Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Monday, February 01, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd February, 2016.

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

Well it seems it is well and truly on for one and all with all sorts of things happening. I am amazed how much has happened in the last week.
Enjoy browsing the headlines!

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule 2016

- F2016L00070
Rules/Other as made
This rule establishes a corporate Commonwealth entity under section 87 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 to be named the Australian Digital Health Agency. Provides functions, governance arrangements, reporting requirements and transitional provisions to transfer assets and liabilities from the National E-Health Transition Authority Ltd.

Troubled myGov website to be taken from Human Services and given to Digital Transformation Office for streamlining

Date January 28, 2016 - 10:30PM

Noel Towell

Reporter for The Canberra Times

The federal government's troubled myGov website is set to be taken over by the Prime Minister's pet public service project the Digital Transformation Office.
Fairfax understands that moves are already under way for the DTO to take over the management of the web portal from Commonwealth service delivery workhorse the giant Department of Human Services.
MyGov was launched in 2013 and is now used by several million Australians as a portal to access their Centrelink, Medicare, Child Support, Department of Veteran Affairs, e-health, and DisabilityCare accounts. Photo: Screenshot
Neither agency would confirm that a takeover was under way but one government IT expert said the move would be a chance to make a real difference for the digital change project which has so far produced little more than "wishy-washy" statements.

John Madigan says agency that oversees doctors can't be trusted with metadata

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency previously used doctors’ phone and web data to investigate doctors who have sex with their patients
Independent senator John Madigan says the government agency overseeing doctors, dentists and chiropractors cannot be trusted to gain access to Australians’ phone and web data.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has previously used doctors’ phone and web data to help it investigate doctors who have sex with their patients.
Ahpra is one of 61 agencies on a list released by the government who have purportedly applied to the attorney general, George Brandis, for ongoing access to be classed as enforcement agencies to gain warrantless access to telecommunications data. Ahpra said it is seeking guidance from the department on whether it would be granted access.

Prompts would help GPs keep track of patient changes

28 January 2016
PATIENTS’ contact details are recorded when they first register at general practices, but these details, as well as patients’ family and social histories, often change. Currently clinical and administrative software packages marketed for use in general practice do not prompt practice staff, GPs or practice nurses to check the currency of any of those details.
Failure to maintain this information can have serious consequences. In a recent MO Update (‘Medico-Legal Risks’, 30 October 2015), the authors advise readers to “make sure contact details are up to date”. However, it is impossible for practice staff, GPs and practice nurses to do this reliably, consistently and thoroughly.
Further, in most clinical software packages, some information, such as family and social history and allergies and intolerances, is recorded only as plain text, without any note of when and by whom that information was last confirmed as current or else updated.

Australia's first opt-out e-health site to start trials this week

More than 670,000 northern Queenslanders first in line.

By Allie Coyne
Jan 27 2016 6:46AM
One of the two Australian health networks nominated to be the first to trial the government's plans for opt-out medical records will start testing the approach this week.
The Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) was last year named as one of two sites, alongside the Nepean Blue Mountains PHN, to automatically sign locals up for a 'My Health Record'.
Combined, the two trial sites will see the new opt-out approach tested on around one million individuals at a cost of $51 million. Evaluation firm Siggins Miller has been given a $1.4 million contract to review the trials once they are complete.

E-health warning: cliff edge ahead

When I got back from a family camping trip this month I noticed that, apparently, the government had made important eHealth announcements shortly before Christmas Day. In summary, the news was that the government is going ahead with its plans, despite objections from the RACGP, AMA and others. Hardly surprising, but still disappointing.
Practices will miss out on their IT support payments if they don’t get their doctors to upload patient health summaries to the PCEHR (now called MyHealth Record). These IT support payments were originally introduced to make sure practices have up-to-date computer systems.
The Department must have known that GPs are usually not employed by practices and that most are ‘contractors’. This effectively means that they run their own independent businesses within a practice. Stopping payments to the practice does not directly affect their hip pocket unless they own the practice. So this is bad news for business owners. The strategy could affect the quality, safety and security of the medical IT systems – which is not good for patient care.
The question is: will doctors be using the eHealth system more often as a result of this change?

PHN goes it alone in setting up e-health network

29 January 2016
ONE of the 31 new Primary Health Networks is starting its own e-health system independent of the federal My Health Record.
It will allow GPs to view hospital data for patients with chronic multimorbidities. 
The Gold Coast Primary Health Network is joining GPs and the region’s public hospital network, which includes the Gold Coast Hospital, to create its own e-health system for sharing and matching data, MO has learned.
As part of the plan Queensland Health is expected to open up its "Viewer" database — which contains all pathology and clinical imaging — to GPs.

