Quote Of The Year

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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why Is NEHTA Wasting Money Sponsoring Rather Poorly Used Blogs and Other Such Sites?

As a bit of a stir after a pretty dismal financial year, I was wondering the other day just how the blog was comparing in visitor traffic with others in the Australian Health IT space - especially the NEHTA sponsored ones - listed as the top two in this list. It seems the two they are sponsoring are the least used and least popular.

Alexa provides a way to get an independent assessment.

The Australian E-Health Blog space has a range of contributors.

Other than this blog we have the following:

http://ehealthcentral.com.au

Site Information for ehealthcentral.com.au

  • Alexa Traffic Rank: 9,107,915
  • No regional data
  • Sites Linking In: 7

http://ehealthspace.org/

Site Information for ehealthspace.org

  • Alexa Traffic Rank: 8,504,985
  • No regional data
  • Sites Linking In: 7

http://blog.healthbase.info/

Site Information for healthbase.info

http://www.healthintersections.com.au/

Site Information for healthintersections.com.au

  • Alexa Traffic Rank: 5,025,895
  • No regional data
  • Sites Linking In: 1

This is to be compared with AusHealthIT.

www.aushealthit.blogspot.com

Site Information for aushealthit.blogspot.com

  • Alexa Traffic Rank: 1,041,342
  • Traffic Rank in US: 675,544
  • Sites Linking In: 44

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to suggest just why this difference may exist. It does rather seem having an independent view is apparently important!

Maybe is it a lack of readers that leads to frustration and those personal attacks for which at least one blog has become quite boring with?

I also find it amazing that the situation for Nehta.gov is as follows:

Site Information for nehta.gov.au

  • Alexa Traffic Rank: 2,208,914
  • Traffic Rank in AU: 68,808
  • Sites Linking In: 64

Only half the site traffic of AusHealthIT? I suspect the figure but that’s what Alexa says. Is this why so few clinicians seem to be aware of the PCEHR I wonder?

Statistics were obtained from www.Alexa.com on June 30, 2011. If I have missed your blog let me know!

Enjoy.

David

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Wonder Where This Sort of Approach Fits In? It’s Not Easy To Work Out Where It is Heading But It Looks Interesting.

The following press release appeared a few days ago.

Flexiant Providing Cloud Platform for E-Health Pilot to Give Patients Control Over Data

NHS patients could soon have complete control over their medical records and the power to decide who has access to their data. The E-Health Cloud, using Flexiant's pioneering cloud platform Extility, will be the first large scale deployment of the cloud in e-health.

Scotland, UK (PRWEB) June 20, 2011

Scottish cloud software and services provider Flexiant is providing a cloud platform for a research project that promises NHS patients complete control over their medical records and the power to decide who has access to their data.

A pilot underway at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, is using cloud computing to make communication between patient, consultant and GP faster and more efficient. Researchers at Chelsea and Westminster are working with Edinburgh Napier University and Flexiant to show how the current paper-based system could be replaced with a next-generation e-health platform.

After 18 months in development, with the cloud integration work provided by Flexiant, the E-Health Cloud is now ready to be tested and a demonstrator will go live on the Extility cloud next month. The demonstrator will be the first large scale deployment of the cloud in e-health.

The E-Health Cloud has the potential to offer a solution to many of the existing problems with electronic patient records in the NHS, including a lack of common patient record standards, and the inability to share between different parts of the health and social care domains.

According to Professor Bill Buchanan of Edinburgh Napier University, presenting the E-Health Cloud platform at the Innovation with Healthcare conference this month in London, “the current infrastructure in the UK often has a non-integrated approach to patient care, where data is not used effectively between GP, hospital and assisted living.

“Our system allows for data to be stored with its context, such as where it was captured, and then used in whatever way is necessary through well-managed clinical services. Security is integrated into every single transaction, and we host it on Flexiant’s cloud, to give us a scaleable and robust e-Health infrastructure.”

In future the project could be used to integrate all phases of health care treatment, from assisted living to primary and secondary healthcare, so that the same data can be used throughout.

Tony Lucas, founder of Flexiant, explains: “Hosting the data in the cloud as soon as results are published means that the patient can go online and access them, sharing them in real time with everyone who needs to see them.

