Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 25th March, 2013.

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

Not a very exciting week - other than the amazing goings on in Canberra. We really seem to be a rudderless ship at present. E-Health will hardly benefit from all this.
We see the Qld Payroll Enquiry drag on with blame being spread around all over the place.
Other than that the SA E-Health program seems to be slipping a little, the NBN seems to be becoming very bogged down (again with blame flowing all over) and apparently we have a big push on signing up people to the NEHRS.
My check on my NEHRS this week was uneventful but slow as usual.

E-health system launch delayed

Date March 20, 2013 - 1:47PM

Trevor Clarke

The launch of the computer system meant to form the foundation of one of the Australia's first e-health record projects has been delayed by several months due to accounting complexity.
South Australia's electronic health record (EHR) was to be one of the first in the national push for electronic patient records, a national project already marred by delays.
SA Health's Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) is made up of clinical, patient administration and billing modules. It was due to go live in the first week of March. It will form one of four projects in a $408 million upgrade of the state organisation's systems.

2% of Dungog and surrounding area have registered for an eHealth record

21 March 2013. Dungog is a country town on the Williams River in the upper Hunter Region in New South Wales.  In early 2013, the Hunter eHealth lead site (one of twelve sites across Australia) targeted the Dungog area to raise awareness of the personally controlled electronic health record (eHealth record) system and the benefits it could offer Dungog residents.  
Prior to 1 January 2013, there were only nine consumers registered in the Dungog postcode (2420).  Since then nearly 50 additional consumers have registered and if the other postcodes (surrounding areas) covered by this activity are included, then 2% of the local population have now registered with an electronic health record.*

Flu jab a good time to get on eHealth records

WITH one of the worst flu seasons expected to hit us soon, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is leading the way by getting his flu vaccination.
The West Moreton-Oxley Medicare Local said it was also a good time for Cr Pisasale to sign up for his eHealth record.
eHealth records allow doctors to see what care patients have received, whether they have collected their prescriptions and what course of treatment they have tried in the past, even when they are away on work or holidays.

PCEHR in for a 'big push' says DOHA Secretary

Launceston residents can register for the PCEHR via trained administrative staff using the new assisted registration tool from this week, with the tool to then be rolled out nationally, Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA) Secretary Ms Jane Halton said today.
The assisted registration tool is one of the final parts of the PCEHR puzzle, now that all major GP software developers have system upgrades to ensure compliance.
"From May this year we are ready for a publicity push on the PCEHR," Ms Halton said.
A slow rollout of the health record had been flagged from the outset, she said, but momentum is building and over 85,000 enrolments have been completed so far.
Of these, around 90 per cent have been done online rather than through a Medicare office or via the Medicare-staffed hotline.

Qld Health staffer accused of helping IBM

Date March 21, 2013 - 5:04PM

Petrina Berry

A Queensland Health employee involved in selecting IBM to provide a new payroll system has been accused of helping the IT giant to win the government contract.
Queensland's payroll inquiry is examining emails and meetings between Damon Atzeni, a member of the state's panel involved in the process, and an IBM contractor in the lead-up to the tender process in 2007.
The inquiry's first two weeks have focused on whether IBM had an unfair advantage in winning the contract.

Payroll consultant had 'preconceived view'

Date March 19, 2013

Petrina Berry

A consultant who played a major role in the Queensland government adopting IBM's flawed health payroll system had preconceived views before the tender process, an inquiry has heard.
Queensland's Health Payroll System Commission of Inquiry is looking into whether IBM had an unfair advantage in winning a bid to supply a state government computer system.
The contract included a disastrous payroll system for Queensland Health.

Payroll inquiry: independent consultant a 'long-time IBMer'

Date March 18, 2013

Petrina Berry

An independent consultant involved in hiring IBM to overhaul the Queensland government's IT systems identified himself as a "long-time IBMer", an inquiry into the health department's payroll debacle has been told.
The Queensland Health Payroll System Commission of Inquiry is looking into whether IBM had an unfair advantage in winning a bid to supply a computer system for the state government, which included Queensland Health.
An email by IBM's public-sector expert Lochlan Bloomfield to fellow IBM workers was presented to the inquiry on Monday.

Queensland Health payroll at 'point of critical vulnerability'

A PROJECT to roll out a new government IT system across Queensland's public service was costing $45 million every six months without a solution in place, an inquiry has heard.
IT contractor Gary Uhlmann told Queensland's Health Payroll System inquiry hearing this morning the government's own "Shared Services" model was on the verge of failure in 2007.
The Arena Consulting director - a former deputy director-general in the Queensland government - said his company's April 2007 four-week snapshot review of the system revealed it was at a "point of critical vulnerability".

