Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links - 17-02-2010

Here are a few I have come across this week.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or payment.

General Comment:

Clearly the two big items of news this week have been the introduction of the Bill to enable the Health Identifier Service to commence into the Federal Parliament and the information revealed on the status of NEHTA and e-Health at the Senate Estimates hearings this week.

Regular readers will expect some commentary over the week. I hope to oblige!



Tas govt to integrate e-health systems

By Colin Ho, ZDNet.com.au
08 February 2010 01:57 PM

Tasmania's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released a request for tender for the implementation and support of a system to pull together data from various legacy systems into one electronic health record.

The contract will be for five years, and will commence this year in July and last until the end of June 2015.

"The Department of Health and Human Services invites tenders to engage a strategic partner who has the capacity to deliver and implement a longitudinal Electronic Health Record foundation, with sector-wide health information exchange and clinical and business intelligence capability," DHHS said in its tender.



Tasmania to roll out electronic health record system

Will underpin the state's e-health vision and support the national e-health agenda

The Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is to deploy a shared electronic health record system.

In DHHS documents the agency said it was looking for a data aggregation, and clinical and business intelligence solution as a foundation for the three Area Health Services, Statewide and Mental Health Services, Tasmanian Ambulance Service and other business units within DHHS.

The DHHS said the electronic health record system, to be implemented over the next five years, would span the whole health sector aggregating data from a range of source systems.

The solution would also include an easy to use interface, flexible reporting and analytics, auto-populated electronic forms and would help support the National E-Health agenda in Tasmania.



GPs found at fault on treating back pain

  • Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • February 11, 2010 12:00AM

DOCTORS are ignoring official guidelines on how best to treat low back pain, frequently prescribing drugs or ordering scans that are not only unnecessary but may also put patients at increased risk.

Research involving over 3500 patients who sought help from a GP for a new episode of back pain found only 20 per cent of patients were advised to stay active and avoid bed rest -- one of the key tenets of back-pain treatment guidelines in Australia and 10 other countries.

Comment – This article is important as it shows how slowly clinicians will improve their practice unless there are the appropriate educational and incentive program to communicate guidelines. A role for e-Health I believe.



E-health systems could cut practice costs by $27,000

Elizabeth McIntosh - Friday, 12 February 2010

PRACTICES can save up to $27,200 a year by adopting basic e-health systems, according to state-based organisation General Practice Queensland.

Speaking at the Connecting Healthcare conference in Sydney last week, General Practice Queensland’s e-health program coordinator David Millichap told delegates that implementing secure messaging and secure email could save practices $600 a week on staff time and stationery.

A cost-benefit analysis conducted by Queensland division South East Alliance General Practice found an average four-doctor practice could save up to $550 a week as a result of staff no longer having to scan in or reproduce additional copies of medical documents.



Compromised confidentiality: national health care identity numbers

THE Rudd government's long-running attempt to blend 21st-century information technology and 20th-century medical record keeping has again raised concern among consumer groups and privacy experts.

They fear the national healthcare identity numbers for patients and medical providers will be locked into the existing flawed state-federal, private-public sector privacy regimes under a bill introduced by Health Minister Nicola Roxon this week.

"This is about politics and what you can get away with before other regulatory issues are resolved," says David Vaile, executive director at the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW.

"But good politics doesn't necessarily make good system design," he adds.



Surgeon training draws on high-definition imaging

HIGH-DEFINITION footage of complex medical procedures is being transmitted in real-time around the world to help teach doctors and surgeons.

The technology was demonstrated in Sydney yesterday at the 29th Asia Pacific Advanced Networking Consortium where networking provider AARNet set up two 10 gigabit links which carried footage of endoscopic and gastrointenstinal surgeries from Japan and Korea.

The footage was in uncompressed 1080p resolution.



Pharmacy Guild gets electronic leg-up

Sunday 02/07/2010 5:59 PM ET - Abix

The Australian Government is expected to finalise its community pharmacy agreement by mid-2010. Under the agreement, the Government would introduce a $A0.15 subsidy for prescriptions issued through the Pharmacy Guild of Australia's eRx electronic prescription system. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has endorsed the rival Medisecure system.



