Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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, April 13, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13th April, 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

What an interesting week with the announcement that the new Medicare Locals will be involved in e-Health and that Telstra Health will be involved.
Also was interesting to see that the PCEHR (and NEHTA funding) are still very unclear.
Pharmacists selling prescription data lurched into a view as well new computer systems for Centrelink.
Does anyone know just exactly where the PCEHR is served from? DoH or Centrelink / DHS etc.?

Private insurers win stake in primary healthcare

Sean Parnell

Private health insurers have made a bold foray into primary care, ­successfully partnering with ­medical groups, universities and other companies to secure work that should have been done by Labor’s Medicare Locals.
In a bid to better co-ordinate GP services and fill the gap between primary care and hospitals, the Abbott government has handed control of its new Primary Health Networks to a range of groups, including the operators of existing Medicare Locals and major insurers Bupa and HCF.
Groups were notified yesterday if they had been awarded tenders for 28 of the 31 networks worth ­almost $900 million.
The total number of networks — roughly half the number of Medicare ­Locals — is one more than expected, because of a decision to add another network in southwestern NSW.
Arrangements for two other networks have yet to be finalised.
Health Minister Sussan Ley yesterday said the networks would be asked to pay extra attention to mental health, indigenous health, population health, the health workforce, e-health and aged care.
For example, the Brisbane North network will be run by Brisbane North Medicare Local, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Telstra Health, the Australian Medical Association Queensland, UnitingCare Health, HCF and Bupa.
4:02pm April 11, 2015

Replacements named for Medicare Locals

Thirty-one new Primary Health Networks will replace Labor's 61 Medicare Locals across Australia from July 1, the government says.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said on Saturday the successful applications to run the new PHNs had been selected following a thorough tender process.
She said the 31 new PHNs would cost almost $900 million and generally align with state Local Hospital Networks to ensure better integration between primary and acute care services.
Ms Ley said the government wanted to ensure Australians could access the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Some chemists are selling patients’ prescription information so drug companies can increase their profits

  • April 12, 2015 12:00AM
  • Sue Dunlevy National Health Reporter
  • News Corp Australia Network
SOME chemists are selling their patients prescription information to a global health information company which sells it on to pharmaceutical companies trying to boost their sales.
Doctor and consumer groups have expressed outrage about the practice they fear may impinge on patient privacy.
After News Corp drew the Department of Health’s attention to the profit making venture it asked the Privacy Commissioner to investigate.
The Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim warned chemists against a similar prescription data for profit arrangement in 2013 that involved linking doctors names to the data.

National guidelines for on-screen display of clinical medicines information

Draft Guidelines: National guidelines for on-screen display of clinical medicines information.
Published by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, 1 April 2015.
Responses required by  5 May 2015.
Here is the link
In an Australian first, a new dashboard has been developed to help busy General Practitioners (GPs) track the treatment of chronic disease care for their patients. The dashboard includes the ability not only to track the rollout and effects of quality improvement initiatives but also to benchmark their initiatives against other health services. The result is a complete change management and improvement system for the healthcare sector. The dashboard features indicators that allow health services to select their own goals for specific disease indicators.

How to future-proof your Practice

Created on Wednesday, 08 April 2015
Sunshine Coast Practice Manager Felicity Hogan says she’s no stranger to change.
“In fact I’m proud to be a change driver,” she says.  “But I came from the pharma industry where you learn if you don’t change and keep up to date your customers will educate you by walking out the door.”
Ms Hogan is manager of a large coastal practice with seven doctors at Cooloola Coast Clinic and another at the seasonal Rainbow Beach Medical Practice.
She said 18 months ago she saw an opportunity to take the business into e-Health and has never looked back. “When I started my role here I did some research and found we had signed up but done little with it. I spoke to our Medicare Local and had discussions with the doctors and decided to get everyone using it,” she said.

Telstra’s vision for Anywhere Healthcare

Telstra's increasing range of eHealth solutions should be great for patients, but may disappoint any investors hoping it will turn the company into a growth stock.

