Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Commentators and Journalists Weigh In On Digital Health And Related Privacy, Safety, Social Media And Security Matters. Lots Of Interesting Perspectives - May 11, 2021.


This weekly blog is to explore the news around the larger issues around Digital Health, data security, data privacy, AI / ML. technology, social media and related matters.

I will also try to highlight ADHA Propaganda when I come upon it.

Just so we keep count, the latest Notes from the ADHA Board were dated 6 December, 2018 and we have seen none since! Its pretty sad!

Note: Appearance here is not to suggest I see any credibility or value in what follows. I will leave it to the reader to decide what is worthwhile and what is not! The point is to let people know what is being said / published that I have come upon.



Govt unveils $1.2B digital package

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

6 May 2021

The federal government will spend $500 million on “enhancing” myGov and My Health Record as part of a $1.2 billion funding package aiming to position digital at the centre of Australia’s economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday morning announced the significant spending, which will feature in next week’s federal budget. The new money is on top of the $1 billion provided in the October budget six months ago.

The funding package also includes new spending for the Consumer Data Right, digital skills training, tech graduates programs and an expansion of the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund.

The Morrison government has unveiled a $1.2 billion digital package



Govt to establish $50m national AI centre

Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

6 May 2021

A new $50 million National Artificial Intelligence Centre will be established within CSIRO and $34 million will be provided to projects using AI to address national challenges as part of a federal budget funding package.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday morning unveiled a $1.2 billion digital spending package that will be included in next week’s budget, including $124 million for AI research and grants.

But industry leaders have said this figure should be twice as much, and more needs to be done to ensure the growth of the AI sector in Australia.

The govt will establish a National AI Centre

Next week’s budget will include $53.8 million over four years to establish the National Artificial Intelligence Centre which will coordinate Australia’s AI expertise and capabilities and drive adoption of the technology.

Mr Morrison said this centre will lay the foundation for a local AI and digital ecosystem, and encourage businesses to adopt new technologies.

It will be located within CSIRO’s Data61, and will coordinate AI expertise and capabilities, address barriers that SMEs face in adopting the technology and work on developing AI.



Digital health opportunities in aged care

May 3, 2021 | Nursing & Midwifery Informatics

Nurses working in the aged care sector were anxious for the release of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety report late last year, given the knowledge that this sector is well behind in the use and application of technology and has no clear information and communications technology strategy.

Clinicians working in this sector have not been able to access the right data in a timely manner to support and inform quality care, and clients and carers have been unable to locate relevant information to support their access to care services. Reliable data is integral to informing and evaluating care delivery and supporting the adoption of improved models of care and new technologies. The nursing workforce has been the main contributor to the data collected in this sector, having the additional burden of ensuring the data is high quality, comprehensive, and complete, and the information, knowledge, and wisdom derived from the data is used effectively in decision making and activities for continuous improvement. Compounding this is the increased expectation for higher digital health capability in aged care nurses.

The aged care nursing workforce needs to operate in a technology-enabled environment for efficient clinical, business and operational systems so that person-centred care is enabled. Secure use of data throughout the system and solutions to reduce the administrative burden of data collection are long overdue. Real-time or near real-time data collection and sharing at the frontline of care delivery is also needed, at the governance level for the organisation and amongst organisations when a client is transferred between care provider / clinicians. Lastly, the variable use of digital record keeping for clinical and administrative information management, including My Health Record, need to be consolidated with enhanced system integration/interoperability to reduce duplication and risk of errors.

Despite the report highlighting the need for greater transparency in aged care and the knowledge that digital tools and technology have the potential to transform the aged care system both in the home and in residential aged care facilities, less than ten of the 124 recommendations mention digital health or related concepts such as data and information governance.

The present structure of aged care providers – essentially separate individual predominantly private operators – does not encourage sharing of ideas or improvements. The recommended Aged Care Research and Innovation Fund will provide the much needed funding for innovation, and being government funded, any new innovations and developments will be available to all market stakeholders.



ACIC believes there's no legitimate reason to use an encrypted communication platform

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has said an encrypted communication platform is not something a law-abiding member of the community would use.

By Asha Barbaschow | May 6, 2021 -- 06:33 GMT (16:33 AEST) | Topic: Security

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) believes there is no legitimate reason for a law-abiding member of the community to own or use an encrypted communication platform.

"These platforms are used almost exclusively by SOC [serious and organised crime] groups and are developed specifically to obscure the identities of the involved criminal entities and enable avoidance of detection by law enforcement," the ACIC declared. "They enable the user to communicate within closed networks to facilitate highly sophisticated criminal activity".

Consistency, at least: Cops are the only ones being lawful on the dark web, AFP declares

The comments were made in a submission [PDF] to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) as part of its inquiry into the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020.



Australia plans to become a leading digital economy by 2030

$1.6 billion investment includes a new National AI Centre, support for digital skills, and enhanced cyber security

by: Zach Marzouk

7 May 2021

The Australian government is investing almost $1.2 billion AUD (£670 million) in its digital future as part of its strategy to transform the country into a modern and leading digital economy by 2030.

The investment, through its Digital Economy Strategy, includes over $100 million to support digital skills, including a pilot programme for work-based digital cadetships that allow workers to build digital skills, investments in the cyber workforce, and scholarships for emerging technology graduates.

The government is also launching a National Artificial Intelligence Centre through a $124.1 million investment, which will be supported by a network of AI and Digital Capability Centres to drive adoption of AI across the economy.

“This transformation is not merely a national one that needs to happen – it’s a global one that is happening,” said prime minister Scott Morrison. “We must keep our foot on the digital accelerator to secure our economic recovery from COVID-19.”



NSW govt unveils data breach notification bill

By Justin Hendry on May 7, 2021 1:31PM

After more than two years of consultation.

The NSW government has published an exposure draft of its long-awaited bill for mandatory data breach notifications, specifying reporting thresholds ahead of the introduction of the scheme.

