Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 19th 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

A really quite week with all the focus on Medicare Rebates and co-payments.
The big question I see coming from here is the issue of whether or not we are going to get a coherent set of policies across all of health that will also cover e-Health and work out ways to really extract value from e-health initiatives and to start work on the sensible ones.
Time will tell how this will all play out…

Coroner calls for urgent drug overdose action

Date January 12, 2015 - 12:00AM

Nino Bucci

Crime reporter for The Age

A coroner has linked a sixth Victorian drug overdose to the need for an electronic prescription monitor and pleaded for Labor to introduce the system – which had been a Coalition election promise – "as a matter of urgency".
Drug overdose statistics also reveal that 2014 is likely to have set a record for prescription drug-related deaths, with 16 overdoses in six months linked to one particular drug alone.
Coroner Jacinta Heffey called for a prescription system in the inquest findings  for Paul Kanis, who died after being prescribed methadone by one doctor, and benzodiazepines – tranquillisers commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia – by another.

Drug death sparks call for script monitoring

13 January, 2015 Christie Moffatt
A Victorian coroner has echoed calls for real-time script monitoring, following a fatality linked to prescription medication.
As reported by Fairfax Media, coroner Jacinta Heffey says the department of health must implement a real-time monitoring system to reduce the number of harms and deaths associated with pharmaceutical drugs.
Ms Heffey’s call follows an inquest into the death of a 38-year-old man, who died after being prescribed methadone by one doctor and benzodiazepines by another.

Building the case for sensors in home care

By Natasha Egan on January 14, 2015 in Industry, Research & Clinical, Technology
Smart home sensors that monitor a person’s activities of daily living in their own home should become a standard feature of government-subsidised home care services, according to the CSIRO and a multitude of stakeholders.
The vision is one step closer to reality with a trial underway in five homes on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast looking at how to integrate the CSIRO’s Smarter Safer Homes assistive technology into existing service provider models.
The collaboration between the CSIRO, Global Community Resourcing and Sunshine Coast provider Bromilow Home Support Services, which began in November, builds on previous CSIRO trials that focused on developing the off-the-shelf broadband-connected Smarter Safer Home technology to enable older people to live independently safer and longer in their own homes.
The Sunshine Coast trial, which is stretching the assistive technology application to include people with a disability, involves sensors such as motion and heat detectors that report on the client’s physical environment to provide a picture of their movements and activities.

Home sensor technology helps elderly and people with disability live independently in homes

Sarah Sedghi reported this story on Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:20:00
ELEANOR HALL: The CSIRO is trialling new technology to assist elderly Australians and people with disabilities in their homes and it says the results are promising.
The technology uses a network of home sensors to track a person's movements, collect critical health information, and potentially alert carers to emergencies.
Those involved in the trials say the technology has the potential to enhance the lives of patients and their carers, as Sarah Sedghi reports.
SARAH SEDGHI: Dr Eleanor Horton is a sunshine coast academic and has been caring for her partner for 15 years.
In 2000 he had a stroke and his mobility is now limited, but Dr Horton says the trial of new technology in their home has helped them both.

Thumbs-up for patient-focused discharge letters

16 January, 2015 Amanda Davey
A simply-worded letter given to patients before discharge from hospital speeds up recovery, report Australian researchers.
Most patients do not understand the results of in-hospital tests and are even more confused about what they are meant to do when they get home, say the team  from the University of Sydney.
But a discharge letter written in layman’s terms helps ensure post-discharge recommendations are understood.
“Patients can often be anxious, and this may interfere with their understanding and recall of what has happened in hospital and what the required follow-up is,” says senior investigator Professor Geoffrey Tofler, a cardiologist at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital.

Fibre-optic catheter to change way doctors monitor human body

By admin E-Health & Technology Jan 15, 2015
A unique fibre-optic catheter with the potential to change the way doctors monitor some of the human body’s core functions is being prepared for commercial production in South Australia.
Developed by a team now based at the Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI) at Flinders University in Adelaide, the pressure-sensing catheter can record and characterise muscular activity inside the body to a level of detail previously not thought possible.
In fact, it was dubbed “the Hubble Telescope of gastroenterology” by one clinical expert when the concept was first unveiled in 2010.
“When Associate Professor Phil Dinning presented our findings to a conference in London the audience actually gasped,” said biomedical engineer Professor John Arkwright.

