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, June 06, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 6th June, 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 very quiet week as the election campaign rolls on. E-Health etc not apparently an issue - as expected.

SA Health workers sacked for breaching privacy

Department takes zero tolerance approach.

By Paris Cowan
Jun 1 2016 4:50PM
Three SA Health employees have lost their jobs for breaking privacy rules protecting patient records.
Department boss David Swan announced today that all three had their employment terminated for “inappropriately accessing” information in patient databases.
Swan had pledged in February to provide full transparency about any staff caught snooping in the state’s health information systems without a good reason, in the wake of revelations that 13 workers had been disciplined for accessing the records of Cy Walsh after he was charged with the murder of his AFL coach father Phil Walsh.
“I made it clear in February of this year that staff inappropriately and deliberately accessing confidential patient information would not be tolerated," Swan said in a statement today.

More SA Health staff sacked for snooping

1 June, 2016
Three more SA Health staff have been sacked over inappropriately accessing patient records.
The sackings were made over the past three months and come on top of two dismissals earlier this year for the same issue.
In February, SA Health revealed that clinicians, including doctors and nurses, were found to have inappropriately accessed medical records, with some snooping on the details of Cy Walsh after the stabbing death of his father last year, former Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh.
Thirteen staff were disciplined for accessing Walsh's records after he was taken to the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide for tests before he was charged with murder.

Aussies on the verge of bionics ‘Holy Grail’ ahead of human trials of brain machine interface technology

June 2, 20167:54am
Australian researchers are leading the way with brain machine interface technology.
Nick Whigham news.com.au
IMAGINE being able to communicate with a machine using nothing but your thoughts.
That is the goal currently being pursued by a team of researchers and engineers at Melbourne University who are leading the way in the hugely significant field of developing brain machine interfaces.
In an effort to accomplish what has been likened to machine telepathy, they have developed a tiny biocompatible implant called a stentrode which gets implanted into a blood vessel next to the brain. The tiny implant records electric activity from a specific part of the brain and the information is then fed into a decoding algorithm which interprets the electric activity, or thoughts.
Dr Tom Oxley is leading the research and perhaps the only thing more impressive than the science involved is the story behind how he secured funding to embark on the project.

Doctors warn of budget blowout due to dodgy software program at Cairns Hospital

May 29, 2016 5:00am
Daniel Bateman The Cairns Post
SENIOR doctors have warned of a budget crisis developing at Cairns Hospital, with health bosses asking them to no longer use pens, and to switch off lights in unused rooms.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has confirmed it is facing a “modest” deficit by the end of the financial year, forecasting a shortfall of about $6 million.
However the Far North Queensland Senior Medical Staff Association has warned unless the health service’s new electronic medical records system is fixed – claiming it is a major contributor to the hospital’s financial woes – then a much larger budget blackhole could emerge.
Cairns has been one of two pilot sites in Queensland for the rollout of the software program, Digital Hospital, an Integrated Electronic Medical Record (iEMR) system.

Integrated accounting for Medical practices to become a reality with MedicalDirector and Surgical Partners

Australia’s leading clinical software provider, MedicalDirector and Surgical Partners, the leading provider of financial management systems for medical practices, have finalised an agreement to deliver integrated accounting automation for their customers. MedicalDirector PracSoft and Blue Chip customers will soon be able to integrate their financial transactions with popular accounting packages Xero, MYOB AccountRight Live, and Quickbooks Online, via the Surgical Partners Integration platform. Surgical Partners was the first to offer cloud integration solutions dedicated to the financial management problems faced by Medical practices. The solution set includes partnerships with the accounting packages as well as with market-leading solutions in the management of staff, accounts payable, and quality/accreditation processes – all of which will now be available to MedicalDirector clients.
27 May, 2016

Telstra ‘screening contract’ critics might want to join the flat earth society

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
When it comes to digital transformation in healthcare, Australia is all creep and no leap, lots of show and no go.
The amount of hoo-haa generated last week after Telstra Health won a $180 million contract to manage a national cancer screening register over the next few years demonstrates how unwilling and unprepared many of us are to embrace the sort of massive efficiencies that transformative digital technologies and the private sector can bring.
Telstra Health hasn’t covered itself in glory since its inception a couple of years back and conceivably the Telstra brand isn’t the country’s most trusted. But how do we expect to seriously create the sort of efficiencies we are going to need in the next few years to continue providing a decent standard of care and not go broke if we don’t take the odd jump? And get someone other than the government to share the risk? Currently it’s all creep and no leap.

