Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Commentators and Journalists Weigh In On The MyHR Debate And Related Matters. Lots Of Interesting Perspectives - Week 22.

Note: I have excluded (or marked out) any commentary taking significant  funding from the Agency or the Department of Health on all this to avoid what amounts to paid propaganda. (e.g. CHF, RACGP, AMA, National Rural Health Alliance etc. where they were simply putting the ADHA line – viz. that the myHR is a wonderfully useful clinical development that will save huge numbers of lives at no risk to anyone – which is plainly untrue) (This signifies probable ADHA Propaganda)

How to opt-out of My Health Record top Google search for Australians

Aussies spent a lot of time Googling their health problems in 2018.

Taking to Dr Google is the norm for many Aussies trying to find out what's wrong with them without having to go to the doctor's office. However, ailments weren't our top health concerns in 2018 with My Health Record our top searched health topic, according to Google Australia's Year in Search 2018.
After a year plagued with privacy concerns, outages and the opt-out date being extended until 2019, it comes as no surprise that My Health Record was a popular search term for Australians in 2018. "My Health Record" was the number four searched "News" topic and "How to opt-out of My Health Record" was the number one search in the "How to...?" category.
Today the Government worked with the Senate crossbench to extend the opt-out period for #MyHealthRecord.
The opt-out period will be extended until January 31, 2019, however, it’s important to note that people can opt-out at any time.
— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) November 14, 2018

‘Better understanding about what's going on’: young Australians’ use of digital technologies for health and fitness

Received 25 Aug 2018, Accepted 01 Dec 2018, Published online: 06 Dec 2018
Digital technologies such as websites, online discussion forums, social media, content-sharing platforms, mobile apps and wearable devices are now available as a means for young people to learn about and promote their health, physical fitness and wellbeing. This article provides findings from a qualitative interview-based study of young Australians (aged 16–25 years) which explored their practices and understandings related to digital and non-digital sources of health and fitness information, advice and support. The interviews were analysed using a feminist new materialist theoretical framework, paying attention to the affordances, relational connections and affective forces gathering in human-nonhuman assemblages to create a set of key agential capacities. The agential capacities generated by the participants’ enactments of digital health included gaining a better knowledge of bodies, illness and healthcare and feeling more in control of health and wellbeing states. While the affordances of convenience, accessibility and detail and diversity of information offered by digital media and devices were valued by the participants, their accounts also highlighted the importance of face-to-face as well as online relationships and personal connections with other people for providing information and support, including family members and friends as well as medical professionals. The participants highly valued the agential capacity of digital technologies to generate detailed information about their bodies and health states and imagined new technologies that would be able to achieve even more detailed personalisation and customisation. However, they expressed little knowledge or concern about how their personal health data may be exploited by other actors or agencies. These insights go some way to recognising and acknowledging the embodied, affective and relational dimensions of living with, through and in the more-than-human worlds of digital health.

ACCC privacy push 'potential nightmare' for Google, Facebook

By Max Mason14 Dec 2018 — 2:00 PM
What if Google and Facebook had to specifically ask permission for each piece of data it collects on us and it had to do so in a way a child could understand?
It would make a change from, as the competition regulator describes, "long, complex, vague and difficult to navigate" privacy policies. Consumers might cheer, but it could cause a raft of problems well beyond the Silicon Valley giants.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission made global first recommendations on how to rein in the market power of the digital giants, such as a regulator with oversight over algorithms. But beneath the headline-grabbing calls lurks a potential overhaul of data and privacy regulation that could have far-ranging implications beyond the so-called technology duopoly.

Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell on My Health Record


My Health Record could mean a death sentence!

14th Dec 2018 7:38 AM
Living with multiple, complex and chronic health conditions I have been in-and-out of hospitals (general and emergency admissions) throughout my life and attended at numerous specialist appointments both here in Australia and overseas.
Now for people like myself, My Health Record sounds fantastic.
But as they say, if it sounds too good to be true it usually is!
The government promulgates that "My Health Record is an online summary of your key health information.
"When you have a My Health Record, your health information can be viewed securely online, from anywhere, at any time - even if you move or travel interstate. You can access your health information from any computer or device that's connected to the internet."
Well imagine my surprise and horror when I recently checked My Health Record online:
> Diagnostic Imaging Reports - "No information is available"
> Discharge Summaries - "No information is available"
> e-Referrals - "No information is available"
> Event Summaries - "No information is available"
> Pathology Report s- "No information is available"
> Shared Health Summaries - "No information is available"
> Specialist Letters - "No information is available"
The reality is, My Health Record is of NO BENEFIT to those like myself with multiple, complex and chronic health conditions.

