Again, in the last week, I have come across a few news items which are worth passing on.
First we have:
February 19, 2009
The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology will launch six new software certification programs in 2010 and four in 2011.
The Chicago-based commission, which began its work certifying general electronic health records, next year will launch efforts to certify applications for clinical research, dermatology, advanced interoperability, advanced health care quality, behavioral health and long-term care. In 2011, it will add projects for eye care, oncology, advanced security and advanced clinical decision support applications.
This is very good news indeed as it will drive improvement in a range of specialist systems which will be needed over the next few years – hopefully – when Australia gets its act together. Better still, with the development of certification criteria which are made public we will have a target for which to shoot in terms of functionality etc in these areas.
More is found here:
Certification Commission expands scope
The Certification Commission has updated its roadmap for expansion of its health information technology certification activities, at the same time emphasizing the importance of flexibility and responsiveness as the impacts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 emerge. The nine new programs for launch in 2010 and beyond will extend certification to new specialties, settings, and populations, while also opening the door to labeling that recognizes advanced capabilities in electronic health records as users become ready to adopt them.
Review the Final Expansion Roadmap and the supporting materials received by the Commission and approved on February 17, 2009.
Second we have:
Security lapse at N.C. firm lets info from orthopedic practice get on the Internet
By CATHLEEN F. CROWLEY, Staff writer
First published in print: Thursday, February 19, 2009
Alice Fisk searched Google hoping to find condolence messages written on memorial sites for her daughter, who died in September from complications of diabetes.
Instead of condolences, Fisk found a medical report about her daughter's visit to a bone doctor.
"I was astonished," said Fisk, who lives in Schaghticoke. "What a violation of a right of privacy to have someone's medical report online."
Records of more than 1,000 patient visits to Northeast Orthopaedics, a large Albany surgical practice on Everett Road, have been posted on the Internet, a violation of patient privacy laws.
Alan Okun, practice administrator, said the North Carolina company that transcribes dictation for the doctors had a security lapse. The problem was discovered earlier this week and the company, MRecord, removed the records, he said.
However, as of Wednesday evening, Google's archiving system had kept copies that could still be discovered by a 70-year-old retired legal secretary like Fisk, and anyone else.
Fisk's daughter Alison Urzan, 48, a dental assistant, lived in Troy and suffered from diabetes for 25 years. One of the complications of the disease was orthostatic hypertension, which caused her blood pressure to drop when she stood up. Often, she collapsed.
Two things here. First it really is a worry that such sensitive data can somehow ‘leak’ like this. Second it is a worry that not only is it findable by Google but worse is cached so it can be found long after the source is taken down. That should re-double the efforts of custodians of such data – getting Google to remove a cache would not be easy I would imagine!
Third we have:
Waterloo students rewarded for their efforts to bring `e-health' in line online
February 21, 2009
Janis Foord Kirk
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
Career success often depends on an ability to look around your industry, find a need that's not being met and come up with a way to meet it.
By this criterion, the careers of two University of Waterloo students are off to a promising start.
Health sciences student Pavel Roshanov and Noemi Chanda, who is studying economics and sociology, recently combined their efforts to come up with an "e-health" solution for the overburdened health- care system.
Their shared burst of creative energy was prompted by a competition for students at Conestoga College in southwestern Ontario, and the University of Waterloo, sponsored by Agfa HealthCare, an international firm that specializes in workflow information technology and diagnostic imaging.
"We wanted to engage the younger population to help us think outside the box," says Jeff Nesbitt, Agfa's director of external partnerships in Waterloo, Ont. "We asked them to look at health care from an e-health perspective; to think about the interactive technologies that exist today and come up with ways to develop such things within the health care industry."
Thirty-three student teams from disciplines such as computer and software engineering, health informatics, mathematics and business accepted the challenge. Ten finalist teams were selected; each was mentored by medical practitioners and Agfa staff before presenting their ideas to a panel of experts.
Roshanov, 22, and Chanda, 21, won the contest, proposing a software program to help cardiovascular patients manage anticoagulation therapy from home.
It is good to see some energy and enthusiasm for e-Health among students. These are the ones that will form the industry leaders of the future and we are going to need many more health informaticians than we have at present. Addressing this need has been a consistent theme of many reports in the area both here and overseas.
Fourth we have:
Correspondents in Sydney | February 19, 2009
THE cost of phone and internet services in the home has increased in the past year but the majority of Australians find it too hard to compare deals, a survey has found.
Research conducted for telecommunications company AAPT reveals that one-third of Australian households were paying more for phone and internet services, with an average increase in the monthly bill of $44 since February last year.
The majority of the additional money was spent on mobile and internet services, AAPT said.
"It's becoming clear that Australians don't consider broadband and mobile phones discretionary purchases," AAPT spokeswoman Tahn Shannon said.
"These are increasingly deemed necessities, and households are struggling to keep up with home telecommunications costs."
I found these figures pretty amazing - $500+ per year in average rise communications costs per year must be very good for telecoms companies (no wonder Telstra and Optus are so profitable – must buy some shares!) and bad news for consumers.
I hope the planned National Broadband network can put a cap on these rises for all our sakes!
