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, April 29, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 29th April, 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

In a day or so we reach the final stage of ePIP implementation with all the various government plans now finalised and now transitioning to waiting and seeing if there will be any useful outcomes for the $billion or so that has been spent. I am pretty sure that by the end of the year (2013) we will be able to form some clear judgements.
Other than that we have all sorts of interesting links to review with Qld Health and so on still rumbling on.
Lastly we have the news that despite all efforts to disprove his work it still seems that Einstein got it right.

Feds fall behind on e-health sign-ups

By Charis Palmer on Apr 22, 2013 12:28 PM

Data already delivering insights.

The Government will likely struggle to meet its target of 500,000 registrants for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) by June, after it was revealed only 109,000 Australians had registered in the last nine months. 
The system, launched last July, has been plagued with issues, including with its online registration system and availability for general practitioners.
Speaking today at a conference on big data in health, Department of Health & Ageing chief information and knowledge officer Paul Madden encouraged attendees to sign up to the program.

Study reveals most digital assets are not fully secure

MOST local organisations are ill-equipped to secure their digital assets against hackers and other malicious acts, a study finds.
It reveals securing web traffic has proved the biggest security headache facing companies, despite advancements in network security technologies.
It also shows IT security vendors face reputational issues, with many not delivering what has been promised to customers.
Ponemon Institute asked 485 respondents to rate their organisation's ability to prevent cyber attacks, with 10 being excellent. They gave it a 4.6 rating.
Their organisation's ability to quickly detect cyber attacks was rated at 4.4, and they gave its security standing a 4.5.

ACMA warns telcos after AAPT data breach

THE media regulator has warned telcos not to become complacent about data security after it let AAPT off with a warning for a major breach last year.
Senior Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) member Chris Cheah put the telco industry on notice that the regulator still took data breaches “very seriously”.
He said that publicly singling out AAPT for investigation and naming sent a strong message to the wider industry that ACMA took a stern approach to consumer data protection issues.

Flow modelling cuts emergency wait times

QUEENSLAND'S Gold Coast Hospital has turned to flow-modelling technology to help reduce waiting times and ensure there is an adequate number of beds available.
The hospital is one of the biggest emergency care providers in the country, seeing about 120,000 emergency cases each year.
It worked with the Australian e-Health Research Centre, a joint venture between CSIRO and the Queensland government, to help develop patient-flow modelling.
The centre found emergency departments generally were overcrowded and struggled to respond to day-to-day arrivals in a timely manner.

Bad decision-making biggest threat to health funds: report

Date April 23, 2013

Amy Corderoy, Dan Harrison

Expensive new technologies and treatments are being adopted by the health system, despite a ''big black hole'' in the knowledge about their long-term cost and efficacy, experts say.
A Grattan Institute report released on Monday found increases in health spending, in particular on hospitals, were set to create a decade of budget deficits.
Paying world prices for generic drugs would free up more than a billion dollars per a year. 
Queensland University of Technology's Nicholas Graves said new technologies and treatments were being adopted all the time that led to cost blow-outs and over-treatment.

Surgery blinded by Google Glass advances

Date April 23, 2013

Ben Dixon

Information overload is a dangerous distraction when it's right before your eyes.
Growing up watching Star Wars, I dreamt that one day I'd fly with a "head-up display" that would help me defeat the Empire.
Now the ability to have information projected in front of our eyes is here with Google Glass, which is an internet-connected device. You may have seen the video showing their potential uses.
A tiny camera, microphone and computer processors answer your spoken questions and project responses on the inside of the lens. You can ask, "How do I get to the post office from here?" or "What gate does my flight leave from?", and directions will appear. If you ask it how to say 'half a kilogram' in Chinese, it will.

Bligh, other pollies to be cross examined

Date April 22, 2013 - 3:20PM
The inquiry into the health payroll debacle has heard former Queensland premier Anna Bligh and former director of public works Mal Grierson will be cross examined in relation to the vendor contract for the flawed IT system.
Assisting Counsel Jonathan Horton said Mr Grierson had a "number of direct contacts and communications with IBM".
Ms Bligh and Mr Grierson are expected to be called to the inquiry within coming weeks.
Former health minister Paul Lucas and former public works minister Robert Schwarten are also expected to be called, however the inquiry has not yet named them.