Telstra Health will hold Australians' cancer details, so we need to ensure their privacy is protected

May 30, 2016 8.00pm AEST
Telstra Health has won the contract to manage the National Bowel Cancer and Cervical Screening Program registries. from shutterstock.com


Stephen Duckett
Director, Health Program, Grattan Institute
Telstra Health – the company’s health arm – will aggregate and manage data currently held by various state registries into one national database. There is potential that other cancer screening registries, such as breast screening, might also be contracted to Telstra Health in the future.
The registries not only contain personally identifying information, such as names and addresses, but also the results of pap smears that allow inferences about a person’s sexual status.
When Telstra Health’s venture into the market place was first foreshadowed in late October 2014, commentators highlighted potential issues around the privacy of Australians' personal information. So it was no surprise that this first Australian outsourcing provoked consumer advocates to highlight similar concerns.

Health data a national asset: Can Telstra Health deliver on cancer registries?

Editor: Jennifer Doggett Author: Alison Verhoeven on: June 01, 2016
The proposal to consolidate Australia’s existing cancer registries and link them with electronic health records was one of the few Budget 2016-17 announcements that received widespread support from the health sector.
However, the decision by the Commonwealth Government to allow Telstra Health to develop and operate the new national cancer screening register from 2017 has raised questions which need satisfactory answers if the Australian public and health sector are to trust and support it according to Alison Verhoeven, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive.

Alison Verhoeven writes:

We welcomed the announcement in the 2016–17 Budget that the government would invest in modernising and integrating cancer screening registries, including proposed connections with the My Health Record. Integrating the smaller registries into a single entity has the potential to greatly reduce inefficiencies and support one of the key objectives of Primary Health Networks, which is to increase cancer screening in their communities.

Question: where did the v2 messages and events go in FHIR?

Posted on May 30, 2016 by Grahame Grieve
I’m relatively new to the HL7 scene having implemented a few V2 messaging solutions (A08 , A19, ORU) and the V3/CDA work on PCEHR.  I am trying to get my head around FHIR.  So far I am stumped in how I would go about for example implementing the various trigger/messages I have done in V2.  Is there any guidance?  I cant find much.  Is that because the objective of FHIR is implementers are free to do it anyway they like?  If you could send me some links that would be a good starting point that would be great
Most implementers of FHIR use the RESTful interface. In this approach, there’s no messaging events: you just post the Patient, Encounter etc resources directly to the server. The resources contain the new state of the Patient/Encounter etc, and the server (or any system subscribed to the server) infers the events as needed.

My health record - Anyone use it?

Questionable 30/05/2016
I was just in the my.gov.au account and remembered I had signed up for the My Health Record.
While looking through, I noticed that nothing comes up - no pathology results, no health outcome results, absolutely nothing. I'm pretty healthy but currently pregnant with my second bub and I'd assume if Dr's were on board with this tool then they would be utilising it. My permissions are open to anyone who is involved in my medical care.
It got me thinking:
Do you ever sign in to the My Health Record?
Do you have any medical specialists who use it?
Do you think it’s a good idea to have, or another development that will fizzle??

8 go-to sources of drug information

1 June, 2016 0 comments Read Later
Not all information sources are reliable, so it’s useful to ask yourself some simple questions to help you appraise them.
Is it evidence-based, is it current and is it relevant to your patient?
Sources of medicines information: a quick guide:
  • Australian Medicines Handbook, Therapeutic Guidelines and NPS MedicineWise cover most commonly prescribed medicines and conditions and should be among the first resources consulted. This information is evidence-based, current and reflects Australian best practice. The layout of AMH and Therapeutic Guidelines also allows rapid access to the information needed to prescribe safely.

Medical apps prove tricky to regulate

Carmel Sparke | 31 May, 2016 |
Most of us have smartphones jammed with apps that promise to improve our lives by tracking our sleep, finding the best coffee spots or, more annoyingly, reminding us it’s time to go for a run. 
Many are fun and entertaining, but some are for more serious medical purposes.
An estimated 165,000 medical apps are on offer that range from measuring blood pressure to helping manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma and mental health. 
While some are helpful, for the most part, this field of mobile personalised healthcare is untested, unregulated, possibly ungovernable and occasionally dangerous. 

How to pick the good from the bad smartphone health apps

May 31, 2016 6.21am AEST


Carol Maher
National Heart Foundation Senior Research Fellow in Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep, University of South Australia
With an estimated 100,000 health and fitness apps available on the two leading smartphone platforms, iOS and Android, it seems there is an app for everything – from tracking your bowel movements, to practising your pimple-popping technique.
However, a number of apps are starting to raise the ire of government regulators. Brain-training juggernaut Lumosity was recently fined US$2 million (A$2.7 million) for making unfounded claims that its app could improve work performance and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
“Ultimeyes”, a vision-training app touted to “turn back the clock on your vision” and reduce the need for glasses and contact lenses, was fined US$150,000 for misrepresenting scientific research and ordered to stop making deceptive marketing claims.

