Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Another Big Reason To Consider Opting Out While You Can.

On the Drum last night a Panel Member (Dr Suelette Dreyfus, Melbourne Uni. I believe) made the point that those who sign up today are at risk of rule changes in the future.

An example might be, for example, five years from now, it may be decided by Government that employers can have access to myHR records. Or is may be decided that insurance companies can access myHR data. Make up other undesirable scenarios for yourself....

Given that once the data is in the myHR it can't be deleted, the only way you can protect yourself from this sort of regulation change in the future it to opt-out.

Think about it.

David.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The ABC Answers Some Questions On The myHR With A Few Points I Had No Idea About!

This summary appeared on Sunday 15 July.

My Health Record: Your questions answered on cybersecurity, police and privacy

Ariel Bogle - Science Reporter – ABC News – 15 July, 2018.
Australians have lots of questions about My Health Record.
Every Australian will soon have a My Health Record — an online summary of their health information — unless they opt out over the next three months.
From Monday, Australians will have until October 15 to tell the Government they don't want one. Otherwise, a record will automatically be created.
The project aims to give patients and doctors access to timely medical information — test results, referral letters and organ donation information, for starters — but there are concerns about the safety of some of our most personal, sensitive data.
We asked for your questions about the project on social media, and they ranged from police access to the platform's cybersecurity.
The ABC sat down with Tim Kelsey, the head of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the man in charge of the initiative, to get them answered.

The way the record works

As a patient, how can I know if my My Health Record information is being maintained by my doctor?

You can choose to opt out and have no My Health Record.
But once you have one, doctors can upload health information into it unless you ask them not to.
When you see a doctor, you can discuss adding (or not) documents such as an overview of your health, a summary of prescribed medications and referral letters.
Remember, it's not a comprehensive picture of your health — it will only contain what you and your doctors choose to upload, and will depend on the quality of those records.
When you first access the system, you'll be asked to decide whether you want two years of Medicare Benefits Schedule, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australian Immunisation Register, and Australian Organ Donor Register data to be uploaded.
But if your doctor accesses your record first before you make the selection yourself, this data will be uploaded automatically — unless you've opted to have no record at all.
If you want, you can delete or restrict access to those documents later.
Not all Australian hospitals and health services are connected to My Health Record yet, so that's something to check during your next visit.

When I get a prescription, how do I know whether I need to ask to make an update to my My Health Record? Does this vary by provider?

Doctors can upload information about prescribed medications, but as discussed above, it's worth discussing this each time you see your doctor.

What happens to your My Health Record after you die?

My Health Record information will be held for 30 years after your death. If that date isn't known, then it's kept for 130 years after your birth.

Will any private health insurance companies have access?

Insurers shouldn't be able to access your record — it's reserved for people who work for a registered healthcare provider and who are authorised to provide you with care.
There are plans to use aggregated, anonymised My Health Record data for research and other purposes — this is known as "secondary use".
"My Health Record information can be used for research and public health purposes in either a de-identified form, or in an identified form if the use is expressly consented to by the consumer," a Department of Health spokesperson said.
Currently, users of the platform can tick a box on the web portal to opt out of secondary use.
Secondary uses must be of public benefit and cannot be "solely" commercial, and insurance agencies will not be allowed to participate.
However, "the impact of this exclusion" will be considered when the Department of Health's framework governing secondary use of My Health Record data is reviewed, according to the framework document.
Australian organisations (and some overseas, in certain circumstances), including Australian pharmaceutical companies, will be able to apply to access My Health Record data for approved secondary purposes.
"We don't expect any data to flow until 2020," Mr Kelsey added.

The opt-out period

How can I opt out?

There are three key ways:
  • By visiting www.myhealthrecord.gov.au and opting out using the online portal.
  • Over the phone by calling 1800 723 471.
  • Or on paper by completing a form and returning it by mail. Forms will be available in 2,385 rural and remote Australia Post outlets, through 146 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and in 136 prisons.

What happens to the people who end up with a My Health Record, and then decide to opt out?

