Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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, May 10, 2009

Useful and Interesting Health IT News from the Last Week – 10/05/2009.

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

First we have:

Getting connected not a priority for seniors

  • Dan Harrison
  • May 8, 2009

MORE than 15 years after the invention of the World Wide Web, almost half of Australians over 65 have never used the internet.

A report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, released yesterday, showed 44 per cent of the nation's seniors had never gone online, while only 48 per cent of them had a home internet connection.

Of those older Australians who have never gone online, only 4 per cent said they were likely to in the future.

Asked why, 75 per cent of these said the internet was not relevant to their lifestyle.

In contrast, all respondents aged 14-to-17 had used the internet, and 92 per cent used it at least weekly.

More than half of respondents aged 14 to 49 used the internet daily.

More here:


This is a very important statistic for the NHHRC to take careful notice of. Given the key demographic who will need their proposed Personal EHRs are in this age group, there is clearly a major issue about what to do with the ½ who just are not connected. A clearly discriminatory plan in my view. As I said in my submission the whole proposal needs a major rethink.

Second we have:

Real-time data vital in swine flu fight

Karen Dearne | May 05, 2009

THE lack of a connected health IT infrastructure will hamper Australia's efforts to contain swine flu, e-health experts warn.

Nations with good e-health capacity are analysing vast volumes of patient data taken from providers' systems in near real-time, but federal and state health planners are forced to rely on fragmented and poorly resourced data sharing networks.

"If there is an e-health infrastructure, we have the potential to deal with disease outbreaks before they become pandemics. The technology is already available," iSoft chief operating officer Andrea Fiumicelli said.

"Time is of the essence. In the past, the spread of diseases was measured in months, today it is a matter of hours because of the rapid movement of goods and people around the world.

"Information technology is the only way to meet the time challenge in collecting and sharing information in a pandemic."

Once doctors, hospitals, labs and researchers are all using e-health software, it becomes possible to automatically analyse patient records or medical processes to identify risks, flag alerts and speed up diagnostic or treatment responses.

More here:


There are good examples of really well developed e-Health surveillance system – especially in the UK with the EMIS based system. We have yet to get seriously close to that situation here which is a significant worry. It seems to me we may not have seen the last of this virus.

Third we have:

Plans to keep business ticking over in pandemic

Karen Dearne | May 05, 2009

BUSINESSES are considering workplace strategies to protect staff and keep critical systems running in the event of a mass influenza outbreak.

Gartner research director Steve Bittinger says most companies are prepared, having learned the lessons of the SARS and avian flu epidemics in 2003-04.

But they expect a large proportion of the workforce to be absent for a week or more due to the new virus, while the policy of social distancing -- which encourages people to minimise contact with others -- will keep many others out of cities and off public transport.

"The number one response to the pandemic is to just stay home, have some food in the cupboard and if you do have to go out, be careful," he said.

"Fortunately, a substantial amount of IT work can be done from home these days, and most people already have those arrangements in place."

In situations where people needed to remain onsite it was generally possible to reduce staff numbers to small teams.

"You have a team who come in and work a shift together, then all go off together," Mr Bittinger said. "Then the next shift comes in -- there's no overlap ... If one group gets sick you haven't lost your entire workforce."

More here:


Good to see companies are being prudent.

Fourth we have:

IBA Health (ASX:IBA) Changes Its Name to iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF)

Sydney, May 5, 2009 (ABN Newswire) - IBA Health Group Limited (ASX:IBA)(PINK:IBATF) - Australia's biggest listed health IT company today announced that shareholders voted in favour of changing the company's name to iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) to build on the goodwill associated with one of the world's leading health IT brands, iSOFT.

The company's shares will trade as iSOFT Group on the Australian Securities Exchange, under the new ASX code ISF, from 8 May. The decision will align the company's name with its major brand and embrace a common identity among shareholders, customers and employees, IBA's Executive Chairman and CEO Gary Cohen told investors at the company's headquarters in Sydney today.

"The time is right for the company's name to reflect this powerful brand and leverage our footprint across 38 countries," Cohen said. "We have already implemented the iSOFT name among all our strategic products, and have relationships with some 13,000 customers."

More here:


Worth just noting the change has now formally occurred.

Fifth we have:

e-Health, Dr Strangelove style

Tuesday, 05 May 2009 | Julian Bajkowski

Actual article is here:


It describes a 1961 EHR initiative from IBM. Reminds us all how long we have been at this!

