Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 29th August, 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 really ugly week for Health IT with two major outages in the NT and in Victoria. Clearly rather more work is needed on redundancy and so on.
Other than that the new ADHA starts to wind up – will be fascinating to watch.
Heaps of material to read this week.
24 August, 2016

Dear Tim… an open letter to the new digital health boss

Tim Kelsey, the newly appointed head of The Australian Digital Health Agency, has an opportunity to change the course of Australian healthcare significantly for the better. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s now or never
Dear Tim,
I can’t tell you how surprised and excited I was to hear you had left Telstra Health after seven months to head the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). Of course I don’t know you personally, but your CV sings of a lateral thinker, leader and entrepreneur. Until your appointment, I thought the renaming of NEHTA a few times within a few months, and reasonably tame changes to the board, spoke of a government that hadn’t learnt much from a fairly spectacular fail on the electronic health record – and one which wasn’t likely to embrace the huge digital health opportunity we have before us.
I’m guessing you realise what you’ve got yourself into here, and haven’t just thought, “Gee, Telstra Health is a mess, I need to do something else.”

Tim Kelsey: Digital opportunities in health services

Created on Thursday, 25 August 2016
Australian Digital Health Agency CEO, Tim Kelsey, recently presented to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) on the role of digital in the integration of health services.
Watch the presentation below from the CEDA event:

Computer system glitch puts thousands of NT patients at risk

  • The Australian
  • 11:34AM August 25, 2016

Amos Aikman

Thousands of Northern Territory patients have been put at risk by a major failure of a crucial computer system that transmits information between hospitals and remote clinics.
The NT Department of Health has established a crisis management team to urgently investigate the glitch, believed to have prevented as many as 5400 referrals and other pieces of information concerning about 2400 patients from reaching their intended destinations.
The problem was discovered by accident last Friday, but may have gone unnoticed for as long as 18 months from 2014 till May this year, when sources said it had been fixed “by accident”.
The failure to transmit patient information only came to light when a clinician rang up to see why his patient’s records had not gone through. The problem is understood to have affected clinics Territory wide, including prisons and some alcohol rehabilitation centres.
22 August, 2016

Peak digital health agency a bigger disaster than the Census?

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Labor shoots first on the Tim Kelsey ADHA appointment, but they may end up shooting themselves (and the taxpayer) in the foot
As loathe as I am to admit to reading the Sunday Telegraph (I was stuck in a café with nothing else to read – honest), they had one story yesterday about the healthcare sector which was certainly an eye-catcher: they reported that the appointment of Tim Kelsey last week to head up Australia’s Digital Health Agency, which has a key function the implementation of electronic medical records for all Australians, “has raised the spectre of another census-night-style debacle”.
To be fair the paper attributed the view to the Labor Party’s spokeswomen for health, Catherine King, who they quoted as saying in response to the appointment of Kelsey: “After the census debacle it is hard to place any faith in the government’s judgment on these issues.”

System crash causes chaos at Monash Health's emergency wards

By Allie Coyne on Aug 22, 2016 1:00PM

Staff forced to resort to manual lists.

Monash Health's emergency departments were thrown into chaos over the weekend after its electronic patient management system fell over throughout Friday and Saturday.
Hospital staff were forced to resort to manual paper lists to keep tabs on who had entered the department and for what ailment, with some patients forced to wait as much as 12 hours to be treated.
Monash Health implemented the "Symphony" electronic patient administration system across its three emergency departments - Monash Medical Centre Clayton, Dandenong Hospital, and Casey Hospital - during 2008-09.
Symphony is a product made by healthcare systems vendor Emis Health. 
22 August, 2016

Inaccurate data puts aged at risk

Posted by julie lambert
As the move towards shared digital health records gathers pace, the dangers of mismatched records multiplies
GPs are finding it practically impossible to update their prescribing records for aged-care patients to match the medication charts kept by aged-care homes, an Australian study has found.
The findings suggest elderly patients will increasingly be put at risk as GP records go digital and are shared with other health practitioners, according to study author, Associate Professor Meredith Makeham of Macquarie University in Sydney.
“As a practising GP who visits nursing home residents and who trained in a hospital, I’ve always been aware there is difficulty in maintaining the records between our general practice and what residents are actually taking on their medication charts,” she told The Medical Republic.

