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, November 24, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24th November, 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 quieter week with Telstra pressing on with buying and NEHTA pressing on with the PCEHR in the absence of any Government announcements.
Interesting podcast on Information Overload for Docs and Patients and what to do about it.

Too much information - how do doctors keep up?

Wednesday 19 November 2014 8:05PM
If you stacked all the medical & bio medical research journals on top of one another, apparently, the pile would reach the top of the Parliament House flag pole in Canberra. Apocryphal or not, we produce a vast amount of new, evidence-based medical research. But how are busy clinicians, and health consumers, meant to keep up with it all? How do we make good health care decisions when bombarded with too much information? Paul Barclay speaks to a panel of experts at an NHMRC symposium.

Aged care providers want scale in vendors too

By Natasha Egan on November 21, 2014 in Industry, Technology
Just as Australian aged care providers are undertaking mergers and acquisitions to achieve economies of scale, they are also looking for scale and stability in their suppliers, says iCareHealth managing director Chris Gray.
Mr Gray was commenting after this week’s announcement that Telstra Health has acquired the Australian arm of iCareHealth as part of its broader e-health vision to create a better system for patients, providers and funders.
iCareHealth is the only aged care software provider to offer a single person electronic health record across the continuum of aged care. Its software is used in the the provision of care to 50,000 residents for clinical care management and 30,000 of those residents for medication management.

Doctors call on government to expand Medicare for Telehealth

Delegates gather for annual telehealth conference
Brian Karlovsky (ARN) on 17 November, 2014 09:48
The Australasian Telehealth Society has called on the Government to expand medicare for telehealth ahead of its annual meeting.
Delegates are gathering in Adelaide today for SFT-14, the "Successes and Failures in Telehealth" conference, and the fifth Annual Meeting of the Australasian Telehealth Society, which will be opened by the South Australian Health Minister, Jack Snelling.
Telehealth is the delivery of health care services at a distance, using information and communication technology.
This conference will showcase the achievements of doctors, nurses, psychologists and all healthcare providers in using telehealth to bringing healthcare to rural and remote areas and into people’s homes, to achieve better access to healthcare and improved health outcomes.

Designers dream up adventurous devices for every part of your body

MOST wearable IT devices are gadgets you clap on to your wrist or arm, such as smartwatches, sports bands, electronic pedometers and heart-rate monitors.
An exception is Google’s Glass, which claps to your brow, obeys voice commands and projects images just in front of your right eye.
But now designers of wearable devices are getting a smite more adventurous, dreaming up new gear to adorn different body parts. They’re aided by the development of tiny computer chips designed specifically for such tasks.
LifeBeam, an Israeli company that designs high-end gadgets worn by jet pilots and astronauts, has come up a smart cycling helmet, and a smart baseball cap, both loaded with sensors that can track your heart rate, gait, steps and — so it’s claimed — calorie consumption.

Apple releases WatchKit for Apple Watch

Date November 19, 2014 - 11:00AM

Hannah Francis

Apple released the developers' kit for its much anticipated wearables device, the Apple Watch, on Wednesday.
The software kit, dubbed WatchKit, gives developers tools to create iOS apps specifically tailored for the wearable device.
WatchKit can be used to create apps that, with a simple touch of the wrist, could do anything from turning lights off after leaving the house, accessing flight details or finding the quickest route to work in case of delays, Apple said.

Co-pay unfair to GP: AMA

Dr Lynne Williams | Posted: Fri, 21 Nov, 2014 10:14 am
The AMA says the Government’s proposed co-payments for general practice, pathology, and diagnostic imaging would be a costly red tape nightmare for medical practices.
Its released a report – The Red Tape Burden of the Proposed Medical Services Co-payment – that details the results of the additional administrative costs from the proposed medical services co-payment, with a particular focus on the costs generated by General Practices.
AMA President A/Prof Brian Owler says the additional measure of cutting the Medicare patient rebate by $5 would dramatically cut funding for medical practices, and the cumulative effect could make some practices unviable.
The report released late last week shows that red tape and potential bad debts could totally erode the $2 of the co-payment the Government planned to pass on to GPs.

