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."

Monday, August 08, 2022

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 8 August, 2022.

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


Really just a lot of bits and pieces this week. Not a great deal of inspirational stuff!

Sadly we see lots of spurious emissions from the ADHA wanting to tell people living at the extremities of Australia how to tweak the privacy settings of the #myHR that they don’t care about. Staggering that this is all we hear from such an aggregation of expensive (to us) public servant drones and time-servers who don't get that they should just go, do something else, and let the ADHA vanish!



Leidos scores $52m to enhance Defence's intelligence data interface

By Justin Hendry on Aug 1, 2022 11:50AM

As it continues as system integrator on long-running project.

The Department of Defence will pay Leidos just shy of $52 million to enhance its new Wagardi mission system by delivering further intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data integration improvements.

Last month, the department revealed the system – the first tranche of Joint Project 2096 Phase 1 – had reached final operational capability (FOC), delivering a single interface to search multiple datasets.

The interface, which is now in the process of being introduced into service, makes it easier for Defence personnel to access, discover and collaborate on ISR information, improving decision making.

Leidos has spent the past three-and-a-half years delivering the mission system, having been appointed system integrator for what was then described as an “evolutionary program” back in February 2019.



Clinical Information System and Electronic Medical Record application and interoperability standard

Application of this standard to the implementation of Clinical Information System and Electronic Medical Record (CIS/EMR) by health agencies will ensure continued interoperability of data applications across the state, now, and position health services to exchange data in line with future Victorian initiatives such as state-wide unique patient identification and sector wide shared clinical information whilst enabling connectivity to the national eHealth infrastructure.


This Standard defines the minimum set of functional requirements for any implementation of CIS and EMR by health services in the Victoria Public Health Sector. They are a base set of interface, terminology and functions that enable interoperability within and external to a health service.

The standard will enable health service CIS and EMR applications to integrate with current and emerging national digital health services such as My Health Record, the HI service, national electronic transfer of prescriptions.

Prior to this standard, the department (i.e. DHHS) has spent many years delivering standard and guides to the Victorian Public Health Sector (VPHS) which not only supports interoperability within the state in the current environment, but positions health services to better receive and implement national initiatives, like My Health Record. The standard includes both mandatory and optional requirements.



App Review: Ask Annie how to improve dementia care

It aims to help home and community support workers better understand people living with dementia

5th August 2022

By Siobhan Calafiore

Ask Annie is an education program that helps carers of patients with dementia fine-tune their support skills through animated scenarios based on real-life experiences. 

Virtual care worker ‘Annie’ guides users through short self-paced lessons on how to find practical ways to address challenging situations and build interpersonal skills. 

Developed by Dementia Australia, the modules use a problem-solving approach called ‘CAUSEd’, which encourages carers to understand how people living with dementia might be communicating their unmet needs through behaviours. 

One of the aims of the app is to further strengthen the workforce — both in the community and in aged care — looking after the half a million Australians living with dementia.

Carers can choose what they want to learn based on their needs and how much time they have, as well as identifying knowledge gaps by completing interactive quizzes.



Digital health update for medical specialists – August 2022

  1 August 2022


North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network’s Digital Health Projects Team is working with local medical specialists to boost registrations for and use of My Health Record.

This work is leading to better communication and integrated care between specialists, primary care providers and other health services.

Use of pathology reports in My Health Record increasing

Clinicians and patients are increasingly using My Health Record to manage pathology reports, the latest data show.

The volume of pathology reports uploaded to the platform has increased by 94 per cent to 226 million in the year to 30 June 2022. Use of the pathology reports feature increased by 376 per cent to more than 20 million views in the same period.

Patients increasingly expect their health care providers to use ePathology, so how can your practice respond?



Ramsay Health Care boosts its digital team

By Kate Weber on Aug 5, 2022 6:45AM

To fuel its transformation efforts.

Hospital operator Ramsay Health Care has made a number of appointments as part of an ongoing digital transformation effort.

The ASX-listed company added three new members to its digital, technology and data leadership team.

Simon Herbert has been appointed group general manager for data and insights. He was previously chief data officer at the NSW Department of Customer Service.

In addition, Samit Chandra has been appoointed as the new general manager, technology and architecture. He was formerly in enterprise and solution architecture at Transport for NSW.

The third appointment is Daryl Babus who has taken the role of general manager, digital experience and innovation. She was previously with Oracle, and is also a former long-time Westpac digital leader.



by Australian Ageing Agenda August 2, 2022

Posted in Technology

Funding available to providers that digitise medication management

In response to the aged care royal commission’s final report, the federal government is encouraging aged care providers to adopt electronic medication management systems.

Up to $30 million has been made available via a grant opportunity incentivising providers to install transitional-conformant Electronic National Residential Medication Chart products in their residential aged care facilities.