Smartphone technology MedAdvisor makes medication easier

Date January 12, 2015 - 11:30PM

Natasha Boddy

Canberra Times reporter

Hannah Thomson knows it can be easy to run out of medication or forget to fill a prescription when you have to manage nearly 20 prescriptions at any one time. 
The 26-year-old has several medical conditions including lupus, asthma and gastroparesis requiring her to take up to 20 pills a day, and manages up to 17 scripts. She also manages medication for her six-year-old son Vincent Trenka who has asthma and multiple stomach problems.
"It's not easy, not at all and because I have problems with my memory, it makes it even harder to keep on top of it," Miss Thomson said. 
A rise in e-health technologies is now making it easier  for patients such as Miss Thomson to keep track of their multiple medications.

Google Glass sales suspended

Date January 16, 2015

Matt O'Brien

Google says it will halt sales of its Glass eyewear, a move that could frustrate fans who bought the quirky head-mounted computer but which the company pitched as a "graduation" of the technology from a research experiment to a product that could be used in factories, hospitals and other workplace environments.
Monday will be the last day anyone can buy the $US1500 ($A1823) gadgets, which arrived on the consumer market less than a year ago but seemed to appeal to a very small demographic of early adopters.
Google Glass will continue to be led by Ivy Ross, a former jewellery designer, but the operation will move out of the secretive Google X research lab where it was developed and fall under the direction of Tony Fadell, co-founder and chief executive officer of the home automation company, Nest Labs, which Google acquired a year ago for $US3.2 billion.

Australia's internet lags behind despite NBN

Date January 11, 2015 - 2:55PM

Misa Han

Despite the imminent rollout of the NBN, Australia has slipped to 44th in the world for average connection speed, writes Misa Han.
Australian internet speeds are lagging behind the rest of the world despite the national broadband network rollout and the scheduled launch of US streaming service Netflix looming large.
Australia ranked 44th in the world based on its average connection speed, which fell 1.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2014 to 6.9 Mbps, according to Akamai's State of the Internet report. 
This places Australia behind a number of other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Since the previous quarter, New Zealand overtook Australia in terms of average internet speed, coming in at 42nd.

Humanity heading into the ‘danger zone’

Graham Lloyd

PLANET Earth is now well into a new geological era, the Anthropocene, in which human activity was driving change at a global scale and threatening to push humanity in a “danger zone”, a new report has found.
Four of nine planetary boundaries had been crossed with change accelerating rapidly since the 1950s, according to an updated report of Earth System trends from 1750 to 2010 headed by former Climate Commissioner Will Steffen, and published today in Science.
A complimentary report in The Anthropocene Review identified economic activity as the primary driver of human-induced planetary change and said the developed world continued to have a disproportionate impact.
Though there had been improvement in some areas it was too early to say whether future human behaviour would turn things around or result in a “great collapse”, the report said.
January 12, 2015 12:14 am

Scientists and investors warn on AI

Tim Bradshaw in San Francisco
Dozens of scientists, entrepreneurs and investors involved in the field of artificial intelligence, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have signed an open letter warning that greater focus is needed on its safety and social benefits.
The letter and an accompanying paper from the Future of Life Institute, which suggests research priorities for “robust and beneficial” artificial intelligence, come amid growing nervousness about the impact on jobs or even humanity’s long-term survival from machines whose intelligence and capabilities could exceed those of the people who created them.
 “Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls,” the FLI’s letter says. “Our AI systems must do what we want them to do.”
The FLI was founded last year by volunteers including Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype, to stimulate research into “optimistic visions of the future” and to “mitigate existential risks facing humanity”, with a focus on those arising from the development of human-level artificial intelligence.

1 comment:

Dr Ian Colclough said...

Prescription medication overdose deaths exceed Victoria’s road toll. Prescription drug dependence and doctor shopping represent a hidden public health epidemic. is a non-profit organisation formed to raise public awareness of prescription medication misuse and addiction in support of the Victorian Coroners’ calls for Real-Time Prescription Monitoring [RTPM].