Midday: Aus shares taking losses November 20, 2014 12:20 PM

Company news
E-health company Pro Medicus Limited (ASX:PME) has signed an $8 million deal with WellSpan Health in the US which will see it utilise its diagnoses and imaging services. The company’s Visage 7 technology will be used as a core component of WellSpan’s enterprise imaging platform for an initial seven year period. CEO Dr Sam Hupert says he is delighted WellSpan selected the company and that it joins a growing install base of large, highly regarded US based health systems that have chosen to standardise on the Visage 7 system. Shares in WellSpan are trading up 4.85 per cent at $1.08. 

A doctor explains why she won’t text patients their test results

Written by
Esther Choo Assistant Professor, Warren Alpert Medical School
November 21, 2014
“Can you just text it to me?”
My patient was awaiting the results of her urinalysis, but couldn’t stay in the emergency department any longer; she needed to pick up her kids. I had offered to send the results to her doctor, but she wanted them immediately and directly. I hesitated, conflicted.
The request was both reasonable and, from my perspective as a busy emergency department (ED) physician, persuasive. Many tests I order—such as those looking for strep throat, flu, STDs, or, as with this patient, UTIs—can take hours to come back, are often perfectly normal, and if abnormal, may only necessitate a prescription that can be called in to a pharmacy just as well as handed over in person. Sending a patient home to await results is more comfortable and convenient for them, and allows me to open up an ED bed and see other patients in the meantime.

Vision for high-performance bionic eye jeopardised by lack of funds

Date November 23, 2014 - 12:15AM

Bridie Smith

Lack of funding may force Australia researchers to drop their promising work on a bionic eye.
Australian bionic eye researchers fear a lack of funding will force them to drop one of the most promising research projects in their quest to restore vision to the blind.
As the federal government calls for submissions on how to improve the country's commercialisation of research, Bionic Vision Australia has had to prioritise its focus. It will now concentrate on low-vision prototypes.
Their holy grail - a high-acuity bionic eye that would allow the blind to read large print and recognise faces - is likely to be shelved within months as there is not enough funding to get through trial stage.

Promoting a 'Clinical' Approach to the Taking and Transmission of Clinical Images

Targeted News Service
BARTON, Australia, Nov. 21 -- The Australian Medical Association issued the following news release:
The AMA today released a new guide for medical students and doctors on the proper use of personal mobile devices - including smart phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, and portable music devices - when taking and transmitting clinical images.
The guide, Clinical Images and the Use of Personal Mobile Devices, was developed jointly by the AMA and the Medical Indemnity Insurance Association of Australia (MIIAA), with specialised input from the AMA Council of Doctors in Training (AMACDT) and the AMA Council of Salaried Doctors (AMACSD).

Senior Clinical Usability Analyst

  • Fixed term contract position
  • Manage all clinical functionality and usability activities
The National E-Health Transition Authority Limited (NEHTA) was established by the Australian, State and Territory governments to develop better ways of electronically collecting and securely exchanging health information. NEHTA is the lead organisation supporting the national vision for e-health in Australia.
NEHTA is currently recruiting people with a desire to make a difference to health outcomes, that are passionate about the use of e-health to meet these goals and who have the relevant experience to deliver solutions in a highly complex stakeholder and technical environment. In these roles you will be working with consumers and clinicians who will be defining how models of care can be improved using the PCEHR. You will be delivering the solutions that will be in place for your grandparents, parents and your children... and for you as you engage with the public and private health system.
The Senior Clinical Usability Analyst creates value by taking responsibility for managing and securing advice, guidance and recommendations around clinical usability for eHealth products from Australian clinicians and optimising that guidance

Invitation to Apply

Private Hospital PCEHR Rapid Integration Programme

Applications are invited from private hospital organisations seeking a funding contribution to support their deployment of a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) viewing and/or clinical document upload capability within their hospital facilities by 30 June 2015.
Viewing the PCEHR will allow hospital clinicians to directly view a consenting patient’s important health information where available from primary and community care settings – in particular, the patient’s Shared Health Summary, prescriptions and community pharmacy dispense records, public hospital discharge summaries and additional clinical documents as they are added to the PCEHR in the future (e.g. pathology and diagnostic imaging reports).

