Monday, November 02, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd November, 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

Sussan Leys’s most recent foray into e-Health at the Press Club last week is the news of the week. Otherwise there are other things going on - but you will just have to scroll down!

Sussan Ley to trial new e-health record for the Fitbit generation

Date October 28, 2015 - 9:18AM

Jessica Gardner

Companies & Markets Deputy Editor

Consumers may to decide to share their e-health record more broadly, such as with their personal trainer, or have it integrated with their Fitbit.
One million Australians will trial the government's new e-health system in 2016, which will collate their medical records and make them available to health professionals, gym intsructers and even third party companies like Fitbit - the maker of wearable exercise tracking devices. 
Health Minister Sussan Ley is set to reveal the trial of the new myHealth Record, which will cover patients in Far North Queensland and the Blue Mountains in NSW, in a speech to the Press Club on Wednesday. 
In a sign that the Minister is on board with the innovation agenda being spruiked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Ms Ley will tell the Press Club that consumers will be given "open source access" to their stored data.
8:31pm October 27, 2015

Ley to launch health records trials

The Turnbull government plans to trial electronic health records that will be available to all in the trial area, not just those who opt in.
A review of the former Labor government's Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system, released in 2014, found problems with its opt-in nature, limited range of clinical information and usability.
A key criticism of the system was it could not be used unless a patient signed up, rather than an all-inclusive system that takes in all except those who choose to opt out because they do not want their medical history made available.
Health Minister Sussan Ley will tell the National Press Club on Wednesday an all-inclusive trial of the new My Health Record will start early next year.

Medicare data to be used in smartphone and smartwatch apps

October 28, 2015 12:00am
Sue Dunlevy National Health Reporter News Corp Australia Network

'Long overdue' Medicare review launched

APP developers and retailers will be able to access people’s Medicare and pharmaceutical information to create personalised health products under a revolution Health Minister Sussan Ley will announce today.
The information release will enhance the power of smartphones, watches and wallets to become mobile health vehicles, she will tell the National Press Club today.
It comes as the government has revealed one million people living in Far North Queensland and the Blue Mountains will be forced to take out an e-health record next year.
They will trial whether the failed $1 billion e-health record set up by Labor is more likely to be used by doctors if people have to opt out of the system rather than opt in.

One million people to take part in PCEHR trial

Paul Smith | 28 October, 2015 | 
One million people will be automatically signed up to the national e-health records scheme under the Federal Government’s latest revamp of the moribund system
On Wednesday, Health Minister Sussan Ley (pictured) announced two trial sites — Far North Queensland and the Nepean Blue Mountains region in NSW – where the opt-out system would be tested.
The trials are due to begin early next year.
The opt-out clause means patients will have to declare they don’t want to be part of the scheme and is meant to result in more patients using the personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR).

2.5m Australians sign up for eHealth records

Department prepares for trials of new approaches to boost participation, including 'opt out'
The national eHealth records system had 2,442,824 individuals signed up as of midnight on 20 October, the Department of Health has revealed.
Bettina Konti, first assistant secretary for the department's eHealth division, revealed the figures during a Senate Estimates hearing last week.
Some 7975 healthcare provider organisations and 11,010 individual healthcare providers have registered to be part of the PCEHR system, Kionti revealed at the hearing. About 80 per cent of GP practices have signed up.

The recording angel

A new health information system should remind us of the pitfalls of big data

Thirty years ago, the Hawke government proposed a single national identification system, to be called the Australia Card, that would bring together government records for each citizen in one place. The idea was to cut down tax avoidance and reduce health and welfare fraud. The legislation was blocked by the senate, and Hawke called a double-dissolution election in July of 1987, which Labor won.
The card had not received a lot of coverage in the run-up to the election, but afterward a campaign against it began, centred around privacy concerns. (The campaign started with a meeting at radio host Alan Jones’ house, and grew into what is now the Australian Privacy Foundation.) Public support for the card dropped from 55% in August to 39% in September; an editorial in the Australian said “there has never been such a cry of opposition form the nation over one topic”. Hawke soon abandoned the proposal.
In following years the government quietly expanded the role of the Tax File Number to achieve some of the tax enforcement goals and dropped the rest of the plan. The idea of a single record for each person in Australia is still a tempting one to governments, for obvious reasons. Having all the information gathered neatly in the view of one all-seeing eye makes administration simpler, for one thing; for another, it shrinks the realm of life outside the government’s purview. It would also bring together what each person contributes to government revenue (tax) and what they receive in government expenditure (health and welfare).

