Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 28th March, 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

Quite an interesting week with cyber-threats of all sorts catching the headlines and again some private sector activity.
I hope all enjoyed the Easter break!

Alert raised over cyber attacks on medical devices

Jo Hartley | 23 March, 2016 | 
The Australian Prime Minister falls to the floor clutching his chest as cybercriminals play power games with his pacemaker. A final flip of the remote and he’s dead.
It makes for gripping TV, but could this Homeland scene really happen?
Yes, says cybersecurity expert Dr Robert Merkel (PhD), an IT researcher at Monash University, Melbourne.
Dr Merkel is speaking with Australian Doctor following the release of a TGA alert advising medical device makers and hospitals to carry out IT assessments to determine the risk of cyber attack.

US hospital pays $24k ransom after cyber attack locks medical records

Date February 19, 2016

Justin Wm. Moyer

Obama's new budget to fix 'ancient' technology

The eighth and final budget is announced by President Barack Obama, and it includes a $19 billion boost in cyber security funding aimed at replacing insecure and 'downright ancient' systems.
Not too long ago, taking the United States' wild, messy, unreliable system of medical records online seemed like a worthy goal.
"To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that, within five years, all of America's medical records are computerised," President Obama said. "This will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests."
While the shift Obama and many others pushed may have improved care, electronic medical records led to quite the unique hostage situation in Los Angeles this week. There, a hospital fell prey to a cyberattack — and has escaped its plight by paying hackers a $US17,000 ($23,740) ransom.

Privacy fact sheet 47: Young people and the My Health Record system (Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains)

Note: This fact sheet applies only to people living in the Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains areas
March 2016
In June 2016, people whose registered Medicare address is in the Northern Queensland or Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Networks will have a My Health Record created for them. This includes young people under the age of 18. This fact sheet explains how young people can take control of and manage their My Health Record, and how an authorised representative (such as a parent) can manage a My Health Record on a young person’s behalf. This includes how to opt a young person out of a My Health Record so that a record is not created for them.
This fact sheet is for people whose registered Medicare address is in the Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Networks. It should be read together with the OAIC’s Privacy fact sheet 46: My Health Record system – What to expect in Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains.

Australian industry lashes out at data breach notification scheme

Businesses complain of unclear obligations, broad scope.

By Allie Coyne
Mar 23 2016 10:02AM
Australian businesses say they are not sold on the government's proposed mandatory data breach notification scheme, with some even going so far as to call for it to be abandoned.
Late last year the government released an exposure draft of its long-awaited bill for the scheme, outlining what it considers a serious breach and the steps an organisation must take in response to one. 
It defines a serious breach as unauthorised access to, disclosure or loss of customer information which generates a real risk of serious harm to individuals.
After an entity is aware or "ought to have been aware" a serious breach has occured, it must notify customers, the Privacy Commissioner, and potentially the media "as soon as practicable".

Mixed reception for data breach notification scheme

Case for scheme has not been made, some industry orgs argue
There has been a mixed reception from business to a draft government bill that would implement a mandatory data breach notification scheme.
The government in in December released an exposure draft of a bill to implement a data breach notification regime.
The government had committed to the introduction of such a scheme as part of its response to concerns about the mandatory data retention scheme for telcos, which began operation in October.
The release of the exposure draft late in the year represented backtracking by the government, which had originally committed to legislating a scheme in 2015.

One million South Island electronic referrals

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says one million electronic referrals to specialists have been successfully processed in the South Island.
The South Island Electronic Request Management System allows general practice teams to submit requests for specialist advice direct to a secure database of over 700 specialists.
“More than a million South Islanders have had access to timely specialist advice as a result of the eReferrals system,” says Dr Coleman.
IT bungles cost taxpayers hundreds of millions

Benjamin Preiss state political reporter
Published: March 21, 2016 - 3:29PM
Bungled IT systems that were scrapped before launching, or introduced with major flaws, have cost taxpayers almost $900 million.
The splurge by government departments on faulty projects comes despite repeated warnings in recent years about substandard commissioning processes.
Earlier this month Victoria's financial watchdog issued another scathing report on six information communications technology (ICT) projects in the public sector.

Delays to NBN rollout could hinder new health services

21st Mar 2016 6:00 AM
QUEENSLANDERS are embracing new telehealth services enabled by better access to fast broadband to better manage family health from home, according to a new report released today.
The NBN Digital Health At Home Report, shows 72 per cent of respondents living in regional or rural Australia have delayed a visit to a GP, with reasons for this including to prevent wasting time, losing money and having to take days off work.
With a number of regional Queenslanders having to travel significant distances for specialist healthcare, the research highlights how access to fast broadband and telehealth services (such as GP video conferencing and in-home monitoring for the elderly) can help time-poor Aussies manage family health from home.