The exposure draft [pdf], which is open for consultation until June 18, follows more than two years of work by the Communities and Justice and Customer Service departments and the privacy commissioner.

NSW became the first state or territory to pledge to introduce such a scheme in February 2020, more than five years after former privacy commissioner Elizabeth Coombs first called for the change.

The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill intends to fill the gap left by the Commonwealth’s notifiable data breach scheme, which applies to federal government agencies but not state government agencies or local councils.



Opinion: Hi-tech warfare leaves Australia vulnerable

Oleg Vornik

Australia’s connection points to the global internet are vulnerable in this era of concern about increased hi-tech warfare. Undersea cables essentially carry all of the data to and from the country – without them, we go dark losing internet, phone, or other means to connect. Hardly anyone knows this.

While satellites offer some redundancy, it is only a tiny amount of data capability and will not be useful to us beyond a few strategic military and Government users. This makes submarine cables the kind of target hostile nations like China are looking at as they up the ante on grey zone warfare.

Cables are tough, but their locations are well known and unchangeable. Cutting cables by an undersea robotic vehicle is doable and it would be an act of war if committed by a Government agency or its proxies. But it can hardly be responded to conventionally, in the way a missile attack would be addressed.

Earlier this year, China deployed its latest grey zone warfare weapon against Taiwan – the sand dredger. These mammoth ships scoop vast amounts of sand from the Matsu Islands ocean bed for Chinese construction projects, sparking concern for Australia. For Taiwan, this has forced around-the-clock patrols, intimidated Matsu residents, destroyed marine life, and, critically, damaged undersea cables.



Tech Savvy Seniors: myGov and My Health Record

Mon May 10 2021 at 09:30 am to 11:15 am UTC+10:00

TRC Disaster Coordination Centre | East Barron

Publisher/HostTablelands Libraries ADHA Propaganda

·         Learn how to use myGov and My Health Record to access key government services and keep your health information safe, secure and organised.

·          Bookings are essential. Phone 4089 2247.
 Participants are required to bring their own laptop or device. If you are not able to do so, please phone is (4089 2247) for alternative options.

·          This course will be delivered over 4 sessions. You must be able to commit to the entire course to participate.

·          COVID-19 regulations will apply at this event. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, please do not attend the class.

Tech Savvy Seniors QLD is a partnership between the Queensland Government, State Library of Queensland and Telstra.

TRC Disaster Coordination Centre, East Barron, Australia



Enhancing Government Service Delivery

Digital technology is changing how Australians and businesses interact with government.

The Government is investing in its own digital service delivery to enhance the services it provides to Australians and to save them time and hassle, committing:

  • $200.1 million to enhance myGov to deliver a simpler and more tailored experience for Australians based on their preferences and interactions
  • $301.8 million to enhance the My Health Record system, adding support for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, connecting Residential Aged Care Facilities and connecting specialists in private practice and delivering improved telehealth, emerging virtual healthcare initiatives and digitised support across all stages of healthcare. ADHA Propaganda

Streamlined and simpler myGov

The Government is enhancing myGov. The system, which was established in 2013, is the main portal for Australians to access government services online and is currently used by nearly 20 million Australians.

The changes to myGov will deliver a simpler and more tailored experience for Australians based on their preferences and interactions, through streamlined and enhanced digital delivery of the government services they need. The time saved alone from these enhancements is estimated to generate benefits across the economy totalling $3.6 billion over 10 years.

myGov enhancements will include:

  • an advanced service dashboard and document upload functionality to allow people to view and manage their upcoming payments, claims, debt status and activities all in one place, saving people time and hassle
  • a digital assistant and notification functionality, making it easier for Australians to find the services that meet their needs, whether that be seeking childcare providers or disaster relief support.

My Health Record

My Health Record is Australia's best-connected clinical information system, providing health care providers with vital information for patients at the point of care.

The Australian Government is working to reduce the reliance on paper-based records and to digitise information from primary healthcare providers, medical specialists, pathology, diagnostic imaging and allied health services. This will allow Australians to easily access more of their information through the enhanced My Health Record. This easy-to-use digital interface will provide an overview of all relevant aspects of a patient's healthcare history and medical information to better support them and their care.

The Government is investing to build the next wave of My Health Record which will:

  • provide Australian's with their COVID-19 test result and immunisation status as well as receiving alert notifications about their COVID-19 vaccinations directly from the device of their choice
  • connect a consumers My Health Record information with their Residential Aged Care Facility, delivering improvements in medication management and transitions of care between health care settings.



UnitingCare cyber attack claimed by notorious ransom gang REvil/Sodin

By Rory Callinan and staff

Posted 06 May, 2021

Hackers claiming responsibility for an attack on health and community care provider UnitingCare Queensland have been revealed as one of the most notorious cyber ransom gangs in the world.

Key points:

  • The hackers who claimed responsibility are REvil/Sodin
  • They have apparently attacked major companies like Apple
  • UnitingCare says there's no evidence patients' health and safety has been compromised

Last week, the Queensland healthcare provider fell victim to the cyber attack, which affected its hospitals and aged care homes.

It runs the Wesley and St Andrew's hospitals in Brisbane, St Stephen's Hospital in Hervey Bay and the Buderim Private Hospital on the Sunshine Coast, and dozens of aged care and disability services throughout the state.

A patient last week told the ABC they knew immediatly there was a problem when the wi-fi stopped working on April 25, then they noticed staff struggling with communication and accessing patient records.

The attack has led to UnitingCare Queensland being suspended from the national My Health Record system, which allows patients to view their records online.



Organisation behind Bay hospital still reeling after ‘cyber attack’

The healthcare provider has confirmed it was affected by a cyber attack. These are the steps that are still being taken.



Healthcare waves goodbye to bricks and mortar

Yolanda Redrup Reporter

May 5, 2021 – 11.08am

The healthcare sector is being tipped as the next industry to shift away from bricks and mortar, thanks to technological innovations that allow more services to be delivered digitally.