App technology can fix the e-health system if done right

October 29, 2015 2.30pm AEDT
Health Minister Sussan Ley wants people to be able to access their medical data using an app. Lukas Coch/AAP Image


David Glance
Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia
On Wednesday, federal Health Minister Sussan Ley announced two new trials of the so-far-unsuccessful, personally controlled electronic health record – rebadged as “My Health Record”.
These will run at the start of 2016 in rural north Queensland and the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.
The key difference from the current system is that enrolment has been switched to opt out rather than opt in. This means any of the one million patients included in the trials who don’t want their data shared will have to actively ask not to be part of the system.

E-health saving lives in Queensland: CSIRO

The use of e-health data mining projects by CSIRO has brought down the rate of mortality in Queensland, according to the organisation's CEO.
By Corinne Reichert | October 27, 2015 -- 02:58 GMT (13:58 AEDT) | Topic: Innovation
The e-health initiative being undertaken by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is already saving lives, according to the chief executive, who said a joint scheme with Queensland Health to create the Australian e-Health Research Centre has been so successful that the mortality rate has decreased.
"We've already shown very conclusive evidence of improved mortality through Queensland hospitals as a result of that data mining and feedback to them that enabled them to improve their processes," said Larry Marshall, CEO of CSIRO, at Telstra's 2015 Australian Digital Summit in Sydney on Monday.
"Many, many people are alive today as a result of those improvements."

ANZ CTO criticises government's digital identity plans as 'highly complex'

ANZ Bank chief technology officer Patrick Maes believes the Australian government needs to follow in the footsteps of India and Europe when it establishes a digital identity framework.
By Aimee Chanthadavong | October 28, 2015 -- 03:42 GMT (14:42 AEDT) | Topic: Security
A top priority for the federal government's Digital Transformation Office (DTO) has been to establish a trusted digital identity framework, but for Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) chief technology officer Patrick Maes, the principles and standards the government is looking to set are unnecessary.
Maes has criticised the federal government's prospective plans to establish a federated identity system as "highly complex".
"In Australia, we have 23 million people, and we are talking about how do we create a federated identity system, and that is highly complex," he said.

Real-time monitoring system needed for OTC codeine-containing analgesics: ASMI

A real-time monitoring system will guide pharmacist decisions and support evidence-based policy reforms, writes Deon Schoombie, CEO at Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI).

During the last few weeks there has been substantial discussion about the potential for a real-time monitoring system to reduce the risk of consumers ‘pharmacy shopping’ for over-the-counter (OTC) codeine-containing analgesics.
I have been asked how this system will work and how it will address issues of misuse and addiction to Schedule 3 (S3) codeine-containing analgesics.
The prototype real-time monitoring system developed by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) and consumer groups will provide pharmacists with support to help them decide whether or not to provide a consumer with the requested medicine.

Five hundred tax file numbers hacked every day

Date October 30, 2015 - 6:51AM

Noel Towell and Lisa Cox

Federal police are hunting a gang of identity thieves who have been hacking the tax file numbers of up to 500 Australians a day.
The sophisticated online fraudsters have breached payroll systems, harvesting extensive personal details of workers and using the information to lodge fraudulent tax returns.
The revelation is the latest evidence of a large-scale identity fraud problem against government sites and services such as like MyGov, Medicare and the ATO and Labor wants a national investigation. 

SA Health’s pathology IT project likely to run out of money

EPLIS team might have to beg for more funding.

South Australia's implementation of a new health-wide pathology solution is at serious risk of running out of money before it is complete, according to state auditor general Andrew Richardson.
In 2012, the SA government set aside $30.4 million to pay for the replacement of SA Health’s two ageing instances of the Centricity Cirdan Ultra pathology solution, as well as up to 30 smaller peripheral systems used across the state’s health testing labs and hospitals.
The dual systems are not compatible with one another and their age has led to numerous recent outages.

Elderly enthusiastic about home telemonitoring

Serkan Ozturk | 29 October, 2015 | 0 comments Read Later
They may not be early adopters, but older people have been won over by home telemonitoring of chronic conditions by their GPs, researchers say.
GPs in Sydney tested the acceptance of telemonitoring for cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease by asking their elderly patients to undertake daily self-monitoring over a six-week period.
Patients were issued with devices to monitor blood pressure, blood glucose, pulse rate and oxygen saturation levels.