Funding can be used towards:

  • eNRMC software solutions and subscriptions
  • hardware purchases or upgrades
  • training and change management
  • other expenditure related to the sourcing and implementation of eNRMC solutions.

The eNRMC transitional arrangement will allow all residential aged care services to begin adopting and benefiting from eNRMC products as soon as possible.



Roundup: ACT Digital Health Record gets additional $35M funding and more briefs

Also, the Latrobe Community Health Service is adopting Global Health's EMR solutions.

By Adam Ang

August 04, 2022 11:28 PM

ACT Government to invest $35M more for digital health record

The ACT government is expected to invest over A$50M ($35 million) for the full implementation of a state-wide digital health record this year.

This comes on top of the A$151 million funding provided under the 2018-19 budget for the project, which will be delivered by American EMR provider Epic across Canberra’s public hospitals and community health centres. 

According to ACT Health, the digital health record will allow the real-time capture of information and provide access to historical information. 

Compared to the federal government's My Health Record system, ACT's digital health record will be more detailed as it will be a record of all interactions between a Canberran citizen and the ACT public health system. 



ACT gov sinks another $50m into digital health record

By Justin Hendry on Aug 3, 2022 5:44PM

As it looks to expand the ACT Digital account.

The ACT government will invest $50.8 million in its digital health record to support the platform’s implementation ahead of go-live later this year.

The new funding, revealed in the 2022-23 territory budget, comes as the government also plans to expand the digital account used by 200,0000 Canberrans to access online services.

It builds on the $151 million, including $106 million in capital, provided in the 2018-19 budget for the digital health record that will be used to capture all clinical interactions with patients.

ACT Health has been working to introduce the health record across Canberra’s public hospitals and community health centres since early 2021, having selected Epic to deliver the platform in July 2020.



Healthtech startup Telecare raises $2.2m seed round to help fast-track access to specialist healthcare around Australia

Aug 1, 2022 | Member news

Telecare is a virtual clinic removing the physical and economic barriers for patients needing access to consultations, with specialists and allied health practitioners treating dozens of chronic and complex diseases and conditions. It currently has approximately 100 clinicians across 30 areas – such as cardiology, paediatrics and psychology – using its platform, and has just begun servicing Mackay Hospital and Health Service’s Virtual Outpatient Department.

The $2.2 million seed round, led by Australian Medical Angels and supported by LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund, values Telecare at $20m. The company has previously raised an oversubscribed pre-seed round of $700k – of which $70k was derived from Telecare’s participation in Startmate’s S21 cohort.

Telecare was founded in 2019 by Michael Wang, Lina Xu, Nephrologist Dr Christopher Sia and General Practitioner Dr Raymond Wen. Since then, the platform has facilitated 40,000 virtual appointments, with consultations conducted with patients and specialists located around Australia, including remote parts of the country such as the Cocos Islands and Norfolk Island.

CEO Michael Wang says the seed funding will go towards meeting Telecare’s goal to become the leading chronic disease management platform in Australia.



Incident and Problem Analyst

APS6 ($101,757 - $114,800)
Technology Services Division > Info/Comm Tech (ICT)
Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney

Closing - 10 Aug 2022

Division Overview

Technology services – responsible for the operation of high quality, trusted, reliable and secure national digital health infrastructure and health support systems.

Primary Purpose of Position

The Incident and Problem Analyst performs complex work for the ongoing provision of day-to-day problem coordination, triage and actions involving the Agency’s digital health products and services.

Key Responsibilities

  • Create and manage Problem records in consultation with the relevant stakeholders to mitigate the reoccurrence and or severity of Incidents
  • Initiate, schedule and conduct review meetings as needed to determine root cause and next steps.
  • Monitor and Co-ordinate stakeholders to ensure that Problems and Problem tasks are prioritised and are resolved within the agreed timeframes
  • Identify trends in SLA breaches and work with the relevant support group to ensure corrective plans are in place 
  • Perform pro-active problem management on incident trends based on ServiceNow data and non-incident-based triggers (ex. SLA breaches, complaints)
  • Work with the Problem Manager to produce and update weekly, monthly, and quarterly problem reports. Actively participate in Continual Service Improvement by identifying improvements to support process improvement methods, procedures, metrics development, documentation, and reporting.



Digital health literacy program

Categories: News

August 2, 2022

Your Health in Your Hands is a digital health literacy program delivered by Good Things Foundation Australia in partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). The program is designed to improve people’s uptake and confidence using My Health Record, supporting them to gain the essential digital skills and confidence to manage their health and wellbeing.

Digital Health Webinar Series

Between July and October Good Things Foundation will be be piloting a series of webinars specifically for older Australians, carers and aged care staff in regional, remote and rural communities.

They will be covering topics such as:

  • How digital health can make your life easier
  • How My Health Record puts you in control of your health information
  • Practical tips for finding reliable health information online.

