Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24th 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

Interesting week with all sorts of things going on as we continue to wonder just when the PCEHR Review will become public.
I have been hearing about the Fiona Stanley Hospital for ages and it is utterly clear there as a major debacle at the planning stage of the Hospital as far as e-Health was concerned. Essentially they overlooked any Health IT beyond running some fibre around the hospital but with no plans for what it would be used for and with.
The most serious item this week is the leak by the Government of its data-base of registered asylum seekers. Hardly a re-assuring outcome for those trusting that their information will be kept secure by Government departments.

Fiona Stanley Hospital IT could cost another $50 million

Botched build sucking investment out of eHealth, says Treasury boss.

Outgoing West Australian under-treasurer Tim Marney believes the state will have to spend another $25 million to $50 million to get the IT systems at its new Fiona Stanley Hospital up to scratch.
Marney was called to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating the troubled construction of the new facility last week. Opening of the hospital has been delayed by six months to October 2014, primary because planners were too ambitious about the IT implementation schedule.
He said the delays had cost the state an additional $330 million already, including up to $151 million in IT costs.
But Marney said the full bill was still being negotiated between the WA government and the outsourced hospital operator Serco, with the remaining IT exposure likely to be up to $50 million, or around $25 million “if things go really well."

Pharmacy revamped with robotic machine


Feb. 18, 2014, 12:30 a.m.
UFS Pharmacies Strathfieldsaye has renovated its store to lessen the chance of human error when dispensing medications. 
A robotic dispensing machine has cut down the time a pharmacist spends accessing medications, with 80 per cent of the most popular prescriptions dispensed using the machine.
Pharmacist Brownyn Capewell said the computerised system decreased the chances of mistakes being made 
The store is also now a 'Forward Pharmacy', which frees the pharmacist from working all day behind a counter. 

Lives extended by genetic algorithm

19th Feb 2014
A GENETIC modelling algorithm that predicts patient response to three standard chemotherapy drugs used to treat ovarian cancer could extend patients’ lives by 21 months.
A retrospective study used data from an ovarian cancer registry to genetically profile over 3000 ovarian tumour samples from patients already on one of three common ovarian cancer drugs – paclitaxel, cyclophosphamide and topotecan – to discover differences between tumours that responded to treatment and tumours that didn’t.
The Canadian researchers said site-specific cancers have traditionally been considered to be homogenous, but increasingly, evidence is pointing to significant heterogeneity within the disease.

‘Garbled and confused’: trust in e-health dives

18th Feb 2014
THE personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) is garbling patient information GPs upload, creating confusing and potentially misleading records, an e-health expert has warned.
The latest criticism of the billion-dollar scheme from former National Electronic Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) chief clinical lead, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, comes as the health sector awaits the release of the review ordered by Health Minister Peter Dutton late last year.
A de-identified patient record entered into the PCEHR by Dr Haikerwal, and supplied to MO, shows that the reverse chronological order of visits was jumbled up and appeared in the e-health record in random order.
Pharmacy Daily 18 Feb

New e-script incentives

Among the Agreement programs announcements last week was confirmation of a new incentive payment to eligible community pharmacies to boost the uptake of electronic prescriptions.

The Electronic Prescription Scanning Incentive (ePSI) is an allocation from the existing Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions (ETP) budget in the Agreement to better
drive the uptake and rates of scanning of electronic prescriptions.

Asylum seekers’ identities revealed in Immigration Department data lapse

Exclusive: online database provides personal details of almost 10,000 people in serious and embarrassing security breach
The personal details of a third of all asylum seekers held in Australia – almost 10,000 adults and children – have been inadvertently released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in one of the most serious privacy breaches in Australia’s history.
A vast database containing the full names, nationalities, location, arrival date and boat arrival information was revealed on the department’s website, raising serious concerns that thousands of asylum seekers have had confidential details made public.
Every single person held in a mainland detention facility and on Christmas Island has been identified in the database, as well as several thousand who are living in the community under the community detention program. A large number of children have been identified in the release, which also lists whether asylum seekers are part of family groups.

