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, February 13, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13th February, 2017.

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

Again a quiet week with the ADHA out and about and consulting and presenting all over.
Additionally we have Parliament back with some moves and more issues with ‘big’ Government IT.
Citizen rights were also discussed a fair bit with issues around Privacy etc. discussed.

All Australians are likely to get an automatic e-health record

By Allie Coyne on Feb 6, 2017 4:50PM

Trial figures back case for opt-out.

Results of the federal government's trial of an opt-out electronic medical records suggest it is likely to go ahead with a national rollout of the controversial approach.
The Department of Health early last year started testing the opt-out allocation of health records with the Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Networks (PHNs).
The approach was designed to turn around poor adoption rates faced by the e-health records scheme since it went live in 2012.
Under the trial, 971,000 individuals were automatically signed up for a My Health Record.

Govt refuses to budge on Centrelink data matching

By Allie Coyne on Feb 7, 2017 12:17PM

MPs want end to "deeply flawed" system.

The federal government has refused to make changes to the controversial data matching system that has resulted in thousands of welfare recipients being wrongly accused of owing money to the government.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the Greens today united to call on the government to shut down the "deeply flawed" system.
The data matching process implemented by the Department of Human Services last year matches income reported to Centrelink with income reported to the Australian Taxation Office.
It has been accused of a high error rate and of being unable to match business names with trading names, meaning the system will record a person as having worked two jobs instead of one.

Govt could lose its battle to criminalise data re-identification

By Allie Coyne on Feb 7, 2017 7:46PM

Labor, Greens say proposed laws are "disproportionate" response.

The federal government's attempts to criminalise those who point out badly de-identified government datasets could fall short after Labor and Greens MPs united against the effort. 
In October last year a data breach at the Department of Health prompted the government to introduce a bill which would see individuals and businesses who re-identify open public sector data face up to two years jail and hefty fines.
The Privacy Amendment (Re-identification Offence) Bill 2016 would also make it a criminal offence to publicly point out that supposedly de-identified data can be reversed.
The bill exempts government agencies and their service providers.

Labor, Greens oppose move to criminalise data re-identification

Government move to criminalise data re-identification in trouble
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 07 February, 2017 20:42
Passage through parliament looks uncertain for a government bill that would criminalise the re-identification of public sector datasets released under open data policies.
The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee tonight tabled its report on the government’s Privacy Amendment (Re-identification Offence) Bill 2016. Although the committee’s majority recommends that the bill be passed, a dissenting report by its Labor and Greens members calls for parliament to reject the proposed legislation.
Attorney-General George Brandis in September last year announced that the government would introduce legislation to criminalise re-identification. The motivation behind the sudden announcement became clear when a group of Melbourne University researchers revealed that data made public by the Department of Health had been improperly de-identified.

SA Health hopes new hardware will fix sluggish EPAS

By Paris Cowan on Feb 8, 2017 12:08PM

Publishes data centre shopping list to cure doctors' frustration.

South Australia’s health department hopes replacing the hardware underpinning its notorious patient administration system will end bedside frustration felt by the state’s doctors and specialists over the sluggish platform.
The $422 million electronic patient administration system (EPAS) is currently used by about 8000 SA health workers in the seven health regions that have been part of the rollout to date.
But in many cases it hasn’t been the blessing doctors were promised, as they struggle with workstations that have a tendency to crash if users switch between EPAS screens too quickly, long waits to change between EPAS modules, and up to two outages a day.
In November last year, the system suffered a nine-hour outage that health officials blamed on a piece of rogue software eating up all its compute resources.

Board Advisory Committee members announced

Created on Wednesday, 08 February 2017
Message from Jim Birch, Chair of the Australian Digital Health Agency: On behalf of the Board of the Australian Digital Health Agency I am pleased to announce the appointment of members to the five Board Advisory Committees — Clinical and Technical; Consumer; Privacy and Security; Audit and Risk; and Digital Health Safety and Quality Governance.
In recognition that the Agency will only succeed in achieving the vision of digital transformation by working in partnership with the healthcare sector and consumers, one of the first decisions the Board made was to appoint the Board Advisory Committees.
We chose to undertake an open process in establishing these Committees by seeking an expression of interest from people across the community.  The Agency received over 300 applications which is testament to the exceptional skills and expertise we have in Australia, and we are excited by the genuine interest across the community and health sector in progressing digital health. 

