Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th January, 2015.

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

Welcome to 2015.
Judging from the news 2015 will be all about Telstra and e-Health, the fate of the PCEHR, safety and Health IT, FHIR and wearable technology.
Enjoy the ride!

Clinical safety of England's national program for IT: a retrospective analysis of all reported safety events 2005 to 2011

Received: March 26, 2014; Received in revised form: September 15, 2014; Accepted: December 28, 2014; Published Online: January 03, 2015
Publication stage: In Press Accepted Manuscript


  • All known safety problems with national scale IT systems in England were examined.
  • National IT implementation was associated with problems on a large scale impacting on care delivery.
  • Problems encountered are not unique, but are well-understood challenges of IT implementation.
  • Human factors were four times as likely to result in reported patient harm than technical problems.

Telstra Health picks up cloud medicine

5 January, 2014
Telstra has added further capabilities on the eHealth front with the acquisition of Australian eHealth cloud software developer Cloud9 and an Indian health software developer, IdeaObject.
The deals are designed to bolster the portfolio of integrated eHealth solutions held by Telstra Health, which was officially hived off as a stand-alone unit by the telco in October last year.
The Telstra Health division, running under the auspices of Shane Solomon - a former CEO of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority - aims to provide the connective tissue that brings patients, healthcare professionals, health funds and healthcare infrastructure (pharmacies and hospitals) together.

What CEOs expect in 2015

Tony Boyd and Michael Smith
Captains of industry from banking, resources, media, property, insurance, infrastructure and retail give their insights on tough questions for the new year. Here’s a selection:

David Thodey, Telstra

2: Up until recently I would have said the biggest threat was complacency, but following the B20 and G20 I think there is now a shared realisation within government and business that we need to take urgent action in some critical areas. Infrastructure investment is high on the list. There is currently a huge shortfall worldwide in the investment needed to meet the demands of the growing global population and to provide the platform needed to take advantage of innovative technologies. Digital solutions and new business models are disrupting every sector in the community. From a Telstra perspective, this technology disruption is obviously having a profound impact on our industry and the services we offer – cloud, mobility, the internet of things – and we aim to be a leader in these fields just as we were with our core business.
We’re also keenly aware of the disruption technology is causing in adjacent industries and looking to see where we can add value. The e-health industry is one we are very active in, and where we believe technology can fundamentally improve the system for all Australians.

Indian HIS developer, IdeaObject, acquired by Telstra Health

IdeaObject will be integrated into Telstra Health, Australia’s largest telecom and tech firm
The business of Indian- based health software developer IdeaObject has been acquired by Telstra Health, the eHealth business unit of Australia’s largest telecom and technology company.
The IdeaObject business along with the business of Cloud9, an Australia-based eHealth cloud software developer which has also been acquired by Telstra Health, will be integrated into Telstra Health, with this work commencing immediately.
Jim Flynt, currently Telstra Health’s General Manager of Health Applications, has been appointed CEO of Cloud9, while the existing Indian executive management team will continue to have responsibility for the day-to-day operations and product development activities, as C-HIS is integrated into the broader Telstra Health strategy.

Human Services urged to hang up on Telstra outsourcing deal

Date January 8, 2015 - 11:30PM

Noel Towell

Reporter for The Canberra Times

More than 6500 Centrelink and Medicare public servants have made a last-ditch appeal for their bosses to abandon an outsourcing deal that would have Telstra workers answering phones at the agencies' call centres.
The employees of the giant Department of Human Services say the proposal poses an unacceptable risk to the confidential information of millions of Australians.
The signatories to a union-organised petition say Human Services' troubled customer service performance could get even worse with inexperienced Telstra workers answering the phones.
But the department, which also runs the Child Support Agency and administers some Veterans Affairs and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme payments, said it had  not made a decision on whether to proceed with the deal.

The Silicon Valley doctor who never sleeps

More than 10 million people visit the HealthTap website every month, where they can ask medical questions for free, or – for $US99 a month – talk immediately with a licensed doctor at any time of day or night. 
James Hamblin
What if you could text a doctor with a medical question at any time of day and get a quick, thoughtful response? No more haphazard googling (“swollen feet allergies”; “tick stuck in ear access to brain?”). No more sifting through message boards. No more algorithms suggesting a stomach ache might be the first sign of a terminal skin disorder.
As a patient, I’d say that sounds great. As a doctor, I’d say that sounds at best unsustainable, and at worst disastrous. The average primary-care physician has about 2300 patients. He or she would never sleep.
But Ron Gutman, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, would say that’s a business opportunity. Since he founded HealthTap four years ago, the website has grown into an interactive community of more than 60,000 licensed US physicians, who answer user questions for free. More than 10 million people visit the site every month.

