Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 28th November, 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 pretty quiet week, with some discussion on the myHR and, again, all sorts of other activity being reported on with SA’s ePAS somehow again attracting some unwanted attention.
Enjoy browsing!
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Can MyHealth Record be resuscitated?

Antony Scholefield and Paul Smith | 23 November, 2016 | 
Five e-health experts tell Australian Doctor whether they think the MyHealth Record system will eventually work or if the restart button needs to be pressed on the whole project.
After four years and an estimated $2 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money, the MyHealth Record system remains largely unloved and unused by GPs.
It raises serious questions about whether the whole enterprise should be put out of its misery, and become another footnote in the list of IT disasters that were big on promises and small on delivery.
However, there is still hope among some that it can be salvaged.
Tim Kelsey, a colourful e-health evangelist, has been brought in from the UK to head up the Federal Government’s Australian Digital Health Agency.
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Maximising My Health Record.

22 Nov 2016
There is no doubt the evolution of the shared electronic medical record, or the My Health Record as it is now known, has been a costly exercise, with more than $1 billion spent to date. Many observers would argue that is a lot of buck for little or no bang.
Certainly, the My Health Record is not yet perfect. But a recent demonstration of its use to the AMA Council of General Practice (AMACGP) was promising, and GPs who had previously dismissed it might consider taking a second look.
We all want the My Health Record to work. It has the potential to support much better patient care, particularly when your patients see another doctor or health care provider.
By uploading key medical information via a Shared Health Summary, you are making sure other doctors who may be treating your patient in an emergency situation, or while they are away on holiday, have the information they need to appropriately care for your patient, thereby reducing the likelihood of your patient experiencing an adverse medical event or unnecessary testing.
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MedsASSIST tops 4 million transactions

More than four million transactions have now been recorded in MedsASSIST, the Pharmacy Guild says.

As of yesterday (21 November) the codeine real-time recording and monitoring system had clocked up over four million transactions, and of these two per cent were for a deny/non-supply.
Guild data also shows that 86% of consumers who had made five or more purchases were recommended to take follow-up action, such as a referral to a doctor or pain specialist, pain management care plan, drug or alcohol service, to assist them to seek further help in managing pain and addiction.
“There is strong evidence that MedsASSIST is having an effect as intended and reducing inappropriate OTC codeine use for people who might be at risk of codeine dependency, while maintaining access for legitimate use,” the Pharmacy Guild says.
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Prescription approvals to move online

24 November, 2016 0 comments 
Doctors will no longer have to make calls to get approval for prescribing certain medications under proposed new laws.
Legislation introduced to parliament on Thursday will allow for the full-automation of a number of administrative decisions in a bid to save time, reduce errors and make the process more efficient.
"For prescribers and patients, online prescribing approvals will return precious minutes lost to telephone calls back to consultation time," Health Minister Sussan Ley said.
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PBS authority script line's 'Smooth Steve' to be replaced by bot

Paul Smith | 25 November, 2016 | 
Authority script phone line operators will be replaced by computers under the latest attempt to streamline the system that sucks up hours of GP time.
This week, Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley introduced new legislation before Parliament allowing the PBS to make use of “computer programs for administrative actions and decision making”.
She said the legislative changes would trigger a “major leap forward in the [PBS] use of technology”, with prescriber requests processed online rather than by health department staff.
The AMA had previously estimated that 25,000 patient consultations were lost every month while doctors used the system.
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Who will be crowned healthcare CIO of the year?

By Staff Writer on Nov 25, 2016 6:40AM

Healthy competition for the trophy.

When it comes to healthcare, time really is a critical - and often scarce - resource.
The three project leaders in the running to take out the healthcare category of the 2017 iTnews Benchmark Awards have all turned to technology to preserve this precious commodity.
All have taken very different approaches to handing time back to both the doctor and the patient, with the common end goal of improving health outcomes.
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Census reports highlight government IT incompetence

Inquiries by the Australian Senate and the PM's special advisor on cybersecurity highlight 'significant and obvious oversights' by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which 'couldn't handle a predictable problem'.
By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | November 25, 2016 -- 02:50 GMT (13:50 AEDT) | Topic: Security
As details of the train wreck that was Australia's 2016 online Census have emerged, ZDNet has observed how it was a confluence of failure, indeed, an omnishambles of fabulous proportions. It was inexcusable.
On Thursday, though, came two reports that not only provided further evidence of incompetence at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), but they were also official. Their subtitles said it all.
One, the report of the Senate Standing Committees on Economics inquiry into the Census, was subtitled "Issues of trust".
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Govt slammed over 'intimidation' on Medicare website