“They will be able to invite their GP, consultants, health carers and family members - people they trust and who need to know the results. This has massive implications for the future of patient treatment in the UK. For the first time patients can have control over their treatment and their records and that is enormously empowering.”

The demonstrator, due to go live next month, uses a unique ‘patient simulator’, which creates patient records with different clinical parameters such as body temperature and blood pressure, to represent different patient illnesses. This is designed to show how the service can be used in clinical diagnostics, with a risk assessment score or early warning score (EWS) to identify problems early.

The overall aim of the demonstrator is to increase public trust in next generation healthcare. The security of patient records will be critical to the success of the pilot and Flexiant will implement a multi-factor authentication process on the demonstrator using technology that builds on and integrates seamlessly with existing NHS security systems.

Key clinical services can then be accessed from a range of devices, including web pages and mobile phones. A key focus is on the identification of the role of the clinical person, typically using multiple identification methods, in order to gain the rights to certain services. This integrates with a new governance policy, which defines the overall rights of clinicians to the access to clinical services.

Importantly, patients will have full control over who has access to their data. The developed system uses new identity checking methods, including mobile phone checking and trusted identity providers like Facebook or Paypal.

The key players in the project are Professor Buchanan, from Edinburgh Napier University, Professor Derek Bell, clinical lead at Chelsea and Westminster, Professor Christoph Thuemmler, Dr Lu Fan, Dr Elias Ekonomou and Owen Lo. At present the e-Health platform has been created as both a private E-Health Cloud within Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and also as a public demonstrator on the Flexiant public cloud.

A Chelsea and Westminster spokesman says: “Our Foundation trust is at the forefront for providing technological innovations in the hospital clinical environment, to improve patient care. Implementation of the cloud infrastructure at the hospital will be one of many enhancements made to patient care by Professor Derek Bell through his role as the director of NWL CLARHC which has an ethos of closing the second translational gap and bringing research into practice."

The two year project is funded by the Technology Strategy Board and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

The release is found here:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/6/prweb8581429.htm

There is brief commentary here pointing out some current risks.

London's E-Health Cloud program will send patient records to the stratosphere next month

By Amar Toor posted Jun 27th 2011 10:13AM

You'd think that the recent spate of high-profile cyberattacks would've deterred the healthcare industry from sending patient records to the cloud -- but you'd be wrong. Beginning next month, all data on patients at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital will be stored in a centralized database, accessible from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Under the National Health Service's pilot program, known as E-Health Cloud, patients will be able to decide which doctors, nurses or family members can view their records, allowing them to easily share their data with other specialists.

More here:

http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/27/londons-e-health-cloud-program-will-send-patient-records-to-the/

E-Health Insider also covers the release here:

Trust has its head in the e-health cloud

24 June 2011 Shanna Crispin

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is to go-live with a demonstration of a cloud-based IT infrastructure next month.

The trust has been working in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University and a number of other partners to develop the E-Health Cloud.

The development is part of the Data Capture and Auto Identification Reference Project (DACAR), which received funding from the Technology and Strategy Board in 2009.

DACAR is intended to construct in-the-cloud connectivity using smart devices and system integration, including HL7 and GS1 RFID standards, and ultimately to commercialise the technology.

Project coordinator Dr Christoph Thuemmler told eHealth Insider that next month’s launch will focus on how cloud-based infrastructure can be used for asset tracking, using dummy data and a simulated supply chain.

It will also use a patient simulator to create patient records with different clinical parameters, such as body temperature and blood pressure, to represent different patient illnesses.

The system will assess these variables to deliver an early warning score to staff, so they can identify problems earlier. The demonstration is intended to increase public trust in next generation healthcare.

Ultimately, the project aims to promote the seamless sharing of information between GPs, patients and consultants.

“If a patient’s data is shared between a GP and a consultant, or if a doctor refers a case on to someone else, the patient should be able to see that," Dr Thuemmler said.

More here:

http://www.ehi.co.uk/news/acute-care/6974/trust-has-its-head-in-the-e-health-cloud

This is an interesting experimental system that has some aspects of the PCEHR and equally some of the potential problems.

As with the PCEHR it is not quite clear just what information - other than the Supply Chain information - is to go to the cloud and it is not clear to me just what the source(s) of the clinical information will be.

