Quote Of The Year

Quotes Of The Year - 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, December 12, 2016

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th December, 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

It seems that the ‘silly season’ is rapidly winding up as Australia goes away for  a Christmas slumber, and e-health news and happenings wind down.
Still a few worth listing for the week but I think, unless real drama emerges – which I don’t expect, the blog will be back in the New Year.
7 December, 2016

Data breaches: less stick, more carrot?

Posted by julie lambert
Concern remains that a threat of heavy financial penalties could deter healthcare providers from reporting errors in electronic health records.
New privacy legislation before parliament provides penalties for breaches of up to $1.8 million for organisations and $360,000 for individuals, giving the Office of the Australian Privacy Commissioner plenty of clout to enforce tight data protection standards.
Dr Nathan Pinskier, chair of the RACGP’s eHealth and Practice Systems Committee, told The Medical Republic the college had argued against stiff fines for fear they might work against errors being corrected in My Health Records.
“Our concern is about wrong information getting into people’s records,” Dr Pinskier said. “We want to make sure in the private sector the penalties are not so onerous that people are deterred from reporting because it will be too much of a financial headache.”

Why artificial intelligence has not revolutionised healthcare… yet

December 8, 2016 5.35am AEDT


  1. Olivier Salvado
Group Leader Biomedical Informatics, CSIRO
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are predicted to be part of the next industrial revolution and could help business and industry save billions of dollars by the next decade.
The tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, IBM and others are applying artificial intelligence to all sorts of data.
Machine learning methods are being used in areas such as translating language almost in real time, and even to identify images of cats on the internet.
So why haven’t we seen artificial intelligence used to the same extent in healthcare?
Radiologists still rely on visual inspection of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray scans – although IBM and others are working on this issue – and doctors have no access to AI for guiding and supporting their diagnoses.

Wearables' growing commercial and health use

  • 08 December 2016
  • Written by  Ray Shaw
ANALYSIS Do smartwatches and fitness bands have a commercial, health or other use? The short answer is not so much at present, but it is heading that way.
At present a fitness band is basically capable of measuring activity via a three-or-more-axis accelerometer/pedometer – forward, back, left, right, up-down, etc. Some better ones have altimeters (stairs/elevation), barometer, gyroscope, continuous or interval heart monitor, GPS, galvanic skin response (hydration), UV monitor, and more sensors to come.
A smartwatch adds the ability to run applications and use more notifications. Their commercial or health use comes from the fact that they are relatively unobtrusive devices that sit on your arm and do what they are designed to do – gather data and transmit telemetry to another smart device.
So, to extend their use will require either the addition of more sensors, like a blood “prick” for glucose or cholesterol measurement, oxygen saturation (SO2), pulse oximetry, etc. Regrettably, these devices cannot yet be miniaturised to fit the smartwatch format although there is work being done on a larger scale “vitality detector” that may link to a smart device.

Anatomics: pioneering surgery aided by 3D printers

  • Leanne Akiki
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 9, 2016
Richard Stratton sits anxiously in a Melbourne surgeon’s waiting room. It’s 2006 and the 24-year-old is looking for a miracle. He has always known that his jaw is wrong, his smile crooked and his face out of synch.
He is worried that his face is getting worse and that his jaw will continue to grow distorted.
But Stratton is sent home and the advice is that surgery won’t help. The surgeon jokes that if he gains a little weight he won’t even notice.
Fast-forward 10 years to January last year and Stratton is again in a doctor’s surgery. He is in agonising pain. It’s a struggle for him to chew and to talk, the result of every muscle overworking for the missing joint in his jawbone.

Medibank launches virtual reality ‘Joy’ for hospitals

  • The Australian
  • 12:40PM December 5, 2016

Chris Griffith

Hospital patients will be able to escape boredom by immersing themselves in virtual reality..
Medibank today launched the VR experience which is being made available on the new Google Daydream View VR headset platform. The insurer says it’s one of the first health products to launch on Daydream View globally.
It says its VR experience called “Joy” will be available in select partner hospitals across the country in time for Christmas, a time when many hospital patients can experience intense loneliness and disconnection from the festive season.
Medibank quotes ACA Research which says Australians who had been hospitalised for an extended time felt loneliness was particularly prevalent during a hospital stay.

Your smartphone knows a lot about you, but what about your mental health?