Clinical Forum - The Role of Healthcare in Co-Designing Australia's Digital Health Strategy

Created on Friday, 10 February 2017
At this important forum on Thursday 23 February 2017, we will present what the Agency’s role is in progressing digital health to 2022, plus discuss the role Healthcare Professionals needs to play to reach this common goal.
The Executive General Managers will share the emerging themes derived from the national consultation and provide the clinical audience with an opportunity to discuss and refine the themes - in doing so ensure the final strategy will be one we agree sets out the direction of digital health for Australia.
For more information on how to register, please go to the Conversation website.

Industry Forum - The Role of Industry in Co-Designing Australia's Digital Health Strategy

Created on Friday, 10 February 2017
We'd like to invite you to discuss what the Australian Digital Health Agency's role could be in progressing digital health to 2022, and to explore the role of industry in delivering our shared vision in the industry forum on Thursday 23 February 2017.
The Agency's Executive General Managers will take the opportunity to share the emerging themes from our national consultation and request industry to help us refine the themes - in doing so ensure the final Digital Health Strategy will be one we all agree sets out the direction of digital health for Australia.
We're seeking your input on where industry would like the Australian Government and our jurisdictions to invest in digital health. 
For more information and how to register, visit the Conversation website.
9 February 2017

Lukewarm reception for Google’s Health Cards

Posted by Felicity Nelson
We all know patients turn to the internet first for information and advice when they are feeling unwell, and that often the quality of the search results can be dubious.
So an initiative by internet search giant Google to improve the standard of search results for people seeking health information should be good thing, surely?
Called Google Health Cards, and launched in Australia this month, typing in a health condition into the search engine now produces a custom-made card with information on symptoms, treatments and prevalence.

HCF and Slingshot announce most diverse HCF Catalyst cohort yet

Health and medical professionals join technology entrepreneurs to design the future of health care.
Improving women’s health education, changing the way we treat concussions, and enhancing operating theatre set up are just a few of the issues to be addressed by the Startups and Scaleups accepted into the second cohort of HCF Catalyst, the country’s first corporate-supported health-tech accelerator.
HCF, Australia's leading not-for-profit health fund and corporate Startup accelerator Slingshot have selected seven Startups and five Scaleups from more than 200 applicants and 45 Pitch Day finalists.
Accepted Startups and Scaleups include:
Startups -
• BioConnected - Bio-sensing wireless earphones and health and fitness mobile software
• eText – A collaborative platform for doctors to manage patient data and workflow
• Headsafe – A diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring system for concussion injuries

Data retention: Privacy watchdogs urge caution over ‘metadata’ in lawsuits

Concern over privacy implications
08 February, 2017 11:43
Australia’s Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, and his Victorian counterpart, Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) David Watts, have both warned against any rush by the government to allow the use in lawsuits of data kept as part of Australia’s data retention regime.
The Attorney-General’s Department last year with little fanfare launched a consultation on whether to permit the use in civil litigation of the data kept by telcos to comply with the regime.
Ahead of the data retention legislation being passed by parliament, a bipartisan report recommended a general prohibition on civil litigant access to data retained for the purpose of complying with the mandatory data retention regime.
  • Updated Feb 6 2017 at 9:55 AM

Turnbull's ex-tech guy Paul Shetler slams 'predictable' government IT disasters

by Paul Wallbank
The man brought to Australia by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to digitally transform government services has blamed a public sector hostile to change and short on tech competence for IT disasters at the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In a stinging parting shot, former head of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) Paul Shetler told The Australian Financial Review that initial government enthusiasm to change how public sector services are delivered in Australia had foundered in the face of institutional hostility and a lack of political support.
Shetler was effectively sidelined in October when the DTO became the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) under new Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor, and he resigned in November.

Inquiry to be held into Centrelink data matching system

By Allie Coyne on Feb 8, 2017 4:32PM

Will scrutinise "broken" platform.

A senate committee will investigate Centrelink's automated data matching process after thousands of wrongly-issued debt notices were sent out to welfare recipients.
The Greens and Labor party today successfully secured a motion to have the upper house's community affairs references committee take a closer look at the controversial data matching program, following thousands of reported errors.
The committee has been tasked with looking into the program's scope, cost-benefit analysis, contracts, and implementation by May 10.
It will specifically scrutinise the system's impact on those affected by the process, such as jobseekers and people with disabilities, as well as Centrelink's management of people's records and how it has communicated potential debt to individuals.

Senate backs scrutiny of Centrelink data-matching program

Labor, Greens push inquiry
08 February, 2017 16:22
The Senate has backed an inquiry into Centrelink’s widely criticised data-matching program, which is intended to claw back welfare overpayments but whose accuracy and impact on welfare recipients has been condemned.
The Senate’s Community Affairs References Committee will scrutinise the program following a motion lodged by the Greens’ Senator Rachel Siewert and Labor’s Senator Doug Cameron.
The program has drawn on data from Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office to send out thousands of debt recovery notices; in a significant portion of cases there is no debt.