Privacy commissioner to investigate immigration department

Department confirms report that a file with personal details of asylum seekers was publicly accessible
Federal Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has confirmed he will investigate how a file containing the personal details of asylum seekers was made available to the public through the immigration department's website.
The Guardian this morning revealed the security lapse by the department.
The Guardian article by Oliver Laughland, Paul Farrell and Asher Wolf reported that the "vast database" contained the "full names, nationalities, location, arrival date and boat arrival information" of asylum seekers.
The file contained the details of almost 10,000 people, including every asylum seeker imprisoned in on-shore detention centres and on Christmas Island, as well as those in community detention, the newspaper reported.

Robotic pill to put a world of pain to bed

  • Timothy Hay
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • February 20, 2014 12:00AM
THE adage “take two aspirin and call me in the morning” is destined for a futuristic makeover. Doctors may just as easily recommend swallowing sophisticated gadgets instead.
That is the hope of prolific inventor Mir Imran, who has created a robotic pill to replace injectable drugs for chronic conditions such as diabetes.
The gadget, which is in preclinical studies and backed by Google’s venture-capital unit, consists of an ingestible polymer and tiny hollow needles made of sugar designed to safely deliver drugs to the small intestine.
Advances in technology and scientific research have recently led to two federally approved robotic pills. The US Food and Drug Administration this month cleared the PillCam, a pill-sized camera from Given Imaging that photographs human insides in a hunt for colon polyps. And Proteus Digital Health got clearance 18 months ago to put ingestible sensors inside pills to help patients and doctors determine how many they have taken.

GP umbrella group drops Medicare Locals

20 February, 2014 Paul Smith
Medicare Locals have effectively been ejected from general practice's leading lobby group.
Australian Doctor learnt on Thursday that members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) voted to remove the Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA) as one of its members.
Set up six years ago, UGPA is made up of medical organisations - including the RACGP, ACRRM, the AMA and the RDAA - and is tasked with addressing general practice issues that "need urgent action".
Last year it played a leading role in forcing the Rudd government to scrap a proposed $2000 cap on tax breaks for continuing medical education.

Medicare Locals face a political and public relations battle

| Feb 17, 2014 2:27PM |
A recent article in the News Ltd press demonstrates the political, media and public relations challenges facing Medicare Locals (MLs) in the review of their roles and functions, currently being overseen by former Chief Medical Officer Dr John Horwath.
The article extensively covers the AMA’s submission to the review, including the results of a ‘survey’ undertaken by the AMA on its members.  Leaving aside the credibility of these type of AMA push polls (and bearing in mind that less than 50% of GPs are AMA members), the article makes no substantial arguments against Medicare Locals.
The best case it mounts for change are the fact that ‘some sites are underperforming’ and ‘staff hate the name’(!)  Nevertheless, the article labels MLs and “Labor’s dud Medicare Locals” and is overwhelmingly negative about their future.

National electronic health records and the digital disruption of moral orders

Publication Details

Garrety, K., McLoughlin, I., Wilson, R., Zelle, G. & Martin, M. (2013). National electronic health records and the digital disruption of moral orders. Social Science and Medicine, 101 70-77.


The digitalisation of patient health data to provide national electronic health record systems (NEHRS) is a major objective of many governments. Proponents claim that NEHRS will streamline care, reduce mistakes and cut costs. However, building these systems has proved highly problematic. Using recent developments in Australia as an example, we argue that a hitherto unexamined source of difficulty concerns the way NEHRS disrupt the moral orders governing the production, ownership, use of and responsibility for health records. Policies that pursue digitalisation as a self-evident 'solution' to problems in healthcare without due regard to these disruptions risk alienating key stakeholders. We propose a more emergent approach to the development and implementation of NEHRS that supports moral re-ordering around rights and responsibilities appropriate to the intentions of those involved in healthcare relationships.

NeHTA’s eHealth Clinician User Guide

NeHTA has released an eHealth Clinicians User Guide which aims to support medical practices in navigating the complexities of eHealth (including the national eHealth record system) from planning, preparation, registration and implementation through to meaningful use.  To view the user guide, please click here 

Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) v3 Beta Feedback Summary Results

Created on Monday, 17 February 2014
The Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) v3 Beta Feedback Summary Results document summarises the responses received from stakeholders during the AMT v3 Beta feedback activities undertaken during 2013.
The document outlines important changes that have been made to the AMT v3 model, components and artefacts since the publication of AMT v3 Beta in February 2013.

