Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 08 August, 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

Seems that it is all happening this week. I hope it means some progress but there is a bit of a feeling that there is more than a little activity but not in any really clear direction. I would hope the big picture becomes clear, and successful soon.


Australian healthcare IT spend to hit $US2.4 billion

August 5, 2011

Spending on healthcare IT in Australia will hit US$2.4 billion in 2016, a cumulated annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 10 per cent from 2010, predicts Ovum in its latest healthcare IT market forecast.

The independent technology analyst finds that Australia’s investment in healthcare IT is driven by the need to cut costs in the sector as well as to improve patient outcome. The Australian government is trying to remedy the enormous cost pressures by launching initiatives to adopt the deployment of IT. Cornelia Wels-Maug, Ovum’s healthcare technology analyst, commented: “Investment in IT healthcare is increasing in Australia, mainly driven by the public health reforms and state-funded development of technology infrastructure.


Online health records face uphill battle

Jim O'Rourke

August 7, 2011

A NEW online medical records system is doomed to failure because not enough people will sign up for it, the Australian Medical Association has warned.

From July 1 next year, patients will have to volunteer to ''opt in'' to the system, which stores all their health details, including test results and prescriptions, in a national database. It's the first time patients will be able to access their medical information.

The AMA believes inclusion in the federal government's Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record system should be automatic unless patients choose to ''opt out''. Otherwise, many patients in nursing homes, the elderly or others who are not ''technically savvy'' will miss out, the group's national president, Steve Hambleton, said.

See also here:


Analysis: E-health's consumer conundrum

Patients key to national e-health record launch.

With less than a year until the launch of the much-vaunted personally controlled electronic health record, government and industry have questioned how they might convince Australians to want an identifiable record of medical histories, prescriptions, allergies and discharge summaries.

Where July 1 2012 had once been seen as the coming of a technology some viewed as greater than the telephone for healthcare, talk at two informatics conferences this week turned instead to what the day would foreshadow, rather than what it would bring.

Rome wasn't build in a day, after all.

Australians will be able to register for their own personally controlled electronic health records (PECHR) under an opt-in proces that is expected to bring control over the minutiae of how much data one's doctor or hospital can access and in what context.


Medical data mix-up, major system error

Kate Hagan

August 5, 2011

MELBOURNE hospitals have sent incorrect patient records to GPs due to an error with Victoria's troubled health technology program over the past two months.

The discharge summaries from Eastern Health and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital mixed patients' names with other patient data, including test results and diagnoses.

The data was faxed to GPs under the HealthSMART program, which Health Minister David Davis has described as ''the myki of health''.

Mr Davis yesterday said: ''This latest error raises further concerns about [former health minister] Daniel Andrews's judgment when designing the HealthSMART system.''


NSW Health to act on FirstNet issues

Deloitte review sparks 'comprehensive program'.

NSW Health has identified issues with configuration, training and support of its FirstNet clinical information system (CIS) following a government-commissioned independent review.

Implementation of the Cerner FirstNet CIS began in 2008, and was expected to improve information management in more than 200 emergency departments across the state.

But clinicians resisted the change, leading NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner to engage Deloitte consultants earlier this year for an independent review.

A NSW Health spokesman this week said that the Director-General was currently considering a draft report from the review.


Clinician-assisted computerised versus therapist-delivered treatment for depressive and addictive disorders: a randomised controlled trial

Frances J Kay-Lambkin, Amanda L Baker, Brian Kelly and Terry J Lewin

MJA 2011; 195 (3): S44-S50



To compare computer-delivered and therapist-delivered treatments for people with depression and comorbid addictive disorders.


WA Health advancing Health Identifiers

WA Health is to purchase a major chunk of the underlying software and services to facilitate the delivery of the national Health Identifiers initiative being managed by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA)

WA Health is to purchase a major chunk of the underlying software and services to facilitate the delivery of the national Health Identifiers initiative being managed by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA).

According to WA Health documents the agency will shortly procure software to provide an Enterprise Master Patient Index and an Enterprise Provider Index. Services include implementation and integration with other healthcare systems and data cleansing.

“The rollout of the [Health Identifiers] HI Solution will focus initially on public health providers,” the documents read. “The project will provide the technology, organisational capability and policy support to extend the solution subsequently to private providers.


Clean bill of health for Barwon Health's streamlined invoicing

VICTORIAN regional health service Barwon Health has embarked on a major overhaul of its electronic billing system that processes about $100 million in revenue each year.