Obviously there are some issues about just how the patient is identified in this model and how their information is secured. It seems to be a little odd to suggest information flows from GP to specialist should be under patient control? What happens if the patient turns up for a specialist appointment but does not want to reveal the referring information - all a little odd at first glance.

Clearly this is experimental at this point - but it is clearly a different architectural approach than that being adopted by the PCEHR. It will be interesting to see if anything genuinely useful and used flows from the work.

David.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What An Amazing Gift For Those Who Want to Teach and Learn About Health IT!

This fantastic bit of news came out a day or so ago.

ONC offers health IT teaching materials

By Joseph Conn

Posted: June 24, 2011 - 10:15 am ET

A trove of free health information technology teaching materials for higher education has been opened to the public by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

The $10 million, ONC-funded Curriculum Development Centers Program produced the materials, which have been in use since last fall by members of the 82-school ONC Community College Consortia Program. The community colleges operate six-month, health IT certificate training courses. The goal of both programs is to close an estimated 50,000-employee shortage in the nation's health IT workforce.

The teaching materials, developed by five, four-year universities that make up the Curriculum Development Center Program, could pull double and even triple duty as frameworks for IT courses at the undergraduate and even the graduate level, according to Dr. Bill Hersh, professor and chairman of the medical informatics and clinical epidemiology department at Oregon Health & Science University, one of the five development center schools. The other four curriculum-development schools are University of Alabama at Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Duke University. Oregon also works with ONC under a separate contract to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center to help coordinate curriculum-development activities and to serve as a repository and dissemination point for the educational materials.

“If you're starting a new educational program or have an existing one, it just makes it easier because there is all this content already developed on all the topics you would expect,” Hersh said. The materials aren't for exclusive use by community colleges, Hersh said.

.....

The materials are all available online at www.onc-ntdc.org or www.onc-ntdc.info.

More here:

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20110624/NEWS/306249986/

Here is the link from the US Government.

http://healthit.hhs.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=1807&mode=2

Curriculum Development Centers Program

The purpose of the Curriculum Development Centers Program, one component of the ONC Workforce Program, is to provide funding to institutions of higher education (or consortia thereof) to support health information technology curriculum development. The materials developed under this program will be used by the member colleges of the regional Community College Consortia as well as be available to institutions of higher education across the country.

In April 2010, ONC awarded $10 million in federal funds to five domestic institutions of higher education to develop curriculum and instructional materials to enhance workforce training programs primarily at the community college level. One of the awardees under this program, Oregon Health & Science University, received additional funding to serve as the National Training and Dissemination Center (NTDC). The NTDC has established a secure electronic site from which all materials may be downloaded.

Curriculum Development Centers Program Awardees:

• Oregon Health & Science University $2,720,000 (includes $900,000 for NTDC)

• University of Alabama at Birmingham $1,820,000

• Johns Hopkins University $1,820,000

• Columbia University $1,820,000

• Duke University $1,820,000

The curriculum materials are now available to the public on the NTDC website at http://www.onc-ntdc.org or http://www.onc-ntdc.info .

To access the courses you need to register and provide some details on the site. Once you have done that you can see the treasure trove available.

Here is the top level table of contents of the material.

0. Blueprints Components 1-20

1. Introduction to Health Care and Public Health in the U.S.

2. The Culture of Health Care

3. Terminology in Health Care and Public Health Settings

4. Introduction to Information and Computer Science

5. History of Health Information Technology in the U.S.

6. Health Management Information Systems

7. Working with Health IT Systems

8. Installation and Maintenance of Health IT Systems

9. Networking and Health Information Exchange

10. Fundamentals of Health Workflow Process Analysis & Redesign

11. Configuring EHRs

12. Quality Improvement

13. Public Health IT

14. Special Topics Course on Vendor-Specific Systems

15. Usability and Human Factors

16. Professionalism/Customer Service in the Health Environment

17. Working in Teams

18. Planning, Management and Leadership for Health IT

19. Introduction to Project Management

20. Training and Instructional Design

For those who are interested this is a very large and fascinating gift. Be aware there are many large (20 meg a time) files to be browsed.

Enjoy and be grateful!

David.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27 June, 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

There have been a few big things happen this week. We have has an agreement between the NBN Co, Government and Telstra announced which may, or may not, be a good thing. Time will tell.

