Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 25th August, 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

Quite an interesting week - even excluding the excitement of legal letters etc.
Good to see a review of what Telstra is up to as well as useful analysis of what we need from e-Health Standards.
The article on the use of evidence based guidelines is important. This is something e-Health applications should be integrating as fast as they can to assist in this domain.
The exploitation of the Heartbleed issue as regards health records is an important canary in the coalmine I suspect.

Just what the doctor ordered for Telstra

Telstra’s glowing results may have stunned investors last week, but not enough to shrug off questions about the telco’s future avenues for growth.
Eyes are firmly fixed on Telstra’s burgeoning cash pool, its renewed appetite for niche technology acquisitions and its Asia-focused international division that posted a 63 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue last year.
But the focus on Telstra’s core competencies has seen many overlook an interesting little project that's been bubbling away on the side: its eHealth division.
The eHealth department hasn't been operating for long, but as last week's results showed, it earned a modest $40 million in its first year alone. That’s just pocket change for Telstra, which reported a grand total income of $26.3 billion in FY14, but it's a start nonetheless.

Desiderata for successful e-health standards

Recent Changes

20/08/2014 – added stability, industry-acceptable licensing
19/08/2014 – initial writing


This page discusses the question of evaluating e-health standards for longevity.
Over the last 20 years many attempts have been made to solve the wicked problem of health data interoperability, and more recently, ‘semantic’ versions of the same. The problem to be solved is essentially:
  • semantic interoperability across and within enterprises,
  • semantic interoperability between layers of functionality within a system,
  • with an ultimate aim of being able to compute intelligently on the data
A much larger list of concrete needs can be constructed from this abstract description. Solving these challenges would result in great advances for:
  • shared care, community care, since health records can be not just shared but treated as a single point of truth
  • individualised, preventive medicine, since semantically computable EHR data are amenable to automated evaluation of clinical guidelines
  • medical research, since data would be far more computable, and more data per patient could be aggregated from multiple sources
  • public health, since aggregation of computable data of large numbers of patients will clearly enable epidemiological functions as well as routine health statistics
  • cost determination, re-imbursement, fraud detection and better management of public and private payer funds.

US hospital breach biggest yet to exploit Heartbleed bug

Date August 21, 2014
Hackers who stole the personal data of about 4.5 million patients of hospital group Community Health Systems broke into the company's computer system by exploiting the "Heartbleed" internet bug, making it the first known large-scale cyber attack using the flaw, according to a security expert.
The hackers, taking advantage of the pernicious vulnerability that surfaced in April, got into the system by using the Heartbleed bug in equipment made by Juniper Networks, David Kennedy, chief executive of TrustedSec, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Kennedy said that multiple sources familiar with the investigation into the attack had confirmed that Heartbleed had given the hackers access to the system.

Help For Patients Booking Appointments Online

Next release to launch built-in online appointments
The Medical Director and PracSoft Summer update will bring a host of great features and benefits to Australian practices. Amongst the features is the announcement of an online appointment module integrated into PracSoft.
Not only does this feature allow practices the flexibility to offer their patients online appointments in a secure environment, it smoothly integrates directly into Pracsoft.

Making Sense Of ResMed's New Platform

BY BEN MACNEVIN - 22/08/2014
ResMed Inc (ASX: RMD) has launched its new flow generator platform, the AirSense 10, and first impressions are positive.
Informatics, or the collection of useful data, is the next step in the value chain for manufacturers of sleep apnoea devices. Funding by Government agencies and private insurers is becoming increasingly dependent upon patient compliance, so in order to remain competitive, the manufacturers must provide as much information as they can to suppliers and users.
The AirSense 10 platform is being marketed as an end-to-end solution, which will not only help suppliers effectively maintain their patient relationships, but also provide greater control for patients to manage their own therapy. For instance, the machine can diagnose mask failures and alert the user to order a new one.
ResMed is hoping that the platform will provide such a compelling package that it will be an easy decision for doctors to prescribe to patients. ResMed also considers that the “informatics” features of the AirSense 10 will prove more economical for suppliers than their lower-priced competitors.

Subpoenas threatening patient privacy

21st Aug 2014
DIRT-DIGGING subpoenas that force GPs to turn over patient records or potentially face jail are threatening the doctor-patient relationship and influencing the way that some GPs practice.
A study published in Australasian Psychiatry said lawyers are being granted unfettered access to psychiatric records, particularly to “dig up dirt” in family law and civil proceedings.
Study co-author Dr Yvonne Skarbek, a psychiatrist, said GPs faced the same threat. “We’ve seen the increased practice of ‘wide scope’ subpoenas, where each doctor’s record is subpoenaed with devastating consequences in terms of loss of trust.”
GP Dr Stan Doumani has practised in Weston, ACT, since 1978 and reckons he gets subpoenaed about once a month.

Australian IT managers 'unaware of privacy laws'

A new study shows that extent to which Australian IT decision makers have not acted on recent changes to Australian privacy laws.
Many organisations in Australia are uncertain of how they should be managing their data without risk, four months after the changes to the Australian Privacy Principles were introduced.
Despite claiming to be aware of the changes, over 70% of Australian IT decision makers seek third party guidance on management of their data. The findings are contained in a white paper commissioned by NTT Communications ICT Solutions (NTT ICT) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and researched by IDC Australia.

Australian start-up takes on Intel to care for Parkinson’s

Jessica Gardner
A Melbourne medical start-up that has developed a wearable device to care for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease says it is not scared of technology giant Intel moving into the burgeoning market.
Global Kinetics Corporation has already pierced annual sales of $1 million for its wristband device that monitors the tremors of Parkinson’s sufferers using similar technology that devices like Fitbits use to measure how well users are sleeping or how much exercise they are doing.
Managing director Andrew Maxwell said the company had approval to sell its device, the Parkinson’s KinetiGraph or PKG, in Australia and Europe and was expecting clearance from the US regulator soon.

Ignored guidelines costing millions: NHMRC

19 August, 2014 Michael Woodhead
Clinical guidelines often fail to make the grade and sit on shelves unread, a scathing report from the NHMRC suggests.
Australia has hundreds of clinical guidelines costing up to $1.6 million apiece to draw up, but many are not fit for purpose, according to a review from the body that sets the standards for guidelines.
In its 2014 Annual Report on Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines, the NHMRC found there were “ongoing serious and systemic problems in the way guidelines are funded and developed in Australia”.
Problems identified by the agency in more than 1000 sets of guidelines include failure to reveal funding sources and conflicts of interest, lack of information on the review processes, and the lack of plans to disseminate and implement the guidelines.

Death certificate delays cause angst for families

Date August 18, 2014

Kim Arlington

There have been dealys in the issuing of death certificates. Photo: Peter Stoop
Grieving families have been unable to administer estates, sell property or pay for funerals after a system upgrade at the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages caused long delays in issuing death certificates.
Certificates are usually obtained in about two weeks. But since the registry’s new business operating system was launched on June 23, some people were told they could wait up to 10 weeks, preventing them from finalising the affairs of their late loved ones.
John Kaus, the executive secretary of the Funeral Directors’ Association of NSW, said the system had caused ‘‘massive delays’’ for families and funeral homes and an increasing number of errors on the documents. Without a death certificate many families could not be granted probate, access bank or utilities accounts or settle funeral expenses, he said.

Griffith diabetes group to meet with MLHD over future support options

Wed 20 Aug 2014, 7:11am
The head of the Australian Diabetes Council's Griffith branch says it makes economic sense to reinstate outreach clinics in the city.
For 20 years, Doctor Dennis Yue provided regular clinics in Griffith for people with complex diabetes, but since his retirement last October, there has only been one.
The Council's Griffith branch president, Tom Marriott, has organised a public meeting this afternoon with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District's Doctor Elizabeth Harford to discuss the issue.
Mr Marriott says it is in the state government's interest to provide the support.
I think the clinics as they were under Doctor Yue, I doubt that's going to happen. I think there are other things that might happen. There's e-health, having consultations via Skype is an option, which is very good for people in outlying areas.

Unhealthy haste? What are the implications of outsourcing Medicare, PBS claims and services?

| Aug 19, 2014 7:07PM | EMAIL | PRINT
Less than two weeks ago the Federal Government called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from the private sector to provide claims and payment services for Medicare (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), a $29 billion operation currently managed by the Department of Human Services. The EOI closes this Friday, 22 August.
Such a privatisation not only poses major implications for public sector jobs but looks like a major step towards dismantling Medicare as a public system. It has yet to be subject to public discussion.
Health Minister Peter Dutton issued a statement, justifying the move (raised originally by the Commission of Audit) on the grounds of cutting red tape and the need for a substantial upgrade of DHS IT systems.

