Monday, July 04, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th 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

The election has meant that the news in e-Health was pretty thin on the ground. A few bits of news but really a lost e-Health week.

Malcolm Turnbull promises $50 million reboot for troubled myGov

Date June 22, 2016

Noel Towell

Reporter for The Canberra Times

The Coalition says it will spend $50 million in an effort to sort out the government's much maligned myGov web portal if it wins the election.
The Prime Minister has also confirmed that his pet project the Digital Transformation Office will be taking the lead in trying to reinvent the service, as revealed by Fairfax in January.
Malcolm Turnbull said the DTO would "partner" with other departments who used the gateway, like the ATO, Centrelink and Medicare in an effort to improve the user experience of myGov.

myGov is a disaster waiting to happen

With the announcement that, from this year onwards, Australians will have to file their taxes online using the myGov portal, a nice new target has been created for hackers who, like all other humans, want maximum returns for minimum work.
While the idea of having a single portal for all government dealings online sounds very good in theory, it may not be the best idea in practice.
Part of this tasty data soup will be the material collected in the forthcoming 9 August census. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced plans to store the names and addresses collected in the 2016 census for years to come.
In the short term, it will be cheaper for the government to have a portal that holds all the information about its citizens; if it were hacked, there would be hell to pay.

Message from the CEO

Created on Thursday, 23 June 2016
I am pleased to announce that the Australian Digital Health Agency officially commenced operations on July 1st.
Thanks to the actions we have taken over the past 12 months, I can tell you with confidence we have achieved our goal of establishing a newly focussed agency to advance the digital health agenda in this country.
I want to thank the members of the Transition Steering Committee, the staff and executive at the Department of Health, and the NEHTA Board and staff for their efforts and support over the past months.

Artificial pancreas for diabetes patients could be available within a year

Date July 2, 2016 - 4:34PM

Bridie Smith

Science Editor, The Age

People living with type 1 diabetes could soon be free of regular insulin injections, after researchers said an artificial pancreas could become available within a year.
Those diagnosed with the autoimmune condition need regular insulin injections, sometimes up to six times a day, to compensate for a pancreas that produces little or no insulin. The body needs insulin in order to convert glucose into energy.
The artificial pancreas is able to monitor the wearer's blood glucose levels and automatically adjust the level of insulin entering the body. Current devices allow insulin pumps to deliver insulin after a reading from a glucose meter.
Cambridge University researchers behind the artificial pancreas say the device would "close the loop" and combine both tasks.

Neptune’s Trident Health unit dives into telehealth

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 28, 2016

Supratim Adhikari

Melbourne-based IT integrator Neptune Managed Services’ Trident Health unit is delving deeper into the aged-care service sector with the launch of a comprehensive telehealth platform that it says will help it capture at least 30 per cent of the market over the next 18 months.
The platform, dubbed Connect2Care (C2C), has been created in partnership with Queensland-based Telehealth Networks.
It facilitates patient evaluation diagnosis and treatment in remote locations by healthcare organisations and specialists. The end-to-end telehealth solution is fully designed, managed and supported locally. It comprises a user-friendly mobile client application, a web-based portal for healthcare professionals to securely access and integrate patient data and a one-touch video conferencing function.

BOSSnet enabling increased participation in My Health Record across Victoria

27 June 2016
Core Medical Solutions’ (CMS) Electronic Medical Record (EMR) BOSSnet is enabling increased participation in My Health Record (MyHR) in Victoria with several sites actively contributing and more than ten others set to follow in the coming months.
Barwon Health is already contributing discharge summaries and medications to MyHR through BOSSnet whist Ballarat Health Services and a further four sites of another soon-to-be-announced Victorian regional health service are being primed to begin submitting discharge summaries directly to MyHR.
Dr Rohan Ward, Managing Director of CMS, said even more BOSSnet sites are in advanced stages of preparedness to also contribute to MyHR, bringing the number of sites involved to more than ten.
“BOSSnet’s unique architecture furthers the aims of MyHR by making it easier for clinicians to access patient information,” stated Dr.Ward. “CMS has been able to provide an integrated view of the MyHR within the local BOSSnet Medical record.  Ballarat Health Services and other BOSSnet sites will use BOSSnet EMR to deliver discharge summaries directly into the MyHR System,” added Dr Ward.

