Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27th April, 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 rather quiet week with some bad news about Health IT in Victoria, more news on some apparently dodgy dealings in Pharmacy Systems, and a little more discussion from NEHTA and Telstra.
We are still lacking any news on the PCEHR and NEHTA with the Budget for 2016 only a couple of weeks away. You have to feel sorry for the staff involved in these initiatives with all the uncertainty, or have they already been told what will happen? Leaks welcome!
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Doctors say patients are dying because of inadequate IT systems

Date April 22, 2015 - 12:15AM

Julia Medew Health Editor

Victorians are dying because of inadequate IT systems for hospital staff to communicate crucial information about their care to GPs, doctors say – with many still relying on faxes.
Despite more than $1 billion being spent on healthcare technology over the past decade, the Victorian branch of the Australian Medical Association says thousands of patients are being shunted around between doctors every day without a standardised system to efficiently transmit their personal information.
The chairman of AMA Victoria's section of general practice, Dr Michael Levick, said this "ad hoc" approach to communicating patients' diagnoses, test results and treatments was so dangerous, he knew of patients who had died as a result.
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Poor communication systems between doctors and hospitals put patients at risk, AMA says

Posted April 22, 2015
Doctors in Victoria say patients are dying due to inadequate technology and poor communication between hospitals and local GPs, and have called for $50 million to help fix the problem.
Privacy laws mean emails about patients medical history have to be encrypted, but only a few hospitals have the technology to do that.
The chairman of the Australian Medical Association Victoria's section of general practice, Dr Michael Levick, said vital patient information was instead being passed on via written notes or by fax.
He said that meant updates about major changes to patient treatment while they were in hospital were often delayed or even missed completely.
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Political will is holding back digital health: Experts

Far from being a technology problem, digital health initiatives are being held back by a lack of incentive and government backing, a panel of health experts has said.
Imagine you have the technology platform, the tools, and the know-how to help move forward an industry that is about to have its costs increase imminently, but despite the improvements your scheme would bring, no one can or wants to step forward and make it happen.
Welcome to the digitisation of health care in Australia.
Despite more than AU$1.1 billion being spent on the Personally Controlled E-Health Record (PCEHR) project by governments of different political persuasions, an electronic record is no closer to being fully integrated into the health system.
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Pharmacy lobby in conflict row over IT firm’s windfall

A struggling technology business backed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia has reaped millions of dollars in government grants intended for pharmacists, fuelling concerns that the lobby group is beset by conflicts of interest as it heads into battle over the next round of funding for the industry.
Fred IT, which was 50 per cent-owned by the pharmacy guild when the federal government’s $15.6 billion Community Pharmacy Agreement was struck in 2010, was one of two private companies to share in a $9.7 million windfall after key funding for pharmacies was later redirected.
The handout was not approved under the original agreement and was made despite the guild previously agreeing that the funding in question — $75.5m to offset pharmacists’ costs of switching to processing prescriptions electronically — be made only to pharmacies.
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New health alliance to help community

By Ashleigh Tullis

April 22, 2015, 2:07 p.m.
Wollondilly Council has established a Health Alliance which aims to create a healthier community.
This follows a Health Needs Assessment which was completed last year and identified top health priorities.
The alliance is trialling new models of health care and ways to promote health so Wollondilly has better access to services.
Wollondilly Council community services manager Peter Wright said due to the small but dispersed population of Wollondilly, access to health services was difficult because they were primarily focused in the larger population centres of Campbelltown and Liverpool.
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CHF consensus statement ignores evidence for telehealth: experts

20th Apr 2015
TELEHEALTH and telemonitoring should be a vital part of national chronic heart failure (CHF) care models but the modalities continue to be ignored, researchers say.
Professor of acute care nursing at Flinders University, Robyn Clark, and NSW Cardiovascular Research Network Life Science Fellow, Associate Professor Sally Inglis, argue that CHF patients could achieve better outcomes with telemonitoring but note that a national consensus statement on management of the condition fails to recommend its integration into practice.
According to the consensus expert panel, convened by the Heart Foundation, a significant proportion of the estimated $1 billion per year expenditure on CHF management is associated with preventable CHF readmissions.
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Shared Health Summary, Event Summary and Common Conformance Profile April 2015 Update

Created on Thursday, 23 April 2015
NEHTA has released updated specifications for key clinical document types, Shared Health Summary and Event Summary.
This is the first-ever full update of core specification documents and addresses issues identified during the implementation of the previous versions.
Also included in this release are minor updates for the
  • Common Conformance Profile for Clinical Documents
and the publication of the
  • Conformance Test Specification for PCEHR Usability.
Updates for Shared Health Summary and Event Summary
The new releases of the Shared Health Summary and Event Summary end products provide updates aimed at:
  • Addressing issues identified during the implementation of SHS and ES specifications;
  • Clarifying existing requirements;
  • Improving interoperability, clinical safety and privacy through additional requirements;
  • Improving usability by incorporating selected recommendations from the Clinical Usability Programme (CUP);
  • Supporting additional use cases through relaxation of requirements;
  • Supporting additional use cases through additional fields;
  • Supporting version 3 of the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT);
  • Aligning clinical modelling and CDA® mapping with other document types;
  • Resolving errors.
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Outcomes of the recent survey

