Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 23rd November, 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 very quiet week really but some movement in various directions. Good to see there is actually so much to report!

Re-booting ehealth

Australia November 16 2015

In brief

  • The uptake of eHealth records has been low, with only 10% of Australians having registered, an insufficient population for an effective national system.
  • The ‘re-booting’ of eHealth, announced by Minister Ley in May 2015, has progressed with the passing of the Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill 2015 (Cth) by both houses of Parliament.
  • The most dramatic reform is a shift from an ‘opt-in’ to an ‘opt-out’ approach to enrolment, which is likely to give the system the necessary ubiquity to drive utilisation and innovation.
  • The regulation of the use of health identifiers and health information has been strengthened as a corollary of the adoption of an ‘opt out’ model.
  • Further reform is expected, with the expansion of the role of the National eHealth Transition Authority under a new structure, to be called the Australian Commission for eHealth.

Taxpayer records exposed by serious ATO, myGov security flaw

Date November 19, 2015 - 12:00AM

Hannah Francis

Technology Reporter

Australians' private tax records were left unsecured thanks to a serious flaw in how the tax office's online services connect with myGov, in the latest of a series of security bungles related to the federal government's online services.
Experts have raised concerns over the handling of IT security issues by the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Human Services, which runs the overarching service portal myGov, after a taxpayer who tried to report the issue claimed he was hung up on twice by the agencies' call centre staff.
Sydney IT professional JP Liew recently discovered the flaw when logging into myGov to access his online tax records, only to discover he was looking at his wife's.

Audit of GP clinics flags patient privacy risks

Tessa Hoffman | 19 November, 2015 | 0 comments Read Later
Lax security measures in GP clinics are putting patients’ electronic records at risk of privacy breaches, a government audit has found.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner assessed privacy risks to patient information held by seven practices in Victoria and NSW.
It found the clinics – which had between four and 20 GPs — were at medium to high risk of breaching privacy laws when using IT and the MyHeath Record (formerly PCEHR) system, details of which were released in a reported last month.
Last month, Australian Doctor reported that GPs and practice staff face jail and fines of up to $108,000 for misuse of the e-health system under controversial laws being pushed through the Federal Parliament.

PANEL: How collaboration on data and technology is making medicine smarter

Chris Pash Today at 9:00 AM
Big data is more commonly associated with helping business make more profit but researchers are reaping enormous benefits benefits in health care and medicine.
The convergence of technology and healthcare is creating opportunities across disciplines, creating partnerships and breakthroughs.
The first step to getting the most out of big data is to get the data itself.
Information and knowledge tends to exist and stay in silos, according to Sean Hogan, global vice president of health for IBM, who spoke at a Business Insider event in Sydney, Health & Technology Frontiers, as a member of a panel of experts.

E-health key to mental health reform: Ley

Serkan Ozturk | 17 November, 2015 | 
The Federal Government wants digital programs to play a central role in reforming mental health care, despite growing concerns over the efficacy of treatments such as online CBT.
Speaking in Federal Parliament late last week, Health Minister Sussan Ley signalled that the eagerly awaited report into the country's mental health system by her appointed expert reference group would be released before the end of the year.
Foreshadowing the report's contents, Ms Ley told parliament the recommended reforms contained within it would be "significant, far-reaching and very important".  
A key part of that would be the far greater use of online mental health programs, she said.

Shared Health Summary Versus Event Summary

Created on Tuesday, 17 November 2015
In the eHealth record system, the Shared Health Summary and the Event Summary are two separate clinical documents – you can find the different features of each one here.

Goodbye PCEHR, hello My Health Record

16 November 2015
THE Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) will officially be re-branded as My Health Record, following the Senate’s passing of the eHealth bill with Labor and Greens support late last week.
It will also mean the opt-out eHealth trials in northern Queensland and the Nepean and Blue Mountains in NSW, foreshadowed by Health Minister Sussan Ley two weeks ago, will definitely go ahead early next year.
Under the newly passed Health Legislation Amendment (eHealth) Bill 2015, if the regional opt-out trials are successful, they will be rolled out nationally, probably in 2017. 
And while there is change under way, the much-troubled system continues to attract criticism in several reports released this month that focus on its low uptake, privacy and inter-operability issues.