What you give away each time you shop — data that could one day be used to decide your life

Each time you swipe a loyalty card or use free Wi-Fi, you hand over stacks of personal data that could one day be used to decide every aspect of your life.
news.com.au December 13, 20184:18pm
Every single time you swipe your loyalty card at the check-out, use free Wi-Fi at an airport or shopping centre or order a lift via an app, you hand over hugely valuable personal data.
You agreed to do so when you clicked ‘accept’ to those incredibly wordy terms and conditions at the point of sign-up or login.
And in most cases, you benefit from the exchange.
Companies and brands use this consumer data to personalise experiences and cut through the clutter of information, giving you more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
But some experts are increasingly concerned about how this treasure trove of personal and sensitive information might be used in the future.

Year in Search 2018: Here’s what Aussies were asking Google this year

Nick Whigham, news.com.au
14 December, 2018
If you want to know what’s on Australia’s mind, there is probably no one who can paint a better picture than Google.
We reveal our deepest secrets and insecurities to the search engine giant. When no one is watching, we ask it questions we’re too embarrassed to ask each other.
As the dominant internet indexer in Australia, it’s also where we turn when we want to find the latest articles and headlines on a particular topic — and in 2018 there was plenty that captured our interest.
1. Royal Wedding
2. Thai cave rescue
3. Wentworth by-election
4. My health record
1. How to opt out of my health record

Clinical Safety Lead

Australian Digital Health Agency
Tasked with improving health outcomes for Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems and the national digital health strategy for Australia, the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) is responsible for national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety. Our focus is on putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them. 
The Agency is currently seeking people with a desire to make a difference to health outcomes, who are passionate about the use of digital health to meet these goals and have the relevant experience to deliver solutions in a highly complex stakeholder and technical environment. 
Reporting to the Director, Clinical Governance, the Clinical Safety Lead is responsible for managing the clinical safety of Agency products, such as My Health Record, through the application of clinical safety management activities in line with the Agency’s objectives. Working collaboratively with stakeholders, the Clinical Safety Lead will work toward minimising the potential for clinical risk posed to healthcare consumers from the Agency’s digital health products and services.
The Clinical Safety Lead will be responsible for the following, but not limited to:
• Application of clinical safety management to the design, development and implementation of digital health products and systems;
• Contribute to quality improvement of the agreed clinical safety management approach
• Independently produce executive level reports;
• Troubleshoot cross functional/team issues that impact the timeliness, quality or application of the agreed approach;
• Contribute to clinical incident management activities
• Actively contribute to the education of internal and external stakeholders in clinical safety management
• Perform overtime or restriction duties in accordance with the Agency's policies, and;
• Adhering to the Agency Values and Code of Conduct.

DTA proffers ‘six keys to success’ with whole-of-government digital service platforms

By Stephen Easton • 13/12/2018
Hot on the heels of the federal Digital Transformation Strategy comes the Digital Service Platforms Strategy, which tells of “six keys to success” when public sector agencies build online service delivery systems to be shared by their counterparts across government.
The latest musings from the DTA provide “essential” guidance for the Australian Public Service, according to Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan. The name of the game is whole-of-government digital platforms and “reusable building blocks” that should strive for the six outcomes:
  • Build trust and confidence – we will need to earn the trust and confidence of the public, governments and other users of digital platforms.
  • Transform our culture, skills and capabilities – we will need a culture that cultivates innovation, and access to the right people with the right skills and capabilities to make digital platforms successful.
  • Use technology and data to connect and unify government services – we will develop digital platforms that are interoperable, flexible and extensible.
  • Strengthen digital leadership, governance and accountabilities – we will define clear roles and accountabilities to govern digital platforms.
  • Address funding and legislative barriers – we will work across government to remove barriers that stop or hinder cross-government collaboration or adoption of digital platforms.
  • Foster collaboration and innovation across government and beyond – we will collaborate and engage with a much broader audience to fully realise the benefits of digital platforms.

New guidelines for transfer of care arrangements

Appropriate and effective transfer of care arrangements between general practitioners and hospitals when patients are admitted to and discharged from hospitals can reduce patient readmissions in the days and weeks following their treatment.
The AMA has released an updated Position Statement on General Practice/Hospitals Transfer of Care Arrangements – 2018, outlining the steps required from both GPs and hospital doctors to ensure the best health outcomes when admitting and discharging patients.
“Appropriate and effective transfer of care arrangements are more than just a GP sending a referral letter to the hospital and, in return, the hospital sending on a discharge summary when the patient leaves hospital,” AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said today.

Consent covertly obtained is not genuine consent in healthcare

Phil O'Sullivan and Claudia Hall | 13 Dec 2018
As data use and new practices like personalised medicine, machine learning and 3D printing promise game-changing improvements in the health sector, many organisations are tempted to streamline consent in an effort to clear the way for future (often secondary or ancillary) uses of personal information. 
However, attempts to bundle consent in relation to health information risk both breaching legal obligations and irreparably damaging the relationship of trust with customers. 
Healthcare professionals should view the process of obtaining an individual's consent not as a regulatory hurdle to be overcome, but instead as a critical opportunity to transparently demonstrate the value to that individual of each practice undertaken with it.
Bundled consent is the practice of combining requests for individual consent to a range of collections, uses or disclosures into a single consent without scope for the user to decide which to accept or reject. 