If you don't opt out between July 16 and October 15, then a record will be automatically created for you.
After October 15, there will be a "one-month reconciliation period" before new My Health Records are registered. These new records will be created mid-November.
You can then cancel that record, but the data it contained will still exist (although inaccessible to you or health providers) until 30 years after your death.

Is a record automatically generated if a doctor uploads a document during the opt-out period, even if you did not create one yourself?

According to the ADHA, doctors can't upload any clinical documents to the My Health Record system unless the patient record exists.

What about children who aren't born yet — can they opt out?

After the opt-out period, newly eligible healthcare recipients, such as newborn children and immigrants to Australia, will be given the chance to elect not to have a My Health Record as part of their Medicare registration.

Protection of your data

Which service provider will manage the infrastructure to ensure it isn't vulnerable to a cyber-attack?

The platform was built by the technology provider Accenture, however the ADHA is starting discussions about "re-platforming" it.
Independent third parties audit the system's security and undertake penetration testing, according to Mr Kelsey, but security experts warn that it's impossible to make any online database entirely bullet proof.
Remember too, that documents created or downloaded by your doctors may be stored in their local IT system too and depend on that system's security.

If a doctor downloads files from My Health Record, what's to stop her from sharing those files within the practice?

By default, your online documents will be accessible to your healthcare providers.
If you have privacy concerns, you can log onto My Health Record and restrict who sees it:
  • You can set a Record Access Code and give it only to healthcare professionals you want to access your record.
  • If you want to restrict certain documents, you can set a Limited Document Access Code.
These controls may be overridden in an emergency.
As mentioned above, if a document is removed from the My Health Record system, it's beyond the reach of your access controls.

If a GP were to allow another staff member to access a record, what is the potential punishment?

If someone accesses your My Health Record without legal authorisation and the person "knows or is reckless to that fact", criminal and civil penalties may apply.

Where can users see information about who has accessed their record?

My Health Record users will be able to see who has looked at their record by checking its access history online.
They'll be able to see when it was accessed, which organisation accessed it and what was done — documents being added, modified or removed, for example — but not the individual doctor who accessed it.
You can also set up an email or SMS alert for when a healthcare organisation accesses your record for the first time.
The privacy commissioner recommends checking regularly for unexpected or unauthorised access. You can call the ADHA on 1800 723 471 if you think something's gone wrong.

Several apps can connect to My Health Record. How will the ADHA ensure they are secure?

Apps such as Healthi and Health Engine, which recently ran into trouble, are authorised by the ADHA to "show" people their health record.
According to Mr Kelsey, third party app developers can only display your My Health Record — "at the moment, it's view-only" — and cannot store that data.
These providers undergo "strict assessment" and must abide by a Portal Operator Registration Agreement, according to the ADHA.
The agreement demands they do not download or store My Health Record information on their own system, or pass that data on to a third party.
"We are not currently planning to provide access beyond 'view-only' to the app community," he said.

Police and law enforcement

Which rules and policies guide the ADHA's decision to grant access to law enforcement?

The ADHA is authorised by law to disclose someone's health information if it "reasonably believes" it's necessary for preventing or investigating crimes and protecting the public revenue, among other things specified under section 70 of the My Health Records Act.
The agency was unable to provide a definition of "protecting the public revenue" by deadline.
When it receives a law enforcement request, the ADHA will need to determine that it's a legitimate request from an enforcement body.
Law enforcement bodies will not be granted direct access to the My Health Record: The ADHA said any disclosure would be limited to what is necessary to satisfy the purpose of the request.

Has the ADHA received any requests from law enforcement to access records?

Mr Kelsey said no police requests have been received yet.

Will users be informed if their data has been released to law enforcement?