Find the full webinar schedule and sign-up



Aug. 16

Setting up your My Health Record 1-1 help

by City of Charles Sturt


Date and time

Tue., 16 August 2022

3:00 pm – 3:45 pm ACST


Civic (Woodville) Library 72 Woodville Road Woodville, SA 5011

Learn how to link your myGov record with a My Health Record in this one on one session.

About this event

My Health Record is a safe and secure place where your key health information can be kept.

When it’s up to date, it can give you a more complete picture of your health, and is available to you and your healthcare providers whenever it’s needed, including in an emergency.

Please bring along your Medicare card, your email password and your mobile phone.

Bookings are essential.

Setting up your My Health Record 1-1 help image

Please note:

  • Stay at home if you are unwell or have a cough, fever, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath.
  • Contact tracing and social distance measures will be in place to adhere to State Government COVID-19 requirements.
  • Maintaining social distancing is the responsibility of the individual.



My Health Record and your privacy

Sunday, August 07, 2022

This Looks Like A Bit Of A Throwback To The Howard Era To Me.

I noticed this a few day ago.

GP takes Attorney-General to court over VAD telehealth ban

4th August 2022

By Sarah Simpkins

A GP is taking the Federal Government to court over laws that ban doctors from discussing voluntary assisted dying in telehealth consultations.  

Since 2005, federal laws have banned ‘using a carriage service to counsel or incite suicide’, including phone calls, text messages, emails and video.

The punishment is a fine of up to $220,000.

When Victoria became the first state to legalise voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in 2017, the state's Minister for Health warned GPs to only discuss VAD face to face because of the federal laws.

But with all states now passing VAD laws, Melbourne GP Dr Nick Carr has launched a court case against the Commonwealth Attorney-General in an attempt to remove any legal threat to doctors. 

His hope is that the Federal Court of Australia will declare that VAD does not count as suicide under the law.  

Dr Carr told Australian Doctor he couldn't comment on the case while it was before the court.

But last month, the federal Minister for Health hinted that the government was unlikely to put up a fight.

"That [law] was put in place by the Howard Government when Philip Nitschke was putting about his way of assisted dying," Mark Butler told ABC radio.

"Since then, the landscape has changed dramatically. Every state now has VAD laws in place.

This appeared a few days ago.


This really is a bit of nonsense inspired by an ultra-conservative Liberal MP  who was also responsible for preventing the ACT and NT legislation to legalise VAD. (His name was Kevin Andrews if you are wondering. He was out of touch then and has drifted further away from reality since!)

If you can discuss abortion, suicide and all other matters what rubbish is this?

This should just be fixed, as I am sure many don’t even know it is an offence! We can all to without this brand of repressive conservatives trying to control our lives.

Have your say on the poll this week!


AusHealthIT Poll Number 643– Results – 7th August, 2022.

Here are the results of the poll.

Do You Believe The ADHA CEO And Executive Have Any Idea How To Get Out Of The Hole They Have Dug For Themselves With The Costly and Essentially Useless #myHR?

Yes                                              2 (3%)

No                                              55 (95%)

I Have No Idea                            1 (1%)

Voters: 58

A very clear cute vote with most feeling the ADHA has no idea what to do with the #myHR.

Any insights on the poll are welcome, as a comment, as usual!

A fair number of votes. and a very clear outcome. 

1 of 58 who answered the poll admitted to not being sure about the answer to the question!

Again, many, many thanks to all those who voted! 


Saturday, August 06, 2022

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 6th August 2022.

Here are a few I came across last week.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and 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



Telehealth Bolsters Maternal Care Outcomes, Patient Satisfaction

New research shows that implementing telehealth, either in place of or as a supplement to in-person care, led to good clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction in maternal care.

By Mark Melchionna

July 29, 2022 - A new study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that replacing or supplementing in-person maternal healthcare with telehealth led to positive clinical outcomes and high levels of patient satisfaction.

The US has the highest maternal death rate among high-income countries. Following the rise in healthcare access barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pregnant and postpartum women especially faced great uncertainty.

To battle this issue, researchers sought to determine the efficacy of telehealth use in maternal healthcare through a review of previous studies, which included 28 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 14 observational studies.

They found that patient-reported outcomes from telehealth interventions were similar to, if not better, than those that resulted from in-person care. This was particularly true when treating conditions relating to mental health, general maternal care, and diabetes during pregnancy.



Some systems back online but Guy’s and St Thomas’ IT issues continue

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) is still experiencing issues after its IT systems failed last week as a result of the UK’s extreme heatwave.

Jordon Sollof 27 Jul, 2022

Some IT systems are now back online but the trust is still suffering significant IT problems at its sites which is impacting services.

A spokesperson for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to respond to significant IT problems on our sites, which is having an ongoing impact on our services. While the majority of appointments have gone ahead, unfortunately we have had to postpone some operations and appointments.

