Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 11th August, 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

Quite a lively week with the Department of Health managing to demonstrate that they are utterly clueless about the online world and how it all works - witness the hopeless badly designed attempts at using SurveyMonkey on the PCEHR as well as reports of the PCEHR adoption being basically stuck.
Clearly the biggest news of the week is the DoH asking for Expressions of Interest to operate the payment systems for Medicare and the PBS. This will be a just ginormous IT Services contract if it happens and will cost a pretty penny indeed - as I am sure it already is while being run in-house.
Elsewhere the NBN review suggests it was comprehensively bungled and that the reality of the Star Trek vision comes closer!

Online survey to review e-health launched

5th Aug 2014
THE Department of Health has launched an online survey to capture feedback from GPs and other stakeholders as it prepares to implement recommendations from a review of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
The review ordered late last year by Health Minister Peter Dutton came up with 38 recommendations to tackle shortcomings and make electronic records more effective for doctors and patients.
The survey, which targets healthcare providers, patients and software vendors, focuses largely on the recommendation that the PCEHR should transition to an opt-out model from 1 January next year, meaning Australians would be required to notify government if they did not want a record. 

PCEHR survey bungled: critics

6th Aug 2014
THE health department has been accused of bungling a survey intended to capture feedback from GPs and other stakeholders about the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
MO readers criticised the survey's wording and functionality, with e-health blogger Dr David More complaining that his attempts to complete it were stymied by basic bugs.
Questions that should have allowed multiple answers to be ticked only allowed one answer, and for a period of time yesterday one question asked respondents which they liked best out of "Option Apple", "Option Banana" and "Option Cherry" – a default placeholder question used by the web survey provider SurveyMonkey. 

PCEHR survey faces privacy backlash

Fran Foo

THE Privacy Commissioner is looking into complaints an online e-health survey run by the government breached several privacy principles.
The Department of Health is seeking feedback from healthcare providers, consumers and medical vendors on the Royle review into the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health record system.
In her letter to Mr Pilgrim, Australian Privacy Foundation health committee chair Juanita Fernando said survey participants using the SurveyMonkey online tool are not assured their comments will remain confidential.

Concerns over PCEHR survey privacy quelled

Fran Foo

THE Department of Health and SurveyMonkey have moved to dispel fears a government-commissioned online e-health survey breached several Australian privacy principles.
Health is seeking feedback from healthcare providers, consumers and medical vendors on the Royle review into the troubled $1 billion personally controlled e-health record system.
US-based SurveyMonkey is hosting the survey on its online platform.

RDF for universal health data exchange? Correcting some basic misconceptions…

Something called the “Yosemite manifesto on RDF as a Universal Healthcare Exchange Language” was published in 2013 as the Group position statement of the Workshop on RDF as a Universal Healthcare Exchange Language held at the 2013 Semantic Technology and Business Conference, San Francisco. Can such grand claims be true?
I’m not sure if either the slide above or the original reference are reliable at the moment, so I’ll reproduce the text here:
  1. RDF is the best available candidate for a universal healthcare exchange language.
  2. Electronic healthcare information should be exchanged in a format that either: (a) is an RDF format directly; or (b) has a standard mapping to RDF.
  3. Existing standard healthcare vocabularies, data models and exchange languages should be leveraged by defining standard mappings to RDF, and any new standards should have RDF representations.
  4. Government agencies should mandate or incentivize the use of RDF as a universal healthcare exchange language.
  5. Exchanged healthcare information should be self-describing, using Linked Data principles, so that each concept URI is de-referenceable to its free and open definition.

GPs wary of e-health mental health tools

6 August, 2014 Kate Aubusson
GPs need evidence-based help to navigate through the available online psychological services to treat mental illness, say the developers of a program that provides this assistance.
While UK GPs have embraced e-mental health services for treating anxiety and depression, GPs in Australia are still unsure about the effectiveness of online psychological services, according to the Black Dog Institute in Sydney, which is spearheading a new GP education program.
"GPs are often slow to take up anything new and it often works in their favour — they wait to see the evidence of efficacy and the side effects involved before trying any new treatment," said GP, and mental health expert at the Black Dog Institute, Professor Jan Orman.

Telehealth uptake fails to meet targets

8 August, 2014 Sam Worrad
Only one fifth of the multi­million dollar telehealth budget designed to bring specialist care to rural Australia has been spent, new figures suggest.
The original goal was to fund 495,000 telehealth consultations by mid-2015. But in March this year, only 169,602 services had been delivered in the three years since the scheme was launched.
Although the federal health department emphasises that MBS claims for the consults are rising, its annual report shows that in 2012/13 only $10 million of the $58.2 million budget for telehealth consultation was spent.

