Monday, December 09, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 9th 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

A quiet week with some more submissions coming to light and what feels to be a hardening resolve that there need to be, at the very least, some major change in the PCEHR.
Outside that we have the silliness of a recruiting team swooping in to recruit the good burgers of Guyra to register for an e-Health record and some innovative announcements on some new technology.
We also have a very cautionary tale of the risks of malware encrypting data on your hard disk and demanding a ransom to allow access.
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E-health records could expose GPs to legal risk

3rd Dec 2013
THE rollout of the PCEHR has been focused on accumulating registration numbers rather than targeting those who would benefit most from it, and potentially exposes medical practitioners to medico-legal risk, the RACGP has warned.
The criticism of the beleaguered PCEHR scheme was included in the college’s submission to the review of the billion-dollar program.
It called for the suspension of the current development program and argued the process had “moved away” from stipulations that clinical information within the records be clinically curated.
It said the development program should move towards a “focus on targeting those consumers who will benefit most from a PCEHR, rather than the current focus on sheer numbers of consumer registrations”.
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Include transfer info in electronic records: IT council

By Darragh O'Keeffe on December 3, 2013 in Government, Technology
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) must include sufficient patient discharge/transfer functionality, complete medication records and meaningful capture of vital signs for health conditions.
That’s according to the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) in its submission to the federal government’s review of the PCEHR.
ACIITC, which is a joint venture of Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), said that discharge from hospitals and transfers between aged and health services was a key area to complete the “integrated health concept” in critical information flow.
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E-health: We need enlightened leadership more than ever

Here in the Midwest we have looked at an alternative to the PCEHR: a shared electronic health record not owned and operated by the government.
This seemed like a good solution as it would solve some of the problems health professionals have with the PCEHR, including secondary use of the uploaded information (data mining) by the government. I wrote a couple of posts about this topic here and here.
Unfortunately our Medicare Local seems to have taken full control of the shared health record system. This means that, again, health professionals and patients have no say in what happens to their data once it is uploaded to this alternative e-health system. There is an advisory committee (just like the PCEHR) but the Medicare Local board calls the shots as they pay the bill – with tax dollars.
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Clinician and consumer confidence is the key to the PCEHR

Spokesperson: AHHA
6 December 2013
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR), currently under review by the Australian Government has the potential to be an effective tool supporting high quality healthcare but must address the needs of both clinicians and the consumer is required.
The uptake by both patients and clinicians of the PCEHR has been extremely limited,” says Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the AHHA. “To make the appropriate treatment decisions and develop suitable care plans, clinicians require timely access to relevant parts of their patients’ medical history.  This is particularly important for patients with chronic conditions and ongoing care needs that have regular interactions with multiple health providers.”
Unless clinicians have the confidence that the PCEHR will provide the complete picture they need, they will continue to shun the system.  If clinicians don’t support the system then patients are unlikely to engage and vice-versa.”
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Austrade releases Health IT Capability report

Australia’s health IT industry has its roots in a long history of using innovative communications technology to improve healthcare delivery. Back in 1929, the invention of an affordable pedal-powered radio gave people in isolated areas access to advice and emergency medical services from the newly founded Royal Flying Doctor Service.
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Australia’s health IT industry has its roots in a long history of using innovative communications technology to improve healthcare delivery. Back in 1929, the invention of an affordable pedal-powered radio gave people in isolated areas access to advice and emergency medical services from the newly founded Royal Flying Doctor Service. Today, the Australian Government and industries are investing strongly in health IT, ensuring that Australia is at the forefront of best practice.
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Telstra targets ‘more convenient’ pharmacy system

3 December, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue
Communications giant Telstra, is planning on creating a safer, efficient and more convenient pharmacy system, PulseIT reports.
Telstra Health released a wide-ranging strategy for its move into the health care market last month, following its “significant investment” in pharmacy IT company, Fred Health.
In the strategy, Telstra identified six major challenges in health care that it can become a major contributor to solving by building an “e-Health eco-system”.
As previously reported by Pharmacy News, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia said, the strategic partnership between Fred and Telstra Health reinforced Fred’s commitment to providing IT innovation and leadership for pharmacy and pharmacy customers long term.
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eHealth Registration Day for Guyra residents 

