Monday, September 08, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 08th September, 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 quiet week with no real news from the Government, at its 1st Anniversary on E-Health. Consultation, as it has been called, is over and now we all await an outcome. I wonder will having a new Secretary of the Department of Health have an impact. He does not have the same vested interest in the PCEHR as Ms Halton did!
Otherwise more news on the NBN, and some interesting feedback on doctor / patient e-mail.

Online CBT could help stop suicides

3 September, 2014 Kate Aubusson
An online CBT program could help combat suicide by effectively treating major depression, Australian researchers say.
Internet-based CBT site ‘This Way Up' not only eased depression but reduced suicidal ideation, found the study of 484 patients.
The prevalence of suicidal ideation dropped from 50% to 27%, while probable major depression dropped from 71% to 28% after treatment, reported the authors at the University of NSW School of Psychiatry.

GP's drug typo leaves man dead

  • AAP
  • September 01, 2014 3:47PM
A DOCTOR and a pharmacist missed eight opportunities to save an elderly New Zealand man who died because a typographical error on his prescription caused him to overdose.
CORONER Christopher Devonport has criticised a Dunedin medical centre and pharmacy for failing to pick up an error on a prescription for the powerful arthritis drug Methotrexate that should have read "3 x weekly", not "3 x daily".
The medical professionals involved - including a GP, a nurse and a pharmacist - missed eight opportunities to correct the lethal mistake that could have saved the life of 72-year-old Kenneth Douglas, Mr Devonport said.

NSW pairs up on ehealth approach

Since starting its official duties on 1 July this year eHealth NSW’s specialised ehealth focus is already demonstrating its value in NSW. 
“It was realised that we needed to work in partnership across a federated system to deliver the applications and infrastructure needed to ensure clinicians could undertake their work effectively and that corporate systems were also delivered functional and on time,” said eHealth NSW chief executive and chief information officer, Michael Walsh, at a recent AIIA presentation in Sydney.
While Walsh focused on the non-clinical aspects, Dr John Lambert, formerly Director of Intensive Care for Western NSW Local Health District in Orange. displayed his understanding and passion for all things clinical and technical after just 7 days in the Chief Clinical Information Officer role. 

La Trobe University Bundoora students develop e-Nurse technology

  • Tessa Hoffman
  • Preston Leader
  • September 02, 2014 12:00AM
THE ‘e-Nurse’ may not possess the milk of human kindness, but its La Trobe University Bundoora inventors say the technology is tipped to revolutionise care for the chronically ill.
Run through wireless mobile phone networks, the e-Nurse enables doctors to monitor patients, view and modify their medical data remotely and connects to a “smart pillbox” which alerts medical professionals and carers when patients do not take their medicine.
The technology, developed by a team of final-year computer and electronic engineering students from La Trobe University’s Bundoora Campus, won the best technical development award and received an overall “highly commended” in Telstra’s 10-week M2M University Challenge for students from across Australia.

Abbott names new chief for health

As the Abbott government approaches its first anniversary in government, the Prime Minister has moved to fill two of the Public Service’s most glaring top level vacancies, announcing new heads for the Department of Health and the Attorney General’s Department.
Martin Bowles PSM will move across town from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to take on the top job at the Department of Health on a five year contract from 13 October 2014, an appointment that backfills the appointment of Jane Halton to head the Department of Finance.

Hackers Are Homing in on Hospitals

Computer criminals are increasingly capturing valuable information stored on hospital computer networks.

Why It Matters

The shift from paper medical records to digital ones brings new security risks.
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the computer networks of hospitals—one recently announced theft involved data from 4.5 million people who had received treatment from Community Health Systems (CHS), a company that runs more than 200 hospitals. Malware attacks are on the rise in many industries, but researchers from the security firm Websense say the rate at which attacks on hospitals has grown during the past year is unparalleled.
Data security is often lax within health-care facilities, and hackers are targeting systems that store troves of valuable personal information held in electronic medical records, according to the Websense researchers, who say they’ve observed a 600 percent increase in attacks on hospitals over the past 10 months.