Lambda promises to speed software development in the cloud to help Parkinson's sufferers

Date November 20, 2014 - 12:13PM

Nate Cochrane

Imagine a software platform so smart, it can take care of all the computing and data analysis needed to allow Parkinson's disease researchers to focus on finding a cure.
That's the aim of a new technology by cloud giant Amazon Web Services - a new way to write software programs to cope with the avalanche of data generated by the Internet of Things where smart devices talk to one another.
In a study with the potential to generate 365 terabytes a year, researchers at The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Intel equipped Parkinson's sufferers with smart wristbands linked over Bluetooth to smartphones running custom apps.

Samsung looks to enterprise and mobile healthcare for growth

Summary: Mobile healthcare and B2B are two crucial areas that will fuel Samsung's future growth, the company says.
By Jaehwan Cho | November 18, 2014 -- 03:47 GMT (14:47 AEST)
According to Samsung's third-quarter corporate disclosure filed to the Korea Exchange, the world's largest electronics company by revenue says it intends to continue investments in mobile healthcare and B2B areas, as it believes there will be continued growth in the sector.
Samsung also expressed the current difficulty of its IT and mobile business due to tight price competition, and vowed to overcome the difficulty by focusing on "strategic products" going forward.
The company recently handed its first place in handset sales in China to local maker Xiaomi for the second and third quarters. In response, Samsung promised price-competitive and innovative products to sustain growth.

ResMed Inc (CHESS) ties up with Apple for new e-health product: Could this drive sales higher in 2015?

By Darryl Daté-Shappard - November 21, 2014 | More on: RMD
What: Healthcare company ResMed Inc (CHESS) (ASX: RMD) announced it is joining up with Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Apple HealthKit. This will expose ResMed’s new S+ breathing aid technology to a much wider group of customers.
ResMed is a leading producer of breathing aids and respiratory devices which are used by individuals and healthcare service providers. Already a successful company with its largest market in North America, it is moving into the e-health space to grow its customer base.
So what: Many major companies like Apple see the next big market in what is called the “quantifiable self”. Using new monitoring technology together with devices such as wearable tech, individuals can record and analyse how fit and healthy they are in real time.

Cameras, robotic mules could help battle Ebola in West Africa

Researchers are working on technology that could be shipped to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak as soon as a few months from now, while also looking ahead to bigger plans to combat any disease outbreak.
Sharon Gaudin (Computerworld (US)) on 21 November, 2014 08:18
Researchers are working on technology that could be shipped to West Africa to help fight the Ebola outbreak as soon as a few months from now, while also looking ahead to bigger plans to combat any disease outbreak.
"Absolutely. This is something we can do," said Robin Murphy, a professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University and director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue. "There are lots of things we found that can go right now ... but this will continue to motivate research in human-robotic interactions and how to understand how you design a new technology, how you test a new technology, how you factor in cultural context, how to factor in the targeted environments and how you train people to use them."
Tech researchers from around the U.S. met with health care and aid workers nearly two weeks ago to discuss what kinds of technology, such as robotics, big data analysis or communications, could help fight the Ebola epidemic.

A ‘last mile’ approach to improving broadband in more remote areas

| Nov 18, 2014 1:02PM
In this fourth installment of a rural health series, Helen Hopkins, Policy Adviser at the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) highlights how failing to improve broadband access in remote areas can block access to health care and entrench other disadvantage.
The other installments, also inspired by the NRHA’s recent CouncilFest, can be read here:
Helen Hopkins writes:
The National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) has consistently advocated for the provision of high speed broadband, by whatever technical means are best, to communities, health services, businesses and households in more remote areas at the same price that people in major cities have to pay.

PCEHR pulls off a billion-dollar comeback

David Ramli
It has taken four years and over $1 billion but one of Australia’s biggest taxpayer-funded failures has almost been cured, according to the senior doctor leading the project.
The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) initiative is designed to be the foundation on which Australia’s future healthcare system will be built.
At its most basic it is designed to provide every Australian who wants it with a centralised medical record that can be accessed by doctors and hospitals across the nation, from general practitioners to emergency rooms.

Clearer NBN view in sight

MANY households are poised to get a clearer idea within weeks when their suburb will get the $41 billion superfast internet network and whether they will get the fibre-to-the-premise version.
NBN Co chief financial officer Stephen Rue yesterday told a Senate estimates hearing that more detail on the technology and timing of the rollout would come soon.
While Labor’s plan promised to connect 93 per cent of premises with fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), the Coalition’s model uses a mix of technologies including fibre-to-the-node that uses Telstra’s copper lines.

