Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 20th 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

An interesting week with the NBN attracting a lot of news for all the wrong reasons and a lot of private sector activity being announced in the e-Health space.
Additionally the Government is really worrying just why so many projects fail! Enjoy the read.

Big fix to govt's $6 billion tech woes

Noel Towell
Published: February 17, 2017 - 7:59AM
The federal government is to embark on a massive overhaul of its troubled technology effort, putting more than 100 projects, each worth more than $10 million, under the microscope.
The move looks set to be the biggest ever shake-up of Australian government IT, significantly weakening the grip of Canberra mandarins on the $6.2 billion spent on info tech by the Commonwealth each year.
First to feel the blowtorch will be the $1 billion replacement of Centrelink's automated payment system and Defence's new "enterprise resource planning" project, which also comes with a $1 billion price tag.

DTA’s command and control begins with review of ICT projects

By Harley Dennett

Government’s ICT failures will never go away entirely but perhaps they can be mitigated with better oversight, central control and provider diversification — at least that’s the hope.
The next step for the Digital Transformation Agency will be to review all major ICT projects as part of its oversight of the $6.2 billion whole-of-government ICT spend.
Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor announced the review on Friday declaring it will “provide unprecedented visibility and centralised management of IT projects.”
Details are thin. The review will an internal exercise, conducted by DTA’s newly created Digital Investment Management Office headed by Andrew Woolf, the former assistant secretary at the Department of Finance prior to the machinery of government change in October last year.

Welfare ‘fraud finder’ among ICT projects in $6bn review

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM February 17, 2017

Sarah Martin

More than $6 billion spent each year on technology projects will be reviewed by the federal government, including the program being developed to recover welfare overpayments from Centrelink recipients.
Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation Angus Taylor will announce today a government review into all ICT projects worth more than $10 million, including several technology projects worth upwards of $1bn.
Among the projects subject to the review is the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation pro­ject, known as WPIT, which is touted as one of the world’s largest social welfare software systems that will eliminate welfare fraud through data matching with the ATO.
  • Updated Feb 16 2017 at 11:00 PM

NAB, Westpac back medical start-ups to fix health payments

National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp are attacking the $100 billion national health market by separately investing in two medical technology start-ups which are making it easier for patients to book and pay for allied health services and simplifying financial management for doctors.
Through its corporate venture fund NAB Ventures, National Australia Bank has invested in Medipass Solutions, a new company created from the start-up Localz, which will roll out a customer-facing application for booking health services like optical or therapy.
Westpac, meanwhile, has taken an equity stake in Surgical Partners, which has built middleware for GPs and specialist doctors to help them integrate medical services payments with their own accounting systems.

NAB-backed start-up to streamline visit to the doctor

By Allie Coyne on Feb 17, 2017 6:15AM

Single online process for everything from bookings to rebates.

National Australia Bank has invested in a new health technology start-up that will create a digital platform to connect doctors, health insurers, and payment providers in order to unify the healthcare process.
NAB has joined with Melbourne-based beacon technology start-up Localz to create a new business, funded in part by an undisclosed equity investment from NAB Ventures, called Medipass Solutions.
Localz won NAB's inaugural Labs hackathon in December 2014, giving it the opportunity to work with the bank on new solutions.

Talking Teeth: time to catch up on oral health data systems and big-data analysis

Editor: Marie McInerney Author: Marc Tennant, Estie Krugeron: February 15, 2017In: dental care, evidence-based issues
The National Oral Health Alliance (NOHA) last week welcomed news from Health Minister Greg Hunt that the two year cap for subsidised services under the Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) would remain at $1,000, and not be cut to $700 as the Federal Government had proposed after its decision to retain the CDBS after all.
NOHA had lobbied against the proposal, fearing a reduction in the cap would have led families in greatest need having to refuse treatment because they were unable to meet the additional costs. Spokesman Tony McBride had warned significant numbers of children from rural and remote and Aboriginal communities would have been affected.
Meanwhile, Professors Marc Tennant and Estie Kruger say recent research reports are showing how whole-of-country data systems in countries like Sweden and Denmark are improving the oral health of millions of people.

Care providers to establish secure messaging service

By Technology Decisions Staff
Monday, 13 February, 2017
Tender seeking partners in industry will need to establish an interoperable and secure electronic messaging service, following a request from the Australian Digital Health Agency.
The objective behind this is to improve ‘point to point’ messaging across care providers and the clinical information systems being used in Australia.
“Currently, we are using pen and paper and fax machines to communicate with each other,” said the chair of RACGP’s e-health committee and co-sponsor of the project, Nathan Pinskier.
13 February, 2017

Caution urged over emergency doc app

 Posted by ruby Prosser Scully
A new app that promises to save patients a trip to, and a long wait in, the emergency department has prompted concern about fragmentation of care.
My Emergency Dr, an app developed by Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital emergency physician Dr Justin Bowra, promises to give “every Australian urgent video access via your smartphone to an emergency specialist, wherever they live and whenever they call”.
According to trial data from the company, six in 10 patients using the app were able to avoid a visit to the hospital after a video consultation with one of their doctors.

Epworth Healthcare selects Telstra Health patient management system

Epworth HealthCare is to deploy Telstra Health’s Patient Flow Manager platform to improve efficiency in managing bed occupancy and movement at Epworth Hospital in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.
One of Australia’s largest not-for-profit private healthcare providers with more than 140,000 patient admissions and 90,000 surgeries annually, Epworth Health will utilise the Telstra Health solution to gain greater visibility of key data from multiple hospital IT systems in order to improve patient movement within the hospital.
Epworth Richmond executive director, Nicole Waldron, says that Telstra Health’s solution would help staff to have a complete view of patient flow information in near real-time, enabling them to plan patient movement and flow more efficiently across the organisation.

Telstra Health provides patient movement system for Epworth Richmond Hospital

Telstra Health's Patient Flow system will allow the hospital to glean near real-time information on bed capacity and patient movement, allowing for more accurate forecasting of demand.
By Corinne Reichert | February 13, 2017 -- 05:49 GMT (16:49 AEDT) | Topic: Telcos
Telstra Health has another win under its belt after being selected by non-profit private healthcare provider Epworth HealthCare to provide its Patient Flow Manager system for Epworth Richmond Hospital in Melbourne.
Telstra's system provides near real-time information on bed occupancy and patient movement throughout the hospital, enabling more efficient planning than via the manual, paper-based system that is still being used.
"The current process for managing bed flow across the sites is manual and relies on a series of meetings and conversations between staff about planned or potential discharges. The flow of information can be time consuming, reactive, subject to individual interpretation and sensitivity," Epworth Richmond executive director Nicole Waldron said.

Australia finally gets data breach notification laws at third attempt

Twice-stranded laws have finally succeeded in making passage through the Australian Parliament.
By Chris Duckett | February 13, 2017 -- 02:08 GMT (13:08 AEDT) | Topic: Security
At the third time of asking, Australia will have data breach notification laws.
The passage of the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 through the Senate on Monday means Australians will in the near future begin to be alerted of their data being inappropriately accessed.
The legislation is restricted to incidents involving personal information, credit card information, credit eligibility, and tax file number information that would put individuals at "real risk of serious harm".
"It is not intended that every data breach be subject to a notification requirement. It would not be appropriate for minor breaches to be notified, because of the administrative burden that may place on entities, the risk of 'notification fatigue' on the part of individuals, and the lack of utility where notification does not facilitate harm mitigation," the explanatory memorandum for the Bill states.
Notification laws would only apply to companies covered by the Privacy Act, and would exempt intelligence agencies, small businesses with turnover of less than AU$3 million annually, and political parties from needing to disclose breaches. E-health providers are still subject to the mandatory data breach notification scheme under the My Health Records Act.

What does data breach notification mean for you?

By Allie Coyne on Feb 14, 2017 11:06AM

All you need to know for your business.

The Australian senate yesterday passed new laws that will require businesses and government agencies to notify the Privacy Commissioner and customers if they have experienced a data breach.
It brought an end to five years of uncertainty as both sides of politics made attempts to get a mandatory data breach notification scheme up and running.
But what does the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 mean for your business, and what constitutes a breach? 

