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, October 28, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 28th October, 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

Another week goes by and we still hear almost nothing from the new (now slightly less new) Federal Health Minister. The silence is really deafening!
Other than that interesting to see the US is looking at laws around patent trolls and that thought controlled computers are progressing to more and more reality.
I checked out my PCEHR record today. The system is still slow, had drug information that is 3 months out of date and is just as user unfriendly as ever. Just so you know!

E-health records in need of urgent help: GPs

The nation’s peak general practice organisations have called for urgent action to address serious shortcomings in the troubled electronic health records system.
At a summit held earlier this month at AMA House, United General Practice Australia (UGPA) identified major problems with the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system that severely undermined its usefulness to both practitioners and patients.
“Currently there is no alignment between consumer registration and meaningful use through engagement of the clinical community and assurance of improvement in patient health outcomes,” UGPA, which includes the AMA, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian Medicare Local Alliance and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, said.

Does the PCEHR meet the GP Data Governance Council criteria?

The General Practice Data Governance Council is “committed to profession-led governance regarding the issues of data collection activities in general practice,” in particular secondary use of patient data generated through clinical care delivery to patients.
GPs and consumers have voiced concerns with regards to secondary use of data uploaded to the PCEHR, so I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the PCEHR and see if it meets the goals of the Data Governance Council.
As outlined in an earlier post, it appears PCEHR data can be used by the government for:
  • Law enforcement purposes
  • Health provider indemnity insurance cover purposes
  • Research
  • Public health purposes
  • Other purposes authorised by law

AMA puts flawed PCEHR on the mend

When his sister was lying unconscious in a hospital intensive care unit, it was driven home to Adelaide GP Dr Chris Moy just how important an accurate electronic health record could be.
“I asked the treating doctor how often do you get a patient’s medical history, including the medications they are on, their allergies and diagnoses, and he said ‘Never’,” Dr Moy recalled.
At the time, he was heavily involved with HealthConnect SA in developing an electronic care planning system for elderly patients.
“A by-product of that was that we were developing a prototype of the electronic health record,” he said.

Clock ticking for scanning incentive confirmation

23 October, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue
Pharmacy owners are being encouraged to ensure they are meeting the criteria to receive the Electronic Prescription Scanning Incentive, even through the Government had yet to confirm it will be paid next month.
The first payment of the $2000 incentive is due to be made next month, however the Pharmacy Guild of Australia is waiting to hear if the recently elected Coalition Government will sign-off on it.
While the profession has yet to get confirmation that the incentive will go ahead as announced in August, a Guild spokesperson said the organisation was continuing to plan for its rollout, and urged pharmacy owners to take a similar approach.

Tasmania looks for core eHealth infrastructure replacement

Summary: Tasmania's eHealth infrastructure is beginning to show its age and needs to be replaced with an open standards system.
By Michael Lee | October 21, 2013 -- 06:29 GMT (17:29 AEST)
Tasmania's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is looking for a contractor to replace the core systems behind its current eHealth integration infrastructure since the existing software is nearing its end of life.
The existing system runs on the Java Composite Application Platform Suite (Java CAPS), which was originally developed by Sun Microsystems and folded into Oracle when purchased in 2010. Oracle subsequently released Java CAPS 6.3 in 2011, but the tender documents show that DHHS wishes to transition from the suite.
Oracle itself is rolling features from Java CAPS into its Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) suite, and encouraging users to migrate to its new systems.

Review launched into e-health record scheme

The Abbott Government has ordered a review of the troubled shared electronic health record program amid concerns about poor take-up, cost overruns and implementation problems.
Health Minister Peter Dutton has ordered the review – the details of which are yet to be released – citing concerns that the Commonwealth so far has little to show for its $1 billion investment in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record scheme.
“We all support an electronic health record,” a spokeswoman for Mr Dutton told The Australian late last month. “However, we have grave concerns about the amount of money the previous Government spent on e-health for very little outcome to date.

Digitising data will reduce errors in patient care

Joshua Gliddon
With approximately 9.3 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product spent on healthcare, there is significant scope for improvement in productivity to drive better health outcomes and better care per dollar spent.
One of the biggest challenges facing the health system in Australia is its highly fragmented nature. Funding is decoupled from the provision of care, and outcomes are not always matched with healthcare inputs, notes David Dembo, general manager for GE’s healthcare business.

