Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd February, 2015.

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

The big news this week is the change of the CEO at Telstra with David Thodey being replaced by Andy Penn. What will be interesting will be to see if emphasis remains on e-Health remains.
The other big news is the schism that has occurred between HL7 and Standards Australia. What a mess.
Otherwise a very quiet week with still with no news from the new Health Minister on the PCEHR.

New Telstra chief Andy Penn has a challenge in taking investors along for the ride

  • John Beveridge
  • Herald Sun
  • February 20, 2015 1:02PM
TELSTRA is set to ramp up its investment in Asia as Andrew Penn takes on the top role at the big telco.
While David Thodey has always had a stretch target for Asia to provide 20 per cent of Telstra’s revenue, the task of getting there will largely fall on Andrew Penn.
And Penn is almost uniquely qualified for that task.
As chief executive of AXA Asia Pacific, he was instrumental in building and operating a range of Asian wealth businesses before they were taken over by French parent company AXA.
At Telstra, he has also been in charge of offshore growth as well as looking after the company’s finances.

Doctor-rating website using AHPRA records

18th Feb 2015
Flynn Murphy  
AHPRA says a mysterious new website that lets patients anonymously rate their doctors is using the agency’s records without permission.
The DoctorInspector website – which bills itself as an “open crowdsource doctor rating site” – has been the subject of several complaints to the agency in the past weeks. 
Many Australian health professionals – from GPs, to pharmacists, to radiographers – will now find an internet search for their name returns a DoctorInspector page dedicated to them. The page includes their AHPRA number, details, a star rating and reviews. 
The site does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of its information, and doctors appear to have no way to correct its records and reviews, to remove themselves from the site or to contact the site’s owner.

HL7 Australia announces new team for 2015

  • 18 February 2015
Today HL7 Australia named two new part time staff to assist with the implementation of the HL7 Australia 2014-2015 Strategic Plan.
Associate Professor Trish Williams, Chair of  HL7 Australia said, “We are delighted we have been able to attract two such experienced staff who are keen bring their expertise and energy to support the volunteer HL7 Australia Board and the HL7 user community. HL7 Australia works to supports the creation and effective use of e health standards in Australia and these new appointments will assist us enormously.”
Bridget Kirkham will be assisting with increasing HL7’s profile, membership, third party relationships and advocacy.  Bridget has been working for not-for profits in health for over 30 years in Australia, the UK and the USA.

New Zealand health boards to move to IBM cloud

New platform expected to improve reliability following a number of outages over the past two years
Up to 20 district health boards across New Zealand will roll out cloud infrastructure, which is expected to slash IT infrastructure costs across the group by $23.9 million over the next 10 years.
The boards are rolling out a National Infrastructure Platform (NIP), which will host applications and systems they use each day to deliver healthcare services to citizens. The move to the new platform – based on cloud services provided by IBM – will start in mid-2015 and is expected to take three years.
IBM and crown company, Health Benefits Limited (HBL) announced the agreement, with individual health boards now signing contracts to use the platform.

IBM wins 'foundation' role for NZ health IT cloud

Summary: A deal announced between IBM and Health Benefits Ltd enables the consolidation of 40 datacentres down to just two.
By Rob O'Neill | February 16, 2015 -- 21:44 GMT (08:44 AEDT)
New Zealand's National Infrastructure Platform (NIP) for health is moving to an IBM-managed cloud, enabling a massive consolidation of datacentre facilities in the sector.
Announced on Tuesday by government-owned Health Benefits Ltd (HBL) and IBM, the National Infrastructure Platform will host applications and systems that New Zealand's 20 district health boards (DHBs) use to deliver healthcare.
DHBs will migrate from 40 datacentres to just two IBM-managed facilities -- one in Auckland and the other in Christchurch.
The current datacentres vary in size, age, quality, and adherence to standards, IBM and HBL said in a statement. The two IBM-managed facilities will offer higher security classifications, better reliability, and higher service levels.

Dropped health monitoring functions won't hinder Apple Watch sales

Apple reportedly ran into problems with some advanced features
Although the Apple Watch will offer fewer health features than initially planned, it's still expected to be a powerful contender in the wearables category when it goes on sale in April.
Problems with sensor technology forced Apple to shelve plans to have the device monitor blood pressure, stress levels and heart rate, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sensors recorded inconsistent measurements that were affected by factors like dry skin, hairy arms and how tightly the watch was worn, according to anonymous sources cited by the Journal. Instead of more advanced features, the watch will include a basic pulse-rate monitor.
Omitting these features isn't a "deal breaker" for buyers, said Ramon Llamas, research manager for wearables and mobile phones, at IDC. The appeal of the Apple Watch isn't limited to health and fitness tracking but includes communication functions like the ability to compose text messages and emails and make calls from the wrist, said Llamas.