Medical diagnosis at the touch of a button

Monday 29 December 2014 6:46AM
A mental healthcare provider in regional Victoria has introduced interactive software that allows patients to enter their details, medical preferences, and symptoms online to provide faster access to treatment.


Caroline Byrne

Privacy will be considered a luxury in 2025: experts

Date December 21, 2014 - 5:34PM

Hannah Francis

Technology Reporter

Experts believe the exchange of personal data for online conveniences will soon erode today's notions of privacy.
Today's notions of privacy will be eroded significantly within the next decade as growing reams of personal data are willingly exchanged for the convenience of living our lives online.
That's the prevailing view among the more than 2500 industry experts from around the world - including academics, legislators and staff at global companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo - who were quizzed on the future of privacy and security.
Respondents to the study from the Pew Research Center in the US, in conjunction with North Carolina's Elon University, said they believed living a public life online would be the new default by 2025.

#FHIR for Laboratory Integration

Posted on January 9, 2015 by Grahame Grieve
As the FHIR project has progressed, many organizations are starting to face the difficult question: when should we think about using FHIR for our production interfaces?
Making this kind of evaluation depends on the technical merits of the various possible alternative standards, the existing ecosystem and how much is already invested in alternative approaches, and what kind of maturity rating is appropriate for the standard.
With regard to the last, see  Dixie Baker’s JAMIA paper, “Evaluating and classifying the readiness of technology specifications for national standardization”, but note that what kind of maturity is best for a project depends on that nature of the project and it’s participants. National regulations need something different than smaller projects with a shorter time line.

How to salvage a (nearly) hopeless software project

Faulty foundations, AWOL contractors, bugs piling up -- here's what to do before taking a sledgehammer to a faltering pile of code
Like a carpenter called in to salvage a home repair gone wrong, developers who've been around the block are used to seeing a handful of the same problems. The code gets creaky; bug reports file at an ever-increasing clip; the time spent maintaining the project surpasses any ability to add features to it. At a certain point, the question arises: Can you rehab the code, or should you scrap it and rebuild from the ground up?
We talked with seasoned pros for insights on how they have addressed the most common types of software projects on the brink: Projects with runaway costs, poorly architected projects, ones that simply no longer work.

Wearables expand to waistline, feet and fingers

One company says its "smart belt" can track a wearer's health
The Ring can let you remotely control your smartphone by making finger gestures.
Wearables for the wrist are all the rage at this year's International CES show, but companies are also coming up with devices meant to be worn on your waist, your feet and your index finger.
Enter Belty, a smart belt developed by French firm Emiota. When you put it on, the mechanical belt buckle will tighten around you automatically for a comfortable fit. It will then adjust the waist size automatically when it appears you're sitting down or standing up.
Emiota designed the smart belt as a way to track the health of the wearer. It does this by measuring changes in the user's waistline, which can be used to predict a person's diabetes risk, said Carine Coulm, the company's co-founder.

Security bolstered on myGov website after dire warnings

Date January 2, 2015

Ben Grubb

Deputy technology editor

Your highly personal government records are now just that little bit safer.
The federal government's online myGov portal – which allows millions of Australians to access their private government tax, health and other records — has finally introduced a long-awaited security measure experts have previously said was urgently required.
The measure, implemented more than 30 months after launching the service, is called two-factor authentication. The process requires users to put in an optional token, or code, sent to their mobile phone before they are allowed access to their account.
Quietly launched in early December by the Department of Human Services, users are now being prompted to take up the new measure — described as an "enhanced security" mechanism to protect user accounts – when they next sign in.

Safety in E-Health

E-Health programs have the aim of improving the quality of health care. The main elements of Commission’s Safety in E-Health program are:
  • Optimising safety and quality within the rollouts of clinical systems, with an initial focus on discharge summary and hospital medications management programs
  • Using E-Health initiatives to improve the safety and quality of health care
  • The secondary use of information agenda – optimising reuse and analyses of safety and quality data available from clinical systems, to further drive improvements in safety and quality
The Commission works in collaboration with jurisdictions, the private hospital and primary care sectors, NEHTA, the National Health CIO Forum, and other national bodies to promote the safety and quality agenda within national E-Health programs.

Clinical safety audit program for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR)

The Commission has established an independent Clinical Governance Advisory Group (CGAG) and a clinical safety audit program for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
This national clinical governance function complements and strengthens the work being performed by the National E-Health Transition Authority in assuring the safety and quality of the standards and specifications supporting the PCEHR and will provide external assurance on PCEHR clinical safety issues.
The CGAG meets quarterly to consider the clinical safety audits of the PCEHR and other clinical safety issues relating to the PCEHR and provide advice to the Department of Health and Ageing. The CGAG comprises experts from across Australia, and is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Baggoley.

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) January 2015 Release 5 available for download

Created on Friday, 09 January 2015
NEHTA has released new specification sets and conformance requirements to enable Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Reports to be uploaded to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) by Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging service providers. These specifications support new capabilities in the PCEHR.
The Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Reports can be used to share information about Pathology tests and Diagnostic Imaging examinations via an individual's PCEHR. These reports include a PDF which contain one or more examinations that are uploaded by the pathology or diagnostic imaging provider to the individual's PCEHR.
An additional new feature is the ability to download the Health Record Overview which can be displayed in local clinical information systems in whole or part. 
Presentation and Data Usage guidance documents have been developed for vendors presenting the Pathology Report, Diagnostic Imaging Report views and also the Health Record Overview in clinical information systems.

Professor Graeme Clark Wins Prestigious US Bioengineering award

on January 8, 2015 at 1:00 am
Professor Graeme Clark AC from the University of Melbourne is the first Australian to receive the US Russ Prize for an outstanding achievement in bioengineering innovation that is in widespread use to improve health and well-being: the cochlear implant.
The US National Academy of Engineering and Ohio University announced the winners of the biennial prize of US $500,000 today and recognised Professor Clark’s pioneering role in the development of the multi-channel cochlear implant for people with severe-to-profound deafness. 
Professors Clark, Ingeborg and Irwin Hochmair from Austria and Michael Merzenich and Blake Wilson from the US are the pioneers in developing the multi-channel cochlear implant for giving

New antibiotic ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ in beating resistance

  •  The Times
  • January 09, 2015 12:00AM
SCIENTISTS are hailing a poten­t­ially huge advance against ­antibiotic resistance with the ­devel­opment of what could be the first new class of the drugs in 25 years.
If approved for use in humans, teixobactin promises to combat pathogens that are resistant to today’s antibiotics. The way teixobactin was discovered also opens a mechanism by which scientists can search for other antibiotics.
The discovery, published in the journal Nature, comes after British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the world could be “cast back into the dark ages of medicine” unless action was taken to combat resistance to antibiotics.

The 8080 chip at 40: What's next for the mighty microprocessor?

It came out in 1974 and was the basis of the MITS Altair 8800, for which two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote BASIC, and millions of people began to realize that they, too, could have their very own, personal, computer.
It came out in 1974 and was the basis of the MITS Altair 8800, for which two guys named Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote BASIC, and millions of people began to realize that they, too, could have their very own, personal, computer.
Now, some 40 years after the debut of the Intel 8080 microprocessor, the industry can point to direct descendants of the chip that are astronomically more powerful (see sidebar, below). So what's in store for the next four decades?
For those who were involved with, or watched, the birth of the 8080 and know about the resulting PC industry and today's digital environment, escalating hardware specs aren't the concern. These industry watchers are more concerned with the decisions that the computer industry, and humanity as a whole, will face in the coming decades.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Goodness gracious what are we to make of Telstra’s announcements?

Telstra Health "Jim Flynt, currently Telstra Health’s general manager of health applications, appointed chief executive officer of Cloud9(South Australian based private company registered in December 2013)."

"The acquisition of both C9 and IdeaObject (Indian- based health software developer) helps to strengthen our next generation Hospital Information System offerings .........." " ….... all staff will be transferring across to Telstra Health and continue to bring innovation and eHealth solutions to the healthcare system,” Flynt said.

Shane Solomon said “The solution includes key clinical ancillary solutions such as pathology, pharmacy and radiology. Beyond this, the solution (IdeaObject)is fully cloud enabled and embraces contemporary industry interoperability standards. From its inception, the product was designed from a true global perspective in a way that accommodates many of the market idiosyncrasies that have plagued the hospital sector for decades, especially the large off shore incumbent vendors; such as a need to support multiple languages, date formats, currencies and workflows.

In effect Jim Flynt and Shane Solomon have now irrevocably put on notice the “large offshore vendors which (they describe as being) are incumbent in Australia and troubled by market idiosyncrasies.”

It is clear these intrepid warriors plan carpeting Australia and many parts of SE Asia with anything and everything they can pull in under their umbrella.

Without doubt Telstra’s modern Starship Enterprise has embarked on a journey of endeavour where no man has gone before? Commander Captain Kirk and loyal First Office Mr Spock will need to keep Telstra's large competitor health vendors well and truly in their sights as they launch their missiles Telstra’s way.