Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, October 03, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 3rd October, 2011.

Here are a few I have come across this week.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. 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

The main news of the week has been the release of the PCEHR draft legislation - as discussed yesterday.
In the background we still have the apparent problems in Qld Health rumbling along with progressive dribbles of information as to what has gone on.
Additionally we have a few odd random pieces of news on telehealth, Medicare Locals and so on. It is interesting that concern about the Medicare Locals program continues to rumble on. I suspect this is another situation where the continued concern is pointing to some basic flaws in the whole Medicare Local program which are not going to be easily solved.
Certainly just how Medicare Locals will contribute to e-Health does not seem to be yet fully defined. I guess this will all become clear over time.

Medical association concerned over PCEHR draft legislation

According to the industry body, the proposal fails to address the issue of availability of critical information for practitioners
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has raised concerns that the federal government’s released draft of legislation for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) still fails to address the availability of critical information for practitioners.
AMA federal vice president, Steve Hambleton, told Computerworld Australia the government’s nominated healthcare providers, which includes medical practitioners, nurses, aboriginal health practitioners and others, remained a concern for the system’s success.
“We’d prefer to start with medical practitioners to get used to the system and get it up and running and then widen it after that if it seems suitable,” Hambleton said.

The PCEHR treasure hunt

Techno Blog | 30 September 2011 | 0 Comments
LONG weekends, school holidays, Christmas—politicians never like to waste an opportunity to quietly announce something potentially controversial when it may be overlooked or when people are otherwise engaged.
This time, it’s Health Minister Nicola Roxon releasing long-anticipated draft legislation to underpin the establishment and operation of the government’s $500 million e-health record system.
She needs to get the new laws rushed into place, because she has set a deadline for the commencement of the program of July 1 next year.
To make it even harder for those inclined to take a look, the material is not on the Health Department’s main website, it’s at www.yourhealth.gov.au

Hefty fines for e-health record misuse as Roxon releases draft legislation

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 30, 2011 10:28AM
HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has released long-awaited draft legislation to support the introduction of a nationwide electronic health records system, due to commence operations on July 1, 2012.
The proposed bill features penalties of up to $66,000 for inappropriate access to a record, with penalties being multiplied by the number of records which have been inappropriately accessed.
Ms Roxon said proactive monitoring of the system will take place to detect suspicious behaviour, and ensure records are only accessed when there is a need to do so.
"Using a combination of legislation, security and technology, backed by strict penalties for infringements, we will give patients peace of mind that their sensitive medical information is safe and secure,” she said in a statement.
"For the first time patients will have control over who accesses their information and, further, they will know who has accessed their medical records, and when."

Health department issues PCEHR legislation draft

The document calls for public submissions and outlines the security and privacy framework underpinning the project
The federal government has released draft legislation for its $466.7 million Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) project, following the release of the Concept of Operations document earlier this month.
Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, said the draft (PDF) had been released for public consultation and outlined the process for consumers, healthcare providers and data sources to register for the e-health system.
“For the first time patients will have control over who accesses their information — and further they will know who has accessed their medical records, and the exact time that record was accessed,” Roxon said in a statement.

Draft e-health Bill tough on privacy

By Luke Hopewell, ZDNet.com.au on September 30th, 2011
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has today aired the exposure draft of the legislation behind the government's personally controlled e-health records (PCEHR) project, while outlining tough penalties for those found in breach of the proposed privacy provisions.
The 74-page draft legislation (PDF) was published today, and specifies how Australians can sign up for, control and restrict their own e-health record. The draft also detailed the role of a national operator — who will run customer and provider access portals, core services and the National Repositories Service in a dual-datacentre environment — and revealed the harsh penalties for those found breaching patient confidentiality on the system.
"Using a combination of legislation, security and technology, backed by strict penalties for infringements, we will give patients peace of mind that their sensitive medical information is safe and secure," Roxon said in a statement today.

Fines levied for e-health data breaches

Patient records available to law enforcement and courts.

The Federal Government will penalise health practitioners to the tune of $66,000 for any personally controlled electronic health record compromised, leaked or “inappropriately accessed” under draft e-health legislation released today.
Health Minister Nicola Roxon said in a statement that she expected the PCEHR system to be “more secure and private” than paper-based records.
The draft legislation [pdf] includes strong penalties of $13,200 per instance of a record being accessed without authorisation or confidential information leaked.
Yearb Med Inform. 2011;6(1):131-8.

The Role of Social Media for Patients and Consumer Health. Contribution of the IMIA Consumer Health Informatics Working Group.


Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Tel: +61(2) 9385 8891; Fax: +61(2) 9385 8692; E-mail: a.lau@unsw.edu.au.

Gartner defends Queensland Health report

Analyst firm dragged into 'political wrangling'.

