Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 18th July, 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

An interesting week with a fair bit of activity in the private and academic sector. Useful to see some stats on use of the myHR.
All seems to be very quiet on the ADHA front this week.
8 July, 2016

GPs warming to e-health records

Posted by julie lambert
The financial pinch on GPs is clearly sharpening interest in electronic health records.
According to the latest figures, 1085 general practices uploaded health summaries to the My Health Record system in the week to 19 June, more than 2.5 times the weekly average of 400 a week during April.
In the same period, the number of health summaries uploaded has jumped from 2000-3000 per week to more than 8000, while the number of views by healthcare providers has shown a similar increase from around 400 per week to almost 1100.
The spurt in activity is clearly linked to the threatened loss of the eHealth Incentive PIP for practices that fail to upload a quota of shared health summaries under new rules adopted on 15 May.
“Following the implementation of these changes to the eHealth Incentive, use of the system by general practitioners has increased significantly,” a Health Department spokeswoman said.

HealthTech makes a difference

Hello HealthTech — a technology challenge to improve Australia’s health care sector — is in full swing and iTWire readers can vote for the people’s choice.
Westpac’s head of healthcare, Leon Berkovich, said this year’s Innovation Challenge had attracted more than 250 applications from start-ups and entrepreneurs across Australia in just three weeks. It has announced the five finalists for its Innovation Challenge, a platform for entrepreneurs to put forward innovative solutions to further improve Australia’s healthcare sector.
“The quality and number of entrants have been fantastic, with ideas ranging from mobile health management applications to hospital and practice communication tools, data management solutions and modern diagnostics capabilities,” Berkovich said.
“I’d like to thank all of the entrepreneurs for submitting their ideas and congratulate this year’s finalists on being recognised among such a strong field of applicants. It’s fair to say there’s no shortage of innovative ideas on how to leverage technology to further improve the healthcare industry,” he added.

Why 'medjacking' is a real and present danger

8 July 2016
MEDJACKING was thrust into the global consciousness when the US vice-president, no less, was assassinated before our very eyes, with his pacemaker being remotely ramped up to initiate fatal cardiac arrest. 
The demise of vice-president William Walden — okay, this was the TV drama Homeland, but obviously as close to real life as it comes — could have been brushed off as the stuff of fantasy.
But the fact that the then real holder of that office, Dick Cheney, reacted to the story by disconnecting the wireless function of his heart defibrillator suggested the cyber attack scenario was not too far-fetched.
And several years on, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed it necessary to issue guidelines on the management of cybersecurity in medical devices.

Vic Human Services under data protection probe

By Paris Cowan on Jul 15, 2016 11:17AM

State privacy commissioner steps in.

Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services says it welcomes impending scrutiny from the state’s privacy watchdog, after newspaper reports exposed serious shortcomings in the way the agency treats sensitive data.
The state's Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection is preparing to launch a wide-ranging review of information controls at the DHHS.
A spokesperson for the office confirmed to iTnews that the commissioner had "served notice on DHHS to produce documents and information relating to the review".
"The commissioner urges all who consider that the security of their personal and sensitive information may have been compromised to contact our office on 1300 666 444," the spokesperson said.

National Clinical Terminology Service Connectathon: 5-6 July 2016

Created on Friday, 15 July 2016
The Australian Digital Health Agency, HL7 Australia and CSIRO, gathered more than 40 national and international software developers and implementers in Sydney for the third National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) Connectathon.
Building on the previous two Connectathons (February and  May), the two-day session provided a further update on the NCTS and its use of the Health Level Seven (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR®) specification.
The Connectathon was invaluable in providing further input into the development of the specifications and infrastructure for the NCTS, ahead of the upcoming public launch. This included specific discussion and feedback in relation to the specifications as well as understanding the priority functionality that implementers require.

