Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 17th February, 2014.

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

Lots of fun this week in the politics of e-Health, web sites and the PCEHR review. Sadly again no news on the PCEHR Review but it looks like Medicare Locals are due for a name change and a change in roles.
Other that these topics it seems pretty clear the Junior Health Minister still has a few questions to answer about the way she is managing her portfolio - and if ABC Insiders can be believed the issue may run for another week or so. Wonder how it will all play out.

Farce: Minister has PCEHR report … but Dept can’t find a copy

news The Department of Health has rejected a Freedom of Information request for a report reviewing the Federal Government’s troubled Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records project, claiming that it does not have a copy of the document, despite the fact that Health Minister Peter Dutton announced in December that he had received it.
The project was initially funded in the 2010 Federal Budget to the tune of $466.7 million after years of health industry and technology experts calling for development and national leadership in e-health and health identifier technology to better tie together patients’ records and achieve clinical outcomes. The project is overseen by the Department of Health in coalition with the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
However, in July the Government revealed it had failed to meet it initial 500,000 target for adoption of the system, with only close to 400,000 Australians using the system at that point.

Health Minister Peter Dutton backs less bureaucrats, more frontline GPs

LABOR’S “dud’’ Medicare Locals will be rebadged and redesigned after GPs complained that the $1.8 billion bureaucracy is failing to deliver real services to patients.
Senior government sources have revealed that a review into the system has confirmed some sites underperforming. Staff working at Medicare Locals also hate the name, complaining patients think they can claim Medicare refund there or actually see a doctor.
But the review has come with a hefty $550,000 price tag according to tender documents obtained by the Sunday Telegraph. Despite the contract running for just three months, it comes with a $550,000 contract for accounting services awarded to Deloitte.
Medicare Locals were established by the Rudd-Gillard government and were designed to better integrate GP and primate health care services. Unlike GP superclinics, they are not a shopfront with doctors.
Pharmacy Daily 10 February 2014.

eRx now with QR codes

Doctors using medical programmes such as Medical Director, Genie, Zedmed, Practix, Totalcare and Houston can now print QR codes on patients’ scripts.
The scripts allow patients with the eRx Express smartphone app to scan the codes to submit the script online to their pharmacy, pre-ordering their medication from their local pharmacy by scheduling a pick up time and date so patients no longer need to line up at the pharmacy to get scripts filled.
The app connects to eRx’s eScripts network, which allows 15,500 GPs and 4,300 pharmacies to send prescriptions and dispensing data securely.

Health, education sectors hungry for IT skills

Telehealth, remote diagnosis and fast broadband driving job growth in these sectors
Employers in healthcare and education have been the hungriest for ICT skills over the past three months, according to the latest Peoplebank Salary Survey.
Both sectors have been the key driers of hiring between November and January, with health sector demand rising month-on-month from August last year.
“The sheer number of new e-health initiatives – in PCEHR, telehealth, remote diagnosis and more – make healthcare one of Australia’s strongest areas of ICT investment, alongside the education market where developments including fast broadband are fuelling innovation,” said Peoplebank, CEO Peter Acheson.

Healthcare and education sectors hungry for Australian IT skills

Summary: The Peoplebank Salary Survey shows the healthcare and education sectors are fuelling growth in IT employment.
By Aimee Chanthadavong | February 11, 2014 -- 03:58 GMT (14:58 AEST)
IT employment within Australia is off to a strong start this year, thanks to the healthcare and education sectors, according to the Peoplebank Salary Survey.
The survey shows that employers in healthcare and education have been the hungriest for IT skills, particularly over the November to January period. Healthcare sector demand has been rising month on month from August 2013, peaking at 127.12 points in January, while the demand from the education sector has risen since October to 123.55 points. The points system considers May 2013 as a baseline that is set to 100.
Peoplebank CEO Peter Acheson said the healthcare and education sectors' investment in new initiatives is stimulating the demand.

Question: openEHR and FHIR

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
Question from Heather Leslie:
How to get more cooperation bw FHIR resource devt & clinically verified openEHR archetypes to shared data roadmap for future?
Questions in response:
Well, my immediate question is, “what does clinically verified mean?” Is there any archetypes that are clinically verified, and how would we know? The openEHR eco-system has several different versions of most archetypes, each with different clinical stake holders involved to a variable degree. Which, if any of them, are clinical verified , and by who? And what does “verified” mean – other than that it’s being used (happily?) in practice?
I’m sure I’ll get vigorous response to these questions on the openEHR blogs – I’ll link to responses from here.

Careless minister Fiona Nash and Government harmed by blunder over chief of staff

  • Herald Sun
  • February 15, 2014 12:00AM
WHEN government adviser Alastair Furnival walked the plank yesterday, conflict of interest was not the real problem.
The cause of his fall from grace was a minister who treated Parliament with contempt.
Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash knew Furnival, her chief-of-staff, had been a partner with his wife, Tracey Cain, in a lobbying firm that had in the past acted for companies — specifically food companies — in areas covered by her portfolio.
She knew — or should have known — that he’d held shares in the firm Australian Public Affairs, when he took the job in her office.
Yet, under questioning by Labor Senate leader Penny Wong on Tuesday, Nash blithely asserted: “There is no connection whatsoever between my chief-of-staff and the company Australian Public Affairs.” That was simply untrue. And the Prime Minister’s office knew it was untrue because full details of Furnival’s involvement with the company had been canvassed in the vetting process before his appointment.

