Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 20th July, 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 good week with seemingly an increasing recognition that unless the Government gives some serious attention to the various submissions on the PCEHR and how it might be fixed or abandoned.
It is going to be very interesting to see just what comes out in due course from DoH. With the trials on opt-out to be happening very soon there is some urgency to sort out just what exactly be trialled. The current PCEHR manifestation is hardly a working model worth trialling.

SA Health inquiry into how medical records linked to patient death disappeared from Lyell McEwin Hospital database

  • The Advertiser
  • July 15, 2015 8:41AM
SA Health will investigate itself over claims that confidential medical records critical of management and linked to a patient’s death were deleted by a bureaucrat.
The Opposition has demanded an independent investigation of the incident at Lyell McEwin Hospital and warned that the “calculated deletion” of the medical record puts the entire system’s integrity in question and has ramifications for future legal proceedings.
SA Health chief executive David Swan, under direction from Health Minister Jack Snelling, has appointed SA Health chief medical officer Professor Paddy Phillips to review the incident, which is likely to take about six weeks.
“If we’re got a problem in our system we want to know about it so we can deal with it,” Mr Swan told 891 ABC radio today.

Telehealth app developer ResApp breathes easy on relisting

The company behind an inventive telehealth app ResApp, which allows doctors to diagnose a host of respiratory diseases through a smartphone, is relisting on the ASX today.
The technology, undergoing testing at Joondalup Hospital in Western Australia, allows doctors to diagnose respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma through a cough into a smartphone.
Users cough into the phone’s microphone from up to two ­metres away, and ResApp’s algorithms analyse the sound of the cough using machine-learning technology licensed from the University of Queensland. The app looks for signatures in that cough and matches those signatures to respiratory diseases.
Currently, doctors use the sound signature via a stethoscope, but by enabling diagnoses through smartphones ResApp enables doctors to consult online or over the phone, or patients could even diagnose themselves. A worker could for example use the app at home in the morning before deciding whether to go to work.

Emergency+ app arrives on Windows Phone

More than 98 per cent of smartphone users can now use state emergency services app
The NSW government has launched a Windows Phone version of the Emergency+ app developed to help Australians call the right number for help in emergency and non-emergency situations.
The app was introduced in December 2013 for iOS and Android devices and has been downloaded more than 270,000 times.
With the launch of the Windows Phone version, over 98 per cent of smartphone users in Australia have access to the app, according to the government. NSW Police assistant commissioner Peter Barrie said that the app uses the GPS function of smartphones to pinpoint the caller’s exact location, which can then be passed on to emergency services.

Exclusive: Govt keeps GP after-hours helpline

14th Jul 2015
THE federal government has backed away from a decision to axe its After Hours GP Helpline to cater for Australians who can’t see a GP outside regular hours. 
Medical Observer has confirmed the much-criticised phone service will be revamped to play a safety-net role in the overhaul of after-hours primary care.
Health Minister Sussan Ley told MO the government remains committed to providing doctors with incentives to see patients face to face after hours, not just over the phone.
“This is simply an added safety support net to make sure in the event a doctor is not available during unsociable hours face to face they will still have access to one over the phone,” she said.

Converged infrastructure to underpin desktop virtualization at Mater Health

End in sight for health-care provider's migration from Windows XP to Windows 7
Ease of deployment and management makes it likely that an increasing proportion of Mater Health Services' virtual desktops will be delivered courtesy of converged infrastructure.
The IT team at the organisation late last year deployed its first appliance from CI vendor Nutanix, said Peter Nomikos, IT services director at the health-care provider.
"We got our first block just before Christmas and we installed it in two hours," Nomikos said.
"We were impressed by that, clearly. We put some synthetic load on, did a number of tests to prove its capabilities and its performance, and we were very, very impressed."

The Danish health IT solution: small-scale brilliance

When his wife attended a conference in Copenhagen, Adelaide GP and RACGP board member Dr Daniel Byrne took the opportunity to find out why Denmark is one of the world leaders in the use of e-health.

One of Australia’s problems is the reliance on paper documents. For example, almost every healthcare organisation designs their own referral forms and we still fax and post a lot of documents. In Denmark a ‘one-letter solution’ was introduced years ago: one electronic form used by thousands of health organisations.
“No patient ever left the surgery with any paper,” said Dr Byrne. “It seemed very well organised with a great e-health network. No faxes were used as everything is connected via secure networks – prescriptions, referrals, pathology and radiology ordering, even email consults.”