How to improve the recording of requested appointments

23 March 2016
To improve clinical software, we look at recording the requested appointment and provide two vendor responses.
PATIENTS usually have preferences about when they wish to be seen at the practice and by whom. General practices currently have no way to monitor how well they are satisfying those wishes, because their electronic appointment systems record only the appointment that was given and not the appointment that was requested.
The patient should be asked to state their ‘ideal appointment’ — the one that would best suit their needs and preferences.
To achieve this, the practice’s appointment software should prompt the receptionist, or the patient who is using the practice’s online appointment system, for answers to as many of the following questions as matter to the patient

Australian Doctor launches online dermatology hub

Guest writer | 22 March, 2016 | 
With one in 10 patient consultations related to a skin complaint and one third of the general population suffering with a skin ailment within the past fortnight, the demand among GPs for quality independent dermatology information has never been so great.
To keep GPs abreast of the latest clinical developments, Australian Doctor has launched a new website, ‘Clinical Hub’ focussing initially on all things skin.
The hub, which has been unlocked for doctors with an unconditional educational grant from Bayer, delivers a range of content – from in depth clinical articles on diagnosis and treatment to practical patient case studies, videos and quizzes to test your clinical knowledge.

ASX-listed 3D Medical makes AU$60m hospital data play

3D Medical has acquired US diagnostic image management company Mach7 Technologies in a AU$60 million deal that will see the Australian company take on the global hospital market.
By Asha Barbaschow | March 22, 2016 -- 04:58 GMT (15:58 AEDT) | Topic: Big Data Analytics
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed 3D Medical has scooped up US-based Mach7 Technologies in a bid to bolster the global presence of its vendor neutral diagnostic technology.
According to Dr Nigel Finch, chairman of the Melbourne-based 3D printing firm, the AU$60 million acquisition gives 3D Medical monopoly of the global marketplace, with hospitals previously locked into sticking with a single vendor for their diagnostic machines.
Finch said that within a hospital, there is a rich set of Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) data, which is stored as its own file format. This DICOM data is created each time an X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computerised axial tomography (CAT) scan is performed, with Finch saying this data is often completely siloed.

GP2U: Smartphone app brings the doctor to your phone

  • The Australian
  • March 24, 2016 12:00AM

Chris Griffith

A new kid on the block in telehealth medicine is sailing in uncharted waters.
Fire up a smartphone app and you’re on your way to visiting a virtual clinic, even waiting in a virtual waiting room, before your appointment with a GP or specialist possibly thousands of kilometres away.
GP2U is one of a new breed of GP online clinics that offers this. Telehealth is a well-established practice for healthcare in remote locations. Now it’s available to city folk, too.
Being able to videoconference with your doctor on your smartphone or via a weblink is of obvious value to immobile people, those without transport, the elderly and parents facing logistic difficulties getting kids to the doctor.
But does this compromise medicine delivery?
For younger, tech-savvy generations, it’s about convenience and saving time. This is new age medicine for the millennials and gen Y parents. Squeezing in an online consultation during a busy workday without leaving the office, or on the phone in the train, has its appeal.
This new era of mobile and PC-connected consultations goes further than video chat. It takes in patients using blood pressure dev­ices capable of uploading data to the doctor. And there are apps that help patients take photos of their skin for uploading to a skin cancer specialist.

Illusion or reality? Does SMS messaging really help the medicine go down?

March 24, 2016 2.40am AEDT

Author David Glance

Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia
Mobile health solutions or mHealth encompasses all of the technology and software that combined with mainly smartphones, provide individuals to measure, record, monitor, analyse and report the state of their health. The ultimate aim of course is to keep people well and to help them to get better in the event of illness.
It is easy with mHealth to confuse the enormous potential for technology to bring about change, with its actual ability to do so. Whilst the advances in connected devices and the promise of technology such as Google’s smart contact lenses that will monitor blood sugar levels of diabetics, there is very little evidence that these devices will bring about significant changes in the outcomes that matter, namely an improvement in the health of the person using the device.
The problem with research in this area is that mHealth is such a broad area, covering such a large range of technologies that are applied to a large range of uses. Whilst it is entirely possible that an app on a mobile phone could help in the management of a very specific condition, being able to determine this experimentally is very difficult. There are few rigorous “randomised controlled trials” involving mHealth and those that have been conducted confirm the difficulty of drawing definite conclusions from the promise of this technology.

