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, November 04, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th November, 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

This week we have one enquiry starting and two reporting in Victoria. So e-Health is in for a very interesting time indeed.
Watch and enjoy the ride!

Hospitals to get greater choice over technology systems

Date October 28, 2013 - 9:29AM

Richard Willingham

Hospitals will be given greater autonomy as part of an overhaul of the Victorian health system's information and communication services, Victoria Health Minister David Davis has revealed.
Following a review of the previous Labor government's HealthSMART system, the Coalition is set to announce that health providers will now be able to choose their own system. Currently, all hospitals and other health professionals must use a mandated system.
Mr Davis is due to release a ministerial review of the sector's information and communication technology on Monday.

Victorian Health to decentralise IT decision making

Summary: A ministerial review of Victorian Health technology has deemed that the era of centralised shared services is over.
By Chris Duckett | October 29, 2013 -- 04:29 GMT (15:29 AEST)
Decisions involving IT and communications technology across Victorian health organisations should be further devolved to local health boards, which will be responsible for owning the solutions and primarily accountable for their decisions, a ministerial review into IT throughout Victorian Health has recommended.
Released yesterday by Victorian Minister for Health David Davis, the review recommended that IT decisions be subject to normal business governance mechanisms and guided by state-wide health priorities; that the state-wide approach to IT be abandoned; and that a central governance council be created to oversee the role of IT.
For a decade, Victorian Health was embroiled in a series of setbacks and blowouts in an attempt to implement a state-wide IT strategy dubbed HealthSmart that looked to bring together the disparate IT systems used throughout the state. The HealthSmart project began as a four-year, AU$320 million project to update IT systems in hospitals and other medical facilities across the state that was due to be completed in 2007.

Ministerial Review of Victorian Health Sector Information and Communication Technology

The Victorian Health Sector ICT Review Panel have issued their report, which recommends changes in the three major areas of governance, procurement and investment in health sector ICT.
Download here:

Mater Health Services uses technology to aid flexible working

Health provider has rolled out workforce management solution to automate rosters
Queensland-based Mater Health Services is using workforce management technology to efficiently create rosters for its clinical staff, 85 per cent of whom work part time.
Mater Health Services' people and learning executive director, Caroline Hudson, told CIO Australia that prior to the rollout in 2010 it had used spreadsheets to organise rostering.
“Rosters tend to be created on a fortnightly basis and staff were finding it hard to keep track of their hours. Commitments outside work become very hard to juggle if there is little or no certainty.”

Portfolio Responsibilities

Portfolio responsibilities for The Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Health, Minister for Sport

Page last updated: 28 October 2013
As senior Minister and member of Cabinet, Minister Dutton holds overall responsibility for the portfolio and its agencies and programmes with specific responsibility for:
    • Medicare benefits
    • Pharmaceutical benefits
    • Pharmacy
    • Hospitals policy and implementation of funding reforms
    • Private health insurance
    • Health workforce capacity
    • Medical indemnity insurance
    • Primary health care and preventative health
    • E-health
    • Health and medical research including human cloning and stem cell research
    • Mental health policy
    • National health priorities
    • Biosecurity and bioterrorism
    • Immunisation
    • BBVs/STIs including HIV/AIDS
    • Diagnostic and technology
    • Sport and recreation
    • Deregulation

Victorian Department of Health slammed in ICT system audit

HealthSMART rollout $87 million over budget, according to latest Auditor-General report
The Victorian Department of Health has failed to implement clinical ICT systems across 19 of the state’s health services due to poor planning and inadequate understanding of system requirements, according to a damning audit report released Wednesday.
The audit examined the status of ICT systems in eight Victorian health service providers – including four HealthSMART system rollouts – to determine if they had been appropriately planned and implemented, and benefits were being realised.
Victorian Auditor-General John Doyle said in the report that the department “significantly underestimated project scope costs and time lines”. He said it also underestimated the required clinical and other workflow redesign and change management efforts.