Weaving a web of world eHealth strategies

Digital strategist Rachel de Sain is fascinated by the intersection of health and social media, so she jumped at the opportunity to present some of her own research at the recent Medicine 2.0 conference in London, adding a side trip to a US conference before returning to Sydney.
De Sain says that her own consulting agency, Flaxworks, reflects her indigenous New Zealand heritage.
“Technology doesn’t work effectively unless you really sit there with the community and understand what the problems are that you are trying to solve, and then look at all the various pieces of the organisation, the various sides of a challenge, the various stakeholders and weave them together into a solution,” she says.

eRx launches script app

24 October, 2013 Nick O'Donoghue
Pharmacy IT group, Fred Health, launched its eRx Express app which will enable consumers to order their prescriptions from smartphones, today.
Using the app, patients are now able to scan a QR code on their prescription, which is sent to a pharmacy of their choice where they can pick it up at their preferred time.
Paul Naismith, a pharmacist and CEO of Fred Health, said the app was vital to advancing e-health for pharmacy, health professionals and the wider community.

Approaching 19,000 hospitals across APAC region to adopt cloud solutions by 2018

Posted on Oct 09, 2013
By Dillan Yogendra
Globally, healthcare is embracing cloud technologies and the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is in a hurry to explore innovative solutions that support patient-centric care through efficient capture and dissemination of medical and health information. Research by Frost & Sullivan: Analysis of Healthcare Cloud in APAC, recently reported the market for cloud technologies, which included software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings, was valued at US$194.4 million in 2012 – and the market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.3% between 2012 and 2018.
"Healthcare providers are cognisant of the long term cost benefits of cloud solutions. What they are looking for now, are reliable technology partners who can address their concerns over data privacy and security," said Natasha Gulati, Connected Health Industry Analyst, Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific. Although many healthcare IT vendors emphasise the enhanced security and back-up support provided by cloud technologies, the message has yet to reach hospital CIOs. This is why healthcare continues to invest in private clouds while other industries are rapidly moving to public or hybrid cloud models. In addition, given the current pressures of rising costs and diminishing margins, healthcare CIOs are unable to justify the significant investment required for transitioning to a cloud environment.

New Zealand is the leading force in shared EMR implementation

Posted on Sep 26, 2013
By Dillan Yogendra
Canterbury in particular offers an ideal example to corroborate the claim that healthcare IT integration works best if accompanied by an integrated overall approach to medical care, as reported in HIMSS Insights.
Plans were already in place to install a centralized shared medical record that could be accessed from information systems of care providers, hospitals, and the community nursing agency but progress was slow. Then came February 2011 and New Zealand experienced one of the worst earthquakes in generations – many general practitioner (GP) paper-based archives were either lost or temporarily unavailable but Canterbury hospital’s electronic documentation remained accessible all the way through.

ULTRA pathology laboratory software back in the game and planning a new release

Australian-developed laboratory information system ULTRA will have a new lease of life thanks to a buy-out by Irish firm Cirdan Imaging, which has taken over the US-based Centricity Laboratory Division from GE Healthcare.
A Cirdan subsidiary, Cirdan Ultra, has been set up as a joint venture with software developer Kainos and there are plans to issue a new version of the product in January 2015, says Dave Crockett, who is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Cirdan Ultra.
Crockett is currently in Australia visiting key clients and establishing a local office in Ballarat.
It’s full-circle for ULTRA, which pathology systems consultant Yvonne Sherlock says has been used by at least half of the laboratory staff in Australia at one time or another.

US Congress to consider law against 'patent trolls'

Date October 24, 2013 - 4:32PM
The US Congress to soon review the behaviour of "patent trolls", a widespread practice some say is crippling innovation in the US and overseas.
A US congressman, who has led the charge against frivolous patent infringement lawsuits, introduced a bill on Wednesday to curb the behaviour of so-called trolls but faced criticism that some of the proposals go too far.
The bill from Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, requires companies to provide specific details on what patent is infringed and how it is used when they file a lawsuit.