Speaking at the Macquarie Australia Conference on Wednesday, digital health experts said cloud-based technology enabled healthcare to be delivered at scale for the first time across both digital and live channels.

Key to the change was the use of technology to collect data from patients in their everyday lives, rather than via a visit to a general practitioner or hospital.

Co-founder of epilepsy diagnostic service Seer Medical, Dan Freestone, said the future of healthcare was “wrapping technologies around the clinical practice”, so patients received in-person clinical expertise supported by data that was collected in real-time at home.



Immunisation view

The consolidated immunisation view displays details of a patient’s immunisations recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and in any shared health summaries or event summaries in their record.

The view shows an immunisation history, including date, disease, vaccine details including batch number and vial serial number (when available), dose, source and a link to the source document.

The immunisation view is available via conformant clinical information systems and the National Provider Portal.

Clinical information systems

The consolidated immunisation view will be included in a patient’s My Health Record Document List available through your clinical information system.



Monday, 03 May 2021 12:52

Workers don’t report privacy issues: survey

By Kenn Anthony Mendoza

A new study by ACA Research released by Mimecast shows that 21% of workers experienced a privacy incident last year and reveals that one in five (19%) did not report it to their employer. The proliferation of privacy issues, Mimecast cites, is due to the increased use of communication tools. The data suggests firms need to be tougher to make privacy a priority.

Coinciding with National Privacy Awareness Week (May 3-7), Mimecast released findings of an Australian-based survey by ACA Research, showing 21% of workers surveyed have experienced a privacy incident over the last year.

However, the data reveals that almost one in five (19%) respondents who experienced a privacy incident did not report it to their employer, with 38% of them stating they didn’t think it was that important when asked why.

Privacy incidents include emailing personal or confidential work information to the wrong recipient, falling victim to a malicious email that allowed unauthorised access to work systems or data, and losing devices containing personal information.



Australians want ongoing GP video telehealth services

Friday, 30 April, 2021

New research finds that 70% of Australians think GPs should offer video telehealth services permanently, with 44% saying they would switch GPs to one that offers the service.

Conducted by Pureprofile in partnership with Coviu, the research surveyed 1000 Australians nationwide to understand people’s satisfaction with current access to GPs and how the experience can be improved. With the use of telehealth becoming normalised as a result of COVID-19, Australians responded positively to the possibility of having ongoing telehealth options available to them.

“As a result of the pandemic, the potential of video telehealth was truly realised when it became essential for people to see their doctors safely. One silver lining of COVID-19 is how Australians have adopted telehealth as they experienced the many benefits first-hand,” Melbourne-based GP Dr Andrew Baird said. “This research reiterates how Australians are eager for their GPs to be more accessible by offering video telehealth as a standard option.”

Key research findings:

  • 44% of Australians would switch GPs to one that offers video telehealth. This increases to 63% among adults aged 34–44 and 50% among those aged 18–34 years.
  • 90% want telehealth to be billed at the same rate as in-person GP visits.
  • 87% of patients who used video telehealth found the experience comparable to or better than an in-person consult.
  • 90% of respondents stated that video telehealth helps save time and 67% said it makes health care more accessible.
  • Consumer confidence in using video telehealth for GP appointments was high, even among an older demographic, with 67% of patients aged 55+ saying they were confident in using the technology, compared to 74% aged 18–34 and 78% aged 34–54.



Privacy authorities urge greater vigilance amid rise in scams

By Josh Dye

May 3, 2021 — 5.00am

Talking points

  • Use a password manager and unique passwords for every website.
  • Be careful what you publish on social media and review your privacy settings.
  • Never put personal documents in the recycling bin.
  • Enable two-factor authentication to make online accounts more secure.
  • Never use public WiFi networks to conduct sensitive business such as banking.

State and federal privacy authorities are urging Australians to take stronger measures to protect their personal information after the number of scams exploded in the past year.

Almost 63,000 people reported a scam to the consumer watchdog in the first quarter of 2021, up 74 per cent on the same period last year.

The amount of money victims said they lost in the March quarter also jumped from $37.8 million in 2020 to $63 million this year, according to Scamwatch data.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk is urging people to “make privacy a priority” as she launches Privacy Awareness Week on Monday.


Comments more than welcome!


Monday, May 10, 2021

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 10 May, 2021.

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


Clearly the biggest news is that the Government plans to spend a motza of your and my money on an obsolete, secondary and barely used pile of health documents system. A profoundly stupid decision IMVHO!

After that having a prescribing system in South Australia having trouble with decimal points barely rates.

Lots more besides!



Upgrades for myGov and My Health Record sites in budget’s $1.2 billion digital strategy

May 5, 2021 10.30pm AEST


  1. Michelle Grattan

Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

More than $500 million of a $1.2 billion digital economy strategy in Tuesday’s budget will be spent on overhauling the federal government’s myGov and My Health Record sites.

The initiatives, to be announced by Scott Morrison on Thursday, include $200.1 million for myGov, which is the main portal for people to access government services on line.

Changes will make it easier for people to find services, from childcare providers to disaster support, as well as to manage payments and claims.

The government says the time saved by the enhancements will generate benefits across the economy worth an estimated $3.6 billion over a decade.



MyGov to get $200m upgrade in digital services overhaul

By David Crowe

May 5, 2021 — 10.30pm

Digital services will get a $1.2 billion overhaul in a budget plan to expand government services online, fund research into artificial intelligence and fund new skills programs.

The digital economy package is another escalation in spending on new technologies six months after a $1 billion outlay in the budget last October.

Almost half the new funding will go to improvements in the way Australians use government services online, including the myGov website and the My Health Record system.

While $200 million will go to the myGov site, which is the main entry point for Australians who need federal services or support, $300 million will be spent on the health records including its digital identity system.



Digital strategy to transform nation

Geoff Chambers

Scott Morrison will inject $1.2bn into transforming Australia into a leading digital economy by 2030 and overhaul the government’s online services platforms to ensure the nation remains globally competitive.