Top 4 data privacy tips

Identify key data you hold about an individual and appoint a privacy officer, advises HDS CTO
There is less than a month to go before the Australian Privacy Act amendments come into effect on 12 March with serious fines for companies and individuals who breach the Act.
Under the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Bill 2012, Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim will be able to seek civil penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals and up to $1.7 million for companies in the case of a serious privacy breach.
Pilgrim has publicly stated that he will not be taking a “softly, softly” approach when it comes to privacy investigations.
Audits of Australian government agencies, tax file number recipients, credit reporting agencies and credit providers will be extended to include private sector companies.
These audits will determine if companies are handling personal information in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

Better access to SNOMED CT-AU and AMT resources

Created on Wednesday, 12 February 2014
License holders accessing the National Clinical Terminology and Information Service (NCTIS) will find it quicker and easier to obtain information following the migration of the NCTIS website to the NEHTA public website. The new single entry point means stakeholders will have better access to SNOMED CT-AU and AMT resources and associated information on licensing, guides and tools.
The NCTIS is responsible for managing, developing and distributing terminology to support the eHealth requirements of the Australian healthcare community.  
SNOMED CT-AU and the AMT are available for eHealth software developers to use in their Australian products. Licensing arrangements are administered by NEHTA. Access to release files is available to those holding both of these current license agreements:
  • SNOMED CT Affiliate License Agreement; and
  • Australian National Terminology Release Licence Agreement to provide access to extensions and derivatives supplied by NEHTA.

Games help burn and stroke victims get moving

Paediatric motion analysis facility cuts the number of surgical interventions by up to 35 per cent
Game technology is being used to help burn and stroke patients in Queensland improve their mobility and quality of life. It has even assisted a young paraplegic man to walk again.
A research team led by Dr Robyn Grote at the new Queensland Motion Analysis Centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital are introducing the technology to burns and stroke patients as well as those with acquired neurological disorders and complex mobility problems.
The Motion Analysis Centre provides a three-dimensional view of a patient, providing the most precise profile of gait and movement.

Pharmacy health checks will spark ‘turf war’: AMA

10 February, 2014 Nick O'Donoghue
Giving the Pharmacy Guild of Australia the green light to provide in-store health checks will spark a 'turf war' with GPs, the AMA warns.
Dr Mason Stevenson, an AMA Queensland GP representative, hit out at the Guild’s pre-Budget submission, released yesterday, which called for funding for in-store screening services and health checks, to reduce the burden on GPs and lower health costs.
Speaking to the Bundaberg News Mail, Dr Stevenson hit out at the proposal, saying that pharmacists were not qualified to perform health checks or diagnose.

Chemists told to back off

A LEADING Sunshine Coast doctor has criticised pharmacists for "pretending to be doctors".
The attack comes in light of the Pharmacy Guild's national proposal to offer annual health checks through pharmacies to measure weight and check blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol of patients.
A Pharmacy Guild spokesman said the proposal was being assessed by the Department of Health and hoped it would be implemented this year.
The spokesman said the proposal stipulated health checks would only be carried out at pharmacies with consultancy rooms.

Get Real Health Launches New Partnership to Serve Australian Healthcare Sector through Telstra

Rockville, MD (PRWEB) February 12, 2014
Get Real Health is proud to announce its new partnership with Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company, to serve the rapidly growing healthcare IT market in Australia. Telstra will be the exclusive reseller in Australia of Get Real Health’s award-winning InstantPHR™ patient engagement platform.
“Get Real Health is thrilled to be collaborating with Telstra to bring InstantPHR-powered connected care and patient engagement solutions to Australia,” said Robin Wiener, Get Real Health president and founding partner. “Telstra’s strengths in connectivity and secure data storage, combined with their vision to build an eHealth ecosystem, makes this an extremely exciting opportunity for us.”

Mobile phone use safe, investigation concludes

12th Feb 2014
MOBILE phone use poses no risk to health, an 11-year investigation has concluded.
UK researchers from the independent Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research program yesterday their final findings which summarised 31 individual research projects published in close to 60 published papers. 
They found no evidence that exposure to base station emissions during pregnancy increased the risk of developing cancer in early childhood and no evidence of a link between mobile phone use and increased risk of leukaemia.

Forged scripts an increasing problem

11 February, 2014 Nick O'Donoghue
Prescription fraud is becoming an increasing problem that pharmacists must be vigilant of, Lenette Mullen, Pharmacy Guild of Australia WA branch president believes.
Following the fourteenth global alert issued by the WA Health Department in the last 12 months relating to stolen prescription pads, Ms Mullen warned that the problem was on the rise.
“We know those forging scripts are becoming more sophisticated, and the forgeries of harder to detect,” she told The West Australian.

Aussies turn universal thinking on its head

A RESEARCH team led by Australian astronomers has discovered the oldest star known, in work that will cause a stir in the international scientific community and force a rethink about the evolution of the universe.
The team, led by Australian National University scientist Stefan Keller and including Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt, used the new SkyMapper optical telescope at Siding Spring in northern NSW to detect a star 6000 light years away.
The star was a member of the second generation of stars that formed after the Big Bang that marked the birth of the cosmos 13.7 billion years ago.

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