Monday, July 09, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 9th July, 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

Well certainly an interesting week with the on and off launch of the NEHRS / PCEHR giving us all a lot to watch and wonder about. As they say it came, it went and then it came back. All through the lack of comments from NEHTA and DoHA was very, very surprising I have to say.
Of course the big test is now to see what happens next and if this very large investment actually starts to make a difference from the point of view of health outcomes - which is the final measure of the quality of the idea and associated policy making.
Otherwise all sorts of small (and not so small) bits of news with NSW Health, Mental Health, Old Payroll and the Higgs Boson all getting a mention.

E-health system goes offline

  • by: Karen Dearne
  • From: Australian IT
  • July 03, 2012 4:16PM
THE Gillard government's new e-health online registration system and consumer portal were pulled offline just hours after a brief go-live late yesterday, and remain unavailable today.
A Health department spokeswoman said the two online channels would go-live again "soon", although callers to the personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) registration helpline are being told it could be available sometime this week.
"The online channels were implemented briefly on Tuesday in order to test the performance of the system and related links in the live internet environment," she said.

E-health records misses online deadline

Summary: Australian Government misses key deadline for e-health record launch.
By Josh Taylor | July 3, 2012
The Federal Government has launched its e-health record registration across Australia, but without the online registration it promised would be available as late as last week.
After two years in the planning, and $466.7 million of initial investment, the Federal Government quietly launched e-health record registration on Sunday evening, updating the website to include information about how to register for an e-health record via phone, in a Medicare store or by printing out a form and mailing it into Medicare.

QLD calls for investigation into PCEHR

The government's e-health system has been plagued with problems on the day of its launch, according to senator Sue Boyce
Queensland Senator Sue Boyce has slammed the Personally Controlled EHealth Record (PCEHR) system, stating it is a "faulty" system and a waste of money due to problems with the hotline.
“The attempts by the Gillard government to launch a national ehealth system have become farcical. Having spent a billion dollars of tax payer’s money, the only thing they launched 1 July was a toll free phone number, but even that wasn’t working,” Boyce said in a statement.

Registration For An eHealth Record Now Available

By Computer Daily News | Sunday | 01/07/2012
Australian consumers will be able to register from today for a personally controlled electronic health record – but the $1 billion PCEHR system won't get going in earnest until at least August.
Consumers can now register for a PCEHR, set personal controls and upload information about their personal health events, a federal Health Department spokeswoman told The Australian.

Australia: New eHealth Law passed

Source: The Information Daily
Published Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 10:15
Australia’s controversial Personally Controlled E-Health Record (PCEHR) system is to become available from today onwards.
The PCEHR, accessed by the patient and his or her authorised healthcare providers, is a electronic record of patient’s medical history, stored and shared in a network of connected systems.
Managed by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing, the PCEHR reform agenda will save the Australian government and related agencies US$11.5 billion over 15 years.

Privacy Commissioner: know your e-health obligations

2nd Jul 2012
GPs have been advised to get to know their obligations under the national e-health records system (NEHRS) so they can train staff, implement safe work practices and advise patients.
Consumer registrations for the new system opened on the weekend but GPs and other practitioners aren’t expected to be able to use it for a few months yet and Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim said they should put that time to good use.
“The first point is, practices need to start knowing their obligations under the legislation that supports the system,” he said.

Privacy commissioner to regulate eHealth system

The privacy commissioner will be able to seek civil penalties for breaches in eHealth privacy
The federal government's new eHealth system will be regulated against privacy breaches by the privacy commissioner and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
The eHealth system, which went live July 1, will initially include basic information, with healthcare professionals adding to the system, such as medications prescribed and allergies.

GP fee urged after PCEHR ‘soft’ launch

2 July, 2012 Megan Reynolds
Fees should be charged for setting up a PCEHR for patients, says AMA Council of General Practice chair Dr Brian Morton as the system opens up for registration this week.
The newly re-elected chair of the AMACGP called the launch “premature”, as doctors do not have the software required to set up a patient’s Shared Health Summary and he does not expect they will have before the end of the year.

