Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd March, 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

Another quiet week with silence on e-Health becoming deafening. I wonder what is going on. Leaks welcome before the metadata laws pass the Senate!
I have to say I am not keen on any threat of jail related to this meta-data issue. I feel this is a bit of Governmental overreach.
Interesting to see more and more discussion on telehealth and related matters in the last few weeks.

Implementing telehealth as core business in health services

Sabe Sabesan and Jenny Kelly
Med J Aust 2015; 202 (5): 231-232.
doi: 10.5694/mja14.01021
The many benefits for the rural sector suggest it is time to integrate telehealth models into routine clinical practice
The uptake of telehealth in Australia has been increasing steadily, but continued uptake relies on clinical champions. Australian telehealth models cover a wide range of medical specialties and subspecialties.1 However, most telehealth services in Australia are currently optional, which acts as a barrier to the growth and uptake of these models.
Many successful telehealth networks have been established by incorporating telehealth models of care as part of the core business of hospitals and health services, rather than as an academic activity or a pilot project. While some may argue the evidence base for telemedicine is “weak”,2 we assert there is sufficient evidence for these models to be integrated into routine clinical practice.

Ailing eHealth system on mend

An audit of the Department of Defence's eHealth System (DeHS) has found a number of significant flaws in its implementation.
Auditor-General, I an McPhee said that overall, Defence's planning, budgeting and risk management for the system had been deficient, resulting in substantial cost increases, schedule delay and criticism within Government.
"During the initial phases of the project, Defence did not scope and cost key components of the project; validate project cost estimates and assumptions; obtain Government approval when required; follow a project management methodology; or adequately mitigate risk by adopting fit-for-purpose governance and coordination arrangements," Mr McPhee said.
Audit finds Defence implementation flawed
"Defence's planning and management of the initial phases of the DeHS project were well below the standards that might be reasonably expected by Defence's senior leadership, and exposed the Department to reputational damage."

Canadian FHIR Connectathon

Posted on March 18, 2015 by Grahame Grieve
FHIR® North
Canada’s FHIR Connectathon

Event Details
Date: April 29th
Time: 9:00AM – 6:00PM
Location: Mohawk College, 135 Fennel Ave W, Hamilton, ON L9C 1E9
Room: Collaboratory (2nd Floor – Library)
Registration Cost: $45.00 (Entry, lunch, coffee break, pizza dinner)
Registration Site:

Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) Support Group Meeting

Created on Wednesday, 18 March 2015
The AMT Support Group structure is changing to an open forum, an opportunity exists for interested individuals to participate in the ongoing development of the AMT.
If you have a background in medicines management and are keen to be involved, please forward an expression of interest to 
The next meeting (via teleconference) is scheduled for Wednesday 29 April 2015 10 am – 12 pm AUS Eastern Daylight Time.
The Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) is produced by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) to standardise identification of medicines for use within Australian electronic medicine management systems. A Support Group consisting of clinicians, jurisdiction representatives and computer system vendors meets regularly to provide expert guidance on relevant terminology issues.
For more information on the AMT see or email 

Call to bring Centrelink payment system ‘into 21st century’

Fran Foo

THE Abbott government has been urged to fast-track the estimated $1 billion replacement for a Centrelink mainframe system by one of its key architects who says Canberra can no longer afford to rest on its laurels.
Kevin Noonan was one of the system’s designers when Centrelink’s Income Security Integrated System was built more than 30 years ago. The antiquated ISIS, which runs on the Model 204 mainframe, is responsible for the delivery of $150bn in social security payments annually. Changes to the largely manual system are cumbersome.
Mr Noonan, now government IT lead analyst with consultancy Ovum, said the Department of Human Services was “running a 20th century system for 21st century needs”.
“The challenge is at the core; we have a system that’s built around old ways of thinking,” Mr Noonan said.

Senior Legal Counsel

  • Fixed term contract
The National E-Health Transition Authority Limited (NEHTA) was established by the Australian, State and Territory governments to develop better ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information. NEHTA is the lead organisation supporting the national vision for e-health in Australia.
NEHTA is currently recruiting people with a desire to make a difference to health outcomes, that are passionate about the use of e-health to meet these goals and who have the relevant experience to deliver solutions in a highly complex stakeholder and technical environment. In these roles you will be working with consumers and clinicians who will be defining how models of care can be improved using the PCEHR. You will be delivering the solutions that will be in place for your grandparents, parents and your children... and for you as you engage with the public and private health system.