Barwon Health has selected LRS Health's MediBILL as its e-billing platform to replace six disparate billing systems that fall under the umbrella of iSoft's HOMER.

HOMER is a 25-year-old system widely used in the public health sector. Its owner, iSoft -- recently acquired by CSC -- stopped providing support for the legacy platform many years ago.


CSC warns of hard times ahead, but believes it will meet its targets

  • Fran Foo and Karen Dearne
  • From: The Australian
  • August 02, 2011 12:00AM

IT services giant CSC Australia has maintained its $1 billion-plus annual revenue performance, but has warned of tough economic conditions on the horizon.

The company indicated that it would conduct more hiring than redundancies, following its $480 million acquisition of e-health software maker iSoft.

CSC had been heavily investing in skills, said local chief Gavin Larkings, as evidenced by the $30.8m jump in human resources for the financial year ending March 31.

According to statutory accounts filed with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission yesterday, CSC booked revenues of $1.063bn in 2011, up 3 per cent from $1.032bn in 2010.

CSC said new work was valued at $902m while contract renewals were worth $225m.


Telehealth guide released by RACGP

Doctors are being advised on how to do online video consultations with patients with the release of telehealth guidelines by the RACGP.

As more GPs take advantage of the new Medicare rebates for telehealth consultations, the college has come up with a list of guidelines (link) on how they can set up their surgery for video conferencing, from advice on internet connectivity to recommendations on audio device requirements.

The guidelines provide the pros and cons behind a range a ways that doctors can set up their video consultations, through a specific software such as Skype installed on a desktop computer or a tablet or through an ‘immersive telepresence suite’.


GP college posts video-conferencing guide

By Suzanne Tindal, on August 5th, 2011

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners released guidelines today to help general practitioners to choose video-conferencing systems to be part of the government's telehealth initiative.

Since 1 July, doctors have been eligible to receive a one-off payment for installing videoconferencing equipment for use in consultations of $6000 and an additional amount per consultation for conducting video conferencing consultations.

The idea is that patients in remote or regional areas will have better access to technology via video-conferencing appointments set up through their GP.


National Health Reform Enterprise Data Warehouse Program


Agency Department of Health and Ageing

Category 81111700 - Management information systems MIS

Close Date & Time 9-Aug-2011 5:00 pm (ACT Local time)

Enterprise data warehouse key to national health reform

Systems and software, not data centres on roadmap

The federal government’s Department of Health and Ageing is seeking information from suppliers in preparation for the upcoming national health reform enterprise data warehouse (NHR EDW) program.

The EDW program is a component of the wider $16 billion national health reform agenda that is being developed by the government and was announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard this week.

According to the department, the EDW program goals are to “build the ICT capability for national reform stakeholders”.


INSIGHT: The changing eHealth landscape

CSC Australia national director for health services, Lisa Pettigrew, talks about the opportunities and challenges for eHealth

With the rapid evolution of technology and the gradual expansion of Australia’s NBN, significant developments are taking place in areas such as the digital delivery of medical service. Hot on the heels of CSC’s acquisition of iSoft, Patrick Budmar talks to CSC Australia national director for health services, Lisa Pettigrew, on what lies ahead for eHealth in Australia.


Agreement breaks e-health deadlock

The agreement between the Federal, State and Territory Governments on a series of national health reforms which was signed off this week has broken the deadlock for major e-health reforms across Australia. Coupled with the qualified support for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record which was also delivered by the Royal Australian College of GPs, it should provide a welcome nudge to the roll out of e-health initiatives.

According to Lisa Pettigrew, national director of healthcare for CSC in Australia, both events could only be positive for the progress or e-health. “This breaks the deadlock that was stifling health and e-health reform,” she told iTWire, speaking from a major healthcare conference currently being held in Brisbane.


PCEHR risks need to be resolved: RACGP

The RACGP has released its position statement (link) on the PCEHR, saying it supports an e-health record but only if it is based on the foundation of a GP e-health summary

The College says any PCEHR program will have to win the trust of patients, integrate with clinical software and be fully funded by governments and supported by appropriate incentives, education and training.

However, the RACGP says there are also potential problems with the PCEHR that have yet to be resolved, such as the increased workload for the GP as the nominated healthcare provider, and their medico-legal responsibilities.


IT for children's hospital still delayed

The $23.9 million allocated for IT in the 2011/12 budget had come through too late to meet the project deadline

  • AAP (AAP)
  • 29 July, 2011 14:37

The IT system for Victoria's new Royal Children's Hospital will not be operating in time for its opening in November.

