Monday, March 09, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 9th March, 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

A really quiet week with very little I noticed of any real consequence to the longer term future of e-Health.
We still need to hear from Minister Ley on what is happening with the PCEHR.

Good Samaritan app puts doctors at legal risk

6 March, 2015 Paul Smith
Doctors signed up to a good Samaritan app that crowdsources life-saving CPR aid by tracking their nearest medical emergency could face legal action if they ignore alerts from the device.
It has been claimed about 1000 doctors have registered with GoodSAM app, which is used at the scene of emergencies to send out alerts that immediately pop up on smartphones of nearby doctors, nurses or paramedics.
If doctors choose to reject an alert, the GoodSAM app automatically alerts the next nearest responder within a 500m radius.
But medical defence organisation Avant has issued its own warnings, saying doctors working in NSW or the NT should turn off the app when they are unable or unwilling to respond to an alert.

New app could expose doctors to legal risks

5th Mar 2015
DOCTORS have been warned that a new app that allows the reporting of medical emergencies could land them in medico-legal strife.
The GoodSAM (Smartphone Activated Medics) app allows doctors and other medicos to register and be alerted when a member of the public uses it to report an emergency they have witnessed close by.
Medical indemnity group Avant warned today that in NSW and the Northern Territory, doctors who have the app turned on could be exposed to legal risk if they fail to respond to a request for assistance.
They could limit their exposure by turning off the app when they are not willing to respond to an alert, said Avant’s special counsel for medico-legal advice and health law, Kate Gillman.

Beating the odds

An artificial heart that would last a lifetime? They said it would never happen - until now.
By Trent Dalton
HE whispered in a Scottish drawl: “You wanna see somethin’ cool?”
Professor John Fraser has been an intensive care specialist for two decades. He established the Critical Care Research Group at Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital in 2004. He’s seen cool things before: heart transplants; machines that can rebuild a blackened human lung before your eyes; bodies of children wrenched from the cold and still grip of beyond.
It was three years ago when he whispered the invitation, at a backyard barbecue at his house in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. We were eating sausages, talking about outdoor music systems controlled by one’s mobile phone. The things we humans can accomplish. Our wives went to school together. I’d known him for 13 years, long enough to know that when he asks if you would like to see something cool he’s not about to show you a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Website offers repeat referrals and sick notes

4 March, 2015 Kate Aubusson  
An internet start-up is offering patients repeat referrals and sick notes after a five-minute Skype call with a GP. 
But the new website has attracted the ire of the RACGP, which has warned doctors against taking part in the service. 
The Medical Certificate website, which launched last month, is selling the one-off consultations for $29, through which patients can secure repeat referrals for ongoing specialist treatment or medical certificates for employers.
The online platform makes no attempt to follow-up with patients after their specialist consult and has no mechanism for feeding information back to their regular GP. 

Doctor rating site ‘scraping’ rego details

1 March, 2015 Paul Smith
A doctor rating website has been lifting information regarding doctors’ registration status that is currently stored on the AHPRA website.
The DoctorInspector website invites patients to rate health practitioners and includes some registration details next to the doctor’s name, such as their registration number and qualifications.
AHPRA is stressing the information used by DoctorInspector is already available to the public via its website and that DoctorInspector is not using confidential information AHPRA holds about individual doctors. 
“The website operators appear to have used technology known as ‘screen scraping’ to automatically pull information from the [AHPRA] public online register,” AHPRA’s CEO Martin Fletcher said.

Govt report pins Australia's future on technology, but ignores NBN

Summary:Technology and innovation will be at the centre of Australia's continued productivity over the next 40 years, according to the Treasury Department's latest Intergenerational Report.
By Leon Spencer | March 5, 2015 -- 06:21 GMT (17:21 AEDT)
The Australian government's latest five-year Intergenerational Report, published on Thursday, places technology and innovation at the centre of the country's continued productivity over the next 40 years.
The quinquennial report (PDF) is intended to assess the long-term sustainability of current government policies and how changes to Australia's population size and age profile may impact economic growth, workforce, and public finances over the following 40 years -- in this case, to 2055.
The new report highlights the impacts that technology has already had on Australia's industry and society, and suggests that by supporting innovation, adopting new technologies, facilitating foreign trade and investment, and fostering competition, the government can boost future productivity growth and living standards.

Technological advances to push costs down in healthcare sector

Sid Maher

AUSTRALIA is set to defy the health costs of an ageing population for another decade but federal spending on healthcare will double in 40 years.
Federal government spending on health is expected to fall as a proportion of GDP over the next decade but it will pay more in real terms for Medicare services and drugs.
The Intergenerational Report said that under laws passed by parliament Australian government health spending will rise from $2800 in today’s dollars and reach $6600 in 2054-55 or 5.7 per cent of GDP.
But under the government’s proposed policies, which included the GP co-payment and a crackdown on short doctor visits, that figure would have been reduced to 5.5 per cent of GDP.