7 simple strategies to avoid e-health disasters

In healthcare we’re often confronted with poor quality software. Bugs and security issues are common, and the design is usually not intuitive. I spoke to Frank (not his real name), an insider in the health IT industry. Frank gives us an interesting look behind the scene and seven strategies for developing or implementing new software.

“Any industry can be a target for poor software,” says Frank, “but healthcare certainly has its fair share. Believe it or not, medical software is unregulated. Medical software that runs on a computer, mobile phone or tablet does not fit the definition of a medical device in section 41BD of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, as they were not intended by the manufacturer to be used for therapeutic purposes.”
“How many software developers have clinical employees? Do these employees have input into design or are they there to sell the dream?
“There is a serious gap between software design and the real-world application. Often software developers do not fully understand what is actually required by the healthcare industry to support the services that they provide.”

Patient info stored online as NZ pharmacies connect to ePrescription repository

5:00 AM Thursday Mar 19, 2015
Nicholas Jones
New ePrescription service to keep digital record of scripts and may benefit GPs.
Details of people's prescriptions are being fed into an online repository from pharmacies across the country.
The Ministry of Health says information is encrypted and kept in a secure system only accessible by approved health professionals.
But it admits that people who aren't satisfied with those measures cannot opt out.
All New Zealand pharmacies are now connected to the ePrescription service, and nearly all general practices will be on board within months.
Pharmacy Guild chief executive Lee Hohaia said people would be unlikely to notice a change.

Monetizing medical data is becoming the next revenue stream for hackers

The personal details in medical records fetch higher prices than stolen credit card numbers
The personal information found in health care records fetches hefty sums on underground markets, making any company that stores such data a very attractive target for attackers.
"Hackers will go after anyone with health care information," said John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at the SANS Institute, adding that in recent years hackers have increasingly set their sights on EHRs (electronic health records).
With medical data, "there's a bunch of ways you can turn that into cash," he said. For example, Social Security numbers and mailing addresses can be used to apply for credit cards or get around corporate antifraud measures.
This could explain why attackers have recently targeted U.S. health insurance providers. On Tuesday, Premera Blue Cross disclosed that the personal details of 11 million customers had been exposed in a hack that was discovered in January. Last month, Anthem, another health insurance provider, said that 78.8 million customer and employee records were accessed in an attack.

Virtual baby: Fly-in, fly-out worker uses Samsung Gear VR to be part of son's birth remotely

Date March 15, 2015 - 5:09PM

Hannah Francis

An Australian fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) worker has used virtual reality technology to witness the birth of his child while interstate.
Jace Larke took a contract electrician job in Queensland to feed the three mouths – and another on the way – back home in Perth, even though his four weeks on, one week off roster meant he'd miss the due date of his pregnant wife, Alison.
"Jace being the sole breadwinner, we were worried if he had put his hand up and asked for indefinite time off, with the contract coming to a close, they would have said don't bother," Mrs Larke told Fairfax Media.
"A lot of people are being laid off . . . that's the reality."
Live streaming the birth of their third son, Steele, in virtual reality three weeks ago was "the next best thing", she said.

Virtual technology breakthrough allows WA mum to deliver world first long-distance birth

  • March 15, 2015 4:19AM
  • PerthNow
NOT even 4000km could keep Jason Larke from the birth of his child.
In a world first, Mr Larke was “in the same room” as his wife Alison when she delivered their third child in a Perth hospital last month, in a breakthrough in virtual technology.
Wearing a streaming headset developed by Samsung, Mr Larke – a fly-in, fly-out electrical contractor based in Chinchilla in Queensland – experienced the birth of his son Steele in real time via cameras set up in the Perth birthing suite.
Waving to his wife and mother-in-law, Mr Larke was able to “walk” around the room and see and hear all the sights and sounds of his son’s arrival from his Queensland bedroom. The couple were selected to take part in the experiment, which could herald a breakthrough for couples who find themselves separated during childbirth.