DTO closer to nixing six-page Medicare form for newborns

By Paris Cowan on Aug 23, 2016 12:08PM

Automatic info exchange halves processing time.

The Digital Transformation Office and Department of Human Services are one step closer to killing off a six-page paper form new parents must fill out before they leave hospital to enrol their babies into Medicare.
The pair yesterday completed a five-month trial of an automated information exchange between the Gold Coast University Hospital’s patient systems and the Department of Human Services.
The trial saw the details of 786 children loaded straight into the Medicare database, the Medicare Safety Net, and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.
24 August, 2016

State of play: how My Health Record trials are faring

Posted by julie lambert
An integrated network of electronic medical records is the destination, but it will be a long trek beset with obstacles
Doctors and patients railroaded into the federal government’s My Health Record “opt-out” trials have just a few more months to cement the case for a more-or-less compulsory digital future.
The trials will run until the end of October, after which an independent evaluator will weigh up their performance and hand a report to the Federal Department of Health by the end of November.
GPs are on board, even if some resent having to upload patients’ shared health summaries under threat of losing lucrative e-health incentive payments under new eligibility rules introduced in May.

These 10 areas will be the first to get health care homes

24 August 2016
THE federal government has announced the first 10 sites to trial the health care home model, but doctors and health groups are continuing to warn that it will fail without more funding.
Trials will begin next year at 200 medical practices and will involve 65,000 patients. The sites are:
  • Western Sydney
  • Perth North
  • Tasmania
  • Hunter New England and Central Coast (NSW)
  • Brisbane North
  • South Eastern Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Northern Territory
  • Nepean-Blue Mountains (NSW)
  • Country South Australia
Instead of the existing fee-for-service model which encourages high patient volumes because doctors are paid per consultation, the new model will remunerate GPs on a quarterly basis for the ongoing care of patients suffering chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Health Care Homes an excellent move towards better integrated care BUT funding and data critical

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) welcomes the Government’s commitment to Health Care Homes and today’s unveiling of the program’s trial sites at Western Sydney Primary Health Network.
“The AHHA supports this reform aimed at providing better integrated care to Australians with chronic and complex conditions,” AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven said.
The AHHA urges the Government to ensure the Health Care Homes trial is provided with the funding and resources needed to succeed in delivering transformational change to the primary care system and to the care of all patients.
“The establishment of Health Care Homes across Australia was recommended by the Primary Healthcare Advisory Group to deliver continuity of care through coordinated services and a team-based approach according to the needs and wishes of the patients. It builds on the efforts of Primary Health Networks (PHNs) that are already implementing relevant services in their areas.”

Diagnosis apps are here to stay, so we must look past the hype

23 August 2016
IN CASE you missed the news, last week saw the launch of the smartest medical investigation tool in the world. Or, if not that, then at least last week’s biggest health claim in the world.
Ada is a smart phone app designed in Europe but initially only available in Australia and New Zealand.
The makers suggest it is more than just an app (presumably a metaphorical rather than literal claim), instead describing their product as a virtual companion.
The underlying concept is clever. This app is the first to tackle health diagnosis on such a grand scale, and its market penetration will be closely watched by Google, Facebook and perhaps start-up companies hoping to access a portion of the trillions spent by US medical insurers.

National digital identity framework prototype only weeks away

By Stephen Easton

A new federated national digital identity framework is coming in 2017. It will accommodate smaller agencies and won’t be dominated by the big federal players, says the project’s leader.
The Digital Transformation Office will release details of how it plans to build a national proof-of-identity system that doesn’t require an exchange of much personal information at the end of this month.
The DTO’s digital identity team, led by Rachel Dixon, will publish details of its alpha prototype on August 29, and take it on the road to explain the plan for a “double-blind” system to communities around Australia. The roadshow program will no doubt involve explaining over and over that this is not another example of the government collecting, linking up and storing information on its citizens.

