Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th December, 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

Well we are approaching the ‘silly season’ so we can all start relaxing and planning for an excellent Christmas and an even better 2015.
Interesting there is still some interesting material being reported so a browse through the headlines is worth the time spent I reckon.
CU in the New Year.

NSW Ambulance losing revenue from billing system issues: Auditor

eHealth NSW also chastised in new report.

The Ambulance Service of NSW is losing millions in annual revenue as a result of ongoing problems with its new patient billing system, the state’s Auditor-General revealed today.
The service has experienced continuing issues since implementing its new patient billing system in 2012-13, following initial functionality and data migration issues.
In his annual report to parliament on the Health cluster [pdf], NSW Auditor-General Grant Hehir today revealed that because ambulance transport records did not completely transfer from the dispatch system to the billing system, the NSW ambulance service failed to collect $3.9 million in revenue for the 2013-14 year.
The agency was owed $99.4 million by patients at the end of June this year, of which $86.2 million is unlikely to be paid, the auditor found.

RACGP leads efforts to curb prescription drug-related deaths

8 December 2014
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is leading efforts to curb the alarming number of overdoses involving prescription drugs which contribute to more deaths in some states each year than car accidents.
The RACGP recently released its Electronic assistance with managing abuse of prescription drugs discussion paper calling for a national implementation of the Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) system for prescription drug management.
RACGP President, Dr Frank R Jones said a large number of prescription drug-related deaths in Australia could be avoided if GPs had access to a national electronic recording and reporting system for controlled drugs.

Should you bet on Telstra Corporation Ltd for 2015?

By Darryl Daté-Shappard - December 9, 2014 | More on: TLS
It looks like some stocks can keep climbing and ignore the relatively flat gains of the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) (Index: ^AXJO).
Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) is near new 52-week highs. The telecom giant is coming off of solid earnings growth in FY 2014, but what can investors expect from it in 2015?
Investors should be looking for growth catalysts that can propel the company and its stock to higher levels. Telstra has three parts in its growth story.
Asian expansion
Australia’s population is about 23 million people, yet just on our doorstep are many times more people in South East Asia. The growth opportunities are big for a technologically advanced telecom company like Telstra. In its recent investor day presentation, the company showed that many emerging countries in Asia still are only up to 2G mobile networks. It plans to put its multi-billion dollar war chest towards acquisitions and development in the region to expand its footprint and work with locally established telecoms.  The company projects that as much as a third of revenue will come from its growing Asian business by 2020.
e-health development
Combining healthcare and data management, the company has created a new division called Telstra Health. It sees great growth potential for this business which allows medical professionals and patients to work together online to monitor, test and analyse health and fitness. Health tests and results can be managed in real-time, improving the quality of medical services. Telstra thinks that this could be one of its top revenue generators within five years.

John Durie’s CEO survey 2014: David Thodey, Telstra

John Durie

1: Has the corporate outlook improved and if so what are your investment plans?
The operating and economic environment for many businesses across a diverse range of industry sectors remains soft, reflected in the fact that business confidence has lost ground according to the latest business surveys. This vindicates the RBA’s current position of sustaining monetary stimulus by keeping the cash rate lower for longer to shore up growth prospects. Domestic GDP growth forecasts below-trend with generally sluggish demand conditions and soft earnings weighing on the growth outlook. This is despite well-documented strength in the housing market. On the global front growth outlook is now more uncertain which is also weighing on domestic growth prospects. While the outlook for the US, Britain and some emerging market economies such as India remain favourable; this is largely offset by weak eurozone and Japanese growth, while China is expected to continue to grow on a slower trajectory. Having said that our position on growth remains positive – we continue to look at ways we can grow through investing in new businesses and growing in new geographic markets. Our aim is to continue to build on the good progress we have made in the areas of software, e-health, network applications and media, and our growth into the ever-important Asian region.

