Quote Of The Year

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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links - 26-04-2010.

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:

I have the feeling that we have entered some sort of e-Health dark hole. We have a collection of mess-ups and stuff-ups just everywhere.
From Medicare Australia messing up record management, to Qld Health messing up payroll processing, to COAG ‘prioritizing’ e-health to the garbage tin, to NEHTA inventing identification systems it seems the planned users will reject and so it goes.
With a recent track record like this what next can go wrong can be the only question.
The only bright spot on the horizon is that the Federal Opposition seems now to be ‘on the case’ and maybe we will see some improved accountability and performance.
It is really hard to see how it can get much worse!
This article really takes the biscuit for reporting honestly the pathetic spin being served up by the Government.

COAG to 'prioritise' e-health record

By Ben Grubb, ZDNet.com.au on April 21st, 2010 (4 hours ago)
After two days of discussions in the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the state and territory governments have not committed to a date to implement a national individual electronic health record, although the issue now seems to have become a priority.
"COAG noted the importance of continuing to work towards a national Individual Electronic Health Record system and agreed to prioritise discussions over the coming months to move towards the implementation phase," COAG's communiqué (PDF) said.”
It seems to me that if NEHTA had anything is vaguely credible in the way of a proposal – busy agenda and all - COAG would have given more than three lines.
If they were at all accountable their leaders would resign for having let the Australian public down so comprehensively!
Even their clinical lead is frustrated – being polite about it!

E-health upgrade 'urgent'

  • Adam Cresswell, Health editor
  • From: The Australian
  • April 22, 2010 12:00AM
THE lack of action on improving electronic health systems is emerging as an Achilles heel of the federal plans, with experts warning that the entire reform agenda will stall without an urgent commitment to upgrade IT networks.
E-health, as it is known, earned a single sentence in the 30-page COAG communique released on Tuesday, with state and federal governments saying they "noted the importance of continuing to work towards" a national electronic health record system, and had "agreed to prioritise discussions" on the issue.
But IT advocate and GP Mukesh Haikerwal -- one of the 10 members of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, whose final report formed the basis for the reform plans -- said inadequate computer systems, software or differences in data-gathering practices meant many of the measures would face serious delays.
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Patient ID system may be set to fail: e-health

A LACK of identity management capability within medical offices may bring the compulsory national patient identity numbering scheme unstuck, with doctors unwilling to risk heavy fines for breaches under the proposed Healthcare Identifiers legislation.
And the new rules could shut down existing e-health programs such as shared care for patients with chronic diseases, clinical trials, secure messaging services and e-prescribing because software and third-party service providers would not be treated as eligible organisations.
The federal government's controversial bill to establish an HI service and assign a unique 16-digit health identifier to every Australian, as well as medical professionals and health organisations, is due for debate in the Senate during the brief budget session next month.
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Health identifiers: more paperwork and fines

by Jared Reed
Medical groups say heavy fines for practices that breach regulations for the new unique health identifier legislation are unnecessary and will stop doctors using them in the first place.
Contravening a minor regulation exposes practices of fines of up to $5,500 a time.
The legislation, due for debate in the Senate next month, will propose a two-year transition period for users to become familiar with the new system and rules. But consumer groups are insisting on immediate enforcement to preserve privacy and to track who might have unnecessarily accessed an identifier.
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Medicare glitch affects records

A SOFTWARE glitch in Medicare's systems in February has caused a major safety alert, with the agency set to notify thousands of doctors that some patient records may have been incorrectly updated during a three-day period.
Medicare told The Australian yesterday that changes to its online patient verification system after maintenance on February 6 could have resulted in an adverse test result not being matched to the right person.
While the agency believes there is little risk to patient safety, it will contact affected medical practices so doctors can check their records and make corrections if necessary.
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Medicare slow to fix record bungle

MARK METHERELL
April 21, 2010
MEDICARE Australia has taken 10 weeks to alert 2700 medical practices of a bungle in the agency's computer system, which could have linked patients to the wrong diagnosis.
The problem has emerged at a sensitive time for the government, which is struggling to get agreement from doctors and others for regulations for the first steps of its national e-health scheme, the introduction of unique patient identifier numbers that are supposed to be introduced in July.
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Medicare IT bungle deepens

