Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, November 07, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 7th 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

The big news of the week is the commencement of work on a new National E-Health Strategy.
Lots of other material, especially from the private sector to wander through as well.

Australian Digital Health Agency launches public consultation

Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 03 November, 2016 15:02
The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched a public consultation to help guide the creation of a national digital health strategy.
“Early consultation with key health, government, and technology industry stakeholders has guided the Agency towards facilitating a comprehensive and inclusive community engagement process in the development of the National Digital Health Strategy for Australia,” a discussion paper released today by the ADHA states.
“The community and stakeholder engagement process will provide the opportunity for all members of the public, including patients, their families and carers, healthcare providers, scientists and researchers, entrepreneurs and technology innovators, and state and territory health service providers and funders, to participate in co-producing the National Digital Health Strategy.”

Launch of the National Digital Health Strategy Consultation

Created on Thursday, 03 November 2016

Your health. Your say.

How should Australia take advantage of the opportunities that new technologies offer to improve health and care? Many people want to be more informed and involved with their own care and learn how to prevent illness and improve wellbeing. Clinicians and carers want to be able to securely share information so they can provide safe, high quality services that are better co-ordinated around a person’s needs.
The Australian Digital Health Agency was created in July by the Australian Government to drive the development and delivery of Australia’s digital health.  To help describe what digital health looks like now and in future, the organisation is launching a national consultation with the general public, clinicians, healthcare providers and funders. The findings from the national consultation will be used to develop a national digital health strategy for delivery to Government in 2017.

New Oz eHealth strategy

Article posted on: October 31, 2016
For around two decades, Australia has been working under various governments and schemes to implement a national eHealth strategy – and finally, on 1 July 2016, the new formed Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) started operating, reports an article in this month’s HIMSS Insights magazine.
The agency, which is pushing for a wider adoption of electronic health records, spearheads the Commonwealth of Australia’s revised approach to eHealth policy. Australia’s current national eHealth strategy dates back to 2008, reports Cornelia Wels-Maug, in the piece. This strategy consists of several elements, including the implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) system, ePrescribing and dispensing of medication, telehealth programmes for people in remote areas and a national healthcare identifier service that enables healthcare stakeholders to exchange medical information on a specific person. However, the execution of the eHealth strategy across the six states and two territories that constitute Australia has been patchy and, unsurprisingly, each state and territory has meanwhile come up with its own eHealth roadmap. This results in a multitude of individual state and territory systems that operate under different legislation, compliance regimes and do not facilitate a nationwide exchange of information.

Do GPs want to add data management to their already busy schedules?

3 November 2016


PRIMARY health care networks will benefit from data generated by local practices. A qualitative study in NSW has explored the views of practice staff about an intervention to improve data quality.
Seventeen practices participated in focus groups. Staff were involved in data cleaning to identify at-risk patients. They recognised the importance of having good quality data. There was a need for IT skills but checking data also required clinical knowledge.
Time spent managing data was time that could be spent on other activities. Several participants said incentives would promote greater engagement in the task.
  • October 29 2016

Red Cross Blood Donation Service urges donors not to abandon it in wake of data breach

·         Alexandra Laskie
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has urged blood donors not to abandon it over its leak of 550,000 donors' personal details, one of the largest data breaches in Australia's history.
Blood Service spokesman Shaun Inguanzo apologised to donors for the data leak but said the need for blood was urgent. 
Australia has seen a decline in the number of people signing up to become new blood donors over the past 10 years, 87,000 annually down from 127,000.

Questions still need answering in Australia’s largest health data breach

David Glance
October 31, 2016 1.17am AEDT
In what is Australia’s biggest data breach of medical information, more than 550,000 customers of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service had personal and medical details exposed online and leaked to an anonymous hacker last week.
According to the Blood Service, the data leaked was contained in a backup of a database of its online web site. One part) of the database contained the answers to an online questionnaire which donors complete in order to book an appointment with the service. The questionnaire covers information about the donor’s name, age and address but also medical questions related to the donor’s current health, state of pregnancy and finally about whether the donor has in the last 12 months, engaged in at-risk sexual behaviour.

Phishers go after Red Cross data breach victims

By Allie Coyne on Nov 2, 2016 4:16PM

Texts ask users to click on links.