We have also seen the takeover of iSoft by CSC more pretty much to finality and the odd continuing problem with the Qld Health Payroll systems.

The articles on hacking and document verification have obvious e-Health relevance and need to be factored in to planning for e-Health.

All in all quite an interesting week!

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/391231/nbn_101_how_nbn_can_change_australian_healthcare/

NBN 101: How the NBN can change Australian healthcare

The National Broadband Network has the potential to make widespread e-health deployment a reality

Back when he was a far more popular figure among the ALP hierarchy, Kevin Rudd led Labor to victory with the grand promise of a nationwide high-speed broadband network that would provide ubiquitous access for all Australians.

The $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) has the potential to enable a host of new and innovative applications and radically change a number of Australian industries.

In the realm of education, it could revolutionise how Australians teach and learn[3]. The effect it stands to have on Australian healthcare is no less dramatic. Although a network on the scale of the NBN is not necessarily a technical precursor to the rollout of many e-health technologies, with its bandwidth and the scale of its deployment it can act as an enabler that eliminates some of the constraints on the implementation of unique healthcare identifiers and personally controlled electronic health records, for example, and enhance access to telehealth and videoconferencing.

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/391232/snapshot_e-health_landscape_australia/

Snapshot: The e-health landscape in Australia

How e-health is making its mark down under

This article accompanies 'NBN 101: How the NBN can change e-health'

Under its $7.8 billion national heathcare reform project, to be completed over a five year period, the Gillard Government has committed to improving hospitals and primary healthcare, providing more training for health professional including doctors and nurses, investment in prevention, increasing support for mental illness and aged care, and bringing the health system up to date.

As part of this health reform project, the government has established a Healthcare Identifier Bill 2010 to govern a timeline to have unique healthcare identifiers (HI) in operation within 10 years, a project spearheaded by Medicare. This will mean Australian has a unique health record held in a single national database that can be accessed by different healthcare professionals.

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http://www.zdnet.com.au/nbn-demands-health-restructure-339317296.htm

NBN demands health restructure

By Phil Dobbie, ZDNet.com.au on June 23rd, 2011

You can do all you want with communications technology, but the telemedicine benefits won't be realised without a fundamental rethink about how we structure our healthcare industry.

After listening to today's program, you may begin to wonder whether, in the case of health, the NBN sees us building a big broadband network and claiming the benefits, without understanding how to organise the health sector to make the most of it.

Note: Links to 30 minute podcast.

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http://ehealthspace.org/news/interview-peter-fleming-chief-executive-nehta

Interview: Peter Fleming, chief executive, NEHTA

Mark Jones: Peter Fleming, thanks for joining us on eHealthSpace TV.

Peter Fleming: Pleasure, thank you for inviting me.

Mark Jones: How would you clarify what NEHTA's mission is?

Peter Fleming: NEHTA was established almost six years ago now, by the Council of Australian Governments. To quote some of our directors, they talk about the [rail gate] scenario and ensuring that we don’t end up down that process. So it's very much around putting in place the standards throughout the nation that allow us to operate in one healthcare community, and also put in place the infrastructure to leverage that.

So there are key components in infrastructure that only government can deliver, the secure message, the NASH services, the SNOMED services around clinical terminology, et cetera. So it's getting those components in place.

The level above that, certainly the standards around things such as discharge referral, medication management, pathology, et cetera, are all key, both from a clinical standards perspective and a technology standards perspective.

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http://www.healthcanal.com/geriatrics-aging/18254-Getting-older-costing-more-healthcare-sector-facing-challenges-more-efficient.html

Getting older & costing more, healthcare sector facing challenges to be more efficient

22/06/2011 02:07:00

The Australian healthcare sector’s supply chain is in need of an overhaul to meet the challenges of rising costs, as well as a growing and ageing population, according to a new University of Melbourne study.

And according to study author Dr Vikram Bhakoo, hospitals may be running up to 20 per cent less efficient than they could be by not taking full advantage of e-business technology that is in widespread use across the retail and grocery sectors.

The “E-business Adoption within the Australian Pharmaceutical Hospital Supply Chain” study, the first of its kind to be conducted in Australia, involved detailed case studies of 15 key organisations across the pharmaceutical supply chain, from medicine manufacturers and wholesalers, to logistic service providers and public hospitals.

