Quote Of The Year

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th December, 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

Interesting week with a lot of security related material seeming to turn up this week. I suspect that as we move forward there will be rising awareness of these problems and that it is going to be a real problem for the PCEHR program to provide enough re-assurance for the public to put their private information in the hands of Government (and its bureaucrats).
Time will tell how it plays out.

Outback satellites at risk of overload with e-health data

OUTBACK networks face "saturation" when new e-health record systems are placed on top of existing systems while satellite technology is too slow to handle the data load, medical providers warn.
The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia says "crucial IT communication issues" need to be understood in the context of continuing reliance on satellite in remote areas excluded from the National Broadband Network.
The forthcoming rollout of the $500 million personally controlled e-health record system will put further strain on existing infrastructure, the council says in a submission on the PCEHR bill introduced into parliament last month.
"Decision-makers need to recognise a problem of saturation which comes about because we are putting the PCEHR on top of email, government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health systems and the online community health reporting environment, OCHREStream," says the council, which represents 19 local health services in WA.

NEHTA releases security framework

By Suzanne Tindal, ZDNet.com.au on December 6th, 2011
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has been released to the National E-Health Security and Access Framework (NESAF) this week, providing a toolkit for the industry on how to protect patient information.
"The framework released acknowledges that it is essential to preserve the integrity and protect the confidentiality of personal health information and personally identifiable information, while balancing the need to support improved and unhindered healthcare," NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming said.

Nehta releases security framework

The National E-health Transition Authority (Nehta) has released the security and access framework that sets out how health information should be collected, stored and accessed – a critical step in its bid to win consumer support for the personally controlled electronic health records which Australians can sign up for starting mid-2012.
Details of the National eHealth Security and Access Framework (NESAF) which was unveiled today by Nehta are currently only available to vendors registered with the Nehta website.
The heart of the framework however is understood to be descriptions of the standards and protocols organisations should use when writing e-health systems, which have been compiled as a toolkit to help organisations design and develop health related computer systems.

Health bodies fear medical data distortion from e-health records

PEAK Aboriginal health bodies have warned that data derived from personally controlled e-health records must not be used to discriminate against indigenous people and their medical providers.
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory say that de-identified data will provide statistics around populations and diseases, but because the PCEHR is opt-in "it must be considered to be an incomplete picture" of the health of indigenous people.
"NACCHO believes that other bodies may use this incomplete data to claim statistics that are untrue and cause the Aboriginal community, the Australian government and the general public to be confused," it said.

Australians turn to magazines and online for information on Health, Wellbeing & Fitness

Roy Morgan Research
According to the latest Roy Morgan Single Source data (October 2010 – September 2011), Australians aged 14+ years consider the internet and magazines to be the most useful media for information on products and purchasing in the health, wellbeing and fitness category.
The internet ranks the highest, with 31% of Australians 14+ nominating it the most useful media channel for product information and purchasing in the health, wellbeing and fitness category.
Magazines rank second, nominated by 22% of Australians 14+ as the most useful media channel for this category.  Magazines also show a definite skew to women: 25% of women (compared to 19% of men) consider magazines the most useful medium for health, wellbeing and fitness.

Queensland's new email system a $46m white elephant

A MUCH-hyped email system which cost taxpayers $46 million has been rejected by most State Government departments.
Trumpeted as a revolutionary way to centralise systems allowing workers to more easily move between agencies, the email platform was rejected as too costly by some of the departments it was specifically designed for, reported The Courier-Mail.
So far only 2000 users have signed up, at an estimated cost of $23,000 each – the price of a small car.
A Public Works Department spokesman insisted the Identity, Directory and Email Services program was set for wider installation by 2013 but sources said the Education, Communities and Community Safety departments had already opted out.

Data breaches common in US health system

NINETY-six per cent of US healthcare organisations have reported at least one data breach in the past two years, the Ponemon Institute reports in its second annual Patient Privacy and Data Security benchmark survey.
The independent privacy researcher found that organisations suffered an average of four data breaches during the period, at an average cost of $US2.2 million per incident.
Ponemon chairman Larry Ponemon described medical information handling practices as "sloppy", and "a disturbing reality check for patients".

Stopping falls is name of the game at iStoppFalls

LOCAL researchers are part of a groundbreaking project to develop iStoppFalls, an ICT system to prevent falls in the elderly.
The European Union project brings together sensor technologies, telemedicine and videogames to keep older people fit and living at home for longer.
Neuroscience Research Australia's renowned falls and balance team was asked to join the project because of its innovative use of videogames to achieve healthcare outcomes.

Metro Spinal Clinic uses IBM analytics to manage patients' pain

Software records and collates patient data to enable doctors to track a patient's progress over time
The Melbourne-based Metro Spinal Clinic has enlisted analytics software from IBM to track and record data to better manage patients' pain.
The spinal pain and intervention facility, which treats an average of 450 new patients per month, is primarily a day-care hospital although some patients require overnight stays.
The clinic implemented IBM SPSS Data Collection Web Interviews as part of a data collection system the facility has been developing for some years called Clinical Intelligence.

