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, March 17, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 17th March, 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

The most interesting article this week are the claims around e-Health in South Australia. From the outside things seemed to be sailing along - if not a little slowly - but it seems again we have a few problems emerging - a story to watch.
Other than that there are clearly lots of issues around the NBN, some small private company e-Health initiatives and the usual country practice having an e-Health promotion.
Lastly the video from Dr Edwin Kruys is well worth a watch (3 mins) to see how the health regulator might be rather behind the times. Watch the video and let me know what you think here or on Edwin’s blog. The quote from a major legal firm on this link makes it clear there is a problem!
“In our view, the very broad wording in paragraph 6.2.3 of the updated advertising guidelines potentially exposes all health practitioners to a risk of breaching section 133(1)(c) of the National Law. This is because when health practitioners become aware of a testimonial ‘associated with their health service’, they must actively seek to have the content removed from a website over which they have no control. Aside from being notoriously difficult to have content removed, this requirement potentially places an onerous burden on all health practitioners. We note the report in Australian Doctor that the Medical Board has expressed an intention to include an addendum to the guidelines on this issue, but will not amend the wording of paragraph 6.2.3 [3].
The updated advertising guidelines also contain a new section on social media. Paragraph 7.1 makes it clear that health practitioners are responsible for all of the content on social networking pages that they control or administer. This standard applies regardless of who posted the content. This means that health practitioners are required to remove a testimonial or any other content from their own social networking page if it breaches the updated advertising guidelines or the National Law.
In light of these changes, we encourage all health practitioners to read the updated guidelines very carefully before publishing any type of advertising. Given the significant penalties for advertisements that contravene the guidelines and the National Law, health practitioners should contact their medical indemnity insurer if they have any concerns.”

SA Health accused of probity errors and project failures

Opposition vows to investigate department if elected.

The South Australian opposition has backed its pre-election promise of a review into eHealth programs, making a series of explosive and damaging allegations about loose procurement, mismanagement and secrecy within the SA Government’s largest organisation.
Shadow health minister Rob Lucas says that he has been the recipient of an “overwhelming” number of reports from concerned whistleblowers that still work within the health department and its IT industry partners.
The first of his claims is that the department took a lax approach to procurement probity.
Late last year, Lucas told parliament that an employee of a major US computing vendor was hired by SA Health on a three month maternity leave contract. He alleges the contractor managed a periodic desktop refresh tender process and purchased 30,000 devices off the state’s client computing and server equipment panel. The vendor in question was one of the major bidders for the deal.

Vision for Life: Life-saving video system will give hospitals a clearer picture

Date March 12, 2014

Lucy Carroll

Health Reporter

When Gemma Cudmore's nine-day-old baby Beau fell ill suddenly last year she rushed him from her home in Appin to the local emergency department.
Within minutes of arriving at Campbelltown Hospital, paediatricians at Westmead - more than 40 kilometres away - had diagnosed him with a congenital heart defect over a video monitor.
''The second the Westmead doctors saw him on the cameras, they knew it was an emergency,'' says Ms Cudmore, 29.
''He was struggling for breath. He wasn't just sick - he was dying. The vision meant doctors could keep him alive until he had surgery.''

Crash victim Stephen Power gets a new face thanks to 3-D printing

  • Hannah Devlin
  • The Times
  • March 13, 2014 12:44PM
THE life of a man so badly disfigured that he felt self-conscious leaving his house has been transformed by pioneering surgery using 3-D printed parts.
Stephen Power suffered severe injuries to his head and face in a motorcycle crash in 2012 and was in hospital for four months.
"I can't remember the accident — I remember five minutes before and then waking up in the hospital a few months later. I broke both cheekbones, top jaw, my nose and fractured my skull," he said.
Mr Power, who was wearing a crash helmet, had also injured his left eye and, anxious not to cause further damage to his vision, his doctors chose not to reposition his left cheekbone or the bones around the eye socket. As a result, his face remained disfigured, with the left eye positioned too low and left cheek more prominent than the right one.