The Digital Economy Strategy, to be announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday ahead of next week’s budget, outlines a government push to accelerate uptake of digital tech­nologies in a post-COVID world.

The strategy, which takes the government’s digital economy spend to $2bn, includes $124m to boost the country’s artificial intelligence capability, and establish a national AI centre led by the CSIRO.

More than $500m will be spent on enhancing the government’s myGov, MyHealth Record and digital identity system.



myGov, My Health Record to share in $500m budget windfall

By Justin Hendry on May 6, 2021 12:20PM

Part of a $1.2 billion digital economy package.

The government will funnel half a billion dollars into myGov, My Health Record and its digital identity system as part of a budget package aimed at jumpstarting the digital economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled the funding on Thursday, in preparation for the release of a new digital economy strategy alongside next week’s budget.

The strategy - the government's first since December 2018 that has significant funding attached - is aimed at helping Australia become a leading digital economy by 2030.

It plans to target “investment in emerging technologies, building digital skills, encouraging business investment and enhancing government service delivery”.



Govt unveils $1.2bn Digital Economy Strategy

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 07 May, 2021

The federal government has announced plans to invest nearly $1.2 billion to augment Australia’s digital capabilities through the Digital Economy Strategy.

The funds, allocated as part of this year’s Budget, will seek to better prepare Australia to respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by the rapid digital transformation occurring in every sector.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the strategy will target investment in emerging technologies, building digital skills, encouraging business investment and enhancing digital government service delivery.

“Every business in Australia is now a digital business. The tradesman or woman who seeks work through AirTasker. The landscaper who finds most of their new business through search engine placement and social media. The farmer who keeps track of their herd with electronic tags or drones. The local Thai restaurant that sells through UberEats, MenuLog, Deliveroo or any one of half a dozen different food apps.



SA Health unable to find cause of computer system error adding extra digit to medicine dosages

Tech experts are unable to find why SA Health’s computer system at the major hospitals is creating dangerously high medicine doses.

Brad Crouch Health Reporter

May 7, 2021 - 12:34PM

Computer experts are stumped by why the Sunrise computer at the heart of patient care in major hospitals has started adding an extra digit to medicine prescriptions.

The glitch means 10mg doses are being turned into 100mg, 15mg into 155mg and so on.

Frantic around-the-clock efforts to fix the problem so far have failed, resulting in an urgent memo sent at 2.37am on Friday warning “the root cause of this issue is still to be confirmed.”

As revealed exclusively on advertiser.com.au, the Sunrise computer system is intermittently replicating the last digit in some prescriptions.

Nurses have been put on high alert to double check the dosage being given to patients is what the doctor ordered, rather than what the computer generated.



SA Health high alert after shocking computer dosage error

The computer at the heart of SA Health’s patient care has started adding extra digits to medication dosages, turning 10mg into 100mg.



SA hospital staff put on alert after computer glitch adds digit to medication dosages

Posted 06 May, 2021 at 9:51pm

SA Health is investigating whether patients have been overdosed with medication as a result of a glitch in the computer system used at some of the state's major hospitals. 

Key points:

  • Staff at some SA hospitals received a memo about a computer system error 
  • The glitch was duplicating the last digit of medication doses 
  • SA Health says it's not aware of any "adverse clinical outcomes" 

On Wednesday night, staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Royal Adelaide Hospital and Noarlunga Hospital were sent an urgent memo informing them of an issue with the Sunrise computer system which was duplicating the last digit of medication doses.

The memo states that 10mg may display as 100mg and 15mg could display as 155mg.

It calls for nursing and midwifery staff to be "alert to high dose medication orders" and follow up with prescribers prior to administration. 

The Sunrise system is also used at the Mount Gambier and Districts Health Service and at Port Augusta Hospital. 



More than 1000 GP practices denied PIP payment after 'data-matching' crackdown

Health Department officials are using new legal powers to access GP data

3rd May 2021

By Antony Scholefield

More than 1000 practices have missed out on quarterly eHealth Practice Incentive Program (e-PIP) payments following a compliance crackdown using the Department of Health's latest “data-matching” powers.

Laws introduced in 2019 allow the department to cross-reference a GP's MBS and PBS claims with data from AHPRA, Border Force, private health insurers and the Australian Digital Health Agency.

This was previously forbidden under privacy legislation but the health department claimed the changes were necessary to identify Medicare rorts.

It has now revealed it has used the powers to check if practices have been uploading sufficient numbers of shared health summaries to My Health Record to quality for the e-PIP.



Victoria considers circumventing ban on euthanasia telehealth consults

The proposed legal amendments follow complaints from assisted dying campaigners and doctors

4th May 2021

By Geir O'Rourke, AAP

Doctors in Victoria will be able to use telehealth for voluntary assisted dying consults under legislative amendments going before the state’s parliament today.

Introduced by MP Stuart Grimley, they are designed to circumvent a section in the Commonwealth Criminal Code making it an offense to incite suicide using a “carriage service”.

The offence — punishable by a fine of 1000 penalty units, or $210,000 — became law in 2005.

Although legal assisted dying was never mentioned specifically in the federal law, Victorian health authorities have warned doctors could theoretically face prosecution if they discuss euthanasia with patients over phone or videolink.



Thursday, 06 May 2021 11:12

Dementia education powered by AI poised to improve aged care

By Kenn Anthony Mendoza

Dementia Australia’s newest innovation, Talk with Ted, teaches aged care workers how to communicate and interact with patients living with dementia. Through this immersive experience, workers can have an idea how it feels like to live with the brain disease.

Dementia Australia launches Talk with Ted, a realistic online simulation designed to teach aged care workers how to talk and care for people with dementia.

According to Dementia Australia, Talk with Ted uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide an online simulation of a typical interaction experience between a care worker and dementia patients.

The organisation describes it as an “immersive experience” that aims to educate care workers to better communicate and support people afflicted with dementia.

