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."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links - 21-03-2010.

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:

The early part of the week was clearly dominated by the Health Identifiers Bill Inquiry and the report that was produced and tabled in what must have been in near record time. It looks like debate in the Senate will happen in early May – during the Budget Session. It is not clear how it will all work out at this point.

Now that we have seen the outcome of the Tasmanian and SA elections it does seem Mr Rudd’s proposals are going to meet continuing scrutiny. It also seems the COAG meeting, due on April 11, might also be delayed a little.

Also this week we see continuing issues with just how the NBN and Telstra will work together (or not). No doubt we would all like to see this just sorted out so that the infrastructure is in place for e-Health applications to use when they are ready.



ISO issues new guidelines for safeguarding electronic medical data

18 March 2010

ISO has published two new documents outlining principles and guidelines for secure archiving of electronic medical record data.

The Switzerland-based International Organization for Standardization, more commonly known as ISO, has just released two new briefs that address the complex nature of securing electronic medical record data. The organization concluded that documents outlining both data protection principles and guidelines were necessary to provide harmonized international standards for this industry, where information is quite sensitive and regulations regarding data transfer and storage abound.

Although the use of electronic medical records has proliferated throughout the globe as of late, its use is “exacerbating issues such as confidentiality, integrity, availability, and accountability” of the data, according to the Pekka Ruotsalainen, who led the project to develop the standards.

Ruotsalainen’s group produced two documents: Health Informatics – Security requirements for archiving of electronic health records – Principles, and Health Informatics – Security requirements for archiving of electronic health records — Guidelines. Each is available for purchase from the ISO website.



Medical dividend from biosecurity network

Leigh Dayton, Science writer

From: The Australian

March 20, 2010 12:00AM

THIS week's launch of the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network promises spin-offs for public health as well as improved preparedness for biological threats to plants and animals.

Based in Canberra and headed by geneticist, immunologist and counter-terrorism expert Joanne Banyer, the network will provide secured communications and information technology infrastructure to enable experts and officials to tackle emerging biosecurity threats.

"We think of it as providing the collaboration infrastructure," explains Stephen Prowse, an expert in immunology, infectious diseases and diagnostics with the University of Queensland and an ABIN board member.



NEHTA set to miss deadline for identifier numbers

19th Mar 2010

Shannon McKenzie

THE National e-Health Transition Authority is almost certain to miss its 1 July deadline to begin the national rollout of its healthcare identifier numbers, after the necessary legislation was delayed in Federal Parliament.

Senate debate on the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 has now been pushed back to 11 May. However, given this is scheduled to be a short parliamentary session ahead of the federal Budget, there is no guarantee the legislation will be passed on this date.

National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said this would “absolutely cause a delay” in the program, but one that could present opportunities.



Top doc praises our e-health uptake

Joel Cresswell

March 20th, 2010

GEELONG is a leader in Australia's movement to electronic health, according to one of the nation's top GP's.

The clinical head of the National E-Health Transition Authority, Mukesh Haikerwal, said Geelong's hospital and GP network had embraced electronic data collection and communication, well ahead of the remainder of the technologically "backward" sector.

He said the changes had streamlined drug prescriptions, diagnosis and reduced double handling between the hospital and GPs.



Chronic disease and demographic development to drive eHealth adoption

BARCELONA, SPAIN - (HealthTech Wire / News) – At The World of Health IT, iSoft, one of the largest eHealth companies in the world with more than 13,000 customers, launched its Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform, which connects all stakeholders in healthcare – including the patient. Andrea Fiumicelli, Chief Operating Officer at iSoft, spoke to HealthTech Wire about the factors that will drive eHealth adoption in Europe and how his company is advancing ICT in healthcare.

According to Fiumicelli, the major challenges in European eHealth are the actual processes.

