This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Monday, June 02, 2014
Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd June, 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.
Quite an interesting week last week and we have Senate Estimates to report this week so I am sure some interesting things will emerge.
The impacts of the Budget are still reverberating and clarity is missing on just what will actually get through and what will die in the Senate.
Otherwise some good blogs on e-Health matters are noted.
THE Abbott government has handed down an unpopular budget but there is joy for the tech sector with a 40 per cent increase for technology investments.
The Abbott government approved about $1.26 billion in ICT investments across 67 ICT-enabled measures in the 2014-15 budget, according to data from the Australian Government Information Management Office provided to The Australian.
It represented an increase of roughly 40 per cent from the $906 million in ICT investments approved in the 2013-14 budget.
The government will look to Rosemary Deininger, now the de facto government chief information officer, for guidance on technology strategy. Three key areas to see funding in the recent budget are “smaller government”, weather and e-health.
“There is a tremendous opportunity at the intersection of health and technology,” said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer for Samsung Electronics’ Device Solutions. “This is the single greatest opportunity of our generation.”
Sohn said that Samsung plans to build out wearable sensors that can monitor our bodies continuously and less invasively.
As Samsung sees it, it won’t be pushing its take on the future of health tech on its own. “We want to bring the best talent from outside,” Sohn said. “This is a big enough challenge — we cannot do it alone, we have to do it with partners.”
Still, Samsung wants to be in the driver’s seat, proposing others join its platform for sensor and wearable development. Samsung has created two platforms — the Samsung Simband device and the Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions (SAMI) cloud service.
This post is a follow up to a previous post about the PCEHR review, where I promised to talk about medications coding. The PCEHR review quotes Deloittes on this:
The existing Australian Medications Terminologies (AMT) should be expanded to include a set of over the counter (OTC), medicines and the Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine for Australia (SNOMED-CT -AU) should become universal to promote the use of a nationally consistent language when recording and exchanging health information.
Then it says:
Currently there are multiple sources of medication lists available to the PCEHR with varying levels of clinical utility and functionality. From some sources there is an image of the current medication list, from some sources the current medication list is available as text, from some sources the information is coded and if the functionality existed would allow for import and export into and out of clinical systems as well as transmission by secure messaging from health care provider to health care provider.
Doctors have long been aware that patients often struggle with their hospital discharge instructions but that’s set to change thanks to the humble USB stick and starry-eyed doctors.
Dubbed CareTV, the Alfred Hospital is piloting a ‘video discharge’ program for patients who are given a USB stick or DVD containing a 3-5 minute video, starring their medical team.
Designed to improve patient understanding of their diagnosis and treatment plan, the USB details post-discharge recommendations with the aim of improving clinical outcomes.
The Alfred’s director of general medicine, Associate Professor Harvey Newnham told the Herald Sun that it was hoped the trial would assist caregivers, help to prevent readmissions and reduce medical mixups.
A revolutionary online tool to support young people living with depression or a mental health issue is being developed by University of Sydney software engineers.
The team is adapting online tracking techniques used by marketing analysts in their internet-based tool dubbed, CyberMate.
The researchers aim to design algorithms that will give CyberMate the ability to screen a young person’s social networking pages such as Facebook or Twitter for comments that may indicate potential for self-harm. CyberMate would then act as a quasi-psychotherapist and engage with the young online user suggesting options for help or support via email or SMS.
BRISBANE-based medical devices company Analytica has started producing its PeriCoach sensor devices, with first sales expected in the next few weeks.
The PeriCoach is an e-health treatment system for female Stress Urinary Incontinence, a condition that affects 1 in 3 women worldwide. It consists of a device, a web portal and a smartphone app.
The device evaluates activity in pelvic floor muscles, then transmits the information to a smartphone app, which uploads the information to the web portal where physicians can monitor patient progress.
This allows doctors to remotely determine if a woman is correctly performing pelvic floor exercises and if these are improving her condition.
Microsoft is planning to launch a new smart watch that will be compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, according to a new report.
The watch will reportedly have heart rate monitoring capabilities and a two-day battery life.
Citing "multiple sources with knowledge of the company's plans," Forbesreports the watch will rely on technology used by Xbox Kinect engineers to enable the watch to track its wearer's heart rate at all times.
A spokesperson for Microsoft declined Mashable's request to comment but a recently granted patent indicates Microsoft could indeed be working on such a device. That patent, first filed in 2012, depicts a smart watch with heart-rate and fitness tracking capabilities.
Although doctors are in the top three of most trusted professions, they also have a conservative image. There is the perception that doctors are resistant to change, such as the introduction of eHealth in their practices.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Doctors are used to change. Medicine and healthcare are areas where new developments happen on an almost daily basis.
