Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 17th August, 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 active week with all sorts of things going on. Too much to summarise - Read On!

Slow progress on e-health causing medication misadventures

Date August 16, 2015 - 12:15AM

Harriet Alexander

Health Reporter

The hospitalisation of thousands of people each year could be prevented if their health providers shared information electronically, but they can't because their software systems do not talk to each other.
About 230,000 people are admitted to Australian hospitals every year as a result of medication misadventures.
The federal government's top advisor on e-health said poor communication between nurses, GPs, emergency staff, pharmacists and other health professionals resulted in thousands of preventable hospitalisations and deaths because patients were doubling up on medication or taking the wrong drugs.

DHS herding people on to an imperfect system in myGov

Date August 11, 2015 - 12:17AM
Over the past few weeks I have been employed casually with the Department of Human Services, answering calls for the Online Self-Services and myGov helpdesk. Casuals are being employed in call centres to provide assistance and promote these online services. After two weeks of training and one week taking calls I resigned because I felt I could not provide genuine service. In many cases I also felt I could not provide real solutions to callers' problems.
Another DHS worker wrote on this site in May that many vulnerable people were having difficulties getting through to services because phone lines are jammed with calls about simple issues. I agree that a good online service could solve some of these difficulties. But at the moment sites like myGov are far too cumbersome. Some people are also uncomfortable using computers or live in areas of slow internet speeds. There seems to be little consideration now for people not wanting to use online services.

Health e-record opt-out trials to cost $51 million

Price tag for million-person experiment revealed.

The Department of Health has revealed it expects trials of opt-out electronic health records to cost $51 million over the next four years.
Health received a pool of $485.1 million in the 2015 budget to pay for a renewed push to create personal electronic health records, which has been rebranded My Health Record.
The government revised its approach to the rollout of health records in the aftermath of Richard Royle’s investigation into the lower-than-expected take-up of the former PCEHR.
The budget allocation will pay for the continued operation of My Health Record and the transition to new governance arrangements following the abolition of NeHTA.

Doctor imposters can use AHPRA to kill off anybody

10 August 2015
POROUS online security processes mean anyone can impersonate a doctor and declare someone dead, an IT expert warns.
New computerised systems for births and deaths are replacing traditional paper forms that require sign-off from a doctor and a funeral director.
The problem, says Chris Rock, of Melbourne-based IT security firm Kustodian, is that the new systems often don't require log-ins.
They typically need simple information readily available on the online AHPRA register, such as name, registration number and practising address.
  • Aug 12 2015 at 10:02 AM

Telstra's Shane Solomon spearheads Australia's e-health revolution

by Jemima Whyte
Shane Solomon quickly switches to the personal when explaining Telstra’s ambitious plans to revolutionise the country’s health system.
He’s usually busy, running a division that employs more than 850 people, in a business that he hopes will at least double its revenue every year. And so the married father of four, a former hospital executive and healthcare adviser, often goes for months without visiting his GP to renew his prescription for Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Life threatening? Hopefully not. But Solomon says it places him alongside others for whom 100 million repeat prescriptions are written each year, mainly for four main chronic-disease drugs.

Primary Health Care examines software partnership with Apple, Telstra, Google

Date August 12, 2015 - 9:33PM

Carrie LaFrenz

Primary Health Care has talked to technology giants including Google, Apple and Telstra about potentially backing a spin-off of its Medical Director software business, as the company hunts for new revenue streams in e-health. 
Chief executive Peter Gregg, who reported a 19.1 per cent rise in full-year net profit to $136.5 million on Wednesday, hopes to boost Primary's position in the booming e-health market through its clinical management software that covers more than 60 million patient consultations each year.
  • Aug 13 2015 at 5:03 PM
  • Updated Aug 13 2015 at 6:01 PM

Four things we learned from reporting season Thursday

Hints of Andy Penn's vision for Telstra 

New Telstra chief executive Andy Penn has started off on a pretty good note with investors, delivering a profit in line with expectations and a higher dividend. But perhaps the key with this result is the clues it gives us about the sort of Telstra that Penn wants to build, even as some are saying Telstra isn't really a phone company anymore.
First, he wants Telstra to dominate in Australia, particularly in mobile, where its numbers keep going despite the saturation of the market. Second, the company's e-health push appears to be very much Penn's baby, and an attempt to show how Telstra can use its expertise to grab a slice of a booming market.