Harvey Norman is radio's top advertiser in 2018

Wednesday 12 December, 2018
As the year comes to a close, Aircheck compared the top advertisers over the last 12 months and with over 8 million spots aired on Australian radio this year, Harvey Norman was the No.1 brand with over 200,000 ads placed across 53 stations.
 ‘Cars & Trucks’ was the next most popular category with 353,824 spots and the top
New Brand of the year was Government initiative, ‘My Health Record’, with 7,170 ads aired.

New PSA president appointed as Jackson steps down

Practice-based Chris Freeman takes on leadership role
12th December 2018
General practice-based pharmacist Dr Chris Freeman has been appointed president of the PSA.
Dr Freeman, who has a PhD in pharmacy practice and has served as vice-president since 2016, was the unanimous choice to replace Dr Shane Jackson, who has stepped down for family reasons.
Dr Jackson will remain on the PSA board as vice-president and chair of the policy and advocacy committee.
He said: “Leading the PSA has been a great pleasure and honour. However, for the immediate future, I need to spend a little less time on planes and more time at home in Tasmania.”.

GPs call for higher quality discharge summaries

Frustrated GPs want a major improvement to the quality and timeliness of hospital discharge summaries.
Discharge summaries with low-quality information or arriving weeks late are a perennial bugbear for GPs treating patients who have recently been hospitalised.
Incorrect information in summaries has led to adverse events, such as re-admission, in almost half of patients discharged from hospital, according to a 2003 US study.
Dr Carl Mahfouz, GP and University of Wollongong academic told newsGP there is no easy fix for what he describes as a worldwide problem.
‘Discharge summaries are very important documents; a patient’s health can depend on it,’ he said. ‘Deaths, re-admissions, morbidity – that’s been documented.
‘There’s no question about the negative impact of poorly written or poorly timed summaries. Everyone agrees on that. The question is how to solve it.

Tim Boreham: Mach7 dishes out a version of My Health Record for the ‘ologists

11 December, 2018 | Tim Boreham
While the Australian government has a little more persuasive work to do with its My Health Records scheme, there’s little doubt that digital health records in a central repository will become the norm globally.
That’s especially the case in the US, where mandatory electronic records was a key – and surviving – pillar of Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Based at Burlington in Virginia, Mach7 (ASX:M7T) is surfing the trend with its cloud-based enterprise software for hospitals and clinics that aggregates an individual’s medical records so that they are readily available for healthcare professionals.
It also provides diagnostic and imaging tools to all the “ologists”; radiologists, oncologists, cardiologists, pathologists, ophthalmologists, et cetera.
December 12 2018 - 5:30AM

Opinion | The ins and outs of My Health Record

·         Lucy Wilk
The federal government has extended the period for opting out of the new My Health Record (MHR) system to January 31 next year.
This system affects every one of us.
If you don’t opt out, you will have a MHR automatically created for you by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).
Many people remain unaware of exactly what is proposed and unsure about whether they should opt out.
The deadline to opt out has again been extended as the government proposes additional measures to protect privacy of MHR data and bring harsher penalties for data misuse.

Australia leads the world in personal control of electronic health records

Hafizah Osman | 12 Dec 2018  ADHA Propaganda And Old Non-News
The Digital Health Evidence Review, released by the Australian Digital Health Agency, has found that Australia is one of the few countries that is leading the way in giving people personal control of their own electronic health records (EHR). 
The international comparison of digital health record systems has shown that EHR consumers in Australia have a greater ability to control their digital health information than in countries with similar systems.
Out of the 50 countries surveyed, including France, the UK, the USA and New Zealand, the Digital Health Evidence Review found that only Australia and France allow individuals to edit or author parts of their health records.
The review also found that only 32 per cent of surveyed countries have legislation in place that allows individuals to request corrections to their data; and only 28 per cent have legislation that allows individuals to specify which healthcare providers can access their data. 

ACCC wants to curb digital platform power – but enforcement is tricky

December 11, 2018 3.15pm AEDT


  1. Katharine Kemp
Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UNSW, and Co-Leader, 'Data as a Source of Market Power' Research Stream of The Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation, UNSW
We need new laws to monitor and curb the power wielded by Google, Facebook and other powerful digital platforms, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The Preliminary Report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry found major changes to privacy and consumer protection laws are needed, along with alterations to merger law, and a regulator to investigate the operation of the companies’ algorithms.
Getting the enforcement right will be key to the success of these proposed changes.

