Thursday, March 31, 2011

Minister Roxon Really Wants To Share the Possible PCEHR Pain Around. Everyone Gets a Mention.

I wandered along to the Commonwealth Health Department Site earlier today and was greeted with a blizzard of press releases on the Wave 2 projects.

There is no doubt the Government is keen to play up just how wonderful they are for providing $55 Million for what are really glorified pilots and little else.

Here is the e-Health list:

29 March 2011

Brisbane leads the way as e-health super site

Brisbane will the lead the way as an Australian e-health ‘super site’ following new e-health projects announced as a part of national health reform.

29 March 2011

E-Health benefits spread as Canberra team chosen to lead roll-out

Aged and palliative care patients in the ACT will benefit from better integrated and safer care through e-health systems developed by a team from Canberra that has been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011

E-Health Benefits Spread as Nine New Sites Start Work

Mothers and new born babies, Australians suffering from chronic disease and patients in aged and palliative care are some of the first groups set to benefit from national health reform as nine new locations have been selected to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011

E-Health benefits spread as Sydney team chosen to lead roll-out

Patients are set to benefit from a better, safer and more integrated medical records system to be developed by a consortium of Sydney health providers that have been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011

E-Health benefits spread into Western Sydney

Mums and bubs, Indigenous Australians and aged, chronic and complex disease patients in Western Sydney are set to benefit from a new e-health project.

29 March 2011

Territory to Lead E-Health Records for Indigenous Australians

Northern Territorians will be one of the first groups of Australians to have access to e-health records thanks to a new national health reform e-health project announced on 29 March.

28 March 2011

E-Health benefits spread as Geelong team to lead roll-out

Patients are set to benefit from a better and safer medication system to be developed by a team from Geelong that has been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

28 March 2011

Tasmanian aged and palliative care to lead e-health roll-out

Aged and palliative care patients and their families in North West Tasmania will be one of the first groups of Australians to have access to e-health records thanks to a new national health reform e-health project announced on 28 March 2011.

----- End List.

This is certainly ‘bang for the buck’ for a quite small funding announcement in terms of the number of press releases!

I just love the way suddenly local members like Sid Sidebottom, Darren Cheesman, Ed Husic and Peter Garrett are spruiking the benefits of these funds to their local communities as though they are experts on the topic!

It is also fun to see how Mr Abbott gets a kicking in each release.

Most interesting is a paragraph found at the bottom of a few of the releases:

Media note:

All nine organisations were selected following a competitive process by the Department of Health and Ageing and National E-Health Transition Authority. All organisations managing these projects will now develop their final plans over the next eight weeks to ensure their work programs clearly meet national objectives before receiving final payments to implement the projects.

I only have one question. Just where can we read these ‘national objectives’ so we can all be sure that our taxpayers funds are not just vanishing into thin air. And I wonder what happens in the plans don’t pass muster!

It seems to me, reading about each of these that either we really are setting up a ‘playpen’ and that nothing more permanent will come from these pilots or we are trying to meet some ‘national objectives’ in which case there needs to be enough consistency and standardisation around what is done that the work is re-usable and replicable.

If it is to be the second - the deadlines are really too tight and there are going to be all sorts of issues around the ownership if the various software components that may be employed. From an IP sense this could get very messy indeed! Once a pilot is deemed a success how is it then procured nationally?

Enquiring minds would like to know.

Another issue is to wonder if these plans will actually see the light of day in eight weeks - with the associated objectives so we can see if they have been met?

I will take a small wager that will NOT be the case!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Really Is a Dreadful Story of Government Mismanagement. Maybe The NSW Election Result Can Help?

The following dreadful story appeared a few days ago.

Consumers 'ignored' in e-health policy, says privacy foundation

  • Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 24, 2011 7:00PM

THE Australian Privacy Foundation has accused Health Minister Nicola Roxon of reneging on her promise to consult with consumers over the design and operation of the $467 million e-health record project.

APF chair Roger Clarke said that given the advanced state of the project, with work already under way at lead implementation sites, "we are raising a necessarily urgent concern about the governance of this major initiative".

"Unless you take action right now, key decisions will be made in an unsatisfactory manner, without consumer advocacy involvement," he said in letters to Ms Roxon published on the APF website.

