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, August 15, 2010

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15 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 subscription payment.

General Comment:

Only one week to go and e-Health seems to have slipped down the agenda and debate about where the NBN fits and how much we should spend seems to have fired up.

Reading through the various commentary it seems to me, as I heard suggested from a range of sources, that maybe somewhere in the middle might make sense and deliver all we need. Also with the very high speeds available from Telstra and Optus Cable (50+Mbits per sec) going past 2.5 million homes we will know pretty soon just what sort of take-up the NBN might generate.

In passing I note the same debate seems to be on in the USA.


Support for broadband loses speed as nationwide growth slows

By Cecilia Kang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 12, 2010; A10

More than half of Americans generally disagree with federal government efforts to expand broadband connections around the nation, saying those projects are not important, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Pew Center.

The findings come as the Obama administration has allocated $7.2 billion in stimulus money for broadband grants, saying fast access to the Internet is essential to encourage innovation and expand the economy. The Federal Communications Commission and some members of Congress have also pushed to overhaul a $8 billion federal subsidy program used to bring phone lines to rural areas so that it will subsidize broadband, as well.

"As broadband technologies have been adopted in the majority of American homes, a debate has arisen about the role of government in stepping in to ensure availability to high-speed Internet to access for all Americans," said Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist at the Pew Centers' Internet & American Life Project and author of the report. "The majority think not, and the surprise is that non-users are the least inclined to think government has a role."


It should be noted this is a public view. The Obama administration sees powerful arguments for continuing investment.

In passing I must note that all the discussions on e-Health have sadly been so way too superficial and poorly informed that the average voter, if they care, will be making a decision while lacking the information they need.

This time next week it will all be over and we can go back to normal!



Parties must recognise importance of e-health

  • ELECTION 2010: Terry Hannan
  • From: The Australian
  • August 14, 2010 12:00AM

E-health systems that include computers, the internet, mobile phones and other handheld devices is saving HIV patients' lives in Africa.

It's efficient, inexpensive and managed by local communities using programs such as OpenMRS, a community-developed, open-source, enterprise electronic medical record system platform.

Don't Australians deserve the same? Apparently not. The Coalition has vowed to postpone e-health should it win office and, despite its pre-campaign health reform push, Labor has gone quiet on the matter.

Yet, given the political will and appropriate funding, we could treat patients with acute and chronic disease in remote Aboriginal communities, inner-city suburbs, regional areas and, well, anywhere.



Healthcare, grocery recalls go private cloud

GS1 Australia has signed an agreement with HP to implement a private cloud infrastructure for product recalls across healthcare, grocery industries

Non-profit standards organisation, GS1 Australia will look to implement recall services for the healthcare and grocery industries into a private cloud infrastructure, with a pilot of the system beginning this month.

Though the organisation has already begun testing a local version of its international recall service for the grocery sector, it will follow in the steps of its Canadian counterpart in using HP’s private cloud infrastructure to deploy the program.

GS1 is also looking to repurpose its barcode-based system for the healthcare sector in Australia, with medicine and medical goods recalls to be coordinated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the National eHealth Transition Authority (NeHTA). The program would ultimately eliminate recall concerns in the industry, which currently undergo little oversight and are largely the onus of the medical goods provider and pharmacy who are not compensated for the extra work.



Software pain for health service providers

Business at thousands of health service providers has been thrown into chaos because of a meltdown with the system used across the sector to process payments.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stirling Products closes acquisition of TeleMedCare

Pharmaceutical and Healthcare group Stirling Products (ASX: STI) has reported that the acquisition of a 65% controlling interest in TeleMedCare has now been finalised with all outstanding documentation completed.

The transaction enables the company to tap opportunities arising from health authorities around the world seeking efficiencies through e-health applications.

TeleMedCare is well positioned within this rapidly emerging market having developed some of the world’s most comprehensive advanced and integrated remote vital signs monitoring products that are fully video, voice and data enabled for use through the Internet.



Aged Care Residential Home Chooses Tablet PCs to Drive Mobility and Paperless Initiative

Motion’s new C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant ‘sold itself’ as mobile wireless solution

SYDNEY and AUSTIN, TX – August 12, 2010 – Residential aged care home Jacaranda Village is one of the first Australian healthcare organisations to take delivery of the new Motion C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) as it commits itself to mobility solutions and aims to be paperless within two years.

The aged care facility ordered the new Motion C5v for nursing staff through Melbourne-based aged care solutions experts Axishealth; and early reaction to the new wireless technology is universally enthusiastic.

Jacaranda Village CEO Susan Bowditch said that they wanted to work more efficiently, while operating within their limited resources. “We have been working for some time finding ways to work smarter. So far this has generally been in areas of work practices and equipment, such as trying to cut down staff time spent walking up and down corridors. This is our first serious venture into technology solutions.

“We discussed our goal of going paperless for greater efficiency with Axishealth’s Doug Smith, who suggested adding a solution of mobile tablet PCs to more efficiently use our specialist aged care software i-Care.



Centrelink, Medicare go wireless to cut queues

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • August 13, 2010 9:28AM

CENTRELINK and Medicare door-greeters will use handheld devices to access customers' information and direct them to a seat instead of a queue.

Human Services Department ICT infrastructure deputy secretary John Wadeson said photos of recession-times always showed queues, and were "symbolic of people having to line up for government services".

But queues had no place in today's approach to customer service.



Labor spends $2m on MyHospitals website

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • August 12, 2010 12:00AM

HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has spent $1.9 million on creating the "MyHospitals" website.

MyHospitals is a twin to the provocative schools comparison website MySchool launched by Julia Gillard in January.

Ms Roxon said the website - myhospitals.gov.au -would be ready this month.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is building the website under a one-year contract to the Health Department, which includes site support until June 30 next year.

The AIHW has also been given $1.5m to boost its data management, analysis and reporting capabilities over the next two years.



TechnologyOne scores Epworth Healthcare deal

Deal adds to software company's growing $3 million portfolio of healthcare contracts

ASX-listed software provider, TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE), has added a 26th healthcare organisation to its list of clients following a deal secured with private hospital group, Epworth Healthcare, for an undisclosed sum.

Victoria’s largest not-for-profit private group will implement accounting, supply chain, business intelligence, enterprise resource management (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software from TechnologyOne across its systems, with a scheduled completion date of July 2011.

A spokesperson for TechnologyOne was unable to disclose the value of the deal, but the company’s healthcare clients are currently worth just over $3 million in revenue annually.



CSC contract end would be 'disputed'

13 Aug 2010

CSC has said that any immediate attempt by the government to end its contract under the National Programme for IT in the NHS would result in legal action.

On a corporate earnings conference call held on Wednesday to advise stakeholders on the company’s first quarter results, the company refused on a number of occasions to provide details on how much the NHS contract is worth, its revenues or it margins.

However, one caller who was trying to get more information about the importance of the local service provider contract for the North, Midlands and East of England, asked: “If [NPfIT] were to end today, what would be the impact in terms of your recoverability in terms of growth and margins going forward? Would you be on the hook for anything?”



NSW Health CIO to run Deloitte practice

NSW Health's ex-acting chief information officer Craig Smith has returned to his consulting roots to run Deloitte's local e-health practice.

The recruitment of Mr Smith as national e-health practice leader is a coup for Deloitte, which has played a major role in the federal government's electronic health strategy.

Mr Smith spent three years at NSW Health and oversaw several transformation projects, including the department's involvement in the whole-of-government data centre consolidation exercise.

Prior to joining the public sector he was with consultancy firm Accenture for nearly a decade.



AMT implementation Victoria

10 August 2010. NEHTA is pleased to announce the first live implementation of the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) in a clinical environment. Box Hill Hospital, part of Eastern Health Services (one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan health services), has started generating prescriptions for outpatients and discharge using AMT, through their HealthSMART Clinical System.

AMT delivers a standard national approach for the identification and naming of medicines. This includes standardised naming conventions and associated coded terminology structure to accurately describe marketed medications for computer systems, clinicians and patients. The terminology is for use by medication management computer systems, in both primary and secondary healthcare and is made available to computer system developers and their users without charge.



NeHTA claims e-health milestone

First live implementation Australian Medicines Terminology

The National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA) is claiming a milestone in the advancement of a national e-health system with the first live implementation of the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT).

The AMT is a NeHTA-developed set of specifications that standardise the identification, naming, and describing of medicine information.

The standard is needed so that branded and generically equivalent medicines and their components, and standard naming conventions and terminology, are accurately described.

NeHTA claims the use of an AMT also helps reduce errors due to standardised terminology structure, the safer exchange of medicines information using common computer readable codes, and improved decision support.



National registration info errors raise data integrity concerns

9th Aug 2010

Caroline Brettingham-Moore

THE integrity of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) database is in question after reports that conditions have been mistakenly dropped from, and in one case added to, some doctors’ registration status.

In one case, West Australian surgeon Dr Alison Phillips felt compelled to contact AHPRA after she checked the registration of a doctor she held concerns about.

The doctor had previously had conditions placed upon their registration, including restricted clinical duties and a requirement to work under supervision. These conditions however were not present on the doctor’s AHPRA registration.



Hiccup has medicos twiddling thumbs


August 11, 2010

SIX weeks after a new federal government agency took over the registration of more than half a million health professionals, scores of doctors, nurses and psychologists are unable to work because their applications have not been processed.

Some say they have been told it could be three months before their applications would be approved, leaving them without income.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency took over the registration and accreditation of 10 professions on July 1, eliminating 85 smaller state-run boards.



Doctors' waiting room


August 11, 2010

SIX weeks after a new federal government agency took over the registration of more than 500,000 health professionals, scores of doctors, nurses and psychologists are still being left stranded and unable to work because their applications have not been processed.

Some say they have been told it could be three months before their applications will be approved, leaving them languishing without income.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency took over the registration and accreditation of 10 professions on July 1, eliminating 85 smaller, state-run boards. Those affected include doctors, nurses, midwives, psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists and osteopaths.



We will not break up Telstra: Liberals

The Opposition promise not to break up Telstra, but will commit to regulatory reform

Shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, has delivered the strongest mandate yet that a Liberal Government will block legislation aimed at structurally separating Telstra.

Speaking at the Australian Computer Society’s (ACS) ICT Policy Forum between Smith, Labor Senator Stephen Conroy and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam this week, the Liberal MP said that regulatory reform was a key aspect of the broadband policy he announced earlier that day. However, those aspects pertaining to a Telstra breakup were counter-intuitive to the competitive landscape the Liberals hope to build.

“We have said all along with respect to that legislation that if the minister [Conroy] only split the bill and took away the Telstra forced breakup provisions, we would be very happy to deal with those competitive issues,” he said.



Coalition launches $6.25 billion alternative broadband plan

Fibre backhaul, wireless and ADSL2+ optimisation form key tenets of alternative policy to NBN

A Coalition Government will spend up to $6.25 billion of public and private funding on an alternate broadband policy to the Gillard Government’s $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN).

The funding will directed at providing 97 per cent of Australians with a minimum peak speed of 12 megabits per second (Mbps). The remaining three per cent will have access to satellite access at an as-yet-undisclosed speed.

The broadband plan composes four separate aspects:

  • $2.75 billion of public funding and an additional $750 million private funding on building an open access, optical fibre backhaul network
  • $750 million on “fixed broadband optimisation” with a focus on upgrading telephone exchanges without existing ADSL2+ capabilities
  • $1 billion public grant funding and additional, undisclosed private funding for building a wireless network for rural and regional areas
  • $1 billion on building a metropolitan wireless network focussed on outer metropolitan areas

Opposition communications minister, Tony Smith, said the plan was responsible and affordable.



Coalition broadband safer than NBN: analysts

By Colin Ho, ZDNet.com.au on August 10th, 2010

In wake of the Opposition's broadband policy announcement today, some analysts said that Liberal's plan could potentially be safer, more flexible and "give more bang for your buck" than the National Broadband Network (NBN).

While industry analysts Paul Budde and IDC's David Cannon argued that the Opposition's policy built on "old technology" lacked vision, IBRS's Guy Cranswick and Ovum's David Kennedy said that a lack of market demand, uncertainty and complexity in the telecommunications market meant that the Liberal's policy could come out trumps.

Kennedy believed that the parties' differing approaches are indicative of two different philosophies in addressing broadband. He called the government's policy a "big, snowy mountains style" infrastructure scheme. He believed that the plan could easily provide all the bandwidth Australia will ever conceivably need.

He said that it "was hard to tell" which one would be best for the long term and that both policies had advantages and disadvantages. Both hang on what "is going to happen in the future" particularly in terms of demand for high-speed broadband.