Treat anonymised data as personal information: Pilgrim

Timothy Pilgrim

Privacy Commissioner warns of modern matching methods.

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has warned businesses that de-identifying datasets will not absolve them of the need to meet the stringent information protection demands of the Privacy Act.
Speaking to the International Association of Privacy Professionals today, Pilgrim said even anonymised datasets should be treated the same as personally identifiable information to future-proof organisations against increasingly sophisticated data matching efforts.
“The current challenge facing all organisations that handle large data sets is that data sets of ‘anonymous data’ are fast becoming identifiable'" he told the conference. 
“Personal information is not just that which does identify you, but that which may."

Releasing anonymised data creates a future technical debt: APF

Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) has come out today in support of the push to treat ‘anonymised data’ as personal information.
Yesterday Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim called for anonymised datasets to be treated the same as personally identifiable information, which can then be protected by the Privacy Act.
The APF chair, Dr. Bernard Robertson-Dunn agrees. He said, “We are creating a technical debt into the future by releasing whole data sets of 'anonymised' personal information under the brand 'open data'."
A couple of years ago the Federal government decided to encourage most of its publications—for example, River Flow Heights, Rainfall—to be made publicly available under open content licences.

Phone abortion service proves popular

Alice Klein | 20 November, 2015 | 
A telephone abortion service that allows women to bypass their GP has been inundated with thousands of requests since its launch in September.
The Tabbot Foundation received more than 2500 enquiries in the first two days after launching, says medical director Dr Paul Hyland.
And the service continues to receive about 50 enquiries a day, with the number steadily growing.
The foundation, which mails out mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol to eligible women, has been clamouring to hire more staff in order to respond to the demand.

Doctor-shopper's death throws spotlight on prescribing monitor

19 November 2015
STATE and territory governments are under increasing pressure to implement real-time monitoring of prescription services following the death of a Sydney mother who visited six GPs within 10 days before fatally overdosing on prescription drugs.
NSW deputy coroner Carmel Forbes made no recommendations when she handed down her finding into the death of Christine Drinnan from what Ms Forbes said was “multidrug toxicity” by “misadventure”.
But Ms Forbes had already called for a real-time prescription monitoring service following inquests last year into the deaths of three people from overdoses of prescription drugs.
Ms Drinnan’s inquest would have been held concurrently with the other three but was suspended when Ms Forbes referred the matter to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, which decided earlier this year that no proceedings would be pursued.

Connecting online can help prevent social isolation in older people

18 November 2015, 20:10 CET
Social technologies could provide valuable opportunities for isolated older persons to stay connected to the world. shutterstock

Author Jenny Waycott

Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne
John*, a widower, is a retired engineer aged in his 90s. He lives alone in the family home and has struggled with loneliness and depression since his wife passed away. He feels frustrated that as he gets older he can no longer do many of the things he used to enjoy, which exacerbates his sense of feeling alone in the world.

Social isolation in old age

In Australia, one-quarter of people aged 65 and above live alone. Some older people, like John, will be vulnerable to social isolation, which occurs when people have limited opportunities for human contact and become disconnected from society.
Not all older people who live alone are socially isolated. And social isolation is certainly not limited to old age. But social isolation in old age is a significant concern. It is linked to a range of health problems and, in extreme cases, can lead to people growing old and dying alone.

Do teleoncology models of care enable safe delivery of chemotherapy in rural towns?