Pharmacists in new bid to stop codeine prescription push

Date January 30, 2016 - 11:00AM

Adam Gartrell

National Political Correspondent

Pharmacists are rolling out a new reporting system for codeine-based painkillers such as Panadeine and Nurofen Plus in a fresh bid to convince drug regulators there is no need to make them prescription-only.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration made an interim decision last year to make about 150 codeine products available only to people with a prescription, amid concerns the drugs are being misused and abused.
The change was supposed to take effect in June this year but the TGA delayed the move after being inundated with negative feedback. It now plans to make a final determination later this year with the change expected to come into force in 2017.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, which has been a leading opponent of the TGA's plan, argues a national real-time reporting system would be a more sensible and cost-effective solution to the problem of codeine abuse.
January 29, 2016

Online Insomnia Program Improves Depression Symptoms

By Amy Orciari Herman
A fully automated online intervention can reduce depressive symptoms in adults with insomnia, according to a Lancet Psychiatry study.
Over 1100 adults in Australia who screened positive for insomnia and depressive symptoms (but not major depression) using online tools were randomized to the Internet-based SHUTi program or a control program for 6 weeks. SHUTi used cognitive behavioral therapy and focused on stimulus control, cognitive restructuring, sleep hygiene, and relapse prevention, while the control program simply offered health information.

How the Qbot malware downed Melbourne Health's systems

Got in through Windows XP zero-day.

By Allie Coyne
Jan 22 2016 3:50PM
Melbourne Health's networks were attacked earlier this week by a new variant of the Qbot malware, which infiltrated its systems via a zero-day exploit in the Windows XP operating system.
Late on Monday the health department discovered malicious software had infected Windows XP computers through Royal Melbourne Hospital's pathology department.
The malware downed the hospital's pathology systems and forced staff into manual workarounds to process blood tissue and urine samples.
The health IT team has since managed to restore services to the pathology unit, but was forced to fastrack its in-train operating system upgrade after the malware killed its Windows XP computers.

App provides a clear guide to diagnosing Marfan syndrome

29 January 2016
MARFAN DX aims to help clinicians from various specialities, including general practice, determine whether the signs noted in their patient add up to a diagnosis of Marfan syndrome.
The app, produced by the Marfan Foundation, uses the criteria for diagnosis found in the 2010 Revised Ghent Nosology.
The home page details the aims of the app. Information on the cardinal features of Marfan syndrome – aortic root aneurysm and ectopia lentis, presence of FBN1 mutation and family history – are included. 
The main feature of the app is the Systemic Calculator, which walks the user through the lesser features which can be used to confirm a diagnosis in the absence of all cardinal features. 

Aussie pharmacies test real-time monitoring of codeine sales

Industry lobby fights against prescription-only plans.

By Allie Coyne
Jan 28 2016 2:19PM
Pharmacies across Australia will soon embark on a large-scale pilot of real-time monitoring of over-the-counter sales of medicines containing codeine, in bid to stop the government reclassifying the pills as prescription-only.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia last month commenced user testing of the prototype "MedsASSIST" real-time monitoring tool with around 30 pharmacies in the Newcastle area of NSW.
The system records purchases and allows pharmacies to review a customer's recent purchases from other pharmacies to identify patients who are at risk of codeine dependence. 
Customers need to consent to have their details recorded, but will not be supplied the codeine product unless consent is given.

Jay spruiks local tech company snubbed by SA Health

It's the company the Health department rejects that the Premier likes the best.
Adelaide Thursday January 28, 2016
Premier Jay Weatherill says relatively inexpensive e-health software developed by SA firm Alcidion – which was rejected by SA Health in 2014 in favour of the embattled, $422 million electronic health records system EPAS – is “a thing of the future”.
Weatherill delivered a glowing keynote address to mark the listing of local health informatics company Alcidion on the ASX yesterday, whose “leading product, called Miya” – the one snubbed by SA Health – was “creating a great deal of interest”.
 “This innovative technology was the key reason for Alcidion receiving the 2015 Impact Award,” Weatherill said.
Last year, Alcidion co-founder and former head of the Health Commission (now called SA Health) Ray Blight told InDaily he had pitched Miya to the department, whose senior staff conceded the merits of the technology but suggested EPAS would eventually have the same capabilities.

Pharmacy 'pick-up lines' plan attacked

Paul Smith | 28 January, 2016 |
A leading GP has savaged a push by pharmacy owners to boost sales of schedule 2 and 3 medications by using so-called “pick-up lines” on patients.
Dr Evan Ackermann (pictured), chair of the RACGP’s standing committee on quality care, said the pharmacy industry was attempting to plug financial losses from ongoing PBS cuts.
He said educational courses aimed at maximising pharmacists’ revenue were encouraging sales tactics using pick-up lines to trigger consultations about minor ailments.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia ran what it described as an “all-business-no-clinical-content-conference” in Melbourne in 2014, where delegates were asked to share their best “S3 pick-up line”.

Warning against giving AHPRA access to metadata

Paul Smith | 22 January, 2016 | 
A leading indemnity insurer is warning against giving AHPRA warrantless access to doctors' phone and web metadata, saying the watchdog is not a "criminal law enforcement agency".
Earlier this week, it was revealed that AHPRA was on a list of 61 organisations that had apparently written to the Federal Government wanting warrantless access to phone and internet metadata
Such data includes call records, assigned IP addresses, contact information and location information.
Other applicants included the Federal Health Department; the Health Care Complaints Commission in NSW; and the Department of Human Services, which runs Medicare.