#FHIR – still a long way to go yet

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
While working with one of my Customers (NEHTA), this diagram went past, a powerpoint mock-up of a GP system went past. They’ve given me permission to take it out of it’s context, and use it for something else (thanks). So here’s the GP system mock-up:
What I thought I’d do with this image is indicate which fields on here correspond to existing resources, and which don’t. That would be helpful to implementers, and also give some ideas as to where the project team needs to go yet.

NBN now a long, slow and unspectacular slog

Date February 18, 2014 - 1:05AM

Tony Brown

It is  fast approaching six months since the Coalition came to power and assumed responsibility for the national broadband network –  one of the highest-profile issues in the last federal election campaign – and in the post-election period the temperature around the NBN debate has barely cooled.
Since taking over as Communications Minister  Malcolm Turnbull has infuriated supporters of Labor’s all fibre-to-the-premise network by planning a redesign to incorporate a mix of technologies including fibre-to-the-node and existing hybrid fibre coaxial  networks; what Mr vTurnbull has called a multi-technology mix (MTM).
NBN Co has already launched talks with Telstra to renegotiate the NBN deal signed with the former Labor government – although Telstra chief executive David Thodey has reiterated the telco would be protecting the financial value of that original deal.

NBN Co lifts first-half revenue as capex soars

In the six months to December, NBN Co capex jumped to $1.2 billion, while revenue rose to $47.8 million, up from $29.3 million in the prior corresponding period.
Max Mason and James Hutchinson
NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski has slammed plans to disconnect copper services to up to 100,000 homes per month as part of the national broadband network rollout as too ­ambitious and likely to cause issues for consumers.
The plans, formulated by the company’s previous executives as a means to force people onto the NBN, mean existing copper phone and broadband services would be disconnected 18 months after the NBN became available in a given area.

Security 101: Top tech tips to stay safe

Date February 18, 2014 - 10:31AM

Adam Turner is an award-winning Australian freelance technology journalist with a passion for gadgets and the "digital lounge room".

Be smart with your passwords and think beyond your PC, security experts advise.
Security is one of the main themes at this week's Tech Leaders forum on the Gold Coast, as it tends to be every year. Of course sometimes the pitches from anti-virus vendors can have a whiff of scare tactics about them. To cut through the hype I asked several vendors for their top three practical tech tips – apart from "buy our software" – to help people stay safe online. 
By "update everything", McKinnon and the guys from BitDefender mean take a holistic approach to security, thinking beyond the desktop to consider security options for your mobile devices. 
AVG's Australian security advisor, Michael McKinnon:
1. Update everything
2. Don't reuse passwords
3. Back up everything

Nursing homes are exposed to hacker attacks

  • Rachael King
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • February 19, 2014 8:58AM
COMPUTER-SECURITY researchers have discovered on a website documents that could allow hackers easily to obtain electronic medical records and payment information from healthcare providers.
The documents — found by two cybersecurity firms on a site commonly used by hackers — detail the type of equipment used in computer networks, the internet addresses for computers and other devices, and the passwords to network firewalls run by US healthcare providers such as nursing homes, doctors’ offices and hospitals.
If such networks were accessed, cybercriminals easily could find personal details on individuals, security experts said. Such information could be used to sell credit-card data and medical information that could be used to commit insurance fraud.
A search by The Wall Street Journal of the website,, turned up information from three nursing homes: the Bronx Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in New York; the Glengariff Healthcare Center in Glen Cove, N.Y.; and the Campbell Hall Rehabilitation Center in Campbell Hall, N.Y.

Minister announces eHealth Ambassadors

Health Minister Tony Ryall has tonight named a group of seven innovative GPs who will lead the way in a national rollout of patient portals this year.
"A patient portal is an online service which allows a patient to securely log in and do things like check their latest laboratory test results, order a repeat prescription, or send a message directly to their GP - all from the convenience of their home," says Mr Ryall.
"This gives patients much greater access to their own health information and the ability to manage more aspects of their own care. The portals also offer huge benefits for doctors, and I’ve already received great feedback from GPs about the benefits of having this service in their practice.

Microsoft extends Windows 7 shelf life as Windows 8 struggles

At least it's not Vista

By Nick Farrell  February 17th
It seems that Windows 7 will remain on sale to business users until at least early 2015, if not longer, following a change to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle.
As spotted by ZDNet, the updated lifecycle indicates that Microsoft has not yet decided on an end-date for the OS and could be a long way off yet.
Microsoft has promised to give businesses at least a year's warning before it kills off Windows 7 Professional.

No comments: