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, November 28, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 28th November, 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

It has really been a busy week. We have had PCEHR legislation introduced into Parliament - a day before it shuts down for the year - we have had a continuation of NEHTA into a rather murky future and we have had a whole set of untested specifications released by NEHTA to the Wave Sites for them to implement!
My feeling is that we are now seeing a move towards some trinary outcome. Either it will all go swimmingly and the PCEHR will be a great success, or it will limp along slowly into some quiet oblivion a few expensive years down the track or the whole project will implode on itself.
Which do you think is the most likely?

MSIA: Things I should have said...

I wish I had kept a diary for the past two years during my time as the Medical Software Industry Association President (MSIA). The things I have seen, heard and read have generated all sorts of emotional responses: surprise; laughter; disappointment; frustration; sadness; anger; and humility. Health at the best of times is a hot topic. Throw an “e” at the start of Health and all sorts of “emotional” responses are brought forward. Throughout this roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, where often you only have a narrow window to get a point across, there are a number of things that, with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had said.
The current politicians’ need both better advisors and to make public servants actually responsible for their actions if they want to progress change. The political process is a short-term cycle and the objective seems to be simply to stay in power. We should accept this as a fact of how politics works. It is not as complicated as they would want us to believe. More time (and money it seems), is spent on spin doctoring rather than calling to account the people or organisations that money is provided to.

e-Health authority to live on

THE National e-Health Transition Authority will live on post-June 2012, with the federal and state governments agreeing to continue their joint funding arrangements for the time being.
NeHTA’s immediate future was decided at a meeting of the Standing Council on Health in Brisbane this month, although there is no commitment to a long-term role for the organisation.
No public announcement has been made and the level of funding is yet to be agreed.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has been slow to commit to further funding for the e-health program beyond the launch of her personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) system on July 1.
Forward budget allocations for e-health programs drop from $433 million in the current financial year to $35m annually in each of the next three years.

DHS seeks Web portal to combat chronic disease among indigenous Australians

The portal will build upon a pilot portal, built by HP on the Microsoft SharePoint platform
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is on the hunt for a provider to develop and host a Web portal with the aim of better managing and preventing chronic disease among indigenous Australians.
The Indigenous Web Based Primary Health Care Resource (IWBPHCR) will be a Web portal which integrates with clinical systems and enables healthcare staff to access materials relating to the prevention and management of chronic illness among indigenous Australians.
“The IWBPHCR collates and presents in a single resource existing tools, guides and other online information that promotes best practice in the prevention, identification and management of chronic disease in indigenous Australians,” the documents reads. “It covers the key chronic diseases contributing to the burden of disease including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, chronic respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease and cancer.”

Video consulting telehealth – from hospitals to the home and everywhere in between

Video consulting is a big subject, within a big subject (Telehealth), within a big subject (eHealth). Articulating what is involved can be like articulating the health system itself — not an easy task. This is because video consulting is just normal consulting with another travel option. The trouble is that most people’s horizons only extend to considering the ‘transport’ components (video conferencing), rather than all the end‑to‑end management and logistics that we take for granted under normal circumstances, and more besides.
For people who want do more than just hold a Skype video conference twice a year, comprehending the opportunities and issues involved is like watching stars come out — you see the one or two that most closely relate to your perspective, then a few more, and then you realise the sky is full of them.

Health informatics in the ehealth spotlight: Sallyanne Wissmann

Massive growth in health information systems, coupled with the forthcoming personally controlled electronic healthcare record (PCEHR) has created significant opportunities for health information managers.
But according to Sallyanne Wissmann, there are only two tertiary courses teaching health informatics, creating the possibility of skills shortages in the future.
“The demand for people with these skills is growing by the day,” said Ms Wissmann, who is also director of health information services at Mater Health, in Brisbane.

Bungling in state public sector blamed for IT blowouts

Reid Sexton
November 24, 2011
INCOMPETENCE and poor practices in the Victorian public sector have been partly blamed for huge cost blowouts in information technology projects that have left taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars poorer.
State Ombudsman George Brouwer, in a report tabled yesterday, has delivered a scathing assessment of 10 public sector information technology projects, including the notorious myki transport ticketing system and the Victoria Police database.
The report found that the estimated cost of delivering the 10 projects that he examined was a combined $1.44 billion more than originally budgeted.

Q&A: I-MED Network CIO, Bart Dekker

Dekker talks about service delivery improvements through automation and e-health projects
I-MED Network chief information officer, Bart Dekker.
Bart Dekker has been chief information officer of Sydney-based private medical diagnostic imaging group, I-MED Network, for seven years. During that time he has been responsible for a number of e-health services including the creation of an x-ray application for the iPad which allows its doctors to view x-ray images and patient documents on their devices.
What does an average work day involve for you at I-MED?
I-MED has 200 diagnostic imaging clinics and is an organisation whose workflow is very dependent upon IT. Out of necessity and design, we also use IT to differentiate ourselves from our competition so a large part of my day is spent discussing how we can improve IT service delivery.

