Monday, May 04, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th May, 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

Only one topic this week - the fate of the PCEHR!
The budget on the 12th will be very interesting to see just how much is planned to be spent!

Ley to announce multimillion-dollar 'rescue package' for Labor health scheme

Date May 2, 2015 - 11:42PM

Adam Gartrell

The costly electronic health scheme is a white elephant and should be scrapped, expert says.
The Abbott government will spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to salvage a Labor's electronic health scheme that has been branded an irredeemable failure.
Five hundred days after receiving a review into the e-health system – a scheme that has already cost taxpayers $1 billion over the last five years – the coalition still has not publicly announced whether it intends to save it or axe it.
But Fairfax Media has learnt the government has decided to try to save the system and will make the announcement in the May 12 budget. The rescue package is set to cost hundreds of millions of dollars over the next four years.

Blowout fears for $1bn Centrelink IT system overhaul

Fran Foo

Centrelink’s new $1 billion-plus IT system could be doomed if ­politicians don’t heed lessons of the past, cave in to public pressure and rush to deliver undercooked projects, analysts warn.
An analysis by The Australian shows that taxpayers have been saddled with billions of dollars in additional costs for bungled IT projects over the years.
One of the biggest bungles in history — Queensland Health’s payroll debacle — will cost 900 per cent more, or an additional $1.1bn, until 2017 — from $98 million to a projected $1.2bn.

Health, fitness apps and devices worry privacy experts due to data mining issues

Posted about 4 hours ago
As mobile health and fitness apps and wearables gain popularity in Australia, privacy experts have raised concerns that companies are monetising personal medical information.
There are many very clever data scientists who know exactly how to access open information that people voluntarily upload to the web.
Professor Deborah Lupton
There are thousands of health and fitness devices and apps on the market, but it is not always clear if users' data is kept confidential.

GPs still opting for snail mail

1 May, 2015 Amanda Davey

Latest News

GPs are slow to embrace e-health technology with many still preferring to send medical records by post and fax, finds a survey of 423 practices.
While more than three-quarters of those surveyed think sharing records electronically has the potential to reduce administration burden and enhance the sharing of patient information, almost half are continuing to use post and fax.
The survey, by clinical and practice management software vendor Medical Director, shows few practices are using online booking systems and just over one-quarter have adopted automated reminder systems to notify patients of upcoming appointments.
Furthermore, despite initial enthusiasm for the government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) System that was launched in 2012, uptake is low, with only 12% of city-based and 9% of regional practices using the system.

Health professionals missing the e-Health bandwagon

Despite feeling the pressure to increase bookings and cut costs, many health professionals are missing opportunities presented by e-health technology that would be of benefit to patients a new whitepaper says.
According to the Practice pressures and e-health realities whitepaper, prepared by MedicalDirector, almost 40 per cent of health professionals think speculation over government changes to Medicare has put their practices under pressure to cut costs or increase bookings.
14 per cent had already experienced a drop in bookings.
Only 17 per cent had used an online booking system however, which would make it easier for patients to secure appointments, and less than a third used an automated reminder system to notify patients of upcoming appointments – even though of those who did, 70 per cent found it reduced no shows and late patients.

E-health system ‘halved appointments’ at Repat

Bension Siebert | 30 April 2015
ADELAIDE | The number of outpatient appointments available to older people and veterans at the Repatriation General Hospital has been halved because of the state’s troubled $422 million electronic patient records system, senior doctors have revealed.
The minutes of this year’s annual general meeting of the Medical Staff Society, given to InDaily by an SA Health employee, say that the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) has severely slowed patient care at the Repat.
“To accommodate the needs of EPAS, the Repatriation General Hospital has reduced outpatient appointments by 50 per cent,” the document says.
Outpatient services provided at the Repat include general medicine, surgery and rehabilitation, cardiology, mental health, neurology, psychiatry and urology services, among others.
SA Health was unable to confirm or deny the reduction in appointments before deadline this morning.