Dec. 5, 2013, midnight
The Guyra Medical Centre team with support from the New England Medicare Local invite the Guyra and surrounding community to an eHealth Record Registration Day. 
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record or eHealth Record initiative has the potential to bring together, in one secure easily accessed record, a summary of your key health information. 
Most people have medical records stored in multiple systems across the health care sector. These systems do not routinely share information, meaning it can be challenging to keep track of all your health information and ensure it is in one, easy reference place. 
The upcoming eHealth Registration day, to be held at the Guyra Medical Centre on Wednesday December 11 will enable you to take advantage of this opportunity to register to create your own eHealth record. The record will allow you and your doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to view and share your health information. This in turn will enable them to provide you with the best possible care. 
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Qld takes court action against IBM

Mark Ludlow
The Queensland government is seeking damages from global information technology company IBM over its handling of the botched health payroll project.
A spokesman for Queensland Premier Campbell Newman confirmed on Thursday night a statement of claim had been lodged in the Supreme Court to seek compensation for the failure of the health payroll system, which is expected to cost taxpayers up to $1.2 billion.
“Now that the matter is before the courts it would be inappropriate to provide further comment,” the spokesman said.
The extent of the legal action as well as the damages being sought remained unclear at this stage.
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Call to jump online and get healthy

05 Dec
Australians are quick adapters to technological change, but personal health records are proving a different story.
All Australians should be automatically signed up to the national health records system, according to a patients lobby group.
Consumer Health Forum, which represents more than 2 million consumers, says Australia should “bite the bullet” and make joining the system automatic unless patients choose to opt out.
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HealtheNet turns on sharing

Clinicians in hospitals, community health organisations and general practices across four local health districts (LHDs) and five Medicare Locals in NSW, will now be able to access clinical information on shared patients’ records.
The NSW Health clinical portal, which went live at the end of October in South Eastern Sydney LHD, Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD and Children’s Hospital Randwick, contains 1.2 million clinical documents (including electronic hospital discharge summaries), electronic ‘blue book’ records for infants, 1.9 million NSW hospital visit histories, and access to over 1 million medical imaging studies and an enterprise patient registry linking all NSW identifiers, which currently contains 15 million patients.
HealtheNet Program Manager Yin Man says that extending the system to another 15 hospitals across NSW (making a total of 24 hospitals), comes after extensive testing of the system with the National Infrastructure Operator and NEHTA.
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PCEHR under review, but is it “unfixable”?

By Dylan Bushell-Embling   |   Thursday, 07 November, 2013
The Coalition government this week scheduled a review of the much-maligned personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) project.
Decrying poor take-up rates among Australian clinicians despite the $1 billion spent on the system, the government scheduled the review to explore options including inviting private sector involvement in the provision of the electronic health records.
Announcing the review, Minister for Health Peter Dutton said the PCEHR program has failed to attract enough doctors to participate. A year after the system was introduced, he said, only a “fraction of Australians” have established a record and just a few hundred doctors have added a Shared Health Summary.
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Open Sourcing my FHIR Server

Posted on December 5, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
Since early in the FHIR development process, I’ve maintained a FHIR server at http://hl7connect.healthintersections.com.au/svc/fhir. Everyone in the community uses this for learning FHIR, testing their implementations, and it’s the de facto reference server (which was my intent).
As part of preparing the DSTU version of FHIR, I’ve open sourced the server. You can find it here: https://github.com/grahamegrieve/fhirserver.
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Game teaches risks of personal data exposure

Date December 6, 2013

Sim Sim Wissgott

Sexual orientation, private debt, medical records, even your favourite ice cream flavour: do you know much of this personal information is out there and available for sale?
And what if it could affect your job applications, whether you can rent a house or how high your insurance premium will be?
A new Austrian-designed online game titled Data Dealer, set for launch this week, hopes to make people a little more aware of their exposure to these risks, even if at a minimum it prompts them to switch off the GPS application on their smartphones.
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Bio pen prototype will help surgeons rebuild bone material directly on to the body

Date December 5, 2013

Angela Thompson

A hand-held ''bio pen'' developed in Wollongong will allow surgeons to draw regenerating bone material directly on to the body.
The development enables customised implants to be created at the time of surgery, eliminating the need to harvest cartilage and grow it for weeks in a lab as a replacement for damaged or diseased material.
On Wednesday researchers from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, at the University of Wollongong unveiled a prototype of the BioPen.
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New clinician user guide expected to raise eHealth accessibility