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http://www.techworld.com.au/article/391033/qld_health_needs_cut_payroll_staff_a-g/

Qld Health needs to cut payroll staff: A-G

Queensland Health's payroll woes have improved but the government should look at how it can cut payroll staff to reduce its costs, the state's auditor-general says.

  • AAP (AAP)
  • 22 June, 2011 08:38

Queensland Health's payroll woes have improved but the government should look at how it can cut payroll staff to reduce its costs, the state's auditor-general says.

A report by the auditor-general into the government's IT systems has found poor planning and management among some projects in an audit of 14 public sector entities.

Among the departments audited was Queensland Health (QH), following the disastrous introduction of its new payroll system in March 2010 that caused catastrophic errors with staff pay.

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http://www.news.com.au/national/nurse-docked-thousands-by-fixed-queensland-health-payroll-system/story-e6frfkvr-1226080490539

Nurse docked thousands by 'fixed' Queensland Health payroll system

A NURSE has warned Queensland Health's disastrous payroll system is far from fixed after she was recently docked more than $14,000 for a HECS debt she repaid seven years ago.

While payroll bungles continue to dog the system, Queensland Health has referred some staff to police for claiming hardship payments during the debacle, reported The Courier-Mail.

Payroll workers throughout the state are so incensed over the ongoing fiasco they will rally today demanding more recognition for the extra work and expertise involved in running the new system.

The nurse said she had been forced to work for an agency on her days off from Queensland Health and borrow money from family after being grossly underpaid for months.

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/391237/queensland_health_payroll_system_overpayments_continue/

Queensland Health payroll system overpayments continue

Queensland Auditor-General finds ICT management, program and project management, information security, and disaster recovery planning could all be substantially improved

Improvements in Queensland Health’s bungled payroll project have been made but issues with salary overpayments and emergency cash payments persist, according to the Queensland Auditor-General.

Detailing the state of the system, the Auditor-General, Glenn Poole, said Queensland Health was progressing the improvement of the payroll and rostering systems with a new payroll operating model being implemented.

While improvements had also been made to reduce the number of unprocessed payroll transactions, there were ongoing payment issues with the system, though at a reduced level in recent pay cycles.

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http://ehealthspace.org/news/profile-nsw-s-emr-complements-pcehr-not-replaces-it

Profile: NSW’s EMR complements PCEHR, not replaces it

Concerns that state investments in electronic healthcare records will be superseded by the Commonwealth government’s personally controlled electronic healthcare record (PCEHR) are being laid to rest as state authorities highlight mature interoperability efforts to ensure the projects complement rather than conflict with each other.

NSW, for one, has been proactive in electronic healthcare: in 2009, the state government committed $100 million to developing its own electronic medical record (EMR) framework. The investment was part of a strategic program, which began in 2006 and is now well-advanced in the leadup to its slated 2011 conclusion, that would see health ICT in the state totally redeveloped.

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http://ehealthspace.org/news/consortium-wins-pcehr-implementation-contract

Consortium wins PCEHR implementation contract

A consortium led by PriceWaterhouseCoopers has won a federal government contract to be the benefits and evaluation partner for the Commonwealth government's $467 million personally controlled electronic healthcare records (PCEHR) project.

The government has also appointed Ernst & Young to provide independent quality assurance for the PCEHR.

According to health minister Nicola Roxon, the two appointments will provide expert advice to ensure the PCEHR delivers clinical, financial and economic benefits.

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http://www.cio.com.au/article/390700/nsw_cancer_institute_seeks_cio/

NSW Cancer Institute seeks CIO

The newly created role will oversee the IT department and ensure the delivery of IT and business strategies

The NSW Cancer Institute is calling for applications to fill the newly created role of CIO to head up the organisation’s ICT team.

Reporting to the chief operating officer, the successful candidate will develop technology solutions and services to aid its NSW Cancer Plan and Cancer Information strategy.

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http://www.motioncomputing.com/about/news/press_release_062111.asp

Tairawhiti District Health Board Mobilises Staff with Motion Tablet PCs

The Motion C5v Helps to Reduce Errors, Saves Time and Enhances Point of Care for Patients

AUSTIN, TX and SYDNEY – June 22, 2011 – The enthusiasm shown by its medical staff made it an easy decision for the Tairawhiti District Health Board (TDH) to upgrade its mobile technology solutions to the Motion® C5v Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA), a tablet PC designed specifically for healthcare environments.