“We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused and our staff are doing everything possible to minimise the impact on patients. Where urgent care has been affected we will be contacting patients to rearrange their care at the earliest opportunity.

“The trust has well established business continuity plans to allow us to continue as much activity as possible and to ensure that patient safety is prioritised at all times.



ONC Mulls Health Information Exchange Data for Patient-Centered Research

ONC plans to implement data standards, APIs, and machine learning (ML) infrastructure to leverage health information exchange data for patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) about COVID-19.

By Sarai Rodriguez

July 28, 2022 - ONC has announced a new project to leverage health information exchange (HIE) data to support COVID-19 focused patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) by implementing new data standards and technology.

State and local HIEs aggregate patient EHR data from more than 60 percent of hospitals in the United States. Yet, these extensive datasets have restricted use because of technical and privacy-related barriers, ONC officials stated.

“HIEs routinely collect patient data from a variety of sources and then facilitate the exchange of patient health information with clinicians, public health agencies, and laboratories,” ONC officials Adam Wong and Wei Chang wrote in the HealthITBuzz blog post.

“Increased use of this data for patient-centered research could help facilitate research activities, including in public health emergencies such as COVID-19,” Wong and Chang continued. “However, varied technical and privacy requirements often put in place by states can make it difficult for HIEs to make data easily usable for researchers.”



Surescripts Reports Increase in Specialty Medications Health IT Use

Health IT vendor Surescripts completed 421 percent more Specialty Medications Gateway transactions in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

By Hannah Nelson

July 28, 2022 - More prescribers and specialty pharmacists nationwide are leveraging Surescripts Specialty Medications health IT to optimize prescribing workflows.

From May 2021 to May 2022, the number of prescribers enabled for Specialty Patient Enrollment grew 24 percent.

Additionally, the number of Specialty Medications Gateway transactions was 421 percent higher in the first five months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.

“Eliminating the time-consuming and manual process of prescribing specialty medications and simplifying the delivery of patient information removes delays that threaten medication adherence,” Frank Harvey, CEO of Surescripts, said in a press release. “It also means healthcare professionals can spend less time on paperwork and more time focused on what matters most: patients’ health.”

Accredo specialty pharmacy recently implemented automation enhancements with Specialty Medications Gateway to obtain current information on a patient’s weight for use in weight-based dosing.



Clinical Decision Support Tool Provides Effective Precision Medicine Guidance

Researchers have found that an automated tool for genetic disease diagnosis and management guidance can achieve accurate results within 13.5 hours.

By Shania Kennedy

July 28, 2022 - A study published this week in Nature Communications shows that an automated clinical decision support tool for genetic disease diagnosis and treatment can provide accurate results and disease management guidance within 13.5 hours.

The tool, known as Genome-to-Treatment (GTRx), is a virtual disease management system that integrates whole genome sequencing to provide diagnostics and guidance for 500 diseases, according to a press release discussing the study’s findings. The study was completed in collaboration with multiple organizations, vendors, and health systems.

The study states that the 7,200 genetic disorders currently known to medical science result in high levels of morbidity and mortality in children, specifically in neonatal, pediatric, and cardiovascular patients. Approximately 140 million children worldwide suffer from rare genetic diseases, and experts estimate that 30 percent of them will not survive until their 5th birthday.

The researchers further note that the progression of these diseases is often extremely rapid in ICUs, which can lead to increased morbidity or mortality without timely diagnosis and treatment.



What Amazon's $4B One Medical play reveals about its healthcare ambitions

By Heather Landi

Jul 25, 2022 02:00am

With Amazon's proposed deal to buy One Medical, the company is placing another massive bet on its healthcare strategy—to the tune of nearly $4 billion.

Amazon has been rapidly expanding its reach in the healthcare space, most notably in 2018 with its acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack. 

"Amazon is obviously making decisions based around assets in the market at the right price. Frankly, [the One Medical acquisition] is one of the more foundational ones for them because this is where you are touching the patient. This is likely going to be the largest driver for them to be able to execute the rest of their strategy," Brad Haller, a senior partner in West Monroe's mergers and acquisitions practice, said in an interview.

The online retail giant announced plans last week to buy One Medical for $18 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.9 billion including the company's net debt, according to a press release.



Teladoc takes hefty impairment charge in Q2 with losses mounting to nearly $10B

By Heather Landi

Jul 27, 2022 04:39pm

Telehealth giant Teladoc Wednesday reported a hefty loss of $3.1 billion that dragged down its second-quarter earnings. The company's share price tumbled in after-hours trading as management set lower expectations for its 2022 outlook.

The company took a $3 billion hit from an impairment charge that pushed the company to a loss of $19.22 per share in the second quarter compared to a loss of $133.8 million, or a loss of 86 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.

