Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late 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, October 05, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 5th October, 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

Really a very quiet week - with all sorts of things going on in the background - apparently including all sorts of secret meetings regarding the ACeH. It really is a travesty just how un-transparent the present governance on e-Health it in Australia.

Thousands of medical devices are vulnerable to hacking, security researchers say

The security flaws put patients' health at risk
Next time you go for an MRI scan, remember that the doctor might not be the only one who sees your results.
Thousands of medical devices, including MRI scanners, x-ray machines and drug infusion pumps, are vulnerable to hacking, creating significant health risks for patients, security researchers said this week.
The risks arise partly because medical equipment is increasingly connected to the Internet so that data can be fed into electronic patient records systems, said researcher Scott Erven [cq], who presented his findings with fellow researcher Mark Collao [cq] at the DerbyCon security conference.
Besides the privacy concerns, there are safety implications if hackers can alter people's medical records and treatment plans, Erven said.
"As these devices start to become connected, not only can your data gets stolen but there are potential adverse safety issues," he said.
The researchers located medical devices by searching for terms like "radiology" and "podiatry" in Shodan, a search engine for finding Internet-connected devices.

Warning over 'Uberisation' of medicine

30 September, 2015 Tessa Hoffman 
A new service offering pay-by-the-minute GP telephone consults has been branded ‘Uber for medicine’ by health information experts.
Teleconsult, launched a week ago, allows patients to book phone consultations with GPs and other specialists through an online booking system.
Doctors who are signed up to the scheme set their own minute-by-minute fees, paying the company 25% a call, plus a 25 cent-per-minute charge to use the system.
There is no Medicare rebate for the service.
However, the system has been dubbed “Uber for medicine” by Professor Enrico Coiera, professor of health informatics at Macquarie University, in reference to the Uber taxi app that allows drivers without a taxi or hire car license to transport passengers for a fee.

Solution to GP email misery on the horizon

Alice Klein | 1 October, 2015 | 
There may be light at the end of the tunnel for GPs who are fed up with using multiple different secure messaging services to email patient information to other doctors, industry insiders say.
Australian doctors are currently forced to use up to 10 secure messaging services in order to be compatible with each other's email systems — a situation that the chair of the RACGP's e-health committee calls an "outrage".
"It's the same as if Telstra phones did not talk to Optus phones, which did not talk to Vodafone phones," Dr Nathan Pinskier told the audience at the RACGP's annual conference last week.
"The vendors have basically taken a lockdown perspective. They're saying, ‘I have a share of the pie; it's protected'."

Mental health app: MoodMission to deliver cognitive therapy on smartphones

Date October 4, 2015 - 12:15AM

Bianca Hall

Reporter for The Age

It seems like there's an app for everything these days – to help us sleep, to exercise better and even take care of our mental health.
Now, a Monash University project is aiming to bring cognitive behavioural therapy, a commonly used psychological treatment method, to users' smartphones.
David Bakker​, a doctor of psychology student, and his supervisor, Associate Professor Nikki Rickard, have been developing the app for the past 18 months.
The result is MoodMission​, which the researchers say could help people learn and use better ways of coping with low moods and anxious feelings.

Integral Diagnostics seeks to raise $133.7m in share float

Date October 1, 2015 - 4:31PM

Tim Binsted

Integral Diagnostics is seeking $133.7 million in an initial public offer that will see the diagnostic imaging company hit the ASX by the end of the month.
The nation's fourth-biggest provider of X-rays, PET scans and MRIs will offer 48.6 per cent of its shares at $1.91 a piece, as flagged by Street Talk.
In 2014-15, Integral provided almost 1 million patient images and generated $160 million in pro-forma revenue and $25.4 million of earnings before interest and tax from its 44 radiology sites.
"Integral is a leading diagnostics imaging business with a strong competitive position in the locations in which it operates," Integral chairman Helen Kurincic said in a statement.

Health privacy in Australia – new OAIC guidance will help health providers navigate the legal landscape

Australia October 1 2015
Understandably most people are sensitive about protecting their personal health information. For this reason, Australia’s privacy laws give heath information a higher level of protection than other types of personal data.
However, the myriad of privacy laws that apply to health information make it challenging for health providers to know and comply with their obligations.  
This week’s release of new health privacy guidance by the Australian Privacy Commissioner is a welcome move, as is the recent guidance issued by the Australian Medical Association on taking clinical images with personal devices.

