This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13th October, 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.
Another quiet week where we heard no useful information about what the Government is up to in e-Health. Maybe the Rural Medicine Conference at the end of the month will reveal something.
If there is one industry experiencing rapid change right now, it is healthcare. Whether it’s the shift from paper to electronic records, face-to-face consultation to telehealth diagnosis, or instructing patients to empowering them, the industry is evolving fast.
Here, we look at several examples of how digitisation is transforming the healthcare industry.
Integrated digital hospital
UnitingCare Health is rolling out Australia’s first fully integrated digital hospital, which will connect up e-medical records, X-rays, pathology results, vital sign machines and other health information.
St Stephen’s digital hospital in Hervey Bay, Queensland is set to open on 13 October and is receiving $47 million from the Federal Government's Health and Hospitals Fund, with UnitingCare contributing $49m.
Medical technology is finding a vast number of new data-gathering techniques but many professionals are questioning the value of all that information, Elisabeth Rosenthal says.
As a former physician, I shivered a bit when I heard Dr Vivek Wadhwa say he would rather have an artificial-intelligence doctor than a human one.
"I would trust an AI over a doctor any day," he proclaimed at a health innovation conference in San Francisco, noting that artificial intelligence provided "perfect knowledge". When asked to vote, perhaps a third of those in attendance agreed.
In some cases, the ability to collect data has outpaced medical understanding.
Amid claims that healthcare applications from Apple and Samsung will assist in propelling the health hardware industry to be worth $3 billion by 2019, an Australian expert in eHealth systems has described recent health apps as 'useless'.
Dr George Margelis, from the University of Western Sydney, told ITPro that health apps like Apple's HealthKit were of little use to medical professionals unless the collected data could plug into other digital platforms like the Federal government's eHealth systems.
Margelis called for app developers to collaborate with the health profession to make more functional and practical platforms.
ABSTRACT Background: A national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system was made available across Australia in July 2012. While the technical, policy, and commercial aspects of the new Australian PCEHR system were examined thoroughly by the National E-Health Transition Authority in developing the new e-health record system, little attention was given to examining the related ethical implications of PCEHR advances. This article reports on ethical concerns about the new Australian electronic health record system identified by expert stakeholders.
THE idea of telemedicine—health care provided using telecommunications equipment—has a lengthy history. Radio News, an American magazine, devoted its cover to a patient at home consulting a doctor in his surgery via a television link as long ago as 1924. When NASA began monitoring astronauts in space in the 1960s, fantasy became reality. It has been touted as health care’s future ever since.
But even smartphones and tablets have failed to usher in the telemedicine revolution: most health care still happens face to face. Now, enthusiasts think the wait is nearly over. Governments have been slow to embrace an approach that could improve coverage and outcomes, as well as saving money. But they are under increasing pressure from ageing populations and a surge in chronic diseases, just as public budgets are being squeezed.
At an industry conference in Rome on October 7-8th, participants discussed the problems that must be solved if telemedicine’s day is to come. They include redesigning laws and payment systems set up for face-to-face care, and finding ways to keep patients’ data secure and private.
The failure of a pair of pharmacists to identify an adverse interaction between two prescription drugs has led to a Canadian woman’s death, according to investigators.
As reported by CBC News, 76-year-old Helena Lambert was healthy and active for her age, when she was prescribed allopurinol to treat her gout. However, Ms Lambert was already taking mercaptopurine for colitis.
The adverse interaction led to a bacterial infection that spread quickly and resulted in respiratory failure, resulting in Ms Lambert’s death in 2012.
LONDON – Evidence-based medicine, as David Sackett and his colleagues wrote in 1996, is “the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.” At first glance, this seems entirely logical; indeed, many would say that this simply could be called “medicine.” But the approach is generating considerable controversy, with many asserting that it is “broken.” Last month, when the British Medical Journal asked its readers whether evidence-based medicine is malfunctioning, the responses were almost evenly split: 51% answered positively, and 49% negatively.
