Monday, October 10, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 10th October, 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 really busy week with drug monitoring and leaks competing for attention. Lots to browse…

Sussan Ley moves to monitor painkiller use

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM October 7, 2016

Sean Parnell

Health Minister Sussan Ley will seek to revive plans for a national pharmaceutical drug reporting system in an effort to stop ­people shopping around for dangerous quantities of painkillers and tranquillisers.
At a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments’ health council today, Ms Ley will again raise the need for all jurisdictions to connect to an “electronic ­recording and reporting of controlled drugs’’ system.
A steering committee has been looking at implementation issues, but health groups are concerned by the slow progress since the federal government made the software available in 2012.
Ms Ley last night said she wanted the states to take to a December meeting of health officials their “well-developed proposals’’ explaining how the system would be implemented.

COAG Health Council Communique - 7 October 2016

The Federal and state and territory Health Ministers met in Canberra at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. The meeting was chaired by the Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.
Page last updated: 07 October 2016
7 October 2016
The Federal and state and territory Health Ministers met in Canberra today at the COAG Health Council to discuss a range of national health issues. The meeting was chaired by the Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.

Medical dataset pulled after doctor details leak

The federal Department of Health has been forced to remove a dataset made available to the public on the website after a researcher at Melbourne University found that service provider IDs could be identified.
The office of the Australian Information Commissioner was informed of the issue and the privacy commissioner said he had launched an inquiry into the same.
The data in question was extracted from the Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medicare Benefits schemes.
Dr Vanessa Teague, Dr Christopher Culnane and Dr Benjamin Rubinstein of Melbourne University's Department of Computing and Information Systems identified the issues with the dataset and notified the Department of Health on 12 September.
  • October 5 2016 - 9:24AM

96,000 public servants in new data breach

Noel Towell
The federal government is caught up in a second data privacy scare, this time involving a massive data-set on more than 96,000 of its public servants amid fears their confidential information might not be secure.
In the second potentially serious Commonwealth data breach to become public in less than a week, the public service's workplace authority has confirmed that it has withdrawn the data gathered in its massive annual employee census from public view.
It is feared that identification codes for departments and agencies could be used to identify the individual public servants who filled in the census, the largest workplace survey undertaken in Australia, on condition of anonymity.

Govt pulls dataset that jeopardised 96,000 employees

By Allie Coyne on Oct 6, 2016 7:17AM

Downloaded 58 times before being removed.

A second data breach within the federal government in a week has seen a dataset involving 96,000 public servants pulled from public view over privacy concerns.
Fairfax Media reported yesterday that the Australian Public Service Commission had decided to pull the dataset from the government's open data portal over concerns the information could be used to identify individual officers.
The APSC performs a massive yearly employee census to collect attitudinal data that tracks the views of staffers about management and workplace conditions.
While the data collected from the 96,000 public servants does not involve names or contact details, the APSC told iTnews that tweaks to this year's dataset had raised privacy concerns.
Oct 8, 2016

Millions of Australians caught in health records breach

The government’s negotiations with doctors over the Medicare rebate is not helped by a breach of privacy on apparently anonymised health data.

When she addressed the annual conference of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in Perth last week, Health Minister Sussan Ley was already in a hostile environment.
Doctors are angry at cost-saving measures that are putting pressure on their fees. They believe the government has broken promises, used them as a collective cash cow and left them to pass on higher costs to their patients.
Standing at the podium, Ley surprised the GPs by apologising for something else entirely.

GPs aren't happy about the government's cancer screening plans

4 October 2016
THE RACGP has lambasted the Commonwealth for inadequate consultation prior to signing a contract with Telstra Health to run the new bowel and cervical cancer screening register.
Telstra Health is a commercial “entity with no experience in healthcare delivery”, a spokesperson told a Senate Inquiry hearing in Sydney.
The college says it also wants to know if the current GP incentive payments for getting seldom-screened women to have a Pap smear will continue when the new regime of HPV testing starts in May next year.
At a Senate inquiry into legislation implementing the new National Cancer Screening Register and allowing integration of immunisation data, Dr Magdalena Simonis, a member of the RACGP’s Quality Care committee, bemoaned the lack of public consultation, including with the college.
6 Oct 2016 - 10:42pm

Labor rejects Telstra-run cancer register

Labor are worried about a for-profit company running the new cervical cancer screening register. (AAP)
Federal Labor is trying to ensure only government or not-for-profits can run the new cervical cancer screening register despite Telstra having won the contract.
Source: AAP
6 Oct 2016 - 10:42 PM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 10:42 PM
Federal Labor is demanding a string of changes to the way Australia's new cervical cancer screening program is to be rolled out, insisting it's been "bungled" by the government.
From May 1, the two-yearly Pap test will be replaced by an improved five-yearly cervical screening test administered by one national register, along with the bowel cancer screening program.
7 Oct 2016 - 11:06am

Fears Senate will delay new cancer test

It's feared women could face a two-month wait for pap test results if the Senate delays legislation for a new cervical cancer screening register.
AAP 7 Oct 2016 - 11:06 AM  UPDATED YESTERDAY 11:06 AM
The doctor overseeing the introduction of Australia's new cervical cancer test is warning politicians to butt out amid fears it could be delayed by the federal opposition.
From May 1, the two-yearly pap test will be replaced by an improved five-yearly cervical screening test administered by one national register, along with the bowel cancer screening program.
But that start date might be in jeopardy, with warnings that could cause chaos for pathologists and create delays for women waiting on test results.