Surgeons rebuild man’s face with 3D printer

13th Mar 2014
A BRITISH man who suffered horrific facial injuries in a motorbike accident has had pioneering surgery to rebuild his face using 3D printed parts.
Stephen Power from Cardiff in Wales is thought to be one of the first trauma patients in the world to have a procedure in which 3D printing was used at every stage.
The 29-year-old suffered multiple trauma injuries in an accident in 2012. Despite wearing a crash helmet, his top jaw, nose and both cheek bones were broken and he fractured his skull.

Telehealth doesn't need fibre, the technology already exists: Experts

Summary: The fundamental problem with telehealth is not a lack of NBN connectivity; it's culture, intransigence, and needing to change the way the health sector does business, said CSIRO chief scientist professor Branko Celler.
By Chris Duckett | March 13, 2014 -- 21:00 GMT (08:00 AEST)
One of the core principles of belief in why Australia needs to deploy a full fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) National Broadband Network (NBN) across the country is telehealth. However, in a panel session that should give FttP proponents nightmares, a quartet of health experts have identified the issues with increasing the use of telehealth as being cultural and operational, not bound by the speed of a data connection.
Speaking at the Connect conference in Melbourne on Thursday, a panel consisting of professor Branko Celler, chief scientist at the CSIRO; Lyn Davies, managing director of Tunstall Healthcare; Stephen Leeder, professor of public health and community medicine, University of Sydney; and Dr Elaine Saunders, managing director, Blamey Saunders agreed that telehealth could start saving governments money today, if only the will existed to implement it.

Slow broadband puts patients at risk


March 11, 2014, 10 p.m.
THE health of Hunter residents, particularly those in rural areas, is being placed at risk because the region has largely missed out on the National Broadband Network, a top health bureaucrat has warned.
Hunter Medical Local chief executive Carol Bennett said the lack of fast and reliable broadband services in the Hunter was ‘‘adversely impacting’’ on the full potential of e-health technology that should be available to patients.
Ms Bennett said the problem was thwarting systems including telehealth – a video consultation between a doctor  and patient conducted via the internet – and the personally controlled electronic health record – a secure, online summary of a patient’s medical information. 

A vision for the Aged Care sector

The Federal Government has been urged to help drive industry-wide change and provide assistance with the adoption of technology across the aged care sector, at Monday’s launch of the Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council (ACIITC) ICT Vision report in Canberra.
ACIITC is a collaboration of the two aged services industry peak bodies: Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).
The Federal Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, launched the report at Parliament House on Monday.
Media Release - March 13, 2014

Telstra’s new photo app for clinicians in time for new privacy laws

Telstra today launched a photo capturing app for clinicians to help them avoid severe penalties as a result of the new privacy laws released yesterday 12 March.
The changes to the Australian Federal privacy laws mean that any clinician who has a patient’s  photo saved on their phone could face fines of up to $340,000, regardless of whether damages have been proven.
Telstra’s app V-Photo, co-developed with IP Health, enables clinicians to take photos on their smartphone or device and save the image along with a description directly to the patient record -- eliminating any chance of the clinician putting themselves or their hospital at risk.


Board boosted by Mark Kehoe and Grant Harrod

 Australia’s leading healthcare appointment booking site, 1stAvailable.com.au, has attracted business innovators and experienced marketers Mark Kehoe and Grant Harrod to the Board as Non-Executive Directors.
Mr Kehoe is Director and one of the original founders of the very successful internet site GraysOnline, now the biggest e-Commerce platform in Australia. Mr Harrod is the former CEO of Salmat, a company which specialises in customer engagement. Both have outstanding marketplace reputations for innovation, business solutions and a proven history of success. Grant and Mark will join Chairman Richard Arnold, Managing Director Klaus Bartosch, and non-executive director Dr Rick Luu on the Board on completion of the current capital raising.