Scrutinising accumulation of market power

The report says Google and Facebook each possess substantial power in markets such as online search and social media services in Australia.
It’s not against the law to possess substantial market power alone. But these companies would breach our November 2017 misuse of market power law if they engaged in any conduct with the effect, likely effect or purpose of substantially lessening competition – essentially, blocking rivalry in a market.
10 December 2018

Can we avert the MHR train wreck?

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
The plotline of Hollywood’s most recent runaway train epic, Unstoppable, and the My Health Record (MHR) are delightfully aligned in lot of ways.
Giant freight train leaves station with lots of good intention to deliver the goods. Somehow the driver doesn’t quite make it on board. Things roll on based on the train’s original timetable and plans. A few individuals see the problem and alert the relevant authorities in time to slow the train down, or even stop it. Individuals are ignored by a system which is political and complex. Train subsequently picks up so much speed and momentum it becomes pretty much unstoppable. 
The train is heading for an un-makeable bend in a major city, where it will surely derail, and plough into a chemical plant killing thousands.
But … there exist a few brave souls  – some of whom the authorities don’t like or trust for their outspoken ways – who are going to try  to jump aboard, make their way to the lead engine and avert mass disaster. 
As they do this, some of train staff, who are now reduced to non-paying passengers trapped on a death ride, take the chance to jump off and save their own lives.  If only Denzel Washington was into digital health. 
Last month, in the new and brightly furnished offices of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), in Darlinghurst, Sydney, some very senior leaders of the MHR had taken some time out of their busy schedules to meet with a visiting overseas digital health dignitary. 

Tech giants face call for ombudsman, privacy clampdown

By Jennifer Duke & John McDuling
10 December 2018 — 10:07am
The competition watchdog has proposed sweeping reforms to control the market power of digital giants like Facebook and Google, including a new ombudsman to investigate complaints by consumers, media companies and marketers, and measures to monitor the prices they charge for advertising.
Global social media and search companies could be required to tell the regulator about local business acquisitions in advance, and submit themselves to third-party measuring of advertisements, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended in a preliminary report released publicly on Monday.
The report also recommends companies such as Apple and Google provide customers with "options" for internet browsers and search engines on devices rather than providing a pre-selected default.
The suggestions come after a year-long investigation by the ACCC into the digital platforms' impact on advertising revenues and news publishers, the distribution of fake news and the public's understanding of how their data is used.
The Australian regulator's recommendations form part of a world-first inquiry, and contain some of the strongest suggestions globally on how to manage the rising influence of digital platforms, after a rocky year for social media. Facebook, in particular, has been under increased scrutiny worldwide after a series of scandals around users' data and a proliferation of fake news on its platform.

10 December 2018

My Health Record: legal challenges

Bianca Phillips
David Vaile
THIS article is the second in a series on “the making of the digital health revolution”. It outlines some of the legal challenges under the Australian Government’s My Health Record scheme – the privacy of patients and clinicians, the ownership of records, and approaches to law making in fields of emerging technology.
Privacy of the patient
While there are issues that affect all who have a My Health Record, certain patients are particularly vulnerable to privacy breaches under this scheme. The risk to some patients, including children, people with disabilities, the elderly, those experiencing family abuse, and the parties to a custody dispute, is that their records may be accessible by unauthorised relatives or carers, and such breaches may go undetected and unreported.
Another privacy consideration is the effect of the “opt-out” model, which was adopted after the traditional “opt-in” informed consent model resulted in low levels of adoption. In 2015, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights raised concerns that the opt-out model limited the Article 17 right to privacy under the International covenant on civil and political rights, which says that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with [their] privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on [their] honour and reputation”.
The Committee requested that reasoning or evidence be provided to show that the opt-out model addressed a pressing or substantial public concern, or that it achieved a legitimate objective. More recently, as part of the 2018 Senate Inquiry into My Health Record, the Human Rights Commission stated:
Comments welcome!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 17th December, 2018.

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

Well the Silly Season has arrived and it is time to have a break. Barring exciting news this will be the last full week with the last regular post on the 22nd December.

Dump the apps: automated instruments 'no good for melanoma'

Doctors who perform examinations to detect the skin cancer should instead be trained in dermoscopy, according to new guidelines
10th December 2018
Automated instruments have no place in the detection of skin cancers and should be avoided, leading dermatologists warn.
New clinical practice guidelines for melanoma detection and skin monitoring in high-risk individuals suggest doctors who perform skin checks should instead be trained in dermoscopy.
Professor John Kelly, co-author of a summary of the guidelines published in the Medical Journal of Australia, says there’s little evidence to support the use of automated instruments, such as smartphone apps, which allow patients to self-assess suspicious skin lesions.
“There is no automated instrument that has value at the moment,” says Professor Kelly, a consultant dermatologist at the Victorian Melanoma Service in Melbourne.