Bryan A Chan, Sarah L Larkins, Rebecca Evans, Kerrianne Watt and Sabe Sabesan
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (10): 406.
doi:  10.5694/mja15.00190
Objectives: To compare the dose intensity and toxicity profiles for patients undergoing chemotherapy at the Townsville Cancer Centre (TCC), a tertiary cancer centre in northern Queensland, with those for patients treated in Mount Isa, supervised by the same medical oncologists via teleoncology.
Design: A quasi-experimental design comparing two patient groups.
Setting: TCC and Mount Isa Hospital, which both operate under the auspices of the Townsville Teleoncology Network (TTN).
Participants: Eligible patients who received chemotherapy at TCC or Mt Isa Hospital between 1 May 2007 and 30 April 2012.
Intervention: Teleoncology model for managing cancer patients in rural towns.

Rural teleoncology works

Nicole MacKee
Monday, 16 November, 2015
HIGH-quality cancer care can be delivered to patients in rural settings with the support of medical oncologists via teleoncology, according to Australian researchers.
A 5-year comparison study, published in the MJA this week, found no difference in the dose intensity and toxicity profiles for patients undergoing chemotherapy in the Townsville tertiary cancer centre, and those treated via teleoncology at the rural Mount Isa Hospital with supervision from a medical oncologist. (1)
Professor Sanchia Aranda, Cancer Council Australia CEO, welcomed the findings. She said the teleoncology model, developed by James Cook University’s Associate Professor Sabe Sabesan, had effectively removed the barriers to the delivery of chemotherapy in small communities and was helping to build the capacity of local health services.

BaptistCare hunts for new CIO

Former CIO George Lymbers has left the organisation to pursue new opportunities
Not-for-profit organisation BaptistCare NSW & ACT is searching for a new CIO after George Lymbers left the organisation this month.
A BaptistCare spokesperson said Lymbers had left to pursue other interests. The CIO had been in the role for over three years. Lymbers declined to be interviewed on his current plans.
According to the job advertisement on Seek, the CIO will provide strategic and operational direction to the IT unit to meet the organisation's technology objectives and the successful delivery of organisation-wide,hardware, systems, communications and business applications that support and enable the business.
“This position is an opportunity for a CIO to lead the organisation with inspirational leadership that thrives on a challenge, is innovative in their approach and is an outstanding influencer of new ideas,” the ad states.

Stakeholders gear up on real-time codeine monitoring

The deferment of a final decision on the upscheduling of codeine-containing OTCs is very good news, but stakeholders now need to get moving quickly on the proposed real-time monitoring system for the medicines, they say.

“I think this is a win for everybody – for pharmacists, for consumers, for industry,” Deon Schoombie, CEO of the Australian Self-Medication Industry, told the AJP. “In terms of the principles of enhancing and supporting self care with the involvement of health professionals, this is the right way to go.
“It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate the role of pharmacists in Quality Use of Medicines.
“There’s a lot of pharmacists doing excellent work in this, and this is an opportunity to make it more consistent and universal, and raise the standard for everybody, bearing in mind that pharmacy overall is doing a great job.”

Boost for rural hospitals as NZ broadband rollout finishes

“Faster broadband enables healthcare to be delivered in new and innovative ways."
All rural public hospitals and integrated family health centres now have access to high speed broadband across New Zealand, as revealed by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Communications Minister Amy Adams.
According to Dr Coleman, the 39 hospitals and integrated family health centres identified by DHBs as candidates for the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative are now all able to connect to fibre capable of peak speeds of at least 100 Mbps.
“Faster broadband enables healthcare to be delivered in new and innovative ways,” Dr Coleman adds.
“These e-Health solutions offer better, safer, more efficient healthcare closer to home.

Tech meets health as Wellington patients access hospital records on mobile phones

Patients of GPs in Wellington’s Compass Primary Health Organisation (PHO) are the first to get to secure access to their health records via their mobile phones.
Patients of GPs in Wellington’s Compass Primary Health Organisation (PHO) are the first to get to secure access to their health records via their mobile phones.
A mobile app for ManageMyHealth has been launched for both Apple and Android devices, designed to enable Compass patients in the Wellington region to communicate with their doctors in real time and to download personal health information.
ManageMyHealth is a secure personal health portal created by New Zealand-based health IT company Medtech Global, which allows healthcare providers to help individuals take a more active role in the management of their health and wellbeing.
Individuals can, for example, access appropriate patient medical records online, see health results such as lab tests, and engage electronically with their health care providers to support positive lifestyle changes.

