Monday, December 23, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd December, 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

There seemed to be enough news to make a summary worthwhile.
So have a good one in a day or two.

NSW launches eHealth Blueprint

Health Minister Jillian Skinner spoke to today following the launch of A Blueprint for eHealth in NSW at Parliament House this morning.  The Blueprint formalises the establishment of eHealth NSW as a separate entity.
The Minister said that part of the rationale behind introducing this structural change now was the departure of former HealthShare NSW head Mike Rillstone and CIO Greg Wells who both joined FACS in October.
“We are using this as an opportunity to split the two areas, to give greater focus to both, although they will still be working very closely together,” she said.

Super-CIO, new tech body to lead NSW e-health drive

Minister brings health IT higher up the food chain.

An IT leader with freshly expanded authority, a clinical technology champion and a brand new strategic health organisation will form the foundation of the NSW government’s new blueprint for e-health.
The five year roadmap, formally launched today by health minister Jillian Skinner, makes good on a 2011 commitment to establish a standalone IT body that will oversee the strategic direction of e-health across hospitals and health districts.
Speaking to iTnews, NSW Health director-general Dr Mary Foley said the new eHealth NSW body would be formed from a lift and shift of IT staff out of the department’s current corporate support agency Healthshare NSW. 

NSW govt touts e-health future

Government introduces new blueprint for services delivery across the state and will soon appoint chief executive of eHealth NSW, and chief CIO
The NSW government has unveiled its Blueprint for eHealth in NSW, aimed at improving collaboration between agencies and the development of a strategy to provide services to rural and remote areas.
The blueprint – announced today by health minister Jillian Skinner – outlines a framework for enhanced collaboration between eHealth NSW, the NSW Ministry of Health and the Local Health Districts.
The blueprint formalised the establishment of eHealth NSW, the minister said. The government will appoint an inaugural chief executive of eHealth NSW by April, as well as a chief CIO to engage clinicians on eHealth.

E-health software risk flagged

6 December, 2013 Paul Smith
The software GPs use when accessing the PCEHR is not clinically safe, the RACGP warns.
In a highly critical submission to the Federal Government's review of the billion-dollar system, the college said there were serious failures in the project's rollout, fuelled by a failure to consult with doctors.
Vendors upgraded their GP software systems earlier this year, allowing doctors to access patient information held on the PCEHR.
But the college said: "The views provided through the various vendor desktop systems are not standardised, safe or intuitive.
"The individual desktop systems each display different documents and are not searchable.

QLD's ban on IBM stays put as state government sues for damages

Published on Mon, 09/12/2013, 04:56:23
By Julian Bajkowski
Queensland premier Campbell Newman has confirmed that a ban on IBM securing new public sector business in the state is still standing after the government commenced legal action for damages late last week in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
A spokesman for the Premier told Government News that there has been “no change in position” in relation to the ban that was put in place in August this year following the release of findings from a special Commission of Inquiry into the $1.2 billion Queensland Health Payroll software disaster that labelled the incident as possibly the worst IT project failure Australia has ever seen.
Technology industry sources outside IBM have told Government News they believe that the ban appears aimed at giving the Newman government better leverage in terms of attempting to force IBM to the table to come to a financial settlement.

Fujitsu Enables a Winning Solution for Healthshare NSW

Enterprise Imaging Repository scoops Premier’s Award for developing the first state-wide medical imaging repository in Australia

Sydney, 13 December, 2013
Fujitsu announces that HealthShare NSW1 has won a prestigious NSW Premier's Award for the pioneering Enterprise Imaging Repository (EIR). Presented at a gala ceremony in Sydney on November 13, the award honours the significant achievements and collaborative efforts of the HealthShare NSW and Fujitsu Australia teams, which are implementing the EIR at more than 220 public hospitals across the state’s 15 Local Health Districts.
A NSW Health2 initiative, the EIR is based on a leading patient-centric management and distribution solution. In an Australian first, the new scalable medical imaging exchange will make a significant difference to patient care, especially for people who need treatment in multiple hospitals and also for those who live in rural and regional areas.

Who will be iTnews' Healthcare CIO of the year?

Benchmark finalists revealed.

