Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th November, 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

Sadly another big week in the news for SA Health and ePAS in all the wrong ways again.
Otherwise we have more from the ADHA and some rising e-Health Security concerns. Lots to browse!

Your health information is neither safe nor secure

By Antony Funnell for Future Tense
12 November, 2016
E-health files in the United States are being used for identity fraud and by paedophiles, according to a new report that highlights the vulnerabilities of online health systems.
That finding is contained in the Washington-based Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology's Your Life, Repackaged and Resold report into hacking.
The institute's James Scott told Future Tense the level of hacking was "massive", and that many health organisations have simply failed to keep pace with network security needs.
He said the health sector had come under increasing pressure from criminal gangs as vulnerabilities in other key sectors such as finance had gradually been addressed.

OAIC told of 94 My Health Record-related breaches in 2015-16

Over the previous financial year, Australia's Information Commissioner found 94 breaches affecting a total of 98 healthcare recipients that held a My Health Record.
By Asha McLean | November 10, 2016 -- 04:41 GMT (15:41 AEDT) | Topic: Security
During the 2015-16 financial year, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) received 16 mandatory data breach notifications, which recorded 94 separate breaches.
According to the Annual report of the Australian Information Commissioner's activities in relation to digital health 2015-16 published on Thursday by Australian Information Commissioner and Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim, the 94 separate breaches affected a total of 103 healthcare recipients, 98 of whom had a My Health Record at the time of breach.
In his report [PDF], Pilgrim said the OAIC received three data breach notifications from the system operator, with the first of the notifications relating to MyGov accounts held by healthcare recipients being incorrectly linked to the My Health Records of other healthcare recipients.
The second and third notifications related to unauthorised My Health Record access by a third party, the report says.

EPAS computer crash forces Queen Elizabeth Hospital to revert to paper patient records

November 8, 2016
A glitch in an electronic patient records system has thrown medical care into chaos at a number of South Australian hospitals including Adelaide's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
A software error in the EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) caused the system to slow down to the point it could no longer be used.
The failure lasted for about 10 hours, until it was restored early this morning.
The costly shift from paper records to an electronic system across the state's hospitals has been controversial at times, and so far has only taken place at the QEH, Noarlunga, Repatriation General Hospital and at Port Augusta.

Troubled EPAS electronic records system crashes at Queen Elizabeth Hospital creating major headache

November 8, 2016 10:13am
A 10-HOUR computer crash at an overcrowded Queen Elizabeth Hospital was a “dangerous, chaotic crisis” and potentially fatal for patients creating major problems for medical staff, the state’s peak doctors union says.
Both the Health Minister Jack Snelling and SA Health heads have assured South Australians patient safety was not put at risk during the ordeal, which meant hospital staff had limited or no access to patient records.
The EPAS (Enterprise Patient Administration System) crashed at 2pm on Monday after a software glitch and wasn’t restored until about midnight.

Adelaide hospitals hampered by nine-hour system outage

By Paris Cowan on Nov 8, 2016 6:15PM

EPAS glitch reportedly takes patient records offline.

South Australia’s health department is investigating what caused a nine-hour outage to its notorious EPAS system across three major Adelaide hospitals on Monday night.
Between 3pm and midnight Adelaide time, the critical medical records system became unusable or completely unavailable at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Repat Hospital, and the Noarlunga Hospital. The three sites are the first to be hooked up to the electronic patient administration system (EPAS).
SA Health CIO Bill Le Blanc today apologised for the glitch, which he said was caused by a rogue piece of software that suddenly began to consume all the compute resources assigned to EPAS.

What is South Australia's EPAS patient record system?

November 8, 2016
South Australia's Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) is part of the State Government's ambitious plans to develop an electronic medical record that can be used in hospitals and other health services.
It stores a person's medical history and can be accessed by doctors, nurses and paramedics.
If a patient is prescribed a medication, has an allergy or has just been in hospital recently, that information is made available to health workers.
All Australian states and territories will eventually use electronic health records under a national agreement.

Government caution on open access data regime

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

Richard Gluyas

Scott Morrison says the government will be mindful of any “unintended consequences” when it considers last week’s draft Productivity Commission proposal to move to an open-access regime for data.
Among the possible consequences of the groundbreaking recommendation flagged by some banks would be the withdrawal of the 100 per cent security guarantee provided to customers if data is shared with third parties at greater risk of fraud.
Commonwealth Bank, for example, said in its submission to the commission that customers enjoyed the backing of the bank’s security guarantee, which is supported by the provisions of the ePayments Code.

De-identification/re-identification - what’s all the fuss about?

