Monday, September 14, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th September, 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 - headlined it would seem by more DoH hopelessness.
Other than that we have the fun of a serious critique on what is happening with the NBN and rather old news that the Government seems to be still steaming on with the opt-out PCEHR.
Have a good week!

GPs slam govt's new aged care website

Tessa Hoffman and Paul Smith | 7 September, 2015 | 
GPs are calling the Federal Government website for aged care referrals ‘unsafe’ and ‘insecure’, saying it is delaying help to some of Australia’s most vulnerable patients.
The MyAgedCare site, launched in July, was meant to make it easier for doctors and nurses to make referrals for aged care assessment team (ACAT) assessments and Home Care Packages.
But it has emerged that the site does not conform to national secure message delivery standards. It has been lambasted by doctors who claim its poor design makes the referral process more onerous than ever and increases the risk of referrals disappearing into a cyberspace black hole.
Adelaide GP Dr Chris Bollen (pictured) says the site is laborious.
“These patients have some of the most complicated clinical problems you deal with in general practice. They are frail, and they obviously need these assessments to access services and care at a very vulnerable time,” he says.

Govt admits to botching aged care website

Tessa Hoffman | 8 September, 2015 |
The Federal Government has admitted its new online aged care referrals system is flawed and has caused longer waits for vulnerable elderly patients to access vital services.
The new MyAgedCare website, launched on 1 July, was supposed to simplify referrals for aged care assessments and Home Care Packages.
But it has faced a barrage of criticism from GPs, who have labelled it unsafe and clunky.
Criticisms include that the three-page online form for aged care assessment team assessments is clunky and time-consuming because it does not marry up with practice software, forcing GPs to enter three pages of data manually, and it does not conform to national secure message delivery standards.

Telstra Health Just Got Bigger In Asia

Telstra Health, which is a division of Telstra Australia, now has a bigger market presence in Asia. The company is installing their hospital electronic medical record systems in Thailand and Malaysia.
Telstra Health’s CloudMed Arcus Hospital Information System (Arcus) has been deployed already at Tung Shin Hospital’s Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine wings, at Penang Adventist Hospital, and at the Sunway Medical Centre group. Telstra Health is delivering the system to Thailand’s Khon Kaen University Hospital as well through a distributor. Arcus is an integrated patient care system that is expected to improve operations significantly.
But this is just the start. The company hopes to have a stronger presence in the Asian market soon.

Positive disruption: healthcare, ageing and participation in the age of technology

4 September 2015
Australia is on the cusp of two of the greatest disruptive transformations in history: the ageing of the population and a technological revolution. How the nation manages with both of these prospects will determine its fortune.
These two phenomena will cause a ripple effect across the Australian economy and society, but Australia is now at the point where it can choose how it will react and rectify the exposed problems and inefficiencies caused.
It is expected that productivity growth will slow in coming years, in part due to Australia’s working age dependency ratio dropping from 7.3 in 1974- 75 to just 2.7 by mid-century. But the advent of health innovations and lifestyle changes for many Australians has resulted in longer life expectancies, and a greater level of health for a greater proportion of life. This translates into a longer period of time spent in retirement in an active and healthy state for many Australians.

The era of virtual medicine is finally here

Chris Pash Sep 10, 2015, 10:30 AM
The intersection of technology and medicine is creating a more efficient and convenient world.
For decades futurists have been predicting giant leaps forward in the quality and speed of healthcare delivery through advances in technology.
If you look around in 2015, through advances such as telehealth, body parts created with 3D printers, medical service delivery in remote areas, and the use of big data to diagnose illnesses or forecast future demand for services, the age of virtual medicine is decidedly upon us.
Why go to the trouble of making your way to a doctor’s surgery, and then spending an afternoon in a waiting room, when you could be working or recuperating in bed? Online services can have you talking direct to a GP via online video link in just a few clicks. And you haven’t even left home or the office.

