Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 16th May, 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

A very quiet week indeed with possibly the biggest news being the formal announcement of the ADHA start date and the WA budget finding a little funding for e-Health in a very tough Budget.

Cash-strapped WA govt finds $60m for e-health

Revenue drop devastates in the west.

By Paris Cowan
May 13 2016 6:31AM
The WA government has managed to scrape together roughly $60 million for e-health projects and another $13.7 million to upgrade its licensing and registration database in a budget described as the toughest the state has ever seen.
The state government has seen its revenue fall 22 percent since 2014-15 due to the drop in commodity prices coupled with reductions in GST income.
It is facing a debt balance close to $40 billion and no prospect of a return to surplus until 2019-20.
But it has still managed to gather together some modest funding for its struggling IT functions.

Australian health sector an easy target for cyber criminals, says IBM

A push to encourage greater adoption of electronic health records has raised the spectre of online record theft

According to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, there has been a clear shift recently in online targets, essentially away from credit cards and toward health-related data.
IBM has worked with small suburban medical and dental centres in Australia, which have become a particular target for ransomware.
Glen Gooding, an executive from IBM’s Security Services (ANZ), said health records were “an important way to extract money by taking on the persona of someone else”.
He added health-focused organisations were often an easier target than financial sector businesses, many of which have implemented more robust information protection systems.

Online pharmacy “safe list” needed

Charlotte Mitchell
Monday, 9 May, 2016
WITH only a minority of online pharmacies considered legitimate, experts are now debating how to address the growing problem of substandard and counterfeit medications.
Dr Conor Hensey from the Department of General Medicine at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne told MJA InSight that Australia must set up a safe list of online pharmacies to help protect consumers from the dangers of counterfeit drugs.
“This way, consumers would have easy, reliable access to a list of authorised websites and be able to refer to this resource prior to purchasing medications online.”

Online pharmacies: Australia needs ‘safe list’

Substandard and counterfeit medicines, and online pharmacies which aren’t legitimate, are a serious and growing problem, say experts.

Australia needs to set up a “safe list” of online pharmacies in a bid to protect consumers from potentially dangerous medicines, says Dr Conor Hensey from the Department of General Medicines at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, in MJA InSight.
Dr Hensey says that this would allow consumers easy, reliable access to a list of authorised online pharmacies, which they could refer to before buying medicines online.
Dr Hensey co-authored a report published this week in the MJA, examining the Australian perspective on counterfeit drugs.

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Transfer Day Notice 2016

I, Sussan Ley, Minister for Health, specify that, under subsection 73(1) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule 2016 (the Rule), the day to be the transfer day for the purposes of Part 11 of the Rule is 1 July 2016.
Dated   5 May    2016
Health Minister

Vic govt's new strategy hopes to end IT project woes

Will it be enough?

By Paris Cowan
May 12 2016 12:32PM
The Victorian government is hoping a transparent IT projects dashboard, a technology education program for executives, and an army of independent auditors will protect it from future embarrassing and expensive technology catastrophes.
Special Minister for State Gavin Jennings today unveiled the Victorian Labor government’s first whole-of-government IT strategy, focused on open data, shared solutions and rebuilding the state’s internal technology skills.
Implicit in the plan is an infamous track record of IT failures in a particularly disaster-prone public service.
Most recently, former officials of the Department of Education have been dragged to the state’s corruption watchdog over serious allegations of mismanagement and conflicts of interest behind the $180 million Ultranet schools intranet scheme.

GuildCare announces new Telehealth Module

Pharmacy Telemedicine has arrived: in a joint initiative by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and Telstra Health, pharmacy customers can now access a GP conveniently from their local community pharmacy.

ReadyCare is a purpose-built telemedicine service where pharmacy customers can talk to a doctor in Australia by phone or video 24/7.
ReadyCare is not about a pharmacy competing with local GP services – it is about community pharmacies facilitating access to a quality telemedicine service at times and in areas where a patient’s access to local GP services are limited or not available.

Report suspected fraud, misconduct or non-compliance

Fraud against government programmes and business disadvantages Australians who rely on the effective and efficient delivery of services.
Page last updated: 28 January 2016
The Australian Government Department of Health is committed to preventing the occurrence of fraud in all areas of business administered by the Department. A robust fraud control environment supports the aim of the Department in creating better health and wellbeing for all Australians.
The following section provides information on raising concerns with the Department about our programmes, with links to the appropriate resources for submitting your tip-off information.

News in brief

Monday, 9 May, 2016
The role of the doctor as an expensive problem-solver may become redundant in the future, according to health experts commenting in the New Zealand Medical Journal. The authors believe that over the coming years, artificial intelligence (AI) will diagnose most health problems and even decide what treatment the patient should have. The health experts say that humans would continue to be an important part of health care delivery, but in many situations they would only be trained to fill the gaps where artificial intelligence is less capable. “Human doctors make errors simply because they are human, with an estimated 400 000 deaths associated with preventable harm in the US per year,” the authors wrote. “Furthermore, the relentless growth of first world health care demands in an economically-constrained environment necessitates a new solution. Therefore, for a safe, sustainable health care system, we need to look beyond human potential towards innovative solutions such as AI. Initially, this will involve using task-specific AI as adjuncts to improve human performance, with the role of the doctor remaining largely unchanged. However, in the longer term, AI should consistently outperform doctors in most cognitive tasks. Humans will still be an important part of health care delivery, but in many situations less expensive, fit-for-purpose clinicians will assume this role, leaving the majority of doctors without employment in the role that they were trained to undertake.”