The controversy stems from the kind of evidence that is used. Sackett implies, but does not stipulate, that epidemiological evidence (findings from randomized controlled trials and large-cohort studies carried out over many years) should underpin doctors’ decisions about patients – and, one hopes, in consultation with them.
With a quarter century of experience as a healthcare chief executive under his belt, Dr Gareth Goodier, Chief Executive of Melbourne Health, has some critical ideas about the way healthcare systems can become more efficient, save money and deliver better patient outcomes.
“The real challenge these days is not new treatments,” he tells eHealthspace.org. “It’s affording existing treatments and making sure that they can be used across the community in an equitable manner.”
Dr Goodier’s most recent post before Melbourne Health was as Chief Executive at Cambridge University Hospital, a 600 bed facility attached to the famed university.
To what extent should FHIR Medication resources be reused? Should they be reused across multiple patients’ records?
The general answer is that they should re-used as much as possible. The general expectation is that either a system has a formulary or drug dictionary, in which case there would be one medication resource per entry, and these commonly re-usable medications would be used across many patients, or that you are prescribing by some external code. In the second case, you wouldn’t re-use the medication resource at all.
AUSTRALIAN research has found internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT) was associated with reduced self-reported absenteeism in employees with depression, anxiety and social phobia. The study, published in the MJA, reanalysed data from five randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of iCBT between 2008 and 2010. The study included 284 participants from the trials, with a mean age of 43 years (range, 18–68 years). About 70% were women. In each of the five RCTs used in the study, the intervention group received relevant iCBT and the control group was drawn from people on waitlists for the same therapy. The iCBT course for each condition was completed over 11 weeks in six online lessons, guided by clinical psychologists, with assignments, automated emails and resource guides.
It is not every day that someone gets to see their life’s work recognised in Federal Parliament before being released to a global audience. And it is not every day that someone discovers they have cancer.
Camden’s Roz Hill is that someone. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 29, she knew the disease wouldn’t beat her.
Even when cancer claimed the life of her son, Peter, she did not lose her drive or motivation.
Instead, she founded the Young Adults Program (YAP), a not-for-profit organisation that has developed an app that takes teens and young adults through the steps of a self-examination to check for signs of breast cancer.
A faulty electronic prescribing system may have caused UK pharmacies to dispense thousands of unintended prescriptions.
A report in UK pharmacy newsletter Chemist + Druggist claims that between August 24 and September 20, an estimated 1259 pharmacies downloaded 3600 repeat prescriptions that prescribers had tried to cancel but could not because of a technical error with an electronic prescription service.
In a letter sent to affected contractors on September 23, the health and social care information centre (HSCIC) warned that pharmacists "may have dispensed medication to patients that the prescriber did not intend".
VIC Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips has announced that a delegation of 23 Victorian life sciences organisations will participate in the Victorian Medical Technology Mission to the AdvaMed 2014 conference in Chicago, United States.
According to Akamai's most recent State of the Internet Report, South Korea boasts the highest average internet connection speed in the world.
Korea's internet users surfed at an average speed of 24.6 Mbps in the second quarter of 2014 according to Akamai's measurements (click here for details on their methodology).
Korea is trailed by Hong Kong, Switzerland and Japan who each saw average speeds around 15 Mbps. The United States ranked 14th with an average connection speed of 11.4 Mbps, which is still way above the global average of 4.6 Mbps. To add a little perspective on what these speeds mean: At 10 Mbps it takes around 50 minutes to download a 2-hour movie in HD quality.
One of the companies, comprising HP's enterprise hardware, software and services businesses, will be known as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the company announced Monday. The other, made up of its PC and printing businesses, will be called simply HP Inc., and will keep the HP logo.
Both of the new companies will be publically traded, and HP shareholders will be given shares in both firms. HP expects to complete the break-up by the end of its 2015 fiscal year, which ends on Oct. 31 next year.