Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th September, 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 things going on - with the exception of resolution of what to do about the PCEHR.

Under the radar we have all sorts of silliness going on regarding Standards Australia and most especially in the e-Health space and all sorts of disconnected activity going on - most of which is destined to turn out to have been a waste of money and time - sadly!

Just so you know Orion - the makers of the interface to what is regarded as a hopeless user interface to the PCEHR are apparently getting close to suggesting NZ investors buy shares in them and assist the directors become rich - (An IPO - or Initial Public Offering). How you feel about this is up to you.

Hard to know what comes next - just as it is regarding IS, Ukraine, Gaza, Ebola, Boko Haram, Liberia and so on. Pretty sad I have to say.

Manly lifeguards test wearables for emergency information

Safe Mate is waterproof and does not require charging
The Manly Life Saving Club is trialling wearable wristbands for nippers, swimmers and surfers that quickly provide critical information in the case of an emergency.
The Club is conducting a pilot of Safe Mate, a waterproof silicone wristband that contains a near-field communications (NFC) chip that does not require charging.
Wristband wearers upload their emergency contact and medical information to the Safe Mate website. In an emergency, first responders can access the information by scanning the user’s wristband with an NFC-compatible Android smartphone running the Safe Mate Professional app.
The data itself is not stored in the wristband but rather a local Australian data centre.
The Manly Life Saving Club has deployed hundreds of the wristbands to the Manly Nippers and will provide the professional app, mobile devices and training to the Manly LSC.

Hooked on cloud - as Apple Watch debuts, new models step up

Socialisation technologies are inexorably drawing health and government into new models of industry engagement and industry-led protocols to protect health data. 
This week Apple CEO Tim Cook rolled out Apple's health-enabled smartwatch today amidst increasing scrutiny of healthcare apps and the storage of healthcare information in the cloud.
The new $US350 watch, known simply as Apple Watch, embodies a range of sensors, including pulse rate, workout intensity and the type of exercise. Using the HealthKit App, the watch is able to share the health information with healthcare providers and other associated apps, a move that has drawn interest in the US from players including Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

3D-printed hearts will help surgeons better prepare for operations

Date September 8, 2014 - 12:00AM

Amy Corderoy

Sydney hospitals are preparing to use 3D printers to produce life-size replicas of their patients' hearts to prepare for surgery.
Within a year, patients at Liverpool and St Vincent's hospitals are likely to have access to the technique, which will help  surgeons  have a better understanding of a patient's problem  before they operate.
Doctors say the new technologies will reduce patient deaths and injury, by decreasing the time operations take and preventing unexpected problems.
Cardiologist and clinical faculty member at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, James Otton, said for the first time in Australia he had used a 3D printer to make a replica of a patient's heart.
  • 12 September 2014 08:09

Justice Health Deploys Orion to Support Better Patient Healthcare

The Orion Health product suite will provide a critical platform for the Justice Health electronic health system’s migration to a computerised record of a patient’s medical history.
Sydney, 12 September 2014 - Orion Health, a global e-health technology leader, today announced that the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network (JH&FMHN) in New South Wales has gone live with the Orion Health EMR (electronic medical record) Suite to support the organisation goal to deliver complete electronic medical records across the New South Wales public health system.
The Orion Health product suite will specifically provide a critical platform for the Justice Health electronic health system’s (JHeHS) migration to a computerised record of a patient’s medical history related to the clinical care received while in JH&FMHN. This will contain a subset of information previously held in paper medical records including patient details, medical conditions, appointments, pathology results, electronic forms and medicines prescribed. The data is now held in one consolidated place and therefore available state-wide as opposed to being held in multiple paper files and stand-alone electronic registers.

Justice Health rolls out electronic medical records

More than 30,000 patient records compiled each year are being digitised
The Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network plans to deliver complete electronic medical records across the New South Wales public health system following the deployment of new software.
The NSW organisation – which provides mental health services to people in the criminal justice system – has rolled out the Orion Health EMR platform to eliminate manual information sharing between the organisation and other healthcare providers.
The new system contains medical records for more than 30,000 patients each year who are highly vulnerable and who have numerous and more complex health needs than people in the wider community, the organisation said.