Sharp increase in online orders for counterfeit pills

AUSTRALIANS are fuelling the global trade in counterfeit pharmaceuticals, going online to order everything from diet pills to sex aids and putting their health at risk.
The popularity of internet shopping, combined with the high dollar, has led to a dramatic increase in the number of parcels seized by Customs. In 2009-10, only 262 parcels breached the Therapeutic Goods Act, but for the past two years the number has exceeded 700. The seizures -- separate to the rising number of illicit drug detections -- include erectile dysfunction, slimming and tanning drugs. Authorities warn that up to 50 per cent of pharmaceuticals purchased online are fake, and Australian consumers are already reporting the adverse effects of taking unregulated imported drugs.

Australian FHIR Connectathon and Tutorial

Posted on March 20, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
We’ll be holding a FHIR connectathon here in Australia as part of the IHIC 2013 – International HL7 Interoperability Conference in Sydney in late October 2013 (around 28-30).
This is an opportunity for Australasian implementers and vendors to get practical experience in FHIR. Here’s why you should consider attending:
  • Find out what all the excitement is about
  • Get a head start building FHIR into your products
  • Get a real sense of what FHIR is good for, and what it isn’t
  • Help ensure that FHIR meets real-world Australasian requirements
  • Be a recognised part of the FHIR community
  • Connectathons are real fun

Get a handle on your health

  • From: The Australian
  • March 21, 2013 12:00AM
WHEN Samsung's new Galaxy S4 smartphone hits the Aussie marketplace next month, buyers will be offered a new line of accessories that turn the dog-and-bone into something else.
For instance, there's to be a Game Pad that clamps around the Galaxy handset, turning it into an Xbox controller with dual analog sticks.
Also promised are an S Band waterproof biometric bracelet that tracks how many paces you have walked or run, calories burned, distance travelled and your sleep patterns; S-Health blood pressure and heart rate monitors; and a body scale that relays your weight to the smartphone via Bluetooth wireless technology.

Software developers pave the way to eHealth records system

12 March 2013. NEHTA is pleased to announce that all vendors from its three Vendor Panels have passed their Notice of Connection testing enabling access to the national Healthcare Identifier Service. In addition, the majority have passed all the Compliance, Conformance and Accreditation (CCA) tests necessary for their first PCEHR-enabled release, and are now finalising this release or working on their second release.
With this complete, there is now widespread availability of software for healthcare providers to connect to the national eHealth record system.

Comparing Clinical Practice Cuts Hospital Waste

Melbourne Health CEO Dr Gareth Goodier brings extensive experience in heading one of the UK’s leading research hospitals to his new role – and says that understanding expenditure right down to patient level costing is the key to big savings in hospitals.
The Health Service Journal named Dr Goodier one of the UK’s most influential leaders in both 2010 and 2011 for his role of chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals, which he left in June last year to join Melbourne Health.
Comprising one of the UK’s five academic health science centres as well as two major public hospitals (Addenbrooke and Rosie) and as a leading national centre for specialist treatment, Cambridge University Hospitals form an exceptionally complex institution, Dr Goodier says.

MMR Global vs. Nehta, Round 2 (US/AU)

Ding! The Australian reported last week that Nehta (National E-Health Transition Authority) is defending itself against charges by PHR company MMRGlobal that it has not responded to information earlier requested from and supplied by its operating company MyMedicalRecords and its licensee in Australia.
MMRG is claiming that Nehta’s planned national PHR system will infringe upon patents held in Australia. According to The Australian article, Nehta’s chief Peter Fleming said that they learned of the claims only on 7 February and that MMRG had “nothing solid” to back them up:  ”MMRGlobal has never contacted us at all and indeed our understanding is that they’re investigating a potential claim but have nothing solid” and “we’ve obviously taken a look at their patents, both from an architectural and a legal perspective, and have obviously briefed our lawyers to investigate, but certainly this company has not contacted us at all …

New Zealand streamlines e-health with robotics technology

In a first such project for e-health, New Zealand’s Gore Hospital is rolling out robotics technology to streamline healthcare for home-bound patients and the elderly across remote areas.
Gore Hospital’s chief executive Karl Metzler told FutureGov that one in five New Zealander lives in a rural or remote area. “We’re exploring robotics technology to manage healthcare, and reduce pressures on our medical system.”
Healthcare-oriented robots and software are being piloted for primary, community and aged care. “We want to understand where robots can best provide improved health outcomes, especially for long-term chronic care patients.”

Iron Man meets HULC: exoskeleton suit coming to a body near you

Date March 20, 2013 - 1:30PM

Thomas Black

Wearable machines that enhance human muscle power are poised to leave the realm of science fiction and help factory workers hoist heavier tools, lighten soldiers' loads and enable spinal patients to walk.
Lockheed Martin and Parker Hannifin are joining a handful of start-ups in finding practical uses and, more importantly, paying customers for bionic suits inspired by novelist Robert Heinlein's 1959 Starship Troopers and Stan Lee's Iron Man comic-book character.
Sales of mechanical exoskeletons cap decades of scientific tinkering that included a 680-kilogram General Electric clunker in the 1960s. Strapped to users' bodies and powered by lithium-ion batteries, the emerging technology has led to some models that sell for about $US70,000, weigh less than 22 kilograms and are nimble enough to dance the Macarena.