Blog TechKnowChat

Australia, USA November 8 2016
Recently, Attorney-General George Brandis announced that he intends to introduce to Parliament amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) that would make it a criminal offence to re-identify Commonwealth Government data that has been stripped of identifying markers. Under the proposed amendments, it would also be an offence to counsel, procure, facilitate, or encourage anyone to re-identify Commonwealth Government data, and to publish or communicate any re-identified dataset. It is understood that researchers will be exempt from prosecution under the proposed new regime.
This raises the important questions of why such attention is being placed to this issue and how supposedly de-identified information is able to be re-identified in the first place.
The release of data has obvious benefits from a public policy perspective. The Attorney-General’s media release provides that, ‘our ability to deliver better policies and to solve many of the great challenges of our time rests on the effective sharing and analysis of data’. It is for this reason that governments around the world are tending implement policies that favor data transparency. In accordance with the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement, the Commonwealth Government frequently publishes non-sensitive and anonymised data on

More funds to fight ‘real threat’ of superbugs, says Sussan Ley

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM November 11, 2016

Sean Parnell

Health Minister Sussan Ley has warned of the “real threat” of ­antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as the federal governments funds a new prevention campaign and makes available research funding in the fight against superbugs.
Addressing Australia’s high rate of antibiotic use was a priority but surveillance was also important,Ms Ley said yesterday.
A data and infrastructure platform will support clinical quality registries, data management (building on existing e-health ­investments), communicable disease control and the fund itself.

Medibank's system overhaul woes put pressure on call centre

By Allie Coyne on Nov 9, 2016 9:33AM

Insurer to boost support resources by Christmas.

Medibank's struggle with the implementation of its new policy management platform is putting pressure on its contact centre, prompting the health insurer to pour more resources into customer support to ease the strain.
The company is nearing the end of a four-year, $150 million overhaul of its core policy and customer relationship management systems.
The overhaul centres on Project DelPHI, the introduction of a single SAP software suite for Medibank's policy, premium and product management systems, implemented with the help of IBM.

What happened when an Australian hospital went digital?

Antony Scholefield | 9 November, 2016
IT experts often promise that healthcare, whether it’s in GP clinics or hospitals, will be better after new digital systems are rolled out.
But what about the weeks or months of upheaval during the implementation process?
When the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane underwent a ‘conversion’ in December 2015 to become Australia’s first tertiary digital hospital, researchers from the hospital, Metro South Health and the University of Queensland were watching to see how it unfolded.
Previous experience suggested that a digital upgrade on such a large scale — the hospital has 6529 staff members and 833 overnight beds — would lead to a mortality spike.

Why I’m behind digital health

Friday, 11 November 2016
“Can you give me a call when you’re free, love mum.”
The message flashed up on my phone and my heart dropped. I knew something was up. My mum’s attempts at ‘text speak’ usually end up with half a screen of rambled shortcuts that I need to look up urban dictionary to decipher.  This, on the other hand, was too short for comfort.
I quickly made my excuses and rushed out of the conference I was in and gave her a call. My mother had shattered her shoulder and was in hospital waiting to find out what would happen. The kicker though, she was alone, and in New York.
My mum had dreamed of visiting New York her whole life and now that she had semi-retired she ventured off on the trip of a lifetime to see the Big Apple only to end up slipping on the stairs of her hotel and ending up in hospital.
Thus began a frustrating, challenging few days trying to figure out if she was safe to fly, how to get her home to New Zealand and how to get her medical records.
  • Nov 6 2016 at 6:30 PM

Trials indicate increasing patient confidence in My Health Record

Martin Bowles says about 25,000 health summaries a week were being uploaded in October
by Hugh Arnold
Since his appointment in 2014, the secretary of the Department of Health, Martin Bowles, has been on a mission to promote culture change for everybody involved in the healthcare industry, including his own department.
"I did set out quite specifically in the early days to build strategic policy and innovation as the centrepiece. And what drove that was setting up data analytics, evaluation and research.
"It was a capability we once had for an old world. We now need to build it for the new world. If we don't understand the data and what is happening out there, how are we actually going to make informed policy decisions? And if you can't drive it culturally in our organisations, it won't catch on," Bowles said at the recent Innovation in Healthcare roundtable co-hosted by The Australian Financial Review and Philips.

Delay for national schools vaccination register

Clare Pain | 7 November, 2016 | 
The Federal Government has deferred plans to replace the National HPV Register with a new Australian Schools Vaccination Register.
In an announcement made on Friday, the Department of Health said it had discontinued a tender process for the creation of an Australian Schools Vaccination Register planned for 2017.
The department said the need for a schools vaccine register was now in doubt because the requirement for a Year 7 adolescent pertussis booster dose was being reviewed by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). 
The only other vaccination carried out in schools — varicella catch-ups for adolescent cohorts —  is due to cease by 2018, raising the possibility that HPV would become the only vaccine included on the register.

