Monday, February 06, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 06th February, 2012.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so.
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

By the time this is read we will know what has been said at the Senate Enquiry (this is being assembled on Sunday) so we can be sure there will be a good deal of news flow from all that.
I am sure the various parties have been busy all weekend preparing!
Last week was pretty quiet. We had an Australian paper on the use of order-entry for drug ordering and it was shown to reduce some types of errors. Not real news - except that this report covered two commercial systems which are widely used and so this work confirms what was found with bespoke systems.
Lastly Accenture’s run of luck (or misfortune depending on your view of winning tenders with Government) continues with another major win as reported below.

Senate Enquiry Update:

Well it has been a day of two halves. The AMA, MSIA, Privacy Foundation, Consumer Health Forum and the Consumer E-Health Alliance and Rural and Remote Groups provided all sorts of issues that need to be resolved and addressed and suggested major changes, slowdown or whatever.
NEHTA, DoHA and the Wave One Sites are all gung ho, all is just fabulous and we are steaming ahead (after a small pause to fix things) with the wind behind us!
There will be more reporting tomorrow I am sure so I will try and summarise all this in the next day or so.

Operational e-Health system still years away

FUNDING for the $500 million personally controlled e-Health record program ends on June 30, yet it is clear an operational system is still years away.
Under an ambitious timeline set by former health minister Nicola Roxon, the PCEHR system was supposed to begin operations nationwide from July 1.
But the Health Department has confirmed that only the "core participation and registration functionality" will be available on the launch date.
Although people may be able to register their interest from July 1, the first release will support only the 12 e-Health lead implementation sites for assessments.

E-health infrastructure on schedule

THE Accenture consortium is on track to complete its construction of the national infrastructure for Australia's $500 million personally controlled e-Health record system by the end of June, says Paul Madden, IT chief of the Department of Health.
"National implementation on July 1 means that all Australians who wish to do so will be able to register for a PCEHR that over time will gather more and more records, contributed by

MSIA doubts e-health record delivery deadline

The industry body argued the project lacks accountability, transparency and timely delivery.
The Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA), whose members include Cerner, Cisco, iSoft and Microsoft, has delivered a scathing criticism of the National e-Health Transition Authority’s (NeHTA) handling of the government’s national e-health record project.
In its submission (PDF) to the Senate committee examining the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) Bill 2011, the industry body said issues of accountability, transparency and timely delivery still needed to be addressed.
MSIA referred to NeHTA’s recent “pausing” of the implementation of primary care desktop software at a number of the PCEHR’s lead implementation sites and said the actions had taken industry by surprise.

PCEHR program unsafe, unready and unaccountable

3 February, 2012 Michael Woodhead
Medical software providers have delivered harsh criticism of the PCEHR program, saying it is unready for launch in July and that the NEHTA-supervised program will be unsafe and unaccountable.
In a submission (link) to a Senate inquiry into the PCEHR program the Medical Software Industry Association says it has been kept in the dark about basic standards and specifications for the system, and many of the technical documents in the ‘Final’ standards provided by the Department of Health and Ageing are either missing or out of date.

Doctors slam lack of e-health access

David Ramli
The Australian Financial Review
Health professionals brought in by the organisation rolling out Labor’s $467 million electronic health record project are not getting access to key systems, according to the Australian Medical Association.
AMA president Steve Hambleton said doctors were committed to seeing the project work, and many clinical leaders involved with the process were frustrated by the lack of co-operation from the government’s National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
The authority is responsible for rolling out personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR), which forms the foundation of Labor’s e-health policy.

Accenture wins $111m health data warehouse deal

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • February 02, 2012 8:47AM
ACCENTURE has won a $111 million contract to build an enterprise data warehouse at the heart of the Gillard government’s National Health Reform agenda.
The shift to activity-based funding for public hospitals and local decision-making will be managed and overseen by several new agencies, including the Independent Hospitals Pricing Authority, the National Health Performance Authority and the National Health Funding Body.
Under the contract, Accenture will provide the core IT platform and enterprise data warehouse (EDW) facilities for these agencies as well as the federal Health department and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Accenture scores $111m data warehouse contract

The Department of Health and Ageing contract is part of the government's National Health Reform project
Accenture has won a $111 million tender with the Department of Health and Ageing for an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) as part of the government’s National Health Reform (NHR) initiative.
The tender was issued in September and sought to combine the Commonwealth, states and territories in an Australia-wide health and hospital system overhaul.
A DoHA spokesperson told Computerworld Australia the contract with Accenture was signed on 22 December but would not comment on how competitive the tender was or provide details on shortlisted candidates.

