Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27th 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.

General Comment

This week was all about Telstra’s announcements and the continuing lack of any information from the Government as to what is going on in e-Health in OZ.
It will be very interesting to see just the Government is up to in Medicine and Medical Device regulation and whether e-Health gets tangled up in the review.

Telstra inks eHealth deal with Medgate

David Ramli
Trips to the doctor’s clinic have long been the stuff of childhood nightmares, linked with prickly needles and pungent antiseptic.
But Telstra’s latest deal with a Swiss eHealth provider could soon make them a thing of the past.
Australians wanting to visit the doctor must currently visit a general practitioner in person except in rare cases where remote health care is provided over video links.
But the move by Telstra to team up with Medgate, a major Swiss provider of online healthcare services, would see the telco help connect users and medical professionals over the internet at all hours.

Telstra ramps up health services division

Mitchell Bingemann

TELSTRA is making an aggressive push into the $120 billion a year health care sector and has announced new global and local partnerships with healthcare providers as well as a new service to connect rural and regional patients with GPs.
The telco giant has elevated its health-services division — which was launched in February 2013 — into a stand-alone business unit that will look to tap into the growing health sector as an ageing population and increases in chronic illnesses pressure an already burdened national healthcare system.
The unit, which comes under the remit of Telstra retail boss Gordon Ballantyne, will see Telstra partner with healthcare authorities and providers to deliver services direct into patients’ homes.

Telstra enters e-health space

Telco launches health division to provide video conferencing services to remote communities
Hamish Barwick (CIO) on 22 October, 2014 10:52
Telstra (ASX: TLS) has launched an e-health business division called Telstra Health as it looks to connect patients with doctors via video conferencing, said group executive of retail, Gordon Ballantyne.
“Telstra Health is about connecting you to your doctor, your doctor to your other providers, and having access to care and information where you want, when you want,” he said in a statement.
To do this, the telco has signed a joint venture with Swiss telemedicine company Medgate called Telstra ReadyCare.
According to Ballantyne, the service means patients in remote areas or who need help after hours can talk to GPs via video or phone to receive advice, diagnosis, prescriptions and referrals.

AMA chief slams Telstra eHealth plan

  • AAP
  • October 22, 2014 5:37PM
THE head of the Australian Medical Association has condemned a new Telstra eHealth service, saying it will undermine primary healthcare.
THE ReadyCare service, announced on Wednesday, will connect patients to random GPs via phone and video 24 hours a day, providing advice, diagnosis, referrals and prescriptions.
Telstra says the service will deliver better healthcare to rural and remote Australians who live a long way from their doctor.
But AMA chief Dr Brian Owler says it's a recipe for bad medicine.

PCEHR: Patients may see test results before GP

20 October, 2014 Paul Smith
EXCLUSIVE: A major upgrade of the PCEHR could see patients learn they have cancer, chlamydia or other serious conditions by reading test results posted on the system before they speak to their GP.
In one of the most important changes to the e-health system, the Federal Department of Health has announced that pathology and diagnostic imaging results will start being added to patient’s health records next year.
The upgrade is being sold as a major step in making the $1.25 billion technology clinically useful to doctors.
But there is serious disquiet among GPs who have been consulting with department officials over the upgrade.

Dentists want ‘opt-out’ eHealth record

Dentists have sunk their teeth into the slow and frustrated progress of Australia’s attempt to build a national eHealth system, telling the federal government the scheme needs to be switched to an ‘opt-out’ model and have a name change if participation is to increase.
A bulletin issued by the Australian Dental Association following consultations with the peak body over the future of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) says rather than calling the electronic document a “health record” it should be called a “health summary” to avoid mix-ups.
“The term ‘Record’ risks being confusing for health practitioners and patients alike, the bulletin said.
“It is a summary and not a complete record and so the title “My Health Summary” is more appropriate.”

The Australian PCEHR: Success or failure?