In the first quarter, Teladoc took a $6.6 billion hit to write down the value of its Livongo acquisition two years ago. With those two impairment charges, the company's losses have ballooned to $9.8 billion in the first half of the year.

Companies opt for impairment when the value of assets or goodwill on their books is no longer fully recoverable. 



Is Physician EHR Use a Detriment to the Patient Experience?

Two-thirds of physicians reported that EHR use negatively impacted patient experience, but patients felt differently, with 91 percent of patients saying physician EHR use had a positive impact.

By Sarai Rodriguez

July 27, 2022 - EHRs are supposed to improve the care experience for providers and patients. However, both groups have contrasting attitudes towards physician EHR use and its impact on the patient experience, a recent study published in Annals of Family Medicine found.

The EHR is intended to promote safe, efficient, and high-quality medical care, the researchers wrote. Yet, it has been previously described as a “third person” in the examination room. During clinical encounters, EHR use can change a healthcare practitioner’s eye gaze, posture, and attention given to patients.

“Entering health information, placing electronic orders, and retrieving results can be distracting to patients and practitioners,” Ellen C Meltzer, lead study author and internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic-Phoenix, and colleagues wrote. “When practitioners focus on their computer, dialog is easily disrupted and can lead to gaps in communication and patients feeling unheard.”



AI Protein Design Software Trained to Generate Medicines, Vaccines

An artificial intelligence software developed to design proteins may also be used to create medicines, vaccines, and cancer treatments.

By Shania Kennedy

July 27, 2022 - Researchers at Harvard and the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW Medicine) have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) software that uses deep learning to design proteins with various functions, some of which could be used in the creation of medicine, vaccines, and medical treatments.

Protein design, also known as protein engineering, is a process by which researchers create proteins with enhanced or novel functional properties. These engineered proteins have various uses, but many are used in medical research to design protein-based vaccines, such as some COVID-19 vaccines, or medical treatments for conditions like cancer.

In the past, researchers have used computers to try to design proteins for research, but this is a difficult process, according to the press release. Because a single protein molecule can contain thousands of bonded atoms, proteins created in a lab are difficult to engineer and study.

These challenges spurred the research team to look for alternative solutions. Inspired by machine learning and its ability to generate images from prompts, the researchers set out to build a similar algorithm for protein design.



Web apps offer a way in for cyberattacks in health care computer networks

July 26, 2022

Richard Payerchin

HHS calls for added security in latest threat brief on apps such as patient portals, telehealth.

Web applications such as patient portals, telehealth services and online pharmacies can become openings for computer network attacks against physicians and health systems, according to federal experts.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the warnings and potential security upgrades in its latest threat brief, “Web Application Attacks in Healthcare.” HHS offers guidance through its Office of Information Security and the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center (HC3).

“Even though there are a variety of web application attacks, there are also processes, technologies and methods to protect against them,” the threat brief said.

Web apps in use

Web apps are application programs “stored on a remote server and delivered over the Internet through a browser interface,” according to the official definition. Those exist as online forms, shopping carts, word processors, spreadsheets, video and photo editing programs, file convertors, file scanners and email programs including Gmail, the threat brief said.



Health data silos are growing: Can CDS Hooks help bridge the gaps?

The CDS Hooks API is a new specification that builds on FHIR, describing how EHRs can automatically invoke external platforms or apps. For the first time, by CDS Hooks invoking FHIR apps, EHR-only users can have insights relevant to the clinical situation and within their EHR workflow based on data sourced outside of it. CDS Hooks is potentially a powerful way to ensure that all patient data can be accessed via the EHR.

By Mark Braunstein

Jul 26, 2022 at 2:00 PM

Data interoperability has long been a challenge that has become increasingly important as healthcare moves toward a value-based care model. Being able to share clinical records and other patient data among providers and across different systems is key to helping meet the goals of cost-efficient care with better patient outcomes.

But does the current application of standards bind medical records, patient-generated data and clinical decision support (CDS) tools into a continuous workflow to benefit providers and their patients?

Finding a cure for data access through FHIR integration

Before we dig deeper into this issue, let’s look at how far we’ve come. In 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act enshrined healthcare data access into law by addressing some of the ongoing challenges with regard to data interoperability and electronic health records (EHRs). It required certified EHRs to support patient-facing APIs to allow for increased data access, transparency and interoperability across different vendors and third-party applications. It also outlawed ‘data blocking’ ensuring access to EHR data.



Improving healthcare services with automated translators

New translation services from Microsoft, Amazon and Google, integrated with EHRs, can help organizations avoid the high cost of interpreters.

Jul 21 2022

Mike Davis

Analyst, KLAS Research

When a non-English-speaking person presents for healthcare services, their inability to converse with care providers can become a safety and care quality issue.

