Monday, May 30, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 30th 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

Two big bits of news. Telstra winning the operation of the National Cancer Screening Register and the NT Government announcing a major clinical e-Health program in its budget. Both are about $200M announcements.
Also a range of smaller items on the NBN as well as more moves in cloud based systems.

Election 2016: Telstra wins contract to manage your health records

Date May 26, 2016 - 12:15AM

Mark Kenny

Chief political correspondent

The Turnbull government is pushing ahead with plans to place sensitive medical records under corporate management and will announce on Thursday that Telstra Health - a division of Telstra - has been awarded the contract to manage a new national cancer screening register from next year.
The lucrative contract, which one industry source estimated at as high as $180 million over three years, will be announced by Health Minister Sussan Ley.
It signals an end to a series of smaller registries managed on a not-for-profit basis, but is a separate program from another plan to outsource Medicare's chronically inefficient payment delivery system, which Labor has decried as privatisation of Medicare by stealth.

National Cancer Screening Register

Following a competitive tender process that commenced on 10 August last year, the Federal Department of Health has appointed Telstra Health to develop and operate the new National Cancer Screening Register.
Page last updated: 26 May 2016
26 May 2016
Following a competitive tender process that commenced on 10 August last year, the Federal Department of Health has appointed Telstra Health to develop and operate the new National Cancer Screening Register (the Register), which will support the renewed National Cervical Screening Program and the expansion of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
The commitment to establish a national cancer screening register was first announced in the 2015-16 Budget. Following a detailed Request for Tender (RFT) process, a contract for the service provider was signed on the 4th May 2016.
The Department of Health will now work with Telstra Health to implement the Register. There will also be significant collaboration with the Department of Human Services and the state and territory governments to transition nine separate cancer screening registers into a single National Cancer Screening Register. The Register is expected to be operational to align with the commencement of the renewed National Cervical Screening Program on 1 May 2017.

SA govt's legacy software showdown set for December

Federal court to decide whether hospitals can be forced to upgrade.

By Paris Cowan
May 23 2016 3:37PM
The South Australian government will go head-to-head with its supplier of critical rural patient systems in a ten-day December trial over the state's refusal to stop using the product despite its licences having long expired.
The state is the last remaining user of the CHIRON patient administration software, which continues to be installed in 12 of its 75 hospitals that have yet to receive the newer electronic patient administration system (EPAS) progressively being rolled out in SA.
The 1980s product was withdrawn from the market by its owner Global Health in March last year, but with no decommissioning plan in place, the SA hospitals have refused to stop using the product despite no longer holding valid licences.
25 May, 2016

Medical Director’s Helix might catalyse radical change

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Medical Director’s entry into the cloud patient-management system race last week with MD Helix may have signalled the beginning of the most rapid and radical change in primary care since PIP incentivised the Computerisation of GP surgeries 15 years ago
The announcement by Medical Director has effectively legitimised the idea of a cloud-based system for nearly half the GPs in the country (who are MD’s current desktop customers). The race is now on for the hearts and minds of those GPs who see the enormous potential to increase their practice efficiency and their communication with their patients through the system’s patient-connected apps.
The timing of the announcement, at the precise date of the formal launch of much mooted cloud-based start-up, MediRecords, at the Sydney GPCE , was not likely to have been a coincidence. It looks targeted directly at MD’s customer base to at least put some doubt in the minds of anyone who is thinking of switching to the MediRecords system in the near term.

Find a relevant medical conference or event easily

When medical practitioners want to find a ski trip, sorry, conference, to attend they go on an endless internet search of Australian and international websites. On a serious note continuing professional development (CPD) happens regardless of locale.
The professional development and events market is filled with numerous courses and seminars, face-to-face and online, making the choices endless for the busy healthcare professional who simply wants to find the right course to learn a new speciality or update on existing knowledge and earn CPD points. Worse still is the time wasted sifting through the plethora of unnecessary courses, events and conferences.
HealthcareLink  has gathered together many of the relevant Australian courses, events and conferences for medical doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health, oral health, and management and administration.

Federal election 2016: new Medicare IT system up in the air

  • The Australian
  • May 23, 2016 12:00AM

Sean Parnell

Health reforms and budget management initiatives are dependent on a new Medicare payment system that the ­Coalition has not funded and Labor is warning voters not to allow it to be privatised.
The future of the Medicare IT system is unclear and the suggestion it might be outsourced has fuelled Labor’s campaign against health cuts.
The Australian understands a decision whether to outsource or upgrade internally must be made soon after the election as the system is reaching its use-by date.

