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."

Monday, August 09, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 09 August, 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 commented on the election and e-Health yesterday, so I will hit on a couple of internet related issues that at least need a passing thought as one tries to work out if one will cast a formal vote or something less clear!

The issues I see as relevant as the Internet is a key enabler of virtually any substantial e-Health initiative.

Clearly the National Broadband Network (NBN) is conceptually a great idea and I have to say I love the idea of ubiquitous fast broadband wherever people want and need it. As covered in the articles cited below the worry is are we actually going to get value for money for the $43 Billion it will cost, could it be done more cheaply and what are the risks of creating a Government Monopoly as the NBN Co will clearly become. For myself I would like more assurance than is presently out there that the current plan is optimal from a business, technical and governance standpoint.

The second issue is Senator Conroy’s Internet Filter. With Mr Hockey saying they oppose it and the Greens opposing it – I think it is dead and buried and I have to say I think that is a very good thing. It is stupid both in technical and policy terms in my view! There are better ways for parents to look after their children than to trust a filter that is easily bypassed – and I would rather the adult population be treated as adults – able to decide for themselves what they want to use the internet for.

This makes it clear just how easy it is to bypass.


Now let’s go back to e-Health proper!



Why not do the NBN better, cheaper, faster?

It would be a national and economic tragedy to dismiss the strong elements in the NBN plan just for the sake of short-term political expedience

When you are faced with an opponent that has a great game, sometimes the best offence is to just do what they are doing, but better.

Take the best parts of that game and build on them to make a better proposition. Most smart sporting teams and individuals, armed forces, corporations, organisations and governments do it all the time.

It really makes no sense to re-invent the wheel when you can take great components or concepts and advance them to higher levels with additions, amendments and cost savings.

It’s an easy to grasp approach and one that has held generations of engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists, academics, policy makers, organisations and even families and individuals in very good stead.



Pity the PM didn't hold broadband to the light, then oppose it

August 2, 2010

Why did Gillard let through $50 billion to be wasted on the broadband network?

Julia Gillard is right. The story about her cabinet comments on parental leave and age pension increases costing some $50 billion is a beat-up. The real question is why she didn't apply the same critical approach to the cabinet decision to approve the $50 billion (including the government payment to Telstra) rollout of the national broadband network, which went to cabinet the night before it was announced on April 7, 2009.

It was approved without any cost-benefit analysis or even a rudimentary business case to support it.

The plan was based on conversations between Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, over a couple of days flying between Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.



NBN to cover 93 per cent of nation - more than originally thought, says ALP

  • From: AAP
  • July 30, 2010 3:39PM

LABOR says its national broadband network will deliver super-fast fibre optic cable internet access to 300,000 more premises than first thought.

Julia Gillard, campaigning in Perth, said the $43 billion network was being rolled out on time and on budget.

About half of households and businesses in the only three Tasmanian towns connected to the network have been accessing the service - a faster rate of uptake than many expected.

The NBN is a major point of difference between Labor and the Coalition in a campaign featuring “me-tooism” on key issues.

Ms Gillard was keen to emphasise that difference today when she and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy released maps showing the network's coverage had expanded to 93 per cent of the nation.



Minority of paying users could kickstart e-health market

MOST potential users say they will not pay for personal electronic health records, but the few prepared to pay could kickstart the market.

CSC health director Lisa Pettigrew says an independent report it released last week showed only 43 per cent of respondents had heard of proposals for e-health records, but 26 would be prepared to pay for the service.

An overwhelming 70 per cent were not willing to pay a fee for their own records, with 88 per cent saying state and federal governments should foot the bill.

"But 6 per cent of the population represents more than 1 million people prepared to pay at least $100 -- that's actually a healthy start," Ms Pettigrew said. "That demand could sustain a couple of companies."

There was a clear community view that government should provide the core e-health platform, along with a record service as "a provider of last resort", she said.

"As part of a modern health system, at a minimum, patient data needs to be available electronically, and the government needs to provide that social infrastructure," she said.



Liberals to slash net filter

Liberal party finally plays what could be a winning card in opposing the highly controversial Internet filter plan

The Federal Opposition has moved to trash the Government's highly controversial mandatory ISP-level Internet Filter.

In July, communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced a deal between Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and the Federal Government, that would see up to 70 per cent of Australians have filtered Internet access, while a plan to implement a mandatory filter would be delayed for a year.

