Monday, February 06, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 6th 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

Well Google seems to have taken an interest in the Australian health consumer. Good on them and what they are doing seems pretty reasonable. The Mayo Clinic is a reasonably reliable information source!
Otherwise it seems that the ‘silly season’  is well and truly over and we are now seeing much more news. Enjoy!

Dr Google makes Australian house calls with launch of new Health Condition Cards

Kate Aubusson
Published: February 1, 2017 - 6:00AM
You're sick. Your head is pounding, the sunlight is too bright, you're nauseated and vomiting and feeling very sorry for yourself.
What do you do? You grab your smartphone and through blurred vision you Google 'migraine'.
When we're sick, when our children develop a strange red rash or when we catch a news story about a lactose intolerant cow, we start Googling. And the search engine savant knows it.
Google has launched its health condition cards in Australia, designed to answer users' health-related questions, queries and curiosities.

Google health cards ‘long-overdue’: AMA

1 February, 2017 
Doctors groups are giving a cautious thumbs up to Google’s latest foray into the health sphere with the launch of verified medical information for Australians.
The search engine will now feature more than 900 printable health condition cards, vetted by doctors, mostly from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
The move follows a similar initiative launched in the US that has been well received by doctors, according to Google product manager, Isobel Solaqua.

A doctor reviews Google's new 'health cards'

2 February 2017
Google’s new health cards became active in Australia just a few hours ago, so I figured I’d be among the first to give them a test run.
Health cards are Google’s attempt to give the lay public sensible and evidence-based results on searches for medical conditions.
The cards appear as a stand-alone box to the right of the usual Google search results, and contain a few sentences and a picture.
For example, when I type in ‘cold’, the usual, familiar results appear – first is my local weather (despite today being decidedly warm!) followed by the hits from more than a billion search results.

Move over white cane — Australian engineers have developed a device that can help the blind and vision impaired navigate the world

February 1, 20178:31pm
IT ALL sounds a bit X-Men. Giving people extra powers and senses to control the world around them.
But researchers at the University of Melbourne think they may have just done that with a new device they say could revolutionise daily life for blind and vision-impaired people.
It’s so effective the new technology could become as every day a sight as the white cane.
Engineers have developed a prototype for an electronic device that can identify the obstacles white canes can’t pick up.

Health sector database key to benefits of data sharing

  • Robert Wells
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM February 1, 2017
We are swimming, some would say drowning, in data. It has even been speculated that data will one day become more valuable than money. But while the amount of data being created and stored grows exponentially, the rules surrounding its sharing and use are set by a hodgepodge of regulations and agencies.
While privacy and security concerns must remain paramount, too much information that could be used to improve our wellbeing is not accessible to the researchers or agencies that could make the best use of it.
That’s why the Productivity Commission was asked to undertake an inquiry into the benefits and costs of improving access to public and private sector data. Towards the end of last year it handed down its draft report and invited additional submissions ahead of delivering a final report to the government by March 21.

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

By Natasha Egan on February 3, 2017
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.

eHealth Records

Healthscope Hospitals are part of Australia’s eHealth record system so please register prior to or during your admission so your doctors and health professionals can have access to your health information for your hospital stay and treatment.

What is an eHealth record?

An eHealth record is an online summary of your health information. You control who can see each piece of your information. Going forward it is proposed to contain personal health information such as your current medications, immunisations, allergies, adverse reactions, advanced care directives and emergency contact details.

Why have an eHealth record?

An eHealth record will allow you to take control of your health records and enable your GP and Specialists to have access to information about your health which will assist them to deliver better care and treatment. In an emergency situation this access may be very important to doctors being able to quickly treat the medical problem you present with.

Report into leak-plagued DHHS looks to cut down breaches of clients' privacy

Beau Donelly
Published: February 3, 2017 - 4:33PM
Victoria's goliath Department of Health and Human Services has no policy for notifying vulnerable clients when it breaches their confidentiality, an investigation by the state's privacy watchdog has found.
The leak-plagued department – which oversees public health, child protection, housing, aged care, disability and family services – also fails to regularly audit the security of client information held by the various organisations it outsources to.
Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection, David Watts, has identified "a number of information governance risks" in the embattled department's privacy and data security protocols.

Can machines really tell us if we’re sick?

January 27, 2017 2.47pm AEDT


Anton van den Hengel
Professor of Computer Science, University of Adelaide
This week US scientists announced they have developed an algorithm, or a computerised tool, to identify skin cancers through analysis of photographs.
Rather than relying on human eyes, the new method scans a photo of a patch of skin to look for common and dangerous forms of skin cancer. The authors report their approach performs on par with board-certified dermatologists to distinguish two forms of cancer, keratinocyte carcinoma and malignant melanoma, from benign skin lesions.
The skin cancer diagnostic tool is based on a powerful type of machine learning that extracts information from images. The critical factor in achieving the accuracy and reliability required for a medical diagnostic tool is the large volume of training data the authors have used. This data consists of 129,450 skin images, and a label for each which indicates whether it contains a cancerous region. The machine is trained on this data to make the distinction automatically.