Scrum before Qld Health payroll system rolled out

Date April 24, 2013 - 1:35PM
IBM and Queensland Health staff were involved in a "daily scrum" in the lead up to the launch of the failed health payroll system, an inquiry has heard.
Queensland Health's former payroll director Janette Jones on Wednesday told the Queensland Health Payroll Inquiry there were simmering tensions between the IT giant and health staff during the testing phase.
"It was so adversarial," she said.
"There was a view that IBM could not do it, so we shouldn't really be helping them.

Drug rings continue to trawl pharmacies for cold medicine to make amphetamines despite police tracking equipment

  • by: Kate McKenna, Josh Robertson
  • From: The Courier-Mail
  • April 15, 2013 12:00AM
DRUG rings continue to trawl pharmacies for cold medicine to make amphetamines despite knowing police can track their purchases in real time.
Hundreds of packets of pseudoephedrine are bought by particular individuals in Queensland, according to the first analysis of suspicious sales shared with police under Project STOP since 2005.
In one case, a single ID card was used to buy almost 500 packets, as many as 50 in one day, from 165 different Brisbane pharmacies between November 2006 and September 2010.
"Pseudo-runners" in Queensland also hit Victorian pharmacies, where purchases might go unrecorded because participation in Project STOP is voluntary.

Canada Finds $1.3 Billion in Savings Through eHealth

A Canadian study by Price Waterhouse Coopers released this week found that the use of electronic medical records (EMR) in Canadian general practice has saved over $1.3 billion between 2006 and 2012.
Savings included an estimated $800 million through administrative efficiencies and $584 million through such savings as a reduction in adverse drug events and in test duplication.
“We’re all under pressure to show stakeholders that there’s value in the big investments that are made in electronic health systems,” says Richard Alvarez, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Health Infoway.

Script data firm backtracks on sale of GPs' names

22 April, 2013 Antonio Bradley
A company that buys doctors’ names, contact details and prescribing histories from pharmacists to sell to pharmaceutical companies has partially backed down after a fierce backlash.
IMS Health, which recently began writing to doctors to inform them of its plan to sell data to clients including pharmaceutical companies, now says it will only sell doctors’ prescribing histories — not their personal information.
These histories will not be able to be attributed to individual doctors, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Data collection company denies identifying GPs or patients

23rd Apr 2013
A DATA collection company accused of trying to pay pharmacists for information about GP prescribing patterns has denied identifying any individual GP – or patient – as AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton lodged a formal complaint with the privacy commissioner.
Dr Hambleton wrote to the commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, saying IMS Health was writing to pharmacists apparently seeking to form agreements “for the release, apparently for reward, of certain information relating to doctors and prescriptions”. He said the information IMS wanted included doctors’ names, practice locations, phone numbers, specialities, and which medicines they prescribed.

3D mammograms 'find more tumours': study

  • From: AAP
  • April 27, 2013 12:00AM
BREAST screening with 3D mammograms increases the detection rate of tumours by a third, a study led by an Australian researcher has found.
Scientists compared the results of ordinary 2D scans with a combination of 2D and 3D screening.
Two-thirds of the cancers detected, a total of 39, were found by both types of scan. But a third only came to light when 3D screening was added.
3D mammograms work in a similar way to a CT scan, by taking multiple X-rays to build up a three-dimensional picture.
They are said to be more sensitive, but have been criticised for increasing the radiation exposure of patients.

Health care robot brings experts to bedside

The RP-Vita robot allows patients to been seen by experts from afar
A health care robot developed by iRobot and InTouch Health allows doctors who may be thousands of miles away to interact with patients at their bedsides.
Called RP-VITA, the robot stands 1.7 meters high and rolls around hospitals controlled by an iPad. The robot was designed to bring world class doctors and specialists to patients who wouldn't otherwise have access to them.
See RP-VITA in action in a video on YouTube.
"Imagine you had a stroke," said iRobot CEO Colin Angle speaking at the company's headquarters in Massachusetts. "Would you rather be seen by the world expert in strokes...or by the guy down the hall? RP-VITA is about allowing people to see specialists and have access to more sophisticated treatments, which leads to better outcomes."

Clever Avatar to help ageing Australians

Anna is the animated face of a new tablet-based artificial intelligence system designed to help Australians manage their lives as they age.
The technology was developed by scientists at Flinders University in Adelaide and is being commercialised by a spin-off company called Clevertar.
“We’re still in the development phase, and we’re doing some small scale testing with older people in a retirement village in Adelaide,” says Clevertar CEO, Tanya Newhouse.
Newhouse, who has a strong background in the aged care sector, is working with scientists to turn some significant research combining artificial intelligence, voice recognition and responding to cues, into a product with huge potential.