Google's AI is learning how to save your life

Health care is the next frontier for DeepMind, says researcher David Silver
AlphaGo's uncanny success at the game of Go was taken by many as a death knell for the dominance of the human intellect, but Google researcher David Silver doesn't see it that way. Instead, he sees a world of potential benefits.
As one of the lead architects behind Google DeepMind's AlphaGo system, which defeated South Korean Go champion Lee Se-dol 4 games to 1 in March, Silver believes the technology's next role should be to help advance human health.
"We'd like to use these technologies to have a positive impact in the real world," he told an audience of AI researchers Tuesday at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in New York.
With more possible board combinations than there are atoms in the universe, Go has long been considered the ultimate challenge for AI researchers. AlphaGo was trained first on expert human moves, then on millions of games of self-play. In its victory against Se-dol, its moves were described by experts as "creative" in that they obviously didn't derive strictly from its training materials.

What do some doctors have against smartphones?

12 July 2016

Used appropriately, smartphones and tablets can be a powerful adjuncts to learning, writes James Lawler. 

I’VE been warned by academics at my university multiple times before about using a smartphone or tablet during clinical placements, especially in general practice where I’ll soon start another rotation:
"It’s rude to use a mobile phone in General Practice."
"You might be looking up drug names to help your understanding, but the GP will think you are texting your friends and they will be offended."
"Use a clinical handbook instead if you want to read up whilst on placement."
Let me be clear – it is would be rude of me to be using my phone while someone – doctor or patient – was talking to me. It might also be rude to be constantly on my phone during consultations. But I’d argue it is only as rude as using the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine in the same way.

Federal election 2016: Medicare payments dated, says ex-AMA head

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 14, 2016

Sarah Elks

The Medicare payment system is antiquated, complicated and needs to be fixed, according to a former head of the Australian Medical Association.
Practising GP Steve Hambleton, deputy chairman of the Medical Benefits Schedule Review Taskforce, said the remit of the taskforce should be broadened to investigate an overhaul of the payments system.
“Anything that’s 30 years old needs to be fixed,” Dr Hambleton told The Australian. “By definition, it’s out of date … it’s all very complicated and antiquated. We (have) a Medicare Benefits Schedule Taskforce that’s looking at the whole schedule (to target obsolete rebate items), so it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the rest of the activity as well.”
The review, launched in April last year and headed by former Sydney Medical School dean Bruce Robinson, is examining the evidence base and usage of about 5700 items on the $21 billion MBS.

To remain relevant, doctors should learn to write computer code

14 July 2016
Learning how to write Java, C or Python is no less important than learning about medians, modes and confidence intervals, writes cardiology registrar and software developer Dr Jerome Goldstein.
I WAS always certain my experience would be different to the factory workers replaced by cheaper and more efficient computerised machinery. But technology is changing the face of medicine so quickly that nobody is safe. Doctors included.
Doctors are naturally a conservative bunch. So it hardly surprises that it has taken the medical community some time, two decades to be exact, to embrace the wired world. But, on the whole, we are still bystanders.  So my question is, should we speed up our involvement? 
Here is your answer. Last month my hospital held its inaugural “hackathon”. Doctors and computer programmers sat together and collaborated. Congratulations to the organisers. It may have been the first of its kind in an Australian public hospital. But it is at least 10 years overdue.

Is e-health contributing to doctor burnout?

Antony Scholefield | 12 July, 2016 | 
Health technology is supposed to make doctors’ work easier, but according to a US study, it could lead to higher rates of professional burnout.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found doctors who used electronic health records, and ordered medications and issued instructions electronically were generally less satisfied than those who did not.
Those using electronic systems were less likely to think the time they spent on clerical tasks relating to patient care was reasonable, and most didn’t think the systems increased their efficiency.
More worryingly, doctors using e-health systems had a 30% higher risk of burnout even after adjustments for hours worked, specialty, setting, sex and age.