Opportunistic cyber attackers are attempting to pilfer sensitive data from individuals affected by the Red Cross Blood Service data breach by sending text messages containing phishing links.
Around 1.3 million records relating to 550,000 individual blood donors were exposed online last month after the blood service's website partner Precedent published a backup database to a publicly-exposed web server.
The 1.74GB file, which contained records going back to 2010, involved personal data as well as sensitive medical information. The amount of information involved in the leak earned it the title of Australia's largest-ever data breach.

Pioneering digital disruption: Australia’s first integrated digital tertiary hospital

Clair Sullivan, Andrew Staib, Stephen Ayre, Michael Daly, Renea Collins, Michael Draheim and Richard Ashby
doi: 10.5694/mja16.00476
Digital technology now underpins most industries; however, the health care sector (particularly in hospitals) has been slow to transform from traditional paper-based systems of care. In the United States, for example, federal legislation and financial incentives have facilitated the implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs);1 but there are only a handful of advanced EMRs in hospitals outside the US.2 The roll-out of a digital hospital includes an EMR system and other technical components, such as integrated digital vital sign monitoring and digital electrocardiogram (ECG) records. This transformation prompts revolutionary change in the way health care is delivered and monitored.

Digital revolution rolling out in hospitals

Authored by Charlotte Mitchell
TWO Australian hospitals have successfully gone completely digital, and one of the project leaders says there’s no reason others can’t start the process.
Ms Jackie McLeod, project director of the electronic medical record implementation at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne, told MJA InSight that with careful preparation, a digital transformation can have incredible results.
“You have to involve clinicians and executives, and make it the total focus of the organisation. It isn’t easy, but the benefits are there,” she said. “Would a hospital really choose to run on paper forever? To me that’s not acceptable.”

Give consumers more power over their data: Productivity Commission

By Allie Coyne on Nov 3, 2016 7:56AM

Australia needs new data laws, national custodian.

Australian consumers would have far greater control over how their personal data is collected and handled under reforms proposed by the Productivity Commission.
The commission today released its draft report on the country's approach to data usage [pdf] following a six-month inquiry, recommending sweeping reform to overhaul Australia's lagging efforts in data availability and use.
It found that a "lack of trust and numerous barriers" to sharing and releasing data were hindering effective use of the country's data, pulling it behind international counterparts.

Sydney GP takes on top digital health role

1 November, 2016 Antony Scholefield 
Sydney GP Dr Meredith Makeham, who is an associate professor at Macquarie University, was named Chief Medical Advisor for the revamped Australian Digital Health Agency in October.
Australian Doctor asked her what the key issues were in digital health for GPs.
Australian Doctor: What are the priorities for digital health in Australia?
Dr Makeham: GPs have embraced digital health technologies, and our practices are big users of these tools. However, there are still major gaps in other sectors which don't have digital health systems in place.
We need to try to close these gaps and support uptake among other healthcare professionals like specialists, allied health providers and aged care facilities.

Steve Herczeg’s inquest hears nurse allowed student to record details on electronic system using her password

Andrew Hough, The Advertiser
November 1, 2016 6:57pm
A STUDENT nurse was wrongly allowed to record critical medical observations on a former Socceroo, under a supervising colleague’s name, in an Adelaide hospital’s controversial electronic system, an inquest has heard.
South Australia’s first World Cup qualifying player, Stephen Herczeg, 72, of North Haven, died in agony last month in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital from respiratory failure caused by a ruptured bladder and collapsed lungs.
State Coroner Mark Johns is conducting an urgent inquest into the “catastrophic”, but mysterious circumstances, surrounding the September 19 death.
  • Updated Nov 3 2016 at 12:15 AM

Big data belongs to the people, says Productivity Commission

Incumbent business and entrenched sectors across the economy from finance, communications to healthcare and transport face a wave of disruption and innovation if a bold Productivity Commission proposal to give consumers a powerful new "right" to access their data gets up.
Adopting an unashamedly "consumer first" approach to the issue of managing the cascading volumes of personal data being created and collected, the Productivity Commission is also calling for governments to escalate how much information they release.
The commission's 652-page draft report released on Thursday into the exploding data economy includes recommendations that could make the liberation of information a trigger for a fresh surge in competition and nationwide productivity.
  • November 3 2016 - 12:15AM

Consumers to control their own data under Productivity Commission proposal

Peter Martin
Data held by corporations on consumers would become the property of those consumers for the first time under a shake-up of information laws proposed by the Productivity Commission in a report commissioned by the Prime Minister.
"Right now consumers think they own their own data," said commission chairman Peter Harris at the launch of the report on Wednesday. "Well, they don't, and only in a very limited way can they control the data."
The draft report recommends consumers be given the right to demand copies of the information businesses have about them and to have it passed on in machine-readable form to those businesses' competitors.
  • November 4 2016 - 1:52PM

How the 'worried well' are making themselves sick

Rania Spooner
This is why you need to dump Doctor Google.
Worrying about your symptoms could make you sick.
Health-related anxiety potentially increases your odds of a heart attack or angina by about 70 per cent, according to a European study published in the British medical journal BMJ Open today.
From a study of more than 7000 people, 6 per cent of those who needlessly stressed about getting sick, known as "the worried well," went on to develop ischemic heart disease within 10 years compared with 3 per cent of their carefree counterparts.
When the researchers adjusted out known risk factors for heart disease such as smoking and lack of exercise, the worried well had an even larger increased risk compared with the unworried.

National identity card for Australians? Digital government lessons from Estonia

By Marie Sansom on November 1, 2016
As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s digital transformation agenda gathers pace and renewed urgency in the wake of the botched 2016 Census and the new Digital Transformation Agency gets going, the PM would be wise to seek a meeting with government tech heads in Estonia, where 99 per cent of the country’s services are accessible online.
Anna Piperal is the Managing Director of E-Estonia Showroom, a government-funded investment agency that travels the world showcasing Estonia’s digital prowess and its achievements, marking it out as one the most successful e-societies on Earth.
Ms Piperal was recently a keynote speaker at Civica Expo in Sydney but took time out to speak to Government News about how Australia could learn from how Estonia has transformed itself into an exemplar of digital government.

Do patients need to be health literate to use e-health?

Antony Scholefield | 1 November, 2016 | 
If a patient uses health apps, does that mean they’re especially interested and invested in their health?
Or are they more gullible and therefore more easily seduced by slick marketing from app developers?
A US study suggests it’s the first option. The survey of almost 5000 patients shows that health-literate patients are more likely to use fitness apps, nutrition apps and electronic health records than those with poor health literacy skills.
The research findings show that health-literate patients are 17% more likely to use fitness apps that remind or encourage them to exercise, 29% more likely to use nutrition apps, such as calorie counters, and 62% more likely to use activity trackers like Fitbit.
And they are a whopping 75% more likely to access an electronic health record to check healthcare reminders or medication instructions, or to contact a healthcare provider.
  • November 2 2016 - 4:11PM

Centrelink apologises for new privacy breach

Noel Towell
Centrelink has apologised to hundreds of users of the myGov web portal after their contact details were shared with hundreds of strangers – twice.
The latest federal government data breach is being blamed on a rookie email error, someone at the giant Department of Human Services hitting the CC button on an email instead of the BCC button.
When the department realised it had disclosed the email contact details of hundreds of its customers on October 24, it tried to recall the email containing the information, but only succeeded in sending it again.

Telstra's inaugural Health boss resigns

By Allie Coyne on Nov 4, 2016 9:13AM

To leave long health career for retirement.

The executive who helped establish Telstra's healthcare division will step down from the role and retire in February next year.
Shane Solomon has served as the inaugural head of Telstra Health since the business was established in 2014.
Its goal is to connect predominantly rural and remote patients - as well as travellers and people wanting out-of-hours care - with hospitals, GPS, government and health funds, through partnerships with healthcare providers.

Top News - Allscripts

Allscripts posts Q3 results: revenue up 11 percent, adjusted EPS $0.14 vs. $0.13, missing analyst expectations for both. The company also issued disappointing earnings guidance.
Allscripts shares are down 17 percent in the past year and have dropped 44 percent in the past five years. The company’s market value is $2.16 billion.
Netsmart contributed $38 million in revenue for the quarter. Allscripts and a private equity firm acquired the behavioral EHR vendor in April 2016 for $950 million and merged it with the homecare software business of Allscripts with the expectation of generating $250 million in annual revenue and $60 million in annual profit, although the Allscripts ownership stake was not specified. Netsmart acquired LTPAC EHR vendor HealthMEDX on October 27, 2016 for $36.3 million in cash.

Why this cystic fibrosis app is $5 well spent

3 November 2016


App: CF Buzz
Price: $4.99
Resource for: Patients
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Registration required? No
Verdict: ★★★
1=optional 2=useful 3=recommended 4=must have
CYSTIC fibrosis (CF) requires young people to keep track of a variety of personal statistical information, so it’s an ideal candidate for an app.
Although there are free alternatives, Cystic Fibrosis NSW believes its app is the only one that provides all the components needed for optimum self-management.

MedAdvisor takes over rival in $5.5m deal

  • The Australian
  • 12:09PM October 31, 2016

David Swan

ASX-listed e-health start-up MedAdvisor has acquired its competitor Healthnotes for $5.5 million, a move that will more than double the number of patients on its platforms.
MedAdvisor, which began life as a medication adherence app but is now expanding to e-health services like online script renewals, raised $8 million to fund the purchase and CEO Robert Read said the acquisition would mean 45 per cent of all of Australia’s pharmacies would now be connected to the MedAdvisor platform.
“The more patients on the platform, the more revenue that can be generated as many campaigns are charged on a per-patient basis,” Mr Read said, adding the acquisition of Healthnotes will increase MedAdvisor’s path to profitability.

Accenture and Capgemini to fight for Centrelink contract

The federal government has instigated a vendor duel in a bid to sign a consultancy firm as part of its welfare payments system overhaul.
By Asha McLean | October 31, 2016 -- 23:42 GMT (10:42 AEDT)
The Australian government has shortlisted Capgemini and Accenture to provide systems integration services for the overhaul of Centrelink's ageing welfare payments system.
The pair of consultancy firms is to battle it out for the final rights to the contract that falls under the transformation of the Department of Human Services' 30-year-old payment system, currently responsible for processing over AU$100 billion in Centrelink payments annually.
In a "try, before you buy" scenario, Capgemini and Accenture will work with the agency's main software vendor -- expected to be SAP -- to deliver the next tranche involved in the project.

Taxpayers given tax return extension after myGov glitch

The Australian Taxation Office has extended the tax return deadline by 24 hours after the government's online service portal experienced a 10-minute outage on Monday.
By Asha McLean | November 1, 2016 -- 00:54 GMT (11:54 AEDT) |
Taxpayers in Australia that missed the October 31 deadline for lodging their return have been given a 24-hour extension, after the federal government's myGov website suffered a 10-minute glitch on Monday.
Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen apologised to customers for the inconvenience, confirming that services run by the department, including myGov, were affected by a "short disruption".
As a result of the 10-minute delay, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has extended the deadline for lodging a tax return.

Compulsory data breach notification will also highlight contractual obligations

Australia October 31 2016
Privacy legislation requiring notification of data breaches will shortly become federal law.
On 19 October 2016, the Commonwealth Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan outlined to Parliament the rationale for the legislation requiring a compulsory notification scheme: receiving notification of the breach can allow that person to take action to protect themselves for harm.
While the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 will only apply to the personal information of individuals, it will have significant practical implications for contractual relationships and corporate data security. Here’s why:
1.       Notified data breaches to become instant public news. Not only will the person affected vent their displeasure on social media and via company and media comments pages, but breaches will be reported in the mass media and recorded for perpetuity online.

Reducing Healthcare Wastage with Data Analytics

AHHB on October 28, 2016 at 9:27 am
Healthcare providers are unknowingly pouring funds down the drain – and that’s because they can’t keep track of all the spillage. That’s where analytics plugs the gaps.
Visual analytics allow healthcare providers to see the whole story within their data. By knowing where resources are allocated and products/services consumed, facilities can see trends and uncover inefficiencies, empowering them to seize opportunities to limit and ultimately prevent wastage.
The government’s Health Safety and Quality Commission found that healthcare waste costs taxpayers $20 billion a year and if this was eliminated it would cut 15 percent off the national health bill1 . This is money that could be reinvested into the healthcare ecospace to support wider innovation, quality improvement and increased service offerings. Clearly, there is great potential for analytics to improve Australia’s current state of healthcare waste.

How big pharma is using technology to get closer to patients

By Ry Crozier on Nov 2, 2016 12:00PM

Inside Cochlear and AstraZeneca’s ‘patient engagement’ projects.

AstraZeneca and Cochlear are among a wave of pharmaceutical and medical companies using technology to forge closer, direct ties with patients.
The two firms used Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference to show off their respective “patient engagement” projects and platforms.
A recent survey by Deloitte – which offers tools in the space, and counts AstraZeneca among its customers – found three-quarters of pharma companies felt pressure to offer “patient services” in addition to drug products.
2 November, 2016

Dubious health start-up of the month

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
In its travels through the innovation sector, The Medical Republic comes across its fair share of dubiously behaving healthcare start-ups.
A common practice is talking up a group’s market position, the performance of its assets, or level of funding already attracted, in order to secure even more investors. It’s a case of buyers (investors) beware.
So it was with some interest that TMR noticed that many of its articles were appearing wholly reproduced, without permission or acknowledgement, on a relatively new website called Medaxs.

Who’s Who of Aussie ICT

October 31, 2016
CARDIHAB (a spin out from CSIRO) is an innovative solution that provides convenient Cardiac Rehabilitation from wherever you are. A software-as-a-service model, it uses an evidence based, clinically validated patient Smartphone app that shares recovery information with healthcare providers through a secure web portal. Use of the Cardihab solution has the potential to reduce readmission instances in healthcare, contributing to higher availability of hospital beds. Also the flexible delivery of Cardihab allows patients to play a role in their own rehabilitation which has been shown to increase the likelihood (30 percent) that they will start Cardiac Rehabilitation and complete it (70 percent) compared to face to face care. www.cardihab.com
CURO TECHNOLOGIES is an innovative Australian company that seeks to assist elderly people to live independently and to live longer. Curo uses sensor technology to unobtrusively monitor the well being of elderly residents in their own home or in an assisted living environment. Activity data is collected, analysed and then securely reported on mobile devices to care providers and family members. The technology allows care-providers to optimise the quality and efficiency of their care, while providing relatives and friends with real-time reassurance of their well-being. Curo has now established operations in the US residential aged-care market and is currently running a number of pilots in Australia with HCF. www.meetcuro.com
QPC, the specialist contact centre services and solutions company, has announced that it will deliver a range of consulting and technical support services to manage the integration of cloud and on-premise customer engagement solutions for health funds participating in the Adelaide-headquartered Hospital and Medical Benefits System (HAMBS). HAMBS provides a wide range of software development and hosting services for Australia’s private health insurance industry.  These include business application tools that allow health fund organisations to effectively manage their core business while maintaining legislative and regulatory compliance requirements. Primarily, the organisation supplies and supports the HAMBS application, a sophisticated and user-friendly software and information technology solution which services 23 private health funds nationwide.

Artificial intelligence promises to progressively improve our lives

  • Hugh Bradlow
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM November 1, 2016
 “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” – Isaac Newton
Perhaps because of the unpredictability of human beings, for decades people have been pursuing the dream of artificial intelligence (AI). However, in reality it is not the predictability of machines that makes AI attractive, but the scale that it promises.
Everyone would like a personal assistant, right? Well AI could make that possible. Not only might such a PA know everything about you, but it could also watch over you 24-7 (with your consent) to make sure everything in your life is running smoothly.
For example, when you are travelling it would know about your meetings, traffic conditions, delayed flights, hotel bookings, car rentals, public events and safety risks, and would advise you accordingly. If your plane is running late, even before you touch down it could notify the car rental company and hotel about your late arrival, reschedule meetings and book you on an alternative flight if you’ve missed your connection.

The Surface Studio Is Microsoft's Tipping Point

Campbell Simpson  October 30, 2016
This morning, Microsoft introduced the world to something it has been working on for a long time. It started with the original Surface — now called the PixelSense — back in 2008. Then the original Surface tablet. Then the Surface Book. Now, the Surface Studio. This, the most mature and refined (and expensive) Microsoft device that you’ve ever been able to buy, is the tipping point. In a year, Microsoft will be the creative darling that Apple was five years ago.
When I toured Microsoft’s Surface skunkworks earlier this year, our group was told in no uncertain terms not to take photos in one particular room. A big, hangar-esque fast-prototyping space hadn’t been sanitised for curious shutter-happy journalists to walk through it, and engineers and plant operators were hard at work in front of massive, truck-sized CNC mills and waterjet machines, quietly humming away building something new. Something bigger. It wasn’t obvious at the time but it is now.

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