The federal government's e-health platform hacked at birth

THE federal government's e-health platform was hacked while being developed but the incident went undetected for several months.
The revelation comes after Accenture, the main contractor for the personally controlled e-health record program, delayed delivery, resulting in only 40 per cent of the system being ready by its July 1 launch date.
The hacking incident raises issues of reliability and security of the system as people start to register for an e-health record that would contain their personal details and health information such as medications, allergies and immunisation details.

Minister, we have a problem: AMA boss Steve Hambleton

  • by: Karen Dearne and Sue Dunlevy
  • From: The Australian
  • July 03, 2012 12:00AM
THE launch of the personally controlled e-health record system was akin to "throwing a paper plane out the window at Cape Canaveral", Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton says.
"It's been a bit like, Houston, we have a problem at 10 seconds to go and now there's a three-month hold on the rollout," he told The Australian yesterday.
"At the moment, we haven't got anything other than an ability for consumers to register an expression of interest in having a personally controlled e-health record one day.

Answers to identity verification questions not sufficiently secure

THE security of the government's e-health records are under question a day after they were launched because those registering have to provide only a Medicare card number and names and birth dates of family members to verify their identity.
Security experts say answers to the identity verification questions are so widely known it would allow a person to set up an e-health record for someone else by telephone if they wanted to access that individual's health details, such as medication or medical procedures.
"My advice is not to join until the security issues have been resolved," said Graham Ingram, general manager of AUSCERT, Australia's emergency response team for computer security incidents.

Warning: e-health inherently insecure

3rd Jul 2012
JUST days after the registration process for e-health records opened, experts have warned the system is inherently insecure and urged patients to think twice about signing up.
Australian Computer Emergency Response Team general manager Graham Ingram said the health department’s “blanket assurances” the system would be secure were unfounded.
“Health records cannot be secured over the internet,” Mr Ingram said.
July 03, 2012 10:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time 

Research and Markets: Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health - Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR)

“Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health - Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR)”

Punctuation a stumbling block for e-health

4th Jul 2012
Medical Observer has found patients with apostrophes or hyphens in their name cannot register for an e-health record, as the government scrambles to get the rest of the patient registration process working.
Patient registrations were originally due to be made available online, via telephone or in person at a Medicare office from 1 July, before the government signalled online registrations had been scrapped.

E-health online registrations can't handle names wiith hyphens and apostrophes

IF Health Minister Tanya Plibersek's husband tried to register for an e-health record he would have no such luck.
The issue lies with Michael Coutts-Trotter's name: it has a hyphen and the newly launched, multi-million dollar personally controlled e-health record system hasn't been built to accept such characters.
As well, people with apostrophes wouldn't be able to register.

Validating Name Characters

Posted on July 4, 2012 by Grahame Grieve
Well, the pcEHR go-live hasn’t gone that well. One particular feature that’s attracted some attention is that fact that the pcEHR won’t accept people with some unusual characters in their surnames.
Medical Observer has found patients with apostrophes or hyphens in their name cannot register for an e-health record, as the government scrambles to get the rest of the patient registration process working.
5 July 2012, 2.33pm AEST

Doctors and patients uneasy about new e-health records system

IIn the shadow of the carbon tax, Australia’s e-health records scheme rolled out on July 1 with what can only be described as a very soft launch. Unlike the carbon tax, the e-health records scheme is voluntary and it seems few doctors and patients have signed up. Some doctors fear they may be held liable…


In the shadow of the carbon tax, Australia’s e-health records scheme rolled out on July 1 with what can only be described as a very soft launch. Unlike the carbon tax, the e-health records scheme is voluntary and it seems few doctors and patients have signed up.
Some doctors fear they may be held liable if the patient-controlled records aren’t kept up-to-date. And consumers remain concerned about the privacy of their medical information. So, what are the realities of these risks?