WA moves to cut doctor shopping

Western Australia is introducing real-time monitoring of controlled drugs in a move lauded by the Pharmacy Guild

The Western Australian Branch of the Pharmacy Guild says it strongly supports new measures being rolled out in the state to curb “doctor shopping” and self-harm caused by inappropriate use of controlled drugs.
New regulations for the sale, supply and manufacture of medicines and poisons came into effect this week, which are aimed at not only reducing business compliance costs, but also promoting the safe dispensing of controlled drugs.
West Australian Health Minister John Day says the regulations will give force to the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014, bringing Western Australia into line with other States and Territories, reducing duplication and making it easier for national operators to comply with the rules.

WA to get real-time reporting system

2 February, 2017 
WA pharmacists can look forward to a new state-funded system that will enable them to spot doctor shoppers.
The $1 million program will be rolled out in stages until late 2018. It will enable real time reporting when prescriptions are filled in pharmacies.
WA Pharmacy Guild National Councillor Lenette Mullen says the system is long overdue.

What’s Trending: Technology in Pharmacy

After another busy year in pharmacy, now is a good opportunity to pause and reflect on some of the macro technology trends that are driving change in the industry

New Internet developments have been transforming the pharmacy experience from the 1990s on, when the Internet first hit our shores. This year will be no exception, with the Internet continuing to deliver new services in the form of cloud computing.
In 2017, pharmacy will see three trends become increasingly visible, relating particularly to medications reconciliation and business agility as well as the move towards the purchase of pharmacy software services rather than expenditure on capital items.

Qld Health replaces long-vacant CIO role

By Allie Coyne
Feb 2 2017 5:35PM

Mal Thatcher reveals successor.

Queensland Health has hired a permanent executive to the role of departmental CIO and head of its e-health arm after seven months of searching.
The agency's acting CIO and eHealth Queensland chief Mal Thatcher today revealed that Dr Richard Ashby, head of the Metro South Hospital and Health Service, would take over his joint roles.
The CIO of Queensland Health also serves as the chief executive of the department's $485 million tech arm, eHealth Queensland, reporting to director-general Michael Walsh.

Fears over DR shortcomings at Queensland hospitals

Audit unearths inadequate disaster recovery preparations
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 03 February, 2017 06:00
Three out of a group of four health services whose disaster recovery preparations have been assessed by the Queensland Audit Office have only basic DR measures in place.
Only Metro South Health in South-East Queensland’s DR maturity was assessed as ‘Established’, which means the audit office considers it to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan covering all its critical processes and that its DR plan is reviewed and tested annually.
Cairns and Hinterland Health and Hospital Service, Mackay Hospital and Health Services, and South West Hospital and Health Service only achieved a score of 1 (‘Basic’) on the capability maturity model used by QAO.

Radiologists want clinical info on all referrals

Hugo Wilcken | 2 February, 2017 | 
Medicare should mandate that all referral requests for imaging include detailed clinical information and a diagnosis, according to proposals being considered by radiologists.
A position paper drawn up by Professor Alexander Pitman of the University of Melbourne notes that current Medicare regulations don’t specify what clinical information referrers need to provide when making imaging requests.
And yet this information is a “powerful factor” in how the images are interpreted, according to the paper published in the journal of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiogists (RANZCR).

Patient landed with a defamation writ over 'greedy' online review

Rachel Worsley | 30 January, 2017 | 
A dentist has launched defamation action against a patient who allegedly called him “greedy” in a Google review.
Mark Robert Bradbury allegedly gave Smile Solutions a one-star rating on the practice’s Google listing page under the alias “Kangajazz”, saying he was quoted $1200 for a filling that would take only 45 minutes.   
He then allegedly launched a personal attack on the business’ owner and director, Dr Kia Pajouhesh.

Privacy fact sheet 49: Health information and your privacy

January 2017
When you visit a doctor or other health service, they may need to ask for health information about you.
Australian privacy law governs how they can collect, use and share your health information. It also requires them to protect, correct and give you access to your health information. So please take a moment to read this fact sheet and understand the rules and responsibilities in place to protect your health information.

What is my ‘health information’?

Health information includes information about your health or a disability. It also includes any personal information collected while you are receiving a health service. This means that information such as your name, billing details, your Medicare number, or personal details about your race, sexuality or religion, may also be considered ‘health information’ in this context.

Privacy fact sheet 50: Accessing and correcting your health information

January 2017
Australian privacy law[1] gives you a general right to access and correct your health information. Please take a moment to read this fact sheet and find out when and how you can access and correct your health information.

Can I access my health information?

Generally, a doctor or other health service provider must give you access to your health information if you request it.
You can ask for access to be provided in a particular way. Your provider should generally give you access in the way you request — such as giving you copies or letting you view it, or giving a copy to another provider. However, if you ask for access to your health information in a way which is unreasonable or not practical, they can give it to you in another way — such as on a disc or USB stick rather than giving you hard copies of the whole record.

Unravelling the RACGP's mysterious role in a controversial pharmacy trial

1 February 2017
When it recently emerged that pharmacists would be taking on a vastly expanded role as part of a pilot trial designed to reduce unnecessary GP visits, it caused big ructions in general practice.
Many were indignant at the news that pharmacists, working under a GP shared care plan, would be empowered to issue repeat scripts, alter doses, and carry out INR, lipid, spirometry and blood pressure tests.
The outraged parties included, apparently, the RACGP.

Is the pharmacy trial sincere or a sham?

Staff writers | 3 February, 2017 | 
The Victorian Pharmacist Chronic Disease Management pilot, due to begin later this year, will allow pharmacists to adjust medication dosages within parameters set by the patient’s GP.
The pharmacists will carry out in-store INR, lipid, spirometry and BP tests, and if the results hit the threshold set in the patient’s GP care plan, the pharmacist will adjust the patient’s medication regimen accordingly. Every patient interaction will be reported back to the GP.

Telstra Health to roll out WA health information system

Telstra’s health business to roll out $10 million Community Health Information System
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 02 February, 2017 13:12
The Western Australian government has tapped Telstra Health for a $10 million Community Health Information System.
The system is intended to boost community health outcomes in rural WA.
The state government said it will record information about child health and development including vaccinations, public health, chronic disease management and pharmacy information to deliver community-based clinical services.

Telstra Health wins WA government contract for AU$10m health info system

The WA government will implement a health information system to track the provision and management of health services in seven regional areas, with Telstra Health to roll out the system.
By Corinne Reichert | February 2, 2017 -- 04:40 GMT (15:40 AEDT) | Topic: Telcos
The Western Australian government has awarded a contract to Telstra Health to roll out a AU$10 million Community Health Information System in an effort to "close the gap" in access to health information between metro residents and those living in rural areas.
The health information system is designed to record data on children's health, including their vaccinations, as well as providing information about public health issues, management of chronic diseases, antenatal health, and pharmacies that provide community-based clinical services.
It will also monitor health reforms, allowing the system to improve the provision of health services in these areas.

Webinar: Update on My Health Record Release 8 and New Developer Engagement Program

Created on Thursday, 02 February 2017
Join Rachel De Sain, Rupert Lee and Dr Steve Hambleton, to learn more about the upcoming Release of My Health Record, and the launch of a new Developer Engagement Program.

About the Webinar

The Australian Digital Health Agency invites you to attend this important webinar, to hear about our new Developer Engagement Program, and information about the upcoming release of My Health Record.
Executive General Manager Rachel De Sain will present the Release 8 plans and then seek questions from webinar participants. Dr Steve Hambleton, Co-Sponsor Medicines Safety Program, and Industry Engagement Lead Rupert Lee will also be on hand to provide any answers or insights for participants.
When: Friday 10th February 2017
Time: 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm AEDT

The future of digital health in Australia: a social policy discussion

By Australian Digital Health Agency

As Australia moves towards a digital health system, important social policy discussions are needed about how future developments will affect Australians. Join us and a panel of policy experts to have your say.
Emerging technologies are changing the global economy and Australian society. This is largely being driven by consumers who are demanding personalised wrap around services, most notably in banking, shopping and social networking. In healthcare the demand for consumer-centred services is driving the demand for new digital models of care – which follow patients, their carers and family through the health system.
On Monday 13th February from 2.00pm – 3.30pm (AEDT) the Australian Digital Health Agency is delivering a national webcast which will inform Australia’s next Digital Health Strategy.

Tenders and Offers

Here you will find information on current tenders and offers from the Australian Digital Health Agency.

Community Pharmacy Software Industry Partnership Offer

We recognise the place of quality medicines information for people’s health and wellbeing in the day-to-day, and in the transfer of care between settings. This is why we want to ensure community pharmacists can access people's health records, and also share the vital information they hold with patients and their other clinicians.
The Agency is partnering with community pharmacy dispensing software providers, to enhance their products to allow viewing and uploading to the My Health Record system. We also want this sector to use Australian Medicines Terminology to enhance the quality and interoperability of medicines information.

Secure Messaging Proof of Concept Projects Request for Tender

The Australian Digital Health Agency invites industry providers delivering secure messaging, clinical information system/applications suppliers and end users to collaborate with the Agency on national implementation projects. The projects will prove the concept and demonstrate a working model for three key use cases to progress the adoption of secure messaging capabilities across the health sector in Australia.
Suppliers and partners will need to establish and work within a consortium to deliver secure messaging capabilities across different healthcare settings.

Cynthia Whelan ‘ideal chairman’ as Foxtel lifts subscribers despite Netflix effect

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM January 30, 2017

Mitchell Bingemann

Telstra’s new businesses boss Cynthia Whelan has been appointed Foxtel chairman, becoming the first woman to hold the position at the pay-TV operator.
Ms Whelan replaces current chairman and former Telstra executive Robert Nason, who has served in the role since June 2012 and will step down on February 17.
Mr Nason has held the chairman role despite officially finishing at Telstra — where he slashed more than $4 billion in costs and culled thousands of jobs as its head of business service and improvement — in October 2015.
(Note: She is also in charge of Telstra Health).

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