Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th July, 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

A really un-interesting week with virtually no news of any apparent importance in Australian e-Health. However, under the hood, there is a little more going on with industry, academe and consumers all trying to shape just what might be the next direction.
The great pity is that there is a total vacuum of governance and leadership - as witnessed by the dawdling response to the PCEHR Review by Minister Dutton - that is really hampering progress. Pity about that!
Interesting to see how discussion of the future of the NBN and what it will look like continues to rumble on.

Budget Review 2014–15 Index

Dr Rhonda Jolly and Amanda Biggs

E health

Since the 1990s, e health has been increasingly seen by most developed countries as central to the provision of current and future high quality, patient-centred care. Electronic health records, in turn, are considered the cornerstone of e health development.
In seeking to advance the e health agenda at a national level the Rudd Government allocated $466.7 million specifically for the purpose of creating a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) for Australians who chose to ‘opt in’.[1] The PCEHR has been plagued, however, by development problems and criticised by numerous stakeholders since it was first announced in the 2010–11 Budget.

Collate key info on the cloud

1st Jul 2014
Recently there has been an increase in the availability of cloud storage – online storage hosted by a third party that allows the user to access the information from any device with internet connectivity.
Many were introduced to this concept via the PCEHR. Dropbox offers this service.
While not a ‘medical app’, the user can store personal notes, medical references and journal articles and share them.

Electronic Donor Record Enhances Australian Organ and Tissue Donation Processes

Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash has announced a new national clinical information system to streamline organ and tissue donation processes across Australian hospital networks.
Page last updated: 11 July 2014
11 July 2014
Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash today announced a new national clinical information system to streamline organ and tissue donation processes across Australian hospital networks.
Minister Nash said the DonateLife Electronic Donor Record (EDR) was an important step forward to improve information gathering and sharing between hospitals.
“The system will expedite the process of the allocation and assessment of the viability and suitability for organ and tissue acceptance,” Minister Nash said.

The impact of genomics on the future of medicine and health

John S Mattick, Marie A Dziadek, Bronwyn N Terrill, Warren Kaplan, Allan D Spigelman, Frank G Bowling and Marcel E Dinger
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (1): 17-20.
doi:  10.5694/mja13.10920
Precision genomic medicine will have a transformative impact on personal health and wellbeing, health economics and national productivity
In recent years, there has been an extraordinary leap in knowledge of the human genome and its role in health and disease. A decade ago, researchers were tentatively exploring the first reference human genome sequences, which cost over $1 billion to produce.1,2 Now, thousands of genomes from a cross-section of ethnic backgrounds have been sequenced. This explosion of activity has been enabled by unprecedented advances in sequencing technologies that can now sequence a person's entire genome — more than 6000 million bases — in days, at a cost of US$1000,3 with costs expected to fall further in coming years.
Making sense of genomic data requires computational technologies and databases to evolve in parallel with sequencing technologies. Advances in both technologies enable an ever-increasing capacity for accurate diagnosis of existing disease, and development of effective and targeted treatment strategies. They also offer opportunities to assess predisposition to disease, potentially prompting more focused clinical monitoring and lifestyle changes.

3D printed organs come a step closer

Australian and US scientists make major medical breakthrough in printing vascular network
Researchers have overcome a major barrier to them being able to print entire 3D organs.
For years, scientists have been able to “print” types of human tissue using a 3D printer, but in a significant leap forward by US and Australian researchers they can now make that tissue survive on its own.
Until now a major barrier to them moving from printing tiny sheets of tissue to entire 3D organs is that they hadn’t figured out how to develop the blood vessels that provide cells with nutrients and oxygen, and allow them to excrete waste.
This essential process is called “vascularisation” and is necessary if researchers are to ever prevent cells from dying so they can grow large, transplantable organs.

