Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 31st 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

A quiet week with some interesting projects being announced (or re-announced) by a range of entities.
Additionally we have seen AHPRA decide to have a rethink on their expectations of practitioners and their use of social media and their interaction with their patients and consumers.
The commentary around NSW Health has been interesting - it is going to be important to see what the final Strategy Document arising from their recently announced Blueprint turns out to recommend and plan to implement.

Ministers’ bid to beat painkiller addiction

PAINKILLERS and tranquillisers would be sold in smaller packs and subject to online tracking under a plan to address the growing problem of pharmaceutical drug abuse.
A new framework endorsed by health ministers says greater availability of opioids and benzodiazepines in Australia in recent years has caused more addiction, overdoses, trafficking and crime. With the ageing population, there is concern the prevalence of painful conditions and anxiety disorders will only increase, raising the risk of a new older generation of drug addicts.
The experts who developed the framework believe doctors and pharmacists need support to ensure the correct use of medicine and, along with consumers, may need to be made aware of other options — including non-drug alternatives — for treatment of pain, mental health problems, sleep disorders and addiction.
A priority will be the launch of a national Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs System, providing real-time alerts about problem customers or dispensers, along with tougher regulations.

Double-purpose nub to university's new Health Hub

Date March 26, 2014

Tom McIlroy

Legislative Assembly reporter at The Canberra Times

Australia's leading medical and academic experts have praised the University of Canberra's new campus Health Hub as an opportunity for better integration of vital services and learning.
University chancellor Tom Calma officially opened the $15 million facility, a partnership with Ochre Health, the Department of Health and Ageing and Health Workforce Australia, on Tuesday.
The Health Hub has a GP super clinic, an e-health lab, public health services, medical imaging, a chemist, pathology and allied health services.

Telehealth to boost regional treatment options: CSIRO

Patients in remote parts of Australia will have access to diagnostic and treatment options closer to those in major urban centres, a new report predicts
Telehealth consultations will become far more common for people in regional Australia and help reduce the gap in health outcomes between people in Indigenous communities and the rest of Australia, a new CSIRO report predicts.
"Eventually, digitally-enabled remote health clinics, connected via superfast broadband, will provide for the most part, equivalent comprehensive diagnostic and treatment options to remote communities as experienced in major cities," the report, A Digitally-enabled Health System, states.
"Specialists and clinicians will assist remote health workers in treatment using increasingly intuitive telepresence robots, and unobtrusive wearable computer systems, allowing each clinic to meet the majority of health needs of their communities without putting pressure on relatively low numbers of staff."

NSW e-health vision underway

By Natasha Egan on March 27, 2014 in Industry, Technology
Connecting healthcare across hospitals, the home and the community underpins the vision of New South Wales’ federated approach to e-health, the state’s health minister told a digital health forum in Sydney yesterday.
Speaking at the Health-e-Nation Leadership Summit, NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner gave an update on the state’s $1.5 billion plan for e-health as outlined in a blueprint she launched in December last year.
Ms Skinner said one of the most important changes was the adoption of a federated approach where the framework and standards will be centralised but local health districts free to select and procure systems to suit local needs.
Health-e-Nation brings together leaders from health and aged care, government and IT to discuss the future of digital health in Australia.

NSW Health launch $120 million Integrated Care initiative

20th March 2014
NSW Government will spend $120 million over four years to provide integrated health care to people across the State, as part of Integrated Care in NSW strategy.
The strategy will integrate hospitals, general practice, community care and allied health services to meet the needs of the community. It represents a major shift in focus from the hospital as the centre of health care to a broader outlook that encompasses the whole of the health care system.
Health Minister Jillian Skinner said that the government’s new focus on integrated care was an important step for health care in NSW.