Research firm Gartner has stepped in to defend a report at the centre of allegations Queensland Health was biased in choosing a provider for its $182 million state-wide electronic medical record.
Senior departmental staff were alleged to have requested changes from the authors of a 2009 Gartner report to favour e-health provider Cerner over other bidders for the project.
Confidential emails between Queensland Health chief information officer Ray Brown, senior e-health director Tam Shepherd and staff were obtained and published by shadow health minister Mark McArdle under state Right to Information laws last week.
The emails [pdf] revealed that Graham Bretag of the department's e-health contract and vendor management e-health division had asked Gartner to alter a column denoting Cerner as the only company having a "generation three" computer-based patient record (CPR) installation in Australia.

Queensland Health rejects claim of bias in e-health deal

QUEENSLAND Health has defended its procurement of a $182 million e-medical records (eMR) system for state hospitals amid claims of bias towards the market leader, Cerner.
Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle has obtained 3120 pages of emails, strategies, plans and minutes generated about the eMR tender between June 2009 and April this year under state Right To Information laws.
Another 942 pages were not released due to being either "cabinet or commercial in confidence".
Mr McArdle claims the documents show senior departmental officers asked research firm Gartner to make changes to its independent report on a market scanning exercise in 2009.

Telehealth simulation lab launches at UWS

The lab simulates a remote or stay-at-home patient environment with the aim of improving telehealth services
A new research lab that simulates telehealth services for remote and stay-at-home patients has opened at the University of Western Sydney (UWS).
The Telehealth Research and Innovation Lab (THRIL), located at UWS’ Campbelltown campus, has a fully furnished home lounge room equipped with sensors that transmit data about its occupants to researchers in a control room residing next door.
UWS School of Computing and Mathematics, Associate Professor Klaus Veil, said in “real life” the home could be thousands of kilometres from medical staff and still be linked to multiple healthcare providers and specialists.

Many questions still plague Medicare Locals

26th Sep 2011 Dr Steve Hambleton
THE AMA has raised concerns about Medicare Locals (MLs) since they were first announced.
We still have no answers to our original questions around form and function and, importantly, guarantees on the key leadership roles of GPs in the management and decision-making of MLs.
I announced at the National Press Club in Canberra in July that I would visit each of the MLs and find out from the local GPs what they thought of the cornerstone of the government’s bold new direction in primary care.
So, in recent weeks I have visited three South Australian MLs – Country North, Country South, and Central Adelaide and Hills – and there is clearly a lack of knowledge and understanding of what is supposed to be going on at the grassroots level.

Cancer patients die waiting for hospital letters

CANCER patients have been kept waiting so long to receive follow-up letters from their specialists that some have died before the advice arrived at their GPs.
A backlog of correspondence needing to be typed up at Westmead Hospital means about 700 people have waited up to three years for the letters to be sent.
In one case, a Sydney doctor received a letter from Westmead about a female patient with advanced skin cancer that had been dictated by a specialist on August 21, 2009, but was not typed up until September 16, 2011. By the time it reached Dr Adrian Sheen the woman had been dead for a year.

Hard to swallow: pharmacists split over pill push

Julia Medew
September 27, 2011
PHARMACISTS who market dietary supplements to patients with prescription medicines may be breaking the law, the pharmacists' union says.
The chief executive officer of the Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists & Managers Australia, Chris Walton, said under Australia's Health Professions Registration Act, pharmacy owners could not direct employee pharmacists to engage in unprofessional conduct, which would include ''pressuring the public to buy vitamins they may not need''.

Computers produce brain scan 'movies'

  • September 23, 2011 12:23PM
IT sounds like science fiction: While volunteers watched movie clips, a scanner watched their brains.
And from their brain activity, a computer made rough reconstructions of what they viewed.
Scientists reported that result yesterday and speculated such an approach might be able to reveal dreams and hallucinations someday.
In the future, it might help stroke victims or others who have no other way to communicate, said Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of the paper.

Mozilla puts Firefox 7 on memory diet, patches 11 bugs

Continues to support aged Firefox 3.6 with security updates
  • Gregg Keizer (Computerworld (US))
  • 29 September, 2011 06:31
Mozilla yesterday patched 11 vulnerabilities in the desktop edition of Firefox as it upgraded the browser to version 7.
The company has batted a thousand so far in its rapid release schedule: Firefox 7 marks the third consecutive upgrade that Mozilla has met its every-six-week deadline for a new version of the browser.
Mozilla switched to the faster release tempo last March, when some wondered whether the open-source company -- which has historically struggled to ship on time -- would be able to make its milestones.
The biggest improvement to Firefox 7 is a reduction in memory use. Mozilla has previously claimed that the upgrade slashes memory consumption by as much as 50%


Anonymous said...

"The proposed bill features penalties of up to $66,000 for inappropriate access to a record, with penalties being multiplied by the number of records which have been inappropriately accessed".

If 10 records are inappropriately accessed in a medical practice the penalty will be $660,000.

Will the same penalties apply to Government Agencies?

How much should Medicare Australia have been penalized last year when its staff inappropriately accessed peoples records?

Anonymous said...

70 x $66,000 = $4,620,000 !!!

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. !!!!

From The Australian IT
Karen Dearne March 12 2010

"MEDICARE Australia's eBranch head Sheila Bird has told a Senate inquiry that there were 70 substantiated privacy breaches from investigations into around 950 employees suspected of having had unauthorised access to client records."