This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Weekly Australian Health IT Links –15th June, 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.
An interesting week with lots of private sector activity and what has to be described as the same-old same-oldfrom the public sector.
The continuing dialog between interest groups and the e-Health Division, sadly, just seems to confirm that there is still a very big gap between what is hoped for and what might be achievable in the hands of those present running the e-HealthDivision The depth of apparent understanding of what might work seems very limited.
CIOs and executives know it is all systems go for consumer directed care from next month, yet the information and communications technology to support its delivery are still evolving.
As the sector has been getting itself ready for the 1 July transition to consumer directed care (CDC), heads of aged care organisation’s IT departments have been tasked with getting home care information and communication technology (ICT) systems ready.
Gavin Tomlins, the chief information officer (CIO) of Queensland not-for-profit provider Sundale, says: “We know what our project timeline is and we know what we need to do. We will be ready,” he tells Technology Review. “We will have the new software package in place.”
Sundale had been using the People Point Software solution, which was acquired by Procura in 2013. Rather than automatically updating to Procura’s single source solution “we thought it was an opportune time to reinvestigate what is out there in the marketplace,” Tomlins says. This has involved “a lot of due diligence” comparing the major industry vendors and products, he says.
An exhaustive “online toolkit” to teach GPs how to avoid getting busted by Medicare investigators has been launched by the Department of Human Services.
The Medicare Billing Assurance Toolkit was launched this week, with officials suggesting practices complete the self-audit process at least once a year.
The initiative has already been lambasted by one GP as “more crap”.
It includes a self-assessment guide as well as before and after questionnaires for doctors and practices to complete. And there is a "charter" that practices can adopt, pledging their allegiance to the non-abuse of the Medicare system.
A supercomputer commissioned by University of Sydney is helping unlock the secrets of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa.
Known as Artemis, the Dell computer is assisting researchers in molecular biology, economics, mechanical engineering and physical oceanography and offers powerful crunching of research data. The university and Dell Australia announced its launch yesterday.
The supercomputer is not your average desktop. It has 1512 cores of compute capacity, almost 10 Terabytes of fast DDR4 memory, 10 Nvidia Tesla K40 graphics units and 480 Terabytes of Lustre file storage.
The second of the CEIPS (Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science) Seminar Series was delivered by Dr Stephen McKenzie, CEIPS Research Officer on Monday 27 April: ‘Using health promotion practice records to inform practice’. The seminar profiled CEIPS’ long standing efforts to document public health practice so it is visible and can be shared, in order to build our understanding of effective practice and drive quality improvement.
Dr McKenzie illustrated the power of data on the nitty-gritty of public health practice by presenting an example of a recording method recently used in Healthy Together Geelong.
Healthy Together Geelong staff used three databases (healthy children, healthy workplaces, and other events) to document their practice. The databases – ‘Event Trackers’ – were an adaptation of the event logs recording method developed by CEIPS for use by Healthy Together Victoria health promotion teams, but their pedigree goes back much further. The original event logs were developed first by The University of Kansas Community Toolbox group. The team at CEIPS first adapted them to document community development practice in Australia in the mid-nineties.
What happens when four of the nation's leaders get together on a very interactive panel, facilitated by the feisty MC Julie McCrossin? Hard questions were asked, and mostly answered in a good natured and wide ranging debate during the Integrating Prevention, Primary and Acute Care forum.
Featured panelists included Prof. Mary Foley, secretary, NSW Health; Dr Steve Hambleton, chair, NEHTA and chair of the recently convened Primary Health Care Advisory Group; Richard Royle, Executive Director, UnitingCare Health and chair of the 2013 review panel of the PCEHR; and Prof. Diana O’Halloran, who among her many roles is chair of WentWest the GP training authority and also in transition from Medicare Local to Western Sydney Primary Health Network.
With the focus on integrating prevention with acute and primary care Prof Mary Foley kicked off proceedings by noting that integrated care is something that is much talked about and that IT is a major enabler because people now want to share information between providers, patients and other sources.
Citing the HealtheNet program as an example of NSW progress in the area, she was congratulated by other panel members when confirming that 85% of Local Health Districts across the state (soon to be 100%) are now able to access a consolidated view of the patient’s clinical information, the patient’s PCEHR where it exists and with the majority sending electronic discharge summaries. The next steps are to integrate items such as pathology and radiology.
A SHARED-savings initiative used in a US-based medical home model that reduced patient hospitalisation and increased primary care visits has potential in Australia, according to experts.
A US study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found pilot medical home practices that received bonuses of up to 50% of any savings generated, contingent on meeting quality targets, had lower rates of all-cause hospitalisation and all-cause emergency department visits, and higher rates of ambulatory primary care visits across the 3-year study period. (1)
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) president Dr Frank Jones welcomed the findings, saying the research, together with existing evidence of reduced emergency department presentations and improved patient satisfaction, vindicated the College’s continued support for the medical home model.
Nineteen-year-old Isabella Merrilees-White is no stranger to anxiety and depression.
It started back in high school, when supporting her friends through relationship and family issues, on top of her school work, eventually took its toll.
"It was kind of stressing me out but I didn't really know how to help them," she said. "When you're that young, it's hard to know how to be there for people."
Like so many things today, there's now an app for that.
Clinical researchers are increasingly turning to technology to assist young people, one in six of whom are affected by anxiety and depression, according to research from youth support service ReachOut Australia.
GPs will be paid cash incentives to upload e-health summaries to the rebooted PCEHR — but only for patients with MBS care plans.
Federal Department of Health officials have told a Senate Estimates hearing that the move is aimed at encouraging greater clinical engagement with the moribund system.