The start of Doctor Amir Hannan’s career was a rocky one. In 2000 he took over the surgery from convicted murderer Doctor Harold Shipman. On their first day, Amir and his colleague found that Shipman’s children had removed all furniture, phones and computers from the practice. Equipment had to be borrowed from other surgeries.
The practice has long since been turned around into a thriving GP clinic with a strong focus on eHealth; for the past 7 years patients have had online access to their electronic health records.
Around the world there are several projects going that allow patients to get access to their records, and Amir Hannan is one of the trail blazers.
Professor Nick Talley, the new President of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), says that preventative health care is high on his agenda.
“If we are going to work till we're 70 or older, the system has to support the health of everybody effectively – which requires changing our health system,” he says, adding that he is concerned about the potential loss of focus on preventative health care following the Federal Budget.
“We look forward to working with government on enhancing preventative programs and ways of improving health. It is much easier to prevent disease than to treat it.”
The RACP, with over 20,000 members, is the largest specialist medical college in the country, and trains and represents specialist physicians and paediatricians throughout Australia and New Zealand.
The Prime Minister is planning sweeping changes to the highest ranks of the public service to make it more responsive to the Coalition government.
With his first budget behind him, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is determined to turn around what he believes has been a significant brain drain of the best and brightest from Canberra in the past decade.
The retirement of Finance Department Secretary David Tune on Friday is just the first step in what will be a one- to two-year reform of the service.
Health Department secretary Jane Halton is the strong favourite to replace Mr Tune.
Professor Halton has served as the head of health since 2002.
IT IS among the most popular sources of healthcare information for both patients and doctors, but now a US study has found what proportion of Wikipedia articles covering common health conditions contain factual errors.
For the study, 10 internal medicine residents or medical interns were recruited from hospitals across America to compare the most closely corresponding Wikipedia entries with peer-reviewed literature for the 10 most costly health conditions in the US as defined by both public and private expenditure. Conditions included heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, depression and asthma.
In a double-blinded process, each reviewer examined two Wikipedia articles each to identify assertions of fact and then cross-referenced the assertions against a peer-reviewed source, published or updated within the last five years.
Alzheimer’s Australia Vic has proudly launched its first online learning resource today at the fourth biannual Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Dementia meeting at Parliament House.
The launch of Dementia Learning Online, focusing on carer education, was co-convened by Georgie Crozier MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Jenny Mikakos MP, Shadow Minister for Seniors & Ageing.
An innovative and interactive learning environment, Dementia Learning Online aims to achieve practice improvement in the workplace among residential and community carers who play a key role in the lives of people living with dementia.
SAI Global has revealed that private equity giant Pacific Equity Partners has approached it with a $1.1 billion takeover offer, and dumped its chief executive on a dramatic morning for the standards and risk management group.
SAI told the market on Monday morning that it has received the “unsolicited, indicative, conditional and non-binding” proposal from PEP, valuing the company at $5.10 to $5.25.
SAI shares last traded at $4.28.
The company said that the board is yet to form a view about the takeover but says it is “open to engagement with PEP to determine whether a binding proposal” can be developed.
After a particularly bad restaurant meal, you may be moved to post a review on the website Yelp, warning other diners. But now someone else is listening in: New York City health officials, who may try to track you down if you complain that the meal made you sick.
The federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on Thursday saying that the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had completed a pilot project that used Yelp reviews to help identify unreported outbreaks of food-borne illness.
Using a software program developed by Columbia University, city researchers combed through 294,000 Yelp reviews for restaurants in the city over a period of nine months in 2012 and 2013, searching for words like "sick","vomit" and "diarrhea", along with other details. After investigating those reports, the researchers substantiated three instances when 16 people had been sickened. Those people had eaten the house salad, shrimp and lobster cannelloni, and macaroni and cheese spring rolls at three restaurants that the agencies are not identifying.
While the full implications of the Federal health budget are yet to unfold, and many of us are still pouring over the details of the PCEHR Review released this week, some messages from the Government are coming through loud and clear.
There is a strong focus on workforce productivity, which HISA welcomes. Health Workforce Australia will be replaced by a Health Productivity Commission. Workforce productivity requires expert digital health, technology development and innovation all of which are abundant in our HISA member organisations.
We need to significantly improve the productivity of our healthcare system so that no one misses out. E-health can deliver those productivity gains by making sure healthcare professionals have access to the information they need, when they need it and reduce waste in the system.
This isn't a post telling you that you should use a different password for every site, that you should use multi-factor authentication for your email, or that you should use a password manager to store strong passwords. You should do those. (And you should eat less dessert, exercise more and call your mother.)
This is a post to share two stupid password tricks that will make your online life a little more secure without the (perceived) hassle of those other measures.
The first stupid password trick is a way to improve the "security questions" that sites have you set up in case you need to recover your password. What's your mother's maiden name? What street did you grow up on? Who was your first-grade teacher?