Practice Managers Brett McPherson and Narelle Supanz on why data cleansing is so important

Created on Thursday, 16 July 2015
In The Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) The Practice Manager magazine, Practice Managers Brett McPherson and Narelle Supanz explain why data cleansing is important and having clean patient data is good practice that will stand practices in good stead when they start uploading to the eHealth record.
First published in The Practice Manager magazine, Issue 2, 2015.

New eHealth Services for Healthcare Providers and Software Vendors

Created on Tuesday, 14 July 2015
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has released a number of new eHealth services for healthcare providers and software vendors.
NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming said that the foundations for a nationally connected eHealth system had been built and the new services will make it easier for healthcare providers and software vendors to connect to and use eHealth.
"The foundations are there and are being used across the country in GP clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other medical practices. Ultimately, we all want to see a critical mass of providers who are connected and meaningfully using eHealth to deliver better healthcare for patients.  These new services will help achieve this," Mr  Fleming said.

TeleXHealth wins Hack Aging event

Elderly people can use automated phone service to share health information
A system that helps elderly people share information about their health via an automated telephone service was the overall winner of IBM and HealthXL's 'Hack Aging' event held in Melbourne over the weekend.
The information is then digitally recorded, analysed and tracked on a dashboard, and can be accessed via a mobile application by the patient, their doctor, family or carer.
Developers TeleXHealth will work with clinicians and community care providers in Melbourne's Northern Health hospital network to refine and complete a prototype of their solution for trialling with patient groups.
In addition, the team will be invited to present their offering to 100 digital health professionals at the next quarterly HealthXL global gathering to be held in Munich during September.

News Round Up

16 July, 2015 Chris Brooker
E-health made easier
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has released a number of new e-Health services for healthcare providers and software vendors.
NEHTA CEO Peter Fleming said the new services will make it easier for healthcare providers and software vendors to connect to and use e-Health.
“Ultimately, we all want to see a critical mass of providers who are connected and meaningfully using e-Health to deliver better healthcare for patients. These new services will help achieve this,” Mr Fleming said.
Among the new initiatives are:
  • A new automated application tool for healthcare providers to use when registering for eHealth. The new eHealth online forms service provides customer support, tips and advice for healthcare providers.  
  • On demand eHealth training. This service will enable healthcare providers to familiarise themselves with the eHealth functions in their software.
  • Conformance, Compliance and Declaration for Software Vendors. This will improve the timeliness and affordability of connecting to the PCEHR for vendors by leveraging existing software development and processes within vendors and implementing organisations. 

Check on your phone for signs of depression

  • Oliver Moody
  • The Times
  • July 16, 2015 12:35PM
Doctors could monitor people’s mobile phone use for signs of depression, according to a study that has shown it to be a more accurate indicator of the condition than a daily happiness questionnaire.
The data, which was collected by smartphones, shows a marked difference between the lives of people who are depressed versus those who do not suffer from the condition.
Scientists found that people who had been diagnosed with depression spent four times longer using their smartphones each day than people who were not depressed.
Sohrob Saeb, a computer scientist at Northwestern University near Chicago, devised a program called Purple Robot, which kept tabs on the mobile phone use — excluding phone calls — of 40 people in the study, 14 of whom had been diagnosed with depression.

Tech Talk: Help for rural communities

15 July, 2015 Serkan Ozturk
CSIRO camera to help GPs screen for eye disease
GPs in rural and isolated areas could be screening for eye disease in the near future following a successful Federal Government–funded trial of a new low-cost retinal camera.
The Remote-I platform, developed by CSIRO, captures high-resolution images of the retina, which can then be uploaded to a cloud server over satellite broadband to be reviewed by an ophthalmologist.
The trial involved 1300 people and was carried out in remote rural areas of WA and Queensland. It identified 68 people as being at high risk of going blind, while eight were found to have severe diabetic retinopathy.
“This kind of low-cost technology could be beneficial to their practice in rural and remote areas,” said CSIRO trial leader Professor Yogi Kanagasingam.