Hospital errors killing hundreds of thousands

Date February 19, 2015

Julia Medew

Health Editor

An Australian study published in 2011 showed many catastrophic healthcare errors were not being reported to authorities.
Hospitals in developed countries are accidentally killing hundreds of thousands of patients every year, a world-leading patient safety expert says.
Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine in the US, says healthcare errors are claiming about 400,000 American lives every year - the equivalent of two jumbo jets every day.
Common errors include misdiagnoses, medication mistakes, infections due to poor hand hygiene, pressure ulcers from neglectful nursing and miscommunications in teams that lead to catastrophic oversights.  
While many advances have improved safety over the past decade, Dr Pronovost said one of the biggest problems in hospitals today was an ever-increasing number of devices that do not talk to each other and distract health professionals from their most important tasks. This trend has occurred at the same time as budget cuts that have caused staff to work under maximum pressure with limited resources.

Inside Healthdirect Australia with Colin Seery CEO

There’s no question the internet is a key part of our lives, with many people turning to online resources for first line information about their health. However the massive array of resources available also gives rise to questions about the reliability of “Dr Google.”
In a bid to plug this informational hole, Healthdirect Australia has a range of services designed to provide Australians with access to trusted information and advice they need to manage their own health and health related issues.
According to Healthdirect Australia chief executive Colin Seery, the service was established as a COAG initiative and is funded by the federal government, along with most states and territories.
“Healthdirect Australia provides all Australians with access to health information and advice. No matter where people live, or what time of the day or night it is, they can talk to a health professional, find trusted advice online about the appropriate care for their health issue and find the closest local services that are open when they need them,” Mr Seery told

Electronic Health Records in the UK: Patient Access Remains a Hot Topic

The gradual adoption of electronic health record systems has been in the works in more than a handful of countries around the globe, from the Kingdom of Jordan to Canada and India, all with various levels of success and interoperability. However, in the European market at least, it seems that the UK is the most proactive country in this respect, being the country with the highest uptake of EHR in the region.
A year ago, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated that the National Health System is projected to become completely dependent on EHR within the next 5 years, a development which will allow continuity of care to become more seamless and more effective, making it possible for a physician a patient has never met before to view their complete medical history and make accurate and meaningful assessments about what the best course of action for the patient’s condition is.
For insight into just what is important to doctors when it comes to tackling the transition from paper to electronic records, Creation Healthcare conducted a mini-study of online conversations among healthcare professionals, including more than 400 tweets posted since the beginning of 2014.

The folly of the obsession with source code

20/02/2015 wolandscat
My favourite topic these days is the phenomenon of fundamentalist thinking. You don’t need to go to Iraq to find it, it’s all around us….
Recently I chanced upon a post entitled ‘Coding is not the new literacy’ by Chris Granger, who as far as I can tell is one of the smart young generation of start-up developers creating interesting new ways of doing software. I suspect he is not yet 30, going by his ‘about’ page. Not a bad post for a young guy. It essentially says the following:
  • coding is ultimately the act of externalising our mental models into computer-understandable form
  • the main game is building and refining those mental models
In his view, ‘modelling is the new literacy’. He says:
Modeling is creating a representation of a system (or process) that can be explored or used.
I happen to agree with this, and I would go so far as to say that if you think that coding is the main activity of understanding or formalising a solution to a problem, you are profoundly wrong.

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and Medicare DVA Benefits Report - February 2015 Release

Created on Tuesday, 17 February 2015
NEHTA has released the specifications for the Medicare - Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and Medicare DVA Benefits Report.
These specifications are intended for implementers who are designing and developing clinical information systems to parse, extract and process information contained within the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and Medicare DVA Benefits Report clinical documents that have been retrieved from the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) system using the business-to-business gateway.