In 2010, TDH made the decision to equip its staff with a powerful mobility solution that met its strict operating criteria and implemented the IT infrastructure required to support the pending deployment. “It was a straightforward decision for the Board to implement a mobility solution that supported the clinicians’ requirement to have access to patient records at a moment’s notice,” said Max Ponomarev, team leader, IT Infrastructure, Tairawhiti District Health Board.

TDH began testing laptops, but quickly realised that the devices would not meet its specific requirements. “Further research led us to Motion’s C5v, and once our infrastructure prerequisites were met, we were ready to begin a trial with the device,” said Ponomarev. “After Motion supplied the initial product information, NZ distributor Simms International followed up on our requests, made further suggestions and arranged plenty of time with the demo tablet.”

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http://www.medicalobserver.com.au/news/divisions-may-lose-medicare-local-slot

Divisions may lose Medicare Local slot

20th Jun 2011

Byron Kaye

THE AGPN has warned GP divisions that failing to present a tender in the next round of bids for Medicare Locals could see contracts go to an outside entity.

While the Federal Government kept the first round of ML applications exclusive to divisions, it has said it will consider non-division entities in the next two rounds.

With some divisions yet to form unified consortium bids, and others refusing because they oppose MLs, AGPN chair Dr Emil Djakic warned that those taking a “no-compromise position” did so “at their own peril”.

“If another organisation that can create an argument for eligibility for the criteria in that patch chooses to, with or without the participants of those [divisions], then the [Health] Department has clearly said it will fund them,” he told MO.

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http://www.techworld.com.au/article/390937/isoft_takeover_cleared_by_regulators/

iSOFT takeover cleared by regulators

The EC has cleared the $188m takeover of iSOFT (ASX:ISF) by IT services company CSC, so the deal now has all the required regulatory approvals

Health IT company iSOFT (ASX:ISF) has revealed that European regulators won't stand in the way of its acquisition by US-based IT services company CSC.

CSC has received unconditional clearance from the European Commission to proceed with the $0.17 per share acquisition, which iSOFT endorsed in April. The deal is worth a reported US$188 million ($178 million).

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http://www.hospitaliteurope.com/article/25950/Hospital-wide_roll-out_of_Lorenzo_Nursing_at_Dutch_hospital

Hospital-wide roll-out of Lorenzo Nursing at Dutch hospital

Monday 20th June 2011

Lorenzo Nursing, the iSOFT Lorenzo Enterprise solution for nurses, went live today on another surgical ward at the St Jansdal hospital in Harderwijk, the Netherlands. This go-live follows the successful completion of a pilot on the surgical ward 1 West, and signifies the starting point for the roll-out of Lorenzo Nursing on all surgical and medical wards at St Jansdal.

Lorenzo Nursing is a software environment for nurses to view the patients’ electronic care file and record the nursing documentation and clinical notes. They can also view the results of laboratory tests as well as data on the course of the disease.

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http://www.theage.com.au/technology/more-than-just-data-lost-in-cruel-hack-20110624-1gjj4.html

More than just data lost in cruel hack

Adam Carey

June 25, 2011

SOME say it was an act of evil.

On the Queen's Birthday long weekend, a Melbourne IT company's hard drives were hacked and thousands of files and websites erased. Today that company, Distribute.IT, is dead - its business and reputation so trashed that its owners were forced this week to sell it to a competitor. Thousands of small Australian businesses whose websites it hosted are picking up the pieces.

The hacker obliterated 4800 websites in a lightning nighttime strike upon Distribute.IT on June 11, leaving a message on the company's home page: ''owned by evil at efnet you mother f***ers need to get a clue before you run a business your security is horrible !!!!! the one and only evil at efnet i am back mother f***ers!!!''

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/it-business/nations-health-in-good-hands/story-e6frganx-1226078137767

Nation's health in good hands

BEFORE the Nursing Board of Victoria (NBV) became the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in July last year, its Melbourne data centre was nationally recognised for its sophistication.

AHPRA is now the organisation responsible for the registration and accreditation of 500,000 health professionals in Australia. It replaced all the previously independent state boards separated by professions.