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • April 22, 2010 9:08AM
A GLITCH of Medicare's online verification system affected nearly 30,000 patient records - not 1300 - over a three-day period in February, seriously risking the health of thousands of people, Queensland Liberal Senator Sue Boyce claims.
"I understand the fault meant that some pathology test results would not have made it back to the patient's GP, or could have been attached to the medical history of another family member," she said.
"The glitch meant that only the first name appearing on a family Medicare card was recognised, and all pathology results for persons on that card were recorded under the first name.
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Minister not told of Medicare record glitch

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • April 22, 2010 4:56PM
HUMAN Services Minister Chris Bowen was not informed of a serious glitch in Medicare's systems involving the potential incorrect updating of up to 30,000 patient records - and nor were affected doctors - until 10 weeks after the error occurred.
Medicare is writing to 2700 medical practices to warn that 22,000 patient records will need to be checked as a result of flawed data return messages from the agency's online patient verification service during a three-day period in February.
"Medicare will inform (doctors and other health providers) about the issue, and provide details of their practice records where a verification check was undertaken (before the error was fixed)," a Medicare spokesman said.
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Auditor slams document verification service

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • April 21, 2010 6:45PM
A NATIONAL document verification service intended to clamp down on fake IDs and rising identity theft has been slammed as a failure by the Auditor-General.
More than 18 months past its four-year project deadline, the $25 million IT hub intended to allow authorities to authenticate a vast range of commonly used ID documents issued by legions of federal and state agencies is yet to enrol many of the expected users and is nowhere near fully operational.
The national Document Verification Service (nDVS) has been handling fewer than 10 transactions a day instead of the expected one million daily, while no fraudulent documents were identified in more than 50,000 transactions to the end of November 2009.
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Anti-ID theft computer system flops

MARK DAVIS
April 23, 2010
A $28 million Howard government plan to create a high-tech system to address identity crime has been plagued by technical difficulties and failed to achieve its aims, the Australian National Audit Office says.
The National Document Verification Service, announced by the Coalition in 2006, is a computer network which is supposed to link federal and state government agencies responsible for key identity documents such as birth certificates, passports and drivers' licences.
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Aged carers could get cut-rate mobile e-health

Non-profit builds clinical records app, throws into the cloud
A Perth-based not-for-profit will offer its enterprise in-house built e-health smartphone application for cost-price to hundreds of aged care facilities.
The platform means nurses can build detailed patient records on medical treatments, symptoms, and pain, fatigue and nausea levels. Aged care providers can use the application for reporting and finance services.
The system, dubbed ComCare, is used by more than 1000 Silver Chain mobile nurses using Ericsson smartphones. The WA health care provider has up to 700 nurses using the system at any given time who service more than 40,000 patients a year.
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PCS Clinical Audit Tool™ now available for all SA GPs

15 April 2010

SA Health has announced that, until 30 June 2014, all general practitioners in the state will now have access to the PCS Clinical Audit Tool™ (CAT) with the take up of a state-wide license.
CAT is a population reporting tool, which aggregates data, enabling general practice teams to view their practice population as a whole. This information can be used in a variety of ways, from simply getting to know the demographics of your population through to identifying areas for attention or targeting consumer information. It can also be used to streamline practice accreditation processes.
Professor Nigel Stocks, Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) SA/NT Faculty, congratulated SA Health for its support of general practice and for its commitment to better health outcomes for patients, especially those with chronic disease.
“Using CAT allows general practice staff to review and analyse demographic and clinical data held within their practice to identify patients at risk (of developing diabetes, for example) and implement improved prevention and management strategies.
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EXCLUSIVE: GPs to pay $650 rego from July

20-Apr-2010
By Sarah Colyer
New fee hikes for national medical registration have been leaked to the press and are set to spark outrage among GPs.
GPs can expect to pay $650 for annual registration with the new Medical Board of Australia, a GP source has told Australian Doctor.
The GP, who asked not to be named, said the fee rise — which is more than double the $270 paid by NSW GPs — was “absolutely scandalous”.
Comment – so much for technology reducing costs and improving efficiency!
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Qld Health payroll debacle worsens

PITFALLS in Kevin Rudd's new deal for hospitals were exposed in his home state yesterday with the Queensland government in damage control mode over payroll bungling that has left health workers without their pay.
Hopes that the month-long problem would be fixed yesterday were dashed as thousands of health workers failed to receive their full wages or were not paid at all.
The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed the payroll management of hospitals would remain state-based under the much-touted National Health and Hospitals Network Intergovernmental Agreement.
Mr Rudd downplayed the role of the states yesterday, saying: "It's just a payment authority."
The payroll problems for state health workers in Queensland erupted when the $40 million WorkBrain/SAP system was introduced to replace the ageing LATTICE system.
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Health workers prepare for pay bungles

  • From: AAP
  • April 21, 2010 4:27AM
QUEENSLAND'S health workers will begin discovering today whether they've again been underpaid - or even paid.
Tens of thousands of Queensland Health (QH) staff have been underpaid, overpaid, or not paid at all since a payroll system was rolled out last month.
The Australian Services Union (ASU), which represents QH's 650 payroll staff, believes problems could stretch into the next financial year.
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Government braces for more health payroll problems

By Chris O'Brien and Melinda Howells
Deputy Premier Paul Lucas will lead a Cabinet meeting today as he also keeps an eye on Queensland Health's pay problems.
Health salaries go into bank accounts tonight for tomorrow's pay day, but the State Government is not expecting a perfect payroll run.
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D-Day for Queensland Health pay system - and it looks like it's failed again

UNHAPPY Queensland Health employees are reporting more payroll problems today as the beleaguered system comes under further attacks.
Today is D-day for Queensland Health's beleaguered payroll system, but the department's top brass have no idea how many workers will be underpaid.
But judging by comments posted on couriermail.com.au Queensland Health employees have again failed to receive their correct pay.
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DoH offers NPfIT patient admin system alternative

NEWS
A contract for the supply of a patient administration system has indicated a further revision of plans for England's NHS National Programme for IT.
The Department of Health (DoH) has confirmed that a new deal will enable some trusts in the north of England to use an alternative software to the suite to which they had been committed by their local service provider.
It has said that a £36m, four-year contract signed with McKesson would cover some trusts in the North, Midlands and East of England (NME) area, which have previously been due to take iSoft's Lorenzo suite.
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iSOFT partners Gateway Computing to deliver document management solution

20 April 2010
Scott Wilce, Sales Director, Gateway Computing said: “With iSOFT’s experience in the NHS clinical arena and Gateway’s knowledge of the NHS built up over 16 years, we believe that the EDMS offering now available via iSOFT offers an extremely good value for money solution and provides a trust-wide comprehensive solution to all areas of the NHS.”
Adrian Stevens, Managing Director of iSOFT’s UK and Ireland business, said: “With increased pressure on the NHS to meet efficiency targets, document management is becoming increasingly important. WinDIP Enterprise can retrieve any document within seconds, so finding that needle in the haystack will become a reality. iSOFT sees a great opportunity in the market place for this product.”
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iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Agrees On UK Deals Worth A$8M

Sydney, April 20, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) - Australia's largest listed health information technology company, today said it signed two deals in the UK totaling GBP4.8 million (A$8 million) for a hospital system and an e-commerce and logistics hosting application.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in the South of England, one of the country's largest mental health trusts, chose to continue using iSOFT's Patient Management (formerly i.Patient Manager) solution in a deal that includes an option to become an early adopter of Lorenzo within six months. The agreement includes an initial license fee for the latest version of iSOFT Patient Management, and support services for up to five years.
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Sussex Partnership may move to Lorenzo

20 Apr 2010
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has signed a five-year deal with iSoft that includes an option for it to become an early adopter of Lorenzo.
The trust has renewed its deal for iSoft Patient Management (formerly known as iPatient Manager or iPM). As part of the deal, iSoft will install the latest version of the application and support it for up to five years.
It will also “consider the option in the next six months of becoming iSoft’s first UK-based Lorenzo early adopter outside the National Programme for IT in the NHS.”
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Morecambe's Lorenzo go-live shifts again

21 Apr 2010
E-Health Insider understands that the go-live of Lorenzo at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust is likely to be shifted from the start to the end of May.
The trust failed to hit an end of March deadline to go live with the latest version of the iSoft electronic patient record, set by Department of Health chief information officer Christine Connelly.
The failure to hit the deadline cost CSC a revised local service provider deal with NHS Connecting for Health.
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18 April 2010 By John Burke and Ian Kehoe
The IT firm working on a €60 million upgrade of the Health Service Executive (HSE) patient records systems has missed a deadline in the rollout of a similar £1 billion patient record system for the NHS in Britain.
iSoft has been contracted by the HSE to install its patient records software in hospitals and clinics in Ireland, but the system has been plagued with problems. The firm is also the main software supplier to three of Britain’s five health regions on a similar programme.
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NHS Bury experiences issues with Lorenzo