Virtual Dementia – see things through their eyes

A virtual reality tool that allows dementia carers to understand more about how people with dementia see the world has scored a global win in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup.
Microsoft’s Imagine Cup  is a global student technology program and competition that provides opportunities for students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrates solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.
A team of four Swinburne Multimedia graduates, who now operate as Opaque Multimedia, won US$50,000 as part of the World Citizenship Award to continue developing their software.

Hacking for Better Health

on August 7, 2015 at 8:00 am
The healthcare sector has much to gain from the new developments in eHealth and soaring popularity of lifestyle apps contained in mobile and wearable devices. The question is, what to do with this data to help patients? A community of IT enthusiasts have come together to help connect the dots via a national hackathon writes Dr Maia Sauren.
What is a hackathon?
“Hacking” is the (legal) process of creative problem solving. A hackathon is an event where people come together to collaboratively solve problems, often using software or other technologies. You might have heard it described as a hackday or a codefest.
What happens at a hackathon?
Participants typically form teams of 2-5 people, gather their laptops, and work on finding solutions to a problem. The event might run for a few hours or a whole weekend. Often participants compete for prizes, either as money, goods or simply prestige.

MyEHR to National eHealth Record Transition Impact Evaluation

Created on Tuesday, 11 August 2015
At the COAG Health Council meeting in Darwin on 7 August 2015, Health Ministers received a presentation on an evaluation of NT’s My eHealth Record service undertaken by the National eHealth Transition Authority.
My eHealth Record has been operating in the Territory for ten years and as such, provides a unique opportunity to analyse the operation of an eHealth record in the Australian context. Like the national personally controlled electronic health record (or PCEHR) system, My eHealth Record captures summaries of information from healthcare events in an electronic record that is under the control of the healthcare consumer and is able to be accessed by providers that they later visit.

HotDoc Bookings

Take control over the Patient Booking Experience

Continuity of care and patient loyalty is a hallmark of HotDoc’s service. While other online bookings providers use a directory model that pits local clinics against each other, HotDoc promotes your website as the front door to your practice.

New app to tackle NT youth suicide

David Swan

Samsung has announced the first winner of its Adappt app development competition — In the Zone, an indigenous youth support app to tackle mental illness and youth suicide rates.
In the Zone, developed by 24 year old NT Young Achiever of the Year Pritika Desai, will offer mindfulness tools, the ability for young people to draw their mood to share with their peers, and information on nearby support resources.
Ms Desai said she came up with the concept to help normalise the discussion around mental health.

'They're in denial': MyGov users vent anger

Date August 11, 2015 - 6:32AM

Noel Towell

The Commonwealth government is "in denial" over the performance of its online service portals, with MyGov coming in for savage criticisms from frustrated users of the system.
Centrelink and Medicare clients from around Australia reacted with anger and disbelief after the giant Department of Human Services denied last week that there were any problems with MyGov.
"I always seem to get a message that access is unavailable, try again later or words to that effect," one user told The Canberra Times.

Mandatory data breach notification still on government's agenda

Government still intends to enact a mandatory data breach notification scheme before the end of the year but it is being close-mouthed on timing
The government has confirmed it is still planning to legislate a mandatory data breach notification scheme before the end of the year.
The legislation will compel organisations to notify people when their privacy is potentially compromised by a data breach.
The report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's (PJCIS) data retention inquiry recommended the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification scheme by the end of 2015.

Web-based CBT potential

Charlotte Mitchell
Monday, 10 August, 2015
AUSTRALIA is at the forefront of using multimodal cognitive behavioural therapies to treat mental health disorders, but experts say there is not a “one size fits all” solution. 
Dr Jennifer Randles, member of the section of psychotherapy for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, said while web- and app-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) had great potential in managing a range of conditions, it was unrealistic to think the therapy would be able to help everyone. 
“It takes a certain type of patient for CBT to work”, she said, saying it was usually not suited to patients with more severe problems. 

Healthcare’s technology revolution means a boost for jobs in IT

August 7, 2015 2.16pm AEST
Eye testing in remote areas of Australia with the images stored and set via satellite to city-based specialists. CSIRO, CC BY-NC
Author David Hansen CEO, Australian e-Health Research Centre at CSIRO
We tend to think about our healthcare sector as a leader in the development and use of advanced medical technology and biotechnology, such as expensive imaging machines or devices that we implant into patients.
But in many aspects of conducting the business of healthcare, our healthcare system is still in a pre-digital era. For example, healthcare may be the last sector where significant amounts of communication are still done via fax and regular post.
This is not to say that significant changes are not happening. Radiology is increasingly using digital technology but the interpretation of these images is still manual. Electronic health and medical records are also being introduced widely but there is little communication between collectors.