Local residents can now register for eHealth

March 11, 2014, 2:30 a.m.
The Barber Street Practice team, with support from the New England Medicare Local, is inviting members of the Gunnedah and surrounding community to an eHealth Record Registration Day this weekend.
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record or eHealth Record initiative has the potential to bring together, in one secure easily accessed record, a summary of everyone’s key health information.
The opportunity to sign on to the eHealth Record is open to the whole Gunnedah community, not just patients of the Barber Street Practice.
Dr Robert Parsons believes that everyone with a chronic illness or who travels should have an eHealth record.

People blase about sharing private information

Date March 11, 2014

Sylvia Pennington

Australia's new privacy laws have triggered a flurry of compliance activity and been a boon for lawyers specialising in risk management and data security. But as organisations scramble to ensure their houses are in order by March 12, what of the consumers they're designed to protect? Sylvia Pennington asks.
Jordan Millar already willingly shares plenty of personal data with the world. As well as a detailed work history, Mr Millar's publicly accessible LinkedIn profile contains his date of birth and marital status, while his prolific tweets provide insight into his interests, political affiliations and movements. All information experts say is gold for hackers and ID thieves.
"I think in this day, the younger person is less concerned about privacy," the IT consultant says. "Older people still are concerned. The stuff I put in the public domain I am not concerned about."

Robot project aims to help doctors diagnose human stroke victims

Roboy's 3D-printed humanoid skeleton and springy electromechanical muscles could help simulate the effects of health problems
Roboy's muscles and joints build on technology developed by the Myorobotics research project to develop building blocks for safer, cheaper robots. Here, the spring and wire ligament are clearly visible.
The creators of the Roboy robot wanted it to move as much like a human as possible, using a skeleton of 3D-printed bones and joints, tendons -- and coiled springs in muscles.
Wait, springs?
The springs are there to give Roboy's movements fluidity. One reason most humanoid robots still move, well, robotically is that their movements are too stiff.
Human muscles are springy, so if we are nudged or bumped out of the way, we gently bounce back, and if we jump or fall, we can absorb the shock, said Rafael Hostettler, manager of the Roboy project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

Rowlands Misleads on Telehealth

10th March 2014  |  Comments  |  Blog
Assistant Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland stated in an oped today that the Coalition’s planned broadband upgrades will not allow the delivery of any telehealth services.
She wrote:

“Perhaps it is no surprise that the Minister does not confront these [telehealth] policy issues in a serious way. His Multi-Technology Mix (MTM) model will not provide a medical-grade, reliable connection to each home, meaning Australians will not be able to utilise these services into the future. Furthermore, it is an inequitable model because it is based on the false premise of where there is existing infrastructure, no such further investment is necessary. Make do with what you have. Focus on the download, not the upload.”

Enough is enough (AHPRA video)

We need your help! The AHPRA advertising guidelines for health practitioners must be changed. Please let us know if you and/or your organisation are happy to sign our letter here and follow the #AHPRAaction hashtag on Twitter. Thanks!

Set the RIM free!

Posted on March 11, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
Last week I met some enterprise architects who are doing a major project around enterprise modeling in a healthcare project. Without ever having learnt anything about the RIM, they had reproduced the Entity -> Role -> Participation -> Act -> Act Relationship cascade, though their pattern was not so solid, and they had slightly different names for these things.
But the really interesting bit was what they had along side this pattern: work flows, conditions, privileges, policies, and organizational goals. Their perspective on the problem was far wider than the RIM, because they are not focused on the informational content of a healthcare exchange, but on understanding the enterprise, the whole business of developing healthcare, and the patterns that they had that overlapped the RIM were just a part of their overall ontology.
Am Med Inform Assoc doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2013-002466
  • Brief communication

Lessons learned from the introduction of an electronic safety net to enhance test result management in an Australian mothers’ hospital

