Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th March, 2016.

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

The reverberations of the new My Health Record announcements continue this week and provide some interesting commentary. Love that the Communist Party is out and about on the mHR.
Otherwise we have lots of material of opiate management and many private sector initiatives.
Last a warning re a really nasty form of malware that everyone needs to make sure they avoid.

eHealth record changes raise ire of privacy advocates

PCEHR relaunched as ‘My Health Record’
The government has officially launched the revamped national eHealth record but the move to trial an opt-out approach for the system has continued to draw criticism from privacy advocates.
The federal government on Friday officially launched ‘My Health Record’, which is the new, snappier name for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
Late last year legislation implementing the recommendations of a review of the PCEHR, the Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill 2015, made its way through both houses of parliament.
Among the most significant changes in the legislation was the ability for the health minister to apply opt-out participation to particular areas, allowing the government to trial the new approach in order to boost uptake of the PCEHR.
(The legislation also renamed the PCEHR to My Health Record.)

Renamed eHealth record launched as opt-out trials get underway

By Natasha Egan on March 7, 2016 in Technology Review
The Federal Government has officially launched the revamped national digital health record ahead of the opt-out trials, which will see the automatic registration of one million Australians in the two test regions.
Minister for Health Sussan Ley launched the My Health Record last week and said it included a range of new security features to give individuals ultimate control and a “break-glass option” to ensure information was available in an emergency.
Renaming the record was one of the measures in the Federal Government’s $485 million over four years “rescue package” to boost uptake in the national eHealth system previously known as the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).

Your ailments available to all health practitioners soon

By Justine Doherty
March 7, 2016, 5:04 p.m.
UNLESS you don’t want one, everyone in the Hawkesbury will soon have a digital medical record.
The Federal Government has chosen our health region – Nepean Blue Mountains PHN which includes Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith – as one of two to trial digital health records.
NBMPHN residents will automatically have a My Health Record created for them unless they opt out. It is a secure online summary of your health information such as allergies, treatments, medications and adverse reactions that can be accessed by healthcare practitioners chosen by the patient.

Opt-out e-health a 'fundamental breach of trust': Victorian regulator

Can we trust governments to preserve our privacy when they put economics ahead of basic principles like self-determination? Trust is the key, say privacy experts.
By Stilgherrian | March 9, 2016 -- 00:42 GMT (11:42 AEDT) | Topic: Security
The Australian government has committed a "fundamental breach of trust" by flipping personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) from an opt-in system to opt-out, according to Victoria's Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection, David Watts.
"I actually designed the regulatory system for e-health in Australia, and I swore black and blue ... that we would never be an opt-out system, and always be an opt-in. And of course it's now an opt-out system in order to drive take-up of e-health, because AU$4 billion had been spent on it and very few people had registered," Watts told the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit in Canberra on Tuesday.
"In my view that's a fundamental breach of trust."
Watts said it puts simple economics ahead of information self-determination.
Issue #1722  March 9, 2016

e-health: Privatising your medical history

When the Labor government introduced e-health in 2012, it was sold as a personal record of medical conditions, medications and medical history of individuals stored in a centralised data base. The government went to great lengths to reassure the public that the patient would have full control over what information was included and who had access to it.
The Australian Medical Association criticised the intention to allow patients to decide who would access their records and what was included, saying that medical practitioners would be unlikely to rely on the information contained in the records. The organisation considered that records with hidden information would be more dangerous than no records at all.
Patients, privacy groups and other organisations were suspicious whether the storage and sharing of personal data would be secure and where and how it would be used at a later date. Would, for example, private health insurance funds have access. Government bureaucracies are notorious for leaks and mishaps with personal records.

GPs prescribing opioids “in the dark”

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 7 March, 2016
GPs are continuing to “prescribe in the dark” as states and territories negotiate the detail associated with wider implementation of a real-time prescription drug monitoring, says a leading GP and medical advisor.
Dr Walid Jammal, Senior Medical Advisor, Advocacy, at Avant Mutual Group, said the profession had been calling for the national rollout of real-time prescription drug monitoring for many years.
“Coroner after coroner has called for this. The states and territories are working on it – and it’s a huge task – but some would argue that it should have happened many years ago,” Dr Jammal told MJA InSight.

GPs in the dark without real-time monitoring

GPs are prescribing opioids “in the dark,” says a prominent GP and medical advisor, MJA Insight reports, without a real-time prescription drug monitoring protocol.