If personal information is disclosed to law enforcement, the decision about whether to notify the My Health Record holder will be decided "case-by-case".
Likewise, healthcare provider organisations won't be informed if their patient's data is accessed.
The release to police will be recorded in a written note and stored by the ADHA.
Here is the link:
Among the things I found interesting were:
1. There is a clear admission that leaks and breaches are possible – the first time I have heard the ADHA essentially admit there are risks around the security.
2. That it is possible for health professionals to allow anyone they choose to have access to the myHR – think Doctor / Receptionist, Pharmacist / Pharmacy Assistant etc.
3. Access by police and law – enforcement (Border Patrol etc.?) does not require a warrant apparently and the ADHA does not have to tell you or your doctor they have provided access!!!!
4. The Privacy Commissioner recommends you keep checking you myHR to make sure there has not been unauthorized access – what a joke,
For myself I am not sure I want my records that easily available. As they say – your call about opting out.
David.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 16th July, 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

The big news today is that the myHR opt-out period starts today and goes for 3 months.
If you have even the tiniest concern about just letting the government have and gather your personal health information I suggest you visit and read from the following link.
There are many reasons you may want to stay away so it is worth reading and making an informed decision.
The perspective provided here I believe to be balanced and trustworthy.
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It's crunch time for the 'My Health Thing'

9 July 2018

OPINION

It's less than a week until the opt-out period for My Health Record starts. If patients don’t opt out between 16 July and 15 October, they will have a record created automatically, filled with two years of MBS and PBS data for starters.
The Australian Digital Health Agency has to persuade patients of the importance of My Health Record while also ensuring they know about opting out if they don’t share the agency’s optimism.
The deadline has coincided with a qualitative study detailing exactly why some patients aren’t hot on joining the billion-dollar system.
Conducted by a professor of communication at the University of Canberra, it highlights some unexpected concerns, ­particularly among patients who registered when My Health Record was first launched but are disillusioned with their records lying empty.
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Cyber security experts warn patients over online medical record plan for all Aussies

2:32pm Jul 12, 2018
My Health Record site set to launch
Cyber security experts have warned patients to be wary of a new $2 billion system which will see their medical details put online.
While Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new My Health Record site will “save and protect lives”, internet experts said the system is liable to be breached - not by hackers but thanks to lapse medics who use it.
Australians have three months from next week to decline to be part of the new system run by the Government’s Australian Digital Health Agency.
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My Health Record: the Government wants to access your data until 30 years after you die

By George Roberts on AM
Unless you opt-out by mid-October, the Federal Government will create an online record of your health details that it can access for the rest of your life and beyond - even if you ask for it to be deleted.
The Federal Government has budgeted more than $370 million to make digital health records for all Australians by the end of the year.
But privacy advocates are warning people to opt out of the database and IT specialists say it's impossible to completely safeguard the information.
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My Health Record could be our worst government data breach yet

The Turnbull government has demonstrated its willingness to use private information against critics, and we know how poor third party contractors can be at securing data. My Health record is too dangerous not to opt out of.

Bernard Keane

Politics editor
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Message from the CEO: My Health Record

July 12, 2018
In response to concerns raised by our members, CoMHWA is investigating the impact of My Health Record for people with personal experience of mental health issues. My Health Record is an online health record containing an individual’s health information that can be shared across health care providers.
My Health Record aims to prevent medication errors and hospital admissions, reduce duplication of medical tests, help inform treatment decisions and better coordinate the care for people who have multiple health issues. However, CoMHWA has found My Health Record may not benefit everyone equally. There are a number of unresolved issues that raise concerns for people’s rights and may cause unintended consequences including people’s information being shared without their knowledge and consent.
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The $2billion plan that could give hackers access to your medical records

By Marta Subat on July 13, 2018 News
Cyber security experts have issued a warning to Australians as their health records go online under a new $2 billion government-backed scheme.
Millions of patient records will be uploaded as part of the My Health system in a bid to help the medical industry go digital.
Online data security experts have warned patients to be wary of their medical details being put online but not only because of hackers but because of careless doctors.
Nigel Phair, director of the University of New South Wales’ Canberra Cyber, said he worries patients ‘sensitive’ records might be compromised by the lack of security in doctor surgeries.
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The risks and benefits of your new online health record