Clinical judgement trumps guidelines: expert

5th Mar 2015
CLINICAL judgement must remain central to the patient consultation irrespective of the use of guidelines, a UK guidelines proponent says.
Speaking at a Grand Rounds meeting this week at Dunedin Hospital in New Zealand, Professor David Haslam, chair of  the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), emphasised the importance of clinical judgement.
“When I meet the presidents of the royal colleges in the UK, they frequently tell me that junior doctors, especially, treat guidelines as if they are mandatory,” Professor Haslam said.
“It’s absolutely clear to me that sometimes it’s inappropriate to follow the guidelines.”

eMedications Management Functional Framework v1.0 March 2015 Release

Created on Monday, 02 March 2015
The eMedications Management (eMM) Functional Framework outlines the key capabilities within medications management business systems.
It can be used to identify opportunities and gaps in medications management process automation, system integration, information quality and terminology standardisation.
This is the first official release following its conception as part of the Jurisdictional eMedications Management (eMM) Collaborations initiative.
We are pleased to announce that the eMedications Management Functional Framework v1.0 is now available for download from the following location on the NEHTA website:

'Truly awful': Centrelink, Medicare apps slammed

Date March 4, 2015 - 1:00AM

Noel Towell

Reporter for The Canberra Times

The federal government's range of Medicare and Centrelink online apps are so bad they are getting claimants kicked off benefits, users have complained.
The Department of Human Services now has 12 applications for smartphones that are supposed to allow clients to conduct their Medicare, child and income support transactions online without having to visit a government office.
But the apps, which are linked to the MyGov portal, have been panned by users with the Express Plus Medicare and Express Plus Job Seekers coming in for the worst of the online ire.
But Human Services defended its apps on Tuesday, saying 3.7 million versions had been downloaded and they had been used to process 36 million Centrelink and Medicare transactions.

Investors see future in cornea-based biometric technology

Date March 3, 2015 - 9:44AM

Beverley Head

Sydney optometrist Stephen Mason should know soon if his cornea-based biometric technology can be successfully commercialised.
In January Mason secured a $450,000 loan from Nemex Resources to allow his start-up to complete prototyping. That follows a 2014 deal that saw the Perth based mining company take a 30 per cent stake in Mason's company, Wavefront Biometric Technologies, with the option to grow that to 51 per cent.
Key to the initiative is Mason's patent for a biometric identity system based on the first Purkinje image which is the reflection from the outer surface of the eye's cornea.
According to Mason; "There are tiny little differences in your eyes from day to day but a vast difference between mine and yours," adding that, "The cornea is a natural one time PIN."

Mental health: Poor and remote areas don't have equal access to services, Monash University study finds

By medical reporter Sophie Scott and Alison Branley
March 2, 2015, 6:46 am
The largest ever study into mental health services in Australia has found government programs are failing to give people in poor and remote areas equal access to help.
The Monash University study looked at Medicare data relating to 25 million mental health items billed between 2007 and 2011.
It found people who lived in disadvantaged parts of metropolitan areas, rural and remote areas accessed the least number of services despite needing them the most.
In some cases, the top fifth of Australian society had about three times better access to some psychological services than the bottom fifth.

Choosing Wisely launches soon

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 2 March, 2015
AN Australian program to engage the medical community in identifying and reducing the use of health care services of little or no benefit to patients has been widely welcomed by experts ahead of its launch next month.
The Choosing Wisely Australia initiative, modelled on similar international programs, will be facilitated by NPS MedicineWise, and will involve medical colleges, each recommending five services that providers and consumers should question. (1)
The first lists will be made public when the program launches next month, with additional lists added later in the year.
Dr Lynn Weekes, CEO of NPS MedicineWise, said the program would challenge the notion that more was necessarily better.

Primary Health Networks: key questions and challenges

| Mar 02, 2015 11:06AM
While the media has been focussed on the Government’s proposed GP co-payment, there have been potentially bigger changes to primary health care progressing behind the scenes.
The transition from Medicare Locals to Primary Health Networks (PHNs) may not appear significant, as the functions and objectives of both organisations are very similar. However, there are some key changes in relation to ownership and structure of the new PHNs which have the potential to fundamentally change our primary health care sector.
The possible introduction of private companies, such as private health insurance funds, into the primary health care space, raises a slew of complex policy, transparency and governance issues which will need to be resolved to ensure the changes result in positive changes for consumers.
These include dealing with potential transparency and accountability issues around the tender process, given that some tenderers from the private sector, such as Aspen Medical, contribute to political fundraising activities.

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