Censured GP blames lack of 'red flag' alerts for script errors

Tessa Hoffman | 6 July, 2016 |
A country GP who prescribed contraindicated antihypertensives to a pregnant woman whose baby died has put the error down to 'red flag' alerts being switched off on his software.
Dr Sunil Kumar Dan, a 73-year-old GP who has practiced in Moree in NSW for more than 30 years, has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct over the treatment of a patient during several antenatal visits in 2012 in a decision of the Medical Council of NSW’s Professional Standards Committee.
The woman was nine weeks pregnant during the first antenatal visit in July 2012 with Dr Dan, her GP of over 20 years who had been treating her for hypertension since 2009.
At the appointment, the woman presented with a BP reading of 115/79mmHg and left-sided chest wall pain, and Dr Dan noted she would stop taking Caduet due to pregnancy.

Could visual analytics be the cure for Australia’s healthcare?

  • Charlie Farah
  • The Australian
  • 11:18AM July 11, 2016
Healthcare has always been an expensive necessity and remains a top priority, even if it is a strain on the wallet. As the world continues to age, we need to swallow an even more bitter pill: healthcare costs are only going to increase. With the Australian government cutting funding to services such as pathology and imaging, healthcare organisations are facing increased costs and several healthcare companies intend to pass these onto an ageing population. As life expectancy increases, so too does the amount we have to pay in order to sustain a good, healthy quality of life.
Healthcare wastage costs $20 billion a year in Australia, according to the government’s Health Safety and Quality Commission. There is the potential to cut 15 per cent off the $150 billion national health bill if health efficiency is improved and entrenched waste is eliminated. To reduce costs, organisations must find ways to be more efficient in their daily operations. Visual analytics — which helps us see the whole story in the data — can allow us to make and identify better business decisions and opportunities.
Visual analytics: A prescription for smart healthcare to reduce costs
With Australia’s healthcare system undergoing major reviews this year ahead of the upcoming budget, there is a growing need to optimise efficiencies in order to maintain high standards of performance and patient care services in the face of rising costs. Health fund members are bracing for premium hikes four times the inflation rate this April, as the government subsidy for health insurance falls from 30 per cent to 25 per cent. On average, health insurance premiums have been growing about 6 per cent a year.

eHealth Queensland appoints former staffer Malcolm Thatcher as interim CEO/CIO

Queensland Health on the lookout for CEO/CIO to lead the IT and eHealth agenda
Jennifer O'Brien (CIO) 14 July, 2016 09:54
Long-time CIO of Mater Health Services, Malcolm Thatcher, has accepted the interim CIO/CEO position at eHealth Queensland, a seat vacated by Colin McCririck who left the position in January after reportedly being linked to a corruption scandal.
McCrinick, who was reportedly caught up in a nepotism scandal and stood aside for four months while the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigated, was reinstated after the CCC made no findings against him.
However, he decided to quit the agency and ventured overseas to work for IBM in the United States.

GP suspended after accessing wife's medical records

11 July 2016
A DOCTOR accused of domestic violence by his wife has been suspended after trawling through her medical records without her consent.
The wife of Dr Tahir Shah claimed their marriage was increasingly volatile and eventually led to a death threat against her.
She complained in June 2012 that he was looking through her medical records without permission.
In a sworn affidavit she said he replied to the effect: “Why not? You are mine, everything of yours is mine … I am your husband … I can check anything I want”.
He was then alleged to have described the Privacy Act as “westernised … rubbish”.

Ursys Signs Capacity Deal with Optus Satellite

 [Via Satellite 07-12-2016] Optus Satellite has announced a new wholesale relationship with Ursys, a designer and provider of satellite based voice and data communications, specifically for complex networks in remote and rural areas.
Ursys will use dedicated satellite capacity on Optus’ D2 satellite, stationed at 152 degrees east, and will also have access to third party international satellite providers. In addition, Ursys will use Optus’ teleport facilities at Belrose, north of Sydney, and the wider Optus infrastructure.
A current initiative of Ursys is Remote Outback Satellite Infrastructure e-Health (ROSIE), a tele-health network for 23 remote health clinics across North Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. ROSIE uses commercial grade communications services to enable health applications normally only available in city or regional clinics. These applications allow direct access between remote clinicians and city specialists in real time.