Medibank looks beyond ‘Project DelPHI’ teething problems

Core policy management system to be bedded down in FY17
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 19 August, 2016 09:07
Medibank Private says its new core policy management system, Project DelPHI, will be key to improving customer perceptions of the health insurer, as it moves to bed down the system in FY17 after data-migration woes earlier this year.
Medibank said today in its full year results announcement that it was battling negative perceptions about its lack of customer centricity and value for money, as well as broader public attitudes that view the health insurance industry as not being affordable or transparent.
“Customers' needs and outcomes have to be our number one priority. To deliver on this we will need to increase our investment in our customer service and product offering. We know that we need to do more, and that we need to be easier to deal with,” CEO Craig Drummond said in a statement.

Government pushes ahead with data breach notification scheme

Seeks to have legislation passed in parliament’s spring sittings
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 26 August, 2016 16:58
The government has indicated it intends to push ahead with legislation to create a mandatory data breach notification scheme.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s list of legislation proposed for introduction in the new parliament includes the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill, with a note indicating the government’s intention to seek passage for the bill during the spring sittings of parliament.

#FHIR STU3 Ballot Documentation

Posted on August 24, 2016 by Grahame Grieve
For people who follow this blog in a reader, and not the FHIR Product Director blog: FHIR STU3 Ballot Documentation.

‘Having the ability to link data is just the first step: let’s start linking research to data’

Editor: Marie McInerneyAuthor: Professor Philip Clarke, Dr Kim Dalziel, Dr Dennis Petrie and Michelle Tew on: August 24, 2016
Researchers from the Centre for Health Policy at The University of Melbourne have conducted a systematic review to see how linked hospital data has been used for research purposes across Australia over the past two decades.
They found there has been significant high value research resulting from linked data but a great deal of unevenness between States, for a variety of reasons.
In the article below, timely for both the ongoing debate about Census data and the current public inquiry by the Productivity Commission on Data Availability and Use, they warn Australian should not fall into the trap of developing more data linkage infrastructure without also investing in improving access and researchers to realise its full potential.

MedicalDirector and Net-Health launch innovation pilot for patients with chronic conditions

The 2016 CeBIT Australia PitchFest winning start up, Net-Health, is partnering with Australia’s leading medical software provider, MedicalDirector, to launch a pilot program that will assist patients with chronic conditions manage their own health.
Net-Health is a next generation tele-monitoring platform provider in the eHealth space, letting users take control of their health and well-being. The platform Net-HealthData helps users manage chronic conditions, as it sends the users’ clinically important information through wireless devices to their doctor in real time. Blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, heart rate and pulse can be assessed to enable better diagnosis during a consultation or continuously monitored. Integrated with MedicalDirector Clinical, the pilot program will make it easy to use for both patients and doctors.

An epic achievement

Pharmacy ground-breaker named in national innovator list

Epic Pharmacy has been named in the Australian Financial Review Top 50 Most Innovative Companies for their development of digital health tools – Medication Manager and ChartFlow. 
The Queensland-based company’s co-owner Cathie Reid said the recognition is exciting for Epic Pharmacy and the future of the health industry.
“To be listed in the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies is extremely exciting for Epic Pharmacy. Not only does it recognise the innovative work we are doing, it highlights how companies are bridging the gap between a paper-based industry and a digital future and are paving the way for a new era in healthcare,” she said.

Hardcat solution improves Royal Melbourne Hospital stock management

The Royal Melbourne Hospital has deployed the latest stock managment module from Melbourne-based asset management company Hardcat to transform the way it procures, manages and stores spare parts used in the maintenance and repair of critical medical equipment used in clinical operations.
According to Lakshmi Thiru, a biomedical engineer in RMH’s Clinical Engineering Department (CED), the new stock management module from Hardcat has helped to extend the benefits provided by Hardcat’s existing solution which was rolled out in 2015.
And, Thiru also says the stock management module has significantly improved the hospital’s processes for storing and managing spare parts, effectively increasing productivity within the department.