How do you feel what you can't touch? Scientists crack the nerve code

By Liam Mannix
12 December 2018 — 11:37am
Look at the tip of your index finger. About two thousand nerve receptors are embedded in it, ready to tell you about the world.
Some sense vibration, others pressure. There is even a sensor to measure ‘stretch’ – how much your skin is being pulled and in which direction.
Now, touch something with your finger. As you do, each of those receptors will send out a tiny signal, along nerves that run to the brain. The signal takes about a hundredth of a second to reach the brain.
Everything you touch creates a unique pattern of nerve signals – some nerves fire energetically, others go silent. It’s like Morse code. Your brain surveys those 2000-plus signals, and tells you you’re touching ... well, whatever it is you’re touching.

8 things to know about radiology and AI

When it comes to the future of artificial intelligence in healthcare, it's time to separate the fact from the fiction, says RANZCR president
Dr Lance Lawler
13th December 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be a hot topic in healthcare, and this is no more so than in radiology. But sometimes there's more hype in the discussion than heat.
Dr Lance Lawler, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR), briefly examines the likely impact and promise of AI. And busts some myths too. All in eight key points...

1. If you aren’t at the table, you become the menu

If you think AI is a distant dot on the healthcare horizon, then think again. As Dr Stefan Harrer, from IBM Research, put it recently: "The future comes earlier these days than it used to."
AI will affect all areas of healthcare, which is why RANZCR has spent the past two years discussing AI with its members and established a dedicated working group to examine its impacts.

HPOS: use it or lose it, GPs told

The warning is in response to last year's apparent data hack
13th December 2018
GPs who do not log in to Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) for six months will have their accounts suspended under new rules starting this month.
The changes are in response to a media furore in July 2017 over claims that a cybercriminal had used HPOS to access Medicare numbers to sell on the ‘dark web’ for $30 each.
The unknown vendor reportedly sold about 70 numbers, making $2000, before they were exposed and investigated by the federal police.

Failure to transfer GP data blamed for vax record holes

Researchers say the national register data is not up-to-date for 14% of children
13th December 2018
More than one in 10 children are incorrectly identified as overdue for a vaccine when in fact they’re up-to-date, according to a national audit. 
And in many cases, problems with transferring vaccination records from GP software to the Australian Immunisation Register appear to be behind the errors — which can have far-reaching consequences for children and parents.
Researchers from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) examined the accuracy of 905 children’s records randomly selected from the register, which said the children were overdue for specific vaccines at one, two and five years of age.
The report — the first of its kind since 2001 — found 86% of the children were truly overdue and needed catch-up doses.

Hospital developments struggle despite “exciting” digital buildouts: report

Hafizah Osman | 11 Dec 2018
Despite some “exciting” digital buildouts, a number of hospital developments are still struggling with the design, development and operation of new healthcare facilities, a recent report has found. 
The Government is set to deliver more than $30 billion in additional public hospital funding under a five-year National Health Agreement, amplifying hospital infrastructure development and funding for every state and territory.
But even with the boost, healthcare providers are still bogged down with some challenges, according to the report.  
The State of the Australian Healthcare Industry Report: Top Trends Transforming Australia's Healthcare Sector in 2019 and Beyond report identified that these challenges include competing priorities, a lack of understanding of potential and budget limitations. 

Australia's digital services future is now locked to myGov

By Justin Hendry on Dec 10, 2018 7:00AM

Analysis: DTA puts faith in platform, redesigned or otherwise.

If there’s one thing Australia’s new digital transformation plan has made clear (which, let's be honest, is not much), it’s that myGov will remain at the forefront of the federal government’s thinking around digital services.
But to what extent the defecto whole-of-government online services portal will change, or stay the same, as part of its grand plan to have all services available through online channels by 2025 is still an open question.
The strategy, laid out by the Digital Transformation Agency last week, is the first time the agency – or its predecessor, the Digital Transformation Office – has pulled together its thinking in single 49-page document.

Essential innovation for Australian emergency services

Jack Molloy
  • 9:23AM December 12, 2018
Australia is gearing up for another severe bushfire season with the Bureau of Meteorology and state fire authorities issuing warnings for increased danger levels following some of the worst drought conditions in history.
Queenslanders are bracing for firestorms as an extreme heatwave sweeps the state. Meanwhile, in Victoria, fire restrictions were introduced in some regions as early as August and September, highlighting the increased risk.
Bushfires are of course not unique to Australia. As a citizen of the United States I am grateful that around 200 highly trained firefighters from Australia and New Zealand were recently flown in to help combat the devastating California wildfires.

AustCyber calls for cool heads after encryption bill passed

Recognises fears of local cyber sector, but “unwise to jump to conclusions”
George Nott (Computerworld) 07 December, 2018 18:21
AustCyber – the government funded not-for-profit tasked with growing the Australian cyber security sector – has called for cool heads following the passage of the so-called encryption bill by parliament.
The organisation (also known as the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network) said a number of local cyber security businesses had raised their concerns about the bill, which passed in bizarre fashion last night.
“At this stage, it is important to recognise that there are many unknowns regarding the content and implementation of the legislation,” AustCyber’s co-chair Doug Elix and CEO Michelle Price said in a joint statement issued this evening.