The activist group GetUp has slammed the federal government over its threat to an elderly man who runs a website called Save Medicare where he publishes information about government changes to healthcare services and launched a petiton asking Canberra to back off.
Last Thursday, Mark Rogers, whom GetUp described as a 66-year-old grandfather from suburban Sydney, received a legal threat from the solicitor-general asking him to take down his website within 48 hours.
He was told that he would also have to agree to never again use Medicare branding.
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Big Data report recommends big changes for healthcare

Antony Scholefield | 24 November, 2016 |
Most GPs would probably think the Productivity Commission’s 650-page draft report Data Availability and Use sounds incredibly boring. And they’d be right. But there’s a reason to pay attention anyway.
Many of the report’s draft recommendations, if implemented, could have a big effect on healthcare.
The report recommends that all trend data that don’t identify individuals and are not confidential should be made public and open access, or at least available on request.
That would mean Australian Doctor’s mission to find the real statistics on bulk-billing would be readily available and wouldn’t require a fee or months of waiting.
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More could be done to flag renal issues when prescribing

23 November 2016

The Issue

Impaired renal function is common, especially among older people.
Many common medicines can accumulate in these patients or further impair renal function.
This can cause a range of biochemical disturbances, particularly when the drugs are used in combination.
GPs might prescribe medicines that put the patient at risk of either of these consequences without being aware of this.
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HIPS November 2016 Release

Created on Friday, 25 November 2016
The Australian Digital Health Agency is pleased to announce the release of HIPS v6.1. This version supersedes and combines the functionality of HIPS v5.0 and eHealth Integration Sample Code (eHISC) v6.0, and provides the basis for all future HIPS releases.
HIPS v6.1 also provides fixes for a number of high-priority issues, and support for three views introduced with recent releases of the My Health Record system.
New functionality
HIPS v6.1 supports the following views of the My Health Record system:
  • Pathology Report View;
  • Diagnostic Imaging Report View; and
  • Health Record Overview.
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Two more EPAS glitches at QEH, with warnings crashes will cost patient lives

Health Reporter Katrina Stokes, The Advertiser
November 22, 2016 12:51am
TWO computer glitches at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in just 24 hours put patients’ lives at risk — and it is only a matter of time until someone dies, doctors warn.
They are calling on the State Government to scrap the controversial $422 million electronic patient records system because it is not “reliable or dependable”.
SA Health has confirmed an “IT update and server error” forced “delays” to the EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) for 13 minutes between 1am and 2am on Sunday and again at 9.20pm for 40 minutes but insists there was no risk to patient safety.
The latest issue comes just two weeks after another software glitch saw the system crash at the QEH for 10 hours, with doctors labelling the situation as a “dangerous, chaotic crisis” and potentially fatal for patients.
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The Advertiser Editorial: Failures crash confidence in health system

The Advertiser
November 22, 2016 12:38am
TWO failures within 24 hours of the controversial computer patient management system at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are cause for deep concern.
The latest problems with the $422 million Enterprise Patient Administration System follow a 10-hour shutdown a fortnight ago.
They come as the metropolitan hospital system is undergoing unprecedented change, both from Transforming Health reforms and the looming opening of the new $2.3 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Both of these are underpinned by sensible logic — the need for a new hospital and to better manage the metropolitan hospital system. But, like the EPAS, sensible concepts are proving difficult to deliver.
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Maligned EPAS patient records software system suffers two more outages in Adelaide

November 22, 2016
South Australia's troubled electronic-patient records system has suffered two more outages over the weekend.
SA Health said issues with a software update and servers caused delays to EPAS for 13 minutes early on Sunday morning and another for about 40 minutes on Sunday night.
SA Health chief information officer Bill le Blanc said it did its best to minimise inconvenience to staff and patients.
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SA Health's Bill Le Blanc hits back at EPAS critics

Health authority CIO responds to electronic records system doubters
George Nott (CIO) 25 November, 2016 13:17
It’s been a trying few weeks for SA Health CIO Bill Le Blanc. Earlier this month he faced the wrath of medical unions and the scrutiny of the national media after a glitch caused an outage in the health authority’s electronic patient records system, EPAS.
Two more outages occurred over last weekend. On Tuesday morning page three of Adelaide’s The Advertiser newspaper read “EPAS fails ‘will be fatal’”. By the afternoon Le Blanc was being grilled live on radio.
“I never anticipated when I applied for this job I would have to go on radio, TV, the paper,” he said at the CIO50 awards in Sydney last night. “People screaming that IT…is basically going to kill a patient.”
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Personal data de-identification practically impossible: expert

The Australian government may well have to reconsider its plan to release data about its citizens for use by businesses or scientists, with a top expert in security and privacy engineering telling iTWire that de-identification of datasets so that they cannot be traced back to the original is very hard, to the point of being practically impossible.
George Danezis, professor of security and privacy engineering at University College, London, offered the response after being asked about de-identification of datasets in connection with the leak of personally identifiable details in health data that was released by the government.
Researchers at Melbourne University were able to trace back the data and after the government was made aware of this, the released dataset was taken offline.
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WA Health rules out legal action over $81m data centre blowout

By Paris Cowan on Nov 23, 2016 11:53AM

Won't chase criminal, civil charges.