Dementia Australia collaborated with Deakin University’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2) to make this possible.



New epilepsy device can predict seizure arrivals

Angelica Snowden

Life-changing progress has been made on the development of a medical device which can help predict epileptic seizures, thanks to an Australian based start-up company.

St Vincent’s Hospital director of neurology Mark Cook designed the “Epi-Minder” – an implant which is inserted on the inside of the scalp to constantly monitor brain activity and detect patterns to predict seizures – in 2003, but the prototype has not been a viable medical solution until now.

“What we could see from the (earlier studies) study was that there was no way we could handle all that data … we only had 15 patients in that study and it would have overwhelmed every computer system available at that time,” Professor Cook said.

“We have a solution, but the solution requires very sophisticated analysis using huge amounts of data, which have got to be accessed live. Now we have a way to do that.”



New e-prescription registry goes live in Australia

My Script List was first rolled out in Tasmania and will be introduced in other states and territories by the end of May.

By Thiru Gunasegaran

May 03, 2021 05:11 AM

Fred IT, an IT solutions provider for the pharmacy industry, has recently launched its active script list that combines a patient's prescriptions in one digital list. It was developed in partnership with two prescription exchange services, eRx Script Exchange and MediSecure.

The Health department-conformant My Script List was first rolled out in pharmacies in Tasmania. It will be introduced in other states and territories by end May.


My Script List provides pharmacies with a complete list of all patients' current prescriptions and repeats. The registry combines a patient's e-prescriptions in one digital list, removing the need for prescription tokens.

Doctors and pharmacists may enrol patients for the My Script List service through an assisted registration process, and request access to view a patient’s list. Patients can then choose which doctors and pharmacies have access to their prescription list. They can also view the list themselves using a medication management app.



Alert over patients' ability to secretly record telehealth consults

A group of Melburnian doctors are warning a raft of legal and ethical issues have been overlooked with the rapid rise of virtual appointments

30th April 2021

By Carmel Sparke

Patients can easily secretly record telehealth consults, which they can use later in disciplinary proceedings, a group of doctors is warning.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia the group from a number of Melbourne healthcare organisations say in the pandemic-fuelled rush to adopt telehealth several ethical and legal issues have been overlooked. 

This includes who views recorded consults, how they're used in the future and how and where they're stored, write the authors led by Dr Caitlin Farmer, a radiology registrar at Monash Health and Dr Patrick Mahar, a dermatologist at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. 



Push for telehealth video-link consultations for assisted dying cases

By Sumeyya Ilanbey and Annika Smethurst

May 3, 2021 — 7.34pm

Doctors would be allowed to use telehealth to conduct appointments about voluntary assisted dying, and the threshold for who can access euthanasia could be lowered under a crossbench plan to be introduced to Parliament this week.

Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying laws, which came into force in 2019, require two doctors to make an in-person assessment to ensure the patient is of sound mind, and has less than six months to live with a physical illness or 12 months with a neurological condition.

The historic legislation passed Victoria’s Legislative Council in late 2017 after a marathon 28-hour sitting, and despite ferocious opposition from conservative MPs.

Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley will introduce amendments to remove some of the hurdles faced by people who have been unable to access the scheme.

Mr Grimley hopes the changes will give regional Victorians the option to use euthanasia to end their lives.



4 May 2021

New DoH data matching powers deny 20% of practices ePIP

KnowCents MBS MyHealthRecord Practice Management

By Jeremy Knibbs

If having to upload shared health summaries and the My Health Record seems an annoying waste of your time, you’re practice manager probably won’t agree anymore

1106 practices which were paid ePiP last quarter have been denied the payment this quarter after DoH data matched records with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and found that  these practices had “not met the shared health summary upload requirements for a payment quarter under the Practice Incentives Program eHealth Incentive (ePIP).”

According to the DoH, all practices were sent an initial compliance letter, outlining an exemption process, and so far the department has granted 80 exemptions.

If we assume 1000 practices don’t end up exempt, then you can do some back of envelope calculations here to arrive at an average amount those 1,000 practices may have lost in revenue. We get $6250 per practice for that quarter . Of course that is going to be lower and higher depending on FTE numbers in each practice, but, ouch.

The department has provided quite a bit of information for those practices which have missed out this quarter on what to do to make sure they get in line for next quarter, so the problem is likely to go away over time for those practices affected. If you’re interested you can start HERE.



FDA fast-tracks Australian breast cancer technology

Joseph Lam

An Australian imaging device about the size of an electric toothbrush that could save breast cancer patients from going under the knife multiple times has been fast-tracked by the US Food and Drug Administration.

West Australian medical technology company OncoRes is ­behind the ­device that uses new technology to make real-time ­tumour assessments and help surgeons more accurately identify and remove cancerous tissue.

The FDA classified the new technology with “breakthrough device designation”, capable of providing more effective treatment of life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions.

About 20,000 Australians were diagnosed with breast cancer last year, with the disease ­accounting for 14 per cent of new cancer diagnosis and 6.3 per cent of cancer-related deaths, according to Cancer Australia.



Telstra service provider hit by cyber attack as hackers claim SIM card information stolen

Anton Nilsson

Hackers have claimed they have gained access to “tens of thousands” of SIM cards after a cyber attack against an Australian telecom firm.

The victim, Melbourne-based Schepisi Communications, describes itself as a “platinum partner” of Telstra that supplies phone numbers and cloud storage services on behalf of the telecommunications giant.

The company’s website has been offline for days after a hacker group said it infiltrated the company’s data systems and posted a disturbing ransom note on the dark web.

“We have a large amount of data on mobile devices, tens of thousands of SIM cards … financial information, contracts, banking information,” the ransom note read.

Telstra confirmed there had been a security breach that affected one of its “dealers”.



Majority of older Australians ‘sidestepping’ end-of-life care

And most of the 30% with some form of advance care planning have documents that are incomplete, invalid or not legally binding, a new study finds.