New e-health centre opens

Valerina Changarathil, The Advertiser
July 11, 2016 12:30am
RESEARCH into the use of digital technology to deliver positive outcomes for the sick and aged will be at the heart of the Flinders Digital Health Research Centre to be launched today.
Based at Tonsley, the centre will be headed up by digital healthcare experts Professor Anthony Maeder and Professor Trish Williams as co-directors.
Mr Maeder is currently chair of Digital Health Systems and joined Flinders in April this year from the Western Sydney University, where he founded the Telehealth Research and Innovation Laboratory.
Professor Trish Williams, Cisco Chair and Professor of Digital Health Systems is internationally recognised for her medical information security expertise, wrote the first clinical record system for Australia in 1986 and is an expert in e-health informatics standards.
By comparing data on the genes involved in patients' cancers with data on genes from lab-based cancer cell lines, researchers have begun to predict, on a large scale, which drugs will best fight various cancers. Scientists are starting to accumulate huge datasets on which genes mutate during cancer, allowing for a more systematic approach to “precision medicine”. In a study published in Cell, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK compared genetic mutations in patient tumours to those in cancer cell lines and then tested the cell lines’ responses to therapeutic compounds. By analysing where these datasets overlap, researchers can begin to predict on a large scale which drugs will best fight various cancers. The researchers analysed data from two public datasets, the Cancer Genome Atlas and the International Cancer Genome Consortium, and other studies, gathering genetic information for more than 11 000 tumour samples. The team then compared these tumour samples to about 1000 cancer cell lines used in labs, looking for lines that had the same types of mutations as the patient samples, and which therefore might more closely mimic patient responses. Once they mapped the tumour mutations onto the cell lines, the researchers looked for the genetic mutations that could best predict the cancer cells’ response to 265 different anti-cancer compounds at various stages of development. The drugs covered a range of mechanisms, including chemotherapeutics, small-molecule inhibitors, epigenetic modulators, and cell death regulators. Many of the mutations that occurred both in tumour samples and cell lines did signal whether the cancer cells would be sensitive or resistant to different compounds, largely depending on the type of tissue in which the cancer originated.

Microsoft cloud chosen to drive New Zealand’s electronic health systems

"It comes at exactly the right time, as globally we are at an inflection point"
For many, the next phase of computing involving dynamic cloud processing symbolizes nothing more than a place to store old smartphone photos, tax documents, and college reports perhaps mixed with an occasional voice query of the internet. Where businesses and large enterprises have been chided for their pace of consumer-facing trends of adoptions, they are using the cloud at a much more sophisticated level.
Microsoft New Zealand confirmed in an announcement today, that “Microsoft’s core cloud services Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, have met the Ministry’s requirements for storage of personal health information.”
Clearing the regulatory bar, Microsoft has now been given the green light to become the public cloud and back-end support for the eHealth agenda in New Zealand.
For Microsoft’s part, the company is pleased to offer its cloud platform for health care to the area.

Scientists confirm first instance of water clouds outside our solar system

Date July 11, 2016 - 10:18AM

Carli Velocci

A cloudy day here on Earth might be a sign for gloom, but elsewhere in the universe, to behold one is a scientific achievement. In this case, a team of researchers from UC Santa Cruz announced that they have detected water clouds for the first time outside our solar system on a brown dwarf known as WISE 0855, which is around 7.2 light-years away from Earth.
The study was published back in May in Astrophysical Journal Letters and updates what we currently know about the dwarf, which was discovered in 2014 by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Scientists had detected tentative water clouds back in the original study, but had limited photometric data and needed a deeper infrared image to confirm.
Using the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii, they were able to use spectroscopy to gather more information. Researchers confirmed that the dwarf's atmosphere is "dominated by water vapour and clouds."

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