Schools IT scheme a 'stuff up'

Anna Patty
December 8, 2011
$176 million already spent and now "disaster" implementation will be delayed.
A $386 million information technology system for the NSW Department of Education, which has so far cost it $176 million, has failed to deliver what it promised.
The state's Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, yesterday confirmed what school teachers and principals have long suspected - that the program has been a ''disaster''.
The so-called Learning Management and Business Reform software program was aimed at replacing finance, human resources, payroll and student administration systems.

GE, Microsoft in e-health venture

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • December 09, 2011 6:08AM
GENERAL Electric and Microsoft are joining forces to create an open platform and provide real-time, system-wide intelligence across healthcare organisations for better population data analysis.
A new joint venture company will bring together Microsoft’s platform expertise and GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow systems.
The move represents a major shift to the use of advanced analytics in healthcare for improved patient care and safety and administrative efficiencies.
GE Healthcare has been using SAS Business Analytic tools to mine patient data streamed from remote monitoring systems and new digital imaging and diagnostic tools as part of its work on clinical safety.

Question: Australian Health Information Security Requirements

Posted on December 9, 2011 by Grahame Grieve
This report of a breach of personal health information has been doing the rounds lately – it’s a very well written, from a great blog, and it’s deservedly getting a lot of attention. I sent it to several contacts in Australian commercial vendors, and one of them came back to me with a question:
What best practice standards, and applicable regulations do I need to aware of here in Australia?

Victorian government invests $100,000 in ICT Geelong

Regional cluster to continue e-health, research projects
  • Lisa Banks (Computerworld)
  • 09 December, 2011 11:41
The Victorian government has announced that $100,000 will be put towards supporting the activities of ICT Geelong.
State minister for technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, said the regional information and communications cluster has a number of projects in the pipeline that will benefit the local ICT community.
“Major projects include the development of ICT research and investment opportunities, commercialisation of technologies...and delivery of the annual technology entrepreneurship forum and ICT investment pitching competition,” Rich-Phillips said.

Telstra customer database exposed

Asher Moses and Ben Grubb
December 9, 2011 - 6:26PM
Bundle account holders' details unbundled in public.
Detailed information about Telstra's customer accounts - including usernames and passwords - has been found to be sitting on the open web for anyone to access via a Google search.
A user of the Whirlpool forum discovered the "Telstra Bundles request search" page after doing a web search for a Telstra customer support phone number they were told to contact.
Anyone who visits the page can search Telstra's customer database based on the customer's last name, account number, sales force ID or reference number.

eBay wants the Gillard government to be cautious with data breach laws

  • by: Fran Foo
  • From: Australian IT
  • December 08, 2011 12:00AM
ONLINE shopping giant eBay has urged the Gillard government to adopt a three-tiered approach to proposed mandatory data breach notification laws or risk crushing small businesses.
Privacy and consumer advocates have called on the government to introduce legislation compelling companies to inform customers when data leakage occurs.
Entertainment giant Sony was criticised earlier this year when it waited one week before informing customers of a data breach on its PlayStation network.
In contrast, Dell Australia wasted no time when a malicious attack hit its e-marketing provider Epsilon.

A spam filter for HIV is in the works

Deborah Netburn
December 5, 2011 - 10:20AM
HIV: a deadly virus that kills an estimated 5,000 people a day.
Spam: annoying emails that infiltrate your inbox and try to get you to shell out for erectile dysfunction drugs, credit cards and international scams purportedly involving Nigerian princes.
Could these two things possibly have anything in common? According to Microsoft researcher David Heckerman, the answer is yes.
Heckerman is the inventor of Microsoft's spam filter that protects Hotmail, Outlook and Exchange clients from deluges of unwanted email, but for the last seven years he's been working on designing a vaccine for HIV.
He said it's not so strange that he shifted his attention from protecting email systems to protecting body systems. He is a doctor, and besides, fighting spam and fighting HIV are not as different as you might think.
Greg Johannes
Acting Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
Tuesday, 29 November 2011


The Department of Health and Human Services is to restructure its use of information technology to improve services to patients and clients.
Acting Secretary Greg Johannes said the plan to restructure the DHHS Care and Business Solutions branch had been under discussion with staff and unions for several weeks.
The plan was further communicated to affected staff today and would be refined through consultation over coming weeks.

Google's Chrome browser challenges Firefox

Chrome was the world's second favourite web browsing program in November, bumping Firefox from that position for the first month
  • AAP (AAP)
  • 05 December, 2011 10:01
Google's Chrome Web browser is gaining ground on Firefox, and one industry tracker says it may even have eclipsed its open-source rival in the global market.
Chrome was the world's second favourite web browsing program in November, bumping Firefox from that position for the first month ever, according to StatCounter Global Stats.
Google's Chrome had a 25.69 per cent share of online browsing last month compared to 25.23 per cent for Firefox, according to StatCounter. Firefox is managed by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation.

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