Monday, February 10, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 10th February, 2014.

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

E-Health continues to rampage through the metropolises of Central NSW with an alert reporter following every press release. What a farce!
Other than that we have Prof Coiera pointing out that the Commonwealth e-Health bureaucracy are dunderheads and we are reminded that support for Win XP is about to stop - and that that an insecure system is still being used by 20% of GPs.
Lastly a fun blast from the past as the last entry. I wonder what Mr Hockey thinks now and where the PCEHR Review Report has gone?

Lack of expertise restricts e-health

BIG e-health systems are prone to mistakes in the design stage because of a lack of expertise in the field, an expert says.
University of NSW's Centre for Health Informatics director Enrico Coiera said there was a "skills gap" in e-health despite it being so pervasive.
"We don't really have enough expertise available to help us make the right decisions," he said. "I think that is probably more of a problem in Australia than other countries."
Professor Coiera, who also directs the $2.5 million NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in E-health, was speaking ahead of a Special Dean's Lecture he will give tomorrow at the University of Melbourne.

FHIR DSTU is published

Posted on February 3, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
We have now published the DSTU version (draft standard for trial use – effectively a beta) of FHIR at
Note that this is now stable and suitable for production implementations, and that development moves to, though I think we’ll all be taking a rest before starting work again.
Please note that we are serious about the draft standard for trial use. Implementers should read this section before depending on the specification:

FHIR Foreword

Posted on February 3, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
FHIR is not a book, and it was not written by a single author; it’s a draft standard, and it was produced by a whole team of people. The formal credits page lists a lot of people, and even that’s being selective. Even though so many people have contributed, I thought I’d post my own personal foreword here:
2½ years ago, I drafted a demonstration, a concept of something that we could do – a better approach to health interoperability. I had no idea that it would turn into a project and a specification that involved this much work, that showed so much promise, and most of all, that there would be so many people to thank.

Anger as federal food guide is pulled from web

Date February 8, 2014

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

The federal government has been accused of bowing to the junk food industry after a new food rating system website was pulled down, allegedly at the behest of a senior minister.
The long-awaited ''health star rating'' website, for food manufacturers to label their products with easy-to-understand nutritional information, was launched about midday on Wednesday, only to be pulled by 8pm that night.
Fairfax Media has been given evidence that Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, and her chief of staff, Alastair Furnival, personally intervened to have the site pulled down - despite it being approved through a Council of Australian Governments ministerial council.

eHealth uptake on the rise

Feb. 5, 2014, 4 a.m.
Western NSW Medicare Local (WML) and Narromine Shire Family Health Centre are encouraging residents in the town and surrounding communities to register for a Personally Controlled Electronic eHealth Record (PCEHR) by holding a registration day tomorrow.
WML staff will help register community members for a free eHealth record with doctors then uploading a summary of their health information into the system.
"Any visitors can attend the registration day and get an eHealth record and have their own GP upload their health summary later," a WML spokeswoman said.

Help to register for eHealth record

Feb. 5, 2014, 1:37 p.m.
Narromine residents are invite to register for a Personally Controlled Electronic eHealth Record at a registration day tomorrow at the Narromine Shire Family Health Centre at 9am.
Western NSW Medical Local (WML) will be helping and registering community members for a free eHealth record and the doctors will be able to upload a summary of their health information into the system. 
Any visitors can attend the registration day and get an eHealth record and have their own GP upload their health summary later.
A eHealth record is an electronic summary of a patient’s key health information drawn on existing patient records. 

eHealth sign-up proves popular


Feb. 7, 2014, 12:27 p.m.
eHealth Registration took place at the Narromine Shire Family Health Centre yesterday as locals flocked to sign up to the electronic health registration run by Western Medicare Local (WML) and Narromine Family Health Centre.
WML staff were thrilled with the turnout with more than 35 people signing up. 
Narromine Men’s Shed members John Lenehan and Les Farr made their way to the health centre during a work break at the shed.
Both men said there was no harm in signing up.

Chemists plan health checks

  • NT News
  • February 07, 2014 11:00PM
PHARMACISTS will become fat cops under a plan to measure the weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol of all Australians once a year.
A leaked Department of Health document shows chemists plan to start the health checks in October so 1.5 million Australians can have their waistlines measured by Christmas.
The findings would be uploaded to a national Health Census and added to a patient's e-health record.
Chemists would also ask people about their smoking and alcohol intake under the Pharmacy Guild's plan to develop an early-warning plan for diseases it says will save the Government money.

Telehealth pilot expanded beyond FttP NBN

Summary: The Australian Department of Health has said that it doesn't require a fibre-to-the-premises NBN connection in order to implement its telehealth trials.
By Josh Taylor | February 5, 2014 -- 01:29 GMT (12:29 AEST)
Advocates for the National Broadband Network (NBN) fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) rollout have cited telehealth and remote patient care as one of the reasons for the need to keep the current project as is, but the Department of Health has stated that its own trial of telehealth technology has now been expanded beyond just testing out FttP.
The department's AU$20.3 million telehealth trial was announced by the former Labor government in early 2012, and in mid-2013, nine projects were funded looking at how "high-speed broadband is the future of healthcare" and would "highlight why it is important to be rolled out to all Australians".
The project targeted 2,500 patients across 50 locations where the NBN fibre network had already been deployed, and included trials in video conferencing and assisted telehealth care for elderly Australians living in aged care residences or at home.

New Icepol malware found as hacking 'industry' flourishes

Date February 3, 2014 - 4:59PM

Drew Turney

Authorities in Romania have identified new malware that claims to be from police enforcing copyright and anti-porn laws.
Called the Icepol trojan, the ransomware sends a message to victims accusing them of software piracy or downloading illegal porn, then locks the victim's computer and demands payment to unlock it. It was installed on more than 267,000 computers including in the US, Germany and Australia and responsible for more than 148,000 scam transactions in just five months.
Security vendor Bitdefender said Icepol originated in Romania, the company's own home country, and was distributed in 25 languages.

Security risk for practices using XP

4th Feb 2014
PRACTICES still using the Windows XP operating system after April have been warned they could be exposed to security risks because Microsoft is due to cease providing support.
Microsoft marketing manager Emmanuele Silanesu said 15—20% of practices were understood to be still using the ageing system.
He added time was fast running out for them to transition to a newer operating system.
Mr Silanesu said with Microsoft ceasing the production of all security patches and updates, XP users risked becoming more susceptible to hackers, which meant practice data, including patient records, may be more easily compromised.

Privacy deadline nears: are you ready?

Date February 4, 2014 - 3:00AM

Sylvia Pennington

Australian companies have just weeks to get their data collection, storage, management and disposal practices in order before several changes to the privacy regime come into effect.
On March 12, the Information Privacy Principles and National Privacy Principles, which apply to federal government agencies and businesses respectively, will be replaced by 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).
The APPs require organisations to be more transparent about how they collect, use and store individuals' personal data.
They cover the way information can be used for credit reporting and marketing purposes and put the onus on businesses to ensure overseas suppliers that have access to customer personal data don't breach the APPs.

Privacy in health care

Monday 3 February 2014 5:49PM
Some would argue that the whole issue of privacy has been taken too far – denying health researchers and planners the kind of information they need to deliver the right care at the right time and at the right price to the community. 

Amputee with bionic hand, Dennis Aabo Sorenson, can feel objects

  • AFP
  • February 06, 2014 10:19AM
AN amputee with a bionic hand has for the first time been able to feel the texture and shape of objects in his grasp, European researchers say.
The success of the month-long trial in Italy has energised researchers in the hunt to solve one of the most difficult challenges in prosthetics.
Until now, movable prosthetic hands have returned no sensation to the wearer and have been difficult to control, meaning the user could crush an object while trying to grasp it.
"For the first time we were able to restore real time sensory feeling in an amputee while he was controlling this sensorized hand," said lead author Silvestro Micera.
Coordinated Interprofessional Curriculum Renewal for

eHealth Capability in Clinical Health Professional Degrees

The final report from this project was published in January 2014.  Link to full report.  Link to executive summary.
Advancing Ehealth Education for the Clinical Health Professions. Final Report 2014.
Authors: Dr Kathleen Gray & Dr Ambica Dattakumar, The University of Melbourne; Professor Anthony Maeder, University of Western Sydney; Ms Kerryn Butler-Henderson, Curtin University; Professor Helen Chenery, The University of Queensland.
Published by the Australian Government Department of Education Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney, NSW.
ISBN 978-1-74361-340-5 [PDF], ISBN 978-1-74361-341-2 [DOCX], ISBN 978-1-74361-342-9 [PRINT]
Executive summary
This is the final report of a project that aimed to encourage and support program coordinators and directors of Australian undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs in all allied health, nursing and medical professions to address the need for ehealth education for entry-level clinical health professionals.
The rationale for this project was that new initiatives in professional education, training, learning and development are required to build the capabilities that the Australian health workforce needs to work in a national ehealth system. In Australia, very few educational providers in the health professions had developed a systematic approach to teach, assess, evaluate or audit this aspect of professional education, and relevant curriculum initiatives were not widely known.

Health researcher tenders for managed service provider

National Health and Medical Research Council seeks outsourcer to manage a network supporting 250 users, including 36 mobile devices
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has tendered for a managed service provider to maintain IT infrastructure supporting 250 users – growing at 10 per cent annually – at its offices in Canberra and Melbourne.
Under the initial three-year contract, due to begin in September, the NHMRC is outsourcing all desktop, internet, business application, network, and service desk provisioning, maintenance and support.
The single supplier or consortium managed by a prime contractor would also provision IT staff, and provide assistance and advice on architecture and design, and strategic planning, the NHMRC said.

US approves pill camera to screen colon

  • AP
  • February 04, 2014 10:47AM
A KINDER, gentler approach to one of the most dreaded exams in medicine is on the way: US regulators have cleared a bite-size camera to help screen the large intestine of patients who have trouble with colonoscopies.
The ingestible pill camera from Given Imaging is designed to help doctors spot polyps and other early signs of colon cancer. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the device for patients who have had trouble with the cringe-inducing procedure, which involves probing the colon using a tiny camera on a four-foot long, flexible tube.
The pill camera was previously approved in 80 other countries, including in Japan, Europe and Latin America.
The Israeli company's technology, developed from missile defence systems, uses a battery-powered camera to take high-speed photos as it slowly winds its way through the intestinal tract over eight hours. The images are transmitted to a recording device worn around the patient's waist and later reviewed by a doctor.

$7.7m in funding available via medical device support fund

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced a further round of funding for medical device development and commercialisation under the Medical Devices Fund administered by the NSW Ministry of Health.

Leak hints Microsoft will recant 'make-them-eat-Metro' strategy for Windows 8

'Milestone in the proof that the strategy didn't work,' says analyst of possibility that Microsoft will skip the Start screen by default in pending Windows 8.1 update
Microsoft will renounce its "make-them-eat-Metro" strategy in an update for Windows 8.1 slated to ship this spring, if leaked preliminary builds reflect the final product.
According to Wzor, a Russian site that regularly gets its hands on unauthorized builds, Windows 8.1 Update 1 -- a refresh of last fall's revamp of the original Windows 8 -- will enable the "boot to desktop" setting, currently an option, as the default, bypassing the "Metro" Start screen and the flat user interface (UI) that relies on colorful tiles and runs mobile-style apps rather than traditional Windows applications.
The boot-to-desktop setting debuted in Windows 8.1, one of several changes Microsoft made to appease customers who struggled to navigate Metro apps and the Start screen with keyboard- and mouse-controlled hardware, which continues to dominate the PC market and makes up nearly all its installed base.

Special Blast From The Past:

Rudd e-health plan a 'falsehood': Hockey

  • UPDATED: Fran Foo
  • Australian IT
  • May 19, 2010 2:48PM
OPPOSITION Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey today outlined the Coalition's reasons for rejecting the federal government's controversial e-health records proposal.
In last week's budget Treasurer Wayne Swan said $467 million over two years will be set aside to introduce "personally controlled" individual electronic health records as part of the Rudd government's health reforms.
Patients will control what is stored on their health records and will decide which health professionals can view or add to their files.
According to Mr Hockey, the biggest barrier to e-health adoption was the fact that the Healthcare Identifiers Bill was still in limbo and giving the scheme half a billion dollars was akin to putting the cart before the horse.

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