Electronic Health Records Software Often Written without Doctors' Input

The reason why many doctors find EHRs difficult to use might be that the software wasn't properly tested, research suggests
September 9, 2015
By Kathryn Doyle
(Reuters Health) - The reason why many doctors find electronic health records (EHR) difficult to use might be that the software wasn't properly tested, researchers suggest.
Current guidelines and industry standards suggest that new EHR software should be tested by at least 15 end users with a clinical background to make sure they are usable and safe before they get federal certification.
But a new study finds that many certified products did not actually conduct this user testing, or did so without clinical testers.
Despite the guidelines, "there's no explicit requirement for end user testers to have a clinical background," said Raj M. Ratwani of MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., who worked on the study.

COAG Health Council Communique - 7 August 2015

The Federal and State and Territory Health Ministers met in Darwin today at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. The meeting was chaired by Jack Snelling, Minister for Health, South Australia.
Page last updated: 07 September 2015
7 August 2015
The Federal and State and Territory Health Ministers met in Darwin today at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. The meeting was chaired by Jack Snelling, Minister for Health, South Australia.

Changes to eHealth Records

Ministers discussed proposed changes by the Australian Government to eHealth legislation to support delivery of the My Health Record and the establishment of the eHealth Commission. The amendments are aimed at bringing forward the benefits of a connected national eHealth system, aimed at providing improved health outcomes for consumers through national sharing of information and a more efficient health system.
Included in the draft legislation will be the implementation of the opt-out trials, to be conducted in some states and territories where participants will automatically receive an eHealth record unless they choose to opt out if they do not wish to have one. Under present arrangements, people have to specifically enrol to receive an eHealth record. Ministers were invited to nominate potential trial sites.

Mobile apps that collect health data: will they be put under the privacy spotlight?

Australia, European Union September 8 2015
Privacy protection is emerging as an important issue for mobile health apps. Users need to trust that the health apps they are using have safeguards in place to protect their personal heath data.
Without these safeguards, companies that market health and medical apps risk falling foul of the law as well as losing the confidence of their consumers.
Reflecting privacy concerns, European authorities have increased their focus on the data protection implications of ‘mobile health’. It’s quite possible Australian regulators will follow Europe’s lead.

Patient privacy: when should medical practitioners disclose a patient’s confidential information?

Australia September 9 2015
In Ez and Ey, 1 the Privacy Commissioner held that a medical practitioner breached the National Privacy Principles (NPP) by disclosing a patient’s medical information to a police officer.
This decision was determined based on the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act), prior to its reforms on 12 March 2014. The Australian Privacy Principles (APP) have now replaced the NPP (except for ACT).  It seems unlikely that the Commissioner’s findings would have differed if the matter was determined in accordance with the amended Act.
Following a neighbourhood dispute, the patient contacted his local police station.  The police attended the patient’s house and reported that the patient explained his concerns in a   ‘highly excited and at times paranoid fashion’.  The patient also admitted to suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and an anxiety disorder.

What patients think when you pull out your mobile phone

9 September 2015
ALMOST three-quarters of patients and carers approve of doctors using smartphones and other mobile devices in hospitals, as long as it’s for patient care and not personal use, a survey shows.
The results, published in the Internal Medicine Journal, are based on responses from 70 patients and carers (a 90% response rate) at two Sydney teaching hospitals. 
Respondents were given six open-ended questions about whether a mobile device had been used by medical staff, if permission was asked, what the patient thought it was being used for, if they thought it was useful for health care and how they felt about it.
On the positive side, patients realised doctors could research something related to care, discuss their condition with another doctor, discuss it with the patient if they called from home, or use a diagram to explain their condition as well as use it as a teaching aid. 