PCEHR’s big picture: Why Australia’s system matters

The federal government’s $700 million Personally Controlled Electronic Healthcare Record (PCEHR) is currently one of the most significant ehealth projects undertaken by any nation in the world.
Driven by macro factors such as the rising costs of caring for an ageing population and the inefficiency of existing systems, the PCEHR’s goal is to create a comprehensive electronic medical record for every Australian. This record includes clinical notes, pathology, referrals, discharge notices, and specialist letters.
It will also have provision for citizens to enter their own information, quarantine certain information, and keep records of medications, allergies and immunisations.

Patients find an app a day may keep the doctors away

Date July 7, 2012
A range of medical and health apps are allowing immediate access to a wide range of advice, writes Catherine Armitage.
The exploding popularity of health and medical apps is ushering a new wave of sometimes unwelcome visitors into the doctor's surgery. Smartphones and tablets (the screen kind, not the pill kind) have become mobile diagnostic devices.
Fitness apps for monitoring workouts took off first, led by Endomondo, which gives audio feedback on exercise performance, allows friends to follow and barrack live, and claims 10 million users. Zombies, Run! wraps a story around daily exercise, with an eponymous warning if you slow down.

GPs consult via pharmacy video booth

3 July, 2012 Kate Newton
More than 100 GPs have signed up to a private telehealth scheme, enabling them to consult with patients sitting in video booths in pharmacies.
Launched last month, the ConsultDirect service means that patients can walk into a pharmacy, sit in a booth and wait for the next available GP to appear on screen. The GP can be located anywhere in Australia.
The service is not covered by Medicare; patients pay the pharmacy $45 and the GP invoices the pharmacy for $40.

Coast medical records system 'dangerous'

SENIOR doctors say Gold Coast Heath's new multimillion dollar electronic medical record system is 'inadequate and dangerous' and could put patients' lives at risk.
Doctors have complained about the system, saying some patient documents are missing, it has log-in problems and 10-minute delays in accessing critical information.
Gold Coast Health was the first region in the state to move to electronic record-keeping, rolled out progressively from October last year.

Mental health website connects patients, therapists

A new website has been launched by the federal government aimed at being a one-stop online resource for individuals and health professionals dealing with mental illness.
For individuals, the mindhealthconnect portal is intended to provide a credible source of information, support and a gateway to therapy for those seeking help for mental disorders.

Country patients to access video conferencing

Posted July 04, 2012 12:55:46
Patients throughout the north and west of South Australia will not necessarily have to travel to consult their medical specialist any more.
The Country North SA Medicare Local has secured $115,000 in federal funding to help roll out video conferencing facilities.

Fed Govt set e-health expectations too high: Skinner

Summary: The Australian Government has been slammed by the NSW Government for failing to meet expectations with its e-health record system, launched last weekend.
By Josh Taylor | July 3, 2012 -- Updated 21:45 GMT (07:45 EST)
New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner has criticised the Federal Government for setting expectations too high on its 1 July e-health record launch.
Since Sunday, Australians have been able to register for a personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR), either via phone, in a Medicare office or by mailing in a form to Medicare. Much of the functionality for the system, including letting doctors put information in the records and connect their own systems to the PCEHR system, has yet to be implemented.
By contrast, NSW already boasts a substantial e-health record system in hospitals, with over 80 per cent of hospital beds covered with a system that keeps orders and results across the hospital, emergency departments and operating theatres. More than 75,000 clinicians have been trained to use the system, and it is utilised by 5000 unique users every day.

E-health record grind worries NSW Health

Halts internal projects.