Under the deal, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will impose web content filtering for their customers and the Federal Attorney-General‘s office will also review the filter blacklist - or refused classification content - to be administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

But last night after months of staying mum on the net filter, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey revealed the Coalition would block Labor's mandatory internet filtering policy in parliament, in a move that will signal the death of the controversial project if the Greens control the balance of power in the Federal Senate after the election.



Coalition to dump 'flawed' internet filter

August 6, 2010 - 8:44AM

The Coalition has announced it will scrap controversial plans for an internet filter if it wins the August 21 election.

Federal Labor's controversial plan to filter the internet could be dead in the water after the Coalition announced it opposed the policy.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said on Thursday a Coalition government would abandon Labor's "flawed" filter policy.

Instead, a Tony Abbott-led government would encourage parents to take more responsibility for monitoring their children's use of the web.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's office says Labor will be pushing ahead with its plan despite the latest setback.

"We believe the internet filter will not work," Mr Hockey told ABC Radio's Triple J



Take a multi-media tour of e-health in action in Adelaide

6 August 2010. NEHTA is pleased to announce the Model Healthcare Community (MHC), a demonstration of how the new national Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service) works, will be on display at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) offices in Adelaide from Wednesday 11 August.

The MHC display is part of e-health Futures, the RACGP’s interactive e-health display demonstrating how e-health information will work among healthcare professional and between healthcare settings.

The HI Service commenced operation on 1 July 2010. It has been developed as a foundation service for e-health initiatives in Australia recognising that a requirement for a safe and secure e-health system is the ability to uniquely identify everyone involved in a single healthcare transaction. Medicare Australia is the operator of the HI Service.



WA Health flags infrastructure overhaul

Data Centre renewal part of six major ICT renewal projects

Western Australia Health is to shortly go to market for the procurement of managed central computing services.

The procurement will see WA Health source primary and secondary data centres, servers, storage, appliances, firewalls, and a data network.

It will also feature a strong services component including data centre management services, disaster recovery services, project services and relocation services to help facilitate the move to the new provider.

The massive undertaking will commence in late November, with the primary data centre slated to be fully operational at the end of April 2011, while the second data centre will be up and running by early June 2011.

The primary data centre will be located in WA, offer Tier 3 certification and will have a minimum capacity of 125 square metres. The contract for the new data centres will be for a period of up to eight years. WA Health’s existing data centres are located in the Perth metropolitan area. The primary centre hosts Health’s business critical production applications and the secondary centre is the disaster recovery site.



ISoft launches stand alone ePrescribing

03 Aug 2010

Clinical software supplier, iSoft, has launched a web-based ePrescribing and medications administration system for the NHS.

The company says that the system is already being used at ten hospitals in Australia and across six district health boards in New Zealand and that a number of NHS trusts are close to becoming early adopters.

The software, which will be showcased at E-Health Insider Live 2010 in November, provides a drug formulary and decision support rules engine to prevent drugs being wrongly prescribed.



iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) Launches Proven Web-Based E-Prescribing Solution For The NHS

Sydney, Aug 4, 2010 (ABN Newswire) - iSOFT Group Limited (ASX:ISF) has today launched a new e-prescribing and medication administration (ePMA) solution in the UK and is close to finalising deals with a number of NHS trusts to become early adopters.

The solution is already used at ten hospitals in Australia and across six district health boards in New Zealand for safer and more efficient medicines management. Users report sharp falls in incidents due to drugs being wrongly prescribed or doses being missed. And incidents due to illegible scripts are a thing of the past.

Working with First DataBank, a leading provider of drug databases and active clinical decision support, iSOFT has adapted the solution for the UK market. It offers a drug formulary and decision support rules engine to stop drugs being wrongly prescribed and so shorten hospital stays. It will also streamline processes such as discharge, reduce re-admission rates, and cut costs.


iSoft partners with Irish iPath on pathology

06 Aug 2010

ISoft has announced that it will partner will I-Path Diagnostics, a Belfast based provider of web-based pathology systems to boost its presence in the UK pathology market.

The company will add I-Path’s web based platform, PathXL which enables glass slides used by pathologists to be converted into digital files and then accessed and distributed via the N3 network or internet, to its existing laboratory suite.

ISoft will provide the system under software as a service model to provide customers with access to information when they need it or as a scalable system to trusts across the UK.



Guild’s eRx clarification camouflages the facts!! Why hide the truth?

James Ellerson

The thought that first struck me after reading ‘the clarification’ about the eRx Script Exchange on the editorial page of the May Issue of the Pulse+IT magazine was - Why is this clarification so necessary?

On the surface it seemed like a reasonable statement to make.