Paul Hayes

04 May 2021

Seven out of 10 Australians aged 65 and older are missing the opportunity to control their end-of-life care, with men less likely to plan than women, according to a new national study.
The government-funded study, led by Advance Care Planning Australia (ACPA), showed that among the 30% of older Australians with advance care planning documents, only 14% are legally binding advance care directives, which are considered the ‘gold standard’.
Advance care directives can only be completed by a person with decision-making capacity.
The study found the majority of documents among older Australians are plans where preferences are reported by either family members or healthcare professionals. While these documents can be used to guide care, they are not legally binding. 


Medication management guides under review

by Australian Ageing Agenda May 5, 2021

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is updating the guiding principles for medication management in both residential aged care and community care.

The Department of Health tasked the ACSQHC to review and update the existing guides, which promote the safe, quality use of medicines and medication management in residential aged care facilities and in the community. 

The guides are the Department of Health’s Guiding principles for medication management in residential aged care facilities, which was published in October 2012, and the former Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council’s 2006 Guiding principles for medication management in the community and complementary reference guide.

“This update will consider best-practice evidence, standards and advice from experts, providers, and users of medicines in the health and aged care sectors,” the health department said.



CBA acquires online health directory Whitecoat

By Kate Weber on May 4, 2021 11:57AM

Will sit within CBA’s business bank.

CBA has acquired Whitecoat, an online directory of healthcare professionals which uses search algorithms to locate targeted services and experts for patients.

Whitecoat also processes claims and digital payments through both terminal and in-app mobile systems for Medicare, private health insurance, and government schemes.

The bank first partnered with Whitecoat in 2018 to develop and provide a joint solution for healthcare practices.

Whitecoat was owned by three health insurers: nib, Bupa and HBF. nib said in a financial filing that it would book "a profit before tax of approximately $9 million on the sale of its share" of the business.

Post-acquisition, Whitecoat will sit within CBA’s business bank and give healthcare professionals an integrated digital payments and claims solution built into a practice management platform.



Australia extends telehealth services provision until year end

The federal government is setting aside AU$114 million (approximately $88 million) more from its budget to the programme.

By Thiru Gunasegaran

May 06, 2021 12:43 AM

The Australian government recently announced that it is extending the provision of telehealth services until end-2021. The service, which started on March 13 last year, was supposed to end on June 30.

To support this, the federal government allotted AU$114 million (approximately $88 million) more funds under the 2021-22 Budget to the programme.


According to Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt, the extension of the Medicare-funded telehealth services will ensure that citizens can continue to see their doctors, renew scripts and seek mental support from the safety of their homes.

"This allows vulnerable Australians to feel protected and supported during these unprecedented times," the official said.

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) telehealth items have been made available to the healthcare sector to reduce the risk of community transmission of coronavirus disease and provide protection for both patients and providers.



Chemist startup gets the script right as demand grows for prescription delivery

By Cara Waters

May 3, 2021 — 4.30pm

Online pharmacy startup Chemist2U is looking to deliver more medicines directly to customers’ homes after reporting a quick uptake of its same-day prescription service since it launched last year.

Chemist2U has signed up 150 pharmacies across Australia and has grown sales by 10 per cent week on week. It has attracted the interest of venture capital firm AirTree Ventures which recently led a $3 million investment into the startup.

“We launched in March in Brisbane in the middle of the pandemic which was by and large helpful rather than unhelpful,” founder Dr Matthew Cullen said. “It had been in the works but certainly COVID-19 focused our attention big time.”

Dr Cullen first saw the opportunity for Chemist2U when he was a medical student and worked delivering medicine to old and vulnerable people who couldn’t make it to a pharmacy.



Joondalup Health Campus makes digital transformation in maternity care

Thursday, 29 April, 2021

Medical data and technology company HeraMED has signed an agreement with Joondalup Health Campus (JHC) in Western Australia to incorporate a paid pilot of the HeraCARE digital pregnancy monitoring platform.

HeraMED provides pregnant mothers with foetal heart rate monitors (the HeraBEAT), allowing expectant mothers to monitor their baby’s heart rate at home and doctors to remotely monitor the mother and child, improving the experience of telehealth consultations and allowing for better peace of mind during pregnancy. One hundred expectant mothers are involved in the pilot ahead of an anticipated commercial rollout for the use of HeraMED’s technology as a standard service, to be offered to all pregnant mothers under JHC’s care.

A clinical study conducted by JHC in 2020 validated the clinical and functional aspects of the HeraBEAT device, with results revealing impressive accuracy when compared with the industry gold standard cardiotocography (CTG) machine. Foetal heart rate (FHR) was detected on 100% of occasions by clinicians and, importantly, the FHR was detected on 100% of occasions by the expectant mothers when using the device without assistance.

JHC is introducing the HeraCARE platform as an innovative model for remote monitoring and care management for pregnant women, allowing the HeraBEAT device and foetal heart rate data to be used in telehealth consultations.


"It is critical that Australians continue to look after their health and stay engaged with your primary care providers," Hunt said.


Friday, 07 May 2021 11:14

MedAdvisor closes $5.25 million capital raising

By Peter Dinham

Australian-listed medtech company, MedAdvisor has closed a $5.25m capital raise via a placement, with the funds to be used to accelerate US growth initiatives.

MedAdvisor (ASX: MDR) says it expects to pass $55 million in revenue this calendar year and the funds raised will also help drive the business towards cash flow breakeven.

The equity raise was done at 30 cents per share, representing a 7.1% premium to the last traded price of MedAdvisor shares, and a 4.4% discount to the five-day volume-weighted average price.

CEO and Managing Director Robert Read said, “This capital injection puts MedAdvisor in a strong cash position as we continue to execute on significant growth opportunities and fast-tracking strategic digital US initiatives.”



Wednesday, 05 May 2021 07:42

Five high-severity flaws fixed in Dell Windows firmware update driver

By Sam Varghese

Computer manufacturer Dell has released a security update to fix five high-severity vulnerabilities in its firmware update driver which affect the company's desktops, laptops, notebooks and tablets that run Windows.