Limited English proficiency, or LEP, is an independent driver of health disparities and negatively impacts other social determinants of health. Language interpreters may not be readily available to some care providers. If the person needing healthcare does not have a family member that can translate for them, diagnosing and delivery of care can be challenging.

In many cases, providers hire interpreters to assist with patient communications. The use of professional interpreters is likely to decrease communication errors, increase patient comprehension, equalize healthcare utilization, improve clinical outcomes and increase satisfaction patient satisfaction for patients with LEP.

But these interpreter services add significant costs. The cost of interpreter services can range from $45 to $150 per hour for in-person interpreters, $1.25 to $3 per minute for telephone interpreters, and $1.95 to $3.49 per minute for remote video interpreting. In some cases, these services may be covered by a patient’s Medicaid or other federally funded medical insurance.



AI – data acquisition challenges

A data normalization process can require significant resources to initiate and maintain.

Jul 27 2022

Mike Davis

Analyst, KLAS Research

More healthcare organizations are trying to generate accurate and reliable artificial intelligence algorithms to assist with improving healthcare delivery while reducing costs.

These organizations can control the quality of their own data. But they also must use large volumes of data from third-party resources or other organizations to develop accurate and defensible AI algorithms. And using that data requires a formidable data normalization process that can involve significant resources to initiate and maintain.

Data scientists spend 45 percent of their time on data preparation used to inform their algorithms, according to one report. Data normalization challenges include the identification and ingestion of data sources, mapping data so it’s searchable and building algorithms for analytics and AI.

While healthcare has codified several data elements (e.g., DRGs, ICD-10, CPT-4, and HCPCS), a significant portion of healthcare documentation is still captured as unstructured text data. Using natural language processing engines to extract and map unstructured text into coded data elements is improving the quality of internal data for organizations, but it’s challenging when external data acquisition is incorporated into larger data sets.



Reduce Physician Burnout by Addressing Usability and Interoperability Says CMA President

July 27, 2022

Colin Hung

All around the globe, healthcare systems are beginning to strain and fray as physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals leave their positions or scale back their hours. There is no silver bullet. Restoring our health systems and re-energizing staff is going to require change and improvement on many fronts. Technology can help, but only if it reduces the administrative burden. Dr. Katharine Smart, President of the Canadian Medical Association believes interoperability is key to reducing physician burnout.

Healthcare IT Today sat down with Dr. Smart at a recent conference in Toronto to discuss the healthcare workforce crisis and how Health IT can help.

Worrying Trend

“Physicians are absolutely experiencing burnout at double the rate before the pandemic, it’s now over 50% of physicians and extends to nurses and other healthcare professionals,” stated Dr. Smart. “It’s really worrisome. We are in a situation where we have problems with access and not enough staff. That’s not where we want to be.”

Recently, there have been noticeable signs of the healthcare workforce crisis. In Canada headlines are starting to appear around local Emergency Departments reducing their hours due to a shortage of staff. The same is happening in Europe.



Data Breaches Hit Healthcare Industry Right in The Wallet

Analysis  |  By Amanda Schiavo  |   July 27, 2022

Average breach costs in healthcare increased to $10.1 million this year.

The healthcare industry has been hit hard financially by an increase in data breaches, with the average breach costs in healthcare increasing by nearly $1 million in 2021 to $10.1 million in 2022, according to recent data from IBM.

For 12 consecutive years the healthcare industry—defined as hospitals and clinics in the IBM research—has had the highest average cost of data breaches per year, with financial organizations coming in second. Sixty percent of organizations across a variety of industries have reported needing to increase the price of their products and services because of costly data breaches. However, the IBM report shows that the right strategies coupled with the right technology can make a positive and significant difference when healthcare organizations are attacked.

Healthcare organizations have reported nearly two-times as many breaches between January and July of 2022 than for the same period last year, according to a Politico report. Additionally, four out of five organizations surveyed by IBM said they'd experienced at least one successful attack.

Some organizations may think the best approach is to simply pay the ransomware demands and move on, but the IBM data shows this approach is more costly—especially when factoring in the cost of the ransom. Those in the study who decided to pay saw only $610,000 less in average breach costs compared to those that chose not to pay—and that is not including the cost of the ransom. 



Healthcare breach costs hit record high

The newest IBM X-Force Cost of a Data Breach Report also shows healthcare organizations have the longest breach cycle of any industry, requiring nearly 11 months to identify and contain security incidents.

By Nathan Eddy

July 27, 2022 09:57 AM

The average breach costs in healthcare surpassed $10 million, with the industry maintaining its the top rank for costliest industry breaches for the 12th consecutive year, according to IBM X-Force's latest Cost of a Data Breach Report.

The average total cost of a breach in healthcare increased 9.4% from $9.2 million in the 2021 report to $10.1 million in 2022.

The study also found healthcare organizations have a higher breach cycle than any industry, requiring nearly 11 months to identify and contain a breach.