"The incentives will be paid as an entitlement to those who use the system to upload records on behalf of their most in-need patients, and they'd be the ones who have care plans," the department's special advisor for e-health, Paul Madden, told the hearing.
One of the key constructs in FHIR is a “profile”. A profile is a statement of how FHIR resources are used for a particular solution – or, how they should be used. The FHIR resources are a general purpose construct, and you can do kind of general purpose things with them, such as store the data in a PHR, and do generally useful display of a clinical record etc.
But if you’re going to do something more specific, then you need to be specific about the contents. Perhaps, for instance, you’re going to write a decision support module that takes in ongoing glucose and HBA1c measurements, and keeps the patient informed about how well they are controlling their diabetes. In order for a patient or an institution to use that decision support module well, the author of the module is going to have to be clear about what are acceptable input measurements – and it’s very likely, unfortunately, that the answer is ‘not all of them’. Conversely, if the clinical record system is going to allow it’s users to hook up decision support modules like this, it’s going to have to be clear about what kind of glucose measurements it might feed to the decision support system.
Exalt Resources (ASX:ERD) is acquiring cloud based ehealth software company MedAdvisor International Pty Ltd that has contracts with four major pharmaceutical clients.
MedAdvisor has developed a world-class software platform that assists individuals in correctly using medication via a ‘virtual pharmacist’, dramatically improving health outcomes through improved medication adherence.
The software uses a cloud computing approach, in conjunction with optimised user experience on mobile and web devices.
Of the thousands of medical apps claiming to fix you, these are some that actually might. Finding the gems among the charlatans and quacks is a bit of a task, but Jessica Sier is here to help.
Everyone knows the joke about the girl trying to take a pregnancy test online and the plethora of websites claiming to do just that, you know, from getting a general pregnant-vibe from her eyeballs looking at the screen.
Many doctors are concerned about dangerous, inappropriate and plain wrong medical apps aimed at helping people diagnose or treat themselves at home. Since apps are so easy to make, there have been a swarm of farcical software on both iOS and Android.
Instant Blood Pressure was a $4.99 app promising to measure your blood pressure by using a smartphone's microphone and LED light. By placing your iPhone on your chest it just "reads" your blood pressure. Just like that. A nurse I showed this to started laughing at the idiocy of the premise but abruptly stopped when I mentioned Instant Blood Pressure was one of the top five downloaded apps in the health section of the app store.
Map of Medicine has provided clinically-led care pathways to support evidence-based decision making for more than twelve years. As part of its development for Australian customers, Map of Medicine is integrated with MedicalDirector Clinical and linked to the National Health Service Directory (NHSD). Now the latest clinical information is delivered directly to GPs’ desktops for use at the point of care. This means clinicians have access to the latest evidence-based, practice informed pathways, guidance and forms to review or share with patients during a consultation.
The leading provider of care pathways, Map of Medicine, now sits alongside MedicalDirector Clinical and can be accessed instantly via a neat sidebar which sits on the side of the screen while MedicalDirector Clinical is open. A clinician can use MedicalDirector Sidebar during a consultation to instantly access pathways and information relevant to the patient’s presenting condition. When the clinician enters a patient diagnosis, MedicalDirector Sidebar uses this to search the database in Map of Medicine. These search results are filtered and locally relevant information is given priority.
Accenture research reveals that healthcare IT functions are on the rise across the board.
Accenture commissioned a six-country survey of 2,619 doctors to assess their adoption and attitudes toward electronic health records and healthcare IT. The online survey included doctors across six countries: Australia (510), Brazil (504), England (502), Norway (302), Singapore (200) and the United States (601). The survey was conducted online by Nielsen between December 2014 and January 2015.
The survey shows improvement in Australian doctors’ adoption of electronic health records and in use of many healthcare IT functions, but some capabilities are still not part of the regimen.
Specific Country Findings
Among the survey findings, Australian doctors (85 per cent) overwhelmingly agree that they are more proficient using electronic health records (EHR) in their clinical practices today than two years ago. The top IT functions used routinely by Australian doctors include: receive clinical results electronically that populate patients’ EMR (72 per cent) and enter patient notes electronically (70 per cent).
Alternatively, the full text is available as follows.
eHealth can improve clinical care
eHealth records may be unfairly getting a bad rap because of confusion among many clinicians, says a rural GP.
Emerald Queensland GP and obstetrician Ewen McPhee is outspoken about the value of the eHealth record system to his patients and says it surprises him more practitioners are not actively participating.
HealthEngine has reaffirmed its place as Australia’s largest online GP booking system, announcing a major milestone of its one millionth online booking. The booking was made at Gap Road Medical Centre in Sunbury, Victoria.
As digital technology advances exponentially, the need to adopt technology to help meet the challenges in healthcare has never been clearer. E-health continues to rise globally and HealthEngine is leading the way in Australia, bringing the benefits of digital health and helping to empower people of all ages as they take more control over their health.
In June 2012, 4,000 bookings had been made on HealthEngine. Today, just three years later, this has increased to 1,000,000 bookings and a health appointment is booked every 20 seconds compared to every 2.5 hours in 2012. HealthEngine plans to continue this momentum, with 120,000 bookings a month its projected bookings will increase by a further 300 per cent within the next 18 months.
Laurie Richardson feels robbed of a milestone 60th year with his wife after a hospital mishap led to her death.
The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has apologised to Eunice Richardson's family after she was given an antibiotic she was allergic to, despite the presence of a MedicAlert bracelet and warnings on her file.
The 80-year-old died in Christchurch Hospital after she was given bacteriostatic antibiotic, Trimethoprim, for a urinary tract infection, in November 2013.