Doctors Are Burned Out by Busywork: Study

June 27, 2016

Electronic health records and digital clerical work are strongly linked to burnout

Of all professionals in the U.S., doctors experience some of the highest rates of burnout: the feeling of being so emotionally exhausted from work that you start to feel indifferent about those you’re serving. More than half of doctors feel this way, recent research shows.
If that sounds like a bad thing for people whose job it is to heal others, it is. (Check out TIME’s in-depth investigation into doctor stress for more.) Studies have linked burnout to a rise in unprofessional behavior, a drop in patient satisfaction and a greater chance that a doctor will make a major medical error.
There’s no one cause for doctor burnout, but a new study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings has found a major one: the increasingly electronic nature of medicine. The digital parts of doctoring, like maintaining electronic health records, were linked to physician burnout.

Meet the biohackers letting technology get under their skin

Date June 28, 2016 - 11:50AM

Kevin Warwick

For some people, the human body isn’t a temple. Instead they see it as a source of frustration thanks to the considerable limitations compared to the powerful technology available today. In the last few years, a new community of biohackers or "grinders" has sprung up to experiment with enhancing the human body with technology. Largely outside of the mainstream disciplines of science or philosophy, it is a raw, exciting field that turns longstanding ethical beliefs on their head.
It is a long time since my own first electronic implant — a simple radio frequency transmitter — was inserted in 1998. It allowed me to open doors and switch on lights with a wave of my arm. To do it I had the assistance of my GP in his surgery, not only to burrow a hole in my arm, but to make sure that my implant remained in place and that no infection occurred.
Perhaps the most common implant tried out is the radio frequency identification device (RFID), more recently in the form of a near field communication (NFC) version. This is essentially the same technology as is used in contactless payment cards except that it’s packaged in a small tube about the size of a grain of rice. Back in 1998 my RFID was almost an inch long — technology has clearly moved on since then.

Snapchat changes face of cosmetic surgery

Date June 30, 2016 - 5:35AM

Harriet Alexander

Health Reporter

Plastic surgery blows up on internet

Cosmetic surgeons are using social media platforms to market themselves and interact with potential clients.
Along with the scalpels, syringes and bulbous implants that adorn Kourosh Tavakoli's​ operating theatre, there is an extra tool that may not boost any breasts but will certainly boost the good doctor's social media profile: a mobile phone.
The phone is logged into Snapchat and it has been documenting the daily rhythm of the practice since the morning, when Dr Tavakoli trained it on his own face and announced the operations he would perform that day.
The patients have given their consent, often eagerly - as long as their faces are not shown. And over the next 24 hours, up to 2500 followers will watch as patients are prepared for surgery and come out the other side with bigger breasts, perkier bottoms or straighter noses - and a few scars.

How cheaper supercomputers are aiding the fight against cancer

High-tech genome research across UTS and UNSW.

By Andrew Sadauskas
Jun 30 2016 3:50PM
The cost of sequencing a human genome has dropped from $3 billion to about $1000, and the time it takes has shrunk from decades to days, completely revolutionising the work that cancer researchers like Professor Dominik Beck do on a daily basis.
Beck, a research fellow and senior lecturer at the UTS Centre for Health Technologies and the Lowy Cancer Research Centre at UNSW, told iTnews where once "we required specialised sequencing labs we can now [obtain DNA samples] with the power of a desktop computer".
His current projects are focused on better understanding the biology of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and improving the life expectancy of patients with blood-related cancers.
Beck's work focuses on identifying treatments that can target and destroy non-functional leukemic cells while sparing the precious few normal healthy cells sufferers of the disease are producing.

Healthcare not so healthy in preventing cyber attacks

Cybercriminals are attacking the healthcare industry more than any other. Why? It’s a gold mine of privately identifiable information usually running on older, unpatched versions of Windows and ripe for being exploited through ransomware or data breaches.
Evidence of this is overwhelming:
  • IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index states healthcare is now the number one target with more than 100 million healthcare records compromised.
  • The SANS Institute said healthcare’s major weakness was the mishmash of old end-point devices, mixed with IoT (healthcare monitors) all running on reasonably insecure Wi-Fi networks. “Exploited medical devices, conferencing systems, web servers, printers and edge security technologies all sending out malicious traffic from medical organisations. Some of these devices and applications were openly exploitable (such as default admin passwords).”

A hacker wants to sell 10 million US patient records on a black market

The stolen data includes 9.3 million records from a health insurance provider
Michael Kan (IDG News Service) 28 June, 2016 06:24
A hacker claims to have stolen close to 10 million US patient records and is selling them for about US$820,000.
Over the weekend, the hacker, called thedarkoverlord, began posting the sale of the records on TheRealDeal, a black market found on the deep Web. (It can be visited through a Tor browser.)
The data includes names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers – all of which could be used to commit identity theft or access the patient’s bank accounts.

