Monday, August 01, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 1st August, 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 fair bit going on with HIC 2016 and the Minister sprouting a lot of fantastical rubbish while having her henchmen introduce more systems for GPs that don’t seem to actually work very well
Same old, same old!

Commonwealth establishes Australian Digital Health Agency to complement My Health Record

​The federal government has established an Australian Digital Health Agency, which will work with the public and private sectors in a bid to foster digital health innovation.
By Asha Barbaschow | July 26, 2016 -- 02:33 GMT (12:33 AEST) | Topic: Government : AU
The federal government has announced the establishment of the Australian Digital Health Agency and an advisory board comprised of doctors, informatics specialists, digital experts, and customer service executives tasked with ensuring the nation's health system is technologically up to date.
Speaking at the Health Informatics Conference 2016 in Melbourne on Monday, Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the new agency will set the national agenda for technical and data standards, promote clear principles for interoperability, and open source development within the health system.
"I want the central role of the agency to foster digital health innovation and importantly, when we see new innovative technologies emerge with a strong benefit to clinicians and patients, the agency will be able to invest to deliver national outcomes," she said.

Practices need $100k extra to make Health Care Homes work: RACGP

Tessa Hoffman | 28 July, 2016 | 
The average practice needs an extra $100,000 a year in funding to implement the Health Care Homes model otherwise it will fail, the RACGP has warned.
This is the first time a practice-level figure has been placed on the cost of the scheme, which was announced by Health Minister Sussan Ley in March as one of the biggest reforms of Medicare in 30 years.
The college issued the figure in response to news that no new money would be made available by the government for the program, above the $21.3 million pledged to pay for IT, infrastructure and training.
27 July, 2016

Too many steps, too many clicks

Posted by Julie Lambert
Medicare’s new PBS authority service went live on 1 July promising an “online solution” for doctors to get approval for most authority PBS medications, as well as increased quantities and repeats.
But the lack of an interface with medical desktop software makes for a slow and clunky experience, leading early users to say they’ll stick to the phone.
“We’ve been asking for 15 years for an authority system that links with clinical software, but that is apparently not what they are delivering,” Dr Nathan Pinskier, chair of the RACGP’s eHealth and Practice Systems committee, told The Medical Republic.

Health insurers join Nib to expand ‘trip advisor’ platform

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 29, 2016

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Up to six million Australians will soon have access to an online healthcare platform, labelled the “trip advisor” of the sector, as private health insurers push for cost transparency to give consumers choice of medical procedures.
Health insurers Bupa and HBF have joined NIB to expand NIB’s Whitecoat initiative, which allows consumers to find, book, review and pay for healthcare treatment with their provider.
Graeme Samuel, who recently advised the federal government on making private health insurance more responsive to consumers, said Whitecoat was a quantum leap forward in terms of consumers having accessible information to make an informed choice on the cost and quality of healthcare they received. “Consumers will be empowered through meaningful and accessible information to make an informed choice, he said”
Launched in 2013 by NIB, Whitecoat includes 210,000 health care and ancillary providers, more than 35,000 registered provider profiles and access to more than 250,000 reviews. The site has had more than two million visitors.
  • July 29 2016 - 12:15AM

Health insurance companies encourage consumers to rate doctors on new website

Harriet Alexander
Specialist fees will be published and consumers will review their quality of care in a new rate-my-doctor website likely to anger the medical profession.
Health insurance companies NIB, Bupa and HBF have joined forces to publish customer feedback and gap fees for individual doctors, following rising disgruntlement among members about price gouging by specialists.
The website – an expanded version of NIB's health provider directory Whitecoat – will initially publish prices, customer reviews and allow customers to book and pay for their appointments online.
Whitecoat currently covers GPs, dentists, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals, but not specialists.