Dr Walid Jammal, Senior Medical Advisor, Advocacy, at Avant Mutual Group, told MJA Insight that GPs have been calling for a national real-time prescription drug monitoring program for some time, with “coroner after coroner” calling for such a program.
“No one argues with the need for responsible prescribing and that that responsibility ultimately lies with the prescribing doctor,” he says.
“But real-time monitoring really sheds light on the issue because GPs are currently prescribing in the dark.”

Here's how real-time codeine monitoring will work

11 March, 2016
The Pharmacy Guild has provided more detail about real-time codeine-monitoring in anticipation of a national rollout beginning next week.
The MedsASSIST system has been developed as a potential alternative to a proposal to make codeine-containing medicines available via prescription only.
The system is described as a decision-support tool to help pharmacists identify patients at risk of codeine dependence, rather than a law enforcement tool such as Project STOP.

NSW legislators back privacy laws for individuals

Corporations could be sued for privacy breaches.

By Paris Cowan
Mar 4 2016 4:54PM
A committee of NSW legislators has backed the introduction of new laws that would allow individuals to seek legal redress over serious breaches of their privacy.
The state parliament’s standing committee on law and justice has joined a chorus of commissions and inquiries in recent years to support the introduction of such a statute, which would fill gaps left by the Commonwealth Privacy Act.
The national Act applies only to the treatment of information and does not apply to individuals or small businesses.

Four charged, gang smashed after Medicare defrauded of $320,000: police

Date March 9, 2016 - 12:57PM

Lisa Visentin


Five people, including a gang of four, have been charged after allegedly defrauding Medicare of $500,000.
A gang that defrauded Medicare of more than $320,000 has been broken up after a six-month investigation, police say.
Police claim the four-person syndicate, from Sydney's south-west, used stolen and falsified medical records.

GP clinics targeted in Medicare scam

Paul Smith and AAP | 9 March, 2016 | 
Medical records stolen from GP clinics have been used as part of a $320,000 Medicare scam, police allege.
Four people have been charged with using both fake and stolen medical records taken from clinics in Sydney's south-west.
NSW police said the records were used to lodge thousands of fraudulent Medicare claims.

Specifications Maintenance Schedule now updated

Created on Friday, 11 March 2016
The Specifications Maintenance Schedule for upcoming NEHTA product releases has now been updated.

NEHTA's Clinical Knowledge Manager (CKM) featured in 'Health IT - to lead or be led' seminars

Created on Wednesday, 09 March 2016
There is increasing awareness of the use of clinical data to support high quality healthcare delivery. Yet it has traditionally been difficult for clinicians to engage and participate in influencing the quality of the data they need to support patient care, for research and analysis, to underpin clinical decision support and exchange with other healthcare providers.
The Global eHealth Collaborative are running a series of two day workshops to describe and demonstrate a collaborative, clinician-led approach to national standardisation of high quality, computable data specifications, and the use of the NEHTA Clinical Knowledge Manager (CKM). This approach is gaining momentum in Australia and by overseas national eHealth programs.

Smart homes coming this year

  • The Australian
  • March 9, 2016 11:25AM

David Swan

Elderly Australians will soon be reminded when to take medication and when to have a glass of water by their house, with Samsung and Deakin University launching a smart house trial for in-home aged care.
The ‘Holly Smart Home Project’ is the brainchild of Professor Rajesh Vasa and other researchers at Deakin University who saw their parents were starting to age, and wanted to design system that would allow users to live their life as normal with no extra learning required.
Professor Vasa describes Holly as a system that passively sits in your home like a smoke alarm, monitoring you and providing alerts as required. It comprises of core components of Samsung’s home sensor and automation platform, SmartThings, as well as the locally developed Holly solution.

Why you should consider recommending this app to pregnant women

10 March 2016
THE Continence Foundation of Australia is aiming to remind women, including pregnant women, to protect their pelvic floor and prevent incontinence.
Its Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan app opens to a demographic page where the patient can enter her due date. 
The information which follows is tailored to the week of pregnancy, including milestones for baby and mum. 
10 March, 2016

Can’t see the data forest for the MyHealthRecord trees

David Binning
You’ve heard the quote: “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”
In healthcare the same quote might go: “Big data is like Bigfoot: some people swear they have seen it and it’s spectacular; most people don’t believe those people; those that do are scared of it; it does look weird and scary; but, it’s generally seen as a figment of crazy people’s imagination.”
Dr Thomas Handler, vice president and head of healthcare research with global tech research group Gartner, is worried that in Australia we may be putting the cart before the horse in terms of healthcare data. He thinks we need to move away from our obsession with collecting the data and focus first on what insights such data might actually provide us. That, he suggests, might lead us to more focus on how we collect it and avoid the age-old problem of collecting a tonne of data which, because of a mix of outdated, propriety and eclectic collection systems, can’t be shared or analysed, and therefore is pretty useless.
  • Mar 11 2016 at 12:01 AM
  • Updated Mar 11 2016 at 6:28 AM

IBM renews $484 million contract with the DHS

IBM has successfully renegotiated a $484 million five-year contract with the Department of Human Services to provide the technological support for major public services.
The technology giant is one of the largest suppliers to the Department of Human Services.
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, said the rejigged contract would give the department flexibility to reprovision money between hardware, software and services as needed.
"This means the government will be in a position to realign technology and services to areas which provide better outcomes for Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support customers," he said.