20 Questions for Health IT

Posted on September 2, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
“20 Questions for Health IT” is a project being run by Chad Johnson from
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2., we will begin publishing one health IT topic per day from 20 different individuals with a deep understanding of the topic. The author of each question was generous enough to stick her or his neck out and pose a short answer to the question in the hopes it will encourage further discussion in the comments section and also on Twitter using the #20HIT tag.
I’m honoured to be one of the 20 individuals. I’ve seen some of the topics that are coming, and it looks like it’s going to be pretty interesting. Hopefully Chad will post a summary for non-twitterers.

To email, or not to email, that is the question

3 September, 2014 Amanda Davey
As a patient, I’d like to be able to email my GP for clinical advice, to request a repeat prescription or to get the lowdown on my test results.
However, my local practice doesn’t seem terribly keen on this idea, which is a shame because email would be so much more convenient for me.
And if done properly, I can’t see why it wouldn’t benefit my doctor as well.
In Australia the general consensus among health professionals is that email makes more work for already hard pressed doctors and threatens patient safety.  And that’s pretty much the thinking in the UK.

Should patients be able to email their GP?

4 September, 2014
Email services are either more convenient for patients and make better use of clinicans' time, or make more work for already hard pressed healthcare professionals and threaten patient safety, argue two doctors in The BMJ this week.
The UK government sees the use of email contact and e-consultations as a means of boosting patient access to primary care and is piloting these services in 20 general practices in England.
Poll Result:
Do you think your patients should be able to email you?
Yes – as an alternative to a follow-up phone call  22.22%   
No – the idea it fills me with dread  76.67%   
Don't know  1.11%   

Young entrepreneur wins technology's iAward for helping kids with cystic fibrosis

Date September 1, 2014

Ben Grubb

Deputy technology editor

A 23-year-old University of Queensland engineering student has been rewarded for his creation of a medical device he hopes will improve the lives of children suffering from respiratory problems, winning the Young Innovator of the Year award at information technology's night of nights in Melbourne.
Much like TV's Logies, the peak Australian technology industry bodies hold an awards night each year, called the iAwards.
I thought I could sit there and write Flappy Bird 2 or I could devote myself to something like this and I [ thought] this was the best use of my skills and the resources I have at hand. 

Privacy breach in release of records to hostile ex-husband

2nd Sep 2014
A MAJOR Sydney hospital breached a patient’s privacy by giving her hostile ex-husband their children’s medical records containing information about her health, a tribunal has found.
The patient, identified only as AJD, has received treatment from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for a serious, chronic illness and also delivered two children at RPA’s maternity wing.
She complained the hospital breached her privacy and made her feel unsafe by handing her former husband the children’s records relating to the time around each of their births, including information describing her health matters as well.
The parents were divorced but retained equal custodial rights and responsibilities for the children.

Healthdirect Australia sees value in open source for security solution

Chief architect Bruce Haefele says it prefers to use open source as it relies on taxpayer funding
Hamish Barwick (Computerworld) on 02 September, 2014 14:15
Commonwealth and state/territory government funded public company, Healthdirect Australia, has used open source software to build an identity and access management (IAM) solution.
The IAM solution allows users to have one identity across all of its websites and applications. For example, users can sign in using their Facebook, LinkedIn or Gmail account.
Healthdirect Australia chief architect Bruce Haefele told Computerworld Australia that a single sign in is important as it runs a number of health advice websites such as pregnancy/baby care for new parents.
“We work with other partners in the [health] industry to make information available that is appropriate for Australians and meets health guidelines. It’s not as random as searching Doctor Google,” he joked.

YouTube no lifesaver

1 September, 2014 
Among the thousands of YouTube educational videos on CPR, only a handful are consistent with recent health guidelines, research shows.
Published in Emergency Medicine Australasia the study finds that YouTube is no substitute for the real thing when it comes to basic life support instruction.
Of the many thousands of videos produced by the search results "CPR", "cardiopulmonary resuscitation", "BLS" and "basic life support", most were excluded for a variety of reasons, including being irrelevant, being recorded in languages other than English and being accompanied by advertisements.