Electronic Medication Management

The Commission focuses on the electronic future for medicines management. It makes available a range of resources to assist health service organisations and health professionals safely implement and use electronic medication management.

National guidelines for on-screen display of clinical medicines information

The Commission has worked with the National eHealth Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the Australian Government Department of Health to develop national guidelines for standardised presentation of on-screen medicines information to ensure benefit from investments in e-health initiatives and to maximise patient safety.
The guidelines provide an evidence-based approach to on-screen presentation of medicines information, incorporate Australia’s National Tall Man Lettering, and build on Australia’s Recommendations for terminology, abbreviations and symbols used in the prescribing and administration of medicines.

NBN launches Digital Diagnosis, releases telehealth report

Respondents to an NBN survey have said that access to telehealth would be convenient, save money and time, and provide more options for those living in regional areas.
By Corinne Reichert | March 21, 2016 -- 01:24 GMT (12:24 AEDT) | Topic: NBN
The company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network (NBN) across Australia has released a research paper on e-health, spruiking the benefits of using high-speed broadband for monitoring health and conducting telehealth conferences with doctors.
NBN's guide to health in the home: How fast broadband is helping to connect us to anytime, anywhere healthcare [PDF] was commissioned by NBN and conducted by market research agency Colmar Brunton.
The report was released as part of NBN's new Digital Diagnosis program, which exists primarily to push broadband -- or, more specifically, the NBN -- as a health enabler.

GPs warned about privacy risks with patient images

21 March 2016
GPs who email images of patients' conditions to specialists to seek a better diagnosis have been warned of significant privacy and legal risks.
The practice, known as store-and-forward, is becoming increasingly popular particularly with dermatologists, say research assistant Paul Stevenson and colleagues from the University of Queensland and Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.
They say doctors should obtain informed patient consent, explaining how the images will be used, applying appropriate digital security to prevent unauthorised access and deleting pictures after saving them to patient health records.

Transforming Health blueprint defended by Minister Jack Snelling amid Opposition criticism

Critics of a wide-ranging plan to transform health services in South Australia to tackle rising costs and forecast patient growth have not put any better proposal to the State Government, Health Minister Jack Snelling says.

Key points:

  • Some critics had their names used without permission, Health Minister says
  • Opposition says original Transforming Health promises had changed
  • Minister Jack Snelling says Government listening to clinicians' views
The Minister told 891 ABC Adelaide that doctors who were vocal opponents of the Transforming Health blueprint were far from representative of all who worked in the state public health system.
"These are not the only medical voices out there, there are in fact medical voices who are supporting the changes we're making," he said.

National burns registry desperate for funding

Charlotte Mitchell
Monday, 21 March, 2016
FUNDING is urgently needed to keep the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand (BRANZ) up and running because experts say it is the “foundation stone” for excellence in burns injury care.
Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood, director of the Burns Service of Western Australia, told MJA InSight that “continuously improving outcomes for those unfortunate in suffering burn injury is now possible, but it hinges on the continuation of this data registry”.
She said that thanks to BRANZ, researchers and clinicians have been able to identify key attributes of quality care and transfer this knowledge across the whole country.
However, there is no guaranteed source of funding to preserve and develop this valuable resource.

Diagnosis by unsecured smartphone risks patient confidentiality: researchers

Date March 21, 2016 - 1:03AM

Lisa Yallamas

Doctors who photograph skin conditions using unsecured, personal mobile phones could be breaching patient privacy, new Queensland research warns.
In an article in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers from the University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital, led by Paul Stevenson, say using telemedicine for diagnosing dermatological conditions was popular because it sped up treatment and improved patient outcomes, particularly in regional areas where there are few specialists.
However doctors and medical institutions endangered patient privacy, as well as their own indemnity insurance and confidentiality clauses of their employment contracts, if they failed to protect confidential patient records by using unsecured mobile phones and emails.

Half of dermatology discharge summaries inaccurate

Alice Klein | 18 March, 2016 | 
About half of discharge letters from dermatologists omit important information or contain incorrect diagnoses and spelling errors, new research suggests.
The accuracy rate of dermatology discharge summaries is only 55%, according to a retrospective analysis of 219 dermatology inpatient discharge summaries at St George Hospital, Sydney, in 2013.
About 30% of summaries failed to report whether a skin biopsy had been performed, 40% did not document the diagnosis, and more than 60% failed to report differential diagnoses.

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