Jane McCredie: Taming Big Data

Jane McCredie
Monday, 16 February, 2015
WHEN we do a Google search, most of us are probably focused on the data we are trying to access.
We tend to be less aware that the very search terms we choose are in themselves data — information that can be used by corporations or governments to monitor everything from political movements to consumer behaviour.
Google search terms are just one element of so-called “Big Data”, the vast quantities of information being generated by our constant digital engagement.
At the end of last year, I wrote about the potential benefits of Big Data for public health, while also touching on the ethical issues this might raise.
As “digital epidemiology” begins to take its place in the public health armory, one group of researchers is arguing that the established rules for surveillance and research may no longer provide an adequate ethical framework.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow or Research Fellow In Consumer Informatics

at Macquarie University
Macquarie University is a workplace like no other. From our inception we have crossed traditional boundaries. We developed the first electronic calculator for people with vision impairment, wireless internet technology and the Macquarie Dictionary. We were the first university in Australia to introduce childcare on campus and the first to appoint a female Vice-Chancellor. We were founded to be different, and we have always been at the forefront of changes to the way we work, live and learn.
We are recognised globally as one of Australia's leading research universities. We recently earned a 5-star rating in the QS World Rankings, including the highest rating for employability. We have been among the top-rated employers in the Australian Workplace Employers Index since it was founded 2010.  We are, definitively, a world-class university for students and staff. We're investing heavily in new buildings, courses and staff, and collaborating with businesses here and around the world including Cochlear Ltd, Intel and the CSIRO.

HISA Advisory Services

Short term advisory service designed for rapid response

» Provided by health experts and managed by HISA!

HISA Advisory Services draws from the skills of the most experienced clinical, academic and management members of HISA to provide input and opinion on a wide range of digital health and health workforce questions. Service specialty areas include:
  • Primary care
  • Aged care
  • Medical imaging
  • Nursing workflow
  • Emergency discharge processes
  • Medication management
  • Data definition and collection design
  • As well as many others
Premier & Health Minister @camerondickqld seeing first hand the Telehealth services at the PA Hospital. #qldpol

Getting patient notes right

19 February, 2015 Dr Simon Young
Every Friday, I go mountain biking with my best friend Tony, an orthopaedic surgeon. At the end of climbs, we catch our breath and catch up on the week. At the top of one hill, we gasped through this exchange:
"M [Tony's wife, also a hospital specialist] and I were arguing about GP referrals last night," Tony panted.
"Oh yes?" I wheezed.
"We agreed there is no compulsion to send GPs letters, but I argued that out of all the specialists, psychiatrists at least should do it."
"Um, Tony, have you or M ever read the [Medical Board of Australia's] code of conduct?"
"Ah ... nope."
Five years spent writing medicolegal reports have made me quite familiar with the code of conduct.
Tony and his wife need to look at section 4.2 — ‘Respect for medical colleagues and other healthcare professionals'

All the bottom-line action

February 16, 2015
Mind Australia leverages Qlik to track and manage business KPIs
has announced that Mind Australia, a leading provider of community mental health services in Victoria and South Australia, is using QlikView to streamline reporting processes and provide managers visibility into how they are tracking against business targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) – all ultimately translating to how many people’s lives they’ve helped transform. Mind supports over 18,000 Australians with mental health issues by providing services that help them to live independent, productive, and purposeful lives through a range of community and residential services.

Orange to spin off e-health subsidiary Almerys - report

Sunday 15 February 2015 | 13:53 CET | News
Orange is preparing to sel lits 64 percent stake in Almerys to its co-founder Global Services Sante (G2S), reports Les Echos, citing unnamed sources. Described as an amicable divorce, Orange found it too difficult to find synergies between its e-health division and Almerys, which specialises in health service data management.

Hands-on review: Raspberry Pi 2

Date February 18, 2015 - 8:27AM

Gadgets on the go

The little PC that could just got a big upgrade.
The palm-sized Raspberry Pi isn't the only barebones PC out there, but it's certainly one of the most popular and has a vibrant developer community. With the latest upgrades the $41 Raspberry Pi 2 also offers excellent bang for your buck alongside more expensive barebones options.
We've seen several iterations of the Raspberry Pi since it was launched in 2012, but until now it's stuck with a lowly single-core 700MHz processor. The new Pi 2 is blessed with a quad-core 900MHz processor, accompanied by double the RAM at 1GB.

Raspberry Pi: a $35 computer can do a lot

  • Joanna Stern
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • February 18, 2015 10:58AM
OUR computers have become too easy to use.
Right out of the box, they’re ready to go. No installing operating systems, no typing into a command-line prompt like in the old days. We don’t even have to hit save anymore.
Most weeks, I’m the first to celebrate this and to say I miss nothing about the way it used to be. But not this week.
This week I’ve been using the $US35 Raspberry Pi 2, a bare-bones Linux computer no bigger than a juice box. And I’ve rediscovered something I had forgotten: the thrill of tinkering with a machine and its software. Of course, that thrill is accompanied, from time to time, with the urge to take a baseball bat to an inanimate object.

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