HealthKit, Coviu partner on telehealth services integration

Australian digital health platform for practitioners and patients, HealthKit, has partnered with Coviu, a CSIRO Data61 startup, to integrate its browser-based telehealth platform to give video consultation capability to its 15,000 health practitioners.
HealthKit co-founder Alison Hardacre says the partnership with Coviu allows HealthKit’s practitioners to add telehealth services to their existing service offering by providing online video consultation capability.
"Telehealth is the next major trend in healthcare globally. The American Medical Association recently released their first guidelines for telehealth which further legitimise and endorse the use of telehealth in mainstream healthcare.” Hardacre says.

Mobile phone diagnostic tool to immediately detect viruses

A Brisbane-based scientist is developing a tool that can immediately detect viruses and bacteria across the world.
Professor Kirill Alexandrov of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) said the tool could also be used to immediately detect serious disease outbreaks anywhere in the world.
To create the device, he re-engineered the existing technology behind simple blood glucose monitors used to monitor diabetes.
From this, Professor Alexandrov developed a biosensor that could track other serious diseases such as HIV, Zika virus or influenza through a DNA swab.

Telehealth in transition – The importance of telehealth cannot be overstated

on August 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm
This was the key sentiment from the NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Jillian Skinner MP, at the recent Australian Telehealth Conference 2016.
The shift was reflected in many of the discussions at the conference, affirming that telehealth is in a state of transition, with increasing numbers of clinicians advocating for its use.
Associate Professor Andrew Kornberg, Director, RCH Global and Susan Jury, Telehealth Program Manager, from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, spoke about the successes and challenges of the wide scale integration of telehealth in a major hospital, and how a bottom-up approach to implementing telehealth was crucial for success. A view echoed by renowned Head of Surgery at Sydney Medical School, Professor Mohamed Khadra, who predicted the emergence of telepresence and artificial intelligence as big players in the future of telehealth.
Among their successes, the RCH reported that telehealth is now embedded in the daily roles of staff, including triaging, booking, rescheduling and billing, and that clinicians are now taking the lead in initiating novel models of care using telehealth – something which they can now get grants to do.

Patient as Aggregator: The Logical Conclusion of Patient Owned Health Data?

by admin | posted: August 11, 2016
The recent announcement that HealthKit in iOS 10 will support the storing and viewing of CCD / CDA documents has got me thinking.  Are Personal Health Records on a path to possible disruption of health system operated Electronic Health Records?
More specifically, if we believe the growing rhetoric of the health system that “patients own their data”, then we need to stop and ask some further questions.  If I own my own health information as a patient, why is it the job of government to aggregate that information on my behalf?  If I am concerned about the privacy of my health information, and doubt the ability of government to safely secure it (and provide useful services for me to access it), why wouldn’t I, the patient, take over the job of aggregating my own data?
Here in Australia we have near ubiquitous access to smartphones and the internet across all socio-economic and demographic groups.  What if, following an appointment, a GP sent a secure message with a Shared Health Summary to my mobile phone, and I stored the data right there?  What if, on discharge from hospital, the Discharge Summary was sent securely to my own personal EHR?  These clinical documents could sit on my mobile device, alongside my personally gathered data on medications adherence, Patient Reported Outcomes, consumer health device data and physical activity data.

Why Apple's Move Towards Health Is So Exciting

Adam Clark Estes  August 24, 2016 3:30 AM
Apple’s slow creep towards becoming a health company just made a little progress with the acquisition of Gliimpse, a personal health data startup. It’s unclear what Apple plans to do with the company, but I have a free idea for Tim Cook: Let me control my health records on an iPhone. It could save my life.

The Gliimpse purchase isn’t a huge surprise, if only because it was funded by former Apple engineer Anil Sethi. The company’s tagline also aligns well with Apple’s stated philosophy on personal health data. The words are big and bold on Gliimpse’s website: “I should be able to collect my medical records and securely share them with whomever I trust.”
Gliimpse essentially offers a records management system that lets patients add documents, share information with doctors and add additional information — say, data from an Apple Watch — that might give care providers a clearer picture of their health. It also gives the patient more agency in the whole process. Again, we don’t yet know what Apple will build with Gliimpse’s team and technology, but my God, the Cupertino company’s size, prowess and knack for elegant design could change the way that healthcare works in an incredible way.