Mr Clarke said 20 days had lapsed since the letter was sent to Ms Roxon and 16 days after a follow-up, there was still no word from the minister.

"We seek your urgent attention to the matter, in order to avoid such an outcome. If you decline to do so, then, far from fixing the problem, you would be breaching the undertaking you gave three months ago, and endorsing the exclusion of effective consumer consultation," he wrote.

At the National e-Health Conference in Melbourne on November 30, Ms Roxon said the Health Department would "take the lead role in ensuring comprehensive stakeholder engagement across the program".

"The arrangements that we are putting in place will ensure there are robust assurance and governance provisions around the implementation of the program," the minister said.

"And yes, that governance will include consumers. We will work with all parties to ensure that a strong governance framework is in place ahead of the national system being delivered."

Dr Clarke descirbed the whole process as a "travesty".

"The National e-Health Transition Authority ran a loosely-structured roundtable in November, and three sessions in January and February," he said.

"But despite requests from participants, those events concluded without a permanent group being established. The department, meanwhile, has done nothing to ensure that the group's expertise and commitment is utilised."

Dr Clarke said the advocacy groups had deep knowledge of the needs of various categories of healthcare consumers, and the practicalities and subtleties involved in sharing medical data.

"The complexities of the health sector are so great that the general public will not get down to the devil in the details," he said. "Ongoing engagement with consumer advocates is therefore critical to the PCEHR's success."

Ms Roxon's office has declined to comment on the issues raised by the APF. Nor has the minister responded to The Australian's recent requests for further information on the consultation process.

In January, Ms Roxon promised to release a public discussion paper on the PCEHR, but this is yet to be published.

At the time NEHTA was holding the consumer reference group sessions, chief executive Peter Fleming told The Australian a consultation process was being established with the Consumers Health Forum -- now a corporate entity in receipt of government funding for a range of consultations, including the PCEHR.

Health gave the CHF a $10,000 grant to hold a members-only workshop in mid-February to work out how NEHTA should engage with consumers.

The Deloitte report on the outcomes of the Melbourne e-health conference is also yet to released - three months after the event.

More here:

I raised this issue a while ago in this blog:

and essentially nothing seems to be changing.

Just why this is, is very hard to understand. I would have thought we might just have some more hope with the dramatic way in which an incumbent government has just been thrown out in NSW.

It might just be that those in DoHA and NEHTA might just realise that their political cover might be a good deal more flimsy than they had previously believed. It seems at least possible that with new directions from their political masters now being delivered to their NEHTA Board Members in NSW and Victoria we could see a demand for more accountability and transparency.

This has certainly been a mantra for the Liberal / Nationals in NSW.

If I was new Health Minister in NSW or Victoria I would be keen to ensure that what is going on in my name in NEHTA were things I was comfortable with. My view is that they should be alarmed, very alarmed at the way things are being conducted at present! If they don’t act reasonably soon they become complicit through inaction.

Proper consultation and proper transparency are vital in e-Health. They are not being delivered at present and really need to change, and fast! What has gone on with the most recent PCEHR release (Wave 2) only confirms that view to me. I hope the NSW Government is not going to pretend extending the failed HealtheLink Project as part of the PCEHR is a good idea!

On the NSW Election I see there is some e-Health comment.

e-health back in the spotlight for NSW

Telehealth technology centre at Nepean Hospital one of the first priorities for Coalition

Health services in NSW have been in limbo pending the outcome of the election, but the landslide victory by the Barry O’Farrell-led Coalition is likely to precipitate a frenzy of activity as the new government looks to implement its e-health policies.

Jillian Skinner will take on the role of Health Minister within the new government. During the election campaign, the NSW Coalition’s policies focussed on health issue prevention, openness, better management of chronic disease and increased community involvement in the running of the NSW public health system.

Now, the industry is beginning to call on the government to make good on its promises.

The world's largest health systems integrator, CSC, was quick to issue a statement welcoming the election result — and remind the new government of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and Federal Government’s plans for personally-controlled electronic health records.

More here:

For interest the full Health Policy is here:

Interesting browse, as I suspect they will be around for a while!


Looks Like iSoft is Really Gone!

The following appeared a few hours ago.

Dream ends for iSoft with $300m buyout

WHEN Gary Cohen's IBA Health agreed to buy troubled British group iSoft in 2007, he had visions of creating one of the largest healthcare information technology providers in the world.