Call me naive, but I was hoping that somewhere in Australia IT-people would be working day and night to fix the PCEHR, based on the abundant feedback from doctors and consumers. I had a rude awakening when I read this article in Australian Doctor Magazine: PCEHR: Patients may see test results before GP.
Sorry? Diagnostic imaging & pathology results may be uploaded to someone’s eHealth record, before they have been reviewed by or discussed with the requesting doctor? This doesn’t sound like an improvement. Worse, it flies in the face of the 2014 PCEHR review recommendations to make the system ‘more usable, and able to deliver meaningful use.’
So where are we at with the PCEHR? I asked four leaders in the field about their thoughts: Has it been a success or a failure? Can it still be improved and if so, how?

#FHIR Updates

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
Several FHIR related updates:
Just a note in response to a question from an implementer: we are going through a period of making many substantial changes to the specification in response to user feedback. Right now, the test server ( is far behind – that’s work for next month. This doesn’t affect the DSTU test server (

What is a ‘standard': legislation or utilisation?

Bert Verhees, a colleague from the openEHR community made this post recently to the openehr-technical mailing list:
OpenEHR is not a standard, it is a formal specification.
 ISO, What is a standard: 
 "A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose."
I’ve grappled with this question many times over the last 20 years. My current thinking is as follows.

Health: Technology helping older people

Date October 19, 2014 - 10:00AM

Josh Jennings

Having a direct impact on well-being is one of the biggest work highlights for Lisa Paulin.
Paulin is the co-ordinator of older persons and residential aged care at Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local and looks after online and remote health initiatives.
She co-ordinates a small team responsible for addressing local healthcare needs and service gaps through e-health and telehealth initiatives. A big part of her role involves adopting e-health and telehealth technologies (such as video conferencing software) to facilitate remote consultations between aged care providers and healthcare practitioners (such as GPs and specialists).

Potential issue with PCEHR overviews

We have been alerted by the Department of Health about a potential risk identified within the PCEHR system. This is impacting the way a small number of documents can be viewed in an eHealth record.
This issue results in some Medicare, prescription and dispense documents presenting in the Document List but not appearing in the Medicare Overview or the Prescription and Dispense View.
23 October 2014, 4.57am AEDT

Wearable technology will not bring about a health revolution

David Glance
Rumours are surfacing that Microsoft will launch its own smartwatch in the next few weeks. Given that Microsoft Windows Phone accounts for just 2.5% of the world smartphone market, the watch will work with Apple and Android devices as well as Microsoft’s own platform.
What is interesting about this move is that the commentary about the device is focusing on its role in tracking heart rate rather than its other features.
The focus on the health aspects of wearables is part of a general trend amongst technology journalists who predict a “coming revolution in healthcare” as a result of these devices.

Going online for mental health effectiveness: report

The e-Mental Health Alliance has released a report aimed at giving the Australian government and the National Mental Health Commission a comprehensive picture of the range and quality of e-mental health services available in this country. The eMH Alliance was initiated by A/Prof Judy Proudfoot and Prof Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute.
“The sector is reasonably small but vibrant,” says Professor Britt Klein, personal chair in psychology and ehealth at Federation University in Ballarat. “The sector has been involved in e-mental health since the late 1990s.”
Federation University was one of the groups involved in putting together the e-Mental Health Services in Australia 2014: Current and Future report.

Fund managers wary of Orion price

5:00 AM Wednesday Oct 22, 2014
Software developer ends speculation on IPO, but some possible investors worry it might set the bar too high.
The ink is barely dry on the announcement of Orion Health's up to $150 million sharemarket listing and fund managers are already talking down the offer's price - even though it is yet to be revealed.
After years of speculation, the Auckland developer of software systems used in hospitals yesterday confirmed it is aiming to float on the NZX and Australia's ASX late next month.
The company is looking to raise between $120 million and $150 million through its initial public offer, which will fund growth in key markets such as the United States.
An entity associated with chief executive Ian McCrae, who founded Orion in 1993 and remains the majority shareholder, is planning to sell $5 million of shares through the offer.

Identity fraud costs nation $1.6bn a year

Brendan Nicholson

AS many as 900,000 Australians suffer financial losses through identity crime each year and that costs the nation at least $1.6 billion.
A report from the Attorney-General’s Department says stolen personal information is used to raise money by organised crime gangs and also helps fund terrorism.
The report, which includes information from 54 commonwealth, state and territory agencies and the private sector, says individual losses range from $1000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The total of “card not present” fraud, where criminals have got hold of numbers but not the plastic, has jumped to $82 million a year.