Outsourcing Medicare: Is it as easy as π?

| Sep 09, 2014 11:29AM
Following on from the range of issues raised by Croakey contributors about the outsourcing of MBS and PBS payments, Margaret Faux discusses the most appropriate role for the private sector in supporting core government functions and the risks involved when private sector interests conflict with the central role of government. She writes:
In a U.S managed care styled initiative, private insurers have been given the right to tender to manage the operation of the government’s new Primary Health Networks, which will soon replace existing Medicare Locals. And recently, the government’s expression of interest from the private sector to provide outsourced claims and payment services for the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) was closed.

Question: FHIR release schedule

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
I’m using the Java version of FHIR release 0.81. A bug fix that I needed required a later version of the code. I downloaded the code (rev. 2833) from SVN and, following the directions on the FHIR build page, had no trouble recompiling all of FHIR. Since rebuilding and replacing FHIR in our application is time consuming, I have some questions concerning release management:
  1. Is there a published release plan and schedule for FHIR?
  2. Is there a mechanism for patching or updating FHIR code between releases?
Note: this question was originally asked on StackOverflow where it was (a little unfairly) ruled out of scope.

Union hits out at proposed offshoring of ATO test & dev

Tax Office insists no financial data will be stored overseas.

Australia’s public service union has kicked up a stink over a proposal being assessed by the Tax Office that would see its application development and testing sent to the Philippines.
The ATO has confirmed that it is thinking about handing its test and dev functions to Accenture, which already undertakes hundreds of millions of dollars worth of IT work for the agency. Under the deal, the work would be supported out of Accenture’s Philippines-based delivery centre.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has described the proposal as a kick in the teeth for ATO staff, who have already been forced to deal with the prospect of thousands of job losses out of the agency.

OAIC cautions over app privacy policies

Not enough Australian iOS apps provide adequate privacy policies, OAIC says
Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has urged Australian businesses and government agencies to improve their act when it comes to their mobile apps.
A study of 53 iOS apps by Office of the Australian Information Commissioner revealed that 70 per cent of them don't provide users with a privacy policy before the app is downloaded.
"This is not good privacy practice," Pilgrim said in a statement. "Organisations must have a clearly expressed and up to date privacy policy that tells people how their personal information will be managed.
"A user can't make an informed decision about whether they should download an app if they aren’t told up front what personal information that app will collect and how it will use, store and protect that information."

Email not worth the effort

12 September, 2014 Amanda Davey
The idea that patients can email their doctor fills most GPs with dread, a 6minutes poll shows.
When asked whether email communication between patient and GP was a good alternative to a follow-up phone, call 80% of respondents answered “no”.
Less than a fifth of respondents thought email communication in general practice was a good idea. Just 3% were undecided.

Controversy over new health secretary

5th Sep 2014
DOCTORS have criticised the appointment of a top immigration official to head the health department in the wake of the row over an asylum seeker put on life support after complications from septicaemia acquired at the Manus Island detention centre.
Queensland GP Dr Richard Kidd, who heads the group Doctors4refugees, criticised the appointment of former immigration and border protection secretary Martin Bowles, given the sustained controversy about the physical and mental health of asylum seekers in detention offshore.
Dr Kidd spoke to MO after returning from a lunchtime vigil for Hamid Kehazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian declared “brain dead” after being admitted to ICU with septicaemia from a cut to the foot.
It was vital the culture of secrecy surrounding asylum seeker affairs did not spread to health, Dr Kidd said.

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Stool smell test detects superbug infections

10 September, 2014 Hugo Wilcken
It may not be the most fragrant of solutions, but clinicians could soon have another weapon at their disposal in the fight against hospital infections.
UK researchers have come up with an “electronic nose” capable of sniffing out the highly infectious C. Difficile bacterium in a patient’s faeces.
The team from the University of Leicester used a mass spectometer to identify C. Diff’s unique “smell”, leading to an instantaneous diagnosis of infection.

Standards Australia turns up heat on in-play SAI Global

Edited by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Jake Mitchell
Australia’s peak standards body has written to takeover target SAI Global, concerned SAI has not adequately disclosed how the renegotiation of an important contract between the two parties could affect SAI’s value.
It’s understood Standards Australia chief executive Bronwyn Evans wrote to her counterpart Andrew Dutton last week, unimpressed that Dutton’s SAI Global failed to address the contract’s expiry accurately at its 2013-14 financial year results in August.
It comes as bidders, including private equity firms Pacific Equity Partners, KKR & Co and The Carlyle Group, work up $1 billion offers for SAI Global in time for Friday’s deadline.