PCEHR event document specs released

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 25, 2011 12:30PM
SPECIFICATIONS for a key part of the $500 million personally controlled e-health record have been released and a vendor portal launched to support software developers working on products for the system.
Doctors and other medical professionals will create summaries of relevant health "events" and upload them to their patients' record in the PCEHR system, where the information will be accessible by other healthcare providers treating that patient.

Personally controlled electronic health record system coming

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 23, 2011 4:28PM
HEALTH Minister Nicola Roxon has today introduced legislation for the $500 million personally controlled e-health record system into Parliament, and announced that the Information Commissioner will have a key regulatory role.
"The legislation will strike the right balance between security and access," Ms Roxon said in a statement.
"Two rounds of consultation were held on this legislation prior to its introduction."
But the government is yet to respond to a large number of concerns raised by medical, consumer and privacy groups in submissions to the draft exposure bill, and it appears few changes have been made.

Federal Govt introduces e-health legislation

Minister Roxon introduced the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011 into Parliament
The Federal Department of Health has introduced e-health legislation into Parliament pertaining to its $467 million Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) project, scheduled for completion by 1 July 2012.
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Bill 2011 was introduced by the minister for health and ageing, Nicola Roxon, and includes requirements for privacy breaches, the ability for patients to nominate authorised individuals to have rights in regards to their e-health records and the establishment of an Independent Advisory Panel to advise on policy and operations. It also has provisions around audit logs for consumers, and stipulates the Australian Information Commissioner will become the system’s key regulator.

E-health records one step closer

24th Nov 2011
THE federal government has taken another step towards setting up its patient-controlled electronic health records (PCEHRs) system, with Health Minister Nicola Roxon introducing the legislation to Parliament yesterday.
Ms Roxon said the proposed national system – which has attracted criticism from doctors for the lack of remuneration offered to GPs who would be responsible for helping to set up and maintain the records – would drag the management of health records into the 21st century.
She said individuals' health information was fragmented rather than attached to the patient, resulting in unnecessary retesting, delays and medical errors.

PCEHR users must secure data

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • November 24, 2011 6:11AM
FRAUDSTERS and snoops after personal medical information will target privately owned computer systems rather than attempting to crack government-controlled systems, a legal expert warns.
Thomsons Lawyers special counsel Kathie Sadler says people using the government's personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) system will have to address their own storage and security requirements to ensure ongoing protection of medical data.
"Each of the doctors, hospitals, aged care facilities and allied health professionals legitimately accessing the PCEHR system will themselves be subject to privacy and confidentiality obligations to the patient," she said.

Microsoft slams local data centre edict

MICROSOFT Australia has come out swinging against the Gillard government's insistence on local data centres for the personally controlled e-health record system.
 "Healthcare information stored in a PCEHR will not necessarily be better secured and protected simply by virtue of data being held within Australia's territorial boundaries, as compared to (offshore) storage repositories and portals operated under world's best practice security and privacy systems," it says in a just revealed submission on the draft bill.
"By regulating the geography where the data is held rather than the level of security under which it is held implicitly establishes criteria for data protection that are not related to principles of technology security.

Telstra launches bundled telehealth for rural and regional patients

Healthcare providers will be offered a $6000 rebate for investing in the device under a $620m Federal Government initiative
The new Telstra bundled telehealth platform
Telstra has launched two new bundled telehealth offerings aimed at rural and regional healthcare providers under a $620 million Federal Government initiative.
Under the initiative, ‘Connecting Health Service with the Future’, the government will provide up-front payments and rebates of about $6000 for doctors who deploy the standalone Telehealth Professional unit, a combination of hardware and software by Polycom.
The Professional offering includes a Polycom HDX4000 desktop videoconferencing unit, broadband access with one megabit per second (Mbps) dedicated video access, installation and set-up of the device and the Telstra virtual meeting room service.

Next top model

21st Nov 2011
A new modelling tool could help you identify and prevent adverse events in at-risk patients, writes Pamela Wilson.
GPs generally wait for patients to realise they are sick and come knocking on the door. 
But imagine if you knew when a patient was likely to experience an adverse event – even before they did – and you could contact them to discuss early or preventive treatment.
This is not a futuristic plot from a sci-fi movie – it’s a scenario that is entirely possible through the use of Predictive Risk Modelling (PRM).

NEHTA and vendors plan for wider use of AMT

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has released a plan to accelerate uptake of the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT). Developed with the software industry, the plan helps vendors to make a decision about if and when they want to include AMT in their software.
Ultimately, NEHTA’s long term goal is semantic interoperability. The plan works towards this goal while acknowledging the different approaches vendors can adopt, and being realistic about what steps vendors are willing to take at this stage in our progress.