GP tool to assess suicide risk

16th Jul 2015
A NEW, free suicide risk assessment tool available to GPs is designed to better capture the spectrum of suicidality and predict future suicidal behaviour.
Dr Keith Harris (PhD), adjunct senior fellow at the University of Queensland’s school of psychology, began developing the Suicidal Affect-Behaviour-Cognition Scale (SABCS) after four of his colleagues ended their own lives within one year.
Most other tools don’t capture affect, or the feeling of wanting to die, instead focusing on behaviour and cognition, he says.
But affect plays an important part in assessing someone’s future suicidality, and the intent to suicide needs more attention, he says.

Get elderly patients online

Charlotte Mitchell
Monday, 13 July, 2015
GPs should routinely ask their older patients to set up a personally controlled electronic health record to help them share medical information with their families, according to the chair of the National E-Health Transition Authority.
Dr Steve Hambleton, who is also a Queensland GP, said that in his experience only a couple of patients have ever declined the chance to register for a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
“From a GP point of view, we do want a patient to share information with their family, especially as they get older and develop more illnesses”, Dr Hambleton told MJA InSight.
He was commenting on US research that found elderly patients often shared control of their personal health information and decision making with family and friends, but the sharing involved complex issues, even under the most well-meaning circumstances. (1)

Should elderly patients be encouraged to have an e-health record that is shared with family and friends?

Yes – it’s essential 27% (15 votes)
Maybe – only with trusted people 42% (23 votes)
No – it’s a patient’s decision 31% (17 votes)
Total votes: 55

Wearable Technology - Privacy - 9 July 2015

Australia July 9 2015
There is a proliferation of wearable technology as mainstream consumer products. The ways in which these new technologies record, quantify and track our physical parameters are unprecedented. For example, when synched with sensors in wearables and smart phones, apps for Apple and Android devices offer medication reminders, fertility cycle tracking, blood glucose monitors and even ECG monitoring, which connect to phones with Bluetooth capabilities. This is a trend known as the 'quantified self'.
This means that wearables and smart phones now serve as mechanisms for storing vast amounts of personal information, and there are concerns that companies may be at risk of breaching privacy protection laws by using and commercialising that personal information.

E-health, which vaporises out in public

13th Jul 2015
IT’S NOT often I start a column with a direct Hansard quote, but South Australian Liberal senator Anne Ruston provided pure gold during last month’s budget estimates hearing on NEHTA’s e-health.
Senator Ruston: My questions are around e-cigarettes or e-vaporisers, or whatever they are supposedly called.
Chair: I was told it was e-health.
Ruston: Is that not the right place?
Chair: This is e-health.
Ruston: Brilliant. That was quick.
At that point, Ruston sat down, but I would gladly have tagged into the ring.
Chair: And you are…?
Me: Coleman, an e-health expert.

Orion Health Named a Leader in IDC Health Information Exchange MarketScape Report

Company Recognized for Strength in Population Health, Comprehensive Platform and Robust Integration Technology
July 16, 2015 12:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time
BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orion Health™, a population health management and healthcare integration company, today announced that it has been named a leader in the IDC MarketScape report, titled “U.S. Health Information Exchange Platform Solutions 2015 Vendor Assessment.” Orion Health is one of only seven vendors evaluated in the report, all of which were selected based on their market share, market penetration, and growth potential.
“U.S. Health Information Exchange Platform Solutions 2015 Vendor Assessment.”
This IDC MarketScape report, which provides an evaluation of the leading health information exchange (HIE) technology vendors in the healthcare industry, specifically highlights Orion Health’s Healthier Populations Solution Suite, a comprehensive set of interoperability and data aggregation tools including the following products.

Data from Pluto and its moon reveal strange new worlds to scientists

Date July 18, 2015 - 8:19AM

Eric Berger

An image recorded by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft shows a heart-shaped feature on the surface of Pluto that scientists have named the "Tombaugh Regio" after Pluto's discoverer Clyde Tombaugh.
After collecting an enormous treasure trove of photos and scientific information during its triumphant fly-by of Pluto this week, the New Horizons spacecraft began sending a trickle of data back to Earth on Wednesday.
It was more than enough.
Only a few hours of data out of a cache that will take 16 months to fully transmit home provided scientists with tantalising clues and mysteries about Pluto and its largest moon, Charon.
After looking at just 1 per cent of Pluto's surface, the scientists found mountains of ice towering 3350 metres above the dwarf planet. On Charon, they observed a canyon chiselled 10 kilometres deep into the moon's surface. Earth's own Grand Canyon is but 1.6 kilometres deep.

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