SAI Global blocks buyer talks with Standards body as $1bn bids heat up

Simon Evans
Takeover target SAI Global has refused requests by private equity bidders and other potential buyers for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, which has an influence on the future profitability of a lucrative contract held by SAI.
SAI is understood to have reinforced to potential bidders that all of the pertinent information about the contract it currently holds with Standards Australia – under which SAI sells and publishes around 7000 standards on behalf of Standards Australia – is contained in the data room for potential buyers.
It has refused requests by potential bidders for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, itself an unlisted not-for-profit company that has a membership base of 74 organisations from a range of different industries. Those members include the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Nursing Federation and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Steel Institute, Master Plumbers Australia and Telstra Corporation.

Standards Australia in surprise last-ditch buyout bid in SAI takeover tussle

Simon Evans and Sarah Thompson
Standards Australia, an organisation controlled by 74 member bodies including the Australian Dental Association and Master Plumbers Australia has, made a last-ditch approach to takeover target SAI Global, seeking to buy back a lucrative part of the business.
But the approach, understood to be preliminary, has come too late for Standards Australia to be admitted into the data room because deadlines for final offers for SAI Global are due on September 12 as private-equity bidders circle.
Standards Australia is understood to have made a pitch to buy back the lucrative Publishing Licensing Agreement business, a major profit contributor in SAI’s information services division. The division made up more than half SAI’s total earnings before interest and tax of $72.6 million for 2013-14.

Droplet lens that turns smartphones into microscopes for $2 wins Eureka prize

Date September 10, 2014

Frances Mao

The inventors of a $2 smartphone microscope and Ebola-fighting resources have won the nation's top gongs at the Oscars of Australian science.
Sydneysiders Tri Phan and Steve Lee won the Innovative Use of Technology prize in Sydney at the Eureka Prizes for creating a plastic droplet that can be hooked into smartphones to create a cheap high-powered microscope.
"I think where this will have a lot of potential is in the delivery of medicine to remote and rural communities," said Dr Phan before the awards.

Funding for new children's health complex

Sept. 11, 2014, 2:19 p.m.
Bendigo Community Health Services will receive $2.6 million in funding from the state government to build a centre for children's health. 
Health Minister David Davis visited Bendigo Community Health Services in Kangaroo Flat on Thursday to announce the grant. 
Acting chief executive of Bendigo Community Health Services, Anne Somerville, said staff were delighted that plans for a new "Kidzspace Children's Precinct" would come to fruition. 
"People were just overwhelmed with excitement and a sense of validation that we know this is so needed in central Victoria," Ms Somerville said.

Google buys Lift Labs, maker of health tech for degenerative disease

Summary: Lift Labs has developed a high-tech spoon to replace frustration with fun for those who combat tremors and find eating a difficult experience -- and Google wants in.
By Charlie Osborne for Between the Lines | September 11, 2014 -- 10:18 GMT (20:18 AEST)
Google has acquired Lift Labs, makers of a smart spoon which combats tremors suffered by those with Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The tech giant revealed the purchase on Wednesday. In a blog post, Google said Lift Labs will join the firm's research arm, Google[X].
San Francisco-based Lift Labs is the developer of smart eating equipment laden with sensors which detect tremors in the hand and compensate accordingly. The creators of the product, which comes with multiple attachments including a spoon, fork, and deep soup spoon, say these sensors then relay tremor data to make the equipment stabilize itself in response.

Serious flaws in Turnbull's NBN cost-benefit analysis report

Date September 8, 2014 - 9:06AM

Rod Tucker

In their cost-benefit analysis of the national broadband network, the Vertigan panel predicts that in 2023, an average Australian household will require a broadband download speed of 15 megabits per second (Mbps).
Bill Morrow, the CEO of NBN Co said he is "curious" about this prediction. I would go further and say it is simply wrong, and calls into question the validity of the conclusions of the Vertigan cost-benefit analysis.
Let's look at the data. The chart below shows average broadband download and upload speeds in Australia from January 2008 to January 2024. The curves in the shaded region in the lower left of the chart are actual measured Australian average upload and download speeds, as reported by Ookla, and reproduced from page 103 of the Vertigan Panel's report.

NBN fibre trial document 'misguided': NBN Co

Date September 8, 2014 - 7:19PM

Lia Timson

NBN Co has acknowledged the existence of an internal document detailing results of a fibre-to-the-premises deployment trial but said it was written by a well-meaning member of staff and was misguided.
The company disputed an article published by Fairfax Media on Saturday detailing cost and rollout time-frame savings and recommendations based on a trial in Melton, Victoria. It dismissed the report as inaccurate in an online statement.
On Monday, an NBN Co spokeswoman said the document had not been endorsed by management "due to a number of shortfalls in the methodology and metrics", and had not been verified.

Coalition's NBN speed forecasts are on the right track

The Vertigan Panel has, on behalf of the Government, recently published a cost benefit analysis of various approaches to the NBN. One input to their work was a forecast of Australian bandwidth needs prepared by my firm. We found that by 2023 the top five per cent of households would require at least 43 Mbps, and the median household would require 15 Mbps.
At first blush these numbers may seem low. But it’s worth remembering that most Australian households have just one or two people. A household where two people were both watching their own HDTV stream, each surfing the web and each having a video call all simultaneously, then (in part thanks to improving video compression) the total bandwidth for this somewhat extreme use case is just over 14Mbps in 2023.

NBN Co fears fibre floodgates opening on TPG decision

Summary: NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has said that should TPG roll out fibre networks along with Telstra and Optus in competition with the NBN, it would undermine the business model for the company.
By Josh Taylor | September 12, 2014 -- 05:43 GMT (15:43 AEST)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision to allow TPG to roll out fibre to the basement to apartment blocks in Australia's CBDs could potentially undermine NBN Co's business model if other players follow suit, CEO Bill Morrow has said.
After four months of investigation, the ACCC decided yesterday that TPG's plans to upgrade 500,000 units across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth are not in breach of the Telecommunications Act rules against allowing fibre companies to extend their existing networks by no more than 1km.

TPG's challenge: It's either a speedbump or the first step to ruin for the NBN

Date September 12, 2014 - 9:18AM

David Ramli

NBN Co staff would've spent Thursday morning muttering into their cooling cappuccinos as they read the competition regulator and government's plans to let TPG Telecom eat their lunch by building a rival broadband network.
They know better than most that letting TPG connect half a million apartments to a rival network by running fibre to the building's basement is a dangerous move for the $41 billion national broadband network.
This is why NBN fought tooth and nail to convince the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to slam the breaks on TPG's project, arguing that the rival would destroy its business model and broke the spirit and letter of the laws protecting its monopoly over our broadband future.
Instead the ACCC gave it a go-ahead with warnings it would set a regulated price, while Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he'd also let it go through, calling for any company offering services to split their wholesale and retail divisions.

Stephen Hawking says Higgs boson has potential to destroy entire universe

  • September 08, 2014 3:51AM
  • News Corp - Australia
SCIENTIST Stephen Hawking has warned that the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, could cause space and time to collapse.
But there is time for lunch: It may take trillions of years to topple.
The British professor said that at very high energy levels the Higgs boson – the subatomic particle which gives us our shape and size - could become so unstable that it would cause space and time to collapse.
Hawking made his comments in the preface to a new book, Starmus.

God particle a threat to universe: Stephen Hawking

  • The Times
  • September 08, 2014 12:00AM
THE Higgs boson, once hailed as the God particle, may have the potential to destroy the universe, Stephen Hawking has warned.
He suggests that, at very high energy levels, the Higgs could suddenly become unstable, causing a “catastrophic vacuum decay” that would cause time and space to collapse.
Such a disaster is, he stresses, very unlikely — and the fact that such a possibility even exists is exciting because it suggests a whole new realm of physics.
Professor Hawking’s comments are contained in his preface to a new book, Starmus, due out next month, containing lectures by renowned cosmologists and astronomers first given at a scientific conference of the same name.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I noticed this article about the PCEHR Software Development Offshored as part of this article on the ATO offshoring to the Phillipines as well:

All part of a body shopping scam under a 'prestige' brand name?