IBM wins another extension to $1bn Human Services deal

Passes 11 year mark with $484m contract signing.

By Staff Writer
Mar 11 2016 7:17AM
IBM has won a five-year, $484 million renewal with the Department of Human Services for IT support, extending an 11-year and $1 billion relationship.
The contract means IBM will continue to support key Human Services programs like myGov, Centrelink and Medicare, among other hardware and software support services.
IBM has held the deal since 2005, and the most recent contract was due to expire in June this year.

Mater Health back in the market for a CIO

Consolidation drive to target 2500 applications.

By Paris Cowan
Mar 8 2016 11:52AM
Private hospital operator Mater Health has found itself advertising once again for a CIO after Mal Thatcher decided he would not return following a year-long stint at the helm of Queensland Health’s IT division.
It is in the market for a CIO with “a vision and the ability to design a strategy that will lead to a more efficient and sustainable technology offering for staff and ultimately the patients”.
Mater is particularly looking for candidates with hands-on experience rolling out and supporting an electronic medical records system, but says it is also open to hiring someone who started their career on the clinical side of the fence.
According to security consultancy firm Protiviti, companies will likely struggle to comply with the Federal Government’s mandatory data breach notification proposals unless detailed guidance is developed and consultation processes with the Privacy Commissioner are introduced, to help them determine whether they have a notification obligation. In its submission to the Federal Government’s consultation on the draft Bill requiring organisations to notify affected individuals and the Privacy Commissioner where they have been hit by a serious data security breach, Protiviti observed that unlike the European Union and United States, where an entity’s notification obligations are clearly defined, Australia’s draft legislation introduces sketchier concepts that could require organisations to make subjective judgement calls. Specifically, the draft Bill requires entities to decide whether there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe a ‘serious data breach’ has occurred resulting in a ‘real risk of serious harm’ to affected individuals, before their notification obligation is triggered.  According to Ewen Ferguson, managing director at Protiviti, it will often be difficult for entities to judge whether all these thresholds are met.  “After all, there’s a wide spectrum of circumstances in which a data breach can occur, ranging from an employee losing a laptop containing a limited amount of non-financial personal information, to a large scale malicious theft of credit card details.  There will always be a multitude of factors at play and the outcome will not always be straightforward”, Mr Ferguson said.

ResApp Collaborates with Leading Humanitarian Organisation to Field Test ResApp’s Smartphone-Based Pneumonia Diagnostic in the Developing World

ResApp Health Limited (ASX: RAP), announced today that it has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with a leading humanitarian organisation and UniQuest (the main commercialisation company of The University of Queensland), to enter into a partnership to field test ResApp’s smartphone-based pneumonia diagnostic tool in the developing world.
Pneumonia is a disease that kills more than 950,000 children under five every year, the vast majority in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these deaths are caused by delays in diagnosis due to the lack of high quality medical care in these regions.

ResApp to field test pneumonia tool

  • The Australian
  • March 7, 2016 2:35PM

David Swan

ResApp Health will field test its smartphone-based pneumonia diagnostic tool in the developing world in a partnership with a humanitarian organisation and UniQuest, the main commercialisation company of the University of Queensland.
The three entities will work together to secure one or more field sites in the developing world. Subject to approval by local human research ethics committees, field sites are expected to be up-and running in mid-2016.
As The Australian reported mid-last year ResApp’s technology see users cough into the phone’s microphone from up to two ­metres away, and algorithms then analyse the sound of the cough using machine-learning technology. The app looks for signatures in that cough and matches those signatures to respiratory diseases.

