Quote Of The Year

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

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Useful and Interesting Health IT Links from the Last Week – 24/06/2007

Again, in the last week, I have come across a few reports and news items which are worth passing on.

These include first:


Smartcard bill released on Parliament break-up

Article from: AAP

By Sandra O'Malley

June 22, 2007 01:25am

THE Federal Government has released a 200-page draft bill of its controversial access card just hours before Parliament took a six-week break for winter.

Human Services Minister Chris Ellison will give the community two months to comment on the draft legislation, which was released late yesterday.

It almost guarantees that the Government won't introduce the contentious new card before the next federal election, due to be held in October or November.

The access card is intended to replace the Medicare card and up to 16 other benefit cards, streamlining access to a wide range of government health and welfare services.

The exposure draft is a consolidated bill containing legislation previously introduced to Parliament and new changes that flowed from public and parliamentary scrutiny of the original laws.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

Full details can be found here:


The site notes:

“The period for public comment on the draft Bills closes on Tuesday 21 August 2007. All comments will be given careful consideration and form the basis to provide advice to the Minister for Human Services who will decide whether the Bill will be amended prior to introduction into the Federal Parliament.”

The Ministerial Press release is found here:


On a quick read it seems the Government has taken on board some of, but not all, of the suggestions of the Access Card Privacy Taskforce. I plan to devote some time to closer review of all the documentation over the next week or two. The fact sheets describing the new legislation provide an easy way to understand the major issues.

Second we have:


Semantic Web: Stuck in neutral

Semantic Web technologies are not just a pipedream

James Kobielus (Network World) 21/06/2007 09:54:08

Ubiquitous semantic interoperability is like world peace: It's a goal so grandiose, nebulous and contrary to the fractious realities of distributed networking that it hardly seems worth waiting for.

In most circumstances we can assume that heterogeneous applications will employ different schemas to define semantically equivalent entities -- such as customer data records -- and that some sweat equity will be needed to define cross-domain data mappings for full interoperability.

Nevertheless, many smart people feel that automated, end-to-end, standards-based semantic interoperability (where computers exchange not just data but the data's meaning as well) is more than a pipe dream. Most notably, the long-running Semantic Web initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) just keeps chugging away, developing specifications that have fleshed out Tim Berners-Lee's vision to a modest degree and gained a smidgen of real-world adoption.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

This is a useful brief review of just where this superficially attractive idea has gone in the real world. It seems to be moving forward only slowly.

Third we have:


Richard Granger's NHS IT legacy

News Analysis: Will the £12.4bn project be viewed as a success or a failure?

By Andy McCue

Published: Monday 18 June 2007

After five years in charge of the biggest IT project in the world NHS IT director-general Richard Granger has announced he is to step down later this year.

The former Andersen and Deloitte management consultant came to the NHS IT post on the back of his successful stint delivering the London Congestion Charge scheme, becoming the UK's highest-paid civil servant - a silicon.com Freedom of Information request last year revealed he earns around £280,000.

It has undoubtedly been a turbulent five years and opinion is strongly divided on whether his time in charge of the £12.4bn NHS computerisation programme - also known as Connecting for Health - has been a success.

While Granger's hard-headed and no-nonsense approach meant tough new contracts for suppliers, which would only get paid for systems they actually delivered, it also led to accusations of a project being imposed on the NHS with little input from the doctors, nurses and patients who would be using it.

…..( see the URL above for full article)

This is a useful summary of the present status of the UK Health IT National Program for Health IT and is well worth a read. I think I will wait a few years before forming a final view on this enormous project. We can only wish Richard Granger well in his next role. I suspect he has suffered enough at the hands of Health IT.

Further comment is found at:


Ailing project at heart of NHS

Loss of IT chief is only the latest setback in ambitious scheme to computerise records
Simon Bowers
Tuesday June 19, 2007
The Guardian

And here:


NHS IT chief warns contractors could seek compensation

Granger claims his departure could force contract renegotiations

By Tash Shifrin

And here:


The end of the beginning?

Fourth we have:

GAO cites HHS for not establishing IT milestones

By: Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Story posted: June 21, 2007 - 1:14 pm EDT

Part one of a two-part series:

In an update of a January report, the Government Accountability Office has again criticized HHS for failing to have an integrated approach to developing a national privacy policy for healthcare information technology. In testimony before a congressional oversight subcommittee Tuesday, the GAO also cited HHS for not establishing milestones to measure its own progress toward that end.

But the GAO itself came in line for some harsh words, this time from a pair of privacy advocates who charge that the congressional watchdog has kept its head in the sand when it comes to the current privacy environment and the lack of protection afforded by a key federal privacy rule.

Meanwhile, the head of a coalition composed mostly of healthcare systems and pharmaceutical manufacturers and resellers testified in defense of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule, while warning against adding privacy constraints to it and calling for eliminating by federal pre-emption the more stringent state privacy laws that HIPAA now allows. And, a privacy expert who worked on developing HIPAA during the Clinton administration, chided the Justice Department and HHS for failing to enforce the act's existing privacy provisions.

…..( see the URL above for full article)


CSC drops iSoft complaint

Ben Woodhead | June 18, 2007

OUTSOURCER Computer Sciences Corporation has dropped its opposition to Australian medical software developer IBA Health's £140 million ($352 million) takeover of iSoft

The move ends weeks of uncertainty around the all share offer for iSoft that was triggered by a letter last month from CSC to iSoft that said the outsourcer would block the proposed acquisition.

CSC is iSoft's largest customer and has the right to block changes in ownership of the software company under a contract linked to the UK National Health Services £12.4 billion National Program for IT (NPfIT).

However, iSoft has had to sacrifice about 5 per cent of the revenue it would have received from its work on the NPfIT to make the deal happen.

"This agreement is a great outcome for both iSoft and CSC," IBA executive chairman Gary Cohen said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

"For iSoft it reduces the risk of the (NPfIT) and strengthens its financial position in the early years of the program."

…..( see the URL above for full article)

1> http://e-caremanagement.com/connecting-the-dotsgoogle-health-promises-to-create-and-dominate-next-generation-phrs/#more-109

Connecting the Dots…Google Health Promises to Create AND Dominate Next Generation PHRs

Posted by Vince Kuraitis on June 20, 2007 · Filed in Companies, DM Megatrend #5: Technology, EHRs/PHRs · Comments

Google Health (GH) could be the event of the decade in advancing health care reform — not just healthcare information technology (HIT) reform, but health care system reform. GH promises simultaneously to create AND dominate the market for next generation personal health records (PHRs). There is nothing else in our solar system or in the entire universe like it.

2 > http://www.tbo.com/news/nationworld/MGB30KO483F.html

FDA Approves Computerized Pillbox

Skip directly to the full story.

The Associated Press

Published: Jun 22, 2007

More next week.


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