WA's Department of Health has confirmed it won't take any further disciplinary action against former workers who were found signing off on data centre purchases way above their financial delegation.
Auditor-general Colin Murphy exposed the procurement scandal in February, when he revealed the agency’s ongoing data centre deal with Fujitsu threatened to balloon to $175 million despite originally being valued at just $45 million.
He tracked down dubious orders that missed checks and balances and left WA Health paying for hardware and floor space it didn’t need.
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Food Safety Website now live for industry and consumers

Australian ministers and the New Zealand minister responsible for food have released a revamped food safety website designed to give stakeholders better access to information about the joint Australian and New Zealand food regulation system.
Page last updated: 25 November 2016
25 November 2016
Australian ministers and the New Zealand minister responsible for food today released a revamped food safety website designed to give stakeholders better access to information about the joint Australian and New Zealand food regulation system.
Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Dr David Gillespie, launched the new website in conjunction with the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation meeting in Brisbane.
“Food regulation is a complex system that involves all levels of the Australian and New Zealand governments,” Dr Gillespie said.
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Promise of genetic sequencing frustrated by the cost of medicines for rare cancer patients

Harriet Alexander
Published: November 24, 2016 - 11:19AM
Ann Bantoft feels like she has been asked to put a price on her son's life - and she cannot afford it.
It is the price of a wonder drug that is the young man's last hope to defeat a tumour that has proved oblivious to radiation, indifferent to chemotherapy and too perilous for surgery - and it costs $8612 a month.
But although the drug is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, it is not subsidised for the likes of Brad Williams, because it has only been approved for melanoma patients and his tumour is growing in his brain.
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Online health portals prove popular in New Zealand

November 21, 2016 2PM Shannon Williams
Nearly a quarter of a million New Zealanders are now using a patient portal to access their health information, the Government has revealed.
In 2015, a $3 million funding boost gave more New Zealanders access to patient portals, included $500,000 for an awareness campaign.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says it great to see a significant increase in portal users.
“Patient portals enable patients to manage aspects of their own healthcare such as booking appointments, requesting repeat prescriptions and messaging clinical staff directly,” says Coleman.
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New online 'Australia's Health Tracker by Area' a welcome step forward

24 November 2016
A new online interactive map of health in Australia, ‘Australia’s Health Tracker by Area’ is a welcome step forward in highlighting areas for attention in health, as well as areas that could act as examples to follow, according to the nation’s leading public healthcare body, the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).
‘Australia’s Health Tracker by Area’ was released today by the Australian Health Policy Collaboration at Victoria University, Melbourne, which developed the product with the Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University, South Australia.
‘This new digital platform provides instant mapping and localised data on deaths, for example from cancer cardiovascular disease, and suicide, as well as localised estimates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and health risk factors such as overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and risky alcohol consumption’, said AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.
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  • Nov 21 2016 at 10:00 AM

'Next Cochlear' 4Dx closes capital raise as FDA approval enters sight

by Yolanda Redrup
Medical imaging startup 4Dx has raised $2.5 million from a range of retail and high net worth investors, which the business will invest in its clinical trials that will see the company approved by the US Food and Drug Administration by mid next year.
The company, which already has one major deal with Los Angeles hospital Cedars Sinai to use its lung imaging technology, also has an additional $2.5 million committed that is expected to close this week, taking its total series A raise to more than $5 million. 
Chief executive Andreas Fouras said the company had developed a strong investor base featuring healthcare professionals and business bigwigs from retail, resources and banking and finance, making him confident the company could go achieve its ambitions of being as successful as Cochlear.
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Who’s who of Aussie ICT

November 21, 2016
VITALCARE has pioneered nurse call and critical messaging systems for over 30 years. The company designs, manufactures, installs and services the most innovative systems available through a national network of company owned branches and authorised distributors. The company provides advanced technology systems for nursing homes, retirement villages, hostels and other dependent care facilities. Since 1989 facilities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada, have chosen Vitalcare’s systems for the peace of mind they provide their residents. Vitalcare is the first manufacturer to integrate IoT (Internet of Things) technology in its two-way waterproof pendants and call points along with cloud integration for advanced reporting, supervised maintenance and data analysis. www.vitalcare.com.au
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Enjoy!
David.

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