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, December 15, 2008

Useful and Interesting Health IT Links from the Last Week –14/12/2008.

Huge interest in the story of yesterday – with the seeming hoax of an e-health strategy being released.

If you want to contribute to the effort of making the hopeless politicians grasp the need for e-health can I suggest you go to the site below and get in touch! All hands to the pumps is my view!

Site to contact.

The Coalition for E-Health (Australia)


Now the news!

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

These include first:

Ten prophecies for the digital millennium

Graeme Philipson

December 9, 2008

A summary of the main trends in IT, from the rise of the supernet
to the threat posed by intelligent machines.

Recently I was asked to speak at a conference about what's going to happen in IT predictions in the next 10 years. It's always hard to tell the future, but here goes anyway - 10 predictions, in no particular order. I have mentioned most of these ideas in various columns during the past year or two. So treat this, my last column for the year, as sort of a summary of what I believe to be the trends in IT as we near the end of the first decade of the digital millennium.

1. The internet will become the "supernet"

The internet has been around since 1969, but it's only 15 years since it has become the web - easy to use, easy to navigate, with billions of web pages and billions of users.

We have already reached the point at which most devices connected to the internet are mobile - phones, cars, even household appliances. That trend will continue, with the move to "embedded computing", where the internet links objects as well as general-purpose computers.

The other nine are here:


This is a good list and looks about right to me for the next 5-10 years. Good to see more e-health gets a run in the list!

Second we have:

Mobile e-health van trial

PM - Monday, 8 December , 2008 18:42:00

Reporter: Donna Field

MARK COLVIN: A new medical program in Queensland is using state of the art technology to treat children living in remote Indigenous communities.

A mobile health clinic will tour the communities capturing patient images. It will then relay that information to specialists in Brisbane.

The trial of the mobile telemedicine program is the first in Australia. Health professionals hope that it will reduce preventable conditions like ear infections.

Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: Cherbourg in south-east Queensland is the third largest Indigenous community in the State - home to about 1200 people.

It will also house a new van that will be hard to miss. The mobile e-health van has been painted brightly by a local artist and on board is specialised medical equipment.

Dr Anthony Smith from the University of Queensland's Centre for Online Health came up with the idea.

ANTHONY SMITH: It will improve screening rates because what we're doing is providing screening in a much more systematic fashion. Instead of doing screening once or twice a year by sending specialist groups out to schools and communities, what we're doing is providing a facility which will be present every day throughout the year so that children will be able to access the service through the schools. They'll be screened systematically. We aim to screen 90 per cent of children every year.

More here:


This certainly seems like very good news – given the toll on education and quality of life ear disease causes in these communities.

Third we have:

Software vendors get visibility of e-health

8 November, 2008. Healthcare software vendors will be able to view the messaging protocols for a nationwide e-health environment, following the publication of a suite of technical specifications today.

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has published specifications for both messaging and connectivity architecture which underpin the approach to e-health communications for NEHTA’s ePathology, eDischarge Summary, eReferral and eMedications Management.

“The specifications define the technical protocols by which messages will be transported and secured and the means by which parties will identify, locate and connect to each other," said Chief Executive Peter Fleming.

The specifications relate to those aspects of e-health communication which will apply in a common way across all of NEHTA’s packages.

They are accompanied by a range of supporting material, including example implementations and implementation guides, which are designed to assist organisations seeking to adopt and apply the specifications.

“The specifications have been the culmination of several years of effort by NEHTA to develop an approach to e-health communication that is interoperable, secure, open, robust, reliable, and adaptable to future needs," Mr Fleming said.

More (including links to material) here:


This is actually pretty important stuff. I really wonder why they got the date wrong (it was released December 8) and is clearly out of order on the NEHTA web site.

One thing about this documentation I do find astonishing is that it would seem to be the outcome of almost 2 years work. I am at a loss to understand why it would have taken so long. In the meantime, of course, people have moved forward with messaging all over the country. I hope not too much of this effort is invalidated by what has now been released. I would be interested in comments from those at the ‘bleeding edge’ about how useful this all is.

Fourth we have:

PC marks 40th birthday

December 9, 2008 - 10:54AM

Little did the world realise 40 years ago that a San Francisco stage was featuring the first public glimpse of an invention that would revolutionise not only our daily lives but also our ability to solve the world's problems.

An audience of about 1000 people had witnessed the premiere of the personal computer.

The December 9, 1968, unveiling of the primitive device with a mouse and interactive screen - in a now-legendary demonstration by its inventor, Douglas Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute - drew a rousing, standing ovation from the computing cognoscenti who recognised the significance of what they had just seen.

The machine raised hopes of solving a major modern quandary - how to navigate the world's rapidly accumulating and increasingly complex store of information. That year's fledgling efforts to navigate the physical universe in spaceships seemed ponderous and slow compared to the prospect of speeding through the universe of information in the digital ships promised by the new computers.

The invention featured rudimentary windows and hyperlinks that allowed jumping from one document to another, as well as the ability to edit text and add graphics on a video monitor. The presentation also offered a peek at future computer networks that would become the internet.

"No one has ever before or since seen such a collection of great ideas in one demonstration," said SRI President and CEO Curt Carlson.

The event - dubbed "the mother of all demos" by chroniclers of the computer industry and Silicon Valley - was being commemorated on its 40th anniversary in a program at Stanford University. The event included Engelbart and some of the other pioneers who worked with him.

The 1968 demonstration was years before anyone dreamed of Microsoft or Apple. "Bill Gates was 12 at the time; Steve Jobs was 13," writes John Naughton in his book A Brief History of the Future.