Plibersek accuses Opposition of plan to sack 3000 ML workers

20th Mar 2013
THE rift between Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and shadow health minister Peter Dutton has intensified with Ms Plibersek accusing her opposite number of promising to sack 3000 frontline health workers connected to Medicare Locals (MLs).
Mr Dutton has said a Coalition government would put an end to MLs and yesterday Ms Plibersek said Mr Dutton had repeated in parliament – in comments not recorded by Hansard – that he would sack the 3000 “bureaucrats” who worked for them.
“The truth is the vast majority of staff employed by Medicare Locals are frontline health workers including doctors, nurses, psychologists, podiatrists, pharmacists and speech pathologists,” Ms Plibersek said in a statement.

Nothing healthy about department of stuff-ups

HEALTH is an area the Labor Party thinks it owns. According to the polls, Labor has generally been judged the better manager of health (and education) than the Coalition.
One of the worrying recent trends for Labor is that this ascendancy has been significantly whittled away. Labor now holds only a slim lead - down to four points -- as the better manager of health. (The gap for education is five points.) One of the more interesting aspects of government involvement in, and funding of, health is that monumental stuff-ups often go under the radar. There are programs that cost hundreds of millions, even billions, but which never generate the anticipated benefits. In some cases, they never generate any benefits. And then there are the forecasting errors of the Department of Health and Ageing that have led to extreme shortages of doctors followed by extreme surpluses.

Australian government releases big data issues paper

AGIMO mulls how to combine government data with publicly available data
The Australian government could tap data from Google, Twitter and Facebook as it seeks to embrace big data, according to an issues paper released Friday evening.
“Private sector organisations such as Google, Twitter and Facebook hold enormous data stores on Australian citizens and people across the world, and offer access to these on commercial terms,” the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) wrote in the report.
“While needing to carefully consider the veracity of this data, it may be that agencies could consider using this data as part of big data analytics projects.”
Australian Government CIO Glenn Archer announced the big data strategy last week. The release of the issues paper opens a three-week consultation period to collect feedback from industry and the public. A final big data strategy will arrive in June or July this year.

NBN rollout delayed, again

Date March 21, 2013 - 4:38PM

Lia Timson

IT Pro Editor

Australians will need to wait a little longer for faster and universal broadband, after the company building the NBN again delayed delivery of the project.
NBN Co announced on Thursday afternoon it was revising down its forecast for the rollout of fibre optic cable from the June 2013 target of 341,000 premises to between 190,000 and 220,000 premises. It is the third time the target has been revised.
NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said: "We are accountable for the delay and are disappointed it has occurred.
However, he laid the blamed squarely with contractors who he said were responsible for meeting the targets.

Disconnect on fibre reality

NEITHER Australia nor the world has seen anything quite like Labor's National Broadband Network. No other government in the world is committing the scale of funding - a cost of $37.4 billion - or attempting to build such a far-reaching fibre network as the one promised by the NBN.
As a vision, there's much to be admired in the mammoth infrastructure project that aims to connect 93 per cent of the nation to a fibre network capable of download speeds as fast as 1000Mbps by 2021.
Its champions, none louder than the project's overseer, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, tout the NBN as a glistening technological marvel that will revolutionise industries, economies and the way Australians connect with each other and the world.
But in reality the building costs and delivery schedule of the large-scale infrastructure project have departed drastically from the script.

Baby picture reveals an older universe

Date March 23, 2013

Dennis Overbye

The Planck telescope has excited cosmologists with a more detailed map of the Big Bang afterglow. Dennis Overbye reports.
Astronomers have released the latest and most exquisite baby picture yet of the universe, one that shows it to be 80 million to 100 million years older and a little fatter, with more light and dark matter than previously thought, and perhaps ever so slightly lopsided.
Recorded by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite, the image is a heat map of the cosmos as it appeared only 370,000 years after the Big Bang, showing space speckled with faint spots from which galaxies would grow over billions of years.
The map, the Planck team said, is in stunning agreement with the general view of the universe that has emerged during the past 20 years, of a cosmos dominated by dark energy that is pushing it apart and dark matter that is pulling galaxies together. It also shows a universe that seems to have endured an explosive burp known as inflation, which was the dynamite in the Big Bang.

BlackBerry inventor to make Star Trek device a reality

Date March 21, 2013

Hugo Miller and Jon Erlichman

Mike Lazaridis, inventor of the BlackBerry smartphone, is starting a $C100 million ($A94 million) quantum technology fund aiming to turn devices like the medical tricorder from Star Trek into reality.
The fund, called Quantum Valley Investments, is being financed exclusively by Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, an old friend and co-founder of Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind BlackBerry. The goal is to commercialise technologies from a cluster of research labs that have been bankrolled by Lazaridis. At least one start-up has signed up with the fund and the first products may emerge in the next two to three years, he said.
"What we're excited about is these little gems coming out," said Lazaridis. "The medical tricorder would be astounding, the whole idea of blood tests, MRIs – imagine if you could do that with a single device. That may be possible and possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these quantum breakthroughs."

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