Victoria's HealthSmart system introduces 'safety risk' to patients

Summary: Victoria's statewide healthcare IT system has failed to achieve its goals, and has been criticised for putting patients at potential risk by administering wrong medications or incorrect doses.
By Michael Lee | October 30, 2013 -- 05:34 GMT (16:34 AEST)
The Victorian Department of Health has an inadequate understanding of its clinical IT systems and failed to plan adequately for 19 of its services, according to a report from the state's auditor-general.
The report (PDF) found that the department "significantly underestimated project scope, costs, and timelines, as well as the required clinical and other workflow redesign and change management efforts".
At the centre of the state's issues is the statewide HealthSmart system. The clinical IT system has only been installed at four of the 19 state hospitals that it had been planned for, and only one installation is considered to be fully implemented.

National Clinical Terminology and Information Service (NCTIS) announces the upcoming retirement of Australian Medicines Terminology v2 releases

Created on Friday, 01 November 2013
The NCTIS has previously advised licence holders of the development of a new version of the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT) model, namely, AMT v3. This model change was based on extensive stakeholder engagement and feedback on the v2 Model since its first release for clinical use in June 2009.
The NCTIS have made the decision to not produce parallel releases of both the AMT v2 and AMT v3 and will be retiring the AMT v2 releases from May 2014. It is anticipated that the final release of the AMT v2 will be at the end of April 2014. Following this date the AMT v3 release will supersede AMT v2 and all current users will be required to migrate to the AMT v3.

Are standards necessary?

November 1, 2013
A common strategy for structuring complex human systems is to demand that everything be standards-based. The standards movement has taken hold in education and healthcare, and technical standards are seen as a prerequisite for information technology.
In healthcare, standards are visible in three critical areas, typical of many sectors: 1/ Evidence-based practice, where synthesis of the latest research generates best-practice recommendations; 2/ Safety, where performance indicators flag when processes are sub-optimal; and 3/ Technical standards, especially in information systems, which are designed to ensure different technical systems can interoperate with each other, or comply with minimum standards required for safe operation. There is a belief that ‘standardisation’ will be a forcing function, with compliance ensuring the “system” moves to the desired goal – whether that be safe care, appropriate adoption of recommended practices, or technology that actually works once implemented.

Three dimensions of skin and bone

Posted Tue, 29/10/2013 - 20:44 by Fran Molloy
Bio-inkjet printers may be a standard piece of equipment in operating theatres of the future, with human tissue grown from a patient’s own cells used to regenerate skin, bone and even organs.
3D printers are already used extensively in medical device production where the ability to test design changes immediately can shorten production cycles hugely.
Dr Robert Gorkin is the Strategic Development Officer at the University of Wollongong’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, headed by Professor Gordon Wallace.
The Centre is involved in cutting-edge research at a range of different levels – including the ability to ‘print’ human tissue.

Australia to test GP subset of SNOMED CT

Under an agreement between the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) and the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca), a team at the Family Medicine Research Centre, University of Sydney, overseen by a Project Group made up of GPs from six countries, has developed:
a small subset of SNOMED CT concepts commonly used in general practice internationally (known as the general practice reference set or GP RefSet)
a map between concepts in the GP RefSet to the International Classification of  Primary Care, Version 2 (ICPC-2).
The GP RefSet has been built by collecting actual “grass roots” general practice terms from seven countries around the world, amalgamating all the terms into a single list, and determining the most commonly used terms at an international level.

What impact will FHIR have on the Healthcare Integration Market?

Posted on October 30, 2013 by Grahame Grieve
Yesterday, I gave a FHIR update as a keynote presentation at the International HL7 Interoperability conference (IHIC) on the subject. You can get my slides from the IHIC website or the FHIR SVN. As part of that presentation, I discussed the likely impact of FHIR on the Healthcare Integration Market.

FHIR will Drive Interoperability Costs Down

FHIR is going to reduce the cost of interoperability. Here’s why

Personal data key to evidence-based policies

30 October, 2013
The Productivity Commission says the federal government needs to make better use of Australians’ personal information to control the country’s ballooning health and welfare bill.
The commission’s frank assessment of government’s poor use of its information databases is likely to come to the attention of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s commission of audit, which is looking for ways to consolidate or even outsource government services.