Older Australians: Care must be integrated through PCEHR

By admin Aged Care Dec 11, 2014
The National E- Health Translation Authority (NEHTA) yesterday announced that it will offer funding to private hospitals in order to integrate their systems to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
While this is welcome news it is essential that aged service providers are also included. Integration between the acute setting and home/residential aged care brings with it great opportunity and the real promise of better care and a significant reduction in costs.
“Peak body for age service providers, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) has strongly advocated that age services be recognised, considering age service providers come second only to the state health system in volume.

Heath Ledger style prescription drug overdose deaths could be stopped by new software alerting doctors to prescription drug abusers

  • Sue Dunlevy National Health Reporter
  • News Corp Australia Network
  • December 13, 2014 9:30PM
A POTENT mix of six prescription medications slayed Batman star Heath Ledger, now new medical software aims to save others from that fate.
The Academy award winning actor died accidentally from a prescription drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment in 2008 after taking a mix of medicines for insomnia, anxiety, pain, and the common cold.
Between 1,300 and 2,500 Australians a year are estimated to die from similar prescription drug misuse, more than those who die on our roads.
The medicines monitoring body NPS Medicinewise reports the number of opioid prescriptions subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) surged from 2.4 million in 1992 to 7 million in 2007.
10 December 2014, 1.02am AEDT

To deal with chronic disease, patients will need better mobile health apps

David Glance
Of all the potential calamities facing humanity, the one that few people can argue about is that of the global population that is growing in numbers, age, size and incidence of chronic disease. In Australia, 3.6 million people have diabetes or pre-diabetes. In the US, that number was 29.1 million in 2012, or 9.3% of the population. The number of people with pre-diabetes in 2012 however was a staggering 86 million.
Diabetes is the 6th leading cause of death in Australia and the 7th in the US.

More doctors won’t work

It is no wonder then that 8% of all consultations that GPs deal with in Australia concern diabetes. GPs spend on average twice as long with diabetes patients and they visit twice as many times. The incidence of diabetes is rapidly outpacing the health services’ ability to deal with it. Diabetes in Australia is growing at 7% per year, whilst the number of GPs is only growing at 3%.

NetComm Wireless Launches the n-Hub to Transform Healthcare

2014-12-10 09:00
SYDNEY, Dec. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NetComm Wireless Limited (ASX: NTC), a leading developer of wireless Machine-to-Machine (M2M) devices, will today enter the health industry with the launch of its NetComm Wireless n-Hub (NTC-20) at the 2014 mHealth Summit in Washington, DC . Designed to meet rising global demand for M2M healthcare solutions, the n-Hub connects diverse Bluetooth and WiFi enabled mHealth devices to the speed and coverage of cellular networks.
The n-Hub will facilitate healthcare sector innovation as the global ecosystem of mHealth devices grows to exceed 650 million by 2020. The device enables secure data to be sent from the remote patient or client to their practitioner.
"The n-Hub is a game-changer for the global healthcare sector. It combines simplicity with open system flexibility to improve efficiencies, reduce costs and ultimately improve patient outcomes. The n-Hub has the capacity to drive innovation across a wide range of applications such as monitoring the health of elderly relatives, post surgery patient care and keeping tabs on personal health, to name a few," said David Stewart , Managing Director and CEO, NetComm Wireless.

Privacy fears keeping doctors offline

5 December, 2014 Kate Aubusson
Australian doctors are avoiding social media and online communications with patients for fear of privacy breaches and overstepping doctor–patient boundaries, a new survey shows.
Doctors were yet to immerse themselves online, with many feeling they were unable to protect their personal and private information online, found the survey of 187 Australian doctors from all specialties.
The findings pointed to a "surprising reluctance to engage with new media despite the demands of the community", reported the researchers at the University of Sydney.
Three in five doctors reported being uncomfortable about interacting with patients who had accessed their personal information, according to findings in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Medicare - Australian Organ Donor Register and Pharmaceutical Benefits Report December 2014 Release now available for download

