Sunday, October 11, 2009

Useful and Interesting Health IT News from the Last Week – 11/10/2009.

The Australian E-Health Press provided a good serve this week. It included these:

First we have:

Rushing to hospital? Don't forget medicines

DANNY ROSE

October 5, 2009

IF YOUR loved one is about to be rushed off in an ambulance, research shows there is something you can do to cut the risk of them facing a ''prescribing error'' in hospital.

An Australian study has shown that patients are better off carrying their prescription medications with them to the emergency department.

Having the drug packets on hand led to fewer errors in the recording of a patient's medication history and also reduced the chances of a patient receiving the wrong drug or dose errors during their hospital stay.

''Bringing a patient's own medication to the emergency department was associated with less than half as many prescribing errors on admission medication charts,'' said pharmacist and PhD candidate Esther Chan. Ms Chan and fellow researchers studied the cases of 100 patients admitted to Melbourne's Austin Hospital during a month in 2006.

They counted 428 different medications that arrived with the patients, and a 13 per cent error rate occurred when it came to their recording or ongoing delivery. The patients were also taking a total of 372 medications that they didn't carry with them - resulting in a prescription error rate of 25 per cent.

More here:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/rushing-to-hospital-dont-forget-medicines-20091004-ghwt.html

The level of error makes it clear just the level of impact accessible electronic records for the patients could provide.

The full paper can be found here:

http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/191_07_051009/cha11452_fm.html

Second we have:

Beacon website shines light on e-health

October 7, 2009 - 12:04AM

The stresses of managing a budding acting career and her Year 12 studies is something Home and Away's Samara Weaving knows a little about.

The young star has helped launch a groundbreaking website which will help guide people, young and old, through the myriad of mental and physical e-health applications now available online.

The Beacon web portal, developed by a team at the Australian National University, is a world-first compilation of online mental and physical e-health programs.

Not only does it provide access to e-health programs for health professionals and members of the community, the site also provides a description and scientific rating of the effectiveness for each.

Weaving says she was happy to lend her support to the launch, adding that for her and others of her generation, the internet is where they get a lot of their information.

More here:

http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-national/beacon-website-shines-light-on-ehealth-20091007-gljn.html

The portal is found here:

http://www.beacon.anu.edu.au/

This is a great idea – pity the press reports did not mention the link

This page explains the program well.

http://www.beacon.anu.edu.au/users/about

Third we have:

E-therapy moves in on the shrink's couch

ADELE HORIN

October 7, 2009

INTERNET therapy programs for depression and anxiety can be twice as effective as seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist in person, studies show.

A series of internet programs delivered to more than 1000 people appears to have produced better results than gained by seeing a specialist at one of the country's best mental health clinics, and much better results than reported in the scientific literature.

''We're doing something unnerving,'' said Gavin Andrews, professor of psychiatry at the University of NSW, and the director of the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression at St Vincent's Hospital. He joked about ''the end of psychiatry as we know it''.

The apparent success of the programs poses fundamental questions for professionals for whom the patient-therapist relationship is considered integral to treatment.

More here:

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/etherapy-moves-in-on-the-shrinks-couch-20091006-glfb.html

More real world commentary on the mental health side of the portal cited above.

Fourth we have

Global Health extends Geelong reach

E-health solutions developer Global Health has been selected to provide its ReferralNet connectivity solution to the Geelong Medical Imaging practice. The system will be used as a secure messaging platform enabling the transmission of radiology results and reports to clients in the Geelong region.

More below:

E-prescription fix for Vic practice

The Coliban Medical Centre in Kyneton has completed a trial of an electronic prescription service provided by MediSecure. The installation was undertaken by Argus Connect (www.argusconnect.com.au)

More here:

http://tc106.metawerx.com.au/Rustreport/rust_newsletter_story.jsp?id=1864

A couple of interesting short reports from smaller companies. (links found at URL above)

Fifth we have:

Launch of world-first lymphoma awareness centre in Second Life®

October 6, 2009

Protected: Health 2.0 – launch of world-first dedicated lymphoma awareness centre in Second Life®

With the support of leading health consumer organisations Lymphoma Australia and the Leukaemia Foundation, Roche Products is pioneering the provision of health information through the launch of an innovative online, pilot cancer awareness program.

More here:

http://smr.cube.com.au/wp-content/plugins/st_newsletter/stnl_iframe.php?newsletter=4&code=l82UKLFsVZBHPaToJtpO

Interesting set of downloads from the link. Interesting e-health based campaign.

Sixth we have:

iSoft expects sales growth in 2009/10

October 6, 2009 - 1:39PM

Health information technology company iSOFT Group Ltd has reaffirmed that it expects sales growth of 10 per cent in 2009/10.

ISOFT, formerly IBA Health, publishes patient information software for hospitals and other healthcare providers, which also delivers health-related information via the internet and mobile phone messaging.