Encryption: for the majority of us, life goes on

By Robert Merkel
10 December 2018 — 12:57pm
After being caught up in the broader drama of the last day of Parliament for 2018, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 passed both houses on Thursday, with the support of the Coalition and Labor.
The bill is long and complex, but arguably its most significant new provision is the ability to issue companies or individuals with a “technical capability notice”.
These notices compel companies to modify software and the services they provide to allow access to information that could not otherwise be obtained. There are large financial penalties for companies that do not comply.
A technical capability notice can be issued at the behest of law enforcement bodies, including state, federal, in some circumstances foreign law enforcement bodies (via the federal Attorney-General), and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Apple hits out at Australian anti-encryption law as community anger deepens

  • December 12, 2018
US tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Google have joined forces to decry Australia’s controversial ‘anti-encryption’ bill that passed the federal parliament last week.
A coalition of tech companies, which also includes Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Snap and Yahoo parent company Oath, called the law “deeply flawed” and said it will undermine the privacy of users.
“The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities,” the Reform Government Surveillance coalition said in a statement, first reported by TechCrunch.

ASD chief insists new encryption laws won't see Aussie tech shunned like Huawei

By Ry Crozier on Dec 12, 2018 4:33PM

"The comparison is absurd".

The Australian Signals Directorate says the idea that Australian technology will be seen as untrustworthy in the wake of encryption-busting laws and therefore blocked from use “is absurd”.
Director-general Mike Burgess published what he called seven “myths” of the controversial new laws, which the major parties passed in the last hours of parliament last week.
In particular, Burgess targeted the significant doubt that has been swirling in the days since around how Australia’s technology sector will now be treated by foreign buyers.
“It’s been repeatedly claimed that Australian tech companies will be regarded as no different to the high-risk foreign vendors that have been blocked from supplying equipment in Australian 5G networks,” Burgess said.
“The comparison is absurd.

Fitch warns Australian encryption laws could hit local and global tech giants

By Paul Smith and Natasha Gillezeau Updated 13 Dec 2018 — 5:15 PM, first published at 4:51 PM
The research division of credit ratings group Fitch has warned Australia's controversial new anti-encryption laws could harm the local tech sector as well as the global operations of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter, as one of the Defence Department's top experts sought to hose down resistance to the legislation.
In commentary published by Fitch Solutions Macro Research on Thursday afternoon it said the new rules – which are nominally aimed at catching terrorists or criminals in the act of plotting on messaging services like WhatsApp – would weaken the broader tech industry as other governments looked to copy Australia.
Though the laws explicitly say they do not wish to create backdoors in software, Fitch agreed with many critics in the tech sector in saying that the moves to allow law enforcement to crack encrypted messages would weaken overall security and harm the performance of tech stocks globally.

Australia's war on encryption: the sweeping new powers rushed into law

Australia has made itself a global guinea pig in testing a regime to crack encrypted communication
In the hit US TV series The Wire police are initially baffled when the criminal suspects they are investigating begin to communicate through photographic messages of clock faces.
After several seasons of plots driven by the legalities and logistics of setting up telephone intercepts on suspected drug dealers, the police can’t keep up when overheard conversations are replaced by an inscrutable form of pictorial code.
The Wire cops eventually break the clock-face code but they’d have a great deal more difficulty in 2018 if they were chasing criminals using WhatsApp, Wicker, iMessage or other encrypted communications.
End-to-end encryption is a code so strong that only the communicating users can read the messages.

Dangerous overreach on encryption leaves 'backdoor' open for criminals

By Damian Cronan
15 December 2018 — 12:05am
Australia’s encryption laws represent a dangerous overreach by the federal government and create more problems than they solve.
There’s good reason why the overwhelming majority of the technology community, in Australia and around the world, is so resoundingly against the legislation.
As a technologist with a career in digital services, I can understand the issues at stake.
The bill would compel business to open 'backdoors' – deliberate gaps – throughout Australia's information networks, leaving them ripe for targeting by foreign governments or criminal enterprises.

Scott Farquhar: Encryption bill ‘a gut punch to tech sector’

  • 11:00PM December 14, 2018
Atlassian co-chief executive Scott Farquhar says the government’s anti-encryption bill is a “big gut punch” to Australia’s tech sector, and has called on Canberra to reduce the scope of the new laws.
The software company is listed on New York’s Nasdaq exchange but still does most of its engineering in Sydney.
Australian Signals Directorate chief Mike Burgess this week said tech concerns about the new anti-terror encryption laws were ­hyperbolic, but Mr Farquhar said the bill had already had a real impact on his company, its employees and customers.
 “The impact is already happening. Our employees are worried; they’re asking us if they’ll be getting $50,000 fines if they don’t comply and they can’t tell their employer, and a lot are asking if they’ll lose their job if they do this,” Mr Farquhar said. “The ­reality is a bit more nuanced than that, but we as an employer are trying to interpret this bill for our employees, and that’s incredibly difficult given this was completely rushed through.