MIT finger device reads to the blind

Date July 10, 2014 - 7:40AM
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.
The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user's finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesised voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.
Reading is as easy as pointing the finger at text. Special software tracks the finger movement, identifies words and processes the information. The device has vibration motors that alert readers when they stray from the script, said Roy Shilkrot, who is developing the device at the MIT Media Lab.

Charmhealth appoints Denis Tebbutt to Board of Directors

Australia’s leading developer and supplier of specialist oncology electronic medical record and clinical information systems, charmhealth, has announced the appointment of Denis Tebbutt to its Board of Directors. Tebbutt joins healthcare IT industry veterans Bryan Wrighton (also a Director) and Gary Lakin (recently appointed as CEO) to complete the team that will lead charmhealth as it grows its core oncology business and expands into new markets.

NEHTA’s future in the hands of COAG: Hambleton

Former AMA president Steve Hambleton intends to play an active role in improving clinical input into eHealth and in influencing the direction of the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) despite the recommendation of the Royle review, of which he was a member, that the organisation be dissolved

The AMT v3 Model Editorial Rules v2.0 is now available to download

Created on Friday, 11 July 2014
The AMT v3 Model Editorial Rules v2.0 can be downloaded from the NEHTA website.

Mobile health device market to grow 800 per cent to $US42bn

The smartphone boom has spurred VC funding for mHealth devices that use mobile apps
Driven by adoption of vital-signs monitoring and in-vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices, the mobile health (mHealth) market will grow eight-fold from $US5.1 billion in 2013 to $US41.8 billion in 2023, according to a new report.
The report, from Lux Research, notes that after a slow start due to regulatory constraints and integration with physician workflows, clinical mHealth devices will overtake and far outpace their consumer counterparts, which include mHealth bracelets that measure physical activity and some vital signs.
July 07, 2014 08:15 ET

MMRGlobal CEO Bob Lorsch Meets With Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and Signs Patent License Agreement With Leading EMR Systems Provider in Australia

LOS ANGELES, CA and SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwired - Jul 7, 2014) - MMRGlobal, Inc. (OTCQB: MMRF), through its wholly owned subsidiary, MyMedicalRecords, Inc. (collectively, "MMR"), and Claydata® today jointly announced the signing of a patent license agreement. Claydata, headed by CEO Joseph Gracé, M.D., is a leading Australian health information technology provider based in Sydney and provides its eHealth products and services to a number of healthcare organizations from over 800 referring doctors, many of which utilize Personal Health Record (PHR) services from Claydata that will fall under the license agreement.

Claydata seals deal with MMR

Fran Foo

Technology Reporter
E-HEALTH provider MyMedicalRecords has inked a patent licensing agreement with Sydney-based health IT solutions provider Claydata.
MyMedicalRecords, a subsidiary of MMRGlobal, said the deal allows Claydata to offer its services to customers with the assurance that end users would not be infringing MMR’s patents.
Last year MMR alleged that the National E-Health Transition Authority, developer of the personally controlled e-health records system, had infringed its patents.

Joint openEHR/FHIR review of Allergy/Intolerance

Posted on July 11, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
“we’re going to do a joint review of the FHIR resources for Allergy/Intolerance (AllergyIntolerance and AdverseReaction), and the openEHR archetype for the equivalent content (openEHR-EHR-EVALUATION.adverse_reaction.v1). The review is going to be done on the openEHR CKM, on a newly prepared archetype that shows the essential content models of the existing archetypes and resources (they’re quite different)”
Well, the review is now open on the openEHR CKM, and will close on 28th July. We invite all interested parties – clinicians, programmers, systems analysts, etc, to contribute to the review. Even if all you contribute is a list of what fields you presently support in your existing system, this is a valuable contribution.