The vulnerabilities were found by security shop SentinelLabs, which said in a blog post that they could be used for local escalation to kernel mode.

The affected drivers are present in millions of Windows devices that have been released by Dell since 2009, SentinelOne, the research unit of the security firm, said in the post which was issued on Tuesday.

Researcher Kasif Dekel said there was no evidence at the moment to show that the vulnerabilities were being exploited in the wild.



New app automates renewal of Australian healthcare professionals’ Ahpra registrations

Avant’s healthcare management platform also alerts practitioners about their registration status.

By Thiru Gunasegaran

May 05, 2021 06:33 AM

Healthcare management platform PracticeHub by Avant has offered a new app that automates the renewal of healthcare practitioners’ registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).


The Ahpra Alerts app, which works in the background of the PracticeHub system, sychronises with the regulatory agency’s database, enabling healthcare organisations to check on their staffs' registration statuses. It also sends notifications to their staff about their registrations.

The app automates information collection from the 15 health and medical boards overseeing the registrations of health workers, including doctors, allied health professionals and nurses. Ahpra registrations are renewed yearly before September 30.

Those who wish to leverage the app will have to pay a one-time setup fee. It can also be added to the PracticeHub Core software for current subscribers. 



IDE Group, Kipuwex team up to develop new telehealth solutions

Thiru Gunasegaran | 03 May 2021

Australian startup studio IDE Group has announced a partnership with Kipuwex, a Finnish health device maker, to develop new telehealth solutions over the next two to three years.


According to Kipuwex CEO Marko Höynälä, the partnership aims to come up with "reliable and affordable" telehealth solutions that will be marketed globally.

"By increasing access to physicians and specialists, telehealth solutions will help ensure patients receive the right care, at the right place, at the right time, producing high-quality outcomes and saving millions of lives," Kipuwex said in a statement.

The companies plan to build on Kipuwex's pain assessment and remote health monitoring device. The easily detachable and lightweight IoMT device measures biomarkers wirelessly and continuously.

IDE Group adds value in their partnership through its expertise in wearable therapeutic and diagnostic monitoring devices, drug delivery, surgical instruments, and diagnostics.



NBN Co sees large jump in 250Mbps, gigabit users

By Ry Crozier on May 7, 2021 10:51AM

As six-month discount comes into play.

NBN Co has revealed that the number of customers on 250Mbps or up to gigabit broadband plans has surpassed half a million, a 20-fold or more increase since the end of last year.

The network operator revealed the impact of its ‘focus on fast’ campaign, which cut the cost of 100Mbps and above services from February 1 this year, and has led to some aggressive offers in-market.

In its third-quarter results released today, NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue provided a first look at the way the campaign and price has cut has altered the profile of NBN Co’s user base.

“Our ‘focus on fast’ initiative, which commenced on 1 February 2021 and offers rebates to retailers to incentivise sales of higher speed tiers, has helped to lift more customers to higher speed tiers,” Rue said.



Friday, 07 May 2021 09:33

NBN Co reports rise in revenue for first nine months, no change in ARPU  

By Sam Varghese

The company rolling out Australia's national broadband network has reported revenue of $3.5 billion for the first nine months of the financial year 2020-21, with no breakdown offered for the third quarter alone.

But the NBN Co has again failed to raise the level of a metric it has long touted as having to reach $52 before it breaks even – its average revenue per user or ARPU. This remained stuck at $45 for the nine months.

It is fair to assume that NBN Co registered another loss for the third quarter, although this was not explicitly stated. When it reported results for the first six months of the current financial year, the losses were $2.113 billion, a drop from the $2.817 billion for the first six months of 2019-20.

Going by the results for the first six months, the revenue figure for the third quarter was $1.24 billion.



Friday, 07 May 2021 01:47

NBN reckoning coming? Aussie Broadband is the latest to warn the NBN needs to rebalance its pricing

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Even the NBN Co is a government entity in public hands (at least for now), the companies that retail the service are faced with artificially limited capacity and pricing constraints while selling an unlimited product to consumer, leading to six month introductory deals that then raise the price afterwards - and it’s no surprise to see Internet providers and end-users complaining about the NBN alike.

Aussie Broadband’s Managing Director Phillip Britt has warned the industry needs a rapid rebalance in NBN’s wholesale pricing to avoid uncertainty over the next two years.

It follows strong advice from Telstra to NBN Co to reduce the costs and complexity to providers and consumers.

My observation is that rather than NBN Co undertaking a radical simplification pricing structure for the NBN Co per effective industry demands, and as happened in other countries, the NBN Co keeps needing to introduce special deals because they just won’t do the right thing and fix the pricing situation once and for all, per industry suggestion.



NBN residential ARPU remains stuck at AU$45

Revenue is up 23% to AU$3.5 billion for the nine months to March 31, but the average spend per user is stuck well below NBN's stated aim of AU$51.

By Chris Duckett | May 7, 2021 -- 00:04 GMT (10:04 AEST) | Topic: NBN

The company responsible for the National Broadband Network has seen its revenue jump by almost one quarter to AU$3.5 billion for the nine months to March 31, as 835,000 premises were added to the network since the start of its fiscal year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation was reported at AU$895 million, which represented a AU$1.6 billion turnaround on last year's earnings.

Over the nine months, NBN paid AU$1.05 billion in payments to Telstra and Optus, almost halving the AU$1.985 billion paid last year. Similarly capital expenditure almost halved from AU$3.7 billion last year to AU$2 billion this year.

For a number of years, the residential average revenue per user (ARPU) had remained in the mid forties, and currently sits at AU$45, well short of its AU$51 target.



NBN’s FTTP services coming to more suburbs and towns

Valerina Changarathil

An additional 900,000 homes and businesses have been identified by government-run, wholesale broadband services provider NBN for faster internet services than those currently available.