Cohen, who was ousted last year from the company now called iSoft, is infamous for dreaming big but delivering little.

What followed was years of underperformance that has left the share price at 5c, compared with the $1.21 it closed at on the day IBA announced its agreement with iSoft, and debt of about $260 million -- more than four and a half times its current market capitalisation.

This week, the UBS-advised iSoft is poised to be bought out by the New York-listed CSC.

It's believed IT services giant CSC, which is iSoft's biggest customer, could finalise a more than $300m takeover deal for the company as early as today. ISoft is a major supplier to the British government, which is in the midst of a pound stg. 12.7 billion ($20bn) overhaul of the National Health Service's IT systems. (CSC subcontracted iSoft to carry out the work before the IBA buyout.)

More here:

This sounds like the end. Banks get paid, little shareholders dudded and CSC gets a revenue stream and some OK software. Pretty typical in this sort of collapse!

At least the users will have continued support from a reasonably competent organisation that knows e-Health.

Sad loss for Australia, but it really was a rather large ask in retrospect.


Are We Just Kidding About Or Serious About E-Health? Who Knows. It Seems We Are Building a Playpen!

The following appeared in today’s Age On-Line. The paragraph in bold says it all!

Electronic health records planned

Kate Hagan

March 30, 2011

UP TO half a million patients, including the chronically ill, will be the first to receive electronic health records under Labor's radical plan to overhaul the way medical data is kept.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday announced $55 million for nine projects, to be run by various groups including pharmacists, general practitioners and hospitals.


The federal government's clinical adviser on e-health, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, described the projects as "a playpen to see how these things could work".

Full article here:

I am just awed that half a billion dollars can be spent on a “playpen”.

There are plenty of examples overseas about what works - a playpen is not needed. Some competence, leadership and governance are!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ms Roxon Has Just Administered A Severe Shotgun Wound To Her Very Own Foot!

We have just has the announcement of the additional Wave 2 Personally Controlled EHR Sites Announced.

There is coverage here:

Nine new e-health pilots, but doubts linger

A further nine new e-health pilot sites and projects have been announced (link) by health minister Nicola Roxon, who says they will bring the personally controlled e-health record a step closer to reality.

The new pilot sites include GP divisions and hospitals, with Brisbane becoming an ‘e-health super site’, as most of the citiy’s divisions and the Mater Hospital involved, the minister says.

“Our 12 e-health lead implementation sites are aiming to have more than half a million Australians enrolled before the national launch of e-health records next year,” Ms Roxon said.

Medibank Private will also be involved in the pilot scheme, with a portal that allows members with chronic diseases to enter data into a ‘Health Book’ that will be shared with health providers. Medibank’s e-health project will also offer electronic health management plans, test results and appointment reminders.

More here:

And here already.

DoHA announces second wave e-health sites

The latest nine sites include maternity at the Mater Hospital, sites in North and South Brisbane and sites across NT, SA and the ACT

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) has unveiled the second wave of e-health implementation sites to deploy and trial specific aspects of the Gillard Government’s $466.7 million personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) initiative.

Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, said the announced e-health implementation sites, to join the initial three sites in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley and Melbourne East, was the next step in the Federal Government’s health reform project.

“In these nine projects we can see practical examples of how e-health can improve heath care for patients,” Roxon said in a statement.

The announced sites, include both North and South Brisbane and the maternity unit at the Mater Hospital, as well as sites across the Northern Territory, South Australia and the ACT. The sites will receive a share of $55 million from the project for implementation.

Each site will focus on a particular demographic identified as a high priority for e-health records. Those in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australian will focus on indigenous populations, chronic disease patients will be the focus in western Sydney while the aged care and palliative care patients will become priority at those sites in NSW, the ACT and Tasmania.

“With more than 90 applications received, it’s clear there is a high level of support for e-health," Roxon said.

According to Roxon, the total 12 e-health sites will be aiming to have in excess of half a million Australian enrolled before the national launch of the electronic health records on 1 July 2012.

More here:

The full list of sites and the technologies is found on the blog here:

Or at the first link above.

Why is this all just an utter fiasco? It is easy.

After careful checking with a range of NEHTA insiders and sources it is now clear a national integration architecture and strategy does not exist.

Worse some sources have suggested that NEHTA has a consultant working away on a ‘Standards Gap Analysis’ due in May which will be a first step towards working out how these pilots - which by then are meant to have developed their implementation plans - are to be forged into a coherent national system.

Anyone with any clue knows that all this work has to be done first - and not as an afterthought.

I challenge NEHTA and DoHA to show I am wrong by releasing the already developed plans that are going to result in any form of coherent national PCEHR system. They won’t and can’t because they simply does not exist.

Half a billion dollars will go largely down the gurgler as these idiots utterly fail to get even the basics of large project delivery 101 right.

This will see the Minister lose her portfolio when the public realises just how badly this has been done and how political deadlines have utterly overwhelmed common sense.

Not only is the design of the PCEHR a disaster but this will now be compounded by implementation of island like pilots which will really struggle to ever talk to each other.

Just amazing! Incompetence on this scale just defies belief.


Wave 2 Sites For the PCEHR Program - Here is the List for the Information of Readers.

The following popped up a little while ago.

Nine organisations have been selected to develop a Project Implementation Plan to run a second-wave site:

  • Medibank Private Limited Project will implement a consumer-oriented portal, which integrates consumer entered information into a ‘Health Book’. The ‘Health Book’ will be initially made available to all Medibank Private customers and their healthcare providers enrolled in Medibank’s Health Management and Chronic Disease Management programs. Medibank Private will not be using any of this information for the management of claims or eligibility for health care insurance benefits.
  • Brisbane South Division Limited Project will deliver a substantial eHealth site in one of Australia’s major capital cities. The project will aim at enrolling up to 25,000 individuals in the Brisbane and Ipswich region. A key focus will be on individuals with disabilities and their carers, war veterans and war widows, and children commencing school. The project will bring two Division’s of General Practice onboard, Brisbane South and Ipswich and West Moreton, and public and private hospitals, allied health and GP’s. The project will leverage wave 1 infrastructure.
  • Mater Misericordiae Health Project will deliver an eHealth site to enhance healthcare for mothers and newborns. The population reach of the project is 9000 mothers and involves three GP Divisions (South East Alliance, Brisbane South and the South East Primary HealthCare network), local specialist obstetricians and a software vendor InterSystems. The project will leverage wave 1 infrastructure.
  • Northern Territory Department of Health and Families Project will deliver a lead eHealth site for Indigenous Australians living in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The project will leverage the existing NT shared electronic health record and extend the existing service to all Northern Territory residents and Indigenous individuals in Western Australia and South Australia.
  • Greater Western Sydney eHealth Consortium (NSW Department of Health) Project will implement key building blocks for state-wide eHealth infrastructure that will allow NSW Health to connect to the PCEHR System when it becomes available. The initial focus will be on priority consumer groups in the Greater Western Sydney region. The project includes four GP Divisions (WentWest, Nepean, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury-Hills) and will leverage previous technology investments. With a population reach of 1,750,000, the project will be able to expand the entire solution quickly to encompass a significant geographic area and ultimately the whole of NSW.
  • Cradle Coast, North-West Area Health Service Project will provide end of life policy lessons for the PCEHR System. The project targets aged and palliative care patients and their families, palliative care medical specialists and clinical nurse consultants. The project will use off-the-shelf care planning software to share the advance care directives until the national PCEHR infrastructure is in place.
  • St Vincent’s and Mater Health Sydney Project will establish a lead eHealth site based around St Vincent’s and Mater Health Sydney, in conjunction with partnering Divisions of General Practice, participating specialists and software vendors including Smart Health, Precedence, HCN and Best Practice. The project has a population reach of 1 million individuals attending the St Vincent’s campus and aims to improve clinical communication across the project’s footprint through the delivery of key PCEHR components.\
  • FRED IT Group MedView Project will demonstrate the ability for up to 2 million individuals and their healthcare providers to access their prescribing and dispensing history via a medicines repository using national electronic prescription and other standards. The project will deploy MedView to all pharmacies and GPs in the Geelong region and to a further 10% of this target market nationally. The project will bring together a grouping of private sector eHealth vendors including FRED, eRx, Best Practice, Zedmed, iCare, Microsoft and SIMPL.
  • Calvary Healthcare Project will support a cross-border population of approximately 800,000 individuals in the ACT and regional NSW by bringing together a major grouping of private sector eHealth vendors. The vendors involved include iSoft, HCN, HealthLink, Smart Health Solutions and Precedence HealthCare.

The second-wave sites will develop their plans by the end of May 2011 to ensure their work programs meet national objectives.

The eHealth sites program is being managed overall by NEHTA, under contract to the federal Department of Health and Ageing.

The full page is here:

Comments welcome!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Rumour Central: Wave 2 PCEHR Projects Apparently To Be Announced Tomorrow!

The rumour goes that Health Minister Roxon will dig herself into a deeper hole tomorrow when she announces those who have had the misfortune to win Wave 2 projects in the PCEHR program.

More waste seems to be inevitable and no apparent release yet of the Concept of Operations for the project means it will be hard to know who is doing what with whom.

A leadership, governance and financial mess seems pretty likely to me if the approach is not radically re-designed. We will all know in just over a year, and hopefully much sooner if there is any hope or not!


AusHealthIT Poll Number 63 – Results – 28 March, 2011.

The question was:

What Score Would You Give NEHTA / DoHA for their Efforts so far in Explaining The PCEHR Program to Affected Clinicians?

The answers were as follows:


- 5 (13%)


- 2 (5%)


- 2 (5%)


- 7 (19%)


- 20 (55%)

Well that is seems pretty clear with only 23% giving them a score of 5 or above! Clearly any money spent on clinician communications has been wasted!

Votes : 36

Again, many thanks to those that voted!


Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 28 March, 2011.

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:

It has been quite a big week for e-Health with all sorts of rather left field things happening.

Examples include:

· The Pharmacy Guild President saying doctors know nothing about medication management.

· The Privacy Foundation saying DoHA and NEHTA are not trustworthy to deal with

· iSoft seeming to be about to be gobbled up (see earlier blog today).

· The HealthSMART project apparently remaining in some sort of limbo.

· The new Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne seemingly being left an e-Health free zone.

Amazing stuff!

I wonder what will pop up this week?

At least one thing we know will happen is a new Health Minister in NSW who will have NSW E-Health as one of the issues she will need to address. Will be interesting to see if any changes emerge. Some are probably needed!

We will probably have to wait for a good few weeks to see just what Ms Skinner (the almost certain new Health Minister in NSW) will decide to do. It may be with negotiation of the Health Reform changes there is a lot of delay in considering e-Health.


GP e-Health record management a “joke”: Guild

Plans to have a doctor controlled medication summary as part of a personal health record are an “absolute joke”, Kos Sclavos national president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia says.

Speaking at the 2011 APP conference on the Gold Coast last week, Mr Sclavos highlighted the important role pharmacists could play in inputting patients’ medication history in the area of compliance and adherence.

Mr Sclavos said the National e-Health Transition Authority (nehta), lead by former AMA president Mukesh Haikerwal, was too doctor-focused recommending a doctor-managed medication summary.

“Just to show how out of touch some of the [nehta] criteria are… at the end of the day Mukesh and I were discussing it and he thinks [as a doctor] the priority is the medication summary.


Privacy fear over agencies' mega-merger: Medicare, Centrelink data plan

MEDICARE and Centrelink are involved in an Orwellian mega-merger that will strengthen data linkages to citizens'personal information, say consumer advocates.

The changes -- part of the Gillard government's service delivery reform program -- are in the Human Services legislation amendment bill 2010. After a three-week inquiry, the Senate Community Affairs committee is due to report on the bill today.

Australian Privacy Foundation health spokeswoman Juanita Fernando said the bill was geared more towards delivering an Orwellian society than citizens' services. "I am amazed the government has not told Australians that integration of Medicare and Centrelink services under a single shopfront will result in many new linkages of data," Dr Fernando said.

"The bill is dreadful. Data linkages have already commenced.


Privacy not at risk in Medicare, Centrelink merger: OAIC

Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, said done correctly, internet protocols and secrecy provisions will prevent any privacy risk

The impending merger of Medicare Australia and Centrelink under new legislation will not trample Australians' privacy according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

In its submission to the Senate community affairs committee (PDF) Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim - one of three commissioners at the OAIC - argued the merger would continue to ensure citizens' privacy under existing strictures on the way government agencies could use personal information, as well as requirements to ensure secrecy provisions could operate effectively post-integration under the bill.

“In light of the new departmental arrangements, and the increased capacity for personal information sharing under [Service Delivery Reform] programs… It is expected that DHS [Department of Human Services], in consultation with the OAIC and others will continue to have in place appropriate internal protocols for the handling of customers' personal information associated with different programs within [the department],” he wrote.


Call for struggling e-health to expand its focus

LACK of ownership continues to delay local adoption of e-health and telehealth initiatives, the national broadband network parliamentary inquiry has been told.

Consumers e-Health Alliance convener Peter Brown has called on the inquiry to expand its scope to reflect the "significant new opportunities" becoming available to improve services and patient outcomes.

"A national e-health network is akin to establishing a business," he said. "Since 1997, (numerous) reports have laid out plans for an infrastructure supporting the secure electronic transmission of health data. But the extraordinary 'recommendation blockage' we've seen seems to arise from a common misunderstanding that health is the same but lagging other industries such as banks in using IT.


Michael Dell, Nicola Roxon talk e-health

  • Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • March 22, 2011 1:26PM

MICHAEL Dell signalled the importance of e-health to his company's strategy in a briefing with federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon yesterday.

Ms Roxon and Mr Dell met in Canberra to discuss a variety of issues related to healthcare and how technology could improve patient outcomes.

The Dell CEO was briefed on the government's investments in e-health records, telehealth and broadband, a ministerial spokesman said.

The Gillard government has allocated $467 million to develop a personally controlled e-health record system due to be rolled out next year.


Delays on nurses pose threat

Julia Medew

March 23, 2011

VICTORIA is at risk of losing valuable overseas-trained nurses because of long registration delays caused by Australia's new health practitioner registration authority, the state government says.

Health Minister David Davis said scores of nurses had complained to him about extraordinary waiting times for applications to be processed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority, which replaced state-based registration boards last July. In some cases, the overseas-trained nurses had waited more than six months.

Mr Davis said he feared the delays could be costing the state's health system qualified health professionals who may choose to go elsewhere because of their frustrations with the registration system.


March 22, 2011 05:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Research and Markets: Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health 2011

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health" report to their offering.

E-health may become an area where key killer applications which utilise truly high-speed broadband networks emerge. The Australian Government is a leader in strategic trans-sector thinking, linking e-health developments to the National Broadband Network. Early diagnosis and after-treatment patient monitoring are two areas where significant synergies may be found using applications provided to users at home.

As the financing of the public health systems in Australia becomes increasingly costly, an opportunity exists to lower costs through more effective use of web services for healthcare consumers. With widely available and cost effective high-speed broadband infrastructure, e-health is enabling customers to benefit from advances in medical technology and medical services.


Senate to scrutinise AHPRA bungling

24th Mar 2011

Byron Kaye

THE Senate is to launch an inquiry into the beleaguered Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and its handling of the changeover to a national registration scheme for medical professionals.

The Senate yesterday approved the inquiry, demanded by the Coalition, after ongoing reports of the bungling of the registration of doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

In the most recent case, a NSW GP was forced to stop treating patients due to a processing error which left her unregistered.


Senate inquiry will look at registration delays

THE delays in processing medical registration that have left doctors practising illegally and patients losing Medicare rebates are to be investigated by a Senate inquiry.

The inquiry will examine the competence and resourcing of the new Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which has struggled to cope with registering 500,000 medical and health professionals.

Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann, who moved to establish the inquiry, says the Senate's Finance and Public Administration References Committee also will look at the "implications of any maladministration of the registration process for Medicare benefits and private insurance claims".


Why is ‘IT’ all so hard in Pathology?

At the heart of a modern Pathology laboratory is a complex set of Information Technology (IT) systems that are critical to its operation. Users are often frustrated and disappointed at the difficulties they experience when systems fail, when requesting changes or seeking new IT functionality. Having worked in a number of industries before coming to Healthcare four years ago, I have tried to make some sense of why IT is so hard in Pathology.

We’re talking normal, run of the mill Pathology, not bio-informatics databases, leading edge cell imaging or shiny, ground breaking test developments. So why is it so hard to get some seemingly simple functionality from your IT Department? Why do all those small things that would make life a bit easier turn into long, drawn out projects that are around so long they become part of the family?