APNA has been working with NEHTA to provide its members with information on the personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system. The recent survey has provided us with some valuable feedback on the current levels of knowledge and use of the eHealth record system.
Insights
There were a number of issues raised about the difficulty in using and the beliefs held regarding the eHealth record system.
As a result we have been working with NEHTA to address the concerns about the usability of the system. Some significant enhancements to the clinical software used by General Practice have been made through the NEHTA Clinical Usability Programme in consultation with peak clinical organisations. Many of the GP desktop software systems have been updated making the eHealth record system easier to use.
These enhancements include:
  • streamlining the process to register for an eHealth record
  • fewer clicks to upload clinical documents
  • easier to view a patient's record
  • preventative measures to enhance security and privacy.
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Electronic health tools for chronic kidney disease

21st Apr 2015
A/Prof Craig Nelson MBBS, FRACP, PhD
Director of Nephrology, Western Health, Victoria; 
Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, University of Melbourne
Dr Aspasia Pefanis MBBS, BMedSci
Advance Trainee in Nephrology,
Western Health, Victoria
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE
CHRONIC kidney disease (CKD) is defined as reduced kidney function/glomerular filtration rate (GFR <60ml m="" min="" sup="">2
) and/or evidence of kidney damage (usually indicated by albuminuria or proteinuria) for a period of at least three months (Johnson et al, 2013). Decreased estimated GFR (eGFR) and increased urinary albumin excretion have been shown to predict end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and death across a wide range of settings (Levey et al, 2011).
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Bellin’s Pete Knox on Accountable Care and Innovation

While activity based funding or fee-for-service is a widely used model in healthcare systems around the globe it is increasingly coming under fire for cost and health-outcome reasons, leading some countries and systems to try different models.
Over the last five years the United States has been experimenting with funding outcomes-focused healthcare delivered by Accountable Care Organisations or ACOs.
“Here in the US, ACOs are being defined as a group of providers coming together to deliver care to a population of people, and in doing so, achieve better health outcomes at a lower cost, and with a better experience for the healthcare consumer,” says Pete Knox, executive vice president, chief learning and innovation officer at Bellin Health, in the central US state of Wisconsin.
Knox, who has served with Bellin in a variety of roles for the last 35 years, tells eHealthspace.org that ACOs began to emerge following the introduction of President Obama’s widely debated Affordable Care Act.
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Robot assistants to give surgeons a leg-up

Jennifer Foreshew

Australian researchers are exploring the use of robot assistants to help undertake knee ­arthro­scopies and other minimally invasive surgeries.
The use of robots was expected to slash patient waiting lists, simplify training for new surgeons and prolong their labour-intensive careers.
Queensland University of Technology and the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision are tackling key medical issues with affordable, simple robotic devices.
The project team is made up of orthopedic surgeon Ross Crawford, roboticist Jonathan Roberts and biologist Anjali Jaiprakash.
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The full story...

Kids Helpline: Increase in children needing urgent mental health advice

Bridget Brennan reported this story on Monday, April 20, 2015 12:56:00
ELEANOR HALL: Now to the 24-hour youth help service that's reporting a huge spike in the use of its emergency services.
Kids Helpline says its counsellors are now making more than twice as many emergency interventions as they were two years ago.
Bridget Brennan has our report.
BRIDGET BRENNAN: The National Mental Health Commission says 600,000 Australian children between the ages of 4 and 17 are affected by a mental health problem every year.
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Medical workers team with Readify in 'critical patient' care project

Frontline medical workers in Victoria have helped software company Readify develop “groundbreaking” technology that is transforming the treatment of critically ill patients across the state.
The medical workers who worked with Readify are employed with Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV), a department of Ambulance Victoria responsible for coordinating doctors, paramedics, ambulances, planes, helicopters and equipment to transfer critically ill patients between hospitals.
ARV, whose 30 clinical coordinators and retrieval specialists handle approximately 4,200 cases a year working with almost 150 hospitals across the state, was in the process of transitioning from paper to online processes, but was using an interim system that did not allow for real-time digital case management.
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The AMT v20150430 April 2015 release is now available for download

Created on Friday, 24 April 2015
The AMT v20150430 April 2015 release is now available for download from the NEHTA website.
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Here’s why you should own Telstra Corporation Ltd shares

By Darryl Daté-Shappard - April 20, 2015 |
Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) is taking its next major step into healthcare by opening its new e-health product, MyCareManager. The telecommunications leader is leveraging its expertise in communications and mobile networking to provide customers a way to have medical consultation services via online video.
GP and healthcare specialists can discuss health issues with patients, as well as monitor and analyse their conditions via high-speed broadband and cloud data applications.
If you’ve ever had the experience of meeting with a medical professional, you would greatly appreciate the time saving and convenience this offers. Regularly, people might have to travel one or two hours to a medical centre. Then they would sit in a waiting room a long while for their appointment, all for a consultation that could last only a short 10-15 minutes possibly.
New e-Health division growing quickly
Telstra’s e-health division has grown with a number of recent acquisitions. In the first half of financial year 2015, Telstra made five acquisitions and investments in e-health companies in its drive to become the leading e-health service provider in Australia.
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Teardown of Apple Watch shows sensor could measure blood oxygen levels