Sue Dunlevy, National Health Reporter, News Corp Australia Network
July 13, 2018 10:00pm
AUSTRALIANS are being asked to trust the federal government with their deepest medical secrets as a new $1 billion online health record is rolled out for everyone.
Every Australian will have a My Health Record created for them that will reveal if they’ve had an abortion, mental illness, sexually transmitted disease or drug addiction unless they tell the government they want to opt out from next week.
The government says the My Health Record will reduce medication errors and the duplication of medical tests and make it easier to keep track of your health but some privacy and IT security experts are urging people to opt out.
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My Health Record: information about your options

There is a new medical record system called My Health Record. It is an online database designed to keep all your medical records in one place, operated by the Australian Government. This article describes the benefits and risks to help you make an informed decision, and talks about how to opt out if you do not want a My Health Record.
Every Australian will have a My Health Record account set up, unless they choose not to have one. If you choose not to have a record you can opt out from 16 July to 15 October 2018.
If you want a My Health Record, you don’t need to do anything. After October 2018, health services will upload the past two years of your Medicare and pharmacy records into the system. Already, 5 million people have a My Health Record. There is now a 3-month period for people to opt out to close their record or stop one being created.
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Your Privacy, My Health

Australia May 17 2018
It may be surprising to some that, in Australia at least, there is no fundamental right to privacy. There are laws that protect aspects of your confidential information, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and associated Privacy Principles, that impose sanctions on those who fail to properly deal with private data. Common law remedies also exist in theory, however there is no readily accessible statutory cause of action that allows a privacy breach victim to claim their emotional distress and other damages. This gap in our law was the subject of a 2014 Australian Law Reform Commission Report, to which the Australian government has never formally responded.
Instead, since late February 2018 we now have a mandatory requirement for various entities including government and larger businesses, to report breaches of privacy. If your data is compromised (accessed by those who are not authorised), you must be notified and suggestions offered on ways to mitigate any impact. If your credit card details are leaked, for example, a suggestion might be to cancel those cards to prevent unauthorised use.
Under this new law, you will know exactly when your privacy was compromised. Cold comfort perhaps, however the intent is that a process of reporting will ultimately lead to better protections.
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Where is NSW’s real-time monitoring?

Pharmacy Guild NSW Branch president David Heffernan has expressed exasperation with the state’s inaction when it comes to real-time monitoring

“It is confounding to hear that the NSW Ministry has no strategy in place for a real-time monitoring system, as reported from a recent NSW coroner’s hearing,” he writes in his President’s Desk address to NSW Guild members.
“The AIHW report clearly demonstrates deaths from prescription medications have soared past deaths from illicit drug use.”
In May 2018, Mr Heffernan and PSA NSW president Peter Carroll wrote to NSW’s Health Minister Brad Hazzard and its Chief Pharmacist Judith Mackson, urging them to implement such a system.
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  • Updated Jul 8 2018 at 10:30 PM

Embattled HealthEngine has heavyweight investors

As besieged medical booking startup HealthEngine announced an overhaul of its business model on Friday, its public face remained GP-turned-CEO Marcus Tan.
The business he co-founded has been the subject of weeks of critical media revelations about its practices. Turns out, before Friday's capitulation, it used to do things like refer user information to law firms keen for new clients, as well as edit negative comments made in reviews about participating GP practices. Which perhaps is unsurprising: HealthEngine is free for patients but not for the doctors who are listed on it, and we don't imagine negative reviews would encourage doctors to keep paying.
In summary, it's been a bruising few weeks. But while the public-facing stuff has been left to Tan, HealthEngine has some of Australia's country's most experienced tech entrepreneurs among its directors and investors to guide it through the maelstrom.
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My Health Record: battle looms on medical privacy