Hefty medical handbook now an app

16 November 2015
THE Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine was one of a handful of books I dragged everywhere with me in my intern days.
It pains me to admit that my internship was so long ago that there were no smartphones and definitely no app versions of popular medical textbooks. 
All that has changed, and lightened the load of doctors everywhere.
While some textbooks don’t successfully make the transition to an app version, the Oxford handbook is among those that do. 
All the information from the book is contained in the app, and while there is often some clicking involved to get through to the details you want, this is a minor point.

Plan to tie MyHealth record-use to e-health PIP slammed

Serkan Ozturk | 18 November, 2015 |
The RACGP has slammed planned changes to tie e-health Practice Incentive Program payments to the mandatory uploading of clinical notes to the national e-health records system, calling them "superficial". 
College president Dr Frank Jones (pictured) has written to Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley calling on her to drop the proposal, which was set out in a discussion document on the newly renamed MyHealth record system.
The RACGP's main concerns centre around online privacy and security, which the college says makes the scheme unsafe for pateints and GPs.

Microsoft releases encryption tech for bioinformatics

Allows researchers to work on data securely.

By Juha Saarinen
Nov 16 2015 6:54AM
Microsoft has released tools that allow bioinformatics researchers to work on genome data sets securely to protect privacy.
Genomic data is becoming available in increasing amounts as gene sequencing becomes easier, cheaper and faster, and is used for several new applicaitons such as predicting the occurrence and survival of cardiovascular disease.
Hospitals, clinics, companies and other insitutions are faced with handling large amounts of such data securely, to ensure the privacy of subjects, but this carries risks.

Millions of sensitive records exposed by mobile apps leaking back-end credentials

Developers have hard-coded credentials for back-end services into thousands of mobile apps, researchers found
Thousands of mobile applications, including popular ones, implement cloud-based, back-end services in a way that lets anyone access millions of sensitive records created by users, according to a recent study.
The analysis was performed by researchers from the Technical University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Darmstadt, Germany, and the results were presented Friday at the Black Hat Europe security conference in Amsterdam. It targeted applications that use Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) frameworks from providers like Facebook-owned Parse, CloudMine or Amazon Web Services.
BaaS frameworks offer cloud-based database storage, push notification, user administration and other services that developers can easily use in their apps. Their goal is to minimize the knowledge needed to maintain the back-end servers of an application.

DTO snubs advice from peak industry bodies

The Government’s much vaunted Digital Transformation Office (DTO) closed door policy is rankling peak industry bodies that want access to the agency.
Laurie Patton, CEO Internet Australia (IA), the peak body representing Internet users claims a number of civil society and industry groups are apparently finding the door to the DTO firmly shut or are being left out of the loop when it comes to stakeholder engagement.
“We asked for a meeting and were told to come back next year”, Patton said. “They said they were too busy to see us”.
He believes the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), the peak body representing all consumers on communications issues, also had appointments ‘bumped’ to next year because the DTO is “too busy”.

Media consultants paid big money to train bureaucrats for Senate hearings

Date November 22, 2015 - 12:15AM

Adam Gartrell

National Political Correspondent

Federal government departments have paid external media consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars to train bureaucrats how to "perform" in Senate estimates hearings.
The consultants, who can be paid up to $30,000 a month, insist the training is not aimed at teaching public servants how to spin or avoid scrutiny – but some senators are not so sure.
While a search of government contracts suggests departments have spent about $160,000 on the training in recent years, the true cost is believed to be much higher but concealed through a sometimes opaque tender process.

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