Electronic systems needed to prevent medication errors

Thursday, 13 December 2018   (0 Comments)
The Health and Disability Commissioner is calling for the nationwide roll-out of electronic systems to reduce the significant harm caused by medication errors.
Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill has released a report analysing complaints to the HDC where a medication error had occurred.
“There is a person and whānau at the centre of every error and it is important to take every opportunity to learn and reduce harm,” says Hill.
“Human error happens so it is important that organisations have systems with defences built into them to prevent those errors from reaching a patient.

National group to explore linking regional clinical portals in New Zealand

If successful, the project would allow any clinician involved in a patient’s care to view that person’s computerised health data from anywhere across New Zealand.
December 10, 2018 10:15 PM
A national group is being formed to start work on linking the country’s four regional clinical portals, with approval from the district health boards’ (DHBs) chief information officers.
The group is being led by Stella Ward, chief digital officer at Canterbury DHB.
If successful, the project would allow any clinician involved in a patient’s care to view that person’s computerised health data from anywhere across New Zealand.
Waitemata DHB clinical adviser digital innovations Lara Hopley is a key driver of the project and says clinicians are very keen to be able to see patients’ data from other regions as they often move around the country.

Technology to Help Senior Australians Live at Home Longer

High-tech movement monitoring promises to help more senior Australians live safely in their own homes for longer, thanks to a $260,000 investment by the Australian Government.
14 December 2018
High-tech movement monitoring promises to help more senior Australians live safely in their own homes for longer, thanks to a $260,000 investment by the Morrison Government.
The funding will enable IT company Ericom to trial its Monitoring Data Response Solution (MDRS) system, which allows early detection and intervention, should safety issues arise for older people living at home.
This is Australian innovation at its best, enabling remote monitoring and tracking of an aged care recipient’s daily routine, to help prevent misadventure or the possible deterioration in their wellbeing.

International health data comparisons 2018

11 Dec 2018
Comparing health and health care data between countries facilitates international comparative reporting, supports policy planning and decision-making, and enables health-related research and analysis.
The interactive data visualisations across these web pages allow you to compare data from 36 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) member countries across a range of health and health care indicators, with a focus on Australia’s international performance.
The visualisation on this page provides a snapshot of Australia’s health and health care performance in comparison with the OECD average and with other OECD countries.

Ellume spreads global wings with GSK deal

  • 11:00PM December 11, 2018
Brisbane medical diagnostics company Ellume has signed a significant deal with pharmaceutical giant GSK for digital consumer products, ahead of a potential market listing.
Ellume founder and managing directory Sean Parsons said the global deal was the biggest of its kind in Australia.
“A GSK deal of this type is a pivotal change for a business like Ellume,” Dr Parsons said.
 “It will enable the product to scale into a global market and it provides an external validation of the quality of the technology.”

Fast Growing Australian Medtech Startup RxMx Partners with InterSystems to Enhance the Safe Use of New Medicines

Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2018 Company Will Migrate to InterSystems IRIS for Health to Increase Agility in Developing Clinically Proven Patient Monitoring Systems

SYDNEY, Australia, December 10, 2018 – InterSystems, a global leader in information technology platforms for health, business and government applications, today announced that fast growing Australian medical technology company RxMx will expand its partnership with InterSystems to increase its agility in developing solutions that enhance the safe use of medicines.

Using the InterSystems database platform, RxMx has built and deployed an automated patient monitoring system for complex medicines that require ongoing laboratory testing for potential adverse effects. The system uses real-time algorithms to detect at-risk test results and notifies or provides reminders to doctors, nurses and patients via emails, texts and mobile apps.

RxMx picks InterSystems Iris for Health

Sydney-based medical technology company RxMx is adopting the InterSystems Iris for Health data platform.
RxMx has already built and deployed - using InterSystems' database - an automated patient monitoring system for complex medicines that require ongoing laboratory testing for potential adverse effects.
The system detects at-risk test results and notifies or provides reminders to doctors, nurses and patients via emails, texts and mobile apps.
RxMx co-founder Associate Professor Sean Riminton said the company will migrate to InterSystems Iris for Health data platform for healthcare, to help it adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
"It is an incredibly fast moving field. We are fortunate that InterSystems is willing to innovate with us to keep ahead," he said

Healthlink appoints new CEO

Monday, 10 December 2018, 10:52 am
Press Release:
Australasia’s largest Health IT network, HealthLink, has appointed Aucklander Michelle Creighton as its new chief executive officer.
Michelle joined HealthLink’s Auckland office in 2012 as finance manager and has previously worked as a business analyst in various information technology companies.
HealthLink is the largest provider of clinical messaging services in New Zealand and Australia.
Michelle says she’s looking forward to her new role as CEO, which she officially started on 28 November.