To reach the watch's inner components, iFixIt used a "destructive process" that would make it "impossible" for a person to repair the watch
The Apple Watch's sensor may hold more health monitoring functions than Apple has revealed, including measuring blood oxygen levels, a feature that's not enabled on the device and that Apple hasn't talked about.
That's one of the findings from iFixIt, which disassembled an Apple Watch Sport Edition on the day the wearables started shipping to customers.
U.S. government regulations may prevent Apple from allowing the watch to capture blood oxygen data, according to iFixIt, whose website lets people offer each other advice on how to fix a variety of things, including computer hardware. The site is also known for breaking apart Apple's new products as soon as they go on sale.
People eager to perform their own fixes on the Apple Watch may have to stick with swapping out the watch bands. That's the easiest repair to make on the device and only entails pressing a button to release the peg holding the bands in place.
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Sydney Adventist Hospital’s Big Data play

Sydney Adventist Hospital on Sydney’s upper North shore is embracing the Internet of Things and Big Data in a bid to improve operational efficiency and deliver better patient outcomes. However, as Barbara MacKenzie, SAH’s head of IS operations and infrastructure notes, at present Big Data and the internet of things is not about saving lives. Yet.
“The way that we use our network is as the synapses between different objects,” she observes. “The variety of systems and the information that is being captured across the network is absolutely mind-blowing.”
However, it has been a long journey towards the internet of things, where all devices are connected to the network using standard internet protocol. According to MacKenzie, this journey began around eight years ago, when medical device vendors started to build networking into their equipment. At that stage, SAH did not allo these devices to connect to the network, or into the corporate communications room.
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InterSystems Unveils Major New Release of Caché

Caché 2015 Achieves New Milestones in Scalability

SYDNEY, Aust., April 20, 2015 – InterSystems, a global provider of data management technologies, today announced the latest version of InterSystems Caché ®, its massively scalable data platform. InterSystems Caché 2015 doubles the scalability of prior releases, based on independent third-party testing.

“Caché continues to improve in scalability and performance, and we continue to spend a smaller percentage of revenue on IT than our competitors, despite growing annual revenues from $140 million to over $3.9 billion since choosing Caché for our specialised IT systems,” said Peter Joseph, CIO at Sonic Healthcare. “The new version offers massive processing power on standard hardware, further improving its impressive price performance.”

Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) is one of the world’s largest medical diagnostic companies. It is the largest pathology company in Australia and Germany, the third largest in the United States, and also operates laboratories in Switzerland, Belgium, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
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Darren Jones, Senior VP Australia, Orion Health

April 20, 2015
Please provide a brief overview of the company?
Orion Health has over 20 years’ experience in developing healthcare specific software solutions and today our products are sold in over 30 countries where they are used by thousands of clinicians to help improve healthcare outcomes for millions of people. In Australia, where we have operated since 2001, we have more than 100 customers ranging from hospitals to local health districts and state health departments, including ACT Health, Hunter New England Health, NSW Health, Tasmania Health, Healthscope and Epworth Hospital.
We focus on three specific market segments.
  • Intelligent Integration – Our software rapidly and reliably connects, integrates and shares information between disparate health software systems and organisations.
  • Smarter Hospitals – Our software connects all clinical information into a single viewer within a hospital, and includes a software platform to automate a hospital
  • Healthier Populations – Our software connects, consolidates and structures healthcare information to make it accessible and available across a geographic region
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The PCEHR – a GP's Experience

Dr Ewen McPhee, a rural doctor from Emerald in Queensland, presented at the Rural Medicine Australia 2014 conference on the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
In a 15-minute demonstration, Dr McPhee shows how he uses the PCEHR in his practice, explains what data cleansing is, how to register your patients and then he creates a shared health summary and uploads it to the PCEHR.
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Shedding New Light on the Search for the 'Invisible' Dark Matter

April 24th, 2015
We can map it, weigh it and simulate it, yet we still have no idea what it is. But dark matter is coming into the spotlight as never before.
Astronomers now know that for every grams worth of atoms in the universe, there are at least five times more of a new, invisible matter neither shining or blocking light.
We can also create model universes inside supercomputers that reproduce in stunning detail what we see around us in the night sky but only by assuming this invisible dark matter passes through us like a ghost.
Finally, in the past decade we have begun to almost routinely map out the invisible, finding it matching the simulation predictions.
Yet of the numerous candidates that particle physicists have thought up for dark matter we are still far from knowing which is right. A quest that is every bit as grand and in some ways even more difficult than the search for the God Particle, the Higgs Boson.
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Enjoy!
David.

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