$35m children's hospital pledge lost

Kate Hagan and Julia Medew

March 24, 2011

A $35 MILLION donation pledged to help build the new $1 billion Royal Children's Hospital will not be delivered, the state government has confirmed.

Victorian Health Minister David Davis last night told The Age the hospital had not received the money promised to its foundation under the original private-public partnership.

The arrangement included a pledge from the winning consortium to secure donations of $35 million to the RCH Foundation from project investors. However, the promise was underwritten by a member of the Babcock and Brown group, which collapsed in 2009.


IT funds for Victoria's RCH not guaranteed

State Health Minister David Davis says the previous Labor government rejected a proposal for a new IT system.

  • AAP (AAP)
  • 23 March, 2011 12:46

The Victorian government is refusing to guarantee it will set aside funds for an IT system at the new $1 billion Royal Children's Hospital(RCH).

State Health Minister David Davis says the previous Labor government rejected a proposal for a new IT system.

He said the new IT system would cost around $24 million but refused to guarantee the money would be allocated in the May budget.


Computer bungle leaves Royal Children’s Hospital limping

  • Grant McArthur, Anne Wright
  • From: Herald Sun
  • March 23, 2011 12:00AM

UPDATE 9am: VICTORIA'S new $1 billion Royal Children's Hospital will be hamstrung when it opens because of a computer bungle.

The Royal Children’s Hospital confirmed the current IT system will remain when the new hospital opens.

The Herald Sun can reveal that a hospital proposal for a new IT system in late 2009 was overlooked by the former government.

The Coalition is now trying to find $24 million for the software. It learnt of the problem when the Health Department told new Health Minister David Davis last month.


Health plan on target despite long consultation


22 Mar, 2011 02:23 PM

THE Coalition government’s much-anticipated health plan is ‘‘on schedule’’, Health Minister David Davis said last week.

The first ever 12-year metropolitan and statewide health plans are due to be delivered within the Baillieu government’s first 150 days in office.

Mr Davis told BNW he was ‘‘confident’’ he would meet the April 26 deadline.

However, Mr Davis did not specify when the state government planned to reveal the details of statewide audits of outpatient waiting lists and bed allocations, two key Coalition election promises.

However, he pledged more hospital data would be made public in the coming weeks.

Several big ticket election commitments – including a pledge to deliver 100 extra hospital beds – will also be due this year.

Already, the Coalition has scrapped plans to fund iPads for doctors, and has yet to commit to funding the $45 million fitout of the Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre, currently under construction at Austin Hospital.

The Coalition has yet to decide the fate of the troubled HealthSMART IT system, although Mr Davis previously told The Age it may be scrapped.


State of limbo: Baillieu's project logjam

Jason Dowling and David Rood

March 25, 2011

TAXPAYER-FUNDED projects worth billions of dollars inherited from the former Labor government have been shelved or remain in limbo under Premier Ted Baillieu - placing future investment in Victorian projects at risk.

More than three months after the Coalition took office, it is still to decide on the fate of the $300 million Epping wholesale fruit and vegetable market now being built, and has not guaranteed the future of the $5 billion Regional Rail project.

In Caroline Springs, a road has been built to where the new $55 million railway station was intended to go. But the station project, like so many others in the state, is in limbo with no start date in sight. The road leads to empty paddocks.

Also shelved is a $4 million plan to deal with Hoddle Street congestion, and the Baillieu government is also considering scrapping the $360 million HealthSmart IT project for Victoria's hospitals and the $1.3 billion myki ticketing system.


Myki dilemma - now it's working

  • Stephen McMahon
  • From: Herald Sun
  • March 25, 2011 12:00AM

MYKI usage has surged with more than four million trips taken using the system last month.

Growing acceptance of the troubled smartcard system is putting further pressure on the Government as it continues to debate the future of myki.

A Cabinet sub-committee is expected to provide a report on whether to scrap or retain the controversial smartcard to Premier Ted Baillieu, possibly as early as Monday.

The $1.35 billion system is expected to survive in a scaled back form as almost $725 million has already been blown on the project.


Best Practice previews new version at Summit

Speaking at the launch of the inaugural Best Practice Summit, company founder, Dr Frank Pyefinch, previewed a selection of new features included in the latest version of Best Practice. Best Practice is a clinical and practice management solution which counts over 1400 Australian general and specialist practices as customers.