Though Engelbart may have not achieved the fame of a Gates or Jobs, his profound influence is widely acknowledged in the field.

Engelbart is "the Moses of computers," writes Steven Levy in his history of the Macintosh.

More here:


This is just a fascinating report as I had no idea the PC went so far back – as they say you learn something new every day!

Fifth we have:

Industry baffled over clean-feed internet pilot

Filtering the net akin to boiling the ocean: Telstra

Darren Pauli 12/12/2008 15:43:00

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) participating in live trials of the national Internet content filtering scheme say the tests will be undermined by a government decision to test the “clean-feed” blacklist under watered-down conditions.

The voluntary trials will test the efficiency of ISP-level Internet content filtering which, if successful, will be implemented across all Australian Web connections at an estimated cost of $70 million. The initiative, part of the government's $125.8 million cyber safety plan to reduce child pornography, will block nefarious and illegal content listed in a separate clean-feed and opt-out blacklist, operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Blacklists will be immune from public scrutiny under an ACMA exemption to the Freedom of Information Act as disclosure of the banned Web sites would allow paedophiles to avoid detection and would hinder law enforcement efforts. The addition of new content categories to the blacklists requires parliamentary approval.

The plan has come under intense fire from industry experts and privacy lobby groups that argue ISP-level filtering will choke Internet speeds and encourage censorship abuse.

Many participating telcos, which include Optus, Internode, and iiNet, have told Computerworld they do not agree with the scheme and expect the trials to return unacceptable results.

Telstra, the nation's largest telco, has refused to participate in the voluntary trials. Chief operations officer Greg Winn, responding to questions at a Sydney media lunch, said the scheme is a no-win for government and industry.

“It is like trying to boil the ocean,” Winn said.

“It is my personal opinion, but there is just no win for anyone in this.”

The telco has said it will implement its own content filters if the plan is mandated.

More here:


This issue really seems to be hotting up – what with Telstra playing hard ball and the Get-Up campaign now in full swing. I think Minister Conroy is likely to find the compulsory nature of the plan may just be a bridge to far. This will be an issue to follow closely next year – given e-Health’s need for optimal internet infrastructure.

Last we have the slightly more technical note.

Review: Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 adds speed and privacy

Mozilla's new beta adds private browsing and other nifty features

Preston Gralla 12/12/2008 12:48:00

Firefox 3.1 may only be a point release -- from 3.0 to 3.1 -- but its just-released Beta 2 version is a good indication that the final release will be a must-have upgrade for anyone using Firefox.

Beta 2 (now available from Mozilla) unveils the browser's most important new feature -- Private Browsing, which automatically deletes all traces of a browsing session. In addition, the new beta turns on a feature designed to make the browser up to 40 times faster (at least, according to Mozilla).

Browsing in private

The most important new feature in Beta 2 is the addition of Private Browsing -- the same feature that is called Incognito Mode in Chrome and InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer 8. All traces of your browsing session are deleted when you use Private Browsing -- your browsing history, temporary Internet files, search history, download history, Web form history and cookies. (For obvious reasons, it's popularly known as "porn mode.")

Much more here:


I agree with the review having been using it for a few days – fast, stable etc. As Preston says the final release will be a must have!

For the supporters of Linux – we also have a major release:

Fedora turns 10

Red Hat's open source standard bearer and mineshaft canary is still everything to every Linux power user

Paul Venezia (InfoWorld) 09/12/2008 08:29:00

There comes a point in the life of any hard-core Linux user when the idea of digging about to find yet another obscure piece of software, compiling the code, and integrating it into your daily routine just seems annoying, not compelling. This is where Fedora comes through. Because more of the popular and necessary packages "just work" with Fedora, less time is burned spinning wheels and more time is available for productive tasks.

To those who grew up with Red Hat Linux, the birth of Fedora was a bit of a surprise. In 2003, Fedora rose from the ashes of Red Hat Linux when Red Hat commercialized its Linux offering under the now-familiar name of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and made Fedora its open source initiative. As it played out, Fedora was, and is, essentially the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Server. When a Fedora distribution has been released and used the world over for a significant period of time, it forks to become the next iteration of RHEL. Thus, Fedora has always been a community-supported preview of the next version of RHEL.

Full article here:


More next week.



Anonymous said...

The messaging protocols are not really protocols. They are blueprints for protocols. The real protocols will come out of the specialist areas, such as Pathology.

These blueprints are much more complex than they need to be. They are the result of design by committee.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blueprint comment.

Design by Committee is the only way bureaucratic public servant types know how to operate. For them there is no other way. They do not want to know of alternative approaches, firstly because such thinking is too far outside their comfort zone and secondly, because it is too dilutive of their need to exert control. Therefore, as the 'committee' structure will, by default, stay, the solution has to lie in the way the 'committee(s)' are 'established' and 'led'.

Trevor3130 said...

Staff from HITRU at UniSyd have an article at HINZ, 'Rescuing Data from Decaying and Moribund Clinical Information Systems'.
Interesting to reflect that the Telsta proposal for the National Broadband Network lacked an essential component, a "a participation plan for SMEs in Australia and New Zealand".
What's the big deal about NZ? So, they've had a unique identifier for health care for, well, decades? And, NZ has advanced plans for broadband. Nope, nothing for us to learn from NZ. In New Zealand most of the lines companies are owned by consumer trusts and, assuming that there is strong local belief in the importance of broadband to the area's economic and social wellbeing and development, this ownership structure would tend to be sympathetic to longer payback periods. (p.119, Stage 2 Report)