Payments outsourcing stuck in Medicare waiting room

A final decision on whether more than $30 billion a year in Medicare benefit claims and payments processing will be outsourced to private industry looks no closer to resolution.
The Department of Health has confirmed it is still mulling over its options despite issuing a heavily publicised call out to commercial providers to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) in August 2014.
“The EOI process is still with the Department of Health and possible next steps are under consideration,” a Health spokesperson told Government News late last week.
Despite a flurry of initial submissions last year, parts of industry now appear to have heavily tempered any expectation of movement on contracts or pilot projects until at least 2016 because of a new review of the Medical Benefits Scheme and the Pharmaceutical Benefits scheme instigated by recently appointed Health Minister Sussan Ley.

NSW's top tech doctor reflects on nine months in the role

Intensive care 'much easier' than managing statewide e-health.

Nine months into the role, NSW Health’s inaugural chief clinical information officer Dr John Lambert is still coming to grips with the scale of the the job.
Lambert moved to Sydney from the western NSW town of Orange, where he headed the intensive care wing of a regional hospital, to take up the new role after the restructure of NSW Health's IT functions mid last year.
Intensive care has nothing on the health bureaucracy when it comes to daunting challenges, he told iTnews at HISA’s Sydney telehealth conference last week.

Google might buy your patents to counter trolls

The idea is to attract sellers who might sell their intellectual property to patent trolls
Google might buy your patents to keep them out of the hands of litigious patent trolls that critics contend are hampering innovation.
For a two-week period next month, Google will accept submissions from patent owners and possibly bid on the patents as part of its Patent Purchase Promotion, wrote Allen Lo, the company's deputy general counsel for patents.
The idea is to keep some patents out of the hands of so-called patent trolls, or companies that use patent licensing and lawsuits as their primary source of revenue.

Digital App Technology Benefits the Trauma Room

on April 22, 2015 at 9:36 am
Trauma specialists at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital have reported a positive response to the six-month trial of a new app designed specifically for the facility to assist with critical decision-making processes in time and resource restricted situations.
Available on iPhone and Android, the Westmead Trauma App was funded by a New South Wales Motor Accidents Authority grant and processes standard trauma algorithms (using a flow chart and easy-to-navigate options such as ‘pinch-to-zoom’, jump-words and pop-up boxes), presenting decision options based on the best available evidence.
Study author and trauma specialist Dr Jeremy Hsu noted the need for such a technology due to the nature of trauma response units, with urgent action needed and senior specialists not always on hand for consultation. The app has been designed for this very reason: quick, confident response in any situation.

NSW Health CIO commends data centre flood recovery

Central facility back up and running within hours.

eHealth NSW boss Michael Walsh has publicly commended the efforts of Hunter Valley-based IT support staff who worked to turn around a power outage threatening one of the health system’s core data centres during last week’s storms.
The region bore the worst of a dramatic storm cell that hit NSW earlylast week, and wreaked havoc on the electricity supply at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital.
John Hunter currently houses one of three major data centre facilities used by NSW Health to runs its statewide IT core.
A spokeswoman for the department told iTnews the John Hunter back-up power systems kicked in as planned, but ICT services struggled under “frequent fluctuations in the main power supply”.
  • May 1 2015 at 12:00 AM
  • Updated May 1 2015 at 4:46 AM

Lessons from David Thodey

Telstra's David Thodey spoke the AFR's David Ramli and Tony Boyd on his last day after six years as CEO of Australia's leading telco.
I would say leadership has changed in the world. The days of the all-knowing CEO are just not real. You know the world is moving so quickly through the internet, social media and the way people are informed, so I think leadership has changed.
I really am a great advocate for values-based leadership. We have regulatory considerations but our values drive our behaviour more than rules and I think that any organisation has got to move that way because it drives people to take ownership and be accountable and it also drives a better outcome for the customer.
I don't think customer advocacy is optional anymore. Customers are better informed, more discerning, than ever before. People listen more to what they read on social media than any other advertising so you have got to be authentic in your leadership and focus on customers. The wonderful thing about it being driven by the customer and not just having it as another one of your goals is that it makes it fundamental to who you are, even if you fail. We fail every day, we are not perfect, but we have that orientation. It forces you to look outside. Always be measured by something that is not your own impression of yourself but by what the customer says. In the end that is the only thing that matters. It influences product design and technology decisions, culture, behaviour etc etc. One thing I want to be very clear about – we do not have all the answers.