Australia: Update on Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records - legal and privacy issues

Last Updated: 28 October 2013
By Alison Choy Flannigan
As part of the 2010/11 Federal budget, the Government announced a $466.7 million investment over two years for a national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system for all Australians who choose to register on-line, from 2012-2013. This initiative has the potential to be a revolutionary step for Australian health care, in terms of both consumer's access to their own health information and improvement in information which will be available to health professionals when they treat a patient.

Melbourne hack Tuesdays building OpenMRS e-health extension

Summary: This week's Melbourne Knowledge Week celebrations expected to drive newcomers to ThoughtWorks' Weekly Hack Nights for Humanity, whose developers have half finished a module for expanding the globally used OpenMRS e-health system.
By David Braue for Full Duplex | October 29, 2013 -- 05:06 GMT (16:06 AEST)
Two dozen ThoughtWorks employees and enthusiasts from outside the company are expected to converge on the company's Melbourne offices tonight for several hours of collaborative work on an open healthcare-interchange standard that's delivering e-health to some of the world's most impoverished countries.
The software in question — OpenMRS — is a free and open-source medical records system that has an extensive development base around the world and has been successfully used during crises such as the response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Its free access and open design have made OpenMRS a favourite for charity and relief organisations around the world, which can quickly roll it out to large numbers of relief staff without considering licensing costs.

World-first machine bypasses cochlear 'distortions'

A WORLD-FIRST brain scanning machine, unveiled yesterday at Macquarie University, will allow therapists to do something they haven’ t been able to do before - analyse neurological activity in people with cochlear implants.
The new magnetoencephalography or MEG machine, which can measure brain function despite electronic interference from the implants, means therapists will no longer be operating “in the dark” when they fine-tune the devices.
Blake Johnson, chief investigator with the Centre for Cognition and its Disorders, said the machine could also give rise to a new generation of implants capable of dealing with people’s idiosyncratic responses to the devices. “(And) there are vast opportunities for research,” Dr Johnson said.

Podcast: MMRGlobal’s Bob Lorsch addresses the ‘patent troll’ issue

Two weeks ago, I picked apart a terribly misleading, ideologically steeped Fox News story that wrongly linked the initial failure of the healthcare.gov Affordable Care Act insurance exchange to the Meaningful Use EHR incentive program. Among my many criticisms was the reporter’s apparent confusion between an actual EHR and My Medical Records, the untethered PHR offered by MMRGlobal.
In that post, I said, “I haven’t seen a whole lot of evidence that MMRGlobal isn’t much more than a patent troll.”
Bob Lorsch, CEO of that company, posted in the comments that I should put my money where my mouth is and interview him. (I had interviewed Lorsch before, but never wrote a story because of my longstanding policy of not paying attention to untethered PHRs since none that I know of has gained any market traction, despite years of hype.).

Reform health cover or collapse: Medibank warns government

AUSTRALIA'S largest health fund has warned the federal government that insurance is now so expensive the industry is at risk of collapse without major reforms.
The situation is so dire that Medibank Private - the only government-owned fund - is even proposing insurers be allowed to discriminate against members who make the most claims in an effort to save money.
Ahead of a scoping study that will decide whether it is sold by the government, Medibank Private has called for urgent action to stop people dumping their insurance.
Medibank Private says it fears "a downward spiral of premium increases and declining participation" that will force people to use the public system and increase government healthcare costs.

GARTNER: Every Budget Is Becoming An IT Budget As Australian IT Spend Grows To $77.2 Billion Next Year

Liz Tay 29 October, 2013
Technology analyst firm Gartner is expecting Australian firms to spend a total of $77.2 billion on technology products and services in 2014, up 2.3% from this year.
Analysts today reported that businesses around the world were coming into a “digital world” in which “every budget [is] an IT budget; every company [is] a technology company; every business [is] a digital leader; and every person [is] a technology company”.

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