Protecting privacy

  • Anthony Wong
  • The Australian
  • 11:27AM February 8, 2017
The explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) has dramatically increased the scope and potential repercussions of cyberattacks and data security breaches.
In a modern context where everything is connected and our reliance on technology continues to grow, such attacks can threaten the operation of government, target national security and expose vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. They can also have dramatic impacts on the broader community, damaging company reputations, threatening trade secrets and subjecting individuals to serious harm if their personal information is exploited.
Privacy is developing as a key issue for industry and governments alike. As the cybersecurity community deepens its understanding of how to minimise security vulnerabilities, we are increasingly seeing privacy protections being built into the latest evolution of security solutions.
At the same time, we are seeing a significant increase in our levels of exposure due to the flood of connected sensors and devices including door locks, smart fridges, thermostats and controls for a wide variety of appliances, many of which lack adequate security protections and can be easily hacked.

Data breach notification bill receives bipartisan backing

Legislation for mandatory data breach notification scheme passed by lower house
07 February, 2017 13:29
Australia is a step closer to having a mandatory data breach notification regime, after a bill to create such a scheme today received bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.
The government introduced the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 in October. The bill has yet to be introduced in the Senate.
Under the bill, if an organisation subject to Privacy Act obligations suffers an “eligible data breach”, it is obliged to notify both the Australian Information Commissioner and individuals whose data was affected by the breach.
Organisations subject to Privacy Act obligations include most Australian government agencies, businesses with an annual turnover in excess of $3 million, as well as a number of smaller organisations, such those handling sensitive health data.

Locked-in patients communicate through brain-computer interface

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Thursday, 02 February, 2017
A computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionise the lives of those living with completely locked-in syndrome, according to a new paper published 31 January 2017 in PLOS Biology. Counter to expectations, the participants in the study reported being “happy”, despite their extreme condition. The research was conducted by a multinational team, led by Professor Niels Birbaumer, at the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, Switzerland.
Patients suffering from complete paralysis, but with preserved awareness, cognition, and eye movements and blinking are classified as having locked-in syndrome. If eye movements are also lost, the condition is referred to as completely locked-in syndrome.
In the trial, patients with completely locked-in syndrome were able to respond “yes” or “no” to spoken questions, by thinking the answers. A non-invasive brain-computer interface detected their responses by measuring changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain.

Carers a priority for Australia’s digital health plan: agency chief

By Marie Sansom on February 7, 2017
By Natasha Egan
Using digital technology to enable and empower informal carers is a priority of the digital health agency and its forthcoming national strategy, says the agency’s CEO Tim Kelsey.
The Australian Digital Health Agency this week completed a three-month national public consultation on the new National Digital Health Strategy, which is due out later this year.
Speaking during a national webcast on Monday, Mr Kelsey said many people were dependent on informal support and it was important to ensure Australia’s 2.7 million carers were supported.
“It is a really important priority for me and for the agency,” Mr Kelsey said.

Remote monitoring of medical devices in Australia

Bradley Wilsmore and James Leitch
Med J Aust 2017; 206 (2): 62-63. doi: 10.5694/mja16.00730
Bradley Wilsmore
James Leitch
John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, NSW
The current industry-involved system may present a conflict of interest

Thousands of pacemakers and defibrillators 'at risk of hacking'

Julia Medew
Published: February 6, 2017 - 12:15AM
Thousands of Australians with pacemakers and defibrillators in their hearts are at risk of cyber security breaches that could allow somebody to kill them, doctors say.
Some cardiologists are also concerned that the multi-billion dollar medical device industry has too much control over devices being implanted in Australians, and that this could lead to over-servicing to boost profits.
For the past year, Australian and American health authorities have been issuing warnings that medical devices connected to the internet for remote monitoring have vulnerabilities that could be exploited.

Optus secures deal with Uniting aged care

Optus has sealed a five-year deal with aged care and community service provider Uniting to deliver fixed voice, mobile, Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and data network services to Uniting’s customers.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Optus says it will assist Uniting manage their mobile fleet of 2400 devices, in addition to implementing a Wide Area Network (WAN) solution for Uniting’s 220 sites across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
The new agreement will see Optus as Uniting’s primary ICT supplier, unifying the technology underpinning its corporate offices, aged care facilities, independent living units, and childcare and community centres.

