to face tougher regulatory scrutiny under long-awaited new guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration.
In a document released Monday, the FDA said most medical-related apps posed minimal risk to the public and should not be regulated as medical devices.
However, the FDA said it intended to focus on those apps that posed a possible safety risk if they malfunctioned, such as apps that transform a phone or tablet into an ECG, ultrasound or glucose meter.
Apps that display patient-specific information, such as for viewing X-rays or analysing and interpreting test results, will now also be subject to FDA oversight.
The guidelines, first released two years ago in draft form, represent a trade-off between protecting patient safety and encouraging innovation, Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said.
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Formulary for success

Tasmania’s new Electronic Medicines Formulary, launched in June, is a web-based database for use by clinical staff across Tasmania’s four main hospitals and 17 rural and regional hospitals, and the most comprehensive formulary in Australia.
“Previously doctors wanting to access information about what they could prescribe, had to access a variety of sources – and in fact, a lot of the information wasn't available at all,” says Tom Simpson who is the Executive Director, Statewide Hospital Pharmacy at Royal Hobart Hospital.
“We didn't publish within our hospitals what drugs we stocked in the pharmacy, what drugs were allowed to be used for what indications, all those sorts of things.”
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Why clinicians don’t like national e-health

And what needs to be done to change their minds
If a recent survey by Australian Doctor is anything to go by, many general practitioners (GPs) across the country don’t want to participate in the challenged national e-health program.
There are two key reasons for this: time and money. In recent months, several prominent healthcare professionals have criticised the time it takes to prepare information that can be submitted to a patient's personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR), particularly to ensure the accuracy of data recorded about a patient’s health.
They’re also concerned about information contributed to a PCEHR system being viewed by the wider health community and the time it takes to ensure the data is concise.
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Sinapse Delivers Rapid Implementation of Athena Software's Case Management Software Solution to Large Australian Government Department

Waterloo, Ont. company Athena Software and Australia-based firm Sinapse successfully implemented Athena's Penelope case management software solution to the Australian Government's Department of Veterans' Affairs, Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS)

Waterloo, ON (PRWEB) September 25, 2013
Earlier this year, Sinapse was contracted to implement and support the deployment of Athena Software's Penelope case management application with the Australian government's Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).
The project saw the web-based Penelope application replace the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service Management Information System previously used by the DVA.
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NSW Health Pathology seeks CIO to improve networks

IT boss will oversee five networks at the new state-wide clincial service
NSW Health Pathology is looking for a CIO to create and deliver a five-year strategic plan to improve the organisation’s networks.
This is a new role at NSW Health Pathology, which has only been established for about 10 months. The state-wide clincial organisation is part of the NSW public health system and provides public pathology, forensic and analytical science services across NSW.
The CIO will overlook five specialised networks, which include: Pathology North, Pathology West, South Eastern Area Laboratory Service, Sydney South West Pathology Service, and the Forensic and Analytical Science Service.
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Health reporting at risk

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 23 September, 2013
THE loss of experienced journalists from some mainstream media outlets could lead to the “dumbing down” of health reporting, says a long-term observer of health in the media.
Professor David Henry, co-founder of the online health reporting watchdog Media Doctor, said the sudden exodus of experienced journalists from major media outlets last year due to the restructuring in two of Australia’s most influential media companies would have consequences for health literacy in the community.
“The existence of an independent media and in particular one that includes journalists that have the skills and the knowledge to report accurately on health care interventions, is really quite critical”, said Professor Henry, who is now a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, Canada.
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AMLA CEO resigns after just six months

23rd Sep 2013
AUSTRALIAN Medicare Local Alliance CEO Claire Austin has left the organisation just six months into the job as the 61 MLs brace for a sweeping review under the newly elected Abbott government.
The alliance confirmed Ms Austin’s departure late on Friday but declined to give details, including whether it was Ms Austin’s choice to leave. 
In a statement, the alliance said its board appointed its general manager for national programs and member services, Sean Rooney, as acting CEO.
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The NBN board has run away. Why?

23 September, 2013
The resignation of the entire board of NBN Co has brought into sharp focus my membership of the NBN Peanut Gallery. Perhaps it is time to move on, to acknowledge the Coalition’s mandate and Get A Life.
But, no – I have decided to stay on; my country needs me. Ziggy Switkowski, on the other hand, needs to think twice.
The current chair, Siobhan McKenna and her five colleagues, will no doubt be unable to get out of the place quick enough. Each will be hoping not to be the one whom the new minister and shareholder, Malcolm Turnbull, asks to stay on to assist with the transition.
Meanwhile it is persuasively suggested that the minister has prevailed upon the former chief executive of Telstra, chair of Opera Australia and examiner of the Essendon Football Club to be executive chairman of NBN Co, which is another term for CEO.
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Control-alt-delete was a mistake, says Bill Gates

Date September 27, 2013 - 9:29AM

Will Oremus

Bill Gates has admitted the control-alt-delete command used to log on to PCs was a mistake.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world, including virtually everyone who has ever used a Windows device, have had to memorise the key command "control-alt-delete". In retrospect, that was probably unnecessary, Microsoft co-founded Bill Gates revealed in a talk at Harvard last week.
As Geekwire points out, the surprising – and, let's face it, seriously belated – admission came in response to a wonderfully blunt question from David Rubenstein, co-chair of a Harvard fundraising campaign. "Why, when I want to turn on my software and computer, do I need to have three fingers: control, alt, delete?" Rubenstein asked the living tech legend. "Whose idea was that?"
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In pictures: The desktop lover's guide to supercharging Windows 8.1

Don't like the Metro interface? Here's the best way to banish it and boost your productivity.
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Enjoy!
David.

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