Ambos' union disputes completion of NSW Health payroll

Department touting completion of rollout.

By Paris Cowan
Jun 1 2016 6:30AM
The NSW health system’s IT arm claims to have successfully reached the finish line in the statewide rollout of its Stafflink payroll system, onboarding all 140,000 health workers, Health staff and ambos.
But the union representing paramedics claims ambos were bolted on to the system as an afterthought, and are suffering from late and bungled payments as a result.
eHealth NSW last week announced that the successful migration of 4500 NSW Ambulance workers marked the final phase of the project, which it described as “one of the largest ever Oracle payroll implementations”.
The department has managed to keep the upgrade more or less out of the headlines, keen not to repeat the horror-story implementation of the equivelent system in Queensland.

Is it goodbye to fingerpricks for diabetes patients?

Jo Hartley | 1 June, 2016 | 
Do you have an insulin-dependent diabetes patient who hates needles? 
A new, TGA-approved blood glucose monitoring device, which doesn’t require finger-prick tests, is being touted as something that could help in their management. 
The catchily named FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System is made by Abbott and from Wednesday will be available in Australia. 
It reads blood glucose levels through a sensor inserted just under the skin, usually on the back of the upper arm, that remains in place for up to 14 days.  
A handheld scanner is used to read the sensor, which produces real-time results, historical trend data and the direction the glucose is heading.  

Inside the tech supporting the bleeding edge of neuroscience

Queenslanders map living brains in real time.

By Andrew Sadauskas
May 30 2016 9:48AM
Each time researchers at the Queensland Brain Institute build a 3D map of a living organism they create another 30 gigabytes or so of data.
As real-time brain imagery gets better, faster, and bigger, the QBI is being forced to invest in some pretty serious IT kit to keep up.
QBI’s microscopy facility manager Luke Hammond took iTnews inside the fast moving research enterprise.
He said recent advancements in both the speed and sensitivity of imaging equipment meant that researchers can see far more of the brain than ever before, and at far greater speed. They can now visualise the brains of animals, observing their neural activity at a cellular resolution while they are still alive.

Universal cancer vaccine ‘on track’, say researchers

  • The Australian
  • 3:00AM June 2, 2016

John Ross

Scientists say they are on track to produce a universal cancer ­vaccine, capable of eliminating any type of the disease, after they found a new way to convince “killer” immune cells to attack ­tumours.
In a revolutionary approach, charged nanoparticles simulate invading viruses and coax the immune system’s support cells to investigate. The nanoparticles then manipulate the support cells to produce “antigens”, or markers of cancer, triggering a full-blown response from the ­immune system.
The technique, described this morning in the journal Nature, has drawn encouraging results in mice and a handful of advanced melanoma patients. The team plans wider human trials in 12 months, when the full results of the melanoma trial are known.
Lead researcher Ugur Sahin said he anticipated approval of the treatment in about five years. It would be a “therapeutic ­vaccine” used to cure people who have already contracted cancer, unlike preventive vaccines such as the Australian-developed ­cervical cancer vaccine, which stop the disease taking root in the first place.

Prescription pain pills swapped for heroin causing addiction epidemic in the United States

June 2, 20163:49pm
Nick Whigham news.com.au
THE United States is experiencing a heroin epidemic of unprecedented proportions and much of the blame falls at the feet of a once renegade pharmaceutical industry.
Opiate based pain killers became widely available in the US, particularly in the state of Florida in the late ‘90s after the drug OxyContin, known as “hillbilly heroin”, hit the market.
At roughly the same time, medical authorities urged doctors to pay greater attention to pain alleviation. As a result increasingly lax regulations around the drug meant it became readily and widely accessible, resulting in widespread abuse.
The award-winning 2009 documentary OxyContin Express showed the depths of the misuse and provided the impetus for a government crackdown on the trade and sale of the prescription drug. But the crackdown has resulted in what was apparently an unforeseen catastrophe by US policy makers.


Terry Hannan said...

David, here are some distant findings on record security.
“By one estimate, 85 percent of all computer security problems involve employees
in the organization.”R.L.Simpson, 1996. Security threats are usually
An inside job. Nursing management 27(December); 43

"The major vulnerabilities are related to inappropriate use of patient-specific information by health workers who have access to those data as part of their regular work. Such risks are greater when data are stored in paper charts.” (The evolution of health-care records in the era of the Internet. EH Shortliffe. Semi-Plenary. MEDINFO Seoul, August 1998)

In addition I was provided with another quotation on this topic that relates to paper records as a decision support tool.
"paper records are one the most secure systems available because no one can find any information within them!"

Trevor3130 said...

It looks like Qld Health is after a replacement for Auslab its pathology system. Does anyone know if the data stored in Auslab can be ported over to any other system? Is the Auslab code still locked inside the head of PJA?