As NBV chief information officer, Michael Hoffman undertook a major virtualisation and consolidation project to deliver greater reliability and uptime.

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http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/banks-telcos-to-get-verification-access/story-e6frgakx-1226078803549

Banks and telcos to get verification access

THE Document Verification Service, initiated by the federal government five years ago but plagued by jurisdictional problems and a lack of agency support, is to be opened up to the telecommunications and banking sector for the first time.

A renewed push by the commonwealth to have Victoria and Western Australia sign up to the system is making headway, with all states and territories expected to be facilitating real-time identity checks by early next year.

With immigration documents, birth certificates and driver's licences already able to be verified - subject to the gaps in data Victorian and West Australian data - the commonwealth also plans to add details of Centrelink and Medicare cards and push for marriage and name change information to be available.

According to documents obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws, the move to value-add the system will coincide with the service being offered to the private sector on a full-cost-recovery basis.

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http://www.cio.com.au/article/391185/telstra_nbn_co_government_sign_off_11b_nbn_deal/

Telstra, NBN Co, Government sign off on $11b NBN deal

Definitive Agreements on the structural separation of Telstra and the use of its network assets in the National Broadband Network (NBN)

After two years of protracted negotiations Telstra, the Federal Government and the NBN Co have come to definitive agreements on the structural separation of Telstra and the use of its network assets in the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The agreements, which need the approval of a majority of Telstra shareholders at the telco’s 18 October annual general meeting, hinge on the Australian Consumer and Competition Commissions’ (ACCC) acceptance of Telstra’s structural separation undertaking and approval of its migration plan.

Explaining the agreements Telstra chairman, Catherine Livingstone, said in a statement that the Federal Government’s drive to secure the NBN’s future and other related policy changes had brought the telco to conclude that it should participate in the NBN rollout.

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http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/nbn-answers-needed-before-vote/story-e6frez7r-1226081089630

Telstra shareholders 'need more details on $11bn NBN deal' to vote - analysts

  • By Jeff Whalley
  • From: Herald Sun
  • June 24, 2011 12:00AM

TELSTRA needs to address unanswered questions over its $11 billion NBN deal in the lead up to the critical shareholder vote that could yet scuttle the landmark agreement, analysts say.

Ratings agency Moody's yesterday placed Telstra on review for a possible downgrade on fears its margins may be squeezed.

Under the $11 billion deal, Telstra will close its copper wire network and shift customers to the National Broadband Network.

Capping off a day that promises to reshape Australia's telecommunications landscape, Optus also signed an $800 million deal to close its overhead copper network and migrate business to the NBN.

Analysts yesterday said the agreement - which was supposed to bring certainty to Telstra shareholders - instead posed more questions.

BBY analyst Mark McDonnell said the deal showed Telstra to be ploughing $2 billion of its own cash into preparing infrastructure before the NBN Co took over.

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http://www.news.com.au/technology/internet-filter/telstra-optus-to-begin-censoring-web-next-month/story-fn5j66db-1226079954138

Telstra, Optus to start censoring the web next month

  • By Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
  • From: News Limited newspapers
  • June 22, 2011 1:00PM

MOST Australian internet users will have their web access censored next month after the country's two largest internet providers agreed to voluntarily block more than 500 websites from view.

Telstra and Optus confirmed they would block access to a list of child abuse websites provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and more compiled by unnamed international organisations from mid-year.

But internet experts have warned that the scheme is merely a "feel-good policy" that will not stop criminals from accessing obscene material online and could block websites unfairly.

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http://www.pcworld.com/article/230547/10_musthave_firefox_extensions.html

10 Must-Have Firefox Extensions

Make Firefox the browser you want it to be, with extensions for faster, safer, more efficient browsing.

By David Daw

Jun 19, 2011 9:00 PM

Using browser extensions is a lot like tricking out your car with a new air spoiler, tinted windows, chrome rims, and big flame decals. Too much junk, and you bog down your ride and look silly. With thousands of Firefox extensions to choose from, the main challenge is finding the right ones--and avoiding the lame ones.

I've rounded up ten of the most useful Firefox add-ons, all of which strike the right balance by increasing performance and saving time. I'll let you worry about whether you should add racing stripes to your Toyota Camry.

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Enjoy!

David.