OAIC privacy complaints drop to 2,800

The Australian information commissioner has revealed a drop in privacy complaints for FY15, but still a significant rise from two years previous.
By Corinne Reichert | October 30, 2015 -- 06:18 GMT (17:18 AEDT) | Topic: Government : AU
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recorded 2,841 privacy complaints for the 2014-15 financial year, a drop of 33 percent from the 4,239 complaints a year ago, but still a rise of almost 90 percent from two years ago.
"During this period, the OAIC also handled some 16,166 privacy enquiries, received 2,841 privacy complaints, and closed 1,976, as well as handling 110 voluntary data breach notifications," said Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.
According to the OAIC's 2015 annual report [PDF], year over year, total complaints made by phone dropped by 12.8 percent, from 15,175 to 13,229; written complaints fell by 8.7 percent, from 3,202 down to 2,925; and complaints made in person decreased by 36.8 percent, from 19 to 12 complaints.

The AMT v20151031 October 2015 release is now available for download

Created on Friday, 30 October 2015
The AMT v20151031 October 2015 release is now available for download from the NEHTA website.

They can print body parts now the printable pill is on the way

October 31, 20154:50pm
Sue Dunlevy News Corp Australia Network
YOUR computer printer could soon be printing pills personalised to your individual biological needs and they could include a camera that diagnoses health problems and notifies your doctor.
Pharmaceutical company GSK says it is already testing biosensors that measure hydration, blood pressure and heart rate that could soon be built into clothing.
And in August this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the world’s first printable pill — Spritam levetiracetam — which controls seizures bought on by epilepsy.

Electronic medicine management to be rolled out in Canberra over two years

Date October 26, 2015 - 11:30PM

Katie Burgess

Canberra Times reporter

A new system that could stop the accidental doubling up of medications will be introduced in the ACT.
Paper prescriptions and medication records will be phased out as ACT Health rolls out a new electronic medication management system over the next two years.
The MedChart system will replace the existing paper-based medication processes across Canberra Hospital and Health Services inpatient, outpatient and community, and inpatient areas at Calvary Health Care, in Bruce.
23 October, 2015

To opt-in or to opt-out, that is the DoH question…and its taking forever!

Senate estimates hearings this week didn’t provide much cause for optimism around the Federal Government getting its act together on the PCEHR. They’re still debating the in and outs of opt-in and -out.
Edited by The Old Surgeon
Hopes for a Turnbull/Ley led government to turnaround the snail pace on transforming the healthcare system through improved adoption measures for the PCEHR, specifically, opt-out trials, appeared dashed this week, after Department of Health executives vacillated on the timing of opt-out trials, who would do them and where, and whether ‘innovative opt-in’, might still be the answer.
‘Just do something’ is the call of most commentators around the country on the issue. One comment to Dr David More’s aushealthit blog last week on the new e-Health Implementation committee announced by Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley to resuscitate the ailing PCEHR program and NEHTA said it  “looks like the steering committee you create when you don’t want them to be actually steering…”
22 October, 2015

How Much For Medical Director?

The due diligence elves are reportedly hardat work in the bowels of Primary Healthcare’s practice software group Health Communication Network, the major product of which is the nation’s biggest and most prized patient management system Medical Director.
Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Long touted as a likely target for Telstra Health group, apparently there are up to seven local andoverseas groups vying for either a total buyout of the group, or some form of JV. The smart money is on a full buy out.
But how much is this gem of a healthcare communication hub worth? It has two key value propositions. First, it is a ‘choke point’ for all health data that is important to the government, big pharma and health insurers. GPs are the efficiency crux of the system – keeping people out of the expensive hospital system, or, getting them out quicker once they’ve been put there.

EU court ruling may impact health identifier plans

Smaranda Bara case has implications for sharing of citizens’ data between public bodies

First published: Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 13:27
Health authorities are examining the possible impact of a major EU court ruling on their work to date on a plan to give every person in the State a unique health identifier.
In a ruling on a Romanian case earlier this month, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that public bodies of EU member states were precluded from transferring personal information to another public administrative body without the affected citizens having been informed first.
Known as the Smaranda Bara case, it will have significant implications for any state project that involves sharing personal information across departments or agencies.

PCEHR Statistics

  • Home
  • PCEHR Statistics

Dashboard display of PCEHR statistics

This page contains statistics on the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) to 16 October 2015.

Striving for a connected future

By Contributor on October 26, 2015 in Technology Review
Integration, not innovation, is the key to digital disruption in aged and community care, writes Michael Boyce. 
We’ve all seen what the digital revolution has done to industries such as banking and travel. Disruptive innovations are sought after in these sectors, as they not only improve productivity but help consumers to access services in a more convenient and seamless way. These disruptive innovations are yet to flow through to aged and community care, but they are coming.
Traditionally we may have been able to blame the lack of technology innovation and uptake on the challenges of tightening budgets, lack of internal IT support and a fear that staff are resistant to the change and disruption.
We have often strived to control and tame the complex environment that we operate in, rather than treating it as a given and focusing on winning the hearts and minds of our clients and their carers. Like never before, consumer directed care means we need to break out of this thinking and use technology as a tool to help us look after both our clients and our people.

