Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd June, 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

Another quiet week.
Fascinating and pretty accurate commentary on e-Health from the AFR this week. The commentary was pretty spot on in my view and is worth a read. Figuring out just what to do with the diagnosis is the hard bit. Not sure we have the answers to that as yet!
I wonder if we will ever see a response to the PCEHR Review of will the whole thing just roll on in perpetuity? Its feeling like the latter at present.

Leadership vacuum cripples e-health

June 19, 2014
Mark Eggleton
Australia continues to struggle with the concept of e-health, with numerous health sector stakeholders equally to blame. This was one of the key messages to come out of the recent Big Data in Healthcare roundtable held by The Australian Financial Review in partnership with GE in Sydney.
Capital Markets CRC principal adviser Dr Paul Nicolarakis suggested part of the problem was Australia lacks a vision for healthcare. He suggested we don’t have someone or a collection of individuals working towards one goal. There are numerous stakeholders across the sector all vying to be the loudest voice, yet not pursuing a common goal.

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record review

On 20 May 2014, the Federal Government released its review of the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record, published in December 2013.
The review makes 38 recommendations to improve clinical confidence and usability of the electronic health records system.  These include, among other things, a change of name to "My Health Records" and the establishment of privacy, security and advisory committees.

NSW State Health Plan: Towards 2021

The NSW State Health Plan: Towards 2021 provides a strategic framework which brings together NSW Health’s existing plans, programs and policies and sets priorities across the system for the delivery of ‘the right care, in the right place, at the right time’.

IT comes up trumps in NSW budget

Summary: An outlay of several hundreds of millions of dollars this financial year will see IT projects across the NSW government kick on.
By Chris Duckett | June 17, 2014 -- 06:19 GMT (16:19 AEST)
The Departments of Health, Education, Police and Justice, took home a sizable chunk of the information technology funds on offer in the NSW budget for 2014-15.
The Health department picked up AU$83 million for e-Health and IT programs from the department's AU$18.7 billion budget for 2014-15, and will see AU$20 million spent to upgrade IT systems and enable wireless and mobile connectivity for clinical systems as part of the AU$23 million kicking off of the third phase of the department's critical ICT infrastructure enhancements program, that is projected to cost AU$51.1 million by 2018.
NSW's electronic health project, HealtheNet, will receive AU$10 milllion to fund the design and start of developing a "collaborative two way integrated care" portal for doctors, patients, and health care providers. On the remainder of the Health department's technology funding, the Ambulance service was allocated AU$5.3m, the community health and outpatients information system received AU$11.14m, the AU$170.3 million electronic medications management system got AU$26.68 million for this year, the intensive care unit clinical information system nabbed AU$13.42 million for 2014-15.

Better Mental Health Care in Australia

The Australian Government is bolstering mental health services in Australia, with a $6.5 million initiative to train primary health practitioners in the use of e-mental health therapies and associated technologies.
Page last updated: 17 June 2014
17 June 2014
The Abbott Government is bolstering mental health services in Australia, with a $6.5 million initiative to train primary health practitioners in the use of e-mental health therapies and associated technologies.
Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, said Queensland’s University of Technology would lead the e-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) initiative, in partnership with the Menzies School of Health Research, The University for Rural Health at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University and the Black Dog Institute.
“One in five Australians suffers from mental illness every year, while around 45 per cent of Australians will be affected by mental illness at some stage in their lives,” Mr Dutton said.

QUT to lead roll-out of $6.5 million e-mental health initiative

June 18th, 2014
QUT will take a lead role in delivering a $6.5 million e-mental health initiative to train primary health practitioners in the use of e-mental health services, announced by the Federal Government in Canberra today.
The e-Mental Health in Practice (eMHPrac) initiative will be led by QUT in collaboration with the Menzies School of Health Research, The University Centre for Rural Health at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University and the Black Dog Institute.
Professors David Kavanagh and Robert King, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, said the project would promote e-mental health to GPs, psychologists and allied health workers across Australia, and would train and support more than 15,000 practitioners in the use of e-mental health services.

Doubling up Delivers Dividends for Austin and Peninsula Health

Two Victorian Health Services – Austin Health and Peninsula Health – have moved to the second phase of the rollout of an ambitious electronic medical record project which has already transformed clinical care at both organisations.
The joint project was awarded the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards 2013 Quality Improvement Award for Clinical Excellence and Patient Safety in recognition of the efficiencies and safety generated by electronic drug ordering and administration, electronic radiology and pathology test ordering and the reduction of errors and test duplication.
Austin Health – comprising Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in north-east Melbourne – deals with around 100,000 inpatient admissions, 180,000 outpatient attendances and over 70,000 emergency attendances each year.

Is the fitness-tracking device trend over?

Date June 16, 2014

Tim Biggs

With Apple and Google each preparing software applications to track our health activities, various hardware-makers releasing all-in-one wearable smart devices and big names like Nike scrambling to get out of the way, the writing appears to be on the wall: the dedicated fitness-tracking device is over.
Last month Nike laid off the majority of its FuelBand hardware team and announced it would no longer produce the fitness-tracking band, to the surprise of many given its recent popularity and that of other smartphone-connected bands like FitBit Flex and the Polar Loop.
Yet the move may turn out to be prescient, as it's since become clear health-tracking systems integrated more directly into your tech ecosystem — specifically into the devices you already use every day — are the future. 

US heart risk app not first choice

10th Jun 2014
The ASCVD Risk Estimator is published jointly by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to help healthcare providers estimate 10-year and lifetime risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Key Features
It’s similar to the Australian absolute CVD risk calculator ( – also available on the Heart Foundation website and through some general practice software) but the ASCVD estimator provides risk estimates in an app format.
It varies in that it includes ethnicity and whether the patient is using anti-hypertensives, and leaves out the presence of left ventricular hypertrophy on ECG. A trap is that cholesterol needs to be converted in to mg/dL from mmol/L.

iPhone pancreas shows promise in diabetes test

Date June 16, 2014

Nicholas Bakalar

The system consists of a smartphone hard-wired to a glucose monitor and pumps that deliver insulin or glucagon. Photo: Boston University Department of Biomedical Engineering
A portable artificial pancreas built with a modified iPhone successfully regulated blood sugar levels in a trial with people who have Type 1 diabetes, researchers have reported.
Type 1 diabetes, which usually starts in childhood or young adulthood, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar levels. Insulin works in conjunction with glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar. Together, they keep blood sugar in a healthy range.
Currently about one-third of people with Type 1 diabetes rely on insulin pumps to regulate blood sugar. They eliminate the need for injections and can be programmed to mimic the natural release of insulin by dispensing small doses regularly.

The Australian Association of Practice Managers (AAPM) and NEHTA: 'Introduction to eHealth for Practice Managers' - Webinar 1 Presentation

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) and NEHTA recently started hosting a new series of webinars. Webinar 1 in this series - 'Introduction to eHealth for Practice Managers' was held Wednesday 18 June 2014. Download the presentation.
  • Benefits of eHealth in your Practice
  • The foundations of the National eHealth Record System including healthcare identifiers and clinical documents such as eDischarge Summary, Shared Health Summary and Event Summary
  • The key role Practice Managers play
  • Assisting Patients to register for the eHealth Record
  • How to get your Practice eHealth ready
  • Resources available
(see NEHTA web site for multiple links)

Better Health Channel app meets consumer expectations

16 June 2014:  Deloitte Digital, and the Victorian Department of Health Digital Strategy and Services team, have released the third major version of the Better Health Channel mobile app.  The app aims to help all Victorians remain as healthy as they can be, through a range of features including healthy recipes and customisable environmental health alerts and notifications. 
As consumer expectations grow and the global design aesthetic shifts, the Department of Health have kept on building upon their successes, making Victorians the envy of the rest of Australia.
Jason Hutchinson, Deloitte Digital partner said: “We have found that consumers now want more information from this app to improve their understanding of health issues and to actually manage their health and wellbeing. It is all about helping them gain easy access to health information and health services wherever and whenever the need arises.”
For Immediate Release on the 16th June 2014

Mapping Australia’s Healthcare

Health Communication Network (HCN) is pleased to announce a partnership with clinical pathway solution company, Map of Medicine. This new partnership aims to provide Australian health practitioners with access to international evidence-based healthcare pathways.
Established 13 years ago in collaboration with the NHS the in UK, Map of Medicine provides healthcare professionals with the ability to produce local clinical pathways to create continuity of care and improve patient outcomes. By involving GP’s, acute clinicians and allied health professionals in the development of agreed Care Pathways, positive patient outcomes already evident; including reduced waiting times, more appropriate referrals and integrated care.
Since 2013, the program has been successfully rolled out in Australia by the Metro North Brisbane Medicare Local, with additional sites set to apply Map of Medicine shortly.  “We have had strong interest from Australia and are excited to be able to provide Australian healthcare professionals with the access to international clinical care pathways that Map of Medicine provides,” said Darren Nichols, Map of Medicine Managing Director of Commercial Operations.

FOI Request 246-1314

Documents relating to the Commission of Audit and the Department of Health
Page last updated: 11 June 2014
Documents 3, 5 and 6 are exempt from release.

In this section


No BYOA for Terry White Chemists

White Retail Group manages software installation, updates with Kaseya
White Retail Group is fighting against the trend known as 'bring-your-own applications' – or BYOA – due to security concerns, according to its IT manager.
The managed service provider for Terry White Chemists and medical centres across the east coast of Australia has also avoided the cloud due to regulations around storing sensitive patient data, White Chemist Group IT manager Darryl Roberts told Computerworld Australia.
White Retail Group has resisted BYOA, under which users can install personal applications for work purposes. Roberts described this as a battle of “trying to convince our users not to install Google Chrome.”

Series of errors led to Department of Immigration data breach: KPMG

Unfamiliarity with Microsoft Word, limited awareness of IT security risks may have led to asylum seekers data breach, says report
Unfamiliarity with some Microsoft Word functions and limited awareness of IT security risks may have led to the accidental publishing of almost 10,000 asylum seekers details on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website in February 2014, says a new KPMG report.
The file contained information about every asylum seeker held in Australian detention centres and on Christmas Island, as well as those in community detention, The Guardian reported at the time.
DIBP commissioned KPMG to conduct an investigation into the data breach.
In its findings (PDF), the firm found a number of factors that may have led to the incident including “time pressures, unfamiliarity with certain functions of Microsoft Word and limited awareness of IT security risks associated with online publishing".

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