State health minister, David Davis, said $23.9 million allocated for IT in the 2011/12 budget had come through too late to meet the project deadline.

The former Labor government failed to include funding for the system in its costings.


NEHTA’s Bainbridge tackles the old age question

It’s today’s healthy lifestyle paradox. The aged population in Western societies is growing as medical advances prolong life. But it’s a vexing issue for governments which face rising healthcare costs to support these aging societies.

In Australia, Treasury figures reveal significant demographic shifts over the past four decades, with even more change expected in the coming decades. The number of people aged 65 and older in Australia has grown from 8 percent in 1970-71 to 13 percent in 2001-02. Treasury’s Intergenerational Report indicates this figure will almost double in the next 40 years to around 25 percent, while growth in Australia’s younger workforce will slow to almost zero.


The impact of telehealth and telecare on clients of the Transition Care Program (TCP)

Read the full text

PDF The impact of telehealth and telecare on clients of the Transition Care Program (TCP)

01 August 2011This report outlines the findings of a randomised controlled trial of Telehealth and Telecare in the management of frail older people who are receiving post-acute care in their own homes under the Transition Care Program (TCP). Results of this study demonstrate numerous benefits to clients receiving post-acute care augmented by Telehealth and Telecare solutions. In particular, clients experienced improvements in personal wellbeing, particularly in perceptions of health, safety and future security.

Older people who participated in this study were willing and able to use Telehealth and Telecare products reliably. Clients demonstrated a positive attitude towards the use of technology and that age per se was not a barrier to the reliable use of technology for home monitoring of vital signs.


Tort lawsuits could hit productivity

  • Chris Merritt and Annabel Hepworth
  • From: The Australian
  • August 01, 2011 12:00AM

CANBERRA'S plan to create a tort of privacy has raised fears that productivity could suffer from a wave of class actions against business, police and hospitals.

Peak business groups have urged the government to reconsider, warning the proposed federal civil action on privacy was not justified and could drive up the cost of insurance.

Business Council of Australia chief executive Steven Munchenberg said the suggestion that extra laws were needed here after events offshore was "very poor justification for more regulatory change and regulatory intervention" and he was not convinced there was a problem.


Breaches of privacy by large corporations the real problem

August 3, 2011


Australian law is in a poor state when it comes to protecting our privacy. It should recognise that people are entitled to keep their lives out of the public domain and the reach of big business. There should also be consequences for a serious breach of privacy, including a right to compensation.

Unfortunately, the federal government has gone about this reform in the wrong way. It should not be sold as a response to the News of the World scandal - a hard sell when no local evidence has emerged of anything like those grievous, systematic breaches of trust. This leaves privacy reform in Australia open to attack as a knee-jerk reaction to events overseas.

It also casts the Australian media as the villain. Not surprisingly, this has provoked a furious response, with one headline in The Australian reading ''Tort a hate-filled strike on liberal democracy''.


Conroy welcomes DIDO plan

  • Stuart Kennedy
  • From: Australian IT
  • August 03, 2011 5:11PM

COMMUNICATIONS Minister Stephen Conroy said he would be delighted if US tech entrepreneur Steve Perlman's DIDO proposal for creating a super fast, ultra high capacity wireless network comes off.

Senator Conroy has often argued fibre is the most future proof network medium against those saying the $36 billion and the mostly fibre NBN could be built cheaper, faster and less disruptively with a greater mix of wireless and other technologies.

Mr Perlman, who once worked for Apple and drove the development of that company's Quicktime media player technology, released a white paper last week in which he said his company, Rearden, was developing a radical new wireless technology called Distributed Input, Distributed Output or DIDO that overcame the signal interference, shared bandwidth and high latency problems of conventional wireless and could potentially supplant conventional wired communications and even fast fibre.


15 incredibly useful (and free) Microsoft tools for IT pros By Sandro Villinger

We've dug through the jungle that is Microsoft Downloads and found 15 of the best free tools you've probably never heard of.

WSCC — Windows System Control Center

My first pick isn't actually a Microsoft (MSFT) tool per se: Windows System Control Center is a one-stop downloader for almost 300 maintenance tools from Microsoft's Sysinternals and the ever-popular NirSoft suites: Simply download WSCC from KLS-Soft, check all the tools you need and hit "Install". Minutes later you're equipped with some of the most useful tools out there, including Disk2Vhd, Autologon and Autoruns (also described below). WSCC saves these files under C:Program Files (x86)Sysinternals Suite, while NirSofts tools are found under C:Program Files (x86)NirSoft Utilities.




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