Six New Medical Technologies Worth Watching

Among them: advances in surgical robots and early cancer screening

By Joseph Walker
June 26, 2016 10:02 p.m. ET
From growing blood vessels in labs to applying advanced nanotechnology to cancer testing, here are some emerging technologies that could have a big impact on medicine in coming years.
Engineered blood vessels
Humacyte Inc., a Morrisville, N.C., startup, is notching big advances in growing human tissue in labs that can be implanted safely in the body. Its lead product is a blood vessel designed for patients undergoing kidney dialysis.
The company uses donor cells to grow the human tissue needed to make the blood vessels. It cleanses the donor cells from the vessels before implanting them, so patients’ immune systems don’t reject them.
Two midstage studies published in the Lancet in May showed patients’ natural cells merged with the engineered blood vessels, which could make them less prone to infection and more durable than the metal tubes often used to facilitate blood flow in dialysis patients. Humacyte hopes to bring the first bioengineered blood vessel to the U.S. around 2019.

WTF is happening with Medicare?

Posted Tue 28 Jun 2016, 6:58pm
You've probably been hearing a lot about changes to Medicare and what they could mean for bulk-billing, blood tests and X-rays this election campaign.
But are these changes a reality or are some of them just a scare campaign?
Hack breaks down the different parties' policies to help you make an informed decision on health at the ballot box.

What about that $7 GP co-payment & what's a 'rebate freeze'?

Back in 2014, as part of Tony Abbott's government, then treasurer Joe Hockey announced a $7 Medicare co-payment, as a way of keeping ballooning health costs under wraps.

Australians need access to reliable, high-speed broadband

  • Anthony Wong
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 28, 2016
The recent National Press Club debate between the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Christopher Pyne, and his Labor counterpart Kim Carr reinforced that both sides of government want to be seen as owning the innovation high ground. Unfortunately, neither has offered anything new to the voters on the subject.
Our ability to commercialise our innovations will really make a difference to the economy. Factors like research funding, forging links between businesses and a stable operating environment are all going to play their part.
However, another important factor that can’t be overlooked is access to reliable broadband. The National Broadband Network has been a controversial project and yet to deliver on its potential. Leaving the technology debate to one side, it’s imperative the NBN rollout is competed as quickly as possible.

Telstra’s future in doubt after NBN compo ends

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM June 27, 2016

Tim Boreham

The nation’s most widely-held stock and a dividend staple for its 1.38 million investors, Telstra faces ebbing investor confidence as the market questions where the erstwhile monopolist’s next dollar of revenue will come from.
As nimble rivals niggle Telstra on pricing, the telco’s reputation as the premium network work paying more for is wearing thin after six recent major network outages that prompted peeved users to rename the telco “Hellstra”.
Rightly or wrongly, Telstra is perceived as needing a bolder strategy to plug the earnings gap when the billions of dollars of National Broadband Network compensation dry up at the end of the oft-delayed rollout.

NSW Education LMBR costs almost double to $752 million

Department finally comes clean on figures.

By Allie Coyne
Jun 28 2016 9:54AM
The cost of the NSW Department of Education's beleaguered finance and student systems overhaul will soar to almost double its original budget by the time the project is complete.
The department yesterday quietly slipped out new figures on its learning management and business reform (LMBR) program, revealing the new estimate of its total cost over nine years is $752 million.
At last count the project had already blown out to $579 million, according to the state's audit office [pdf].
It had originally been slated for completion in 2014 with capital expenditure of $386 million. The timeframe has since been pushed out to late 2017 after the department last year opted to split the rollout in two.

NASA tests massive rocket booster it says will go to Mars

Date June 29, 2016

Christian Davenport

NASA's Mars rocket milestone

Exciting footage of NASA testing its next generation boosters, built specifically to propel a rocket to Mars. Vision courtesy: NASA
NASA has tested one of the solid rocket boosters that will power its new rocket, the Space Launch System, which the agency hopes will one day fly to Mars. Shortly after 11am Tuesday, eastern time, NASA fired the engine, sending a torrent of fire gushing from the nozzle and a volcano-like plume of smoke that could be seen for miles.
After an hour delay because of a glitch with the ground computer system, the booster fired horizontally for just over two minutes at a test site in Utah, burning through 5000kg of propellant per second, shooting flames out at three times the speed of sound, with temperatures that were expected to reach 2000 degrees celsius. The booster test comes ahead of the rocket's first mission, planned for 2018, when it will launch the unmanned Orion spacecraft on a three-week journey that will take it around the moon.

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