Minister Ley welcomes Whitecoat joint venture

Minister for Health Sussan Ley has welcomed the announcement that some private health insurers will increase the amount of information Australians can access about their health services.
Page last updated: 29 July 2016
29 July 2016
Minister for Health Sussan Ley has welcomed the announcement that some private health insurers will increase the amount of information Australians can access about their health services, as the Turnbull Government continues to lead the push for greater transparency and choice for consumers.
The Turnbull Government made private health insurance a priority during the election, with a key promise to simplify policies, weed out junk products, cut down on fine print and simplify billing arrangements to make it easier for Australians to shop around and reduce bill shock.
Ms Ley said the Whitecoat initiative – a joint venture between NIB, HBF and Bupa – was another step in the right direction towards helping Australians be fully-informed when they shop around for private health insurance, and demonstrated the importance of having insurers at the table in the development of reform.

Royal College of Pathologists Australasia (RCPA) Terminology and Information Model v1.0 Release

Created on Friday, 29 July 2016
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Pathology Terminology and Information Models v1.0 has now been published on the Australian Digital Health Agency website.
These resources have been developed by the RCPA as part of the National Pathology Terminology and Information Standardisation Plan. Information about its development can be accessed on the RCPA website.
You can download the resources, along with a release note and terms of use, from the Agency website:

Wearable health technologies: will their benefits (and risks) flow beyond the ‘white, worried and well’?

Editor: Marie McInerney Author: Marie McInerney and Ruth De Souza on: July 25, 2016
Activity trackers, smart watches, health apps, personal heart rate monitors. These new technologies promise to transform health, health literacy and health care.
But to date, these wearable health technologies have been largely marketed towards those who have been dubbed ‘the white, the worried and the well’.
What might they mean for culturally and linguistically diverse communities and the health workforce that supports them – and who should be involved in shaping the research around that?

Inside the race to overhaul Medicare's payments system

By Paris Cowan on Jul 26, 2016 6:34AM

Back to the drawing board for Canberran IT dinosaur.

Fifteen minutes in the national spotlight hasn’t brought the creaky Medicare payments system any closer to a long-overdue replacement, but Canberra insists it is working on bringing the platform into the modern day.
The 30-year-old IT back-end responsible for processing public healthcare rebates rose to an unusual level of notoriety in the last week of the election campaign, amidst squabbling over whether its proposed hand-off to the private sector amounted to an attack on the national health safety net.
Now it is set to become the federal government’s next biggest IT challenge, after a public backlash forced Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to promise no element of the system would be privatised.
The political solution dashed plans to shift the payments function to a private sector organisation - like a bank or private health insurer - and take the multi-million-dollar job off the government’s hands.

Centrelink, Medicare platforms support similar processes

  • Antony Harrowell
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 26, 2016
The ability to entertain and make people laugh draws us to the razor sharp wit of comedic genii.
We revel in comedians’ ability to interpret life differently, and it is the mastery of ­Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Martin and Lewis or Hope and Cosby that keep us laughing.
Each is a comedy legend. Each brought to the table a proposition complementing the other. Each had an element the other didn’t and each fed off the other comically. Operating in comedic silos may not have delivered the laughter they would create. Non-partnering would have set the dial for disappointment, which brings into the question the federal government’s lack of strategy on Medicare and Centrelink.
And this raises the conundrum: why stop at one when two present a more logical benefit for the incorporation of a unified platform offering that delivers greater efficiencies and synergies?

Qld Health chasing $3.6m in overpayments

July 27, 20164:07pm
By Jamie McKinnell AAP
Queensland's health minister has shut down a "gratuitous scare campaign" after the opposition suggested debt collectors may start chasing current health staff for past payroll mishaps.
Money is still being recovered from the 2010 health payroll bungle, which cost taxpayers an estimated $1.2 billion.
On Wednesday it emerged former Queensland Health staff were being sent more debt recovery letters.
The department's director-general, Michael Walsh, told a budget estimates hearing a $900,000 contract with debt recovery company Australian Receivables was renewed in February.