Australian Hearing prepares IT overhaul

Eyes reduction of core IT systems.

By Andrew Sadauskas
Oct 26 2015 10:52AM
Australian Hearing business services director Vivian Quinn is preparing to lay out a new strategic IT plan for the government hearing services agency, in which document storage and core systems rationalisation will play a key role.
Quinn took over the position - which combined CFO and CIO duties - in July, after former CIO Peter Gasparovic left the organisation to pursue opportunities at a local government level.
She's now sharpened her focus on finding ways to free up hearing centre staff from bureaucracy and administration.
Quinn told iTnews the objective could be achieved, at least in part, through the digitisation of manual processes and documents.

Disability scheme will ‘drive innovation for all’

  • The Australian
  • October 27, 2015 12:00AM

Rick Morton

When biomedical engineer Jordan Nguyen developed his first prototype for a thought-controlled wheelchair, the add-on technology cost him $40,000.
Now, just months from the ­release of his next version of the chair, the equipment needed to make it work — cameras and sensors — cost just $4000.
“How amazing a time we live in that we have these mainstream adaptable technologies, many of them open source, smart-tech,” Dr Nguyen told The Australian.
Dr Nguyen, 31, suffered an injury a decade ago that almost paralysed him. He decided to study biomedical engineering and started the social enterprise Psykinetic to develop his projects.

Medibank IT overhaul on track

Mitchell Bingemann

Medibank Private says it is on track to nullify one of the biggest risks to the success of its ASX ­performance, confirming the ­ambitious overhaul of its IT ­systems is within budget and scheduled for completion by the end of next year.
Medibank began its core IT systems upgrade — codenamed Project Delphi — four years ago in a bid to upgrade its claims processing systems and decommission legacy systems.
The $150 million program will also upgrade Medibank’s digital sales and services systems, and ­improve data warehouse and business intelligence systems.
  • Oct 26 2015 at 1:40 PM

3D Medical merges with Mach7 in $60 million deal

ASX-listed 3D Medical has acquired United States medical technology business Mach7 in a deal worth $60 million, as it targets international growth.
The company, which generates customised 3D-printed models of patients' bones and organs for doctors and surgeons, had previously been the exclusive Australian reseller of Mach7's image management platform. 
The company plans to rename after the merger as Mach7 Technologies and will be headquartered in Melbourne. But Mach7's team will remain predominantly in the United States, with the board being a combination of the two entities.

Machine learning tech coming to healthcare with new Capitol deal

David Swan

ASX-listed health firm Capitol Health today signed a landmark deal with artificial intelligence firm Enlitic, run by Australian data scientist Jeremy Howard.
Enlitic, recently voted 39th on Technology Review’s list of the world’s 50 smartest companies, makes machine learning software that it says thinks like the human brain.
The firm’s smart software will be commercialised by local healthcare firm Capitol Health, which will pass it on to radiologists who will be able to hunt for ‘undetectable diseases’ that may have been previously missed.

5 things you need to know about Microsoft's new Office 2016

New collaboration, help features are here to boost Microsoft's new productivity suite
Microsoft's latest version of its Office suite is here, and it has been getting rave reviews. Here's what you need to know about Office 2016's capabilities:
  1. Collaboration is the killer feature, but it's not fully baked yet. Microsoft is facing increasing pressure to compete with Google's own productivity suite, and made improving collaboration between its users a key tenet of Office 2016. Word 2016 shipped with the ability to co-author documents stored in SharePoint or OneDrive live from the desktop version of the app, which is a nifty feature for people who want to all pile in on one document. Microsoft is supposed to bring that capability to more applications, with PowerPoint 2016 being the next to get the co-authoring treatment. Right now, it's still limited to Word on the desktop.

Scientists use the force to create real-life Star Wars tractor beam

  • Tom Whipple
  • The Times
  • October 28, 2015 11:53AM
Tractor beams generally get a bad press. If they are not tools used by aliens to abduct rural Americans in the dead of night, they are offensive weapons that tug members of the Rebel Alliance towards the Death Star so that Darth Vader can interrogate them.
Which is a shame, because British scientists have developed a working sonic tractor beam that can move, rotate and tug objects without touching them - and for which they at least claim to have no malevolent intent. Instead, they say it could do wonders for everything from drug production to Han Solo’s kidney stones.
Tractor beams could be used for good - in much the same way Star Trek’s Captain Kirk operated the device at his disposal on the Starship Enterprise.

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