Accenture scores $111m health IT deal

By Luke Hopewell, on February 2nd, 2012
in brief IT giant Accenture has nabbed yet another core deal in the government's national health-reform push, winning a data-warehousing contract worth $111 million.
According to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA), the contract, awarded in late December, will see Accenture implement data warehousing, analytics and reporting systems for health agencies, including the National Health Funding Body, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the National Health Performance Authority and the Independent Hospitals Pricing Authority.

Could e-Health see GPs charge like lawyers?

The advent of virtual consultations may change GP business models
By Sarah Putt | Auckland | Wednesday, 1 February, 2012
Will the widespread introduction of e-Health services see General Practitioners charging for their services like lawyers?
That was the question addressed to the author of the Commerce Commission’s report e-Health and e-Learning, at a Health Informatics New Zealand conference in Auckland late last year.
The report, authored by former TUANZ CEO Ernie Newman, is the second of three papers produced by the Commerce Commission which looks at the demand side of high speed broadband services.

Commercial e-prescribing systems a script for better health

University of New South Wales study finds error rates decline through the use of e-prescribing systems
  • Tim Lohman (Computerworld)
  • 01 February, 2012 09:53
Commercial electronic prescribing, or e-prescription, systems have the potential to dramatically reduce prescribing error rates, a new University of New South Wales study has found.
The before and after study, Effects of Two Commercial Electronic Prescribing Systems on Prescribing Error Rates in Hospital In-Patients, assessed e-prescribing systems implemented at two major teaching hospitals in Sydney.
In the study’s review of 3291 patient records for procedural errors such as incomplete or unclear medication orders, clinical errors, wrong dose or wrong drug, commercial e-prescribing systems were found to be associated with a “statistically significant reduction in total prescribing error rates by more than 55 per cent, driven by the substantial reductions in incomplete, illegal, and unclear orders.”

Electronic prescriptions save lives - study

  • AAP
  • February 01, 2012 9:37AM
THE use of electronic prescriptions can slash medication error rates in hospitals by up to two-thirds, new research suggests.
A study by the University of NSW has found that prescribing errors at two Australian hospitals dropped between 58 and 66 per cent when commercial e-prescribing systems were used instead of handwritten scripts.
Procedural errors, such as incomplete or unclear medication orders, fell by over 90 per cent, while the number of serious clinical mistakes - including those that result in death - decreased by 44 per cent.

Electronic prescription system could help cut errors

Amy Corderoy, HEALTH
February 1, 2012
Electronic prescribing systems could drastically cut previously intractable hospital medication errors, a study of two Sydney hospitals has found.
The federal government will begin rolling out an e-health system across the country in July, but it has been plagued by criticisms it would not reduce risks for patients and could be dangerous.
Until now, there was little evidence electronic prescribing, where doctors enter prescriptions into computer programs that often include information on patients and the other drugs they are on, would cut medication errors, the study leader, Johanna Westbrook, said.

E-prescriptions cut drug errors

1 February, 2012 AAP
The use of electronic prescriptions can slash medication error rates in hospitals by up to two-thirds, new research suggests.
A study by the University of NSW has found that prescribing errors at two Australian hospitals dropped between 58 and 66% when commercial e-prescribing systems were used instead of handwritten scripts.

iSoft fires opening salvo in Cohen case

By Luke Hopewell, on January 30th, 2012
Healthcare-software provider iSoft has taken aim at a central point of Brian Cohen's $1.4 million lawsuit against the company, saying today in court that a supposedly key contract cited in the case is mostly irrelevant.
Cohen took iSoft to court last year, alleging that it had breached his contract during his time of employment by allegedly failing to pay him correct remuneration, long-service leave, contract allowances and retention payments.
Court documents obtained by ZDNet Australia last year claim that Cohen worked for iSoft under a three-year employment contract set out in February 2000. Cohen was transferred to the Bangalore office under a secondment with iSoft Asia, before another move to Chennai, India, in 2007.

G'Day mate: Australia, New Zealand shake hands on cybersecurity

30 January 2012

Australia and New Zealand signed an agreement on Sunday that expands their cooperation on cybersecurity.

The countries’ prime ministers signed an agreement to establish a formal Australia New Zealand Cyber Dialogue to expand cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries.

GJ 667Cc: fourth planet that could support life found

February 3, 2012 - 7:40AM
International astronomers say they have found the fourth potentially habitable planet outside our solar system with temperatures that could support water and life about 22 light-years from Earth.
The team analysed data from the European Southern Observatory about a star known as GJ 667C, which is known as an M-class dwarf star and puts out much less heat than our Sun.
However, at least three planets are orbiting close to the star, and one of them appears to be close enough that it likely absorbs about as much incoming light and energy as Earth, has similar surface temperatures and perhaps water.

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