Medical Speech Recognition Software for Mac

Nuance Communications  has announced the availability of Dragon for Mac Medical, the latest version of Mac-based speech recognition software for clinicians.
Updated with a new, more accurate speech recognition engine and designed with a specialised medical vocabulary, Dragon for Mac Medical assists clinical workflows by allowing clinicians to dictate documentation of patient encounters directly into Mac-based electronic health records (EHR), such as MacPractice, or other systems. This enables clinicians to complete documentation faster, and with greater detail and specificity, leaving more time for patient care.
  • Mar 7 2016 at 11:36 AM
  • Updated Mar 7 2016 at 11:36 AM

Lung imaging medtech start-up 4DX aims to be the next Cochlear after raising

A Monash University mechanical engineering professor has kicked off a $4 million capital raising round for the commercialisation of lung imaging technology, which can enable earlier detection of lung cancer.
Dr Andreas Fouras abandoned his academic career to turn one of his discoveries into a business, 4DX, selling his house and moving his family to Los Angeles to "give it a go".
While it was a risky move, so far it's paying off, with 4DX securing a partnership with major LA hospital Cedars Sinai, attracting the interest of many others (including the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic) and raising more than $3.2 million to date in funding from high net worth individuals.

Oneview Healthcare seeks rosy IPO

  • Simon Hermann
  • The Australian
  • March 8, 2016 12:00AM
Irish software provider Oneview Healthcare is launching the largest IPO on the ASX to date this year, raising $62.4 million in a $208.5m listing ... and curiously the float it timed for March 11, which happens to be St Patrick’s Day.
The healthcare information technology market is expected to rise at a compound annual rate of 13.4 per cent over the next five years as global expenditure is estimated to reach $US228.8 billion by 2020.
Healthcare spending is expected to rise due to an ageing population and technical developments in the industry. OECD estimates that healthcare spend in Australia accounted for about 9 per cent of GDP in 2013.
HealthKit, Australian digital health platform for practitioners and patients has closed a Series A round for A$1.6m, led by a prominent Melbourne-based family office investor as well as existing investors. The capital will be used to expand the platform into Asia, Europe, and North America. HealthKit is a cloud-based platform that combines practice management software for private practitioners (medical specialists, GPs, and allied health) with an integrated directory and portal for patients to track and manage their health. Bringing services together makes healthcare efficient, effective and accessible. Since its launch in 2012, HealthKit has attracted more than 11,000 practitioners to its practice management software and in tandem has become Australia’s largest searchable directory, with more than 220,000 practitioner profiles. To date, 90% of the practitioner base are located in Australia, with the remaining 10% spread across more than 40 countries. The funding will be used to build out the team and to make product enhancements. Co-founder Lachlan Wheeler said, “The platform architecture was designed to be global from inception, meaning a practitioner in any country can set up end-to-end practice management software in just minutes with the software customised to their health system and their profession. The funding will allow us to grow the team five-fold. We will also add product features, functions and integrations along with mobile platform capability to benefit practitioners and patients”.

APAC Service Providers Reveal Digital Trends and Myths in Region-wide Survey

Digital Survey Finds that Innovation is Critical for Growth and Customer Satisfaction
March 07, 2016 05:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CSG International (NASDAQ: CSGS), a global provider of interactive transaction-driven solutions and services, today released results of its APAC Digital Trends 2016 - Digital Mythbusting survey.
APAC service providers reveal #digital trends & myths in new survey
The survey results represent input from more than 130 respondents from across Asia Pacific in a range of industries, including information, communications and technology. The results presented in the survey provide insight on the current trends and activities of the APAC market as the digital economy matures.
Some notable survey findings include:
  • More than 75 percent of respondents already offer digital services, or planned to by the end of 2016;
  • 70 percent of respondents cited improving the customer experience as the most strategic priority for growth;
  • 67 percent cited growth through innovation as their reason for offering digital products and services.

'Locky' ransomware scam hits tens of thousands of Australian computers

Date March 11, 2016 - 9:21AM

Hannah Francis

Technology Reporter

Cyber criminals are scraping personal information from thousands of Australians' social media profiles and using it to trap victims with ransomware — a type of malware that freezes computer files and demands money to unlock them.
The ransomware — appropriately titled 'Locky' — is spreading quickly round the web in various guises, but security experts have found it in yet another AustraliaPost email scam.
What makes the scam so dangerous is that it addresses the recipient with personal information such as their full name, location, workplace and job description — all gleaned from their social media profile and designed to dupe them into thinking the email is legitimate. 

Champion of world's most complex board game walloped by Google computer program

Date March 10, 2016

Choe Sang-hun

A Google computer program trounced one of the world's top players on Wednesday in a round of Go, which is believed to be the most complex board game ever created.
The match between Google DeepMind's AlphaGo and the South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol was described beforehand as an important test of how far research into artificial intelligence, or AI, has come in its quest to create machines smarter than humans.
"I am very surprised because I have never thought I would lose," Lee said at a news conference. "I didn't know that AlphaGo would play such a perfect Go."

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