Monday, May 02, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd May, 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

A quieter week - with the budget coming real soon and lots happening behind the scenes to get the new Digital Health Agency underway.
All will be clearer by next week.

Some Australian GPs found to be putting your privacy at risk

April 28, 20166:44pm
Sue Dunlevy News Corp Australia Network
YOUR health information could be at risk with the nation’s privacy watchdog finding major holes in the way GP practices manage patient privacy.
One in ten GP clinics have no privacy policy a review by the Acting Information Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has found.
And many GPs who did have a privacy policy were found to have major holes in their systems.
“A recent assessment of GP practices by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) suggests that many practices could use more practical support to improve or establish privacy policies,” Mr Pilgrim said.
The commission last year conducted an assessment of the privacy policies of 40 GP practices from across Australia.

Taking telehealth mainstream

By Natasha Egan on April 29, 2016 in Government
Telehealth in NSW is set to be incorporated across all settings from hospitals to homes in a shift away from small-scale pilots to integration with mainstream services, the state’s health minister has announced.
NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner told the Australian Telehealth Conference yesterday that the importance of telehealth could not be understated and technology was key to a sustainable health system of the future.
She said the state’s 10-year eHealth strategy, which was due for release within weeks, provided for a continued focus on supporting integrated care for patients through initiatives such as care plans, remote patient monitoring, patient reported measures and telehealth, and was aligned with the Telehealth Framework and Implementation Strategy 2016-2021.
“This strategy provides a system which by telehealth will be sustainably incorporated into the patient care across the state in a variety of settings including hospitals, primary health care, aged care, allied health and community settings and in consumers’ homes.

Diabetic nurse pleads for Federal aid to pay for sensors

Tim Slater | May 02, 2016, 1:00 AM | Comment News
AN Armadale nurse who has type one diabetes is calling on the Federal Government to help pay for the cost of blood glucose monitoring sensors so that she can have a healthy baby.
Julie-Anne Watson, 36, has been using a continuous glucose monitor since last November. She is hooked up to an insulin pump to help stabilise her readings so that she can be in the best possible health for when she gets pregnant.
“I want a child and I need to get my blood sugars really, really good,” she said.
“The longer you keep it even, the safer it is for the child.
“But the sensors are costing me a lot of money, it’s hard.”

Govt’s MyHealth Record scheme a “privacy disaster”, warns Privacy Foundation

The scheme’s “biggest weakness”, according to the privacy group, is the Medicare Call Centre with its many operators – “all with potential access to MyHealth Record data”.
The APF cited the government’s 2011 promise of a “clear and robust framework” for the scheme’s call centres. “Five years later,” it said, “there are no rules or procedures in place, the necessary infrastructure or a robust framework of privacy protection.”
According to Dr Bernard Robertson-Dunn, chair of the health committee at the APF: “This total failure to deliver on its promise and put in place much needed protections exposes patients to curious call centre operators whose prying and spying are unlikely to be detected.”
“This will get even worse if everyone is forced to have a My Health Record, which the Government is trying to do with its opt-out initiative,” he added.

Real Time Prescription Monitoring Will Save Lives

25 April 2016
The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to reduce the number of Victorians dying from prescription drug overdoses, with the introduction of a real-time prescription monitoring system.
With more people losing their lives each year in Victoria from overdoses of prescription drugs than those dying in road accidents, a real-time prescription monitoring system has the potential to prevent the deaths of up to 90 Victorians over the next five years.
Many prescription overdoses result from people “prescription shopping” from multiple doctors and pharmacies. Without a centralised monitoring system, this often goes undetected with tragic results.

Real-time prescription monitoring on way to stop hundreds of overdose deaths

Date April 25, 2016 - 12:15AM

Richard Willingham

State Political Correspondent for The Age

Prescription drug addicts who jump between different health services are being targeted by a new $30 million plan to tackle deadly medicine overdoses that claim more lives than road accidents. 
Last year, 330 Victorians died from prescription drug overdoses – more than the road toll – so Health Minister Jill Hennessy is allocating $30 million in Wednesday's state budget to set up real-time prescription monitoring for 1900 GP clinics, 1300 pharmacies and 200 hospitals.
The new system, to be operational by 2018, will allow doctors and pharmacists to identify drug addicts who go "prescription shopping" by visiting different doctors and chemists.
There has been a surge in the number of drug overdose deaths over the past five years, led by addictive medications such as Valium, which has been linked to more drug deaths than illegal narcotics.

Doctor, prescription shopping the focus of $30 million crackdown by Victorian Government

Victoria will spend $30 million to crackdown on "prescription shopping", in an effort to reduce the number of people dying from overdoses, the State Government has announced.
The real-time monitoring system will allow health professionals to conduct on-the-spot checks before prescribing and dispensing medicines that have a high risk of misuse.
Last year 330 Victorians died due to prescription overdoses, 100 more than those who died from illicit drugs, the Government said.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the new system would help doctors to better treat their patients.