Speed limits

Stephen Cauchi

August 15, 2010

BUSINESS groups are split over whether the ALP's high-speed national broadband network or the Coalition's cheaper internet plan would deliver better results for companies.

The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry will not endorse either major party's broadband policy, arguing ''the truth lies somewhere in between'' the positions on offer.

Although peak bodies representing Australia's $100 billion-a-year information technology sector have thrown their support behind Labor's $43 billion fibre-to-the-premises plan - while deriding the Coalition's $6.3 billion policy as inadequate - broader business groups have been more impartial.



Opposition broadband plan lacks leadership and vision: Budde

Policy a "bag full of unrelated goodies" respected telco analyst says

A leading telecommunications analyst has slammed the Federal Opposition's broadband policy announced today as lacking vision and leadership.

Buddecom director, Paul Budde, said the Liberal’s plan to scrap the fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network (NBN) in favour of investing in backhaul, upgrading existing telephone exchanges and rolling out wireless networks, would leave Australia at the bottom of the international telecommunications heap.



The Coalition's broad-bland plan

Paul Budde, Election 2010

Published 6:18 AM, 11 Aug 2010 Last update 10:04 AM, 11 Aug 2010

There are several elements in the opposition’s broadband plan that could be used to advance Australia's internet infrastructure. However, it lacks a vision and a strategy for the future. It is like having all the parts of a car spread out on the floor and no plan for putting them together.

When the Coalition was in government it produced 12 plans over a period of 11 years. As a result, Australia ended up on the bottom rung of the international broadband ladder. And we were also given Sol Trujillo, who, as Telstra CEO, was more than happy to exploit the mess that the inept government policies of the time had made of the telecommunications market.

It appears that the opposition's plan will simply take us back to 2007. In fact, it might take us even bit further back than that – before the last election then Minister for Communications Helen Coonan indicated that the structural separation of Telstra would be her agenda if the Coalition was re-elected. It now looks as though that is no longer on the Coalition's agenda and that Telstra will once more be put in charge of carrying out telecommunications policies.



Coalition unveils $6.3bn broadband plan

THE Coalition will spend $6.31 billion over seven years to provide Australians with faster broadband using a mix of technologies.

An Abbott government will stimulate investment in backhaul fibre networks, fixed wireless networks in metropolitan, rural and regional Australia and improve DSL services.

Under the plan released this morning, the Coalition is promising that 97 per cent of households will get speeds of up to 100 megabits per second – and a minimum of 12 megabits – by 2016 through a mixture of HFC cable, DSL and fixed wireless services.

A $2.75bn investment by 2017 in open access fibre backhaul is central to the plan, with private sector investment of a further $750m expected under the plan.



Coalition confirms plan to scrap NBN


August 10, 2010 - 11:01AM

The Coalition has confirmed its plan to scrap the National Broadband Network if elected at the August 21 election, just hours before spokesman Tony Smith debates communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the Greens' communications spokesman Scott Ludlam.

While further details are likely to be revealed shortly, it remains unclear how the Coalition will deliver its alternative pledge of offering an affordable high-speed network instead.

One possibility is the Coalition could revive the OPEL project to subsidise services in regional areas without broadband, which was scrapped by the Rudd government in favour of the NBN project.



Industry slams Opposition's wireless broadband plan

  • Andrew Colley and Mitchell Bingemann
  • From: The Australian
  • August 10, 2010 12:00AM

THE Coalition's plan to drop the $43 billion National Broadband Network in favour of wireless broadband has been slammed by the ICT sector.

Last Friday opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey confirmed, in a radio interview with the ABC, that the Coalition would return wireless technology to the centre of the commonwealth's broadband strategy.

Also making some unscripted on-air comment on the strategy, opposition finance spokesman Andrew Robb told the public broadcaster that a Coalition return to power would see the NBN halted and sold off.



Schools ultranet fails to launch


10 Aug, 2010 12:00 AM

A CRASH of the Education Department's much-vaunted ultranet computer system has been labelled a disaster.

South-west school students were given a day off school and teachers were scheduled for training, but a system overload meant most could not log on to the $77 million network.

Opposition education spokesman Martin Dixon labelled the training day as a "debacle".

"Every John Brumby IT project ends in fiasco, failure and massive financial losses," he said.

"Ultranet, myki, HealthSmart, the Integrated Courts Management System and the LEAP database are all John Brumby IT projects which are late, over budget and don't work properly.




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