Created on Thursday, 11 December 2014
NEHTA has released the specifications for the Medicare - Australian Organ Donor Register and Medicare - Pharmaceutical Benefits Report for December 2014.
These specifications can be downloaded from the NEHTA website via the following links:

Federal Health Minister officially opens St Stephen's

8th Dec 2014 10:38 AM
UPDATE: Australia's first fully integrated digital hospital has been officially opened by Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton.
More than 100 guests attended the ceremony at St Stephen's Private Hospital which Mr Dutton described as "world class".
"St Stephen's has raised the bar for all healthcare providers by embracing technology literally before the foundations were laid," he said
"It will be a showcase for the improvements that eHealth information technology can make for health care and patient outcomes.

Australia’s First Digital Hospital

Australia’s first hospital with fully integrated, digital eHealth capability has been officially opened.
Page last updated: 08 December 2014

Joint Media Release

The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Health
Minister for Sport

Keith Pitt MP
Federal Member for Hinkler

8 December 2014
Australia’s first hospital with fully integrated, digital eHealth capability was officially opened today.
St Stephen’s Private Hospital, operated by UnitingCare Health in Hervey Bay, has been created by expanding the regional hospital with a new, three storey inpatient hospital with 96 acute care inpatient beds and three additional operating theatres.
Health Minister Peter Dutton said St Stephen’s was a world class hospital which showcased the future of health care.
“St Stephen’s has raised the bar for all healthcare providers by embracing the technology literally before the foundations were laid,” Mr Dutton said.

UnitingCare opens Australia’s first digital hospital in Queensland

Chris Griffith

AUSTRALIA’S first fully integrated digital hospital officially opened yesterday in Queensland with expectations that it will transform healthcare across the nation.
Run by UnitingCare Health, the $96 million St Stephen’s Hospital at Hervey Bay is the first local hospital to computerise everything from diet to dialysis and integrate its operations, equipment and services. It includes more than 300km of fibre-optic cable.
Director of medical services Monica Trujillo said machines fed data into patients’ records directly when they underwent a test. Food was ordered and managed electronically, and medication dispensed in a paperless environment.

Medical history right alongside TV shows and lunch menu

Jessica Grewal | 9th Dec 2014 5:00 AM
AS A PATIENT at Hervey Bay's digital hospital, Beverly Kersnovske's entire medical history is at her fingertips - right alongside her favourite television shows and today's lunch menu.
The 86-year-old, who recently returned to St Stephen's Private Hospital after a stay last month, is quickly learning what it's like to be cared for in a touch screen environment.
Her expert navigation of the online entertainment system came in handy yesterday as she showed Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton the ropes ahead of the hospital's official opening.

St Stephens fully digital hospital lead by clinical transformation

The first fully integrated digital hospital in Australia officially opened today in Hervey Bay, Queensland. St Stephens Private Hospital is a 96 bed UnitingCare Health facility, costing $96 million and partly funded by a $47 million Australian government grant.
Health minister Peter Dutton opened the new facility, describing it as the future of healthcare. 
“St Stephen’s has raised the bar for all healthcare providers by embracing the technology literally before the foundations were laid,” Dutton said.“It will be a showcase for the improvements that eHealth information technology can make for health care and patient outcomes. Digital technology can make health care far more efficient and more effective for patients and providers."
The key to the new facility is its digital integration, based around 28 Cerner applications with the Cerner Millennium EMR at the core of operations.
During the opening, UnitingCare Health's executive director, Richard Royle, was presented with a certificate confirming that the hospital was the first in Australia to have been accredited with Stage 6 EMRAM certification from HIMSS, an international measure of the hospital’s digitisation and integration.

Government relaunches food rating site

8 December, 2014 Gemma Najem
The federal government has relaunched its food rating website 10 months after its controversial removal from the internet.
And the Heart Foundation has given a tick of approval to the system, which will award higher star ratings to products low in saturated fat, sugars, sodium and energy.
The website was initially launched by Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash in February but was pulled down, leading to the resignation former chief of staff Alastair Furnival.

#FHIR Updates

Posted on December 12, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
A round of links and news about progess with FHIR
Draft For Comment Posted
I have just finished posting the final version on which the current draft for comment is based:
This version of FHIR is our first serious look at what we plan to release as DSTU2 for FHIR. From here, this candidate will undergo a round of comment and testing, including the HL7 “draft for comment”, where HL7 members can comment on the content of the ballot, and also will be tested through several connectathons and other implementation projects. Following that, we will gather all the feedback, and prepare the second candidate, which will be published around the start of April. This will get another cycle of testing, and then we’ll make further changes in response. We’re planning to publish the final version of DSTU 2 around the end of June.

Wearable electronic fitness devices market still poised for strong growth

December 8, 2014
Wearable electronic devices for fitness shipments are forecast to reach 68.1 million units in 2015, down from 70 million units in 2014, according to Gartner. This temporary dip in sales will be driven by an overlap in functionality between smart wristbands, other wearable fitness monitors and smartwatches. However, the market for smart wristbands and other fitness monitors will rebound in 2016 because of versatile designs and models with lower-cost displays.
“Fitness wearables are used for tracking health, which goes hand-in-hand with fitness and wellness,” said Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner. “Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analysed using cognizant computing to provide useful insights to wearers. Funding initiatives from Qualcomm, Apple (HealthKit), Google (Google Fit), Samsung (S.A.M.I.), Microsoft, Nike and Intel, among others, will build on early innovation in wearable fitness and health monitoring and create the infrastructure for merging data relevant to health and fitness”.

Doctor rating sites ‘fundamentally flawed’

10 December, 2014 Tessa Hoffman
The rise of rate-your-doctor websites has spawned questions about how doctors should deal with negative, false or potentially defamatory reviews.
While not every bad review will be grounds for a defamation case, MDA National medicolegal expert Dr Sara Bird said it was important doctors knew where they stood.
Doctor can be rated on websites such as RateMDs, Yelp, and TrueLocal.
Rate-your-doctor sites were not only problematic, they were also "fundamentally flawed", Dr Bird wrote in the latest edition of Australian Family Physician.

Labor's NBN is no more

Labor’s NBN – the idea of a publicly owned and funded, all fibre, wholesale broadband network, is now officially dead.
It has been ill for some time, and recently terminally so, but now the high priests of the competitive market have pronounced the last rites. The new NBN has not only new (well, old actually) technologies, but a new regulatory regime that will see competition introduced and prices raised. Building a new house or buying one just built? You will have to pay.
The Government has announced the biggest changes to telecommunications regulations since the NBN was announced, with major changes to broadband policy. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Matthias Cormann have released a new policy document which they say “sets out a roadmap for reform in the telecommunications sector which will see several restrictive aspects of existing market regulation gradually replaced with more competition-friendly settings.”
The document sets a radically different course for the NBN. It outlines a number of proposed reforms based on the Government's response to the 53 recommendations for regulatory changes proposed earlier this year following a review carried out by an independent panel of experts chaired by Dr Michael Vertigan. The paper is here.

Jane McCredie: Machines in charge

Jane McCredie
Monday, 8 December, 2014
THE development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race, physicist Stephen Hawking warned last week.
“It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate”, he said. “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Professor Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, was commenting on new machine learning technology applied to his computer-generated voice that analyses the scientist’s words to predict what he is likely to say next.
Fears that machines might take over the world have long been the stuff of science fiction.

The Big Bang may have created a mirror universe where time runs backwards

  • 3 hours ago December 11, 2014 8:30AM
IT’S of the greatest scientific puzzles persisting to this day: how and why does time move forward?
In their bid to finally solve this mystery, researchers have come up with a new theory. They now believe that the Big Bang some 14 billion years ago may have actually created two universes, one a “mirror” of the other, the Scientific American reports.
Yep, the universe (sorry — universes!) as we know it may have just gotten a whole lot bigger!
So if time moves forward in our universe, it makes sense that it may run backwards in the other “mirror” universe, right?

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