Australian Medical Association sounds warning over online patient reviews

By Tracy Bowden
Updated Sat 1 Oct 2016, 9:05am
Patients will soon be able to publicly rate their doctors and specialists on a website, a development that has been welcomed by consumer groups but has medical professionals worried.

Key points:

  • Website Whitecoat will allow patients to rate doctors and specialists
  • It is run by private health insurance companies NIB, Bupa and HBF
  • AMA concerned about increasing influence of insurance industry
Website Whitecoat was set up three years ago by private health insurer NIB to provide non-clinical reviews of healthcare providers such as dentists and physiotherapists.

Why health implants should have open source code

October 4, 2016 6.14am AEDT


James H. Hamlyn-Harris
Senior Lecturer, Computer Science and Software Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology
As medical implants become more common, sophisticated and versatile, understanding the code that runs them is vital. A pacemaker or insulin-releasing implant can be lifesaving, but they are also vulnerable not just to malicious attacks, but also to faulty code.
For commercial reasons, companies have been reluctant to open up their code to researchers. But with lives at stake, we need to be allowed to take a peek under the hood.
Over the past few years several researchers have revealed lethal vulnerabilities in the code that runs some medical implants. The late Barnaby Jack, for example, showed that pacemakers could be “hacked” to deliver lethal electric shocks. Jay Radcliffe demonstrated a way of wirelessly making an implanted insulin pump deliver a lethal dose of insulin.

New insulin pump flaws highlights security risks from medical devices

Attackers exploit flaws in the Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pump system to deliver dangerous insulin doses
Lucian Constantin (IDG News Service) 05 October, 2016 07:09
Medical device manufacturer Animas, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is warning diabetic patients who use its OneTouch Ping insulin pumps about security issues that could allow hackers to deliver unauthorized doses of insulin.
The vulnerabilities were discovered by Jay Radcliffe, a security researcher at Rapid7 who is a Type I diabetic and user of the pump. The flaws primarily stem from a lack of encryption in the communication between the device's two parts: the insulin pump itself and the meter-remote that monitors blood sugar levels and remotely tells the pump how much insulin to administer.
The pump and the meter use a proprietary wireless management protocol through radio frequency communications that are not encrypted. This exposes the system to several attacks.
  • October 2 2016 - 7:22PM

Long rocky road to digital government

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is to be applauded for his commitment to the digital transformation of the federal government.
His leadership on the issue comes not before time. Any further delay in government in catching-up, in the digital sense, with the lives of many millions of Australians might have left the Commonwealth and its public service decades off the pace and hopelessly behind the times.
Yet, news last week of the latest embarrassing slip-up from the Health Department, publishing potentially sensitive data on Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, ​is yet another reminder that government still has much work to do in in its search for digital proficiency
The accidental leak, which was sufficiently serious to force Health Minister Sussan Ley to apologise to a group of general practitioners over the compromised data, had a number of things in common with other recent Commonwealth tech wrecks.
  • Updated Oct 4 2016 at 6:30 PM

Creating one digital identity could make us more secure

by Mark Eggleton
One of the great criticisms of the digital age is that we have rushed headlong into embracing technology but we have not really thought about how to apply the brake if things get out of hand.
It's an issue confronting governments and organisations, and was highlighted in a recent Four Corners episode "Cyber War" on the ABC.
Speaking on the program, Katie Moussouris, chief policy officer and cyber security expert at US company HackerOne, said: "The internet was never designed to actually be secure so we're fighting an almost untenable problem space. We're realising that we've created so much technology, we've created technology faster than we have the ability to secure it as human beings."
This inability to secure data was highlighted in Accenture's "The State of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust 2016" report released in June. Most organisations interviewed suggested security breaches were on the rise and were not going to go away. It's an alarming admission considering trust in data security is really the cornerstone of the digital economy.
  • Updated Oct 4 2016 at 6:30 PM

Establishing digital identity causing problems as users giving away too much

by Ian Grayson
With the proportion of business interactions conducted online continuing to climb, the need for secure digital identities has never been stronger.
Whether it's a company placing orders with suppliers, or a consumer purchasing from online stores, being able to prove identity is a critical step in every digital transaction.
The need is also growing when it comes to deals in the public sector. Both businesses and consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the often convoluted methods they are forced to use to interact with government agencies.
"What we see is too many people experiencing significant friction when proving their identity," says Andrew Walduck, general manager, trusted eCommerce solutions, at Australia Post. "They are giving away more information than they should and are not being aware of how it is going to be used."