David Ireland and Dana Bradford, CSIRO
Smartphones come with an assortment of sensors that can track behaviours such as our internet search and browse history, where we go, what music we listen to, who we speak to, just to name a few.
The habitual nature of people means this data could be used to give insight into our mental wellbeing. Acute changes in behavioural patterns may indicate a need for support, and the use of any health diaries on a smartphone may enable us to monitor chronic conditions more effectively.
But despite good intentions, innovations can sometimes go awry when not thought through thoroughly enough. This was seen with the Samaritan Radar app, which applied a detection algorithm for suicidal keywords in Twitter postings.
Users who signed up to the app were notified via email when one of their followers triggered the detection algorithm. But the followers had not provided consent for the screening and detection.

New FHIR Milestone Publications

HL7 is pleased to announce that yesterday, the FHIR team published of a new set of Milestone releases. Included in this release:
FHIR Specification
This release is the Candidate version for the 3rd release of FHIR – technical, STU3. We’ve done much of the reconciliation following the September ballot, and this is in effect, the candidate for STU3 for technical review post ballot. In addition, this publication serves as:
  • The stable base for the upcoming connectathon in San Antonio
  • The stable base for the open ballots on implementation guides (see below)
We’ll take QA and implementation feed back on this version, apply a new round of edits, and publish the final version of release 3 towards the end of February 2017.

These are the best medication reminder apps

5 December 2016
A LOT of the available medication reminder apps for mobile phones lack useful functionality or are of poor quality, reviewers say.
A team led by the George institute for Global Health has reviewed 272 apps designed to improve medication adherence, of which only 6.6% had at least nine of the 17 features they say are desirable.
The median number of features per app was just three, and in more than half of the apps flexible scheduling and medication tracking history were the only two features present.
Other common functions included customisable alert sounds, data exporting/sharing, and languages other than English, which were available in less than third of the apps.

Security researchers warn government over data re-identification ban

Privacy Act changes could hit research into de-identification flaws
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 05 December, 2016 10:54
A group of security researchers who exposed flaws in the de-identification of government health data has called for changes to a proposed law that would criminalise re-identification.
Attorney-General George Brandis in late September suddenly announced that the Coalition would introduce laws to criminalise re-identification of supposedly de-identified data sets released by government departments and agencies.
The government’s announcement was made ahead of the release of University of Melbourne research that revealed data released by the Department of Health had been improperly de-identified.
As a consequence the department pulled offline datasets drawn from the Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medicare Benefits schemes (PBS/MBS) that were published on the government’s open data portal, data.gov.au.

Can the government really protect your privacy when it 'de-identifies' public data?

Chris Culnane, Benjamin Rubinstein and Vanessa Teague
Published: December 5, 2016 - 11:45PM
In 1897, the Indiana legislature considered a bill for "introducing a new mathematical truth", a clever procedure for "squaring the circle". The procedure didn't work; for one thing, it assumed that the value of pi was 3.2 (it isn't). The bill didn't pass but, if it had, it wouldn't have changed the value of pi – it just would have made the Indiana legislature look a bit silly. Parliaments can change a lot of things, but not the laws of mathematics.
The Australian Parliament is now considering amending the Privacy Act. Attorney-General George Brandis introduced the amendments, saying "there is a strict and standard government procedure to de-identify all government data that is published. Data that is released is anonymised so that the individuals who are the subject of that data cannot be identified." But the bill specifies a two-year jail term for re-identifying people from those data sets. Usually, acts that are impossible don't need to be banned.
Well, what is de-identification exactly? And does it work?
There are good mathematical reasons for doubt. Computer scientists have successfully re-identified "de-identified" data sets of health, social networks, online ratings and web searches, and shown high levels of uniqueness in telecommunications metadata and payments data – a key step towards re-identification.

Technology in Aged Care recognised with industry awards

A medication management app and an online platform where consumers can find and hire local care and support workers are among the winners of the recent Information Technology in Aged Care (ITAC) 2016 awards.
December 5, 2016
As well as receiving the best consumer friendly product or system deployment award, Baptist Care’s YouChoose.org.au website achieved the accolade of overall winner. Its pioneering website enables customers to customise their home care package online, choosing from services that are divided into four areas: Your Health, Your Home, Your Community, Your Independence.
BaptistCare's Chief Information Officer, Daniel Pettman, says he was thrilled with the accolade. "These awards acknowledge that not only are we passionate about providing life-transforming care, but we are committed to developing innovative solutions that empower and support our customers," he says.
Winner of the best solution providing ongoing consumer independence went to Better Caring. It’s simple web platform connects those who need community care directly with a community of care workers. This provides those who are able to manage their own level of care genuine choice and control around who comes into their home, and what services they provide.