Expert Panel to Review Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation

The Australian Government has announced an independent review of the regulation of medicines and medical devices.
Page last updated: 24 October 2014

Joint Media Release

The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Minister for Health

Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

Assistant Minister for Health

24 October 2014
The Australian Government today announced an independent review of the regulation of medicines and medical devices.
Health Minister Peter Dutton and Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash announced they had appointed an Expert Panel Review of Medicines and Medical Device Regulation.
The landmark review of the ways in which the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates medicines and medical devices will be led by Emeritus Professor Lloyd Sansom AO who will be assisted by Mr Will Delaat AM and Professor John Horvath AO.

Who’s who of Aussie ICT

October 20, 2014
HOTDOC is dedicated to promoting equity and accessibility in Australian healthcare. Its aim is to empower patients and doctors with a simple and convenient way of connecting online. Patients just have to register online and they are ready to book online appointments with clinics.

Privacy complaints jump by 183% in FY14

Complaints rose following publicity about Privacy Act amendments, said the OAIC
Hamish Barwick (Computerworld) on 23 October, 2014 11:01
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received 4,239 privacy complaints during FY14, a 183 per cent increase on the 1,496 received in the previous financial year, according to a report.
The OAIC Annual Report 2013-14 put the increase in complaints down to heightened public awareness following the Privacy Act amendments and introduction of the Australian Privacy Principles on 12 March, 2014.
The APPs are designed to protect Australians when they share information with government agencies/departments or private sector companies.
“The focus on the reforms, particularly through the media, raised awareness and acted as a reminder to the broader community of their privacy rights,” said Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim in a statement.
The OAIC resolved 2,617 privacy complaints during the 2013-14 period, Pilgrim said.
20 October 2014, 12.55am AEDT

Digital death and the digital afterlife. How to have one and how to avoid it

David Glance
In 2012, the UK’s Sunday Times reported that actor Bruce Willis was going to sue Apple because he was not legally allowed to bequeath his iTunes collection of music to his children. The story turned out to be false (and shockingly bad journalism) but it did start a conversation about what we can, and can’t, do with our digital possessions.
It turns out that “possessions” is actually a misnomer. We actually don’t own the music, books and movies we “buy” from Apple and Amazon. As Amazon puts it in its license terms, “Kindle Content is licensed, not sold, to you by the Content Provider”. In other words, we are allowed to read the content but we are not allowed to pass it on.
It comes as no surprise then that 93% of Americans surveyed were unaware or misinformed when asked about what digital assets they were able to pass on in the event of their death.

Telstra’s $11bn NBN pot off the table, says ACCC’s Sims

Mitchell Bingemann

THE competition regulator has backed calls from Telstra that the regulatory value of its fixed-line assets, rather than payments made to the telco giant by NBN Co, set access prices for its wholesale phone and internet services.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission yesterday handed down its decision that would see the $11.2 billion Telstra would receive from its deal to participate in the National Broadband Network excluded from future pricing adjustments.
Rivals including Optus and iiNet had argued the proceeds from that deal should be a factor in determining the access prices wholesale-seekers pay when ­accessing the telco’s network.
But ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the payments would not be ­included in any calculations as the NBN transitioned into its new role as the monopoly provider of the nation’s fixed-line broadband and phone services.

Physical keys give Google services added security

Date October 24, 2014 - 3:30PM

Brian Krebs

People who use Gmail and other Google services now have an extra layer of security available when logging into Google accounts. The company has incorporated into these services the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard, a physical USB-based second-factor sign-in component that only works after verifying the log-in site is truly a Google site.
The U2F standard is a product of the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance, an industry consortium that has been working to come up with specifications supporting a range of more robust authentication technologies, including biometric identifiers and USB security tokens.
The approach announced by Google on Friday essentially offers a more secure way of using the company's two-step authentication process. For several years, Google has offered an approach that it calls "2-Step Verification", which sends a one-time pass code to the user's mobile or land-line phone.

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