NT budget 2016: Tollner plan pushes deficit to $800m

May 24, 2016
The Northern Territory Treasurer has described the Government's budget as "fiscally responsible", despite a forecast deficit in next financial year of $794 million - four and a half times larger it was expected to be a year ago.
In handing down his final budget before his retirement from politics, Dave Tollner announced a "near record" outlay of $1.7 billion on infrastructure in the NT.
The budget is expected return to surplus by 2019/20, two years later than projected, with a $12 million surplus.

NT Govt commits $186m to e-health record system

news The Northern Territory has announced plans to spend $186 million on a jurisdiction-wide, integrated electronic health record system.
Implemented as part of the 2016 Budget, the investment will be spread over five years as part of the Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program (CCSRP).
Minister for Corporate and Information Services Peter Styles said the program to upgrade the existing core clinical information systems will be the “largest ICT reform ever undertaken” in the Territory.
“For the first time clinicians will be able to electronically access patient records from any public health care facility, anywhere in the Territory,” he said.

NT sinks $186m into ‘largest ever’ clinical systems replacement

Outdated hospital IT to get the boot.

By Paris Cowan
May 25 2016 12:12PM
The NT government has committed $186 million to the replacement of four of its critical clinical systems with a single, integrated patient information database that will be accessible in real-time from any one of the territory’s hospitals or medical centres.
The core clinical systems renewal program will take five years to complete and represents a comprehensive overhaul of the health system’s operational IT environment.
It will deliver the NT’s doctors and clinicians a single view of a patient, integrating data that is currently stored in four different systems - CareSys, the clinical workstation system, the primary care information system, and the community care information system.
Changes to a record made anywhere in the state will be updated and appear in the system in real-time.

Big Data – A surgeon’s perspective

on May 25, 2016 at 8:03 am
Things don’t always go to plan and sometimes complications happen. Professor Andreas Obemair explores how Big Data could make all the difference.
Big Data refers to the concept of very large datasets that can be linked to one or more other datasets. While Big Data is often referred to in the context of business, in this article I will focus on its potential in the healthcare environment.
Many years ago, when I was a medical student, databases were few and far between. Research involved trawling through journal articles at the university library. I physically studied countless hospital charts and extracted information from 500 patients to research the association of obesity with breast cancer prognosis. Big Data did not exist then.
And now……
Recently, my research group showed that surgical removal of the uterus, tubes and ovaries improves survival chances in breast cancer sufferers. We identified 20,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer from the Queensland Cancer Registry and linked this data with data from the Queensland Hospital Admitted Patients Data Collection and the Australian National Death Index. Compared to 30 years ago when it took countless hours to extract data from 500 hospital charts, the time it took to obtain information from 20,000 records was minimal and the impact was much larger.

Evolution of eHealth in Australia - Achievements, lessons, and opportunities

The national eHealth program in Australia is now at an important turning point as it moves into a new stage under the Digital Health banner. It is timely to take this opportunity to review the significant achievements made to date, to analyse lessons learned, and most importantly, to use this information to inform the future of digital health in Australia.

Orion Health targets return profit in 2018, lifts revenue 26pc

By Paul McBeth
11:10 AM Monday May 23, 2016
Orion Health is targeting a return to profit in 2018 after reporting a 26 per cent increase in annual revenue as a weaker New Zealand dollar bolstered returns and a smaller tax expense helped narrow the health software developer's loss.
The Auckland-based company posted a loss of $54.4 million, or 34.2 cents per share, in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $60.8 million, or 42.3 cents, a year earlier.
The bottom line was helped by a tax expense of $1.7 million, down from $10.1 million in 2015 when $5.7 million of tax assets from previous losses and $1.3 million of deferred tax balances were de-recognised. Revenue climbed 26 per cent to $207 million as the exporter benefited from a weaker kiwi dollar, and on a constant currency basis sales rose 12 per cent.