Australia's privacy regulators are under siege

By Paris Cowan on Feb 15, 2017 6:45AM

[Blog post] Why do our governments fear a well-resourced watchdog?

If Australia’s privacy regulators had a dollar for every time a politician or senior official insisted citizens’ privacy is their number one priority, they might have enough funding to actually carry out their duties.
But instead - in the upside down world of pollie doublespeak - such pledges actually translate into a gradual, persistent, behind-the-scenes undermining of these statutory offices, in what has turned the bulk of Australia’s personal information regulators into agencies under siege.
In Australia, Commonwealth privacy law - which governs all organisations turning over more than $3 million a year, and all federal agencies - is enforced by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
17 February, 2017

Data penalties ‘may cripple practices’

Posted by Felicity Nelson
General practices will face hefty fines for failing to notify patients of data breaches under legislation that passed both houses of parliament this month.
The Senate passed the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 on 13 February.
Under the new law, businesses that handle sensitive information, including all general practices, are required to disclose serious data breaches or face fines of $360,000 for individuals and $1.8 million for organisations.

Problems with premium payments hit Medibank customers, reveals ombudsman

Esther Han
Published: February 16, 2017 - 2:38PM
Medibank policyholders should check there are no problems with their automatic payment set-ups, with many complaining about incorrect or irregular direct debits.
The latest quarterly bulletin from the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman shows the biggest cause of complaints in the three months to December was problems with premium payments, and Fairfax Media can reveal it largely related to one insurer: Medibank.
"[Premium payment problems] predominantly concerned direct debits from bank accounts and credit cards, such as incorrect debit amounts or irregular debits, or the accidental cessation of direct debit arrangements," the ombudsman said.

Medibank's troubled IT overhaul is starting to stabilise

By Allie Coyne on Feb 17, 2017 10:45AM

SAP system 'on track' for full operation.

Health insurer Medibank expects to exit "hyper-care" of its new SAP-based core platform in the next few months as it stabilises the system following a difficult implementation.
Medibank has been working to embed its new, single software suite for customer, policy, premium and product management systems with the help of IBM since data migration issues arose last July.
'Project DelPHI' is the final and core component of Medibank's $150 million overhaul of its policy and customer relationship management systems.

Medibank software deal to keep experts honest on big gap fees

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM February 17, 2017

Sean Parnell

Australia’s largest health fund will take a harder line on out-of-pocket expenses, signing a deal with a clinical software provider that will allow GPs to identify specialists who leave patients with significant gap fees.
Amid ongoing concern over rising costs, the new arrangement between Medibank and Healthshare will make financial considerations a factor in traditionally sacrosanct conversations between GPs and their patients about referrals.
Medibank chief customer offic­er David Koczkar said the software — accessible by 85 per cent of GPs — would identify specialists who had participated in the insur­er’s “no gap” or “known gap” schemes in the previous 12 months. “We talk to our customers all the time and we know that they have a very high desire to use the schemes so they have certainty over their out-of-pocket costs,” Mr Koczkar said.

Hospital pharmacy makes changes to reduce readmissions

The Pharmacy Department at Wollongong Hospital has made several key changes following the release of new research

The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of Wollongong, is hoped to improve patient health outcomes following their discharge from hospital.
Dr Carl Mahfouz from UOW’s Graduate Medicine, began working on an 18-month study into how hospital discharge summaries could be improved to better suit the needs of the GPs and the discharge information they require to optimally address the health care needs of their patients.
“I noticed inconsistencies on the discharge summaries of some of my patients, which prompted me to investigate whether this was a common problem,” he says.

Why keeping a digital health record is important

15th February 2017 7:35 AM
Pilot and farmer, Ian Gillies, has registered with My Health Record.
KEEPING your health records in the digital age is easy, and can be very important should an emergency occur, a spokesperson from the North Coast Primary Health Network said.
Registrations for My Health Record - a digital health record containing important information which can be easily accessed in an emergency - are steadily increasing.

Lockheed CISO hired to protect Australian health records

By Paris Cowan on Feb 16, 2017 12:30PM

As crunch time nears.