In a country that made flying doctors famous, Telstra (ASX: TLS) is busy building the next phase of remote healthcare.
Telstra Health has already brought together a range of businesses offering:
On top of all this, Telstra’s ReadyCare service allows patients in remote areas, or that otherwise find it hard to attend personally (such as the elderly), to ‘talk directly with GPs over video or phone to receive advice, diagnosis, prescriptions and referrals’. The system also automatically shares treatment notes with a patient’s usual GP to allow continuity of care.
The purchase last week of Anywhere Healthcare from Medibank extends this service to specialist care via video link, although patients will have to get themselves along to one of 1,600 GPs and aged-care providers that currently offer the service. With help on the ground from the local GP or practice nurse, patients will have access to specialists in over 30 different practice areas.

Why doctors still can’t email your health record

In the ‘Blogging on Demand’ series you get to choose the topic. If you have a great idea you want the world to know about, feel free to contact me. Northern NSW GP and technophile Dr David Guest feels that one particular low-cost health-IT solution from New Zealand, called GP2GP, is worthy of more discussion and would make a big difference in Australia.

I admit it’s odd: Every time a new patient presents, the receptionist will see to it that a huge pile of paper notes ends up on my desk, often held together by paperclips or elastic bands.
I usually move the pile over to one side and look at it for a couple of days to see if the documents will disappear which, so far, hasn’t happened. Then, during a lunch break, I bite the bullet and trawl through the record, under while entering the data into the computer: allergies, medications, history, family history etc.
Important documents are scanned and shredded. When a patient at any stage decides to leave the practice, the receptionist prints the record and faxes it to the next GP. When it’s a large record she will make sure it’s held firmly together by paperclips or an elastic band before it goes to the post office in a big envelope.
Getting computers to solve this problem for us is an issue in Australia, because our IT systems don’t communicate. But in New Zealand and the UK they have found a way to transfer health records electronically. It’s called e-mail. Well, not really, but there are similarities.


Posted on April 11, 2015 by Grahame Grieve
FHIR doesn’t use JSON-LD. Some people are pretty critical of that:
It’s a pity hasn’t been made compatible. Enormous missed opportunity for interop & simplicity.
That was from David Metcalfe by Twitter. The outcome of our exchange after that was that David came down to Melbourne from Sydney to spend a few hours with me discussing FHIR, rdf, and json-ld (I was pretty amazed at that, thanks David).
So I’ve spent a few weeks investigating this, and the upshot is, I don’t think that FHIR should use json-ld.
Linked Data
It’s not that the FHIR team doesn’t believe in linked data – we do, passionately. From the beginning, we designed FHIR around the concept of linked data – the namespace we use is http://hl7.org/fhir and that resolves right to the spec. Wherever we can, we ensure that the names we use in that namespace are resolvable and meaningful on the hl7.org server (though I see that recent changes in the hosting arrangements have somehow broken some of these links). The FHIR spec, as a RESTful API, imposes a linked data framework on all implementations.

More patients secretly recording GP consults

9 April, 2015 Tessa Hoffman
Patients are secretly recording consultations with their GPs and uploading them to YouTube, an indemnity provider warns.
Making surreptitious recordings is illegal in most states in Australia, and last year a man received a good behaviour bond after using a pen camera to secretly record a female GP doing an examination for a groin hernia at a clinic in Sydney.
However, MDA National medicolegal manager Dr Sara Bird said with smartphone ownership almost universal, cases of covert recordings of GP consultations were on the rise.
In the past two years, the insurer had helped several GPs get such recordings removed from online video-sharing platform YouTube, Dr Bird said.

Centrelink IT system replacement gets government go-ahead

Multi-year project will cost $1 billion
The federal government has confirmed that it will replace Centrelink's welfare payments system, which dates back to 1983, with a new platform at a cost of $1 billion.
Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison today announced the long-term investment will allow the government to properly address the challenges facing Australia’s welfare system and reduce the costs of administering the system for taxpayers.
"This 30-year-old system consisting of 30 million lines of code and undertaking more than 50 million daily transactions is responsible for delivering around $100 billion in payments to 7.3 million people every year,” said Morrison.
Treasurer Joe Hockey last year said that Centrelink's mainframe-based platform needed replacing and will cost Australia “billions".