Media Release: Financial Review wrong on e-scripts

An article in The Australian Financial Review this morning (page three) falsely asserts that the Pharmacy Guild has negotiated an unfair advantage in the development of electronic prescribing in Australia.

Either wilfully or through ignorance, the article wrongly claims that an electronic prescription payment being negotiated with the Government as part of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement would be paid only to a particular e-script provider - eRx Script Exchange – part owned by the Guild. This is false.



Guild defends against e-script accusations

9 February 2010

The Pharmacy Guild has rejected allegations that the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement would give it an unfair advantage in electronic prescribing.

An article in yesterday's Australian Financial Review carried an accusation from Geoff March, president of the Pharmacists' Division of APESMA, that the Guild was pushing its own agenda by negotiating a $0.15 per script payment to pharmacists for using electronic prescribing.

Mr March claimed the measure has led to a "massive conflict of interest" because the Guild had a stake in e-script platform eRx Script Exchange, despite there being a second platform, MediSecure, which is endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.



State to use imaging, radiology systems to create patient identifier

NSW Health is planning an enterprise archive and registry project to streamline its 20-plus patient identifier systems into a uniform health identity number service based on existing medical imaging and radiology systems.

The department is seeking a statewide central storage and retrieval facility to support its picture archiving and communications systems and its radiology information management systems.

The tender is due to close next week.

The package also requires a patient registry to index and resolve identifiers from various feeder systems, an enterprise service bus to handle interoperability problems, and the capacity to integrate messaging with patient administration systems.



Queensland to make health data available online

Govt to publish critical information about emergency departments online

The Queensland Government has tackled a new idea which will see critical data about the State’s hospital emergency departments made available to the public online.

Similar to the Federal Government’s My School initiative, the Queensland Health website will give the public access to data about emergency department access block, wait times, and attendances by hospital and by triage category, which is currently used by clinicians to determine the placement of staff and resources.

Queensland Deputy Premier and health minister, Paul Lucas, said if people can see their local emergency department's circumstances it will enable them to make a decision about whether a GP would be more appropriate for non-urgent cases.



Questions raised on GP performance data

Shannon Mackenzie - Monday, 8 February 2010

EXPERTS have questioned a performance indicator used by the Federal Government to judge the appropriateness of GP care.

In its Report of Government Services 2010, the Productivity Commission assessed “appropriateness of GP services” based on four indicators, one of which was the unnecessary use of antibiotics to manage URTIs.

The commission chose to assess GP management of URTIs using PBS data on prescription rates of antibiotics used most commonly to treat them.

It noted that a downward trend in this rate could indicate appropriate GP care. But PBS figures showed a significant increase in this rate from 2006 onwards. In 2008-09 it stood at 1483 per 1000 PBS concession card holders. The other three indicators were the management of diabetes and asthma, and pathology tests ordered.



InterSystems TrakCare selected as the new national patient information system for Scotland

Nurses and doctors set to benefit from easier and quicker access to patients’ records

Eton, UK – 03 February 2010InterSystems has announced that it has signed a framework contract with NHS National Service Scotland to supply its InterSystems TrakCare™ connected health information system as the new national patient management system for Scotland.

The contract is a national framework in line with Scotland’s eHealth Strategy that will enable any Health Board access to the system and associated modules over the next four years.

The new system will help to speed and improve the effectiveness of patient care in Scotland by ensuring patient information will only need to be entered once to make it immediately accessible by authorised staff in other care settings. The TrakCare patient management system includes hospital and mental health patient administration, order communications, results reporting and clinical support tools. A number of optional modules are available for: accident and emergency; hospital electronic prescribing and medicines administration; pharmacy management; maternity; neonatal; and theatres.



iSOFT CEO to present at UBS healthcare conference

By Dylan Bushell-Embling (CXO Australia)

Software developer iSOFT (ASX:ISF) said its CEO, Gary, Cohen, will be promoting the company at the upcoming UBS Global Healthcare Service Conference.



Lorenzo 'will stop at Release 2'

10 Feb 2010

CSC may only deliver the first two releases of Lorenzo, the electronic patient record system being deployed across the North, Midlands and East of England, under the National Programme for IT in the NHS.

According to a number of sources close to the programme, local service provider CSC will only roll-out the releases that it has already received from software developer, iSoft.

At E-Health Insider Live ’09, iSoft executive chairman and chief executive, Gary Cohen, told the audience that Release 2 – or ‘clinicals’ – had been released to CSC and that Release 3 would be delivered to the LSP during 2010.



OECD queries cost of new broadband network

  • Michael Stutchbury and Sid Maher
  • From: The Australian
  • February 05, 2010 12:00AM

THE OECD has questioned Labor's $43 billion national broadband network as the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy fends off an Auditor-General's report that shows $30 million was lost after he ignored public service advice that his original scheme risked failure.

As the opposition yesterday seized on the Australian National Audit Office report's findings that the government had been given "clear advice" of the risks in implementing its NBN election commitment, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Australia desk, Claude Giorno, called on the Rudd government to apply more rigorous cost-benefit analysis to its infrastructure spending, including its $43 billion broadband network. Mr Giorno said "questions need to be answered" about Labor's broadband network because of the amount of spending involved and the apparent lack of any cost-benefit analysis.

The government's proposed fixed fibre technology network required "very careful assessment".



Opposition slams 'broadband corruption'

February 9, 2010 - 10:50AM


The federal opposition has labelled as corrupt the process used to appoint a former Labor MP to a highly paid job with the national broadband network.

Mike Kaiser took up the role with the NBN Co - which will build and operate the $43 billion network - after quitting as Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's chief of staff last year.

The appointment of Mr Kaiser, who will earn more than the prime minister, has prompted allegations of political interference on the part of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who recommended the former state MP for the job.



Deal on Telstra split months off: Thodey

Separation so complex it could take six months more to reach a deal

Telstra CEO David Thodey says the telco's separation may be six months off.

Telstra has announced its financial results for the first half of the 2009/10 financial year recording unadjusted declines across revenue, EBITDA and profits after tax and revealing serious underlying problems at the telco.

During the half Telstra’s total reported revenues for 1H10 declined 2.5 per cent year on year to $12.32b. Taking into account the sale of its services arm Kaz, the adjusted revenue was a decline of 0.7 per cent.



Melbourne University gets supercomputer to study diseases

IBM's Blue Gene/P will be used by up to 10,000 scientists in the medical and life science fields

Up to 10,000 scientists will team up with computer experts and a supercomputer at the University of Melbourne to study human diseases.

The research will see Victorian medical and life science researchers work alongside IBM computer technicians to study areas including neuroscience, clinical genomics, and structural biology.

The Victorian Life Sciences Computational Initiative aims to improve medical diagnostics, drug discovery and design by pairing computer biology experts with researchers from universities, government, or commercial organisations.

IBM's Blue Gene/P, the latest in the vendor's supercomputer series, will be based on the University of Melbourne campus and will support the lion's share of the research work.



Explosion of data envelops man in the street

  • Anthony Wong, Australian Computer Society
  • From: The Australian
  • February 09, 2010 12:00AM

IT is hardly news that our growing dependence on technology has resulted in a dramatic explosion in the volume of digital data we create, use and share. Of course, we also have to manage, organise, retain, protect and secure that same data from theft and privacy intrusion, and to comply with the regulatory environment, business and accountability requirements.

More interestingly, the data explosion has had an impact on areas outside traditional ICT circles, effectively turning data management and compliance into an issue for the man on the street.

According to IDC, the world's volume of data doubles every 18 months and will reach 18,000 exabytes (one million terabytes) by next year. A single exabyte is estimated to be equal to the information contained in 12 stacks of books extending from Earth to the sun.




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