Journalist jail threat in metadata law

Sarah Martin

JOURNALISTS face two years in jail for reporting on a warrant system under new national security laws aimed at protecting press freedom.
After agreeing on measures to prevent the exposure of whistleblowers in the government’s proposed metadata collection regime, the Coalition and Labor yesterday gave the green light to the new laws coming into effect in 2017.
Under the legislation, which will go the Senate next week, telecommunication companies will be forced to keep encrypted information about email, phone calls and text messages — but not the content — for access by law enforcement agencies for two years.
Amid warnings from media companies that the regime would have a chilling effect on press freedom, the government agreed to establish a “public interest ­advocate” and a “journalist information warrant” to prevent the identity of confidential sources being exposed. Labor had insisted on the amendments as a condition of its support.

'This level of secrecy is unacceptable': Senate committee slams NBN roll out

Date March 20, 2015 - 7:16AM
A parliamentary committee has accused NBN Co of secrecy over future costs of rolling out the broadband network.
The Greens-Labor dominated Senate committee tasked with overseeing the NBN has produced a damning second interim report, accusing NBN Co of releasing a glossy version of its public corporate plan by omitting forecasts for financial years after 2014/15.
It also accuses the company of manipulating forecasts for political purposes.
Additionally, NBN Co refuses to divulge names of companies that have signed contracts and the "substantial new costs" incurred, the committee claims.
"This level of secrecy is unacceptable," the report says.
NBN Co is still too "uncertain" to reveal how much technology will cost or how long it will take to build, the report states.

'Dark web' keeps criminals out of reach of metadata retention laws

Date March 18, 2015

Liam Tung

Criminals and terrorists are taking cover in a part of the web that can't be Googled. It's called the 'dark web', it's growing and Australia's data retention law will do nothing to help police track its most dangerous users, experts say.
If you've followed the rise and the fall of the online drug store Silk Road, you know of at least one website on the dark web — a space that Google doesn't index, and that from time to time causes headaches for law enforcement and security agencies.   
The recent guilty verdict for the Silk Road's ringleader however demonstrated the dark web isn't impenetrable. And late last year Europol seized 400 websites on the dark web and arrested 17 people alleged to be selling illegal goods. 

The truth about the rise of robots

Robots' capacity for autonomous movement and their ability to perform an expanding set of tasks have captured writers' imaginations for almost a century. Recently robots have emerged from the pages of science fiction novels into the real world, and discussions of their possible economic effects have become ubiquitous. But a serious problem inhibits these discussions: there has so far been no systematic empirical analysis of the effects that robots are already having.
In recent work we began to remedy this problem. We compiled a new dataset spanning 14 industries (mainly manufacturing industries, but also agriculture and utilities) in 17 developed countries (including European countries, Australia, South Korea, and the US).
Uniquely, our dataset included a measure of the use of industrial robots employed in each industry, in each of these countries, and how it has changed from 1993-2007. We obtained information on other economic performance indicators from the EUKLEMS database.

Rise of the machines: is there anything to fear?

Stephen Cave
What happens when ultra-intelligent computers begin to improve themselves? We should not assume they’ll have our best interests at heart, warns Stephen Cave
Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, by James Barrat, St Martin’s Griffin, RRP$16.99, 336 pages
In Our Own Image: Will Artificial Intelligence Save or Destroy Us?, by George Zarkadakis, Rider, RRP£12.99, 384 pages
Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress, by Charles T Rubin, Encounter Books, RRP$23.99, 200 pages
Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence, by Stuart Armstrong, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, RRP£2.99/$4.99, 62 pages
We humans have got where we are today by being the cleverest creatures in town. In the absence of claws, wings or venom, intelligence is our evolutionary special power. And it has served us well, as we have risen to dominate great swaths of this planet. But now, institutions across the world — including universities, defence agencies and internet giants — are striving to create something that will knock us off this top spot. They are working towards machines that will be cleverer than we are; towards not merely artificial intelligence, but artificial super-intelligence. As a species, we are racing to create beings that will supplant us in our own evolutionary niche. What are we thinking?

Windows 10 embraces iris scans, facial recognition

Microsoft is embracing biometric login with a new feature of Windows 10 that recognizes faces, fingerprints and irises for authentication.
Microsoft is embracing biometric login with a new feature of Windows 10 that can recognize faces, fingerprints and irises for authentication it claims is more secure than passwords.
Windows Hello can be used to authenticate users but also applications, data and Websites without storing passwords on devices that support the feature.
The company says facial and iris recognition require infrared cameras on Windows 10 devices in order to distinguish individuals even in varying lighting conditions.

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