Three CIOs incredibly passionate about their jobs -  down to the impact that they have at the patient bedside - have been shortlisted as finalists for Healthcare CIO of the Year at this year's iTnews Benchmark Awards.
David Johnston, who during 2013 was CIO of the South Australian Department of Health, Greg Wells, who served as CIO of NSW Health, and Glenn Payne, CIO at aged care provider Feroscare, make up the select group.
In terms of the total submissions, we can say with confidence that 2013 was the year of the electronic health record. Two of our finalists - and several other high scoring entries - have created platforms that allow their state-based medical record systems to interface with the national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), a project which aims to usher in a new era of clinical collaboration.

World Congress Tackles Diabetes Management with Technology

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 09:43
Young global diabetes advocates joined forces to help design a sophisticated eHealth app for diabetes prevention and management, expected to assist more than a million Australians living with diabetes.
As part of the recent World Diabetes Congress program in Melbourne, Nigerian Prince and International Diabetes Federation Young Leader, Prince Ikenna Nwaturuocha, joined 170 Young Leaders representing 69 countries to solidify the group’s vision for a world-leading digital platform.
The output will directly feed the development of Diabetes Australia’s eHealth app, supported by a donation of up to $1 million through the 2013 eftpos Giveback campaign.

MLs review timetable and terms of reference announced

16th Dec 2013
THE future of Medicare Locals may be decided early next year following a review being led by former Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Professor John Horvarth.
The review, a promise made by Health Minister Peter Dutton prior to the Coalition’s election victory in September, is to report by March next year and will examine whether MLs are enhancing clinical services, and what bureaucratic impact they have had.
Stakeholders have been invited to make submissions to the review discussing issues such as the extent to which general practice has been maintained “as the cornerstone of primary care in ML functions and governance structures”, as well as MLs' management of after-hours services.

Medicare Locals review

Australia’s former Chief Medical Officer Prof John Horvath AO will oversee the Australian Government’s review of Medicare Locals.

Page last updated: 16 December 2013
16 December 2013
Australia’s former Chief Medical Officer Prof John Horvath AO will oversee the Australian Government’s review of Medicare Locals.
Prof Horvath is a distinguished doctor, researcher and health adviser and served as the nation’s CMO from 2003 to 2009.
Health Minister Peter Dutton has announced details of the review which was a Coalition election commitment.

MLs not delivering: AMA review submission

19th Dec 2013
MEDICARE Locals do not communicate effectively with GPs, do not understand their own roles and have disenfranchised those previously involved in after-hours care according to the AMA.
The association’s latest critique of the organisations, which also included a renewed call for the ‘Medicare Local’ moniker to be replaced with a less misleading name, came in its submission to an ongoing review of the MLs program being headed up by Professor John Horvarth.
Along with its submission the AMA also released the results of a recent survey it had conducted of 1212 GPs which found that almost half (48.9%) of respondents believed they had not been kept informed of the work being done by their ML.

Submission: AMA submission to the Australian Government Review of Medicare Locals

The AMA has made a submission to the Australian Government Review of Medicare Locals.  Former Chief Medical Officer, Professor John Horvath will oversee the Review.
 The AMA submission is supportive of a network of Primary Health Care Organisations (PHCO), but highlights significant problems in the design and implementation of Medicare Locals.  The AMA submissions calls for fundamental changes to the model implemented by the former Government so that a future PHCO structure is
  • GP-led and locally responsive;
  • focused on supporting GPs in caring for patients, working collaboratively with other health care professionals;
  • not overburdened by excessive paperwork and policy prescription
  • focused on addressing service gaps, not replicating existing services; and
  • better aligned with Local Hospital Networks, with a strong emphasis on improving the primary care/hospital interface.

Medicare Locals slammed by AMA

19 December, 2013 Jo Hartley
A radical overhaul of Medicare Locals - including ditching the meaningless name - should be a key priority for the Abbott government, according to the AMA.
In its submission to the Federal Government’s review of the program, the AMA says the Medicare Locals model is a failure and no better than its predecessors, the GP divisions.
Medicare Locals had systematically failed to engage GPs in their work, with notifications of meetings often given at short notice and arranged during working hours.
Instead many had used  “high-cost consultancy” firms with no understating of local health needs to determine service provision – often resulting in duplication, the submission reveals.
AMA president, Dr Steve Hambleton, said: "The performance of Medicare Locals against their objectives has been patchy, and there is little evidence of improvement over the divisions of general practice structure they replaced – despite additional funding."

