Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 21st 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

Another quiet week with the big news that there is to be some consultation between many stakeholders and Deloittes on the future of the PCEHR. Will be very interesting to see where this points and how deep a dive the consultation actually takes and how searching the questions asked of stakeholders will be.
Enjoy browsing the articles!

Realising the benefits of eMM at St Vincent’s

St Vincent’s Hospital, a 320-bed facility in inner Sydney, has had significant success with its electronic medications management system, based around CSC’s proprietary MedChart software.
According to Kate Richardson, a pharmacist in eMedicines Management at St Vincents, the system has proven successful since it was installed in 2005, nine years ago.
“The main reason we put it in is because of safety,” she says. “And it’s in terms of safety that we have seen the main benefits accrue from the system. 

Late discharge letters frustrate GPs

16 July, 2014 Michael Woodhead
The frustration GPs feel over late-arriving hospital discharge letters is justified, according to a new study that shows tardy communication impairs patient management.
Researchers in WA have measured the additional burden created by delayed discharge letters, finding that GPs are unable to adequately manage a discharged patient's problems until they receive the all-important discharge information.
The study showed that a timely but brief discharge letter was preferable to a longer letter that arrived after a discharged patient had attended their GP.
And delayed discharge letters often meant that patients had to revisit their GP.

Novartis says Google’s smart lens is part of key growth area in health

  • Andrew Morse
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • July 16, 2014 10:10AM
GOOGLE has joined forces with drug company Novartis to work on a smart contact lens that monitors blood-sugar levels and corrects vision in a new way, the latest in a series of technology products designed to monitor body functions.
The two companies said Novartis’s Alcon eye-care division would license and commercialise “smart lens” technology designed by Google[x], a development team at the search engine giant. Financial details of the partnership weren’t provided.
The smart lenses, which Google unveiled in January, are part of a growing number of wearable technology and software products used to monitor health and fitness. Last month, Google debuted its Google Fit platform to track health metrics, such as sleep and exercise, on devices running its Android mobile operating system. Apple unveiled a similar platform called HealthKit.
The lenses contain a tiny sensor that relays data on glucose contained in tears via an equally tiny antenna. In a news release earlier this year, Google described the electronics in the lenses as being “so small they look like bits of glitter” and said the antenna is thinner than human hair.

Start-up DoseMe adds a measure of medical safety

Fran Foo

Technology Reporter
BRISBANE technology start-up DoseMe is on the cusp of cracking the global market for safer medical prescriptions, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
DoseMe has developed software for medical professionals that can prevent overdosing in individual patients, potentially saving lives. It is estimated that one in 10 general admissions around the world are because of adverse drug events.
DoseMe comes in the form of an iOS app but also works on the web and has a mobile site. It creates a personalised dosing profile that ensures medication is prescribed accurately by medical practitioners.
The platform can be used for 13 medications across four therapeutic areas: anti-microbial, chemotherapy, anti-coagulants and pro-coagulants.

Guide to Health Informatics 3rd Edition

July 15, 2014
It’s now almost 20 years since I started to write the first edition, and over 10 years since I wrote the second. I’m very happy to announce that the text for the updated third edition is now completed and is being sent off to the publisher for them to do their magic.
The book will come both in paper and e-book editions, and is already available for pre-order on Amazon, and presumably other bookstores. The book is showing a September release date but I am not sure if this is going to slip or not.

#FHIR Connectathon 7, Chicago Sept 13-14

Posted on July 19, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
We will be holding the next FHIR connectathon in Chicago on Sept 13/14 associated with the HL7 Plenary Meeting. Once again, anyone interested in implementing FHIR is welcome to attend.

Pap smear reminder system fails

11 July, 2014 Michael Woodhead
Almost a thousand women and their GPs in Queensland are being contacted after the Pap Smear Register failed to send out reminders about follow-up tests for low-grade abnormalities.
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said a problem with the register's automatic mailing system meant that 980 women who had a Pap smear with a low-grade abnormality did not receive a reminder letter to have a follow-up
Dr Young (pictured) said the Pap Smear Register was "merely a back-up reminder system" that only sent a follow-up letter if a test result was not received.
"GPs and other Pap smear providers have primary responsibility for following up with their patient as they are advised directly by pathology companies of the outcome of their patient's results," she said.

Nominations for IHTSDO Standing Committees

Created on Wednesday, 16 July 2014
As the official Australian member of the IHTSDO, NEHTA is inviting expressions of interest from Australian clinical informaticians to be nominated as independent experts on the IHTSDO Standing Committees.
The four Standing Committees advise the Management Board on the development and maintenance of SNOMED CT. We are looking for candidates for the following Standing Committees this year:
  • Content 
  • Implementation and Education
  • Quality Assurance
  • Technical
For application forms and more information please email

Practice kept medical records in garden shed

15th Jul 2014
A MELBOURNE medical practice that stored nearly 1000 patients’ records in a garden shed has escaped the threat of prosecution and heavy fines because of the timing of the offence.
The Pound Road Medical Centre (PRMC) kept the paper records of about 960 patients in a locked garden shed at its former site in Narre Warren South from around October 2012 until an intruder broke into the structure in November 2013. 
The Australian privacy commissioner opened an investigation in December 2013, after media reports revealed that boxes of medical records had been compromised at the site.
In an announcement today, Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim noted the seriousness of the breach because of the sensitive personal information in the records, including patients’ full name, address, date of birth, Medicare number and treatment details.