"In recent years, we've increasingly seen cybercriminals rely on the concept of leverage," says John Hendley, head of strategy at IBM Security X-Force. "Healthcare is simply a very attractive and lucrative target as operations and downtime are considered both costly and urgent."

Malicious actors use this sense of urgency as leverage to pressure their victims – often through ransomware attacks.



Latest Oracle Cerner EHR Outage Occurs at VA Roseburg Medical Center

The nearly four-hour Oracle Cerner EHR outage left doctors unable to access the health center’s patient registration platform.

By Sarai Rodriguez

July 26, 2022 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Roseburg Medical Center was the latest facility to be affected by an unplanned Oracle Cerner EHR outage, according to reporting from FedScoop.

The EHR system implemented less than two months ago went down on July 21, 2022, leaving doctors and clinicians unable to register patients for almost four hours. Patients were able to receive treatment during the EHR downtime, VA emphasized.

The outage between 11:42 a.m. and 3:51 p.m. Pacific Time restricted access to VA Roseburg Medical Center’s patient registration platform.

“During this time, clinical staff could not check-in, discharge, or transfer patients,” a VA spokesperson said to FedScoop. “While staff may not have been able to register patients or transfer them to another unit within the EHR, patients were seen and treated. When the issue was resolved, patients were registered and transferred within the system to the appropriate patient unit.”



ML Model Estimates Weekly Opioid Overdose Deaths Using Proxy Data

New analysis shows that a machine learning model can estimate national opioid overdose mortality trends in near real-time using proxy data sources.

By Shania Kennedy

July 26, 2022 - Researchers have developed a machine learning (ML) model capable of estimating national weekly opioid overdose mortality trends in near real-time using proxy data sources such as public health information and law enforcement data.

Forecasting opioid overdose deaths is a major component of efforts to combat the opioid crisis, but issues around overdose data prevent public health officials from doing so effectively. According to the study, national data on opioid overdose deaths are often delayed by several months or more, seriously limiting their usability.

Earlier in 2022, researchers from the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) argued that these data lags are such a large issue that they force public health officials to fight the opioid epidemic “blindfolded.”

Further, the researchers stated that the only way to effectively address the opioid crisis is to use real-time, disaggregated data to identify which groups of individuals are most at-risk and use that information to target prevention and treatment at the local level.



Digital Therapeutics Provide Many Benefits, But Threats, Challenges Remain

Research shows that the growth of digital therapeutics provides many benefits and opportunities for patient care, but organizations must consider the potential drawbacks.

By Mark Melchionna

July 25, 2022 - While examining digital therapeutics (DTx) and their effect on healthcare, researchers from Forrester released a report that identified various benefits and risks associated with this type of technology.

DTx is essentially a set of software and devices that organizations often use to deliver care for various conditions, including substance use disorders and diabetes.

While recognizing the growth of DTx use, the researchers noted several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that need to be considered. The report, which was shared with mHealthIntelligence via email, is based on interviews with numerous DTx companies.

The strengths of DTx highlighted in the report were ease of use, high levels of accessibility and delivery, and data collection.



Digital pharmacy startup Capsule lays off 13% of workforce: media report

By Heather Landi

Jul 22, 2022 07:20am

Capsule joins the growing list of digital health and health tech companies slashing head counts in the face of a market downturn.

The New York-based digital pharmacy startup initiated staffing cuts this week that impacted 13% of its workforce, Crain's New York Business reported. Sales and marketing, software engineering, product, operations and expansion growth were among the affected departments, according to LinkedIn posts from former employees who were part of the layoffs.

Capsule did not respond to a request for comment.

The company had 938 employees as of May, according to Pitchbook.

Founded in 2015, the company has expanded beyond New York City to more than a dozen markets including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. The startup aims to build a "one-stop-shop" for digital healthcare where consumers can access Capsule’s digital pharmacy along with a curated set of products and services—such as telemedicine or mental health support—all from within a single app, according to company executives.



Johns Hopkins sepsis alert tool reduced patient deaths, studies find

Published July 22, 2022

Elise Reuter Reporter

Dive Brief:

  • Three studies published in Nature by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and machine learning startup Bayesian Health found that a sepsis early detection tool reduced relative deaths from sepsis by 18.2%. Sepsis is a life-threatening response to an infection that is estimated to cause about a third of hospital deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
  • The prospective studies, which took place across five hospitals, found that Bayesian’s machine learning platform identified 82% of sepsis cases, and 38% of alerts were confirmed by a doctor. When an alert was confirmed by a doctor within three hours, patients received antibiotics nearly two hours faster than patients whose alert was addressed later, dismissed or never confirmed.
  • Although sepsis prediction tools have been adopted at hundreds of hospitals, few prospective studies evaluate how they perform in the real world. A study published last year found that a widely used model developed by Epic Systems missed 67% of sepsis cases at one hospital, despite generating alerts for 18% of hospitalized patients. 