Federal public service responsible for 'some incredible high-profile failures', advisor says

By political reporter Henry Belot
December 7, 2016
One of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's most trusted advisors has warned the federal public service is at risk of "a fatal combination of ignorance and arrogance".
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet head Martin Parkinson said the public sector was responsible for "some incredible high-profile failures" during 2016 and needed to improve.
In a speech to the Institute of Public Administration Australia, Dr Parkinson said many of the Government's policy failures could have been prevented, including the much-criticised VET FEE-HELP program.
The Government's overhaul of the scandal-ridden vocational education sector passed Parliament last week in a bid to end one of the worst chapters in Australian education history.
"We knew the lessons to be taken from some of the other programs such as the home insulation program, e-Health, this year's census, or the failure to effectively de-identify health records," he said.

Online service supplies drugs not yet available

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 5, 2016

Sarah-Jane Tasker

A Dallas Buyers Club online start-up is offering Australian breast cancer, leukaemia and Parkinson’s patients access to US and European-approved drugs not available in Australia.
If a patient has a doctor’s prescription and the medicine is for personal use, The Social Medwork can source and import the drug via Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration’s personal importation scheme.
The main drug Australian patients are searching for is one approved by the US regulator that could slow the progress of advanced breast cancer by an extra 10 months. The drug, Ibrance, is not approved in Australia.
The Social Medwork is also able to help Australian patients access a Melbourne-developed drug for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, as well as an EU-approved treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which helps patients’ dopamine levels, shortening their “off periods” by almost two hours.

Security policy 101: How to develop security policies for your business

Part two of Computerworld’s guide to developing cyber security policies based on ISO 27000
Nikolai Hampton (Computerworld) 07 December, 2016 07:30

Why create policy?

Documented and easy to understand security policies are essential for securing your organisation against cyber attack.
While a targeted attack can bring down even a sophisticated organisation, preparation will help reduce your ‘attack surface’, and help you better understand what you’re trying to protect, and how to minimise the risk (and impact) of a security breach.
In part one, we discussed the reasons for developing your security capabilities, the changing tide of privacy awareness and new data breach legislation being introduced by the Australian government.
A major theme from part one was that “many security threats are relatively unsophisticated and rely on unmaintained systems, social engineering and poor business policies and processes”.

Sleep pioneer unveils next generation devices

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

Sarah-Jane Tasker

He led the world in analysing sleep and now Australia’s David Burton says he is on the cusp of releasing the next generation of sleep monitoring devices.
Mr Burton, who has an engineering background, developed Australia’s first computerised sleep centre in the late 1980s at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne. He submitted his first sleep patent in 1985 and today he has more than 100 patents in his company Compumedics’ sleep portfolio.
The sleep monitoring systems he developed have been used by NASA, Olympians and patients around the world.
“When they opened the centre at Epworth it created some fanfare — we were on the cover of Time magazine — it was crazy times,” Mr Burton said.

Qld Brain Institute speeding up research with Brocade deployment

The Queensland Brain Institute has migrated its systems to Brocade’s Gen 6 fibre channel storage network in a move designed to accelerate its work on brain research.
The Institute, part of the University of Queensland, will deploy Brocade G620 switches to provide the speed and performance it needs to eliminate data bottlenecks and accelerate research into preventing brain diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, motor neuron disease, anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
Jason Baden, senior director ANZ for Brocade, a global network solutions provider, says Brocade’s Gen 6 Fibre Channel delivers a “huge leap in performance for organisations with demanding big data environments like the Queensland Brain Institute, particularly in the face of its rapidly evolving brain imaging technology and increasing data needs”.

Dinosaur tail found encased in amber

  • The Australian
  • 4:00AM December 9, 2016

John Ross

In the movie Jurassic Park, scientists extract dinosaur DNA from the bellies of prehistoric mosquitoes preserved in amber. Now researchers have done away with the middle man.
Palaeontologists have found the feathered tail of a 99 million-year-old dinosaur encased in a piece of amber at a jewellery market in Myanmar. The discovery, outlined today in the journal Current Biology, marks the first confirmed find of a dinosaur fossil trapped in the resin.
It is also the first time scientists have been able to observe intact dinosaur feathers, gleaning vital clues about their structure and colour. Co-author Ryan McKellar said while amber ­pieces could capture only “tiny snapshots” of ancient critters, they were invaluable. “They record microscopic ­details, three-dimensional arrange­ments and labile tissues that are difficult to study in other settings,” said Dr McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada.

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