Specifications plan for eHealth software

17 November 2011. The specifications and standards plan for software vendors working on the personally controlled electronic health records (eHealth records) system has been released.
The plan, produced by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), outlines the timeframes and process for the release of standards for the personally controlled eHealth records system, set to launch nationally on 1 July 2012.
The plan is designed to provide software developers and implementers with an agreed set of logical and technical specifications to guide enhancement of their systems to connect to the eHealth records network. For a program of this scope to succeed, a suite of nationally defined specifications and standards is essential.

iOS developers take out $10k prize at iOS vs Android Hackathon event

Health based app provides medical advice, uses SAPI
  • Lisa Banks (Computerworld)
  • 22 November, 2011 11:10
A team of Australian iOS developers have won $10,000 for their health focused app ‘Medic’, which provides non-urgent medical advice to users not needing to call 000.
Team Bonobo+1, made up of Michael Del Borrello, Nathan Hamey, Ben Hamey and Daryl Teo, were awarded the prize at Melbourne’s iOS vs Android Hackathon event on the weekend, with team member Ben Hamey saying he hopes the app will be released to the public shortly.
“We think Medic is a genuinely useful app and we will be releasing it onto the app store after a bit more refinement,” Hamey said.

Healthscope fast tracks rebate claims thanks to Bizcaps MCIS software

An innovative software solution from leading Australian software developers Bizcaps Pty Ltd is helping a major private healthcare provider streamline their rebate claims processes with increased processing speed and fewer errors.  
For private hospitals, rapid and accurate processing of health care rebates for costly items such as prosthetics can have a significant positive effect on cash-flow. However, extracting the correct rebate code for each surgical prosthetic can be a complex and time-consuming process.  
One of the country’s major private health providers, Healthscope Limited has now been able to streamline some of the more complex areas of their rebate claims processes to speed up their rebate claims and reduce costly administrative errors.  
Operating a network of 48 private hospitals across Australia, Healthscope in a recent quality audit of their prosthesis claim systems discovered that inconsistent practices and a lack of tools were hindering efficiency.  

123456: The worst passwords of 2011

If one of your passwords is "654321" or "superman" or "qazwsx" congratulations for having one of the least secure passwords of 2011.
  • Jared Newman (PC World (US online))
  • 19 November, 2011 07:24
Internet users never learn. No matter how many times we hear about obvious, hackable passwords, people keep using them. And the situation doesn't seem to be getting better.
Below is a list of the 25 worst passwords of 2011, compiled by SplashData. The security software developer generated the list from millions of actual stolen passwords, posted online by hackers. Not surprisingly, the most common passwords are also the worst, including "password," "123456" and "qwerty." Even passwords that seem kind of unique, like "trustno1" and "shadow" are actually quite common. And why does "monkey" always show up on these lists?

NBN on a “knife edge”: Optus

Optus CEO, Paul O’Sullivan, says price and spending caps are needed for the National Broadband Network (NBN)
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is on a “knife edge” unless spending and pricing costs are regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), according to Optus chief executive officer, Paul O’Sullivan.
Speaking at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event in Sydney where the company also celebrated its 20th anniversary, O’Sullivan said the NBN could either be a major success or a huge failure.
According to a report from UK-based consulting firm, SPC Network, commissioned by Optus, the NBN must have clear rules and regulations if it’s going to deliver quality services at the lowest cost.
“Based on the report and our own analysis, we believe the ACCC has a crucial role to play in policing the NBN,” O’Sullivan said. “There are five issues that need looking at.”

Cloud storage pushes the limits for home user storage of digital data

WHERE do we put our growing array of digital belongings?
The good old PC hard drive is fast clogging up with all the digital stuff of modern life, such as the HD movies spooling off our smartphone cameras, music collections, family snaps and documents of all types.
The PC hard drive as a storage medium is vulnerable to failure and online attack.
There are plenty of choices for secure, long-term storage of important stuff. There's a bevy of gadgets purpose-built for secure storage and a bunch of storage services that sit in the cloud.


Anonymous said...

Forward budget allocations for e-health programs drop from $433 million in the current financial year to $35m annually in each of the next three years.

Sounds about right. If they allocate the $33M per annum to NEHTA it will keep 233 of their brightest and smartest at $150,000 pa (incl overheads) employed doing what they do now. We wouldn't want to see any of them made redundant in these tough times would we?

Anonymous said...

Hey - what about the money allocated for the PCEHR not yet committed or spent - will they still have that to play with - you know to splash around in the Wave 1 Tsunami sites?

Anonymous said...

Consultants ....wont somebody please think of the consultants.

I have a dog and 2 ex-wives to provide for.