See the video here:


For other Youtube material on EHRs go here:


Sixth we have:

Roxon rebuff strains national network ROI

Telco industry to lobby Rudd on key issues

Darren Pauli 08 May, 2009 00:01

Tags: nbn

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has ignored calls from the telecommunications industry to integrate hospitals and healthcare networks into the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The industry's leading experts say government could lose millions unless disparate and costly fibre network contracts are integrated into the $43 billion NBN.

Roxon refused to attend a recent meeting with the Digital Economy Industry Workgroup, which includes experts from telecommunications, health and energy sectors, to discuss network exit plans for hospitals and other health agencies.

The workgroup, setup earlier this year, argues millions could be saved by allowing agencies to scrap existing network contracts and standardise on NBN services.

Telecommunications analyst and workgroup member Paul Budde said Roxon must address the issue within her department to ensure agencies are ready to move to the NBN as it is phased in.

More here:


It seems to me we all have a problem with the way the Health Agencies nationwide a managing the use of technology. Some serious leadership is really required here:

Seventh we have:

MBS penalties mooted for e-health avoidance

Andrew Bracey - Friday, 8 May 2009

GPs who do not sign up to the government’s e-health agenda could find their access to the MBS restricted, under radical new proposals touted by the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission (NHHRC).

The new proposals – released in a supplementary paper last week – recommend that public and private benefits for health and aged care services be tied to the provision of personal e-health records for all patients. GPs would have until January 2013 to comply.

However, AMA e-health committee chair Dr Peter Garcia-Webb claimed the proposal could greatly disadvantage patients.

“It may not be possible for a GP to meet those requirements, and in those cases, patients would not be able to claim rebates from them,” he said. “It would prevent patients claiming rebates that the existing system gives them. We would certainly not be in favour of this.”

NHHRC member and National E-Health Transition Authority clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the requirements would need to be matched by IT infrastructure grants or incentives for health care providers.

More here:


I am surprised there has not been a more furious pushback from the profession. They seem to be sleepwalking into a real ambush in my view. The proposal is almost as intrusive as the plan from Senator Ludwig to have bureaucrats review patient clinical information as discussed a week or so ago. See here:


Eighth we have:

Auditor-General to review NBN tender

Mitchell Bingemann | May 06, 2009

THE Auditor-General will conduct a preliminary review of the Government's terminated national broadband network tender following concerns raised by the Opposition.

On April 7, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd aborted the original NBN request for proposals after finding none of the proponents - included Optus, Acacia and Axia - offered sufficient bids.

Instead the federal Government announced it would form a state-owned enterprise to build a $43 billion fibre to the home network in combination with private suppliers.

But concerns about the legal validity of the RFP termination, raised by Opposition Communications spokesperson Nick Minchin, have prompted Auditor-General Ian McPhee to initiate a preliminary review of the original tender process.

“The Rudd Government wasted almost 18 months and $20 million on a tender which was based on totally unrealistic key objectives, which the bidders themselves confirmed could not be met,” Senator Minchin said.

Lots more here:


This seems like a very good plan. The public and the providers will both be interested in knowing just how we wound up with such a failed process.

Lastly the slightly more software orientated article for the week:

OpenOffice.org 3.1 arrives, improves user interface

New features benefit collaborative document editing

Rodney Gedda 08 May, 2009 14:25

Tags: open source, open office, openoffice

The first major release of the 3.0 series of open source office suite OpenOffice.org, version 3.1, is now available with big improvements in usability and the user interface.

OpenOffice.org now has anti-aliasing making graphics look “smoother” on screen and dragging objects now displays a “shadow” of the object, rather of a dotted outline.

General text formatting improvements include “overlining” in addition to regular underlining, subtle highlighting of background text and better grammar checker integration.

More here:


This is really getting to the stage when paying for MS Office is becoming optional – especially for home and small business use. There are certainly the MS Office ‘ribbon haters’ who will be thrilled with this release!

In case anyone missed it the Windows 7 Release Candidate is now available for download. See the following article for instructions:


Windows 7: It's Vista done right

David Flynn

May 5, 2009

David Flynn gets hands-on with the latest version of Microsoft's operating system - and explains how to score a free copy to test for yourself.

More next week.


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