Technology: facial recognition to eye scans and thought control

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

Chris Griffith

You stare at a ceiling light and it switches on. The same applies when you stare at the coffee machine or focus your eyes on the button showing your preferred washing machine cycle. You refocus on the “on” button and away it goes.
Looking intently at the television switches it on and you watch a streaming channel. The ads all look appealing. Somehow the TV knows which ads you like from your mood when watching earlier ones. And your home robot slinks around the corner, out of sight, having discerned you are in a filthy mood.
This isn’t telepathy. It isn’t the distant future. It’s part of how we are about to communicate with electronic devices. It’s potentially our most intimate interaction with machines.
Devices that scan your eyes, judge where you look, glean your mood and act on electrical signals from your brain are not science fiction. Versions exist now and they’re coming to your phone, tablet, notebook and PC.

Robots to roam the halls of new Monash Children's Hospital

By Paris Cowan on Jul 29, 2016 6:55AM

Service tunnel home to automated delivery fleet.

The new Monash Children’s Hospital in Victoria set to open early next year will be home to a fleet of delivery robots ferrying everything from food to clean sheets and medicine to its young patients.
The 230-bed facility will be linked to the existing supply hub at the Monash Medical Centre by an above-ground tunnel that will become the main thoroughfare for the autonomous trolleys as they carry up to 400kg of supplies at a time from storage rooms and kitchens.
Monash Health has invited robot manufacturers to demonstrate their wares to the hospital’s officials and prove their machines can whisk around the new hospital without running into obstacles, other robots, or most importantly, workers and patients.

EPAS – Social Media Campaign

Safer drug prescribing, continuity of patient care and quicker and easier access to patient’s records are a few of the many benefits of EPAS. A series of videos was produced to explain the many benefits to the main stakeholders of EPAS.
June 2016
Social Media 

Pokémon GO as a health tool

Christopher Timms
Monday, 25 July, 2016
THOUSANDS of Australians have been walking the streets, parks and beaches of their cities with eyes glued to their smartphones following the recent release of a game called Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO is a new, free, smartphone game that augments reality and requires users to walk around in the physical world to progress through the game. The smartphone’s camera captures the surrounding environment and integrates Pokémon characters into the scene.
Players are rewarded for exploring their environment and walking between certain landmarks, or “PokéStops”, which tend to be places of cultural significance, museums, scenic lookouts or even government buildings.

Health insurers accused of exploiting billing data

By Paris Cowan on Jul 28, 2016 10:58AM

For competitive leg-up.

The Australian Dental Association has accused major health insurers of mining the HICAPS billing system for commercially sensitive data to give its in-house dental providers a competitive advantage in the market.
The ADA made the claims in its submission [pdf] to the Productivity Commission's data sharing inquiry, complaining that problematic cases of data use in the health sector are giving industry Goliaths a head-start over smaller players.
It said the HICAPS user agreement is “too generous” when it comes to clauses relating to the use of confidential information, and accused private health insurers of using claims submitted to them via the gateway to compile massive databases on the pricing regimes and patronage levels of dental practices in the market.

Monash Health in Australia Integrates Elsevier's Order Sets Into EMR System to Standardize Care and Improve Patient Safety

01:00 ET from Elsevier
MELBOURNE, Australia, July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Integration to be Rolled out Across Victoria's Largest Public Health Service Provider's Network as Part of Wider Digital Transformation Program 
Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced that Monash Health, the largest public health service provider in the state of Victoria, Australia, will integrate Elsevier's Order Sets into its electronic medical record (EMR) system as part of its major digital transformation effort.
The decision to integrate Order Sets into its EMR system will help Monash Health achieve greater operational efficiencies by reducing redundancies and maximizing already limited resources to deliver better outcomes for patients, physicians and other healthcare providers.