Aged care nurses can drive e-health

By Natasha Egan on August 6, 2014 in Health & medical, Industry, Technology
Aged care’s first certified e-health nurse in Australia is calling on her counterparts to get the skills they need to provide care in the digital age.
Donna Barton, a registered nurse working as a health informatics manager with a Sydney-based aged care provider, has recently attained the Certified Health Informatician Australasia (CHIA), which was co-developed by Australia’s health informatics bodies HISA, ACHI and HIMAA.
As reported by Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of the program’s launch in July last year, the CHIA aims to demonstrate that health informatics professionals, such as clinicians, allied health workers, health information managers, nurses and ICT professionals, have the skills they need to carry out their role safely and effectively.
Ms Barton told AAA that cementing gaps in her knowledge was one reason she decided to get certified.

Craig Cook: New medical administration system (EPAS) should stand for exasperating patients and surgeons

  • Craig Cook
  • The Advertiser
  • August 06, 2014 11:48PM
I HAVE been a little under the weather of late but things are not as bad as the new state medical administration system would have you believe.
It thinks I’m dead.
That declaration caused quite a bit of mirth at the Repatriation Hospital recently as I booked in to see my specialist.
The ladies on the front counter hadn’t seen anything quite so drastic as an unexplained fatality but they all recounted tales of intense frustration with the new Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS).

Psychiatric patients' records being aired in court

Date August 8, 2014 - 8:00AM

Harriet Alexander

Psychiatrists are handing their patients' confidential records to the courts amid threats of jail, under a flourishing practice by solicitors of issuing "dirt digging" subpoenas.
Some patients have been powerless to prevent details about their past sexual abuse or childhood trauma being aired in court, even in matters where they are not a party to the legal proceedings, a paper published in Australasian Psychiatry says.
The authors claim that solicitors are seeking unfettered access to patient records in civil and criminal cases, regardless of their relevance.
"It appears to have become particularly commonplace for subpoenas to be used during family law proceedings for 'fishing expeditions' to 'dig up dirt' on estranged spouses," the paper says. "These subpoenas typically ask for the entirety of the patient's psychiatric records."

For patients to be informed & empowered, they need access to medical records

| Aug 07, 2014 3:33PM |
Patients are often urged to take greater responsibility for healthcare decisions – but this is easier said than done when access to medical records is not consistently available.
Consumer health advocate Anne Cahill Lambert’s recent experience illustrates some of the barriers faced by people seeking access to their records.

Start-up in $100m health kick

Fran Foo  Deputy Editor, Technology Sydney

AN online private health insurance start-up is poised to crack the $100 million revenue mark this financial year after a little more than two years in business in a multi-billion-dollar industry. founder and CEO Andy Sheats said the company would delay plans for an initial public offering next year because it was performing well enough and an IPO was not ­required.
Mr Sheats said the company would instead look to the private equity market to raise $100m, and had appointed Pier Capital as ­financial adviser for the capital-raising.

Data storage could be used to fight 'general crime', Tony Abbott says

Date August 6, 2014 - 9:26AM

Latika Bourke

National political reporter

Controversial plans to store phone and internet logs of everyday Australians would include capturing a person's web browsing history and could be used to fight "general" crimes and not just in terror cases, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
The Coalition government wants to proceed with a plan to have "metadata" stored for two years, which ASIO boss David Irvine has described as "absolutely crucial" in monitoring and disrupting local terror cells.
Mr Abbott has likened the information to that included on the "front of an envelope".

Computer games may ease elderly depression, study finds

  • AFP
  • August 06, 2014 7:47AM
BRAIN-boosting computer games may be as effective as, or even better than drugs in treating severe depression in some elderly people according to trial results.
A group of 60-to-89-year-olds, for whom anti-depressants had not worked, perked up after four weeks of playing computer games that had been developed to improve brain fitness, scientists wrote in the journal Nature Communications.
The programs were developed to test a theory that the ageing brain can be regenerated through intense practice — regaining lost learning and memory function and improving decision-making, which can in turn alleviate depression.

EOI for Medicare-PBS Payment Services

The Australian Government allocated funding in the 2014-15 Budget to go to the commercial market calling for Expressions of Interest from the private sector to provide claims and payment services for Medicare (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Page last updated: 08 August 2014
8 August 2014
The Australian Government allocated funding in the 2014-15 Budget to go to the commercial market calling for Expressions of Interest from the private sector to provide claims and payment services for Medicare (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
The Government is committed to cutting red tape in the health system and is seeking to streamline and simplify systems for patients, doctors and other health providers.

Glasses raised to Dr Lambert’s eHealth as he leaves hospital

Aug. 4, 2014, 3:30 a.m.
THE doctor who has been at the forefront of introducing new technology across the Western NSW Local Health District is leaving Orange.
Dr John Lambert, who has been based out of Orange for the last 12 years in the role of intensive care specialist and critical care director, has been appointed chief clinical information officer for the newly created eHealth division of NSW Health which is launching a new electronic health strategy across the state.
He came to Orange in 2002 after his final year of advanced training in intensive care at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital  to take up the dual role for the Mid Western Area Health, now Western NSW Local Health District (WLHD).

Google Glass a sight for poor eyes

Chris Griffith
IT’S not often Google Glass is unleashed on the streets of Australia.
Last week, we headed out from the search engine giant’s Sydney office in Pyrmont doing just that. My aim was to test Google Glass installed with an Aussie app ­designed to help the visually ­impaired.
In Australia, Google has been in cahoots with three main Glassware developers.
Townsville’s Safety Culture is building apps for workplace safety and Small World Social in Victoria is cobbling Glass apps to support new mothers learning to breastfeed.

IBM's cognitive computer chip apes brain architecture

Date August 8, 2014 - 11:59AM

Geoffrey Mohan

Computer science is getting stunningly close to granting the wish of the Scarecrow, not to mention the needs of the modern soldier.
The Pentagon has long sought what the Wizard of Oz could not manufacture: a brain, or at least an electronic cognition machine that operates as closely as possible to the speed and efficiency of the human cortex.
A coalition of IBM's research institutes and several universities and government labs delivered a preliminary answer Thursday to that request: a 5.4-billion transistor chip with one million programmable neurons and 256 million synapses. The TrueNorth chip is the size of a postage stamp and is more than 1,000 times as energy efficient as a conventional chip, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science.

Labor’s NBN ‘rushed, chaotic’, says audit

Annabel Hepworth & Mitchell Bingemann

BIG taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects worth more than $1 billion could face stringent new hurdles after a landmark audit has found the policy process for developing Labor’s National Broadband Network was “rushed, chaotic and inadequate”.
In a devastating critique into the formation of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects, former Productivity Commission head Bill Scales has found the NBN Co set up to develop the high-speed internet network was given a job that only a “well-functioning, large and established” telecommunications company could do under the tight time­tables for the rollout. For a start-up, it was an “impossible assignment”.
Mr Scales said he was told that some of those involved in the first 12 months of the NBN Co were “making it up as they went”, while others related a “salutary anecdote” that, in the early days of NBN Co, ‘‘all we had (to guide us) was the press release and a bunch of business cards”.

NBN Co was not fit for purpose: Scales report

Date August 5, 2014 - 9:19PM

Matthew Knott

Communications and education correspondent

Cost blowouts and delays in the rollout of the national broadband network show that infrastructure projects - including a second Sydney airport - should be subject to a public cost-benefit analysis, the country's peak infrastructure body says.
In a review of the policy process that led to the creation of the network, former Productivity Commission chairman Bill Scales said all public infrastructure projects worth over $1 billion should be subject to a cost-benefit analysis, with the results made public before the project starts.
All infrastructure projects promised at an election should also be costed by the Productivity Commission or Infrastructure Australia, Mr Scales recommended.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk fears artificial intelligence

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, says that artificial intelligence (not nuclear war) is what he fears the most.
Musk made this comment about artificial intelligence (AI) after reading the book “Superintelligence” by Nick Bostrom. To be released on September 1, 2014, the Bostrom book deals with a future in which machines become more intelligent than humans.
Bostrom theorizes whether such a world (one in which artificial intelligence, or AI, is smarter than humans) will be good or bad for humans; that is, will it eventually save or destroy humanity.

NASA tests ‘impossible’ microwave engine that produces fuel out of empty space — and finds that it works

  • August 04, 2014 11:52AM
 ‘I CANNAE break the laws of physics” Star Treks’ famous engineer “Scotty” would retort. But NASA has. They’ve produced something from nothing, and perhaps opened a way to the stars in the process.
Scotty has to eat his hat: And the new microwave propulsion system has been named the “Cannae Drive”.
An initially sceptical NASA decided to test a widely criticised concept from inventor Roger Sawyer — even though established thinking said it wouldn’t work.
It did.
The engine appears to produce propulsion through electricity. And nothing else.
The usual expectation is that thrusters need to eject some kind of mass in order for the old law of physics “equal and opposite reactions” to kick in. For example rocket propellant is burnt and ejected from a thruster in order to propel a rocket upwards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How about we start are own survey and ask the questions we think should be asked ?

Start suggesting a few questions & options to be included. May be a team of interested people could be lead by David to organise it.

Tim C.