The business said the new homes were “eligible” for an upgrade from existing fibre to the node (FTTN) services to its fibre to the premises (FTTP) program based on areas where it anticipated strong demand for higher speeds, could enable quick deployment and provide “maximum” benefit to customers while multiplying economic activity.

The extension of fibre, which replaces the ‘last-mile’ copper connection to homes and businesses, is expected to enable access to wholesale download speeds of close to 1 gigabit per second (1Gbps) by 2023, if customers opt in for plan upgrades.

NBN’s top Home Ultrafast speed tiers offers peak wholesale download speeds of 500Mbps to 1000Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps.

Ultimately, customer experience depends on the NBN technology, equipment quality, software, time of use and the retailer’s network design.



NBN 'soft cap' on excess fees may in fact target the threat of 5G churn

By Ry Crozier on May 5, 2021 6:59PM

New modelling shows it won't stop margins being squeezed, either.

Design flaws are already appearing in NBN Co’s proposed ‘soft cap’ on excess bandwidth costs, with most internet providers unlikely to qualify for relief, and widespread suspicion the scheme is designed to disincentivize migrating NBN customers away to 5G.

The year-long ‘soft cap’ is the centrepiece of NBN Co’s response to industry feedback on a pricing consultation it is currently running.

Retail service providers (RSPs) asked NBN Co for short-term relief from rising connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) bandwidth costs, and for the entire construct to be canned in the mid-to-longer term.

Aussie Broadband asked NBN Co to reinstate a bandwidth bonus that ran through 2020 and that shielded RSPs from excess fees incurred by increased broadband use over the period.



Wednesday, 05 May 2021 01:23

NBN Co’s latest list of suburbs and towns where 900,000 more homes are eligible for a fibre upgrade by ordering selected plans

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt

The ACT, NT and Tasmania finally join the list where suburbs will be upgrade to a fibre connection, with 1.1 million homes now announced and 2 million homes to be passed by 2023, leading to a total of 3.5 million premises to be able to access the nbn Home Ultrafast wholesale speed tier with download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps.

NBN Co today revealed the latest list of suburbs and towns around Australia where an additional 900,000 homes and businesses are set to benefit from the extension of fibre deeper into communities, enabling access to the wholesale download speed tier of close to 1 Gbps on demand by 2023 if they order plans based on eligible wholesale speed tiers.

The announcement provides details of the first suburbs and towns in Tasmania, the ACT and Northern Territory that are currently served by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) where certain premises will progressively become eligible for Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) upgrades.

Following earlier announcements to roll fibre deeper into communities to pass some 200,000 premises, the announcement also includes details of additional suburbs and towns in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia where certain premises will ultimately benefit from new fibre extensions and access to higher speed broadband services, on demand.



NBN Co already wants to upgrade some FTTC users to full fibre

By Ry Crozier on May 4, 2021 9:47AM

In surprise extension of copper overbuild program.

NBN Co is set to upgrade parts of its fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) footprint to full fibre, despite the technology already being touted as gigabit-capable.

The surprise announcement was revealed on Tuesday as an extension to the company’s multi-billion dollar overbuild of part of its fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) footprint with full fibre.

NBN Co said today that it planned to make “full fibre upgrades ... available on demand to eligible customers living or working in premises currently served by FTTC”.

“NBN Co is currently engaged in consultation with internet retailers to define the process by which customers living in eligible premises currently served by FTTN or FTTC will be informed that their premises is eligible to receive higher speed services,” the company said in a statement.



Monday, 03 May 2021 20:47

NBN technicians 'walk off job' as 100+ car convoy headed to NBN Co Sydney head office

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt

With the Communications Workers Union (CWU) calling for a National Senate Inquiry into what it calls the "shambolic NBN network", over 100 subcontractors arrived outside the NBN Co North Sydney office to "protest against the NBN Co's shambolic management and pyramid contracting scheme that's leaving workers struggling to make ends meet."

The CWU is the Communications Workers Union. It is the Communications Division of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), and says it "represents all workers in the telecommunications, information technology and postal industries."

The CWU has reported "hundreds of technicians working on the NBN project around the country have this morning decided to walk off the job over cuts to their pay rates, a debacle causing chaos in job bookings and scheduling, pyramid sham contracting arrangements and overall poor treatment.

"Over 100 subcontractors who met in Sydney this morning are currently outside the NBN Co North Sydney office as part of a convoy to protest against the NBN Co’s shambolic management and pyramid contracting scheme that’s leaving workers struggling to make ends meet.



Tuesday, 04 May 2021 00:23

NBN provider MATE offers 250Mbps plan for $89 per month for first six months, then $109 per month

By Alex Zaharov-Reutt

MATE wants to encourage customers to stick with it rather that churn to another provider after the six month discount period has elapsed by offering the deal to new and existing customers, which the company claims makes them "the only telco to do this."

With the announcement of NBN Co’s Focus on Fast campaign, MATE says "ISPs have all been facing the issue of existing high speed customers switching providers in search of better and cheaper prices.

"This is why MATE have decided to do things differently and are offering the NBN250 discount to their new and existing customers for $89 making them the only telco to do this.

"Customers are switching in big ways due to them getting the benefits of the 6 month discounts only when signing with a new ISP and it appears ISPs are feeling the impact. With total connections falling since the announcement and affecting the bottom line, this has led to many ISPs criticising NBN Co’s offer."



NBN subcontractors join nationwide protest

By Ry Crozier on May 3, 2021 11:49AM

Over pay and work dispatch system issues.

About 100 subcontractors working on the NBN held a protest in Sydney on Monday morning over pay and conditions as part of a larger nationwide action.

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said “hundreds of technicians” across the country had stopped work, including “over 100 subcontractors” that met in Sydney.

The subcontractors drove in a convoy to NBN Co’s North Sydney headquarters to continue the protest.

An NBN Co spokesperson said it did not anticipate disruption to connection and other activities as a result of the action.