Fifth we have:
Sydney, Feb 17, 2009 (ABN Newswire) - IBA Health Group Limited (ASX:IBA)(PINK:IBATF) - Australia's largest listed health information technology company today announced its half-year results for the six months ended December 31 2008.
IBA Health has recorded revenues of A$275 million, up 168% (H1 08 A$103 million), and an EBITDA of A$67.5 million, up 161% (H1 08 A$26 million). The previous corresponding period, H1 08, consisted of 6 months of IBA and 2 months of iSOFT. Accordingly, 12 months of post-acquisition performance has been provided, showing the company is on track to meet its FY 09 guidance.
- Reported EBITDA growth of 161% to A$67.5 million in H1 08
- Better than expected reported EBITDA margin of 24.5%
- Reported EBITDA at constant currency for H1 is A$68.3 million
- Net profit after tax of A$10.3 million
- Strong revenue growth
-- Underlying revenue growth across all geographies
-- 94% of FY O9 revenues are recurring, contracted and expected
- Global launch of LORENZO progressing according to plan
- Expect to reinstate dividend in FY 09
Executive Chairman and CEO of IBA Health, Gary Cohen said: "We have achieved profitable revenue growth in the first half, driven by solid recurring revenues across all our geographies. We are continuing to benefit from global investment in health IT by governments worldwide, and the computerisation of healthcare records."
In the first half, the company had additional contracted revenues totalling A$78 million, with an average value in excess of A$1 million and more than a third having contract periods of three years or longer. The majority of the company's revenues come from relationships with the public sector.
The company sees further opportunities from its international footprint as governments continue to spend on health IT initiatives.
An EBITDA margin of 24.5% was achieved in the half, which was above full-year guidance of 23%. Planned operational expenditure investments have been made. The higher margin is due to stronger sales margins than planned in the first half.
As advised in guidance, issued at the release of our fiscal 2008 results, operational expenditure investments have been made in the first half, including additional key executives. The new operating structure and business model put in place at the end of fiscal 2008 has achieved traction.
Cash flow in the first half was affected by a total of A$42 million in timing and phasing differences that are cyclical, in addition to a A$12 million part-settlement of the closedown of the existing services agreement in the UK. The company expects that net operating cash in the second half will be positive.
The company continues to operate well within its debt covenants, and expects to pay down contract financing in the second half, resulting in a reduction in net debt by the end of the fiscal year. The Board continues to expect to pay a dividend for FY 09.
CHANGE OF NAME TO iSOFT
As part of an ongoing exercise to strengthen the Group's position in the market, IBA Health has implemented the iSOFT brand for the group's products and services globally. This supports and underpins the marketing activity for the strategic LORENZO platform. The roll-out of LORENZO for the UK NPfIT program is on track with the current agreed timetable.
The stabilisation of customer relationships and market position, as well as the excellent reception experienced for the iSOFT branding launch, has led the Board to seek shareholders' approval to change the company's name to iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF).
Commenting on the results, Gary Cohen said: "We are pleased with our first-half performance, and we are on track with our full-year guidance. We have consolidated our position as one of the world's leading providers of health IT solutions, and look forward to further opportunities as governments continue to introduce spending initiatives in our industry. IBA Health is pleased to reaffirm guidance for fiscal 2009 of revenues between $540 - $560 million, and EBITDA of between A$120 - A$130 million. The prior 12 months reflects the first full year of post-acquisition operations, and shows strong profit, revenue and cash flow performance."
The full release is here:
Given this is our biggest e-Health enterprise that is now playing on a global stage it is worth keeping an eye on how they are going. On the basis of the market reaction I think they got about a B- for this ½ year. (Usual disclaimer about having a few share in the company).
Last a slightly more technical article:
Twitter: How to Get Started Guide for Business People
Don't understand what all the Twitter fuss is about or why you might want to use this social networking tool? You're not alone, but you may be missing out on useful information and professional connections. Check out our quick and easy guide on how and why to get started with Twitter.
C.G. Lynch (CIO) 20/02/2009 10:22:00
Twitter remains a very nascent social network, so if you don't know how it works or what it does (or you haven't even heard of it), don't feel bad. In fact, you're still in the majority. But we're here to help you reap the benefits of Twitter with this quick get-started guide.
Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang), a senior Forrester analyst who researches social media and who pens a blog on Web Strategy, says that while Twitter doesn't release exact numbers, he estimates that three to six million people use Twitter, compared to 150 million for Facebook.
Here is an (appropriately) short explanation of Twitter: Twitter is a free service that allows users to publish short messages of 140 characters or less. These messages are read by "followers" - people who make a conscious decision to subscribe to your messages and have them delivered to their own Twitter home pages.
Each message you post is known as a "Tweet." In the social media and social networking industry, Twitter facilitates a process known as microblogging or microsharing. Every user is identified by putting an "@" sign in front of their name (for instance: @cglynch).
Joining Twitter has value for many people, but it can also be a waste of time if you don't understand how the medium works and how best to utilize it. We take a look at suggestions from social networking gurus to help you determine if adding Twitter to your daily tech diet is in your best interest.
I thought it was time we mentioned Twitter and alerted readers to its up and downsides! Worth a read to get a feel for what it is and where it might fit!
For some health specific applications of Twitter and a discussion of its use go here.
More next week.