Infosec veteran Anthony Kitzelmann has been lured back into the public sector to head up the Australian Digital Health Authority’s security centre.
The ADHA was formed to operate Australia’s billion-dollar electronic health records scheme, which is due to ramp up dramatically as the government nears a final decision on whether it will set up accounts for citizens by default.
Pilots of opt-out My Health Record have seen an average of just two percent of participants elect not to have a record created for them. A change in approach on a nationwide scale would produce records for the vast bulk of Australians.

Access you My Health Record on your mobile, android or tablet!

Consumers can now access and view their My Health Record on mobile devices with the soft launch of the Healthi app, the first authorised consumer app to link to the national system since the My Child’s eHealth Record app was released back in 2013.
Healthi does not retain any information from the records, instead storing the information on the device temporarily while it is being viewed and removing it when the app is closed. It has PIN code and encryption key security.
The app includes a summary screen, two searchable document screens, as well as allergies and medications data, including prescriptions and PBS items. It also allows users to access the records of children or other family members who have given authorised or nominated representative consent, with a function allowing easy movement between each family member’s records.

The Future of Digital Health

Created on Friday, 17 February 2017
On Monday 13 February, more than 1,000 people tuned in to the Australian Digital Health Agency national webcast on the future of digital health.
Facilitated by Ellen Fanning, the webcast marked the final stage of the consultation towards a co-produced National Digital Health Strategy, due for delivery to the Australian Government in mid-2017.
Panellists included:
  • Mr Martin Bowles PSM, Secretary of the Australian Department of Health
  • Professor Brian Schmidt AO, Vice Chancellor of the Australian National University
  • Mr Adrian Turner, Chief Executive Officer of Data61
  • Mr Barry Sandison, Director of the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW)
  • Mr Tim Kelsey, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham, GP and Chief Medical Adviser of the Australian Digital Health Agency.

National Digital Health Strategy consultation: Emerging themes on the future of digital health

Created on Tuesday, 14 February 2017
What are we hearing from the Australian community on what makes the ideal health service? What are the key priorities we should focus on?
Over 1,000 people completed our online survey and sent us submissions, along with over 3,000 attended workshops, meetings, town halls, forums, and webcasts to share with us their thoughts on where they see the future of health and care.
Watch the video below to see what the Australian community have been saying!

Clinical Informatics Unit Announcement: Participation Data Specification Release

Created on Wednesday, 15 February 2017
The Clinical Informatics unit is pleased to announce the latest release of the Australian Digital Health Agency's Participation Data Specification (v3.3).
You can download the full release file bundle from the following location on the Agency website:
The accompanying release note outlines changes in the Participation Data Specification and the triggers for the changes.

Is NBN Co’s CEO right that Australians aren’t interested in ultra-fast broadband?

February 10, 2017 6.51pm AEDT

Author David Glance Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Whilst announcing NBN Co’s 2017 half year results, CEO Bill Morrow stated that there was little market demand for faster broadband speeds than the 100 Mbps being currently offered on the NBN.
Morrow made the remarks after being asked when Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would offer internet connection speeds of 1 gigabit per second (1 Gbps).
Morrow replied that there are currently 1.5 million homes that can have 1 Gbps connections and that although a “couple of the retailers have signed up for a trial” of these speeds, nobody as yet has offered the service to consumers. Morrow presumed “it is because there isn’t that big of a demand out there to actually develop a product to sell to those end users”.

NBN switch will cost users up to 20% more

The NBN is starting to make inroads into the capital cities, with construction in Sydney, the nation­’s biggest consumer market, to begin later this year.
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM February 13, 2017

Chris Griffith

Supratim Adhikari

Households face a price hike of nearly 20 per cent on internet servic­es, on average, as they are required to sign up to the National Broadband Network when it arrives in their neighbourhood and the ­existing service is switched off.
The NBN is starting to make inroads into the capital cities, with construction in Sydney, the nation­’s biggest consumer market, to begin later this year.
Until now the more than 70 per cent of NBN’s rollout happened in regional and rural areas, but the switch to the metro will gather pace this year, especially if the company rolling out the network, NBN Co, wants to hit its target of having 5.4 million premises ready to receive a service by June 30.