Doctors welcome Vic prescription drugs plan

26 April 2016
The Victorian government has committed $30 million to a real-time prescription monitoring system in an attempt to crack down on doctor and prescription shopping.
The centralised system will allow doctors and pharmacists to do on-the-spot checks before prescribing or dispensing medicines that have a high risk of misuse, such as morphine and oxycodone.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy says it is a “life-saving initiative” that will help identify drug seekers before their addiction escalates.
AMA Victoria president Dr Tony Bartone says the development has been a long time coming.

Monitoring about to get real

Real-time monitoring gets a budget boost

Pharmacy groups have welcomed a Victorian government budget commitment to fund a real-time prescription monitoring program.
The funding commitment of $30 million in this week’s 2016-17 State Budget would cover the implementation of a Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) system to help identify people at risk of harm who may currently visit multiple doctors and pharmacies seeking multiple quantities or doses of some prescription medicines.
Once implemented, the system will allow clinicians at 1900 GP clinics, 1300 pharmacies and 200 hospitals to do an on-the-spot check before prescribing or dispensing medicines that are at high risk of misuse, the Victorian Department of Health said in an announcement.

Victoria wants to save 90 lives a year through prescription tracking

Pledges $30 million towards real-time checks.

By Paris Cowan
Apr 26 2016 4:01PM
Tomorrow’s Victorian state budget will include just under $30 million for a real-time prescription monitoring system aimed at combating the abuse of prescription drugs.
The Andrews government has pledged to build a central tracking system that will link medical centres, pharmacies and hospitals and give prescribing doctors the ability to conduct an on-the-spot check of a patient’s script history.
The system is intended to ensure patients aren’t ‘doctor shopping’ to get their hands on painkillers and other medications. Healthcare professionals currently have no way of preventing the same patient from visiting multiple doctors to access excessive volumes of addictive drugs.
26 April, 2016

“I send letters to dead people”

Posted by Julie Lambert
The opt-out trial of MyHealthRecord uncovered a new glitch, with the discovery of records generated for dead people
The news prompted the RACGP to urge a rethink on forcing GPs to upload a certain number of health summaries or lose an e-health incentive payment.
“For the government to attempt to drive GP use of the MyHealthRecord in this environment with so many issues to be addressed, is likely to be counterproductive,” RACGP President Dr Frank Jones said.

Executive General Managers, Multiple Positions

Executive General Managers, Multiple Positions

  • Newly created statutory authority
  • Flexible locations of Sydney, Brisbane or Canberra
  • Strategic leadership, innovation and engagement in delivering the national digital health strategy
The Organisation
The Australian Digital Health Agency will be fully operational on July 1, 2016. This Agency will be responsible for the strategic management and governance of the national digital health strategy, innovation, design, development, delivery and operations of the digital health ecosystem. In doing so, the Agency will transition the activities and resources from the National E-Health Transition Authority and the system operation activities of the My Health Record currently managed by the Department of Health. These five key strategic leadership positions will support the Chief Executive in establishing and leading the Agency in delivering on the national digital health strategy and work programme, through strategic and collaborative engagement across the health community. The Agency reports to a skills-based Board reflective of the health community. The CEO will initially focus on establishing and transitioning activities to the new Agency. The strategic leadership team will drive the engagement, collaboration, innovation and operations of the national digital health systems

New global collaboration between GS1 and IHTSDO supporting interoperability

Created on Friday, 29 April 2016
GS1 and the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) recently announced the signing of a new collaborative agreement that supports interoperability in health information systems globally.

Digital Health Incentive Product Register now available

Created on Thursday, 28 April 2016
The Digital Health Incentive Product Register is now available.
Software vendors and general practices can access the Digital Health Incentive Product Register at:
This website is managed by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) on behalf of the Australian healthcare community. It provides a register of medical software products and organisations that meet the requirements of the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) eHealth Incentive.
From May 2016, the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) eHealth Incentive includes new eligibility requirements.

WA Health gives up on finding a CIO

IT leadership bundled into another role.

By Paris Cowan
Apr 26 2016 6:40AM
Western Australia’s health department has thrown in the towel in its hunt for a permanent chief information officer, instead handing the organisation’s IT leadership to a newly-appointed chief executive who has taken control of the state’s health support agency.
WA Health hasn’t had a substantive CIO since 2010.
In the years since it has appointed no less than four acting CIOs - Alan Piper, Dr Andy Robertson, Bill Leonard and Michael D’Souza - to the executive role.
In that same time, the department has attracted unwanted notoriety for its role in the bungled IT fit-out of the Fiona Stanley Hospital, which forced the government to push back the opening of the facility, and more recently narrowly dodged a corruption investigation over revelations unauthorised officials added $44 million worth of extras to the agency’s data centre deal with Fujitsu.

Qld Health CIO reinstated after corruption claims fall flat

CCC ends investigation.

By Allie Coyne
Apr 29 2016 9:47AM
Queensland Health chief information officer Colin McCririck has returned to work as the head of eHealth Queensland after a corruption investigation into complaints of nepotism came up empty handed.
In January this year, McCririck and department deputy secretary Susan Middleditch were stood down after Health received a complaint about allegedly corrupt internal recruitment processes.
The internal complaint was later that month escalated to Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission, which assessed the allegations and decided to commence an investigation.