Dumb machines, not AI, the problem: expert

An informatics expert says that humanity has nothing to fear from smart machines but the real threat comes from incompetent machines that can screw up things.
In an article written for Communications of the ACM, Alan Bundy, a professor of automated reasoning at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, said that concerns had been expressed widely that artificial intelligence poses a threat to humanity.
"The fear is that these super-intelligent machines will pose an existential threat to humanity, for example, keep humans as pets or kill us all – or maybe humanity will just be a victim of evolution," Bundy wrote.

HBF chief fears tipping point for health insurers

Sean Smith
Monday, February 06, 2017 10:01AM
Outgoing HBF chief Rob Bransby has sounded a heightened warning about rising premiums, cautioning that ever-increasing treatment costs are pushing the private health insurers to tipping point.
Mr Bransby, who will retire from WA’s dominant health insurer at the end of March after 11 years at the helm, has been vocal in his calls for reform of the health sector, stressing that the Federal Government needs to rein in health costs to ensure health insurance remains affordable.
The first quarterly fall in private health insurance participation rates in 15 years late last year have added urgency to the call, with insurers warning that already stressed public hospitals will be put under more pressure from patients abandoning private health insurance.
(Note: Mr Bransby is an ADHA Board Member)

Opening of LifeLink Experience Centre

The Minister for Aged Care, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP spoke at the Official Opening of Feros Care's Lifelink Experience Centre on 30 January 2017.
Page last updated: 31 January 2017
Good morning.
Before I begin I want to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Bundjalung people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and future. I also acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here this morning.
I want to thank the CEO of Feros Care, Jennene Buckley and the Chair of Feros Care, Terry Hand, for inviting me to speak this morning.
On the way here today, I can certainly see why people live in the Tweed and why holidaymakers make their way here in their thousands. And I can also see why the Tweed is a great place to retire. As the population of a region ages or, as in the case of this area, attracts older people to live here, they have to have services that meet their health and aged care needs.

Official opening of the Feros Experience Centre

The Federal Minister for Aged Care, the Hon. Ken Wyatt AM, MP has officially opened Feros Care’s Experience Centre, a state-of-the-art technology hub that is transforming the way health and aged care is delivered.
The Experience Centre is devoted to the research, design and implementation of digital technologies that deliver smart and emerging technologies for seniors and people with disability.
Minister Wyatt said that the Australian Government welcomes Feros Care’s investment and promotion of innovation and technology in aged care.

Towards an inclusive My Health Record

Tackling evidence, engagement and participation in safe and person-centred healthcare

This symposium, to be hosted by HISA in Sydney on 3 March 2017, will feature a keynote presentation by Professor Johanna Westbrooke from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.
Suitable for consumers, healthcare providers, policy makers and researchers, the event will consider issues around the implementation of a person-centred My Health Record, including what evidence says about the pursuit of safe, person-centred care and advancements and implementation in digital health.

Find out more


ASD says eight cyber security steps are better

  • 06 February 2017
  • Written by  Ray Shaw
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has developed eight cyber security steps that business, enterprise and government should take to help protect themselves against cyber attacks.
This is up from its previous four — application whitelisting, patching applications, patching operating system vulnerabilities, and restricting administrative privileges — and has been called the “essential eight”. As yet these have not been included in the protective security policy framework (PSPF) mandate and will be available on the ASD website shortly.
It says that while the essential four will prevent 85% of cyber attacks and were mandatory for all Australian Government use since 2013, the extra precautions are a result of developments since then.

NBN reaches a third of Australian homes

Australia's National Broadband Network is now available in four million homes, a third of the total to be reached, NBN Co, the company building the network, says.
NBN Co chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan described this as "a significant rollout milestone".
A media release from the company said by the end of December 2014, 778,824 premises had been made ready for service. In the next two years, an additional 3.22 million premises had been readied for service.
It said four technologies had been used after 2014: FttB, FttN, HFC and Sky Muster satellite broadband.

1 comment:

Terry Hannan said...

David, on the sluggish EPAS system in SA it would seem that implementers are unable to learn from 'history' of what can be done and has been achieved. Here are some recent Regenstrief figures.
Technology is NOT the problem. RMRS 2012
(est. 1976)
Regenstrief Institute: April 2012: 18 hospitals
>32 million physician orders entered by CPOE
Data base of 6 million patients
900 million on-line coded results
20 million reports-diagnostic studies, procedure results, operative notes and discharge summaries
65 million radiology images
CLINICAL DECISION SUPPORT- BLINK TIMES (CCDSS-through iterative Dbase analysis)