The new version, dubbed "Build 532" includes many enhancements ranging from simple inclusions such as the addition of fields for postal address details in the patient demographic screen, through to more comprehensive functionality including a new Document Scanning Module.

The Skin Module in the new version of Best Practice includes a wider range of drawing templates and the appointment book now permits small icons to be displayed in each cell to more easily differentiate appointment types.


UK GP practice switches to iSOFT’s hosted Synergy

Wednesday 23rd March 2011

Ashfield Road Surgery in Blackpool is the latest GP practice to switch to a hosted service from iSOFT in a bid to cut costs and improve reliability.

Previously an EMIS customer, the practice has also switched to iSOFT's Synergy primary care solution. The move comes after St Paul's Medical Centre, a larger practice, took over the running of Ashfield Road. St Paul's has used Synergy for 15 years and considers the system more aligned to the needs of the GP's and the enlarged practice.

This view is shared by Dr John Lockley, GP and chair of the independent iSOFT User Group. "Synergy provides a view of the patient record that is second to none," he said. "Synergy presents doctors with a problem-oriented medical record that is a joy to use, easy to change views, highly flexible and can be used dynamically to constantly reflect the patient's current medical situation."


CSC to buy iSoft division working on key NHS system

NHS contractor CSC is set to buy the division of troubled software supplier iSoft that is developing the Lorenzo care records system at the heart of the NHS's 12.4bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The news follows the shock decision of the iSoft board to recommend a 160m bid for the company by German firm Compugroup in place of an expected 140m takeover by Australian firm IBA.

Continuing uncertainty over the future of iSoft has raised questions over the delivery of the Lorenzo care records system which is already running more than two years late. Lorenzo is set to be supplied as a crucial NPfIT component in three out of five regions where CSC is the lead contractor.


ISoft may need further UK redundancies

17 March 2011 Sarah Bruce

ISoft has entered into a consultation that may result in further positions being made redundant.

Last month, the company posted a net loss of £52.9m (AUS $84m) for the six months ending 31 December 2010.

It also said that as part of its drive to cut costs it had reduced its fulltime headcount by 28% over the preceding 12 months.

One source told EHI that iSoft staff are concerned that the latest round of restructuring will leave UK trusts with a "skeleton crew" and limit the company's ability to carry out new implementations.


Trading in iSoft shares halted

24 March 2011 Jon Hoeksma

Trading in iSoft shares on the Australian stock market were halted this morning in a move likely to prove a presage a change in ownership of the beleaguered health IT company.

An ASX (Australian Securities Exchange) market announcement this morning said the halt had been requested by iSoft, “pending the release of an announcement by the company”. The halt will remain in place until an announcement on Monday, 28 March.

EHealth Insider understands in recent weeks iSoft has once again been in negotiations with its banks on re-financing its considerable debts, while also holding discussions with possible investors over a partial or complete sale of the company.


NHS supplier iSoft suspends shares and puts itself up for sale

Troubled software firm that struggled with NHS's IT overhaul is likely to be bought by partner CSC

Troubled healthcare software firm iSoft, a major supplier to the government's crisis-stricken £12.7bn overhaul of the NHS's IT systems, has suspended its shares and put itself up for sale.

The company has for years struggled to meet agreed delivery targets to replace near-obsolete systems together with its NHS supplier partner Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).


10 ways Linux is making life better

From in-vehicle PCs to set-top boxes, the open source operating system now powers countless innovative and everyday devices.

Linux has long played a leading role in the world of servers, due in large part to its stability, security and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). What many don't realize, however, is just how ubiquitous it's becoming in other parts of life as well.

Not only are distributions like Ubuntu helping Linux make great strides on the desktop, but the open source operating system is now quietly powering myriad innovations that many of us take for granted.

Where can Linux be found today? Let's count just a few of the many places it's making life better.

1. Android

First and foremost, of course, is Android, Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. Well-poised to relegate Apple's successful iPhone to the realm of niche devices, Android is giving the popular iPad a run for its money as well. By putting Linux in the hands of countless mobile consumers around the globe, Android is arguably Linux's greatest mainstream success to date.

Then, too, there's also Chrome OS, which will reportedly figure prominently in a low-cost notebook PC coming from Asus this summer, among other devices.