Software fault strikes Centrelink

  • The Australian
  • 1:59AM November 12, 2016

Supratim Adhikari

Centrelink’s IT systems have been revived with the Department of Human Services blaming a software fault for temporarily knocking out a number of services provided by it.
The department added that the outages were localised and had now been fully restored.
“There has not been a national outage,” Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said.
  • Updated Nov 6 2016 at 6:30 PM

Your GP may soon know more about you

by James Sherbon
The GP consultation of the future will be a very different type of meeting, thanks to much greater data availability and wearable technology, says a senior CSIRO executive.
Dr Rob Grenfell is the recently appointed director of Health and Biosecurity at the CSIRO with a respected healthcare background in the private sector at BUPA, and crucial work including the National Aboriginal Health unit at the National Heart Foundation – and, as usefully, as a general practitioner.
"This is actually where the riches of data will be available to help. I like to reflect on where we are going. What do we actually want to look at?"
Speaking at the recent Innovation in Healthcare roundtable co-hosted by The Australian Financial Review and Philips, Grenfell says the patient of the future will be rated by a whole range of things that are actually occurring – whether implantable or wearable or at a distance – and are actually valid health indices.

How to find a good app for mental health

November 7, 2016 7.26am AEDT
Some mental health apps claim to track your mood over time, while others claim to “cure” your mental ill health with hypnosis. Adobe


  1. David Bakker
Doctor of Clinical Psychology Candidate, Monash University
  1. Nikki Rickard
Associate Professor of Psychology, Monash University
Search for “stress”, “depression”, “anxiety”, or “mental health” in the app store on your mobile device and you are confronted with a bewildering array of options. Some apps claim to track your mood over time, while others claim to “cure” your mental ill health with hypnosis.
Apps hold amazing potential as mental health and wellbeing tools. You can carry them everywhere, engage with them in real time as you’re experiencing distress, and interact with them in a completely different way to other self-help tools. But it is important to know which apps you can rely on for good support, and which might even do you harm.
There is no current accreditation system for apps designed to improve or support mental health. And while some respectable organisations have lists of recommended apps, such as and eMHPrac, very few of these apps are supported by experimental evidence. This means there is no way of knowing whether they actually help or not.
  • Nov 6 2016 at 6:30 PM

Big data can sit comfortably with healthcare

by Nicole Pierre
If there is one sector where big data has already found a natural home, it's in the world of healthcare.
At the recent Innovation in Healthcare roundtable co-hosted by The Australian Financial Review and Philips, CEO of Lorica Health Paul Nicolarakis said what's exciting is the way data is now being used. He says we are seeing the combination of technological advances and societal comfort starting to converge and this is allowing really interesting things to be done.
Yet while we are seeing data being utilised to improve clinical outcomes, Nicolarakis says, there are no automated ways for the clinicians to actually see how they are performing as yet. And while he is a strong believer in data sharing across the board, clinicians should be the first to look at their own data.
  • Updated Nov 6 2016 at 6:30 PM

Taking the best medical equipment home generating results

by Jonathan Porter
In an Australian first, chronically ill patients in Queensland are being given hi-tech medical testing equipment to use at home, and linking them with on-call medical staff.
Twenty patients at West Moreton Hospital in Ipswich are taking part in the trial of MeCare, a personalised connected health management program, which the hospital undertook to save lives, conserve scarce resources, improve outcomes, and to keep patients out of the emergency department unless absolutely necessary.
The equipment includes a secure tablet which throws all the patient's records into the cloud and enables them to video-conference with physicians and nurses, and the tools to test blood pressure, heart-rate and blood oxygen.

IBM’s Watson to use genomic data to defeat drug-resistant cancers

The five-year, US$50 million project will study thousands of drug-resistant tumors
Lucas Mearian (Computerworld (US)) 10 November, 2016 22:00
IBM's Watson artificial intelligence platform has joined forces with researchers at MIT and Harvard to study how thousands of cancers mutate to become resistant to drug treatments that initially worked to beat back the disease.
By discovering how cancers adapt to overcome drug therapies, researchers at MIT's and Harvard's Broad Institute genomics research center hope to develop a new generation of therapies that cancers cannot circumvent.
While a growing number of treatments can hold cancers in check for months or years, most cancers eventually recur, according to the Broad Institute researchers. This is in part because tumors acquire mutations that make them drug resistant.

NZHIT leading the way to provide exciting new collaborative health data

The New Zealand Health, Information and Technology (NZHIT) has begun a process of setting up a system to help create cutting-edge national patient data information to help improve health services for all Kiwis in need.
Patients’ health data needs to be available anywhere, anytime, on any device by those who have authority to access it, such as clinicians and the patients themselves, chief executive Scott Arrol says.
NZHIT is developing a vision and charter to provide leadership in the creation of an interoperable e-health system where all people involved in healthcare - including patients - produce more efficient and cohesion healthcare.
  • November 4 2016

Why light bulbs may be the next hacker target

·         John Markoff
  • 27 reading now
The so-called Internet of Things, its proponents argue, offers many benefits: energy efficiency, technology so convenient it can anticipate what you want, even reduced congestion on the roads.
Now here's the bad news: putting a bunch of wirelessly connected devices in one area could prove irresistible to hackers. And it could allow them to spread malicious code through the air, like a flu virus on a plane.
Researchers reported in a paper released on Thursday that they have uncovered a flaw in a wireless technology that is often included in smart home devices such as lights, switches, locks, thermostats and many of the components of the much-ballyhooed "smart home" of the future.

No comments: