Quote Of The Year

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27 June, 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 big news this week is the final passage of the Health Identifier Service Bills – other than, of course, finding ourselves with a brand new Prime Minister. I have said enough about that event for a while I think so we can all sit back and wait to see what actually happens next. I do have to say, however, that I think there is a rather excessive sense of optimism about the likely level of impact of this small step.
The following article makes it clear the health system has a significant safety and quality problem and provides the strongest possible rationale for doing broader e-Health in my view. After all that is what the health system is expected to provide as it delivers care!

Errors plague hospital system

REPORTS of violence, infections, falls, and medication mistakes affecting public hospital patients increased last year.
Health Minister John Hill tabled the SA Patient Safety Report 2008-09 in Parliament yesterday, which shows the number of reported incidents rose from 22,522 in 2006-07, to 26,094 in 2007-08, and 29,056 last year.
It shows the "sentinel" or most serious events included:
SIX hospital inpatient suicides.
SEVEN instruments left in patients after surgery.
TWO maternal deaths.
More than 7000 patients fell over; nine of them died after falling and 23 of them suffered serious injuries.
About 5900 medication mistakes included 660 overdoses, and about 1750 medication omissions. The number of healthcare-associated infection incidents more than doubled to 167.
The report's introduction says errors are a "normal human condition", that most "did not cause significant harm", and highlights that the increase is in reported numbers, which shows the robustness of the department's safety culture.
Mr Hill said reporting such incidents was important because staff can learn from mistakes and refine procedures. SA Health chief public health officer Dr Stephen Christley said the department had an "excellent safety culture".
Full article here:
It is important to remember just what we are doing e-Health for!
Now to the articles for the week.

Gillard 'gets' e-health

  • UPDATED: Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • June 24, 2010 2:50PM
ELECTRONIC health experts have cautiously welcomed Julia Gillard's elevation to prime minister, with some saying she has a good understanding of e-health.
Health IT blogger David More said as an ex-opposition health spokeswoman, Ms Gillard is aware e-health was a crucial issue.
"She does know that e-health is important and having been opposition health spokesman (she) knows how hard Tony Abbott found it to make any progress.
"I think she will be interested to see what can be done to move the agenda along," Dr More said.
Dr More said an example why he believes Ms Gillard "gets e-health" was a speech she made in June 2006. She was one of the first senior politicians to link the benefits of high-speed internet access to an e-health framework.
Ms Gillard lamented wasted opportunities under the Howard government to introduce e-health systems while addressing the ACT chapter of the Australian College of Health Service Executives.
"I think we have to face the fact that a national e-health system is at least a decade off.
"To fix the problem we will need a national, collaborative approach and strong national leadership. We will also need all your skills, insights and abilities. Only then can we begin to reap the benefits of the e-health revolution.

Healthcare Identifiers Bill passed

Medicare Australia expected to assign unique healthcare identifiers in October
The Federal Government passed through the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 and the Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010 this week, following four months of debate and a last minute push by the Department of Health and Ageing and the National eHealth Transition Authority (NeHTA).
The Senate is believed to have passed the bills at approximately 8.45pm on 25 June, as Australian Parliament House wrapped the final day of sitting before the winter break. The bills allow e-health authority NeHTA and service lead Medicare Australia to begin assigning unique, 16-digit individual healthcare identifiers to the Australian public within the 1 July timeframe originally stipulated under the Government proposal.
Concerns the bill wouldn't be passed before July arose after the health minister, Nicola Roxon, agreed to amendments tabled by the Opposition. The amendments - some of which were added to the main bill - would effectively see Medicare Australia a permanent operator of the identifier service, pending a review of the legislation in two years or other directives from Parliament. A final contract between Medicare Australia and NeHTA is believed to have been signed, but a spokesperson for NeHTA failed to confirm this.

Senate gives healthcare identifiers Bill green light

25th Jun 2010
AFTER months of uncertainty the Healthcare Identifiers Bill has finally been passed by the Senate.
The legislation, passed in the dying hours of Parliament before the winter recess, will enable all Australians and healthcare providers to be indentified by a unique 16-digit number.
Medicare will have allocated 98% of Australian’s an individual healthcare identifier by Monday.
National E-Health Transition Authority clinical lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said the Government and the Coalition should be congratulated for making e-health a priority.

Healthcare Identifiers To Kickstart e-Health Implementation, Australia

25 Jun 2010   
AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the AMA is pleased that the Healthcare Identifiers legislation has been passed by the Parliament and now looks forward to an acceleration of the implementation of e-Health programs in Australia.
Dr Pesce said healthcare identifiers are an important building block for electronic health records.
"Healthcare identifiers will facilitate the timely and accurate sharing of electronic patient information to improve medical care in Australia," Dr Pesce said.
"The legislation very clearly provides for the healthcare identifiers to be used solely to identify individuals for the purposes of accessing and sharing individual electronic health information.

Health Identifiers A Good Start On E-health, Australia

25 Jun 2010   
ANF Federal Secretary elect Lee Thomas welcomes the introduction of the Healthcare Identifiers Act saying it will improve patient safety and care by giving nurses and midwives access to electronic health records.
Ms Thomas said the ANF hoped the government's e-health reform agenda could now be advanced to deliver a more streamlined health system for the nation.
"On a daily basis nurses and midwives are forced to make important decisions on how to initiate care for seriously ill people who may present to a hospital and often the nursing and medical staff will not know that person's medical history," she said.
Ms Thomas said e-Health would also make life easier for those on a complex regime of medication.

Parliament passes e-health legislation

Every Australian will be given an individual healthcare identification number from next week after the federal parliament passed legislation giving the scheme the green light

Mac Uni to open paperless e-hospital

By Luke Hopewell, ZDNet.com.au on June 24th, 2010
Australia's first paperless hospital is set to open this weekend, using e-health records to manage patient care.
Macquarie University Hospital, located on the Macquarie University campus, is designed to be a "digital hospital", according to chief information officer, Geoff Harders. Existing paper records will be migrated into a digital format for use on workstations, and patient care is tracked by Siemens "cockpit" systems, eliminating clipboard charts in a patient's room.
"There's a lot of things being done that haven't been done in the past ... we're about trying to become an exemplar," Harders said. The paperless system sees patient records, tests, dietary requirements and other relevant information entered into the hospital's system and added to the patient's digital record.

Hospital shunned over computer revelations

June 23, 2010
PREMIER John Brumby's office moved a media conference away from The Alfred yesterday to avoid embarrassment over revelations senior doctors believed the hospital's computer system was putting patients' lives at risk.
The announcement by Mr Brumby and Health Minister Daniel Andrews of measures to cope with winter illnesses was moved to the Monash Medical Centre in Clayton.
The Age reported yesterday that medical staff regard The Alfred's electronic medical record system as a disaster, with surgeons forced to compete with nursing staff and anaesthetists for access to computer terminals.

SA Health nears $100m software decision

South Australia Health is in the final stages of picking the technology that will power a state-wide electronic health information system following a rigorous assessment process involving hundreds of clinicians.

Qld Health payroll staff consider action

Angry Queensland Health (QH) payroll staff will consider stop-work action if something isn't done soon to ease their 60-hour-week work loads, their union says.

Online GPs to take over after hours careby Jared Reed

‘Online GPs’ are be at the centre of a new three-tier after-hours primary care telephone system, the government has revealed on its yourHealth website.

A ‘medical advice and a diagnostic service’ provided by online doctors will be added on to the phone triage service currently provided by nurses through the National Health Call Centre Network, healthdirect Australia.

Under the new scheme, patients will first contact their local practice, and have their call diverted to the nurse-run phone line. The nurse may then refer the patient upwards to an ‘online GP’, who will “provide further medical advice and treatment options”. From 2013, the online GP may then refer the patient for a face-to-face consultation with the nearest Medicare Local after hours GP.

No end to Queensland payroll debacle

  • From: AAP
  • June 23, 2010 10:28AM
ANGRY Queensland Health payroll staff will consider stop-work action if something isn't done soon to ease their 60-hour-week work loads.
Thousands of health workers have either not been paid, have been underpaid or overpaid since a problematic new software system was introduced three months ago.
Extra payroll staff have been put on to fix the pay problem, but workers are now at breaking point with no end to the mess in sight, the Australian Services Union's Julie Bignell says.
Around 50 workers at QH's Meadowbrook payroll hub stopped work on Tuesday to meet and vent their anger over a decision to move three experienced staffers to the Princess Alexandra Hospital to work in an information kiosk for pay queries.

Vic govt launches GreenIT cluster

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on June 23rd, 2010 (21 hours ago)
The Victorian Government yesterday launched what it calls "Australia's first environmental IT industry cluster", shelling out $100,000 for the initiative.
The Victorian Minister for Information and Communications Technology John Lender announced the cluster at an Australian Information Industry Group event yesterday. He revealed the new Victorian-based cluster is comprised of the Australian Information Industry Association, Box Hill Institute, CSC, KPMG, Prima Consulting and Tradeslot.
"This new cluster brings together six industry and government organisations with industry knowledge, giving companies an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and promote industry capability nationally and internationally," Lenders said in a press release.

Aussie tech drives GPs' reports

E-health solutions provider Global Health has been selected to provide its ReferralNet system to Australian Medical Locum Services as a platform for secure message delivery. ALMS provides after-hours care for the patients of almost 2000 GPs in Melbourne and Perth.

iSOFT, Oakton partner on Microsoft systems integration

Listed-Australian technology and business consultancy, Oakton, has been chosen by iSOFT as the preferred partner of systems integration services in a project to roll out Microsoft Dynamics AX to 28 customers nationwide in the health care industry.
Under the agreement, iSOFT will subcontract to Oakton to deliver Dynamics AX to clients in the healthcare industry to replace their existing financial system, with iSOFT touting the project as a “major transformation initiative to modernise financial operations and provide more integrated back office services.”
iSOFT operations director, Rein de Vries said Oakton was selected as preferred partner due to its “deep Microsoft capability and its alignment to our successful deployment methodologies.”

Margin calls force iSoft's Cohen to sell down shares

June 26, 2010
THERE was large-scale movement yesterday in the share price of iSoft, an outfit that bills itself as the biggest health information technology company listed on the exchange.
The shares, which closed at 19¢ the day before, fell to 13.5¢ in morning trading.
By midday, the scrip recovered somewhat to 16¢ and at 1.12pm chief executive Gary Cohen issued a statement to say he had sold shares as a result of margin calls.
''As advised to the audit committee in 2008, I borrowed funds on security of my shares in iSoft in order to allow my entities to participate in the rights issue conducted by the company in 2007,'' he said.
The original borrowing related to less than 1 per cent of the then market value of iSoft shares and less than 15 per cent of the total shares in which he had a relevant interest, Mr Cohen said.

iSoft's ANZ MD to leave

By Josh Taylor, ZDNet.com.au on June 24th, 2010
iSoft's Australia and New Zealand managing director, Denis Tebbutt, will be leaving the company, with its NZ country manager James Rice to move into the leadership role.
"Denis will be leaving the organisation," the company said in a statement. "James Rice has been put into the leadership position for the Australian and New Zealand business unit."
The company did not reveal the reasons for Tebbutt's departure.

iSoft forced to slash costs

Troubled NHS software supplier iSoft has been forced to go to its banks to ask for more favourable borrowing terms, and to draw up plans for a "significant reduction in costs", which could include job losses.
The move follows a string of negative trading updates by the company over the last few weeks.
iSoft’s software package Lorenzo, which the company is due to roll out across two thirds of England’s hospitals, was installed this month at a large NHS trust six years after the first of many deadlines was missed.

Gillard’s test: effective health reform

25th Jun 2010
AFTER the swift toppling of Kevin Rudd, Australia now has its first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the country is eagerly waiting to see what kind of leader she will be. 
Doctors in particular will be scrutinising her words for clues as to how she plans to move forward with the National Health and Hospitals Network plan, and what degree of involvement they may be afforded. 
Given one of her first acts as Prime Minister was to call a truce with the mining industry and invite its chiefs to renegotiate the Resources Super Profits Tax, the signs are good that she will adopt a more consultative approach to government. 
Kate Carnell was AGPN CEO in 2004 when Ms Gillard held the position of shadow health minister.
She describes her as “accessible, incredibly bright, with a good grasp of policy”.
Importantly for GPs, she recalls Ms Gillard’s approach to policy was one of “always trying to bring people with her”.

Govt goes into tech overdrive

By Suzanne Tindal, ZDNet.com.au on June 25th, 2010
I don't know whether the government managed to catch my blog last week about never getting anything done, but this week it went out of its way to prove me wrong.
It pulled me out of bed on Sunday to write about a deal with Telstra that will see the telco move its customers onto the National Broadband Network. Considering I'd never thought the government and Telstra would ever see eye to eye I was really taken aback.
In an embarrassing blunder from October 2009, Senator Stephen Conroy released an ACCC report that valued Telstra's copper access network at between $8 billion and $40 billion.
Considering that the amount Telstra is going to get from the government to transfer its customers to the National Broadband Network and decommission its copper network is much closer to $8 billion than $40 billion, I'm calling that a victory for the government.

Money down the drain as tech bills blocked

Opposition's "filibustering" could mean as much as $16.5 million in taxpayer money down the drain
Up to $16.5 million of taxpayer's money could be wasted by the end of 2010 due to alleged "filibustering" by the Federal Opposition, Australian Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, has claimed.
"It costs more than a million dollars a day to run this building and [the Opposition is] filibustering the bills," he told Computerworld Australia.
A spokesperson for Australian Parliament House clarified that yearly operating costs for Australian Parliament House are between $150 million and $175 million, extrapolated across the whole year to an average of $500,000 per day excluding MP salaries.

Opposition not bound to Telstra network deal

June 22, 2010
THE government's $11 billion agreement with Telstra would not tie the opposition's hands if it tries to scrap the network after the next election.
The opposition has pledged to suspend work on the project after the election and wind back commitments made by the government's NBN Co, meaning the ditching of the $43 billion project could be pricey if major contracts have been locked in.
But the heads of agreement struck between Telstra and NBN Co on the weekend does not bind either party, meaning the opposition would be able to extract the government from the deal without facing a financial penalty or legal challenge if it is elected to office.

Telstra-NBN Co deal: Analysts weigh in

Analysts debate which party has emerged victorious
While many in the industry will welcome the reaching of a Financial Heads of Agreement deal between Telstra and the NBN Co for the separation of Telstra, analysts are debating which party has emerged from the protracted negotiations as victor.
IDC Australia telecommunications analyst, David Cannon, said the outcome of the negotiations could be read as a “win-win” for the Government and Telstra.
“Telstra… still gets to keep the pits and ducts and hence we should see a big gain in Telstra share price,” he said. “This is also a great win for the government as it validates its broadband vision whilst securing the interests of Australian tax payers (with a cheaper rollout) and Telstra shareholders which the opposition was not able to achieve.
“Most importantly, Telstra shareholders have been looked after, and hence David Thodey has done his job.”

Telstra in $11bn NBN deal with Rudd government

  • Mitchell Bingemann and Jennifer Hewett
  • From: The Australian
  • June 21, 2010 12:00AM
TELSTRA has struck an $11 billion deal with NBN Co and the Rudd government to transfer its internet and voice customers to the NBN.
The non-binding financial heads of agreement -- which comes after 10 tortuous months of negotiations -- will see Telstra paid $9bn to become the NBN's largest customer as it transfers its cable and copper network customers to the new fibre network during its eight-year construction.
Telstra expects to reap a total $11bn in post-tax net present value from the deal after new public policy reforms that relieve the company's obligation to provide and maintain basic phone services to rural and remote areas

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