New South Wales health minister Jillian Skinner has expressed disappointment at failed attempts to hit benchmarks set for the federally funded personally controlled electronic health record, which she claimed had held back plans for state-based e-health projects.
Skinner said that while the widespread uptake of the PCEHR "has the potential to revolutionise the medical practice", major issues still required resolution for the electronic health records project, which aims to provide individuals with a system that ties together information from GPs and hospitals.
The health minister pointed to data integrity as well management and access to records as key concerns she felt had not properly been resolved by the federal Department of Health and Ageing and lead agency the National E-Health Transition Authority.

Govt seeks return of health overpayments

  • AAP
  • July 02, 2012 7:47AM
Almost 50,000 Queensland Health employees will receive letters on Monday seeking the return of overpayments caused by the payroll system bungle.
HEALTH Minister Lawrence Springborg says 49,040 letters documenting $89.5 million in overpayments will begin arriving on Monday, ending the moratorium imposed by the former Labor government.
Cumulative amounts under $200 and debts owed by workers who are now deceased - totalling $1.9 million - have been waived.

No paperwork at new Queensland hospital

July 4, 2012 - 3:00AM
Australia's first digital hospital is being built in one of Queensland fastest-growing regions.
Hervey Bay, about a four hour drive north of Brisbane, has been chosen as the site for a $87.5 million, 96-bed private hospital where all patient records are online.
Hervey Bay's St Stephen's Hospital, built by UnitingCare Health – which runs the Wesley Hospital in Brisbane – will go ahead after the federal government confirmed a $47 million grant.

HealthLink boss calls for health IT overhaul

HealthLink chief executive Tom Bowden says a fresh look at healthcare IT is required
In the wake of a controversial decision over an e-referrals tender for the Nelson-Marlborough District Health Board, one of the bidders, HealthLink, says the national health strategy needs overhauling and completely revising.
“We need to take a fresh look at the way in which healthcare IT is guided,” says HealthLink chief executive Tom Bowden in a letter to National Health Board chairman Murray Horn and Ministry of Health Information Group director Graeme Osborne.
It is an open letter to the health sector, which Bowden says is being widely circulated.

Jane McCredie: DIY health tests

IN this era of patient empowerment, there’s increasing demand for personal access to medical data, but how many of the following scenarios would most doctors feel comfortable with?
• Pathology labs adopting a policy of always communicating routine test results directly to patients as well as their treating doctors
• Radiologists notifying both the referring GP and the patient directly of a potential malignancy on a scan
• Over-the-counter kits to test HIV status in the privacy of a person’s home

Why Microsoft axed the Start button

Marc Georges
July 3, 2012
When Microsoft users launch Windows 8 later this year, they'll notice getting started with the OS may not be as familiar. The ever-present Start button, a Windows staple since 1995, is going the way of the dodo.
In a report for industry site PC Pro, Microsoft executives reveal that Windows users have already largely abandoned the Start button. An increasing number rely more on pinning favourite apps to their taskbar or simply using keyboard shortcuts to access frequently used applications. As a result, Microsoft will now present a tiled Start screen as part of the new Metro interface.

Missing ingredient: know your Higgs boson

July 5, 2012

What is the Higgs boson?

The Higgs boson is a long-sought subatomic particle that is thought to explain why all particles have mass. After the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, scientists believe particles existed without mass and that they became heavier due to the Higgs field.

How are scientists looking for Higgs boson?

Physicists conduct experiments at the Large Hadron Collider which involve smashing together beams containing billions of particles, at high speed and within a vacuum, and watching the results. It is thought some of the new particles created during these collisions may be Higgs bosons, though they rapidly decay into well-understood particles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The God of Irony strikes twice in the one week.

First, the Auscert people throwing stones at the PCEHR in the very week they turned out to be living in a glass house.

Second, the boasting from Jillian Skinner, Health Minister in NSW about the very system she complained about whilst in opposition. No doubt now she is in office, she has now found out that getting these systems in is not easy, and that the actual software has very little to do with it...

On a related topic, I hear the now-former-professor Patrick is busy trying to raise funding for his own software development. Good luck with that Jon.