22 Apr 2010
NHS Bury, the first trust to go-live with Lorenzo Regional Care Release 1.9, is experiencing continual issues with the system’s reporting functionality.
Documents on the PCT’s website make references to problems with the iSoft electronic patient record, with which it went live at the start of November.
The documents indicate the PCT is having difficulties monitoring performance and the 18 week referral to treatment time target.
They also indicate the problems have delayed the creation of a business management centre for its provider services and the deployment of further functionality.
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NBN Co chief tries to clear record

THE head of the $43 billion national broadband network has tried to quell concerns the project will not generate a commercial return, but a network veteran has dubbed his claims "bullshit".
Speaking at the Commsday summit in Sydney yesterday, NBN Co chief Mike Quigley denied reports last week that quoted him saying the government would not make a financial return on the NBN for up to 30 years.
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If we win we'll scrap network: Coalition

ARI SHARP
April 22, 2010
THE Coalition is likely to scrap the $43 billion national broadband network if it wins office this year, a position one industry expert labelled ''a total disaster''.
The government said it would be a return to the Howard era.
The Opposition spokesman on communications, Tony Smith, said it would instead seek to attract private investment to broadband and be able to deliver improved speeds - faster than the eight years proposed by the Rudd government.
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Australia still waiting for Google Health

By Ben Grubb, ZDNet.com.au on April 19th, 2010
As state and territory governments meet to talk health reform at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra today, Google said it had "no time frame" for the deployment of Google Health in Australia, despite its CEO formerly saying he hoped to have the service available in Australia by late 2008.
Google Health allows users to volunteer their health records either manually or by logging into their accounts at partnered health service providers. The service is only available in the US.
On 18 March 2008, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was in Sydney talking up e-health. At the time, he acknowledged tough regulatory hurdles would need to be overcome first, but said he hoped to bring the Google Health service to Australia by the end of that year.
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Paradise lost: a decade of data breaches

Australia no island of security
Do you think the moat around Australia extends around your business and hackers won’t target you? It doesn’t, and research says data breaches will be the elephant-in-the-conference-room at your next IT meet.
Australia has to date been sheltered from much of the painful data breach disclosure laws sweeping the world, and organisations here appear to have avoided the high-profile hacks that have plagued others over the last decade. But are we as lucky as it would appear?
No. For starters, the seas that girt Australia offer illusionary security, according to Gartner. Research vice-president, Rich Mogull said Australian organisations are being hacked and losing data. “It’s just hidden,” Mogull said. Moreover, he said, we are in a worse position than others because of our close proximity to Asian countries where data breaches are rife.
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Fake security software is enemy No.1

April 21, 2010 - 11:11AM
Fake security software was the biggest cybersecurity woe afflicting computer users in 2009, and Apple users lost some of their immunity to cybercrime as they stored more data online instead of on hard drives, according to the cybersecurity firm Symantec.
In a report released this week, Symantec noted that Brazil had risen to third place in the list of countries with "malicious activity," defined as spam, online scam attempts and other types of cybercrime. The United States remained in first place generating 19 per cent of malicious traffic, with China second at 8 per cent, and Brazil third at 6 per cent.
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Antivirus program sends computers berserk

April 22, 2010 - 6:39AM
Computers in companies, hospitals and schools around the world got stuck repeatedly rebooting themselves on Wednesday after an antivirus program identified a normal Windows file as a virus.
Antivirus vendor McAfee Inc confirmed that a software update posted on Wednesday morning caused its antivirus program for corporate customers to misidentify a harmless file. It has posted a replacement update for download.
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Google Docs better; ready to take on Office?

The new version adds collaboration tools and drawing software, but drops the ability to work offline.
The new version of Google Docs sports considerable collaboration tools, as well as improved editing and formatting, a faster, more useful spreadsheet and new collaborative drawing software. It's a worthwhile upgrade to the Web-based office suite, especially for those to whom collaboration is of vital importance. But because it no longer allows offline access to documents (for now), and because it's still not as powerful as Microsoft Office, it's not likely to knock Office off of its throne as king of the productivity suites.
It's likely no coincidence that this major update to Google Docs comes just before Microsoft finalizes Office 2010. Based on what I saw when I reviewed the beta of Office 2010, this new version of Google Docs is far superior to the Web-based version of Office. Those who want to collaborate on documents online will want to use Google Docs, while those who want the most powerful office suite will stay with Office.
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Enjoy!
David.

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