Access and use: improving digital multimedia content for consumer health information

23 August 2016
This project enabled novel organisational insight into the comparative utility of a portfolio of consumer health information content, by measuring patterns of attrition (abandonment) in content use. The project used as a case study the event activity log of a fully automated digital information kiosk, located in a community health facility. Direct measurements of the duration of content use were derived from the user interface activity recorded in the kiosk log, thus avoiding issues in using other approaches to collecting this type of data, such as sampling and observer bias. The distribution patterns of 1,383 durations of observed abandonments of use for twenty-eight discrete modules of health information content were visualised using Kaplan-Meir survival plots. Clear patterns of abandonment of content use were exhibited. The method of analysis is cost-effective, scalable and provides deep insight into the utility of health promotion content. The impact on the content producers, platform operators and service users is to improve organisational learning and thus increase the confidence in stakeholders that the service is continuously delivering high quality health and wellbeing benefits.

‘Dr Google’ Is Here To Stay — So How Do You Do It Safely?

Almost four out of five Australians (78%) report that they look for information about medicines on the internet, according to a new 2016 survey* released during Be Medicinewise Week (22-28 August).
Three out of five people (58%) admitted they will sometimes or always look up information about health conditions on the internet to avoid going to see a health professional—with this number increasing to almost four in five people (79%) in the younger age category of 18-34 year olds.
This compares to only 1 in 3 people who said in a 2012 NPS MedicineWise survey** that they were likely to search the internet for information about their symptoms before they visited their doctor.
  • August 1 2016

Digital public service means ditching control and embracing 'we'

Collaborating with the public is the key for a more engaging government experience.

Michael Buckley

While navigating continuing economic volatility, governments around the world are trying to fulfil their promises to deliver growth, social progress and security – all while increasing their own productivity. High-performing governments are going digital: they are providing citizen-centric public services when and where needed, driving high levels of citizen engagement and satisfaction.
However, a recent survey by Accenture found 57 per cent of Australians are dissatisfied with the availability of digital public services.
The growing need for these services is driven by the success of existing government digital platforms and emphasised by people's experiences of the commercial sector. Local, state and federal leaders are beginning to realise the power digital transformation has to reinvent the citizen experience.

10 million Australians now registered to myGov

More than 10 million people have now registered with myGov, the Australian government's online service portal.
By Asha McLean | August 23, 2016 -- 00:45 GMT (10:45 AEST) |
The Australian government's online service portal myGov has reached an eight-figure milestone, with over 10 million users signed up to the system.
According to the government, 160,000 people on average use myGov each day, with Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge boasting the portal has now surpassed the number of digital service users that the likes of Commonwealth Bank has.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) joined the myGov portal in 2014, allowing the completion of tax returns using a myGov account as authentication.
During the tax time peak this July, over 660,000 people logged in on a single day; the government also said there were 14.2 million logins in July 2016, compared to 7.5 million in July 2015.

10 million myGov users? Nay, Australia exaggerates its digital take-up

By Harley Dennett

DHS doubles down on rubbery myGov numbers only a minister could love. Once a spark of innovation, then a white elephant, the online service portal is at last showing signs of user-focused renewal.
Even myGov’s own executives admit, away from the minister’s earshot, that myGov registrations don’t represent how many Australians have made the switch to digital services.
But in an all-too-common example of measuring processes instead of outcomes, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge proudly announced this week that “more than 10 million people have now registered with myGov”. Armed with a number and no context, Tudge concludes we must be doing pretty well:
“Very few other nations have had this level of digital take-up,” the minister said in his Department of Human Services fact-checked media release.
  • August 25 2016 - 3:00AM

Our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, has an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone

Marcus Strom
The search for life outside our solar system just got a whole lot closer.
Scientists have discovered a small, probably rocky planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. It is a tantalisingly close 4.2 light years away.

Planet found orbiting our nearest star

Scientists have found a new Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri with the potential to support life.
That planet, dubbed Proxima b, is 1.3 times the mass of Earth and orbits its star inside the so-called "Goldilocks zone", where it can theoretically support liquid water.
It orbits Proxima Centauri every 11.2 Earth days and it is 5 per cent the distance from its much-cooler red dwarf star as we are from our sun.

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