IBM rethinking decades-old computer design with $US3 billion investment

IBM is also looking ahead at a world in which computer chips don't have silicon
IBM will pour $US3 billion into computing and chip materials research over the next five years, as it rethinks computer design and looks to a future that may not involve silicon chips.
The computer design initiative could pave the way for functional quantum and cognitive computers that mimic brain functionality.
"The basic architecture of the computer has remained unchanged since the 1940s. We feel, given the kinds of problems we see today, [that] this is the time to start looking for new forms of computing," said Supratik Guha, director of physical sciences for IBM Research.
Silicon design has stalled and the ability to shrink chips is reaching its limit. IBM is looking at graphene, carbon nanotubes and other materials to replace silicon in computers, and will try to develop chips that can be scaled down to the atomic level.

Hot copper: Bell Labs attains 10Gbps broadband speeds

Test proves copper can deliver 1Gbps symmetrical broadband, says Alcatel Lucent
Bell Labs, the research arm of networking company Alcatel-Lucent, has achieved broadband speeds of 10 gigabits per second over copper phone lines, setting a new record. The test demonstrates how existing copper networks can be used to deliver 1Gbps symmetrical broadband, according to Alcatel-Lucent.
It’s a feather in the cap for proponents of fibre-to-the-node, which relies on copper for the 'last mile' connection to premises. In Australia, the Coalition government has pushed FTTN as the main technology for delivering the National Broadband Network.
NBN Co has previously purchased VDSL2 vectoring technology from Alcatel-Lucent. The government-owned company is currently conducting large-scale FTTN testing in conjunction with Telstra.

The NBN is now an acquisition

July 7, 2014
The negotiations between the government and Telstra about the national broadband network have become, in effect, a wrangle over the price for the re-nationalisation of Telstra’s core assets.
Oh, the irony. The Labor government decided to build the fibre-to-the-home NBN only after Telstra’s then chief executive, Sol Trujillo, refused to bid for the right to build a fibre-to-the-node network, which was Labor’s original plan.
Telstra’s recalcitrance meant the FTTN plan collapsed. Rather than give up, communications minister Stephen Conroy decided to double down and go the whole hog -- FTTH -- instead.
Now we’re back to FTTN under a new communications minister, and this time Telstra, under a new chief executive, is selling. The company has accepted structural separation and the reality that it will no longer be in the infrastructure business.

NBN rejigs contracts to fix roll-out

Mitchell Bingemann

Annabel Hepworth

THE NBN Co is radically revamping the billion-dollar construction contracts it awards to companies to build the National Broadband Network and will soon introduce a new range of incentives and penalties in a bid to slash delays in connecting consumers to the mammoth infrastructure project.
Speaking to The Australian to mark his 100th day on the job as chief of the NBN Co, Bill Morrow said the company was devising a new model for its construction contracts which would for the first time encourage major delivery partners to increase their permanent workforce and rely less on subcontracting forces.
The new contracting model will also introduce performance-based financial incentives and penalties as well as a standardised connection method to ensure consumers can order NBN services when they are actually ready.

‘Labor’s NBN’ to reach majority

Rosie Lewis

THE company cha­rged with ­delivering Australia high-speed broadband could still provide fibre-to-the-premises to more than 80 per cent of homes, despite the government’s pre-election preference for a fibre-to-the-node network.
NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow told a senate committee hearing neither the government nor voters would be “upset” if 80 per cent or 90 per cent of customers received broadband through fibre-to-the premises ­instead of fibre-to-the-network — provided it was the cheapest.
“We are not giving up on fibre-to-the-prem, I’ve heard no one say fibre-to-the-prem is bad,” he said. “ It’s just more costly than fibre-to-the-node in the analysis that was done that I’ve trusted and (am) running with.

It's confirmed: Voyager 1 is in interstellar space

The NASA Voyager 1 spacecraft is confirmed to be traveling in interstellar space after onboard sensors and detectors found an abundance of interstellar cosmic rays and the spacecraft was hit with coronal mass ejections from the Sun.
 Voyager Captures Sounds of Interstellar Space NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
 The Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched from Earth in 1977, is the furthest human-made spacecraft from Earth. It is just over 19 billion kilometers from Earth. Find a much more accurate distance from NASA's Where are the Voyagers? (

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