Draft paper to address NBN spectrum gaps

Stuart Kennedy

Editor, Technology Sydney
THE Coalition has moved a step closer to building out more fixed wireless NBN connections for people on city fringes to fill in a “spectrum gap” created by an NBN Co capacity underestimation.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has released an exposure draft for public consultation on a potential directive to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to enable NBN Co to acquire 3.5GHz spectrum for fixed wireless in metro areas.
NBN Co uses fixed wireless broadband mainly in regional areas where it is too expensive to roll out either fibre to the home or fibre to the node.
The draft direction relates back to a review of the NBN’s satellite and fixed wireless rollout released in May. This review found that NBN Co had underestimated, by about 200,000 premises, the number of connections needed in the NBN’s non fixed-line footprint that includes satellite and wireless.

New sensor technology to prevent future falls

  • August 23, 2014 8:00PM
  • Amanda Bennett
  • Herald Sun
FALLS among the elderly could become a thing of the past, with the development of a new Melbourne-based technology aimed at preventing future falls.
Phil Goebel and his team at Quanticare Technologies are testing a sensor system, which attaches to walking frames, that tracks how well an older person is walking and monitoring any changes.
The senior’s caregivers and healthcare providers can view the data recorded by the system to predict and then prevent the incidence of falls.
Mr Goebel began developing the idea last November after graduating from a doctor of physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne, before forming Quanticare Technologies in April.

Indigenous health pioneers shared services

Galambila Aboriginal Health Service covers are large geographical area between Coffs Harbour and Forster on the NSW North Coast. Officially it’s made up of four regional health services covering eight clinics, as well as an aged care service and child welfare officers, but the way it operates from a technological perspective is unique.
Instead of each of the four services operating its own IT set up, they have combined into a single shared-service solution, says Jon Rolph, Galambila’s IT manager.
“This allows us to do things other services can’t do,” he says. “For example, we’re able to look at monthly comparative health data across the eight clinics, rather than just a single clinic.”

Malcolm Turnbull's Happy With This FTTN Speed Test On The 'New' NBN

Peter Terlato Aug 22, 2014, 10:32 AM
The National Broadband Network (NBN) has connected the first fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) users and Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull has expressed his satisfaction with pilot program’s initial results.
A handful of Umina homes have participated in the first tests of the new network, Yahoo!7 reports.
Turnbull posted a screenshot on Twitter which displays the upload/download speeds of a computer connected to the NBN FTTN network in Umina, on NSW’s Central Coast. It’s getting 95 Mbps down the pipe – that’s fast. A standard ADSL2+ connection has a theoretical maximum speed of about 20Mbps.

Microsoft to deliver Windows 'Threshold' tech preview around late September

Summary: Microsoft is aiming to make available a technology preview of Windows Threshold around late September or early October.
By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft | August 15, 2014 -- 14:10 GMT (00:10 AEST)
Microsoft is aiming to deliver a "technology preview" of its Windows "Threshold" operating system by late September or early October, according to multiple sources of mine who asked not to be named. 
And in a move that signals where Microsoft is heading on the "servicability" front, those who install the tech preview will need to agree to have subsequent monthly updates to it pushed to them automatically, sources added.
Threshold is the next major version of Windows that is expected to be christened "Windows 9" when it is made available in the spring of 2015. Threshold is expected to include a number of new features that are aimed at continuing to improve Windows' usability on non-touch devices and by those using mice and keyboards alongside touch.

Toothless 'dragon' pterosaurs once ruled the skies

Date August 20, 2014 - 2:52PM

Amina Khan

Ancient winged reptiles called pterosaurs were so successful they ruled earth's skies for tens of millions of years, according to a study published in the journal ZooKeys.
The fearsome flyers, part of a family of pterosaurs named Azhdarchidae, get their name from azdarha, the Persian word for "dragon".
Unlike earlier pterosaurs, they had no teeth, and they dominated from late in the Cretaceous period (about 90 million years ago) until the extinction event that also killed off the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago.

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