It read: “Clarification - in the March 2010 edition of Pulse+IT it was reported that the electronic prescribing service operated by eRx Script Exchange had received 7.5 million scripts "sent to the eRx script hub by prescribers" as of the middle of January.

Omitted from the article was reference to a workflow that allows pharmacists to send repeat prescriptions to the hub for later retrieval by any pharmacist connected to the eRx system.

The volume of transactions quoted in the March 2010 article included such scripts, in addition to scripts sent to the hub directly by prescribers.”

I found the clarification intriguing; particularly the comment Omitted from the article was reference to a workflow that allows pharmacists to send repeat prescriptions to the hub for later retrieval …. “.



Queensland Health payroll system improving: Lucas

  • From: AAP
  • August 03, 2010 5:01PM

QUEENSLAND Health's pay system is improving following a move to regionalise it, says Health Minister Paul Lucas.

An auditor-general's report released in June was highly critical of the new payroll system's introduction.

Those in charge of implementing QH's new system - under which staff have been underpaid, overpaid and not paid at all - had rushed its introduction before proper testing and the provision of fail-safes, the report said.

Seven recommendations to prevent future problems were all adopted.

Following its release, the government announced it would implement a localised payroll system by the end of September, modelled on the federal government's local area networks.



Qld Govt implements new payroll system

Follows Auditor General's report on bungled Queensland Health payroll system

The Queensland Government is implementing a new payroll model in response to the Auditor General’s report, handed down on the June 29, on the Queensland Health payroll fiasco.

The key recommendation of the report was for Queensland Health to reconsider its business model to determine the most "effective and efficient strategy" to deliver payroll services.

In responding to the report, the Government claimed it had adopted all of its recommendations, and would additionally implement a dedicated pay hub to service every hospital by 30 September.

Commenting on the announcement, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Paul Lucas, said the Government was looking at the payroll applications closely to ensure the appropriate software had been chosen for Queensland Health’s needs.



Depression more likely in teenagers addicted to the internet: study

  • From: AFP
  • August 03, 2010 9:44AM

TEENAGERS "addicted" to the internet are more than twice as likely to become depressed than those who use it in a more controlled manner.

A study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine questioned 1041 teens from Guangzhou in southeastern China to try to identify whether they used the internet in a pathological way, and were assessed for anxiety and depression.

The vast majority of the teens - more than 940 - used the internet normally, but 6.2 per cent were classified as being moderately pathological internet users and 0.2 per cent were “severely pathological” users.

Nine months later, the teenagers' psychological states were reassessed, and the researchers found students who used the internet uncontrollably or unreasonably were around two-and-a-half times as likely as normal web users to develop depression.



91 per cent of Australians in favour of e-health records

Expectation is that government and insurers will pay

By Lisa Banks, Sydney | Wednesday, 4 August, 2010

Australian's are overwhelmingly in favour of having e-health records but are not willing to pay for the privilege, according to a survey from CSC.

According to the survey results, 91 per cent of Australian's surveyed want all their healthcare data stored in the one place and 27 per cent are willing to pay $50 annually for it to happen. However, 70 per cent are unwilling to pay anything for the right.

Director of health services for CSC, Lisa Pettigrew, said the survey, A rising tide of expectations, showed Australian's expections in regards to e-health services access.



iPads go under the knife at Victorian hospitals

Victorian State Government commits to purchasing 500 iPads for experimentation in public hospitals

The Victorian State Government has unveiled a program where 500 iPads will be delivered to a number of hospitals in the state, as the Brumby Labor government continues to show a great deal of interest in the Apple platform.

The rollout will cost about $500,000, according to a statement issued yesterday by state health minister Daniel Andrews, and would see the iPads used by graduate doctors, nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses to use while treating patients.

The trial will take place from January next year, although Andrews did not disclose which hospitals would get the technology.



Optus flicks switch on DOCSIS 3.0 for cable users

New hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) upgrade will bring broadband speeds to an average of around 80 megabits per second

Optus has completed a substantial upgrade of its HFC cable network in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney that will allow residents in supported areas access to speeds up ranging up to around 80 megabits per second (Mbps) or more, using the improved DOCSIS 3 standard.

Speeds on the network have historically maxed out at around 20Mbps - similar to the top speeds on rival ADSL2+ networks. However, most customers could only receive slower speeds - for example, up to 10Mbps.

Optus general manager of fixed network strategy Michael Wagg said the telco had tested around 6,000 customer connections and had come up with an average of just under 75Mbps download speeds - although the median was 81Mbps. In general the speeds will represent a four-fold improvement on the previous access.




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