Public hospital boards struggle with patient care and safety, study finds

Date December 20, 2013

Julia Medew

Health Editor

Some Victorian public hospital boards and executives are struggling to deal with quality of care and patient-safety issues despite the buck stopping with them if things go wrong, according to a study published in an international journal.
A survey of 233 board members from 82 Victorian public hospitals has revealed wide variation in engagement with quality-of-care matters such as monitoring death and injury rates that might be caused by errors or systemic negligence.

Companies not ready for privacy laws

AT least half of corporate Australia will not be compliant with new privacy laws when they come into effect in March next year, according to a legal expert.
DLA Piper intellectual property and technology partner Alec Christie said there was little understanding of what businesses had to change in order to be compliant.
"My feel is 50 to 60 per cent of corporate Australia will not be compliant by March 12 and either it is a hangover from not taking the previous law that seriously, because there weren't penalties and fines, or it is just not on their to-do list," he said.

Wearables tipped to power next wave of gadgets

Date December 17, 2013 - 12:15AM

Stuart Corner

The pundits are in agreement: 2014 will be the year that the market for wearable devices takes off.
But if you think wearable devices are limited to things like the popular Nike FuelBand and the much publicised Google Glass, think again. Californian software developer EyeMynd claims to have developed a "Brain Operating System" that, it says, "allows anyone to interact with their electronic device just by thinking what they want to occur".
According to founder and chief executive, Dan Cook, it will soon be possible to use EyeMynd's technology to control your computer by thought alone.

No way to future proof NBN: Switkowski

James Hutchinson
Ziggy Switkowski concedes Australia’s biggest infrastructure project, the national broadband network, could become obsolete in decades, overtaken like the once-promising networks built by Telstra and Optus he is negotiating to take over.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review, the new executive chairman of NBN Co says the danger of obsolescence is a key factor behind the radical redesign of the network that will combine cutting-edge fibre optics with century-old copper wiring.
Central to the new strategy are ­Telstra and Optus’s existing copper and cable networks. Once at the forefront of communications and now-fading assets, Dr Switkowski predicts he will get both at no extra cost to NBN Co, a coup for him and his boss, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

NBN alternatives: fibre to the node or HFC cable?

Date December 21, 2013 - 10:17AM

Adam Turner

A third of Australian homes will connect to the internet via pay TV cables under the latest national broadband network proposal.
After scrapping the plan to run fibre to 93 per cent of premises, the government initially proposed switching many homes to fibre to the node – using the copper phone lines to cover the last few hundred metres. Now it supports a multi-technology mix with roughly an even split between fibre to the premises, fibre to the node and the existing hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) pay TV cable.
Fibre to the node will struggle to offer more than 50 megabits-per-second (Mbps) in the near future but could eventually reach 100 Mbps, depending on the condition of your copper line. Cable already offers the 100 Mbps speeds promised by fibre to the premises. Unfortunately cable is highly susceptible to congestion and regularly grinds to a halt for some users.

CryptoLocker still a danger

·  Chris Griffith
·  December 16, 2013 12:00AM
NETWORK security engineers have had limited success disabling devastating malicious software that encrypts all files on a user's computer.
The malware, CryptoLocker, uses sophisticated 256-bit encryption which makes it virtually impossible for the encryption code to be cracked by accident. Affected users are forced to pay hundreds, sometimes more than $1000 to obtain a "private key" -- a special string of digits and letters needed to decrypt their files.
The only hope for defeating CryptoLocker is when users have offline backups of their data before their computer is infected. The Trojan horse malware will also try to encrypt files on USB external hard drives and even network attached storage -- so as to make it hard for users to recover data without paying up.

Microsoft likely to bring back Start menu in future Windows update

If rumors are right, Redmond will mimic Stardock's tools that already offer Start menu and 'Metro' apps on the desktop
Microsoft will bring back the Start menu to Windows 8 and let users run "Metro" apps inside windows on the desktop, restoring traditional elements to its newest operating system, according to a report by a long-time Microsoft watcher.
Paul Thurrott, citing anonymous sources, claimed Monday that the next update for Windows, which other pundits have pegged for the spring of 2015, will offer options for both a Start menu and on-desktop execution of the touch-centric "Modern," nee "Metro," apps.
In October, Microsoft restored a pseudo-Start button in Windows 8.1, and gave users the option of circumventing the tile-style Start screen by booting directly to the conventional desktop. However, it declined to reinstate a Start menu.

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