  1. Andrew Georgiou1,
  2. Sharyn Lymer1,
  3. Megan Forster2,
  4. Michael Strachan2,
  5. Sara Graham2,
  6. Geof Hirst2,
  7. Joanne Callen1,
  8. Johanna I Westbrook1
  • Published Online First 5 March 2014


This study describes the implementation and impact of an electronic test result acknowledgement (RA) system in the Mater Mothers’ Hospital in Brisbane, Australia. The Verdi application electronically records clinicians’ acknowledgement of the review of results. Hospital data (August 2011–August 2012) were extracted to measure clinicians’ acknowledgement practices. There were 27 354 inpatient test results for 6855 patients. All test results were acknowledged. 60% (95% CI 59% to 61%) of laboratory and 44% (95% CI 40% to 48%) of imaging results were acknowledged within 24 h. The median time between report availability and acknowledgement was 18.1 h for laboratory and 1 day 18 h for imaging results. The median time from when a result was first viewed to its acknowledgement was 7 min for laboratory and 1 min for imaging results. The longest recorded time to acknowledgement was 38 days. Electronic RA provides a safety net to enhance test result management.

Firms not ready for privacy law change

Ben Potter
Corporate Australia is scrambling to prepare for the biggest change in privacy laws in a quarter century.
Up to half of companies which lack resources for the task, mostly small and medium-sized, will not be ready, said Aaron Greenman, a director at consultants Protiviti.
The Australian Privacy Principles start on Wednesday and are backed by civil penalties of up to $1.7 million for companies and up to $340,000 for individuals. They mandate detailed disclosure of how companies collect, use, disclose, secure and correct personal information. They force companies to give individuals access to personal information unless a specific exception applies.
“I’d say a lot of companies post-Christmas have started looking at their privacy policies and what needs to be updated. That’s nowhere near enough,” said PwC risk partner Richard Bergman.

TPG's FTTB plan could upset NBN: Switkowski

Outcome, not broadband technology, matters: NBN Co
The business case of the National Broadband Network will suffer if TPG and other telcos try to cherry-pick high-value properties including city apartments with fibre-to-the-basement plans, according to NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski.
“The economics of NBN would be severely impacted,” Switkowski said.
TPG late last year announced it would offer unlimited 100Mbps plans for $69.99 based on fibre-to-the-basement technology. Senator Stephen Conroy said the TPG rollout is under way and indicated it may be something to which the government must respond.
Switkowski said NBN Co cannot afford to give up high-value properties critical to the functioning of the NBN business case.

NBN: Productivity Commission criticises lack of cost benefit analysis

Productivity Commission releases draft report on infrastructure
The initial decision to proceed with constructing the National Broadband Network without a "thorough analysis of its costs and benefits" is an example of "inadequate project selection leading to costly outcomes for some users and taxpayers in general," argues a two-volume draft report on public infrastructure issued by the Productivity Commission today.
The decision of the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments to not conduct a cost benefit analysis of the NBN was a frequent target of criticism by the Coalition while in opposition, including by Malcolm Turnbull, who is now the minister overseeing the network's rollout.
The Productivity Commission has previously weighed in on the issue of an NBN cost benefit analysis. In 2011, Mike Woods, currently the commission's deputy chairman, appeared before a parliamentary committee and argued that such an analysis should "in itself should not be the basis of decision-making" but the "quantification or elaboration of the uncertainties can aid in public policy judgement."

Will I get fibre, cable or satellite under NBN? You'll know later this year, says Malcolm Turnbull

Date March 14, 2014 - 11:57AM

Ben Grubb

Australians will know what type of technology will be used to connect their homes to the Coalition's national broadband network no later than December, following the release of the revised NBN Co corporate plan in July, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
''There will be a forward plan agreed to after the next iteration of the corporate plan is done, which will be around the middle of the year," Mr Turnbull told journalists following the launch of a Sydney technology start-up investment fund on Thursday evening.
Asked if people would know post-July and before December what type of technology would be used to connect them, Mr Turnbull replied: ''I hope so ...''

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