Draft health privacy resources released for consultation

Australia October 1 2015
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released for consultation a series of draft health privacy resources for health service providers and consumers (Resources).  The Resources will replace the OAIC’s existing health privacy guidance materials, which were released prior to the 2014 reforms to thePrivacy Act 1988 (Cth).
The Resources will supplement the OAIC's Australian Privacy Principle guidelines, providing more detailed guidance on the APPs in the health and research context.
The Resources comprise of 11 business resources for health service providers and 2 fact sheets for consumers.  They cover a number of topics relevant to the handling of health information by health service providers as follows:

“A slap in the face for pharmacists”

2 October, 2015 Chris Brooker 
The decision to up-schedule all codeine-containing products to S4 is a “slap in the face for pharmacy”, former Guild national president Kos Sclavos believes.
“Pharmacists should rightly be angry about the proposed decision to up schedule codeine based products to prescription only,” Mr Sclavos (pictured) says.
“Their proposed solution won’t fix the problem, will disadvantage millions of Australians, and it will cause further strain on an unsustainable Medicare system”.
“I can guarantee the proposal won’t work”.

Women don't hold back in web posts

30 September 2015
TO INVESTIGATE the impact of recurrent UTIs, researchers in the UK monitored the Cystitis & Overactive Bladder Foundation’s website.
There were 7870 posts to the forum, including contributions from Australians. Many women had a long history of recurrent infections. Common complaints were cystitis following sex and symptoms after the menopause.
The women described a broader range of problems than the classic UTI symptoms. Some attributed their bladder symptoms to causes other than infection, such as a lack of self-esteem.

App aims to help doctors avoid burnout

30 September 2015
IT WOULD be hard to find a doctor who has not experienced periods of high-level stress associated with their job, and statistics would suggest at least 40% of doctors suffer from burnout at some point in their careers.
For a cohort of workaholic perfectionists, Dr Dike Drummond, CEO of the Happy MD, feels that doctors can be reluctant to admit symptoms to themselves, let alone seek help. Using his experience as a coach for physicians, he produced this app for medical professionals to attempt to prevent physical and emotional exhaustion and compassion fatigue.
The app contains a wealth of tools and information. Firstly, there are five videos detailing the definition and basic signs and symptoms of burnout. These are followed by 14 short videos containing ‘burnout power tools’ for stress management, work/life balance and practice efficiency. Finally, there are audio guides for meditation.
  • Sep 30 2015 at 12:00 AM

ResApp on the road to diagnosis by smartphone

ASX-listed telehealth minnow ResApp will release clinical trial results on Wednesday demonstrating its technology can diagnose respiratory illnesses simply by having a patient cough into a smartphone.
The company, which has a market value of just $15 million, will publish the results of a trial testing ResApp's ability to diagnose pneumonia and asthma in almost 200 patients at the Joondalup Medical Campus and Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth.
"There's almost 100 per cent accuracy diagnosing illnesses from coughing into a phone. It's a world first," ResApp vice-president Brian Leedman said. 
ResApp chief executive Tony Keating said the technology had the potential to radically reduce healthcare costs and revolutionise diagnostic screening.

Tabbot Foundation phone abortion service seeks extra help due to overwhelming demand

Date September 30, 2015 - 4:31PM

Amy Corderoy

Health Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Abortion medications now available by phone

Reproductive Choice Australia say a new telephone service will make abortion drugs more accessible in rural areas.
A new telephone abortion service that allows women to terminate their pregnancy without meeting a doctor or pharmacist face-to-face has been so overwhelmed by prospective patients it cannot meet the demand, its medical director says.
On Monday, Fairfax Media revealed a service called the Tabbot Foundation would prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol (commonly known as RU486) for women who are suitable for a medical abortion and are assessed via telephone consultation.
The service has since received enquiries from four times the number of people it is able to treat, and is now trying to find alternative services for some women. 

Australia Now Offers Abortion-By-Phone To Improve Access In Rural Areas

Sep 28, 2015 05:08 PM By Susan Scutti
The Australian government increased pregnancy termination access by launching a new abortion-by-phone service on Monday. Kenji Nakamura, CC by 2.0
As of Monday, the Australian government increased pregnancy termination access by launching a new abortion-by-phone service, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Women seeking an abortion can call the Tabbot Foundation, which will arrange referrals for ultrasound and pathology tests, followed by a phone consultation. If all goes well, the foundation will then mail the abortion drug, mifepristone, along with step-by-step instructions directly to the woman. (In July 2013, Australia’s Minister of Health first approved mifepristone as part of the country’s pharmaceutical benefits program.) According to the Tabbot Foundation’s website, mifepristone is a safe procedure that has already been used by millions of women in more than 50 countries.

WA Health ordered to hire CIO "as soon as possible"

Apr 14 2014 5:22AM

Parliamentary committee decries IT governance.