Morrow admits NBN can’t deliver affordable superfast broadband

NBN Co chief Bill Morrow has admitted that the National Broadband Network cannot deliver an affordably priced superfast broadband product to Australians. However, he claims we don't need it anyway and wouldn't use it even if it was free.
Morrow, in a blog on the NBN Co website, says that NBN cannot deliver 1Gbps broadband at a comparable price to that on offer in Singapore and other countries where 1Gbps superfast broadband costs less than $50 a month.
Morrow says in a blog published today that if NBN Co was in a position to deliver 1Gbps for $49/month, as they do in Singapore, “then we would do it – but we are simply not in that position from an economic point of view.”

Bill Morrow's 'alternative facts' about the NBN

Australia is unique in many ways but today one more attribute of this country now falls into that class: we are the lone nation to be building a broadband network that cannot give us affordable super-fast connections.
Yes, you heard right. And you can't question the source, for these words come from the chief of NBN Co, Bill Morrow, the man who earns $3.3 million an annum (that's $9041 a day, a little less in leap years) to push the build of the National Broadband Network that has become both a joke and a national shame.
After Morrow suffered from an attack of loose lips and told a crowd at the release of NBN Co's half-yearly results last week that Australians, bunch of chumps that they are, did not want super-fast broadband even if it came gift-wrapped and hand-delivered with no money asked, he must have felt some amount of blowback.

Google finds networks became ‘highly aggressive’ in competition

  • Mark Bridge
  • The Times
  • 12:00AM February 18, 2017
A Terminator scenario where ­artificial intelligence goes rogue and seeks to destroy its human creators is looking a bit more plausible.
Researchers at Google’s DeepMind, its artificial intelligence division, found neural networks trained to learn from experience and pursue the most efficient strategies became “highly aggressive” in competition. When the networks — computer systems modelled on the human brain — were tasked to collect apples, they co-operated as long as the fruit was plentiful. Once the supply decreased, they turned nasty, blasting their opponents with ­lasers and temporarily putting them out of action.
Joel Leibo, one of the ­researchers, wrote in a blog post: “We let the agents play this game many thousands of times and let them learn how to behave rationally using deep multi-agent reinforcement learning. Rather naturally, when there are enough apples in the environment, the agents learn to peacefully coexist and collect as many apples as they can; however, as the number of apples is reduced, the agents learn it may be better for them to tag the other agent to give themselves time alone to collect the scarce apples.”


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

They never seem to learn.
"The move looks set to be the biggest ever shake-up of Australian government IT, significantly weakening the grip of Canberra mandarins on the $6.2 billion spent on info tech by the Commonwealth each year."

This initiative is only a review or projects. The biggest shake-up of government IT was the doomed whole-of-government outsourcing when they tried selling off the IT to the private sector. There's still echoes of that little fiasco in that ATO outsourced all of its IT to EDS, now HP. And look how well they are maintaining that IT infrastructure.

IMHO reviewing IT projects is far too late. The big mistakes have already been made.
Here are a few random, but well known quotes.

“Successful problem solving requires finding the right solution to the right problem. We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem”
Russell Ackoff

“For every complex problem there is a simple solution. And it is wrong.”

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.”
Laurence J. Peter

However, reviewing MyHR against the benefits it has delivered might actually be informative.

Anonymous said...

Bernard said "...reviewing MyHR against the benefits it has delivered might actually be informative.".

I doubt very much that the healthIT MYHR project will even be looked at. The public / consumer don't really know about it or even care about it. They do care about the other big IT projects that adversely affect their hip-pocket. It's the politics that count and the MYHR project still hasn't hit the public radar. The only way it will is if a summary (if it exists) of the $2 billion fiasco and huge wastage of funds is documented and brought to the Minister's attention in charge of the IT review.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

"The only way it will is if a summary (if it exists)"
something like this?
And there's a world of difference between "brought to the attention of" and doing something about it.

Anonymous said...

sadly Bernarard and sarcastically, that sort of material just gets in the way of our National Digital Fax Server