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."

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Useful and Interesting Health IT Links from the Last Week – 2/09/2007

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

These include first:


Tassie ambos move to electronic reporting

Rugged computers to replace pen and paper

Rodney Gedda 27/08/2007 11:37:50

The Tasmanian Ambulance Service (TAS) will procure some 70 rugged notebook computers over four years to facilitate the migration off its paper-based patient care reporting process to a new electronic system.

The Business and Risk Strategy Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), on behalf of TAS, is seeking offers from a business capable of supplying Panasonic CF19 Toughbook computers to be used in the new Electronic Patient Care Record (ePCR) project.

"TAS is in the process of implementing a major improvement to its management of patient care reporting by changing from a complex paper-based patient care report system to an electronic tablet system," according to the department. "In parallel with this new initiative are a number of associated business improvement activities based on adoption of the ePCR and supported, where appropriate, by a range of modern DHHS ICT capabilities."

The new business improvement initiatives are being coordinated through DHHS information systems, the state's HealthConnect program, and TAS.

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

This is a really sad article. Why? First that the purchase of a few laptops to capture ambulance transport and presentation details would be seen as an e-Health initiative and second that there is continued mention of the now totally dead HealthConnect initiative with which this purchase has absolutely no relationship. More political pork I reckon.

Second we have:


Tax office gets tough on file privacy

Ben Woodhead | August 28, 2007

FRAUD detection systems have uncovered a rash of privacy breaches at the Australian Taxation Office as employees flout tough data protection rules despite ongoing monitoring and training.

The sweeps of data access logs led to three sackings during the 2007 financial year and another nine staff resigned after the ATO detected unauthorised access to taxpayer records.

The breaches came despite extensive privacy education programs at the agency and closely matched the 24 instances of tax officers inappropriately accessing client information that were uncovered in the 2006 financial year.

"While no level of unauthorised access is acceptable, in an organisation of about 22,000 people it is inevitable that a very small number of people will be tempted to do the wrong thing," an ATO spokeswoman said.

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

This is an important report as it adds the Tax Office to Centerlink, Hospitals and Motor Registry Offices around the country that have had private information leaked or snooped upon. It seems to me this sort of abuse is inevitable and that what is needed is to ensure the monitoring of and punishment of offenders needs to be sufficiently draconian to make people very hesitant to mis-behave.

With patient records it is vital that the public is assured that snoops will be reliably identified and punished.

Third we have:


Labor pledges to kill off Access Card

Annabel Stafford
August 29, 2007

THE $1.1 billion Access Card could soon be dead, with the Labor Party confirming it would kill off the proposal if it won this year's election.

Coming after the Federal Government last week confirmed it would put off introducing legislation for the Access Card until after the election, Labor has confirmed a Rudd government would scrap the idea.

"As far as we're concerned, (the Access Card) is dead," Labor human services spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.

Voters worried about the card now had a clear choice between a Coalition government that would introduce the smartcard — which would replace up to 17 social services cards and be required by anyone wanting to access government payments — and one that would not, Ms Plibersek said.

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

This is an interesting announcement by Labor – as, while in most policy areas they are seeking to only identify difference in those areas there is strong reasons to do so, it has been selected as an area of differentiation.

This decision also suggests – given the stated position of opposition of the other political parties – that this project may indeed face permanent cancellation.

This outcome would seem to be likely to bring some additional focus brought to bear on the NEHTA UHI service – which I note is increasingly being mentioned in submissions regarding the Access Card. The tenor of these submissions has been to ask how these initiatives are linked, and why are citizens being given multiple identifying numbers without any apparent co-ordination.

Fourth we have:


RHIO experts talk problems, future of movement

By: Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Story posted: August 30, 2007 - 5:59 am EDT

The recent faltering of a regional health information organization in Portland, Ore., and the outright folding of a RHIO in Scranton, Pa., may be indicative of a scaling back of some of the more ambitious goals of the RHIO movement, according to industry observers.

Are RHIOs like those proposed in Oregon and Pennsylvania between competing entities and multiple information technology systems dead?

"I'm definitely in the category of I don't know," said David Lansky, senior director of the health program at the Markle Foundation, who admits not having spent a lot of time tracking individual regional activities, but works primarily "one level up" on how regional networks communicate with each other. Markle was a participant in one of three consortia to present a prototype to HHS of a national health information network. The Markle collaborators moved electronic messages between RHIOs in Boston, Indianapolis and Mendocino County, Calif.

"It's not yet clear if the incentives exist for healthcare organizations to share information," he said. "So, I think it's become time to have more discussions about getting the incentives right. How? That's a deep question. Ultimately, it will be how we pay for healthcare."

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


Pact would coordinate key IT panels' activities

By: Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer

Story posted: August 31, 2007 - 5:59 am EDT

The leaders of two federally supported organizations—one tasked with anointing health information technology communications standards and the other with testing and certifying clinical IT systems—have proposed a formal agreement on how to coordinate their activities.

The proposed five-point memorandum of understanding would guide the relationship between the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology and the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel. The proposal was worked out between the physician chairmen of the two organizations, Mark Leavitt of CCHIT and John Halamka of the HITSP. It is subject to review and possible amendment by the controlling bodies of the two organizations as well as their approval before it becomes effective, those leaders said. The proposal will be presented to the controlling bodies this month, they said.

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology was formed in 2004 by the American Health Information Management Association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the National Alliance for Health Information Technology as a private-sector organization to promote the adoption, particularly by office-based physicians of electronic health-record systems and other IT. In 2005, HHS awarded CCHIT a three-year contract totaling $7.5 million to develop a process to certify health IT products.

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

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) and the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) are core players in determining the forward Standards directions in the US. This announcement seems to me to be unequivocally good news.


Call for electronic consent for secondary uses

30 Aug 2007

Consent to use patient records for secondary uses should be recorded using electronic mechanisms integrated with core NHS systems, the Working Group on the Secondary Uses of Patient Information has recommended.

The group, established to consider the issues around uses of patient-identifiable data for purposes other than direct patient care, said: “Consideration should be given to record consent, and ensure that the consent choices of an individual are automatically adhered to when providing data from their record.”

They argue that the opt-out approach currently suggested is inappropriate for keeping track of a patient’s wishes regarding their personal data where their identity is known to the researcher.

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

The report can be found here:

The Report of the CRDB Working Group on the Secondary Use of Patient Information

More next week.


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