Posted by Michael West | Jul 8, 2018 |
Care for your medical information to fall into the public domain? Say details of a pregnancy termination, depression or your drug history?
In October, everyone who has not opted out gets a My Health Record. The government has attempted to put safeguards in place to protect privacy but with one important exception: access control.
Consider this: if any doctor can access a MyHR then whether or not you have ever been treated for depression, have taken RU-486, naltrexone, methadone, all will be in plain view.
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Healthcare IT News Australia wins global awards

Lynne Minion | 13 Jul 2018
One year after its launch, Healthcare IT News Australia has been recognised with two global awards for its work in reporting on the digital health revolution that is transforming healthcare worldwide and saving lives.
Announced in New York this week, HITNA won the international Content Marketing Awards for ‘Best New Digital Publication – Editorial’ and ‘Best Overall Editorial – Digital’ for its coverage of the most consequential disruption of our time.
A member of the HIMSS stable of global publications, HITNA is also one of five finalists for the most prestigious award, 'Project of the Year', with the winner to be announced in Cleveland on September 5th.
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Pharmacies to be paid for My Health Record medication-compliance trial

Discharged hospital patients will undergo medication reviews
9th July 2018
Pharmacies will be paid to prevent medication-related hospital readmissions as part of an $8.5 million test of My Health Record.
The 5000 Victorian patients to be recruited for the trial will be asked to visit one of 290 pharmacies for a medication review after being discharged from hospital.
The pharmacies will access each patient’s discharge medications through their My Health Record.
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Digital trials to provide post-hospital support to Australians by reducing medication errors

By: Teresa Umali
Published: 9 Jul 2018
Patients from all over Australia will benefit from 15 new projects that will utilise the information from a consenting patient’s My Health Record to improve the delivery of their healthcare.
Patients from all over Australia will benefit from 15 new projects that will utilise the information from a consenting patient’s My Health Record to improve the delivery of their healthcare.
As announced by the Australian Digital Health Agency, digital trials will be conducted to help patients manage their medication better after they leave the hospital in order to reduce unplanned and early hospital readmission due to medication errors.
The A$8.5 million Digital Health Test Beds program will be testing new approaches to chronic health, palliative care, and post hospital support.
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Fed Govt shells out $85 million on My Aged Care to allow doctors to track residents – but rules out integration with My Health Record

Published on July 10, 2018
Doctors and specialists will be able to send referrals directly from their clinical information systems, and track the progress of their clients under the changes, but integration with the national health record will not be part of the revamp.
Industry advice is instead being sought on how to implement two-way messaging, integration with clinical systems, built-in decision support and integration into other health and aged care sector systems.
My Aged Care has been maligned by users since it launched in July 2014.
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My Health Record increases pathology and diagnostic imaging connections with Victorian and Queensland services

Pathology and diagnostic imaging services such as blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs help healthcare providers make diagnoses and monitor their patients’ progress. An increasing number of healthcare providers and their patients are now benefiting from convenient, safe, and secure access to these reports via My Health Record where they may not have access to these reports before.
Today, the Australian Digital Health Agency announced new My Health Record system connections by Victorian Cytology Service (VCS) Pathology, and Queensland based Mater Pathology, Mater Medical Imaging, and Paradise Ultrasound.
VCS Pathology Executive Director Professor Marion Saville said the company has over 50 years of experience serving Australia’s population, providing large-scale services and solutions supporting public health programs. 
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Media Release - My Health Record kits being distributed to Australian healthcare providers to assist with conversations about the expansion of My Health Record

New toolkits to better inform and educate all Australians about My Health Record are being distributed across Australia. The kits will equip health practitioners and other Agency partners with information and resources to help them advise all Australians about My Health Record.
Nearly 20,000 My Health Record education kits are being distributed to health practitioners and Australia Post offices across the country.
“The distribution of My Health Record toolkits is a significant moment in the Australian Digital Health Agency’s efforts to inform and educate all Australians about the benefits of My Health Record,” said Agency CEO Tim Kelsey.
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Media Release: My Health Record increases pathology and diagnostic imaging connections with Victorian and Queensland services