Executive chairman and chief executive Gary Cohen told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday that the company was well placed for growth.

"iSOFT forecast sales growth of 10 per cent in 2009/10 - almost five times the industry average," Mr Cohen said.

More here:

http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-business/isoft-expects-sales-growth-in-200910-20091006-gkvl.html

This is encouraging for those of us who want at least some reasonably scaled Australian Health IT software providers (and have a few shares)

Seventh we have:

NBN Tasmania overhead cables 'foolish'

Matthew Denholm, Tasmania correspondent | October 09, 2009

TASMANIANS, guinea pigs for the national broadband network, could lose their high-speed internet for days on end because overhead cabling is vulnerable to the state's wild climate, a senate inquiry has heard.

Digital Tasmania, Tasmania's residential and small business IT consumer group, told the Senate's NBN select committee yesterday 96 per cent of the network's "backbone" in Tasmania would be via overhead cable.

Spokesman Andrew Connor told the committee, taking evidence in Hobart, that while overhead cables allowed a cheaper, quicker roll-out, his and other IT groups would prefer the fibre optic cable to be buried.

"It's a necessary roll-out method to get the roll-out happening in a timely period - if streets had to be dug up to lay new conduit or if existing conduit had to be accessed, it may be at a very high cost," Mr Connor said.

"(But) aerial cabling is a non-preferred option for many and that is because it is more susceptible to interference from mechanical interference - car crashes, floods and storms, as we've seen in Tasmania recently." Asked by committee chairwoman, Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher, whether this meant using overhead cables as opposed to underground might prove to be "pennywise but pound foolish", Mr Connor said "certainly".

More here:

http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,26185993-15306,00.html

How silly can it be planning to create 50-100 year infrastructure like this? It seems there is also trouble brewing on the Government / Telstra front.

See here:

http://www.smh.com.au/business/conroy-says-winwin-possible-20091009-gqvd.html

Eighth we have:

$23m blowout in NSW IT project

Fran Foo | October 07, 2009

A MAJOR government IT project in NSW that commenced eight years ago will cost taxpayers an additional $23 million due to chronic communication breakdowns.

The project, originally due for completion in 2005, has not even passed the halfway mark and is set to deliver $50m less in savings. It is now forecast for full implementation by 2014.

NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat's report on the project, released today, showed a lack of project governance and ownership - both detrimental to its successful completion.

In 2001, the government licensing project (GLP) kicked off with the aim of standardising and simplifying the licensing processes of all agencies, bar drivers’ licences by the Roads and Traffic Authority.

Due to be completed in four years, it was meant to replace 40 licensing systems in 20 agencies with a common platform.

Combined, these agencies issue 300 different types of licences to four million people and businesses in the state.

Originally, the GLP was slated to cost $63m and provide a net benefit of $69m. However, that price tag is expected to balloon to $86m over 12 years, delivering a net benefit of only $19m.

So far, 15 legacy systems have been replaced and 102 licence types consolidated to 55. The new system has been implemented in six agencies that are collectively responsible for 1.7 million licences.

More here:

http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,24897,26177826-15306,00.html

This makes most e-Health projects look just wonderful. What a shambles!

Lastly for the week a more technical article:

Windows 8: Dying gasp or next big thing?

By Tim Ferguson, silicon.com
09 October 2009 02:50 PM

Just as the marketing hype around Windows 7 heads towards its peak, a few details are starting to surface about its likely successor.

You may groan but work on Windows 8, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has referred to it, is already underway.

The next generation of Windows is unlikely to appear for a few years — probably by 2012 — but Microsoft is working on what comes next, even before Windows 7 hits the shelves.

Ballmer for one has implied there is still more to come. "In a sense there's still a lot of work to do [with the operating system]," he said recently in London.

The company remains tight-lipped about the work being done but Ballmer has suggested that improved management and voice recognition are development priorities. There is also speculation that it may feature a 128-bit architecture.

Clive Longbottom, analyst with Quocirca, predicts virtualisation will feature more prominently with Windows 8. He said: "With Citrix, VMware and Microsoft all looking at how to give the ultimate experience to the user, expect to see virtualisation within the OS providing enhanced support for virtual desktops, for streaming applications, for access to applications when untethered and unconnected to the internet and so on."

He added that Windows 8 could be "a big step forwards towards being a unified client operating system" with Windows Mobile, Windows Embedded and Windows Client all becoming more aligned in terms of their release schedule.

Despite these potential additions, Longbottom suggests businesses won't necessarily be looking for a big shift with Windows 8 as they generally just want an OS that allows people to do their work while also helping to save money and time, extend the life of assets and provide better support for business processes.

More here:

http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Windows-8-Dying-gasp-or-next-big-thing-/0,130061733,339298984,00.htm

And Windows 7 isn’t even quite out yet!

More next week.

David.

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