Apple creates privacy rules for HealthKit software

  • Clint Boulton
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • September 01, 2014 7:15AM
APPLE has warned developers that they must not provide advertisers with personal data that they collect from applications built using the company’s health software.
The policy — consistent with the practices of companies such as FitBit — establishes a higher standard of privacy for health monitoring devices.
Apple’s HealthKit software is a key component of it next mobile operating system, iOS8, which is expected to launch next month.
With the user’s permission, HealthKit can integrate with and collect data from any health device or app, and share it with electronic health record software that connects patients with caregivers.

Singapore hospital pilots telehealth for heart patients

Summary: Changi General Hospital launches the country's first tele-heath initiative for heart failure patients, providing them with devices to monitor their health and remotely send the data to healthcare service providers.
By Eileen Yu for By The Way | September 4, 2014 -- 09:49 GMT (19:49 AEST)
A Singapore hospital is piloting the country's first telehealth initiative targeted at heart failure patients that encompasses the use of devices to monitor their health. 
Changi General Hospital (CGH), with the help of healthcare services providers Eastern Health Alliance and Philips Healthcare, said it was rolling out the programme with the aim to provide tele-monitoring, tele-education, and tele-care support. In a joint statement released Thursday, the three partners said the pilot had commenced in June and they are looking to enrol some 160 heart failure patients by October 2015. The programme is aimed at encouraging these patients to take better care of their health and reduce the risk of hospitalization as well as premature death.

Turnbull's whiteboard NBN-Lite justification doesn't add up

Date September 1, 2014
You can't compare fibre-to-the-premises to fibre-to-the-node without looking at the big picture.
The long-awaited NBN Cost-Benefit Analysis arrived last week and was seized on by the government to justify its preference for a multi-technology mix approach to the NBN, rather than the original plan of running fibre to almost every home. If you're still not convinced that the scaled-back NBN is a bargain, Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is happy to spell it out for you on a whiteboard – in a video explaining why fibre-to-the-node (FttN) is more cost-effective than fibre-to-the-premises (FttP).
Of all the flak the government copped in the media last week over the NBN, Turnbull singled out my comments – Government low-balling us on second-rate NBN – for rebuke. Turnbull challenged my use of the word "ignored", because I said his whiteboard calculations favouring FttN ignored the hidden costs of the multi-technology mix such as upgrading and maintaining the copper and HFC cable networks. He called on me to correct my mistake and apologise for misleading readers by claiming these costs were ignored.

Limitations in the NBN cost-benefit review

David Havyatt
The much anticipated cost-benefit analysis (CBA) into the national broadband network released last week is more informative about the limitations of the methodology than it is about the NBN. It also contains valuable lessons for those in the ICT community who want to sell the value their industry can create.
The good news is that the report found that both the Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) and a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) rollout would provide a net social benefit. It found the MTM provided a higher benefit.
Despite the report’s 196 pages of words and tables, it is easy to dismiss its conclusions because of the number of assumptions on which it is based. The review has included a range of sensitivity analyses, but as it doesn’t show the detail of its analysis it is hard to determine the impact of any specific assumption.

NBN fibre rollout was going to be cheaper, faster, pilot results show

Date September 6, 2014 - 1:14AM

David Braue

Labor's all-fibre national broadband network could have been delivered faster and for less money than originally forecast, according to the confidential results of a  pilot study completed last month.
The pilot took into account design changes formulated by network builder, NBN Co, last year as then chief executive Mike Quigley undertook a substantial review of the project and identified initiatives to reduce its cost and length.
The changes, which include adjustments flagged in the "radically redesigned" fibre-to-the-premises option in the government's NBN Strategic Review, were tested for the first time in a scheduled deployment to 2484 premises in Melton, Victoria.

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