GP ordered to pay patient over privacy breach

30 April, 2015 Tessa Hoffman
A GP must pay $6500 to a patient after telling a police officer the man may have been psychotic.
The police sergeant had phoned the GP to ask if her patient could be “psychotic” after visiting him several days earlier to investigate a neighbourhood dispute and finding the patient spoke in a “highly excited and at times paranoid fashion”.
The GP — who had seen the patient at least 26 times over the previous two years for anxiety and stress at a Queensland medical centre — replied that “it was possible but further assessment was needed”.
The Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim found that this constituted a breach of the Privacy Act 1998's National Privacy Principles, in a determination made in March.

Babies using mobile media, new study reveals

  • AAP
  • April 27, 2015 11:11AM
More than a third of babies in the US are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they’re walking or talking, according to a new study.
And by their first birthday, one in seven infants is using devices for at least an hour a day.
The results of the First Exposure and Use of Mobile Media in Young Children survey was presented to the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego on the weekend.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under two-years-old.

Sonoa Health wins University of Utah prize as it moves towards creating a Facebook-style website for your health

  • April 27, 2015 9:39AM
  • Mathew Murphy and Network Writers
  • News Corp Australia
AN Australian start-up has been recognised overseas for using gaming to help improve health as part of a personalised website that millions could soon be using.
Sonoa Health has taken out first prize at the University of Utah’s Games4Health competition for a series of personalised games targeting individual health issues.
Sonoa’s Health&games team, led by Dr Bow Tauro, is developing a series of games to raise awareness of certain health conditions.
HEALTHKIT is a global platform for patients and practitioners around the world that is making healthcare efficient, effective and accessible for everyone and everywhere.  With practitioners in over 40 countries globally, Health Kit is one of the widest networks of practitioners and patients in the world.  Health informatics has more potential to save lives than drug innovations alone. 

Here’s why Citadel Group Ltd surged 21% today

By Ryan Newman - May 1, 2015 | More on: VET
On a day where the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has managed to piece together a slight gain, shares of Citadel Group Ltd (ASX: CGL) have skyrocketed just over 21% to be trading at a new high of $3.05.
Citadel, which boasts a market capitalisation of roughly $135 million, is a company that provides education and technology services to help its clients maximise value and business outcomes.
It listed on the ASX late last year and has generated a return of almost 36% since then, which compares very favourably to Vocation Ltd (ASX: VET) and Ashley Services Group Ltd (ASX: ASH), two other education providers which have plummeted in that time.

Abbott Government calls for Medicare overhaul

The Abbott government has launched a review of the Medicare system, with a particular focus on dealing with funding models for high care patients, and those with chronic diseases, including diabetes.
One of the distinct possibilities is a move from fee-for-service towards an outcome-based funding model, such as occurs in several other countries, including the United States  with its Accountable Care Organisations.
According to a statement from Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, the feedback from consultations with stakeholders indicated Medicare’s structure no longer efficiently supported patients and practitioners to manage chronic conditions or the complex interactions between primary and acute care.

Could robots like Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller Ex Machina's heroine Ava replace women?

Date April 26, 2015 - 9:46PM

Maureen Dowd

Are women necessary?
Not with Ava around.
Even without hair on her head or flesh on her legs, Ava has enough allure and cunning to become a classic film noir robot vixen.
Despite being a plastic and mesh gizmo locked in a glass cell, she can enmesh men with frightening ease.
Ava is the appealing heroine, or apocalyptic villainess, of Ex Machina, a stylish sci-fi thriller set in the near future, written and directed by Alex Garland, a 44-year-old Brit who wrote the 2002 zombie hit 28 Days Later.

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