$1bn tech revamp to drag Centrelink out of the 1980s

Phillip Hudson

The Abbott government will spend more than $1 billion to replace the 1980s-era Centrelink computer to prepare the way for sweeping reform of the welfare system.
Human Services Minister Marise Payne told The Australian a new payments system would provide the government with long-term flexibility to implement welfare changes, better detect and prevent fraud and make dealing with Centrelink easier for more than seven million Australians.
Senator Payne and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison will today announce funding has been approved by cabinet for the seven-year project, which will be one of the world’s largest transformations of a social welfare IT system.

Health IT vendors slammed for hampering the exchange of patient data

Fred O'Connor
The problem could worsen as technology use in health care grows
Electronic health records vendors make the process of sharing patient information too expensive and complicated for hospitals and doctors, a problem that affects the quality and cost of care.
That's the conclusion reached by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the U.S. government agency that oversees the country's health IT efforts.
In a report released Friday, the ONC outlined challenges that health care providers face as they attempt to exchange patient data.
Among the issues identified: Health IT vendors charge high fees to set up interfaces for hospitals and labs to share patient data. They also force customers to use proprietary technology and refuse to publish APIs (application programming interfaces).

Building connected healthcare

Turning Sydney Adventist Hospital into the 'hospital of things'
Dealing with the explosion of devices on enterprise networks thanks to the increasing use of mobile devices, including those brought into the workplace through 'bring your own device' (BYOD) schemes, can be a headache for IT.
Add in the stack of sensors and other gizmos with an IP address that form part of the 'Internet of Things' and a networking headache can rapidly turn into a migraine.
So spare a thought for Barbara MacKenzie, the head of IS operations and infrastructure at Sydney Adventist Hospital (SAH).
Beyond the kinds of connected devices you would expect to find in a sophisticated and heavily virtualized IT environment, she is dealing with an enterprise network that has enough audio-visual equipment, intelligent building systems and biomedical devices hooked up to it to have anyone reaching for an aspirin or two.
SAH — colloquially known at the San (its history can be traced back to the Sydney Sanitarium, which opened in Wahroonga in 1903) — is New South Wales' largest private hospital. It's the largest not-for-profit hospital in the state.

Sussan Ley adds to Coalition reforms on back burner

Sean Parnell

The Abbott government has delayed sensitive health reforms to the second half of the term, raising the risk the Coalition will carry any controversies into its re-election campaign.
Health Minister Sussan Ley last week extended funding for mental health organisations for another 12 months to allow the government more time to consider a review it received at the end of November.
It followed a similar decision to extend funding for alcohol and drug treatment organisations for another 12 months while the government considers a review it originally intended to respond to in the last budget.
Ms Ley has also extended funding for specialist training for 12 months to allow her to consult with the sector on major health workforce reforms.
Delayed reviews have become a theme for the government, which is also yet to detail how it will fix the troubled Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record project, which Primary Health Networks will replace Labor’s Medicare Locals and what emergency department and elective surgery targets it will use to keep state and territory governments accountable.

Giant atom smasher powers up after two year shutdown

  • AP
  • April 06, 2015 6:07AM

CERN's Large Hadron Collider Back in Action

The world’s biggest particle accelerator is back in action after a two-year shutdown and upgrade, embarking on a new mission that scientists hope could give them a look into the unseen dark universe.
Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, on Sunday shot two particle beams through the Large Hadron Collider’s 27-km tunnel, beneath the Swiss-French border near Geneva.
The collider was instrumental in the discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that had long been theorised but never confirmed until 2013.
Scientists are promising nearly twice the energy and more violent particle crashes this time around. They hope to see all sorts of new physics, including a first ever glimpse of dark matter, during the collider’s second three-year run.

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