Dive Insight:

Bayesian Health, a startup spun out of Johns Hopkins, tested its sepsis-detection platform across two academic hospitals and three community hospitals between 2018 and 2020. 

At first, researchers ran the system in the background and measured how it performed against the current standard of care. Then, they deployed it in hospitals and measured provider adoption of the tool and how it affected patient outcomes. 



NIST revises healthcare guidance to improve HIPAA Security Rule compliance

The draft publication 800-66 focuses on helping inform the industry about security issues around electronic protected health information.

By Nathan Eddy

July 25, 2022 10:47 AM

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced an update to its healthcare cybersecurity guidance, placing a greater emphasis on the guidance's risk management component, including integrating enterprise risk management concepts.

The draft publication 800-66 focuses on helping inform the industry about security issues around electronic protected health information, or ePHI, which runs the gamut of patient data from lab results to hospital visits within the context of the HIPAA Security Rule.

The HIPAA Security Rule, which focuses on protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of ePHI, is separated into six main sections, ranging from general rules and administrative safeguards to technical and physical safeguards.

The guidance also draws attention to the new challenges posed by telehealth and telemedicine technologies, as well as cloud services and mobile device technology.

Also included are resources made available to help healthcare organizations protect ePHI from ransomware and phishing, two common threats that are rapidly evolving.




Vulnerabilities in health data privacy causing tension among patients

More than 92% of patients believe privacy is a right, and their health data should not be available for purchase, survey shows.

Jeff Lagasse, Editor

Confidence in the security and confidentiality of personal health information is beginning to erode, if the results of a new survey are any indication. Released by the American Medical Association, it showed that more than 92% of patients believe privacy is a right, and their health data should not be available for purchase.

Close to 75% of the 1,000 patients surveyed by Savvy Cooperative expressed concern about protecting the privacy of personal health data, and only 20% of patients said they knew the scope of companies and individuals with access to their data.

This concern is magnified with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization as the lack of data privacy could place patients and physicians in legal peril in states that restrict reproductive health services. That ruling overturned the right to abortion that had been protected by Roe v. Wade for decades.

The survey indicated patients are most comfortable with physicians and hospitals having access to personal health data, and least comfortable with social media sites, employers and technology companies having access to the same data.



How Should RPM Vendors Choose Remote Patient Monitoring Device Suppliers?

July 25, 2022

The following is a guest article by Jack Wang, the Vice President of AOJ Medical.

RPM service and Telehealth are not new topics In the current health care market, and many RPM and Telehealth vendors have already set up services, systems, and applications for specified diseases or target patients. These kinds of vendors also treat remote monitoring devices as a key part of the services, such as different kinds of vital signs monitoring and chronic disease monitoring devices.

The benefit of continually monitoring the conditions of the patients provides health care vendors an ongoing status from a technical and data-oriented view so that they can evaluate the patients’ state and optimize the care solutions more effectively.

Vendors need various monitoring devices and these devices also need to be integrated into the entire health care system.  How to choose these kinds of device partners and suppliers is a little bit complicated for heath care vendors and many vendors have no hardware design and manufacturing background. During our three years of working side by side with RPM vendors, our experts at AOJ Medical summarized a few principles as good practices to help RPM vendors make more efficient decisions.

Principle 1: Evaluate the technical competence of the suppliers.

Due to the global supply chain division and cooperation, most hardware devices are from some manufacturing countries like China. Normally, there are no big differences in basic manufacturing competence among different suppliers in China. Most of them have their own manufacturing plants with high-cost materials and labor.



London NHS trust cancels operations as IT system fails in heatwave

Guy’s and St Thomas’ trust having to postpone and divert appointments, with doctors unable to see patients’ notes

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

Fri 22 Jul 2022 01.26 AEST Last modified on Fri 22 Jul 2022 14.28 AEST

One of the NHS’s biggest hospital trusts is facing major problems after its IT system failed because of the extreme temperatures earlier this week.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ trust (GSTT) in London has had to cancel operations, postpone appointments and divert seriously ill patients to other hospitals in the capital as a result of its IT meltdown.

The situation means that doctors cannot see patients’ medical notes remotely and are having to write down the results of all examinations by hand. They are also unable to remotely access the results of diagnostic tests such as X-rays and CT and MRI scans and are instead having to call the imaging department, which is overloading the department’s telephone lines.

GSTT has declared the problem a “critical site incident”. It has apologised to patients and asked them to bring letters or other paperwork about their condition with them to their appointment to help overcome doctors’ loss of access to their medical history.

Both its datacentres, one at Guy’s hospital and the other at St Thomas’ hospital, stopped working on Tuesday afternoon as Britain experienced record temperatures. The air conditioning units intended to keep them cool failed, sources at the trust said.