Dr John Aloizos AM is used to people calling up for advice. The busy Brisbane GP has been at the forefront of eHealth implementation for many years and in his part-time role of Senior Clinical Governance Advisor for NeHTA , he’s in a great position to make sure the new clinical user guide answers most of questions that doctors have around implementation.
The second version of NeHTA’s “eHealth Clinician's User Guide” was released last week targeted to medical practices (specifically GPs and private specialists).
Dr Aloizos says this guide is particularly useful for doctors, because it covers all of eHealth,  not just a particular facet, such as the PCEHR or secure messaging.
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Microsoft, University of Melbourne join forces on Natural User Interface

November 5, 2013
University of Melbourne is now home to the world’s first Natural User Interface (NUI) research centre.
The three-year, $8 million project comes as a result of a partnership between the Victorian state government, Microsoft and the University of Melbourne.  
The Microsoft Centre for Social Natural User Interface Research serve as a major development hub for new social interactive technologies.
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NBN connections available, but take up slow

Date December 5, 2013 - 3:32PM

Lucy Battersby

From 255,253 premises passed by fibre in brownfields, 78,028 were unable to get a connection.
Two thirds of the households that could connect to the national broadband network have not done so, according to new weekly figures released by NBN Co.
Nationally, 380,044 premises have been covered by the government-owned company since the project started in 2009, with about 120,800 households or businesses actively using it. Fibre optic cable accounts for 60 per cent of the active connections, satellite 36 per cent and fixed wireless 4 per cent.
The interim satellite broadband service offered by NBN Co since late 2011 has been so popular that it has reached capacity in Victoria and was nearing capacity in other states. Rural households that missed out have to wait until NBN Co launches its satellites in 2015.
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Dementia patients first to benefit from pain tool

DEMENTIA patients will be the first to benefit from a new electronic pain assessment tool based on automated facial recognition technology.
The Electronic Pain Assessment Tool aims to automate part of the process of pain assessment in patients who are not able to communicate because they have advanced dementia.
Its creators are also planning applications for babies and infants. The tool is being developed by Curtin University, in Western Australia, and is based on Swiss company nViso's facial recognition software.
Curtin University School of Pharmacy head Jeff Hughes said there was tremendous subjectivity in the assessment of pain in patients who have dementia.
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Healthdirect slammed after infant death

5th Dec 2013
THE AMA (WA) has criticised the Healthdirect hotline, describing it as "not cost-effective" after a coroner found a six-month-old baby who died of pneumococcal meningitis could have survived if she had been taken to hospital sooner.
Allegra Amelie Scafidas became ill on 28 April, 2010. Her mother, Nhon Vo, called the federal government-backed Healthdirect medical advice service and was told the baby probably had a stomach virus and she should call back if the baby's temperature increased to 39.5°C.
The following morning, an ambulance rushed Allegra to Princess Margaret Hospital after Ms Vo noticed she was grunting, had turned blue around the mouth, her skin was yellow and a rash had developed on her thighs. The baby died a week later.
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Pay up or your data dies: email 'ransom' rife

DEVASTATING malware that makes users' computer files unreadable until they pay a hefty ransom has begun infiltrating Australian computers after wreaking havoc in Britain and the US.
The so-called "ransomware", known as CryptoLocker, silently encrypts files on Windows computers, along with files on any connected network storage or USB devices, rendering them unreadable.
Once the encryption process finishes, it tells users to pay a ransom, which so far has been $100, $300 or two bitcoins, currently worth about $2400.
Users become infected when they open email attachments from what appear legitimate sources such as delivery firm FedEX and anti-virus providers Symantec and McAfee.
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Windows 8 a certifiable flop

Date December 3, 2013 - 3:24PM

Will Oremus

ANALYSIS
"You'll Hate Windows 8," my former colleague Farhad Manjoo predicted last June. He was right.
And this isn't just a matter of a difficult transition period, in which people initially resist a new interface before ultimately embracing it, as Microsoft's Steve Sinofsky predicted.
A year after it was released, Microsoft's new operating system is a certifiable flop.
Just how bad are the numbers? There are two obviously relevant points of comparison for Windows 8's adoption figures, and they're both so bad that it's very difficult to say which is worse.
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Enjoy!
David.

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