Unniversal Device Identifiers in FHIR

Posted on October 25, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
The FDA and partners around the world are in the process of introducing a new identification framework for medical devices called the “Universal Device Identifier” (UDI). They asked for FHIR to “support” UDI. But what does that mean?
First, some background on what a UDI is, and then some analysis of the use cases for UDI in the scope of FHIR.
What a UDI is
A UDI is a barcode (or series of barcodes, or even an RFID) on a medical device that carries the following information:
  • Device Identifier (Mandatory)
  • Lot Number
  • Serial Number
  • Manufacture date
  • Expiry Date
The first element is the key piece of data – it represents the key that can be used to look up information about the device in the public device registry (GUDID or equivalent). It is referred to as the DI (Device Identifier). There’s also the other fields, which are called the PI (Production Information).

Telstra shuffles leadership deck, steers toward Asia

Telco has no option but to pursue Asian market, says Thodey
Telstra CEO David Thodey has announced a realignment of its senior executives and an increased focus on Asia.
Among the leadership changes, which are effective Monday next week, Brendon Riley has been appointed group executive of global enterprise and services. The $5 billion revenue business unit will include network application services, global applications and platforms, a new cloud division, ventures, enterprise and government and defence.
Kate McKenzie has taken Riley’s previous role as chief operations officer, which now includes the chief technology and innovation portofolios. She was previously managing director of the products and marketing group.

Healthcare.gov website 'didn't have a chance in hell'

The failure rate for software development projects is high generally, particularly large ones like Healthcare.gov, says Standish Group data
WASHINGTON -- A majority of large IT projects fail to meet deadlines, are over budget and don't make their users happy. Such is the case with Healthcare.gov.
The U.S. is now racing to fix Healthcare.gov, the Affordability Care Act (ACA) website that launched Oct 1, by bringing in new expertise to fix it.
Healthcare.gov's problems include site availability due to excessive loads, incorrect data recording among other things.
President Barack Obama said Monday that there is "no excuse" for the problems at the site.

Casualty death rate higher on weekends

Date October 26, 2013

Lucy Carroll


Patients are more likely to die in hospital at weekends than on weekdays, according to ground-breaking Australian research that experts say shows hospital staffing levels must change.
They say continuing to operate on a five-day week business model will put lives at risk.
"Illness occurs 24/7, not just in normal business hours,'' said lead author Enrico Coiera, the director of the Centre for Health Informatics at the University of NSW. ''The idea that we can offer reduced levels of care at the weekend needs to be re-evaluated.''

Thought-controlled computers closer than we think

Date October 21, 2013 - 3:18PM

Drew Turney

We've gone from the mouse to Kinect-style gesture control in some 30 years. Might the next frontier in computer interfaces be controlling machines just by thinking about them?
A recent breakthrough from the University of Washington shows that when technology lets the brain control a device such as a robotic arm, the brain is behaving in the same way as if it was commanding the relevant muscles to carry out the act in reality. In other words, by thinking about kicking a ball, the area of the brain active in doing so behaves in the same way as if you were really kicking a ball.
That means that in brain/machine interaction, just thinking about an action might prompt a machine to do it for you. Mind-controlled technology itself isn't new. Last year American quadriplegic Cathy Hutchinson used a robotic arm to sip coffee from a bottle thanks to a sensor array connected to her brain that relayed commands to the arm via a computer.
Gains are also being made in computers responding to signals from elsewhere in the body. In September The Wall Street Journal reported on an amputee controlling an artificial leg using sensors that received nerve and muscle impulses to move the knee and ankle with much more precision than traditional artificial limbs offer.

Next supercomputer will be fuelled by electronic blood

  • Hannah Devlin
  • The Times
  • October 18, 2013 11:42AM
THE SUPERCOMPUTER of the future will be close to the efficiency of the human brain and fuelled by "electronic blood", the director of IBM research has predicted.
The company has unveiled an experimental version of its biologically inspired computer, which it claims could lead to a 10,000-fold increase in the efficiency of computers.
Speaking in Zurich, Matthias Keiserwerth said that the energy requirements of the world's most powerful computers were now so great that they were limiting advances in computational performance and artificial intelligence.

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