11 July 2018
Pathology and diagnostic imaging services such as blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs help healthcare providers make diagnoses and monitor their patients’ progress. An increasing number of healthcare providers and their patients are now benefiting from convenient, safe, and secure access to these reports via My Health Record where they may not have access to these reports before.
Today, the Australian Digital Health Agency announced new My Health Record system connections by Victorian Cytology Service (VCS) Pathology, and Queensland based Mater Pathology, Mater Medical Imaging, and Paradise Ultrasound.
VCS Pathology Executive Director Professor Marion Saville said the company has over 50 years of experience serving Australia’s population, providing large-scale services and solutions supporting public health programs. 
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LASA partners with Digital Health Agency to promote My Health Record

Published on July 10, 2018
Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) is joining with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to promote the benefits of My Health Record to its member organisations.
The ADHA is introducing a digitised My Health Record for all Australians except those who opt out.
LASA’s press release, which bills them as ‘Australia’s voice of aged care’, says they will provide information to its members and stakeholders about the Expansion Program, and advise those who choose not to have one how to opt out of the process.
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11 July 2018

NSW Government Backs Digital Prescription App

Patients will soon be able to receive medical prescriptions from their doctor via a world-first smartphone app being developed by startup company ScalaMed with support from the NSW Government.
Deputy Premier, Minister for Small Business, Skills and Regional NSW John Barilaro said ScalaMed has received a $25,000 Minimum Viable Product grant from the NSW Government-backed Jobs for NSW to develop the app.
“This is a fantastic idea generated out of NSW which aims to revolutionise how patients get their medical prescriptions – from paper to digital – while also helping millions of people manage their medication,” Mr Barilaro said.
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13 July 2018

College presses for direct MHR payments

Posted by Julie Lambert
As the advertising blitz to encourage the take-up of the My Health Record gets under way, the RACGP is pressing for GPs to be paid directly for their key role in adding patient data.
In a revised position statement, released ahead of the July 16 start of the MHR opt-out phase, the college reiterates its disdain for the current eHealth Practice Incentive Payment, which pays benefits to practices rather than doctors.
The so-called ePIP is paid to practices that meet targets for uploading shared health summaries to the electronic record system.
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People Plus Technology a Promising Home Care Combination

An Australian-first home-based treatment trial that includes holographic virtual doctors, promises to reduce hospitalisation and help older people remain living independently for longer.
6 July 2018
An Australian-first home-based treatment trial that includes holographic virtual doctors, promises to reduce hospitalisation and help older people remain living independently for longer.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, today launched Silver Chain’s Integrum Aged Care+ trial, designed to support senior Australians with complex care needs and chronic health conditions to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

“This trial aims to overcome the challenges of fragmented care and poorer patient experiences, which can happen when a person is transferred between hospitals, specialists and aged care providers,” Minister Wyatt said.
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A single identity to engage with government agencies

By Tom Burton • 11/07/2018
The federal government is investing over $90 million to build a federated identity system, to give citizens and firms, control and choice over their digital interactions with government and businesses.
Known as GovID, the new identity solution means citizens will only need to establish their identity once, and can then re-use it numerous times to access multiple government services.
The aim is to build a robust identity system, among all the main government and non-government players – not dissimilar to the BPay and EFTPOS systems.
Several major pilots are now in planning to test the solution under high volumes. This system of trust includes a digital identity exchange to connect Commonwealth services to users. This will be operated by the Department of Human Services and for privacy and security reasons will be separate to the actual identity providers.
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Counties Manukau Health writes off millions on IT project

Tuesday, 10 July 2018  
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
 Counties Manukau Health wrote off $8.6 million between 2015–2017 on a ‘transformational change programme’ called Project SWIFT.
Project SWIFT (System Wide Integration for Transformation) defined a four-year roadmap for technology investment by the DHB with the help of IBM.
It focused on improving the performance of core hospital IT systems, enabling access to CM Health systems for community teams on mobile devices, better use of shared care records and enabling enhanced models of care.
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National Primary Care Data Service to go live next year