Practice stored medical records in garden shed

15 July, 2014 Antonio Bradley
A practice that stored 960 patient records in a garden shed is in trouble with the Privacy Commission after burglars broke in and raided the private material.
Melbourne's Pound Road Medical Centre moved the files into the shed in 2012, so it could renovate its old premises in order to sell it.
But the records were still there a year later, in November 2013, when burglars broke into the shed, gaining access to the patients' names, addresses and dates of birth, along with the results of medical investigations, discharge summaries and correspondence with other practitioners.

Financial System Inquiry recommends mandatory data breach notification

Report says mandatory notifications could help Australians regain control over personal information
A Financial System Inquiry has recommended the adoption of mandatory data breach notification in Australia in order to help consumers keep control over their personal and financial information.
According to the Inquiry, which was published today, the growing amount of data stored and used by firms can bring many benefits to consumers, businesses and government agencies.
“However, it also creates the risk of a data breach exposing amounts of sensitive customer information, especially given the increased sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks,” said the report.
Where data breaches involve personal information, there are no mandatory requirements to report the incident to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) or notify affected individuals under the Privacy Act, the report said.

Scientific skinful - health and electronic tattoos

Chris Griffith

Senior Technology Journalist
THESE days we’re used to seeing the extensively tattooed bodies of our pop stars, footballers and Olympians.
In a couple of years, these stars could also be wearing tattoos of a much more advanced sort. Electronic tattoos on different areas of their bodies will collect data about their heartbeat, muscular output, breathing and hydration levels.
And it may be possible for coaches to know at an instant the condition of any player on the ground in real time.
Indeed, the human body may soon mimic the modern car, which uses on-board computers to monitor engine performance and diagnose problems.
Technology journalists invariably are asked to predict “the next big thing” in tech. While wearable devices such as the iWatch and Google’s when-will-they-ever-sell-it Glass spec­tacles are hotly anticipated, my money is on electronic tattoos. They will profoundly enhance our personal capabilities, and monitor everything about our bodies.

Crackdown on doctors’ rorts cost millions

18th Jul 2014
MEDICARE officials have revealed there was no risk system in place to avoid the haemorrhage of millions of dollars in a loss-making crackdown on doctors’ rorts.
An Australian National Audit Office report earlier this year found an expanded four-year Medicare compliance program not only fell $128.3 million short of its savings target but was delivered at a net cost to government.
The Increased Medicare Compliance Audits (IMCA) initiative received funding of $77 million in the 2008–09 budget to step up audits of Medicare providers from 500 per year to 2500. 
While the budget projected the measure would raise $147.2 million, the Department of Human Services identified only $49.2 million in debts and recovered just $18.9 million as a result of Medicare compliance audits between 2008–09 and 2012–13.

Cloud clues to Alzheimer’s

Chris Griffith

Senior Technology Journalist
AUSTRALIAN researchers have developed cloud computing software that interprets brain scans and offers insights into diseases such Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and traumatic brain injuries.
Users soon will be able to upload a scan and within 15 minutes receive a one-page quantitative report showing a diagram of the brain with colour-coded values compared with what’s normal.
“By the time a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be made using current techniques, the patient is likely to be experiencing significant loss of brain function,” Australian research body CSIRO said in a blog post.

AHA applauds cloud service

Jennifer Foreshew

Technology Reporter
ALLIED Health Australia sought a more cost-effective infra­structure that could scale to its ­future needs and free it from the cost of in-house management of equipment.
AHA has provided workplace health and safety support and services to organisations in NSW for more than 15 years.
It works closely with organisations and their employees to ensure injured workers are supported and able to return to their role after workplace incidents. When this is not possible, the group works to find new positions where their skills can be best used.
With a large proportion of staff working in the field, having remote access to a reliable IT infrastructure for case files, medical records and administrative resources was vital.

Allan Fels slams NBN shield

Annabel Hepworth

National Business Correspondent
FORMER competition chief Allan Fels has slammed a key legal shield for the $41 billion ­National Broadband Network as “the biggest anti-competitive ­arrangement ever in Australia”.
In a submission to the government’s review of competition policy, Professor Fels takes aim at the high-speed network having exemption to aspects of the Competition and Consumer Act.
“This has no part in competition law,” the submission says.
“It is the biggest anti-competitive arrangement ever in Australia, as far as I can see. A competition committee needs to review this. It cannot go down in history as having turned a blind eye to this.”

NBN: Lengthy wait for outcomes of FTTB, FTTN trials

So far no end users connected via FTTN
The outcomes of NBN Co's trials of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology will shape the future of the National Broadband Network rollout, but what exactly those outcomes are won't be known for quite some time, according to the government-owned company's CEO.
No end users have been connected in NBN Co's trials of FTTN technology, the company's executives revealed today at a hearing of the Senate's NBN committee .
It's also "early days" for NBN Co's trial of fibre-to-the-building technology, according to Bill Morrow, although there are end users on the network connected via FTTB. NBN Co has been running the FTTB trial in conjunction with iiNet, M2, Optus and Telstra in eight high-rise buildings in Melbourne.

Leaked 'Windows 9' screenshot shows new start menu

Date July 15, 2014 - 10:03AM

Pete Pachal

We know that at some point in the future, Microsoft will bring the Start menu back to Windows. What we don't know is when, but some leaked screenshots of a future version of Windows might offer a clue.
Screenshots allegedly showing the new Start menu have leaked on an internet forum. The menu looks similar, but not identical, to what Microsoft showed publicly at its Build developer conference in April.
The size and format of the menu is the same, but the tiles themselves are different, suggesting the image was generated by an early build of the new Windows.

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