It should be easier for GPs to work out the cheapest drug options

5 October 2016
The issue
THE continuing removal of medicines from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), concurrent with increasing patient co-payments for those medicines that remain on the PBS, makes it cheaper per dose for some patients to buy their medicines on a private prescription.
This is especially true if they buy larger quantities than the PBS will allow. 
Limitations on the quantities of some Schedule 2 and 3 medicines sold over the counter mean that, for some products, it is cheaper per dose for the patient to get a prescription enabling them to buy larger quantities.
GPs try to work out the cheapest way for their patients to get their medicines, but currently this is a complex and time-consuming task, often requiring telephoning one or more pharmacies.

Machine learning essential to healthcare, says Orion Health

Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae said meeting the demands of healthcare in the future would require the application of sophisticated ‘big data’ techniques
Orion Health (NZX: OHE) has released report on the application of machine learning to healthcare, saying the technology will be essential to enable healthcare workers deal with an exponential increase in the amount of patient information needed to effectively treat their patients.
The move coincides with the official launch at the University of Auckland of Precision Driven Health, announced in March and billed as one of the largest data science research initiatives to be undertaken in New Zealand. It aims to position the country at the forefront of precision health globally.
Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae, said meeting the demands of healthcare in the future would require the application of sophisticated ‘big data’ techniques such as machine learning to process, analyse and surface information that will assist in creating more personalised healthcare plans.

Here's to our health, with help from Watson

Healthcare is now a big part of IBM's AI business
Katherine Noyes (IDG News Service) 07 October, 2016 23:32
IBM may have originally built Watson to win at Jeopardy, but it saw potential applications in healthcare early on. Eventually, it formed a dedicated business unit focused squarely on making those applications happen.
As far back as 2012, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and IBM teamed up to develop a Watson-based system that could help doctors create individualized cancer treatment recommendations for their patients.
The following year, IBM, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and WellPoint introduced products based on Watson. A project with Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, focused on developing a new tool to help physicians and medical students learn how to make better decisions more quickly.

Capstone selects Microsoft Azure for medical practice management

Canberra-based Capstone Systems has released a medical practice management system as a service powered by Microsoft Azure Cloud and integrated with Office 365.
Tim Madden, co-founder of Capstone Systems, said that the solution was originally developed in association with the Canberra Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (CAPS) Clinic, which also operates a GP unit, a private hospital, and a non-surgical practice.
Rather than a piecemeal system for each unit, which could result in fragmented information flows, CAPS is a unified platform that provides transparency across the patient journey and delivers rich data insights for both practitioners and administrators.
The software has embraced the majority of Medicare integrations and will soon support the government’s MyHealth electronic health record scheme. It also aligns with the NSQHS (National Safety and Quality Health Service) standards, which promote the quality of health services.
  • Updated Oct 3 2016 at 2:00 PM

CancerAid raises $1.25 million, plans to expand app to other diseases

A new app devised by two doctors that aims to improve the treatment experience for people with cancer has secured $1.25 million in funding from a group of high net worth business leaders.
CancerAid, founded by Dr Nikhil Pooviah and Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh from the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse cancer hospital, provides cancer patients and their caregivers with accurate information specific to their illness and treatment plan, a digital journal, a database for their medical records and access to a global community of people fighting the disease, as well as information and news stories from clinicians, researchers and charities.
Dr Pooviah said he and his co-founder developed the idea two years ago after witnessing first hand that improvements were needed in cancer care.
"Having cancer is a very isolating experience," he said. "It started out with us wanting to make something cool as a hobby, and now it's turned into something else."

Who’s who of Aussie ICT

September 26, 2016
CENTAUR SOFTWARE is a leading provider of practice management software products and services to dental and allied health practitioners. The company’s products and services include software and related hardware, ongoing training and support and the supply of related imaging and photographing devices. Centaur’s software systems are designed to increase the quality and reduce the cost of providing care by allowing dentists and allied health professionals to manage their practice more efficiently, reducing the administrative burdens created by an increasingly complex general health care environment.
SURGICAL PARTNERS (SP) assists day surgeries and medical specialists groups toward more effective use of information technology and the realisation of paperless systems. Applications are now available for day surgery and specialist practice for electronic medical records and also for administrative processes such as bookkeeping, payroll, accounts payable and staff rostering. The company is experienced in implementing and integrating these systems to clients’ greatest advantage. The SPHUB provides the missing link clients PMS data needs to seamlessly integrate with online accounting programs, financial feeds and management reporting.

Artificial intelligence and deep machine learning – the next wave

To harness AI, people need to interact with the technology using natural language that is conversational, personalised and contextual – an experience that fits into their everyday lives.
Samsung Electronics has announced that it has agreed to acquire Viv Labs, "the intelligent interface to everything.”
Viv has developed an open artificial intelligence (AI) platform that gives third-party developers the power to use and build conversational assistants and integrate a natural language-based interface into applications and services.
It claims to be well advanced over other language interfaces like Siri or Google Now where accuracy cannot be relied on. Viv’s creator, Dag Kittlaus should know as he co-created Siri too. He said, “Viv would breathe life into the inanimate objects of our life through conversation.”

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