NEHTA proud to be a Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) partner

23 April 2013. Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum (APPA) held every year to promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information. Privacy Awareness Week 2013 is from 28 April to 4 May 2013 and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will celebrate the week with a series of events and the release of new privacy guidance and products. Their focus for PAW 2013 is privacy law reform.

Cost facts may reduce test ordering

TELLING medical practitioners what medical tests cost would be a “good start” in ensuring only the most appropriate tests are ordered, according to AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton.
“We are not going to be able to afford everything for everyone, so every person in the health care system … needs to take responsibility every time we order a test”, Dr Hambleton told MJA InSight.
Dr Hambleton was commenting on a US trial published in JAMA Internal Medicine which found that providing fee data at the time of test ordering resulted in a “modest” reduction in tests ordered. (1)

Tools to find health and a perfect match

BIG data has become one of the most talked about concepts in IT. But its impact on Australian business depends very much on how you define it in the first place.
While the term was originally used to describe massive and complex data sets, increasingly its techniques have come to be applied to smaller problems.
Hence the term big data is often used to describe data problems that involved the blending of structured corporate data with unstructured data from external sources such as social media, or that are being solved at vastly accelerated speeds through use of distributed processing tools such as Hadoop and MapReduce, or in-memory tools such as SAP's HANA or Oracle's Exalytics.

Theory of Einstein's Proved Right—Again


Scientists have subjected Albert Einstein's famous theory of gravity to its toughest real-world test so far—and it has prevailed.
The theory, which was published nearly a century ago, had already passed every test it was subjected to. But scientists have been trying to pin down precisely at what point Einstein's theory breaks down, and where an alternative explanation would have to be devised.
Einstein's framework for his theory of gravity, for example, is incompatible with quantum theory, which explains how nature works at an atomic and subatomic level.

Hubble spies a nursery in a nebula

Date April 22, 2013

Ben Cubby

Environment Editor

Astonishing new images from the Hubble Space Telescope have pierced through a nebula of gas and dust 1500 light years from Earth, to reveal a nursery of newborn stars.
The Horsehead Nebula, a vast plume that forms part of the constellation Orion, is a favourite of astronomers because of its distinctive dark shape, which is set against a background of glowing hydrogen gas.
Using infrared cameras, which capture more wavelengths of light than the human eye, the telescope was able to peer within the Horsehead.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Re:Canada Finds $1.3 Billion in Savings Through eHealth

I had a look at what the Canadians have done. As the report says, the study was commissioned by Infoway, who have developed the Canadian system, so one should look at Infoway's information appropriately.

The Infoway site has an FAQ.

Here's a couple of quotes from the FAQ:

Q: Why will it take so long to create an EHR network?
A: Creating an EHR is about more than entering information into a computer. It's about building a network of different systems that will quickly deliver health information to authorized health care providers, whenever and wherever they need it. It's a project that needs to be well thought out with consideration given to privacy and health care policies. As well, flexibility is required for the system to evolve with Canada's growing health care needs.

Q: What is an "authorized" health care provider?
A:As part of setting up their EHR systems, the provincial, territorial and federal governments will develop rules about who is allowed to access an individual’s electronic health information and they will build these rules into their respective systems.

For example, your doctor may be able to see your prescriptions and laboratory test results but your pharmacist may only be able to see your medication history. As a result, only those who are authorized to look at your information based on their role in providing you care will be allowed by the system to view it and their role will determine what information they are authorized to see.

Q: How much will it cost to establish EHRs for all Canadians?
A: Creating EHRs for all Canadians is estimated to cost about $10 billion. This translates to a one-time cost of approximately $350 per Canadian.

So, the Canadian system has role based access control. Does the PCeHR? Not as far as I know.

The Canadian system does not seem to have any concept of Personal Control.

The Canadians are spending $350/citizen. (The Australian Dollar is just about on par with the Canadian). That means Australia would need to be spending about $AUD8Billion to equal the Canadian spend - and that is set up costs only.

All I can say is that Canadian eHealth is different from Australian eHealth. They have thought it through, they have addressed many of the access control issues that the PCeHR has left un-resolved, they haven't tried to dress it up as "personally controlled" and they are spending serious money on the initiative.

eHealth, done properly can work. I don't think we are doing it properly.

Trevor3130 said...

Yes, Bernard, it's possible to preserve privacy AND permit restricted parts of health records to be used for research (and other things). Surely?