Thursday, 12 July 2018  
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
A new National Primary Care Data Service will go live in 2019, GP leader Richard Medlicott has told a health IT conference.
Medlicott, who is medical director of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, spoke at the HiNZ Health stream of the ITx 2018 conference in Wellington on 12 July.
He says the Ministry of Health has confirmed the National Primary Care Data Service project can move ahead with procuring a system and he expects to see the first reports from the national service in 2019.
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Global HL7 experts to converge on Sydney in 2020 as Australia wins its hosting bid

Lynne Minion | 13 Jul 2018
HL7 Australia will be bringing together its global collective of standard bearers in February 2020 with news the next international working group meeting of experts to be held outside North America will be in Sydney.
The successful bid, which was supported by the Australian Digital Health Agency, will see more than 1000 members of the network working to solve one of healthcare’s great challenges – the exchange of health data – converge on the harbour city.
It is the culmination of a series of success for the influential Australian arm of the global not-for-profit.  
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Primary care research: a field in crisis?

Authored by Hugo Wilcken
THERE was much dismay and hand-wringing in the medical research community when in early 2016, the government pulled $300 000 in funding from the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health) program. Based at the University of Sydney, BEACH was a paper-based survey that tracked the clinical activity of GPs across Australia. It was a widely used treasure trove of data on what goes on behind the surgery door, covering everything from consultation times to disease management and prescription habits of GPs. But without government funding, BEACH found itself unable to continue.
The loss of BEACH was not the only blow to primary care research. In 2012, the Annual Survey of the Divisions of General Practice, carried out by the Primary and Health Care Research and Information Service, was stopped. And in 2015, the government defunded the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, which was based at the Australian National University. This series of funding setbacks has led some in the field to muse that the government has some sort of vendetta against them.
“Primary care research has taken an absolute beating,” says Kirsty Douglas, Professor of General Practice at the Australian National University Medical School, who has co-authored new research into general practice using a novel methodology. “BEACH was a huge loss to general practice and to policy makers. And I say that having never been involved with BEACH, but having used it often as a resource and in my teaching.”
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What’s in the PIP pipeline?

10 July 2018
Government reform of the Practice Incentives Program has been delayed. Zilla Efrat investigates
While there appears to be plenty of talk taking place behind closed doors, GPs remain in the dark about what to expect from the delayed revamp of the Practice Incentives Program (PIP), which includes the introduction of a new Quality Improvement (QI) incentive.
The start date of the proposed program, which involves the scrapping of incentive payments for five items and redirecting funding towards encouraging quality improvements in practices, has now been moved to 1 May next year.
The delay has generally been welcomed as it will allow more time for consultations and for general practice to prepare. As the Department of Health noted in a letter advising around 5500 practices of the delay in March: “[It] is important that we get this right.”  
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AI and big data in the healthcare sector

Artificial intelligence algorithms and big data are already being used in hospitals and other areas of healthcare and diagnostics. What exactly does this mean for patients and for those seeking to overcome the legal challenges?
How is AI used in hospitals?
Artificial Intelligence, machine learning (an application of AI), and big data, are used in a wide range of applications in hospitals. For example, cognitive computer systems are used to facilitate repetitive processes and to create sample analyses in the context of radiological diagnostics. Where a learning or predictive function is added, then we are into the realms of AI.
Other examples are the Deep Learning Model of Stanford University and Google Brain. These tools are used to determine the most probable time of death of seriously ill patients and the best treatments as a result, including enabling patients to be transferred to palliative care in good time in order to give them a dignified farewell.
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Greg Hunt’s vision for Health Care Homes 2.0: fewer patients for longer

Health Minister will nut out the details with MBS Review Taskforce, RACGP and AMA
12th July 2018
Minister for Health Greg Hunt says the next version of Health Care Homes will focus on allowing GPs to “see fewer patients for longer”.
The troubled chronic disease care program, once the government’s signature health policy reform, is now set to be canned as soon as its trial period closes in November 2019.
Nine months in, just 1600 patients have signed up for a Health Care Homes package — far below the program’s target of 65,000.
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Promoting health online: surviving the revolution

Authored by Arjun Rajkhowa
WHEN we use social and new media (which usually refers to anything that came after television), we only occasionally pause to reflect on the huge paradigm shifts that have occurred in the ways that we consume information.
But perhaps one of the most important paradigm shifts in information use and dissemination has occurred in public engagement in and with health care.
New media, scientific discourse and education
Health practitioners are using a variety of online platforms (including blogs associated with academic journals, specialty blogs, university blogs, newsletters, social media and others) to educate, debate and interact with colleagues and the public.
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A year after WannaCry: How the NHS is securing its systems

NHS Digital's cyber security wing CSOC has announced a partnership with IBM as part of a £30 million deal to bolster threat intelligence.
Tamlin Magee (Computerworld) 09 July, 2018 08:55
NHS Digital's cyber security wing CSOC has announced a partnership with IBM as part of a £30 million deal to bolster threat intelligence, a year after the WannaCry ransomware outbreak hobbled some systems within the NHS.
(NHS Digital is the IT provider for the NHS.)
However, the head of operations for CSOC, Chris Flynn, says that bringing the vendor on board is more about continuously improving the NHS's data security capabilities than directly avoiding that sort of incident again.
The three-year partnership will see IBM bring its technical expertise in to CSOC to improve threat monitoring, detection and response capabilities, as well as providing access to IBM's X-Force threat intelligence unit.
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Are health apps good for your health? Have your say

MEDIA RELEASE THURSDAY 12 JULY 2018
The Consumers Health Forum today introduces an innovative online mechanism to gauge community trust in health apps, the rapidly growing component of modern health care.
Australia’s Health Panel is CHF’s new online platform which will survey consumers on the health issues that matter. The first Panel project is a survey asking participants to rate who they would trust to give them sound advice about health apps and their views on whether the Federal Government should be regulating them.
The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said it was appropriate that health apps should be the inaugural topic of Australia’s Health Panel.
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9 July 2018

Are there any good apps for rheumatoid arthritis?

Posted by Felicity Nelson
 “Arthritis? But that’s not possible! I’m too young.” 
Carly, a 33-year old from the Yarra Valley in Victoria, couldn’t believe she had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at first: “I have to keep saying it in my head because it doesn’t seem real.”
Six months after her diagnosis, she wasn’t feeling much better. Just trying to feed her toddler sapped all her energy: “I’ve tried loads of things, but I’m still so exhausted! I’m trying to stay positive. What is this going to mean for my career? My family?“ She was angry too: “Why me? I just want to be normal again.” 
Carly’s rheumatologist assured her that there were a range of biologic medicines; they just needed to find the right one. It took almost three years for Carly to get her RA under control.
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NDIA sat on serious system meltdown for a whole month

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 10, 2018

Rick Morton

A second major computer system meltdown in as many years at the National Disability Insurance Scheme still hasn’t been fixed two months after it began, blocking access to plan-development tools for thousands of external staff.
Despite learning of the problem, which involved a breakdown in the ability of contractors outside of head office to work remotely, near the beginning of May, the National Disability Insurance Agency’s chief information officer Ian Frew did not speak with staff and partners until June 1, the same day the issue was raised at a Senate estimates ­hearing.
Internal documents leaked to The Australian show the system experienced “total remote connection failure” throughout the month of May — a spokeswoman for the agency claims the problems began “from mid-May” — which resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of worker hours.
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NBN Co's HFC sales freeze hits 1.38m premises

By Ry Crozier on Jul 6, 2018 4:43PM

Stakes are high.

NBN Co’s decision to pause new orders on its hybrid fibre coaxial network has now impacted around 1.38 million premises.
The new figure was revealed this afternoon by Telstra, which is now battling the flow-on effects of the freeze both in terms of its direct financial hit and its obligations to switch customers over to the NBN.
NBN Co announced the freeze in late November last year, with it coming into effect on December 11.
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Enjoy!
David.