Top marks for dementia carers app

10 September 2015
BAYLOR University Medical Center in the US has created Dementi Assist for carers of patients with dementia.
The app opens with an explanation of the aims – to provide possible causes for the most common behavioural expressions by a person with dementia and to provide suggested actions to take to achieve the best outcome. 
There is a menu of behaviours including aggression/anger, agitation/anxiety, apathy, confusion psychosis and resistance to feeding, bathing and dressing. 
Choosing one of these behaviours directs the carer to choose the area – physical, emotional, social or environmental or a combination – which they feel may be contributing to the behaviour. This then provides information on triggers related to these and strategies which can be taken to ameliorate the situation.

Bionic eye researchers hope to raise $10m to stay in the game

Sarah-Jane Tasker

The bionic ear — a cochlear implant — is one of Australia’s great medical device success stories and now a group of dedicated researchers are hoping to replicate that feat with a bionic eye, giving sight to thousands.
A private consortium of researchers from Sydney and Melbourne have spent almost $50 million of government money over the past five years developing the concept but as they head into further clinical trials next year they are hoping to raise $10m from investors to stay in the race to commercialise the device.
Robert Klupacs, chairman of Bionic Vision Technologies, which was created to commercialise the product, said a new large-scale manufacturing industry could be developed in Australia if their dream becomes reality.
“I want to be the next cochlear ... and we could be,” he told The Weekend Australian.

Soprano Design in deal with Britain’s NHS

Supratim Adhikari

Australia’s Soprano Design has secured a deal with one of the world’s largest publicly funded health providers, Britain’s ­National Health Service, with the Sydney-based company rolling out its secure healthcare mobile messaging capability across hundreds of health centres.
Soprano’s Mobile Enterprise Messaging Solution (MEMS) met stringent criteria to win the tender. The platform is expected to facilitate more than 20 million messages a month ­between healthcare workers and patients.
The multi-million-dollar rollout of MEMS is now under way across hundreds of primary and secondary care facilities in ­England and Scotland, with deployment completed in Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex and Royal Surrey County Hospital.
Soprano’s chief executive, Horden Wiltshire, said MEMS provided a secure communications platform for health providers and patients.

Qld Health asks for $227m to replace patient admin system

By Paris Cowan
Sep 9 2015 6:00AM

Prepares to kick off mammoth IT project.

Queensland Health has put a tentative $226.6 million price tag on the replacement of its ageing patient administration system, and wants confirmation from the state government that the money will be provided quickly so the work can kick off in haste.
The hospital-based corporate information system (HBCIS) is used in all the state’s public hospitals to keep track of patients and their treatments. It is one of the biggest and most mission critical systems operating in the Queensland Health system.
The health department had previously placed the replacement cost at closer to $440 million.
Queensland parliament’s health and community services committee looked into the state of HBCIS in 2014 and found it would likely take around seven years to replace the system, which drops out of vendor support at the end of this year.

The NBN: why it's slow, expensive and obsolete

Date September 8, 2015 - 6:53PM

Rod Tucker

The Abbott Coalition government came to power two years ago this week with a promise to change Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with the three-word slogan: "Fast. Affordable. Sooner."
But with the release in August of the 2016 NBN corporate plan and in the light of overseas developments, it is clear that the Coalition's broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor's FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out.
With the benefits of two years' hindsight since 2013, let's look at the Coalition's performance against each of the three assertions in their 2013 slogan.

Emeritus Professor slams Coalition NBN as 'bad deal'

The Coalition’s NBN has come under intense attack from the University of Melbourne's Emeritus Professor Rod Tucker who says the broadband network is so slow it is obsolete before it’s in place and Australia has got a “bad deal”.
Professor Tucker slams the coalition government’s NBN in a public lecture he will give at the University of Melbourne tonight, saying that fibre to the node technology will guarantee that Australia is an Internet backwater, and “our world our ranking could fall as low as 100th by 2020."
“The Coalition Government came to power in 2013 with a promise to change Labor's fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (nbn) to one using less-expensive fibre to the node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking their network with the three-word slogan: 'fast, affordable, sooner'.

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