Digitally-enabled Health System Reports Looks At Costs And Delivery Of Care Aged Care

Design In Health, e-health & ethics,
Hospital & Healthcare News March 26, 2014
Robots on hospital wards, smart apps on mobile devices and home-monitoring systems will transform our health system according to the new report A Digitally-enabled Health System released by CSIRO.
A Digitally-enabled Health System looks at how the Australian health system can reduce costs and deliver quality care.
“We know Australia’s health system faces significant challenges including rising costs, an ageing population, a rise in chronic diseases and fewer rural health workers,” CSIRO Health Services research leader Dr Sarah Dods said. ”We need to look at new ways to make the health system work smarter.

Changing the course of diabetes

Professor Glen Maberly has set out to achieve a momentous goal: to change the course of diabetes in Western Sydney.
Western Sydney has been identified as a diabetes ‘hot-spot’, because rates of diabetes are higher than the NSW and national average. The region has a fast-growing population of over 830,000 people and incorporates the five NSW local government areas of Auburn, Blacktown, Hills Shire, Holroyd and Parramatta.
Maberly is an endocrinologist whose medical training began at Westmead Hospital, and who has been back on his home turf for the last few years after an international health career that included a stint chairing the Global Health Department at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and consulting on nutrition to the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
He is now Director of the Centre for Health Innovation & Partnership for the Western Sydney Local Health District, focusing on multi-sector partnerships across all three levels of government, Local Health Districts, Medicare Locals and aged and community organisations, hospitals, specialists, pharmacists and allied health as well as educational institutions and private and non-government organisations.

Google Flu Trends predictions not reliable: researchers

Date March 28, 2014

Mahesh Sharma

Technology reporter

Google has failed in its attempts to formulate algorithms which accurately predict the prevalence of flu, according to Harvard researchers who accused the search engine giant of technology "hubris".
When Google announced the Flu Trends application to track flu outbreaks in real-time, right down to the street level of those suffering from it, the company promised a new era in health, where new technology would more efficiently and quickly disperse the information required to allow doctors and pharmacies to prepare for an outbreak in advance.
Google failed, according to Professor David Lazer and his team at Harvard Kennedy School in the US, who said Flu Trends, which uses search queries to compile its results, tends to overestimate the occurrence of flu when compared with data produced by decades-old organisations that manually collect influenza reports from labs.

Docs pressure AHPRA to act

24th Mar 2014
PEAK doctors’ groups will take the profession’s concerns about new social media and advertising guidelines directly to AHPRA as pressure builds on the regulator to revise the controversial new rules.
Both the RACGP and AMA told MO they will discuss the apparent contradiction between the wording of recently introduced Medical Board of Australia guidelines and public statements from the board and AHPRA about how they will be enforced.
The guidelines state that a failure by doctors to seek the removal of unsolicited patient comments relating to their clinical work would attract official warnings, fines and prosecution.

Doctors win: AHPRA backflips on web reviews

26th Mar 2014
THE Medical Board of Australia has yielded to pressure from doctors over confusing advertising and social media rules, promising to change the wording of guidelines relating to unsolicited online testimonials.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the board said it had decided to change the advertising guidelines to be clearer about the use of testimonials. 
“The board has decided that the guidelines need to change to make it clearer that practitioners are not responsible for removing (or trying to have removed) unsolicited testimonials published on a website or in social media over which they do not have control,” it stated. 

Medical board to rewrite social media rules

27 March, 2014 Antonio Bradley
After weeks of fury from doctors, the Medical Board of Australia has finally conceded that its new social media rules are too confusing and need to be rewritten.
The regulator announced Wednesday afternoon that it would change its new advertising guidelines due to the widespread concern.
The guidelines have been interpreted as threatening $5000 fines if a doctor does not try to delete a patient's online comment about their clinical care, even if it is unsolicited.

Wrap-up: 3 things I have learned from AHPRA

And so the AHPRA Action came to an end this week. The Medical Board announced on Wednesday it would work with the other Boards to change the advertising guidelines.
The media statement“(…) practitioners are not responsible for removing (or trying to have removed) unsolicited testimonials published on a website or in social media over which they do NOT have control.”
Hats off to the Medical Board and AHPRA for listening to the feedback. I have learned three things:

Wireless medical device receives backing from Allianz

ViSafe device uses wireless biomechanical technology to measure a worker’s movement
The ViSafe medical device. Image credit: dorsaVi.
A medical device which measures worker’s movement and muscle activity using wireless biomechanical technology will be recommended for use in Australian workplaces by insurance company Allianz.
ViSafe was developed by medical device company dorsaVi (ASX: DVL). According to CEO Andrew Ronchi, it will offer insights into how a worker operates in high risk work areas such as construction sites.
“Once risks are identified, the captured data can be used to re-engineer work environments to reduce risks and at the same time increase productivity,” he said in a statement.

Question: #FHIR, complexity, and modeling

Posted on March 23, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
HL7 V3 is known for increasing complexity up to the point where people give up. The RIM seems not adequate enough for modeling the world of clinical information (see. Barry Smith:
Is FHIR meant to be a cure? I understand that FHIR it is about using a RESTful architectural style in communication of clinical resources, but the resources themselves need to be modeled appropriately. Complexity is not going to go away. Thus, FHIR appears to be another way to slice the elephant, the elephant being the world of clinical information and the need for semantic interoperability. Is there a promise for a better modeling of resources in FHIR?

#FHIR for Clinical Users

Posted on March 28, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
One of the outstanding issues for FHIR has been to make the specification more penetrable for clinical users – or, more precisely, for non-technical users. The framing of what FHIR is made in a technology setting, and if you aren’t familiar with the technologies, then it’s hard to know where to start. I committed to doing something about that, so here’s a short “FHIR for Clinical Users” introduction:

Gaming consoles double the weight loss for obese kids

Date March 24, 2014

Xavier Small

From the backyard to the big screen, consoles and computer games may be helping reduce obesity in children.
For years, nagging parents have been telling overweight children to get off the couch and go outside – but that may not be the best way to help them, it seems.
Parents are now being encouraged to consider gaming an option for the entire family.
Gone are the days when children would spend hours outside in the sun playing a game of backyard cricket, climbing trees and running amok.
Instead, they now spend much of their lives in air-conditioned comfort in the living room.

Metro North puts Brisbane on the Map

March 24, 2014, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Press Dispensary. Following the successful conclusion of a thirteen week Map of Medicine pilot programme Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local, and the Metro North Hospital and Health Service, have launched a suite of 13 healthcare pathways to the wider clinical community across North Brisbane and Moreton Bay.
Map of Medicine pathways are designed to represent the patient journey through healthcare services, and to improve patients’ access to evidence-based best practice care. Developed in line with national guidance, including expert opinion; the evidence-based pathways provide health professionals with instant access to comprehensive, clinically proven care pathways. Map of Medicine's customisable clinical content allows health authorities to 'localise' pathways to best reflect the needs of their region. By targeting specific patient demographic requirements, customised pathways aim to improve the care of patients through efficient management with respect to local service provision. Uniting national guidance with local practice allows health professionals to appropriately manage and refer patients while providing best practice at the point of care.

Want to be anonymous? Now you have a right to be

Date March 24, 2014 - 11:59AM

Ben Grubb

Australian citizens now have the right to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym when interacting with government agencies, private health service providers, and large organisations under new privacy laws.
The Australian Privacy Foundation says the laws, which came into effect on March 12, are a huge win for those who don't wish to use their real identity when interacting with organisations and companies that have a turnover of more than $3 million a year.
The law states individuals "must have the option of dealing anonymously or by pseudonym".

Portland Hospital First in South West Alliance of Rural Health to Implement Electronic Medication Management, Using InterSystems TrakCare

Portland Hospital’s Quality Unit reports an increase in productivity
SYDNEY, Aust. – March 25, 2014 – InterSystems, a global leader in software for connected healthcare, today announced that Portland Hospital has become the first in the South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) in Victoria to implement electronic medication management across all wards, using the InterSystems TrakCare® unified healthcare information system.
One of 12 public hospitals in the region using TrakCare for clinical information, patient administration, and shared electronic health records (EHRs), Portland Hospital’s medication management data is now available across the regional EHR system.
21 March 2014, 10.41am AEST

It’s harder to fake a sickie if the doctor’s a machine

A computer system has been developed that can tell whether facial expressions of pain are real or fake – with possible implications…
Ara Sarafian
Editor at The Conversation
A computer system has been developed that can tell whether facial expressions of pain are real or fake – with possible implications for those of us who fake the occasional “sickie”.
A study, published in Current Biology today, found the computer system can “see” distinctive features of facial expressions that are not noticed by people.
Back in 2005, an Australian study found that 4% of medical or psychiatric cases were reported to involve symptom exaggeration or probable symptom exaggeration.
The new research found the accuracy with which humans discerned faked expressions was no greater than that of random chance. With training, their accuracy improved to 55%.

Cost-benefit panel consults on NBN Co restrictions

Vertigan panel seeks submissions on NBN regulatory framework, telecommunications access arrangements
The panel appointed by the federal government to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the National Broadband Network has launched two-part public consultation that examines the regulatory framework in which NBN Co carries out its operations.
NBN Co was established to operate only as a wholesaler of NBN access. Part 2 of the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011 restricts the NBN corporations to supplying services only to carriers and service providers on a wholesale basis, prevents it from providing content and other non-communications offerings, and allows it only to provide Layer 2 services.
However, the act includes a handful of exemptions which, for example, allow NBN Co to directly deal with transport authorities, and power and water utilities, as long as they do not resell NBN services.
The NBN Review Panel, headed by Michael Vertigan, has issued a call for public comment on the framework established by the NBN Companies Act, including the restrictions on NBN Co dealing with end users, the restriction to supply of Layer 2 services (with the exception of some satellite services) and the restrictions on NBN Co investments and supply of non-access services.

NBN panel split on ‘flawed review’

A PARLIAMENTARY committee probing the National Broadband Network has split sharply, with Coalition senators alleging an “abuse of process”, “self-serving distortions” and “financial illiteracy” over a report that calls for a return to Labor’s plan to deliver fibre to the home.
A report tabled by the Labor-Greens-dominated committee late yesterday calls the Coalition’s strategic review of the $41 billion project “deeply flawed”, with financial manipulations and overly pessimistic assumptions about the fibre-to-the-premises build.
The interim report makes five recommendations, including directing NBN Co to speed up the rollout of a fibre-to-the-premises project “free from political interference” while further analysis is done and until a revised strategic review is produced to correct “deficiencies and distortions”.

PCs to lose more ground to tablets: survey

Date March 28, 2014
Sales of traditional computers will lose more ground in 2014 to tablets and other mobile devices, a market tracker says.
The overall market for connected devices – PCs, smartphones and tablets – is likely to grow 6.9 per cent to nearly 2.5 billion devices in 2014, according to a report by research firm Gartner.
More people will dump their PCs for other devices, but the drop in PC sales will moderate to about 6.6 per cent this year, with unit sales of 276 million.

Security software just a Band-Aid for Windows XP machines

Date March 23, 2014 - 12:00AM

Elizabeth Weise

After April 8, running a computer with Windows XP will be like turning on your house's security system but leaving the doors and windows open.
That's the analogy Gerry Egan, senior director of product management for anti-virus company Symantec, uses.
"Imagine you're living in a house. Every night before you go to bed you go around to make sure the doors are locked and the windows are closed. And maybe you've got an alarm system for extra piece of mind," he said from the company's offices in Culver City, California.

Nine great sites to teach yourself how to code

Date March 24, 2014 - 12:15AM

Adam Arbolino

For most of us, coding is a foreign language that we’ll never understand, or at least that’s what we think. But there are some great tools out there that can help anyone learn how to write computer code, and it’s much easier than you may suspect.
In fact, learning at least a few programming languages is a great way to become more versatile and employable, as well as save money.
For example, if you know how to code a website yourself, there's no need to pay someone else to create a website for you.

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