How this woman is making you healthier

Date April 25, 2016 - 12:56AM

Amanda Vanstone

Minister Sussan Ley understands what healthcare should look like in the digital age.
Despite the private health insurance premiums hike, Health Minister Sussan Ley says the average family with hospital and general health cover will save $166 a year, thanks to her intervention.
Maybe with the federal election looming, everyone will be focusing on who is promising to spend what, as though more money is necessarily a good thing. It might be a better idea to look at who will most effectively manage the money we already spend. It is, after all, a very big bucket of money.
Health chews through our taxes with a voracious appetite. The expenditures are difficult to comprehend. They are rising dramatically, in part because we are an ageing population. There are more drugs and they're more expensive, and there's new technology that is by no means cheap. In 1990, 15¢ in each tax dollar went on health; now it's 24¢. Health spending is growing at three times the rate of inflation. We flush between $400 million and $500 million a day through the economy on health and aged care. Medicare gets billed more than a million times a day. Health constitutes almost 10 per cent of our gross domestic product.

New online approach to beating illicit drug use in sport

A new free online tool will help guide and support athletes, coaches and sports administrators on the potential consequences of illicit drug use in sport.
Page last updated: 18 April 2016
17 April 2016
A new free online tool will help guide and support athletes, coaches and sports administrators on the potential consequences of illicit drug use in sport.
Minister for Sport Sussan Ley today announced the release of the Illicit Drugs in Sport (IDIS) e-learning education programme, an interactive multi-media resource developed by the Department of Health’s National Integrity of Sport Unit, in partnership with the Australian Sports Commission.
“Illicit drug use is placing a huge burden on society and the health system, and sport provides a powerful platform to influence a wide cross-section of the community,” Ms Ley said.

Evidence check: behaviour change techniques for telephone-delivered and supported health coaching interventions

30 December 2015
This Evidence Check review examined the effectiveness of specific behaviour change techniques (BCTs) delivered by telephone in two areas: promoting healthy weight; and supporting parents. The review found that telephone-delivered interventions to promote healthy weight can be effectively used to change physical activity levels and improve diet. Interventions designed to support parents have been shown to improve both children’s behaviour and parents’ wellbeing. None of the included studies identified specific tools to determine which BCTs should be employed and when. The authors recommend the systematic use of theory to identify behavioural determinants and select the most effective BCT.

What’s in Victoria's budget 2016 for IT?

Andrews govt commits $81m to Service Victoria.

By Paris Cowan
Apr 27 2016 4:10PM
Victoria’s state government has funded a handful of new IT projects as part of a 2016-17 budget focused on big-ticket physical infrastructure builds.
The Andrews Labor government has touted itself as an administration that is “getting it done”, with big outlays on roads, rail and rollingstock announced today.
Its tech investments, however, are somewhat more modest.
Victoria has committed to follow in the footsteps of its northern neighbour - and borrow its naming conventions - to fund Service Victoria.

Q&A: The ins and outs of the Australian telco market

We spoke to Tom Homer, Head of EMEA and the Americas for Australian telecommunications company Telstra, to discuss the telco market down under and expected trends for the rest of 2016.
What’s been happening for Telstra in the last 12 months?
Telstra is a telecommunications and technology company with heritage that is proudly Australian and a longstanding, growing international business. Over the past 12 months we have grown our international business in three ways:
  1. Leveraging our network to be a high-value communications partner for companies operating in the Asia-Pacific region through our Global Enterprise and Services division
  2. In-country investment opportunities focused on connectivity
  3. Bringing a suite of innovative solutions to market over the longer-term through targeted investments
From an enterprise perspective, we continue to extend our reach as a result of our acquisition of Pacnet Limited, which doubled our customer base in Asia and greatly increased our network reach and data centre capabilities.


Anonymous said...

What sort of a system creates a record for a person who has been dead for 23 years? Regardless of whether a DoD was recorded by Medicare, surely the key factor for a "My Health Record" is whether there has been any health record activity in recent years. If a person has not had any activity in that period of time then surely something should be flagged for investigation before a record is automatically created. The criteria for record creation was obviously not given a lot of thought - it is all about numbers, the more the merrier is all that counts, always has been, that's why it has to go opt-out.

Anonymous said...

It's not Medicare's fault. If you change address, or have a baby or or get married, you need to tell Medicare.
Likewise if you die, there really is no excuse - you can let Medicare know online through MyGOV, or you can go to a Medicare shop or call their help line.
If you don't get around to letting Medicare know you are dead, then there is a place in your newly created health record where you can record important health information such as being dead. You can also check out your Advance Care Plan and see if they carried out your wishes as you wanted. There are real advantages to having record if you are dead.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

re "There are real advantages to having record if you are dead"

The biggest one being that it can't kill you.

A golden rule of computer data. You can never fully trust it.

SMH report today: "A Sydney woman who mistakenly had $4.6 million transferred into her bank account has been arrested at Sydney International Airport while attempting to leave the country, police say."

You can't get much more reliable applications than financial transaction systems (OLTP) - and still they sometimes get it wrong. It's not the IT it's human error.