Mobile Health may be the answer for Australia, but is Australia ready?

August 10, 2015
In spite of the tremendous development of hospital infrastructure, Australia currently only has about 4 beds per thousand and a medical workforce of approximately 70,000 working clinicians. A key issue in Australian healthcare is access to timely and quality care, a problem that can potentially be addressed by enhancing and improving communication between providers and patients using mobile health (mHealth).
Frost & Sullivan estimates almost 15,000,000 Australians are connected through a smartphone. The increased rate of smartphone penetration among healthcare professionals, coupled with the Australian government initiatives are factors driving mHealth growth in Australia.
Frost & Sullivan’s new research, Analysis of Mobile Health (mHealth) Market in Australia, finds that in the market was worth US$1.4 billion in 2014. It is estimated to rise to US$2.18 billion in 2019 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3 percent during this period. The study covers clinical and non-clinical segments mHealth apps and services, but not devices.

Surgeons print out 3D body implant for spinal operation

Richard Guilliatt

Australian surgeons have cured a patient’s chronic spinal problem with a 3-D printed titanium implant in what could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of back pain and other orthopedic complaints.
The patient, 38-year-old Amanda Gorvin of the NSW central coast, says she is “100 per cent” free of chronic back pain since the custom im­plant was inserted four months ago to straighten her spine.
“I’ve got my life back,” said Ms Gorvin, who had become depressed after 30 years of pain from a back problem she had been told was inoperable.

International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research study finds the universe is dying - but don't panic just yet

Date August 11, 2015 - 8:25AM

Marcus Strom


The evidence is in: the universe is cactus.
After a wild youth about six or seven billion years ago, the universe is slowly dying. But you needn't book your table at the restaurant at the end of the universe just yet – the old age of the cosmos is likely to be very long and drawn out. 
How do we know this? Professor Simon Driver at the University of Western Australia and his colleagues have, for the first time, produced the first fully empirical measurement of the energy output of the universe.

GAMA study shows universe dying but billions of years before the lights go out

Mitchell Bingemann

First the bad news: our solar system, the Milky Way galaxy and ­indeed the entire cosmos is on an intractable journey to a very cold, very dark slumber as the billions upon billions of stars fade to nothingness.
The good news? There’s at least another 100 billion years before the last of the universe’s gas-burning stars twinkle for the last time.
That’s the conclusion of an international team of astronomers from the Galaxy and Mass ­Assembly Survey after their wide­ranging spectroscopic survey of 221,373 galaxies discovered the universe is emitting about half as much energy as it was two billion years ago.

Comet, Philae skirt past the Sun with Rosetta in tow

Date August 14, 2015 - 6:57PM
A comet hosting the Philae robot and orbited by the Rosetta spacecraft has zipped by past the Sun with all systems go, the European Space Agency says.
The comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which scientists say may help unlock the mystery of the origins of life on Earth, came within 186 million kilometres of our solar system's star on Thursday, the agency said.
Pictures taken from Rosetta's navigation camera showed that 67P was "very active" as its surface was buffeted by solar wind and heat, said Sylvian Lodiot, the engineer in charge of the spacecraft at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Germany.


Trevor3130 said...

In 2003 Shane Solomon was Executive Director, Metropolitan Health & Aged Care Services, for Victoria's DHS and Bronwyn Pike was Health Minister. They set up an Office of Health IT. Details, such as members of the Board and key staff, are lost in the mist, except for the dim memory that HealthSmart (?) flamed out a few years ago.

It's difficult to find any existing remnant of "Health IT" for Victoria. The Health Design Authority mentions
The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) - Health Design Authority, improves health outcomes for all Victorians through enhanced interoperability of health applications and the sharing of quality clinical information across Victoria.

The organisational chart for Dept of Justice & Regulation identifies a David Brown as Chief Information Officer Knowledge Information & Technology Services. The Health Design Forum published Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Approach – A local and international case study perspective, in August 2014.

So, it's interesting to get a glimpse of what Solomon & Pike are up to now. In reference to the purchase of Dr Foster, and the trajectory of Tim Kelsey, and access to UK health records: patient privacy and public trust is instructive.

It goes without saying that the Big Data from health records is the source of mega$$ for profit-makers. It remains to be seen whether the public providers who hand over their clients' data to the private sector can be held to account, on the criteria of privacy, security, management of conflicts of interest, etc.

Anonymous said...

so trevor you wouldnt trust telstra not to use/misuse health data that it will have via its health applications and vertical market play for a bigger fatter $$$$ big data play.