Monday, August 04, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th 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

To me the most interesting thing is that we see a renewed amount of activity in academic e-Health with Macquarie University taking out the largest e-Health research group and Sydney University advertising for new Professor and associated e-Health group. Straws in the wind? I wonder.
Other than that a lot more than usual seems to be happening - but the response to the PCEHR review is still some way off apparently. Time will tell!

Warning on ‘ID card by stealth’

Fran Foo

Technology Reporter -Sydney
PRIVACY advocates have warned the Abbott government not to adopt a key electronic health review recommendation which it believes could lead to the introduction of an “Australia card by stealth”.
The Royle review has called for, among other recommendations, the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health records system to switch from an opt-in service to opt-out.
This would mean everyone would automatically have an e-health record comprising personal details, whether they wanted one or not.
Australian Privacy Foundation health sub-committee chair Juanita Fernando said she saw no proper justification for an opt-out scheme except the introduction of an identity card.

New e-health dashboard helps GPs benchmark performance

Healthcare professionals will be able to access real time feedback graphs, identify areas where improvements need to be made to systems or practice, and track the results of improvements made
A new dashboard for e-health measures has been developed to help GPs benchmark their performance in primary healthcare against others nationally.
The dashboard was developed by the Improvement Foundation (IF), a not-for-profit healthcare consultancy and training organisation, in consultation with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), Australian Medicare Local Alliance (AMLA) and other healthcare practitioners.
The dashboard that displays the measures has been made available in IF’s free online portal qiConnect. Healthcare professionals will be able to access real time feedback graphs, identify areas where improvements need to be made to systems or practice, and track the results of improvements made.

Macquarie ’acquires’ UNSW research team

Julie Hare

Higher Education Editor - Sydney
SYDNEY is fast becoming an epicentre for the relocation of entire research teams as Macquarie University last week acquired the 75-strong Australian Institute of Health Innovation from the University of NSW.
While Macquarie’s deputy vice-chancellor Sakkie Pretorius says it did not poach the team — it approached Macquarie — UNSW was last week refusing to comment on the loss of its high-profile institute which specialises in health-systems, e-health and patient safety.
“The AIHI approached Macquarie University about joining us,” said Professor Pretorius in an email. “We think that’s a wonderful compliment and a sign of growing recognition of Macquarie University’s emergence as a major force in medicine and health.”

Blue sky talk stirs interest in NZ’s Orion Health float

Edited by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Gretchen Friemann
Another day, another cloud-based software initial public offering contender. This time it is New Zealand’s Orion Health, with brokers First NZ Capital/Credit Suisse and Deutsche Craigs on board to handle the listing.
The two banks took Orion to meet potential investors earlier this month, in round one of pre-marketing for a potential $100 million raising and $500 million float.
The company is expected to seek a primary listing in New Zealand with a secondary listing on the ASX.

Patients who use health apps stay healthier

Date July 28, 2014
WASHINGTON: Your smartphone is not only your best friend, it has also become your personal trainer, coach, medical lab and maybe even your doctor.
"Digital health" has become a key focus for the technology industry, from modest start-ups' focus on apps to the biggest companies in the sector seeking to find ways to address key issues of health and wellness.
Apps that measure heart rate, blood pressure, glucose and other bodily functions are multiplying, while Google, Apple and Samsung have launched platforms that make it easier to integrate medical and health services.

‘Big data’ can help take pressure off ageing system

Diane Watson
Healthcare systems face increasing pressure and the reasons for this are widely understood. The rising expectations of ageing populations in advanced economies, increasing numbers of patients with chronic and complex conditions and the ever-increasing costs of treatments are encouraging health system managers to seek efficiencies and better ways of working.
Shortages, whether of medicines or money, beds or workers, are no stranger to hospital and health system managers throughout the developed world. But there is no shortage of a commodity that, properly used and with full privacy protections in place, can show us where these efficiencies can be found. This commodity is data, and thanks to the technology revolution of the past 20 years, it is in plentiful supply.
Although impressive efforts have already been made to turn some of Australia’s data into information that health system managers can use, there remains much untapped potential for data to be used in innovative ways to drive health service efficiencies locally. Only more recently have data from different jurisdictions been combined to allow all public hospitals and local communities to compare their performance with that of their peers right across the country. Recent analyses using big data techniques – which have been made possible by the huge leaps in computing power and data storage – have revealed where investments to improve care will yield the highest return.

Data to be released to expiring bodies

Sean Parnell

Health Editor - Brisbane
CONFIDENTIAL information that has the potential to improve local health services will finally be handed over to state and territory governments — three years after it was promised by Kevin Rudd.
Under the National Health Reform Agreement, the government promised to give the states “reasonable access to Local Hospital Network level and Medicare Local level health and ageing data about commonwealth programs”.
The data was considered ­crucial to the states’ planning, structuring and funding of public hospital services, and also vital to forming links between Medicare Local GP and hospital networks.

Semantically Aligned Design Principles At Core of Australian Electronic Health Records Platform

By Jennifer Zaino on July 30, 2014 9:13 AM
At the upcoming Semantic Technology & Business Conference in San Jose, Dr. Terry Roach, principal of  CAPSICUM Business Architects, and Dr. Dean Allemang, principal consultant at Working Ontologist, will host a session on A Semantic Model for an Electronic Health Record (EHR). It will focus on Australia’s electronic-Health-As-A-Service  (eHaas) national platform for personal electronic health records, provided by the CAPSICUM semantic framework for strategically aligned business architectures.
Roach and Allemang participated in an email interview with The Semantic Web Blog to preview the topic:
The Semantic Web Blog: Can you put the work you are doing on the semantic EHR model in context: How does what Australia is doing with its semantic framework compare with how other countries are approaching EHRs and healthcare information exchange?

Experts warn over use of health apps

Last updated 05:00, August 3 2014
It's a hypochondriac's nightmare. And what's worse it comes with its own health warning.
The explosion of medical apps available to download for iPhones and Android has doubled to 100,000 since 2011 and in the next three years it's predicted half of the world's 3.5 billion smartphone users will have one. But experts are warning consumers to use common sense when downloading health apps.
The mobile health trend has become so important Auckland University of Technology has opened a new e-health centre to bring together its existing research. Centre director Duncan Babbage said New Zealand is a world leader when it comes to IT in health and the biggest beneficiaries will be people living in remote rural areas and those with mental illness.

Associate professor or professor in ehealth

REFERENCE NO. 970/0414
The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney is the largest and most comprehensive grouping of researchers and teachers in allied health in Australia. The faculty is a world leader in research and education in the health sciences and allied health. It is committed to research and research-led learning and teaching in a multidisciplinary context.
The faculty is planning to embed eHealth into all professional programs. The goal is for students to be skilled in the methods of delivery of eHealth care using appropriate technology in a rapidly changing health care environment. Information technology is widely used to support clinical decision-making and is increasingly used in enhancing the coordination of quality health care.

Aus looks at opt-out for national EPR

25 July 2014   Linda Davidson
Australia is to consider moving to an opt-out approach to for its Personally Controlled eHealth Record scheme, according to the country’s top health chief information officer.
The data sharing project, which is currently opt-in, began in July 2012 when patients could register to get access to their own health records.
The Australian government has spent more than £550m on the scheme since it began, but uptake has been slow. In its first year, fewer than 5,000 individual providers and 400,000 people signed up.

Whitepaper: Realising Benefits from eMedications Management (eMM) benefits

eMedications Management is an important facet of eHealth yet to be fully realised. It’s a complex area with the potential to deliver significant benefits in terms of health outcomes, health system savings and national productivity.
The recent recommendation to move to an opt-out model for the PCEHR is dependent on the inclusion of minimum viable record that includes current medications.
CHIK Services has released a shared vision, lessons learnt and value map for eMM (eMedications Management) in hospital settings.

Supply Chain - Purchase Order Response Message MIG

Created on Friday, 01 August 2014
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) wishes to advise that an updated version of the eProcurement Message Implementation Guidelines is now available for download (uploaded 31 July) from the following location on the NEHTA website.
Release Rationale
This incremental release updates the Description/Comments row in GS1 XML Purchase Order Response – Message Implementation Guidelines Section 4.18 Substitute Product Identifier.

See eHealth and the PCEHR in action at HIC 2014 in Melbourne

Created on Friday, 01 August 2014
NEHTA is exhibiting at the Health Informatics Conference (HIC) from 11-14 August 2014 at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne.  HIC is The Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) annual conference.
GP software vendors Genie, Best Practice, Communicare and Medical Director will be demonstrating their software of the personally controlled electronic health record system (eHealth record system) at the NEHTA booth (booth 59) in the exhibition hall at the PCEHR showcase area. There will also be a demonstration by Chamonix of the Healthcare Identifier and PCEHR System (HIPS) software and a breakfast showcasing the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT).  NEHTA authors, maintains and distributes the Australian Medicines Terminology, a nationally agreed standard medication language. 

#FHIR CDA Position Statement & Roadmap: Joint Statement with Lantana

Posted on August 1, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
Lantana Consulting Group invited me to take part in the Spring CDA Academy after the HL7 Working meeting in Phoenix in May, which I enjoyed greatly. While I was there, we spent some time discussing the relationship between CDA and FHIR, both where things are today, and where we think they should be.
This is a pretty important subject, and from the beginning of our work on FHIR, one of the most common questions that we have been asked about FHIR is “what about CDA?”. Sometime, we get asked a more specific question:  “What does Lantana think about FHIR?”.

New guide aims to remove the drama of reporting software flaws

Bugcrowd worked with a legal firm, CipherLaw, to develop the framework
Handling a software flaw can be messy, both for a security researcher who found it and for the company it affects. But a new set of guidelines aims to make that interaction less mysterious and confrontational.
Large companies such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo have well defined "responsible disclosure" policies that lay out what is expected of researchers if they find a vulnerability and often the terms under which a reward will be paid.
But many companies don't, which can lead to problems and confusion. Security researchers have occasionally been referred to law enforcement even when they have been up front about the issue with a company.

Queensland ambos seek iPad-based forms

Part of strategy to move to iPad based forms
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has issued an invitation to offer (IOT) for the delivery of an electronic ambulance form that allows paramedics to record patient care information on iPads at the scene of the accident.
QAS provides emergency services to more than 4.1 million people in Queensland. Approximately 2,780 paramedics are employed by the service. In 2012 QAS handled 833,000 cases and responded to 160,000 triple zero calls.
According to IOT documents, QAS rolled out the Victorian Ambulance Clinical Information System (VACIS) electronic ambulance report form to QAS paramedics across Queensland in 2006.

Google's next frontier: What it means to be healthy

Google X teams with Duke, Stanford to spot early turn from health to disease
What makes people healthy?
That's a question researchers at Google X, along with scientists at Duke University and Stanford University, are looking to answer.
Google has launched a new project, dubbed the Baseline Study, that seeks to develop a greater understanding of what it means to be healthy.
"Most research studies focus on a particular disease. We're going to study health. We want to understand what it means to be healthy, down to the molecular and cellular level," the company noted in a release. "We think this could someday yield powerful insights for how diseases are understood, detected, and treated."

Graphic reader for the blind

Jennifer Foreshew

Technology Reporter Sydney
AUSTRALIAN researchers have developed an affordable digital reading system that allows the blind to read graphics ­information without relying on sighted assistance.
Western Australia’s Curtin University researchers have developed the tool, which could have a production cost as low as $100 for each device.
It can handle the complex issues faced by the vision-impaired when needing to read graphics, graphs, bills, bank statements and more.
The system was developed by senior lecturer Iain Murray and PhD student Azadeh Nazemi of Curtin’s Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering.

All the bottom-line action

July 28, 2014
PowerHealth and Evosys partner to bring Oz activity based costing solution to the Middle East
Australian healthcare costing and billing software vendor PowerHealth Solutions has partnered with technology company Evosys to bring the PowerPerformance Manager activity based costing system to the Middle East. Healthcare spending in the Middle East is expected to increase by 10 percent annually due to population growth and governmental efforts to expand access to care.

NBN looks to slash usage costs

Annabel Hepworth

National Business Correspondent - Sydney

Mitchell Bingemann

Reporter - Sydney
THE National Broadband Network is set to slash a controversial usage charge as its examines ways of stimulating traffic on the taxpayer-funded project.
The Australian has confirmed the NBN Co has sent retail service providers — companies that sell NBN services to consumers — a document proposing an immediate cut to the charge by 12.5 per cent to $17.50 per megabit per second each month for the next two years. The government-controlled NBN Co is also considering a long-term option where it would overhaul the controversial charge it levies for download capacity.
Under the proposal, NBN providers who targeted high-volume customers such as businesses or big users of internet-based television would enjoy a lower unit price on the charge.

When your backup strategy fails

"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" according to Robert Burns, but even when things go seriously awry there can still be a happy ending.
Pro photographer Michael Leadbetter thought he had data protection under control. "After more than 12 years as a photographer, I know you can't afford to mess around. Clients expect you to look after their images. Especially clients with overseas managers coming in."
So when he got home after handling the photography and videography at a corporate conference, he locked the MacBook Air holding the day's work in his safe.

Hackers can tap USB devices in new attacks, researcher warns

Date August 1, 2014

Jim Finkle

USB devices such as keyboards, thumb-drives and mice can be used to hack into personal computers in a potential new class of attacks that evade all known security protections, a top computer researcher has revealed.
Karsten Nohl, chief scientist with Berlin's SR Labs, noted that hackers could load malicious software onto tiny, low-cost computer chips that control functions of USB devices but which have no built-in shields against tampering with their code.
"You cannot tell where the virus came from. It is almost like a magic trick," said Nohl, whose research firm is known for uncovering major flaws in mobile phone technology.

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