Ransomware still dominates the global threat landscape

Ransomware attacks continues as the main world’s main security threat and the most profitable form of malware, but a new global report indicates that despite “copious” numbers of infections daily there’s emerging signs the threat is no longer growing.
According to the top security predictions for 2019 from security firm Bitdefender, ransomware lost its spot as the number one cyberthreat to consumers and enterprises during the first half of 2018, after topping the list for many years, and growth is now plateauing as the year comes to an end.
Bitefender attributes the slowdown in growth to ransomware taking a “well documented” back seat to crypto-jacking in the past year as bad actors moved towards stealing computing power to generate digital currency whilst flying under the radar.

Using a password manager: 7 pros and cons

This veteran security pro feels more secure now that he's using a password manager, but there are still risks.
Roger A. Grimes (CSO (US)) 06 December, 2018 22:00
I’ve written about what I consider the best current password advice for websites and services you need to keep secure. In a nutshell, here’s the advice again:
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Where MFA is not an option, use password managers, creating unique, long-as-possible, random passwords for each website or security domain.
  • Where password managers aren’t possible, use long, simple passphrases.
  • In all cases, don’t use common passwords (e.g., “password” or “qwerty”) and never reuse any password between different sites.
This advice might appear to go against my simultaneous support of NIST Special Publication 800-63  Digital Identity Guides. NIST SP 800-63 recommends using non-password methods where possible, and although the recommendations are definitely against forcing users to use very long and complex passwords, they don’t limit password length or complexity.
When people are forced to create and use long, complex, and frequently changing passwords, they do a poor job at it. They reuse the same passwords among different websites or use only slightly different passwords, which create an easy-to-decipher pattern.

Australian 5G spectrum auction hauls in $852m

  • 9:11AM December 10, 2018
Telstra, TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia have ended up paying through the nose for 5G spectrum, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority harvesting $852 million from the sale of 3.6 GHz band spectrum.
The 3.6 GHz spectrum is widely seen as the optimum band for the deployment of 5G services and the final auction price has blown the reserve price blown out of the water.
ACMA had set a reserve price of around $185 million for the full 350 lots of 125MHz of spectrum, at 8 cents per megahertz per population (the amount of spectrum owned in a region multiplied by the number of people reached.)
However, the average price paid by the telcos has ended up around 29 cents per megahertz per population, close to one of the highest price paid for 5G spectrum in the world.

NBN Co looks to earnings from businesses to avoid write-down

The NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, plans to create new plans for businesses in order to earn $1 billion in revenue from the sector.
The new plans will be 30% to 50% cheaper than those available and will include high speeds and data quotas, a statement from the company said on Monday.
The move is part of the company's efforts to raise its average revenue per user which $44 when it announced its latest quarterly results, the same as that for its fill-year 2018.

Telstra says no to free emergency texts

Telstra has rejected the Queensland government's calls for them to foot the bill for emergency warning texts.
Staff reporters
Australian Associated Press December 12, 201810:15am
Telstra's boss says the Queensland government's suggestion that disaster warning texts should be provided free was "ridiculous" and "disgraceful".
Telstra CEO Andy Penn said on Wednesday that the telco sent out more than 1.2 million texts to Queensland residents during the recent bushfire crisis as part of a commercial contract signed off on by the state government.
He rejected outright Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's assertion that the service should be free.
"We provide the Queensland government with very significant technology and telecommunications networks - at their request we provide those services to them, so to suggest that Telstra's responsibility then to provide that for free is ridiculous," he told ABC radio.

NBN Co reveals 58 percent of HFC network still unserviceable

By Ry Crozier on Dec 13, 2018 12:16PM

Almost 1.2m premises can’t support a retail service.

NBN Co has revealed that 58 percent of its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) footprint remains unserviceable, seven months after the sales freeze on connections was lifted.
The network builder said that as of November 16 there were still 1,192,965 premises in the HFC footprint whose connections were classed as unserviceable.
That equated to 58.2 percent of all HFC premises declared ready for service, the company said.
“The HFC figure is temporarily inflated during the period of the activations pause,” NBN Co said in notes accompanying the 58 percent figure, repeating verbatim a statement it previously made back in April.

Adelaide to be home to Australian Space Agency

Lot Fourteen to house space agency
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 12 December, 2018 08:54
The Australian Space Agency will be headquartered in Adelaide, the federal government announced today.
“This agency is going to open doors for local businesses and Australian access to the US$345 billion global space industry,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
“Our government’s $41 million investment into the agency will act as a launching pad to triple Australia’s space economy to $12 billion and create up to 20,000 jobs by 2030.
“This agency is part of our plan for a stronger economy for South Australia and the country which is about delivering long-term, high-wage, high-skills jobs.”