“The industry has been ready to establish a single European eHealth market for the past 5 to 8 years. The technology is no longer a limiting factor. However, the processes are and we would welcome a simplification, e.g. with regards to reimbursement,” Fiumicelli said. This would ease innovations and lead to more efficient research and development.



Software vendors urge e-health subsidies for GPs

19th Mar 2010

SOFTWARE vendors have argued that GPs should be subsidised to upgrade computer software that will enable the rollout of a national e-health system.

Shannon McKenzie

SOFTWARE vendors have argued that GPs should be subsidised to upgrade computer software that will enable the rollout of a national e-health system.

Addressing a Senate inquiry into proposed legislation that will enable the rollout of the unique health identifiers (UHI) scheme, Dr Vincent McCauley, treasurer of the Medical Software Industry Association, said while GPs would be required to invest in new software, they would not necessarily reap the benefits.



Health identifier bill delayed

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 17, 2010 4:25PM

SENATE consideration of the Rudd Government's controversial Healthcare Identifiers Bill will not take place until budget day on May 11.

This follows a tumultuous week of testimony and a rushed report recommending adoption despite Coalition concerns and calls for amendments.

The Healthcare Identifier service, to be run initially by Medicare Australia, is due to commence on July 1.

Medical software specialists, privacy advocates and the e-health community had been seeking more details on how the scheme would work.

Late last Friday, Health Minister Nicola Roxon finally released draft regulations underlying the proposed legislation, and invited public comments by April 9.



This brainless patient is no dummy


March 21, 2010

MEET the new high-tech robot suffering from a multitude of health problems helping to save lives around Australia.

SimMan 3G might look like a dummy but he is surprisingly smart. He talks, cries and bleeds as well as replicates conditions ranging from anaphylaxis to cardiac arrest.

Costing $100,000, the wireless robot is being used by hospitals, universities, the Defence Force and ambulance services.



Hospitals caught out on data, says doctor


March 19, 2010

VICTORIANS should expect the performances reported by most hospitals to drop this year as a result of a crackdown on data rorting, a Melborne doctor says.

Dr Peter Lazzari - who was dropped by Angliss Hospital last year after he spoke about waiting-list manipulation - said that if hospitals reported waiting times honestly this year, their performance on paper could look much worse.

Last year, Victoria's Auditor-General Des Pearson found that at least three Victorian hospitals inappropriately removed patients from waiting lists and one had ''admitted'' them to fictitious wards.



Senate wary of health identity numbers

by Michael Woodhead

Concerns about privacy and 'function creep' have dominated Senate discussions over the introduction of unique health identifier numbers for all Australians.

Last week’s Senate hearings into the proposed July introduction of health identifiers saw Senators asking pointed questions about whether Medicare and other agencies could guarantee privacy of patients’ medical records under such a scheme.

Medicare representatives rejected media claims that Medicare staff were routinely gaining unauthorised access to on personal medical files, saying that compliance programs had reduced the instances of snooping from 270 in the first year of e-health programs to just 16 the last six months.


Crikey, March 16, 2010


17. Health ID cards unleash 'scary' Little Brothers

Stilgherrian writes:


Comparing the proposed Healthcare Identifier to the doomed 1980s Australia Card is a cliche, I know, but it’s spot on. The Healthcare Identifiers Bill introduced last Wednesday is sketchy at best, and health minister Nicola Roxon has already been forced into releasing an equally sketchy draft of the accompanying regulations on Friday.

The legislation authorises Medicare to issue a new 16-digit healthcare ID number, central to the government’s eHealth strategy, to every Australian and every healthcare provider from July 1. But that’s about all it does. It fails to address in any real detail what protections will be implemented when this one identifier provides the key to everything from an appointment with your masseur or your dentist to your s-xual or mental health records.



GPs angry about 'bypass' program on web


March 16, 2010

AUSTRALIAN researchers have developed a world-first program that allows people to bypass GPs and be assessed, diagnosed and treated by psychologists over the internet.

About 1000 people have already been treated for anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder and agoraphobia, and developers, from Swinburne University in Melbourne, want to start treating depressives, bulimics and gamblers next month.

The program, designed to tackle the nation's crippling shortage of mental health services, has drawn the ire of doctors, concerned that patients could be dangerously misdiagnosed.



Medicare data breaches increase privacy fears

MEDICARE Australia dealt with 234 serious data privacy breaches by employees in 2007-08, but 160 of these resulted in only an emailed warning or counselling.

In the three years from November 2006 until December last year, 569 staff were identified as having "unauthorised access" to client records held by the agency.

Contrary to recent Medicare claims that most of the unauthorised access related to staff accessing their own records, only 171 out of the 569 investigated were in that category.

Medicare was yesterday forced to produce data breach statistics and details of sanctions to a senate inquiry, after disputing revelations in The Australian of staff snooping.



Heath identifier function creep threatens data privacy says Coalition

Karen Dearne

From: The Australian

March 16, 2010 12:00AM

THE Senate Community Affairs committee has recommended passage of the controversial Healthcare Identifiers Bill, despite the minority Coalition members calling for amendments to ensure patient privacy and prevent personal identifiers being turned into a national identity regime.

Last night, the committee recommended developing a plan to introduce the scheme over the next two years, opening it to public comment before finalisation.

"The National E-Health Transition Authority in partnership with the Health Department and Medicare should more effectively engage all stakeholders in establishing the HI service," it said.



Reject e-health identifier bill, says law professor

THE Healthcare Identifiers Bill should be rejected until the Rudd government provides the full suite of legislation intended to support new national electronic health initiatives, a Senate inquiry has been told.

Law professor Graham Greenleaf, co-director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW, said the fundamental problem was that the bill was incomplete, covering only a "small but central element of a much broader health identification and surveillance system", including future personal e-health records.

"When seen in its entirety, this system shares a very large number of common elements with the discredited and rejected Australia Card (in 1986-87) and the Access Card (2006-07) proposals put forward by governments from both parties," he said.



Can privacy and health identifiers mix?

Posted by Stilgherrian @ 17:32

A new 16-digit healthcare identifier for all Australians is a centrepiece of the Rudd Government's e-health strategy. The numbers are scheduled to be issued from 1 July, but have the privacy issues been properly thought out?

The Healthcare Identifiers Bill (PDF) is currently making its way through parliament, but many key details have been left to be defined in regulations. After pressure in a Senate committee, Health Minister Nicola Roxon was forced to release draft regulations (PDF) on Friday, but they're still short on details.




Senators split over e-health Bill

By Ben Grubb, ZDNet.com.au
16 March 2010 03:14 PM

Senators looking into the Federal Government's Health Identifier Bill as part of a Senate inquiry have not been able to reach a consensus over whether they recommend the new law be passed.

The Bill — due for debate as the third item on the Senate's orders of the day on 11 May — is required to be passed in order for Australians to be issued a 16-digit national healthcare identifier. The Federal Government intends to have the Bill passed before 1 July, when the roll-out is due to begin.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon referred the Bill to a Senate Committee late February due to high levels of community interest. The report from the committee's inquiry has shown in its corresponding report that Coalition and Labor senators are split over privacy concerns and evidence raised in submissions.



ISoft makes move on consumer healthcare

16 Mar 2010

ISoft has formed a partnership with Switzerland-based telehealth device company Medic4all. The two companies are showcasing integrated telehealth products at the World of Health IT conference in Barcelona.

These include a monitoring operations centre that manages patient data and a home care platform that allows healthcare professionals to remotely monitor, diagnose and care for patients.

According to iSoft, one of key differentiators between its "end to end" solution and what other companies are offering is the look and appeal of each of the devices.



iSoft reaffirms revenue guidance

Says work under the UK’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT) remains on track

iSoft (ASX:ISF) has moved to reassure investors that its FY10 financial guidance and work on the UK’s National Programme for IT (NPfIT) remains on track.