Melbourne Accelerator Program announces its latest intake with a focus on diversity

Wednesday, 25 May 2016
The Melbourne Accelerator Program has revealed the 10 startups that will be taking part in its latest program after receiving twice as many applications than last year.
Over 120 early-stage companies applied for the five-month accelerator program and after a three-stage selection process, 10 have been selected to receive $20,000 in funding, office space at the University of Melbourne, mentoring, development workshops and pitching opportunities in Melbourne, Sydney and Silicon Valley.
MAP does not take any equity from the participating startups, and at least one of the company’s founders must be an alumni of the University of Melbourne.
WA Gov to get patients to hospital faster with new app
The WA government has launched a new WA Emergency Waiting Times app, designed by WA innovation and technology services house Readify, which will help Perth residents quickly and easily choose which hospital to go to in an emergency. Readify’s WA team developed the app on their own initiative in response to Government Chief Information Officer Giles Nunis’ public commitment to use Government open data in smart ways, and to demonstrate that innovation can greatly benefit the public without costing a fortune. The app uses existing Perth hospital emergency wait time data, and taps into mobile device geolocation, local maps and traffic data to give people needing to go to the hospital in a non life-threatening emergency an aggregated travel + wait time. Perth residents can now see whether it is worth driving a bit further than the closest hospital to attend an emergency department that is not as busy, make their decision quicker, get directions and jump in the car.

Data Breach Response Plans: A Life Hack for IT Attacks

Australia May 20 2016
The Australian government has pledged increased spending to secure Australia’s cyber capabilities. However, organisations still need to consider investing resources to manage and minimise cyber attacks.
Cyber attacks can suspend business, diminish stakeholder trust and damage the brand. Additionally, if an organisation fails to take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds, business owners may also find they need to deal with the Privacy Commissioner for breaching privacy laws.
Security challenges for companies
There are many security challenges facing individuals and companies. One cause of concern is spear-phishing emails which generally target individuals who are likely to have information or access sought after by the attacker. Often social media profiles, such as LinkedIn profiles, are used to mine information. Once enough information is collated the attacker builds a believable story and sends an email that appears to be from an individual or business that the recipient knows. CERT Australia received reports from a number of Australian businesses of fraudulent emails claiming to be from a senior executive within the company, requesting financial staff transfer funds to an external bank account.

Peter Young spoke out about a man's death. Suddenly, the AFP was looking at his phone records

Date May 24, 2016 - 5:13PM

Nicole Hasham

Environment and immigration correspondent

The Department of Immigration sought an investigation by the Australian Federal Police which resulted in a whistle-blowing psychiatrist having his phone records accessed, it has emerged.
Guardian Australia reported on Tuesday that the AFP had compiled hundreds of pages of file notes and reports involving Sydney-based psychiatrist and detention centre critic, Peter Young, including documents that show his phone records had been investigated.
The probe followed media reports that contained details of the medical records of Hamid Khazaei, a Manus Island asylum seeker who died in September 2014 after a cut on his leg progressed to septicaemia.
Dr Young oversaw the mental health of asylum seekers in all Australian-run detention centres from 2011 to mid-2014. He told Fairfax Media he was no longer in the position at the time of Mr Khazaei's death and did not have access to his medical records, and suggestions he was responsible for the leak were "absolutely ridiculous".

Police snooping on more refugee doctors, advocates claim

Michael Woodhead | 26 May, 2016 | 
Police surveillance of doctors advocating for asylum-seeker health may be more widespread than the single case that came to light this week, doctors fear.
The warning has been made by Sydney GP Dr Barri Phatarfod (pictured), co-founder of Doctors for Refugees, after the Guardian reported that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had compiled hundreds of pages of files and reports about Dr Peter Young, a former medical director of mental health for Australia’s detention centres, after he publicly criticised the way asylum-seekers were treated in detention.
Dr Phatarfod added that, as a result, private patient information may also be being accessed by the police.

85 percent of voters support the NBN

Likely Labor voters both support and oppose the project in the higher numbers, while proportionally, Liberal voters give the NBN the highest level of support.
By Chris Duckett | May 24, 2016 -- 22:30 GMT (08:30 AEST) | Topic: Networking
The National Broadband Network (NBN) continues to have widespread support throughout the electorate, with an exclusive ZDNet survey undertaken by Metapoll revealing that the project currently enjoys clear majority support with Australians.
The survey reveals that 86 percent of the sample back the NBN, with only 15 percent against the project. The results excluded those that responded with "don't know".
Conducted over the week of May 15 to 21, the survey asked: "Based on what you've heard, do you support or oppose the National Broadband Network (NBN), and will it influence your vote at the upcoming federal election?"

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