The WA Parliament’s education and health committee has formally called on the state’s Health department to appoint a permanent chief information officer with haste, as four years of acting executives has undermined its IT capabilities.
Late last week the committee handed down the findings of its inquiry in the Fiona Stanley Hospital build, which concluded that weak and nebulous leadership of the project allowed serious IT concerns to simmer away unnoticed until they resulted in a six month delay to the facility opening its doors, costing the state nearly $120 million.
The department’s IT branch, the Health Information Network, was always underequipped to meet the ambitious technology vision set out for the hospital, the committee found – and the fact that it hasn’t had a permanent CIO for nearly four years hasn’t helped.

Disruptive Health Business GP2U Attracts Series A Funding

Telehealth GP and Specialist consultation business  lands two strategic investors and new CEO
“I suppose you could say we’ve done something radical,” explains GP2U founder Dr James Freeman.  “It used to be that the only way to see a doctor was first to travel to a location of the doctors choosing. With Telehealth we can deliver the care at a time and place that suits both parties in a way that is convenient, efficient and patient centric.”
“As medical students we’re taught 70% or more of diagnosis lies in the history, so talking face to face and making visual observations lives at the heart of good medicine.  Of course you can’t do everything remotely but why insist patients always come to us when we can bring some of Australia’s best doctors to them via video online?” says Dr Freeman.
Last year GP2U provided over 20,000 GP and Specialist appointments and is growing rapidly.
“Our goal is to deliver high quality care to patients, regardless of where they live, using the latest communications technologies.  It’s attracting strong investor interest and we’re happy to announce two major new investors,” Dr Freeman said.

Mobile health potential

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 28 September, 2015
NEW Australian research showing text messaging can be an effective health promotion tool for patients with coronary heart disease has been welcomed by experts, but they say more sophisticated, individualised approaches could yield even greater health benefits. (1)
Professor Sven-Erik Bursell, professor of telehealth at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, Sydney Medical School, said existing mobile technology could be used to personalise health education for patients, to help them sustain lifestyle modification over longer periods and improve clinical outcomes.
“We can go a long way beyond your generic SMS [short message service] and, if we can do this in a meaningful way, then the clinical outcomes improvement and health impacts can increase significantly”, Professor Bursell told MJA InSight.

All the bottom-line action

September 28, 2015
Peter Mac to recover $1.4 million pa with PowerHealth’s Enterprise Billing System
Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has replaced their five aging billing systems with PowerHealth Solutions’ enterprise patient billing system and is set to recover an estimated $1.4 million per annum in rejected claims and delayed or uncollected payments. The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer and one of an elite group of cancer hospitals worldwide with embedded research laboratories, which are uniquely integrated with extensive clinical and cancer experiences research programs. Peter Mac treats more cancer patients each year than any other hospital in Australia and their highly skilled medical, nursing and allied health team is backed by the largest cancer research group in the country. Peter Mac Chief Finance Officer Dennis O’Keeffe said, “PowerHealth Solutions are an exceptional and responsive vendor who go well beyond the call of duty. They have worked hard alongside our project team to deliver the new system on schedule, in time for our move to our new home in Parkville in 2016.”

NBN satellite Sky Muster set for blast off as ground stations prepare for new internet service

September 29, 2015
A network of 10 ground stations around Australia are ready and waiting for the launch of NBN's satellite, Sky Muster, which leaves Earth on Thursday to improve services in rural and remote areas.
The stations, in locations like Geeveston in southern Tasmania, Roma in outback Queensland, Kalgoorlie in Western Australia and Bourke in north-west New South Wales, will form a network that beams the NBN to the most remote parts of Australia.
That includes as far south as Macquarie Island, east to Norfolk Island and far off Australia's west coast to Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands.
NBN's corporate affairs manager in Tasmania, Russell Kelly, said the $2 billion network was the final piece of the NBN puzzle.

Evidence of flowing water on Mars, says NASA

  • Tom Whipple
  • The Times
  • September 29, 2015 10:50AM
The streaks form in the spring on the sun-facing sides of mountain ranges on Mars. Dark smears on the sand, they grow and lengthen as summer progresses. Then the planet’s all too brief balmy period, when temperatures exceed minus 20 Celsius, ends. And with it, they just disappear.
Now scientists believe they have an explanation for these enigmatic lines and, for a planet until recently considered arid, desolate and lifeless, the implications are profound.
Water is flowing on Mars.
More than that though, the annual ebb and flow of these salty streams could lead to the resolution of a particular terrestrial obsession that has itself ebbed and flowed through the centuries: is there life on Mars?
It was back in 2010 when the lines were first spotted, from an orbiter 24,000 kilometres above the surface. Some were big, up to five metres wide. Others were only 25cms across, right at the limits of the satellite’s resolution. The interesting thing, though, was they were not static.

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