Compumedics Ltd signs $3M contract for medical diagnostic systems

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 by Proactive Investors
Compumedics Ltd (ASX:CMP), a leader in medical devices for sleep, brain and ultrasonic blood-flow monitoring has secured a new three year contract valued at a minimum of $3 million.
The deal will see Compumedics distribute neuro-diagnostic and monitoring systems to Bestmed across south and central China.
Bestmed is one of Compumedics’ seven distribution partners across China, Hong Kong and Macau.
The deal builds on existing arrangement for the distribution of sleep and neurological monitoring devices in other provinces of China.

Cybersecurity portfolio assistance is safe start

  • Anthony Wong
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 26, 2016
Cybersecurity has gained greater prominence with Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to name Dan Tehan as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security, adding to his other portfolios. While the ACS certainly cannot take credit for this decision, we hope that our role in highlighting cybersecurity as a key issue in our election manifesto provided some impetus for the creation of this position.
The ACS believes cybersecurity represents perhaps the biggest threat to Australia fully capturing the benefits of the digital age. The government’s own cybersecurity strategy showed cybercrime already costs Australia more than $1 billion per annum and potentially as much as $17bn, with demand for cybersecurity services and related personnel expected to grow by 21 per cent over the next five years. The frequency and impact of attacks has increased in recent months and represents a cautionary tale for those who think they are immune.
In April, hackers stole $81 million from the central bank of Bangladesh by exploiting weaknesses in the global financial messaging system known as Swift, which had been billed as the Rolls-Royce of payment networks. Since then, another 12 banks have been investigated for possible Swift-related breaches. In the US, hospitals have been targeted by hackers who used ransomware to lock access to their data, threatening patients’ lives, until the facilities paid hefty ransoms to have their data unlocked.

Microsoft releases anniversary update to Windows 10

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

Chris Griffith

A trilogy of Microsoft Windows 10 milestones happen in the next week. The first is on Friday, when Microsoft’s latest operating system turns one year old. It’s also the last day you can upgrade a computer from Windows 7 or 8/8.1 to Windows 10 for free. From Friday, Australians will pay from $179 to upgrade to Windows 10, the same price for clean installs.
The third event is Microsoft’s release of an anniversary update to Windows 10, called Redstone 1. Current users won’t have to buy it or explicitly install it as it comes as a routine Windows update, as do feature updates going forward. The rollout will begin on August 2.
In 12 months, Windows 10 has erased the awful memories of Windows 8 OS. Microsoft says more than 350 million devices run Windows 10, and users have spent more than 135 billion hours using it. Just how Microsoft knows this is a mystery.
  • July 28 2016 - 1:41PM

CX330: Galaxy's loneliest baby star discovered wandering far from stellar nurseries

Marcus Strom
It's younger than humanity; a baby star barely a million years old wandering far from any stellar nursery.
CX330, about 25,000 light years from Earth in the Milky Way's galactic bulge, has been described as the galaxy's loneliest star. It is confounding astronomers, who aren't sure why it is forming so far from where you'd expect such a star to form.
"We tried various interpretations for it, and the only one that makes sense is that this rapidly growing young star is forming in the middle of nowhere," said Chris Britt, lead author of a study on CX330 recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Terry Hannan said...

David, the posting re wearable technologies is very relevant. I currently share knowledge and information on the topic with the Alain Labrique group out of Johns Hopkins via
An interesting statistic from December 2015 is that there were 7.1 billion people in the world, 7.4 billion mobile devices and probably less than 10-12 applications on mHealth that have actually improved care delivery!
Here are some links that your readers may find useful on this topic.
• Mobile Healthcare Information for All see rst-hifasmart-goal-mobile-healthcareinformation-for-all/

• Alain B Labrique, Lavanya Vasudevan, Erica Kochi, Robert Fabricant, Garrett Mehl mHealth innovations as health system strengthening tools: 12 common applications and a visual framework Global Health: Science and Practice 2013 | Volume 1 | Number 2 p160

Terry Hannan said...

David, this came just as I sent my last comment.