In an ASX statement today the e-health provider said it was on track to achieving the agreed data for the roll out of its Lorenzo application at Cumbria's University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust under the NPfIT. This was contrary to recent speculation in media reports.

“iSoft expects the milestone at Morecambe Bay to be met according to the timetable agreed between its partner Computer Sciences Corporation [CSC] and the National Health Service [NHS], and expects this achievement to trigger a cash payment to the company,” the statement said.



iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Reaffirms FY10 Guidance and Says NPfIT Commitments on Track

Sydney, Mar 15, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited, Australia's largest listed health information technology company, today reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2010 and said it is on track to achieve the agreed date for the rollout of Lorenzo at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust under the UK's National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

Morecambe Bay "go-live"

iSOFT remains on track for the "go-live" of Lorenzo Regional Healthcare Release 1.9 at Morecambe Bay in accordance with the agreed schedule, contrary to recent speculation in media reports. iSOFT expects the milestone at Morecambe Bay to be met according to the timetable agreed between its partner Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and the NHS, and expects this achievement to trigger a cash payment to the company.



iSoft says it is 'on track' at Morecambe

16 Mar 2010

Australian health IT firm iSoft yesterday said it was “on track” to implement Lorenzo across University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust by the end of March.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, the company said it would meet its promised revenues and added: “iSoft remains on track for the ‘go-live’ of Lorenzo Regional Healthcare Release 1.9 at Morecambe Bay in accordance with the agreed schedule, contrary to recent speculation in media reports.”

Last week, E-Health Insider reported that local service provider CSC and iSoft look set to miss the 31 March deadline for the go-live across the trust.



Broadband network will be $43bn white elephant

Malcolm Colless

From: The Australian

March 16, 2010 12:00AM

THE present federal budget describes the Rudd government's $43 billion national broadband network as the single largest building infrastructure project in Australian history.

But it could end up as one of Australia's biggest and costliest infrastructure debacles. And that's saying something when you look at the financial disaster that has engulfed the home insulation program and the amount of taxpayers' money wasted on the mismanagement of the primary school building revolution.

What has emerged from these multi-billion-dollar spending splurges is an absence of good governance. Political rhetoric and spin have taken precedence over economic common sense.

The NBN is no exception. It is just that the financial cost of failure is so much higher. The project's operating body, NBN Co, is flying by the seat of its pants on a mission from Kevin Rudd to deliver a national high-speed fibre-optic broadband network at the cutting-edge of world standards.



Conroy set for clash over NBN

Mitchell Bingemann

From: The Australian

March 17, 2010 12:00AM

THE Rudd government will today defy a Senate order by not releasing the study into the costs, structure and financial viability of the $43 billion national broadband network.

Last week, Greens senator Scott Ludlam lodged a Senate order for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to release the $25 million KPMG and McKinsey study by 10am today.

It is understood the government will ignore the request.

"It's extremely politically dangerous for the government to not table the study because they have been referring all the unanswered questions about the information vacuum surrounding the NBN to this particular study," Senator Ludlam said.



Broadband network hangs in balance

March 18, 2010 - 7:59AM


The federal government has until 10am (AEDT) on Thursday to produce a report that might determine whether the Senate approves Labor's planned national broadband network strategy.

But the Australian Greens, who are threatening to withdraw their support for key legislation paving the way for the break-up of Telstra, are not holding out much hope the government will agree to the upper house demand.



Word, Excel, Powerpoint - free on the web


March 15, 2010 - 3:43PM

Microsoft is rising to the challenge of Google Docs, offering free Office applications on the web as it releases Office 2010.

New paid versions of the ubiquitous office suite will be available to businesses in May and consumers in June, but its Office Web Apps component is already available in beta through Microsoft Office Live.

Anyone with a Windows Live account can create, modify or share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents for free. They do not need Microsoft software installed on their machines.




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