Smartwatches gazump Google Glass

  • The Wall Street Journal
  • November 17, 2014 6:57AM
GOOGLE’S Glass is losing support among some developers who are focusing on devices such as smartwatches that they hope will be more socially acceptable than the controversial internet-connected eyewear.
Twitter stopped developing its Glass app about a month ago in favour of an app for Android Wear, Google’s operating system for smartwatches and other wearable devices, according to a person familiar with the social-media company.
Adriana Vecchioli created the Find.it app for Glass to mark the location of objects by taking pictures with the device. Vecchioli said she cut the time she spends on the project because many people have resisted wearing the device or responded negatively to others wearing it. Glass users can snap photos or record video unobtrusively, raising privacy concerns.

The science of Interstellar: fact or fiction?

Date November 19, 2014
An astrophysicist gave advice to the makers of Interstellar, and some, but not all, of its science holds up.
The film Interstellar is a lavish space romp which sees Mathew McConaughey jump through a wormhole, navigate space-time and tumble into a black hole in his quest to save humanity.
Director Christopher Nolan was keen to get details right and enlisted the help of renowned US astrophysicist Professor Kip Thorne.
So did Nolan and Thorne manage to prevent science fact being eclipsed by science fiction? Not entirely.


Terry Hannan said...

David, this knowledge of information overload has been documented for decades. In their book Computer Applications in Health Care Shortliffe & Perrault. 1990 the authors display a graph showing the growth in laboratory procedures in relationship to hospital admissions and technical personal.
The procedures performed between 1956 and 1974 had already reached the millions per year.
In 2005 the hunger for knowledge and the need to access information rapidly was highlighted by Steinbrook where he showed that there were 17 million PubMed searched per month between January 1997 and September 2005.
Steinbrook, R. N Engl J Med 2006;354:4-7
More recently the IOM demonstrated the continuing exponential growth in the data and information necessary for health care management in Stead WW, Starmer JM. Beyond Expert-based Practice. Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2008. Evidence-Based Medicine and the Changing Nature of Health Care: . 2007 Annual Meeting Summary, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, pp 94-105. 2008.
This processof massive information growth will continue and what is required are the effective tools for access to this information (“information management is care”) and it is achieveable but this requires knowing what others have achieved and in the creation of new tools to manage these massive data/information resources.
An example is the Regenstrief Institutue’s most recent figures. I point out in these figures the timeliness of clinical decision support.
Technology is NOT the problem. RMRS 2012 (est. 1976)
Regenstrief Institute: April 2012: 18 hospitals
• >32 million physician orders entered by CPOE
• Data base of 6 million patients
• 900 million on-line coded results
• 20 million reports-diagnostic studies, procedure results, operative notes and discharge summaries
• 65 million radiology images
• CLINICAL DECISION SUPPORT- BLINK TIMES (CCDSS-through iterative Dbase analysis)

Dr David G More MB PhD said...

Indeed Terry,

However the progress on solving the issue has been - as you point out with the citations - glacial!


Anonymous said...

But big data and other technologies will solve everything - just have faith. It might kill a few people but that's the price of progress. Sorry, I didn't meaan progress, I meant change. There is no progress.

Terry Hannan said...

Anonymous, I am not sure if your comment relates to the last component of my posting and if so it was NOT intended to show that technology will solve all our problems. What the text is stating is that the ability to STORE and PROCESS the BIG DATA are not the problems. The problems lie in designing the iterative process that make this data and information available at the patient care interface. Regenstrief researchers (and other similar institutions) have achieved some success in this domain of e-Health. What is required is to use and expand that knowledge. I felt that this was outstandingly addressed by Enrico Coiera at the recent HINZ meeting in his plenary address.
Enrico Coiera HINZ 2014: http://vimeo.com/112427321

Anonymous said...

@Terry. My sarcastic comment was not aimed at you or Enrico, it was aimed at NEHTA/DoHA, who both seem to think that IT is a magic bullet.

The evidence and thinking behind the research you have referred to don't seem to have got through to these techno folks.