Latest technology news across the sector

In this wrap:
  • NSW Government announces eHealth strategy
  • South Australia’s Clevertar begins diabetes trials in the US
  • Australian startup CliniCloud partners with American telehealth provider

NSW Government announces eHealth strategy

At last week’s CeBIT Australia conference NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner announced the state’s eHealth strategy for the next decade.
The strategy will see a digitally enabled and integrated health system, with a focus on delivering patient-centred health experiences with quality health outcomes, and builds on the government’s existing blueprint.

A go-to app for kidney disease

9 May 2016
CKD-Go! was created by Dr Priyanka Sagar and Dr Angus Ritchie of Concord Repatri­ation General Hospital, Sydney, and draws information from the handbook Chronic Kidney Disease Management in General Practice, produced by Kidney Health Australia. 
Opening the app, the user sees a home menu offering a ‘CKD calculator’ or ‘more information’. The calculator allows development of a personalised action plan based on a patient’s eGFR and urine albumin:creatinine ratio. Entering these details stratifies risk and includes prompts for absolute cardiac risk calculation, lifestyle modification, blood pressure monitoring, etc. 
For immediate release

Red Cross releases new app to protect its life-saving emblems

A new phone app has been released to help protect the life-saving red cross emblem from illegal use.
“Red Cross is releasing The Emblem App on World Red Cross Red Crescent Day to remind people that a red cross on a white background means ‘don’t shoot’ in war and armed conflicts. It shows that impartial help is available for anyone who needs it,” said Judy Slatyer, CEO of Australian Red Cross.
“This app gives the Australian community the ability to safeguard the red cross emblem by reporting misuse. Every time the red cross is misused, even by mistake, its real meaning is diluted and this can cost lives.

Making sense of consent and health records in the digital age

May 8, 2016
There are few more potent touchstones for the public than the protection of their privacy, and this is especially true with our health records. Within these documents lies information that may affect your loved ones, your social standing, employability, and the way insurance companies rate your risk.
We now live in a world where our medical records are digitised. In many nations that information is also moving away from the clinician who captured the record to regional repositories, or even government run national repositories.
The more widely accessible our records are the more likely it is that someone who needs to care for us can access them – which is good. It is also more likely that the information will might seen by individuals whom we do not know, and for purposes we would not agree with – which is the bad side of the story.

Claims budget cuts undermine effectiveness of Privacy Commissioner

Savage funding cuts to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) have undermined the ability for the Privacy Commissioner do his job effectively, according to the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF).
The APF warns that the “long delays” in the handling of privacy complaints, and the large backlog of unresolved matters, have earned the OAIC a poor reputation – “and now it will get worse”.
Under the Federal Government’s Budget announced on Tuesday, the APF says funding for the OAIC had been slashed and “resources that should be spent on privacy will now be burnt on FOI matters”.
As the APF points out, the cuts in the OAIC’s budget come despite the fact that when the OAIC was created in 2010, it was given less funding than had been originally indicated.

Privacy concerns in the healthcare sector

Australia May 4 2016
The past few years have seen multiple “privacy insurance” policies come on to the Australian market, with policies tailored to the needs of both SMEs and large corporates. The healthcare sector is at particular risk of privacy breaches and resultant regulatory action and claims, but it is not clear that this has led to an increased uptake of privacy insurance policies in the sector.
Insureds operating in the health sector tend to hold highly-sensitive personal information. They are also subject to onerous regulation.
Their employees, however, fear that their privacy protections are not up to the task. A 2010 US benchmark study on patient privacy and data security by Ponemon Institute found the three key causes for privacy breaches were:
  • Unintentional employee action;
  • Lost or stolen computing devices; and
  • Third-party errors.

GPs to take their privacy medicine

Australia’s family doctors are to improve their privacy practices following an assessment by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) that found that many practices could be improved.
According to Acting Australian Information Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, the nation’s peak medical groups have lined up to support OAIC in improving the privacy practices in general practitioner (GP) clinics.
Mr Pilgrim said he appreciated that many GP practices were small to medium-sized businesses and so practical, industry-relevant support was an effective way to improve privacy outcomes for practices and patients.
“I welcome the fact that the Australian Medical Association (AMA), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Australian Association of Practice Management have come together with the OAIC to provide practical support to their members to deliver open and transparent privacy policy.

Here's how to stop Google seeing your private medical history

May 4, 2016, 7:22 PM
Last week, New Scientist reported that the NHS has given Google access to approximately 1.6 million patient records in order to help the internet giant develop an app to monitor possible kidney failure.
The data includes the names and medical histories of every patient who has stayed in Royal Free, Barnet and Chase Farm hospitals in London overnight or attended A&E in the last five years.
If you’re one of those people and you’re not comfortable with Google having access to your patient records then by law you have the option to opt out.

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