Investment in GP2U to deliver 'better health care’ says HCF

  • 24 January 2016
Australian not-for-profit health fund, HCF, has invested in telehealth start-up GP2U, taking a 15% stake in the business.
HCF Sheena Jack, HCF Chief Strategy Officer Sheena Jack said the investment in GP2U demonstrated “HCF's commitment to supporting innovation to deliver better health care to all Australians”.
“Telehealth has the ability to dramatically improve the convenience and accessibility of health care. We are delighted to be a part of GP2U and have been impressed with both the end-to-end technology platform and the team behind it.”

HCF snaps up stake in telehealth technology start-up

  • The Australian
  • January 28, 2016 12:00AM

Damon Kitney

Members of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health fund will be able to have their GP prescriptions sent directly to Terry White and Priceline pharmacies for collection following a consultation after HCF struck an equity deal with telehealth start-up GP2U.
HCF has taken a 15 per cent stake in GP2U, whose speciality is allowing for remote medical consultations using videoconferencing. But the start-up also allows messages on prescriptions from GPs to be sent directly to Terry White and Priceline pharmacies, owned by Australian Pharmaceutical Industries.
HCF joins listed diagnostics company Sonic Healthcare as a shareholder in GP2U, which is majority-owned by its founder, James Freeman.
Press release:


Sydney: Young doctors are pushing cancer care into the smartphone age, with a landmark new app to provide personalised cancer information to patients.
CancerAid enables doctors to “prescribe” the correct information to the patient, including details on their disease, treatments and possible side-effects.
Patients and their caregivers can use the app to navigate their entire cancer journey and share important details with clinicians and family.
29-year-old radiation oncology trainee, Dr Nikhil Pooviah of Sydney’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, designed CancerAid after observing many patients experienced “information overload”.

E-health unlikely to be ready for new Royal Adelaide Hospital

Troubled $422 million electronic health records system, EPAS, is unlikely to be fully functional at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital when it opens later this year, InDaily can reveal.
Bension Siebert
Adelaide Thursday January 28, 2016
An internal SA Health memo, obtained by InDaily, suggests only the administrative functions of the embattled IT program, and some clinical functions, will be activated when the multi-billion-dollar hospital opens late this year.
An internal newsletter, sent to Central Adelaide Local Health Network staff from CEO Julia Squire, says EPAS is only expected to be fully functional at the new hospital by May 2017 – or “earlier if possible”.
“It is expected that the new RAH will use the full administrative and clinical EPAS functionality for all new admissions by May 2017 and earlier if possible,” the note says.

Queensland nurses go after new triage algorithm

Doctor Data will see you now.

By Paris Cowan
Jan 28 2016 11:26AM
Queensland Health is hunting for a new algorithm-based system that will help its registered nurses deliver advice to patients over the phone, based on details like their age, sex, health conditions and proximity to a health facility.
The state health authority is looking to replace the decision making support system used by its 30-seat teletriage service, a public hotline that allows Queenslanders to call in and get advice on whether to see a medical professional based on their symptoms.
The old decision support system has reached its tenth birthday, and the state is looking for new technology to see it through the next decade.
It wants an algorithm-based solution that will use patient data, teamed with clinical decision making processes, to automatically guide the nurses though a call based on the information a patient shares with them.
PowerHealth Solutions has entered the Canadian healthcare market by partnering with change capability and management consultants Canadian Healthcare Management. PowerHealth Solutions (PHS) is a healthcare administration software vendor, which has been specialising in patient costing and decision support for 20 years. Their award-winning PowerPerformance Manager (PPM) system is the leading patient costing solution in Australia and New Zealand - adopted across all public hospitals by the majority of Australian State Health Departments and the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand.
Orion Health, a leading population health management and healthcare integration company, has announced the release of Rhapsody Integration Engine Version 6.2. The new version of Rhapsody delivers a number of customer focused innovations to help users work smarter. Plus, it builds on the FHIR capabilities introduced in Rhapsody 6.1, the first integration engine to implement the new HL7® Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) standard. The Rhapsody dashboard has been enhanced to provide at-a-glance monitoring via multiple channels such as a tablet, smart phone, and monitor.

Aliens are not coming, scientists say, because they’re all dead

  • The Australian
  • January 26, 2016 12:00AM

John Ross

The paper offers a third explanation for the apparent absence of extraterrestrial life.
Scientists have a new explan­ation as to why the search for alien life has drawn a blank: the aliens are all dead.
Australian astrobiologists ­believe lifeforms have emerged on countless worlds but quickly died off as water on host planets either froze or boiled away.
The only evidence of alien life is likely to be microscopic fossils or “isotopic anomalies” in four-billion-year-old rocks. “The vast majority of life in the universe is either young and microbial or extinct,” the researchers argue in the journal Astrobiology.
The paper offers a third explanation for the apparent absence of extraterrestrial life. The dominant theories are that it never emerged in the first place, or it eventually self-destructed. Co-author Charles Lineweaver, a planetary scientist at the Australian National University, said early life’s fragility triggered its rapid demise.

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