Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 27th March, 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

A really quiet week until the Council of Australian Governments leapt in and decided we are all going to  be given a myHR. Time will tell how that works out.


17 Mar 2017
The proposed national digital health strategy should be a simple, straightforward list of proposed projects and their benefits, rather than a high-level strategy document, Australia’s peak doctors’ body says.
In its submission to the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), the AMA says it has long advocated for a strategic plan for digital health.
But it warns that clinicians must be involved in both the development of the proposed National Digital Health Strategy (NDHS) and its implementation, saying too many e-health projects around the world have failed because they were developed without consultation with the people who had to use them.
“The AMA is aware of the long track record, both locally and internationally, of e-health projects falling over for failing to consider the social aspects of development and implementation,” the AMA says.

Design Aid program to help make Diabetes finger pricking a thing of the past

We’re proud to announce that Deakin University’s non-invasive smart solution for blood glucose monitoring project will be the first recipient of our Design Aid program.
The Design Aid program is part of our mission to give underfunded digital health projects access to world class design.
The winning project is specifically looking to design and implement a state-of-the-art smartphone-based non-invasive glucose monitoring solution using terahertz technology. The project is based on years of collaboration between Australia, the United States and Canada and is about to enter the Visualisation and Prototyping phase of the project – ideally suited to our user experience design expertise in the health sector.

Why aren’t more people using the My Health Record?

March 24, 2017 2.49pm AEDT
My Health Records were a big government investment, but they’re just not being used.


  1. Bronwyn Hemsley  Associate Professor in Speech Pathology, University of Newcastle
  2. Jacqueline Meredith  Research Assistant, University of Newcastle
  3. Shaun McCarthy  Director, University of Newcastle Legal Centre, University of Newcastle
The My Health Record is an online summary of personal health information that patients can share with health providers. As many as one in five Australians have a My Health Record.
But recent statistics show the My Health Record is only being used by a small percentage of consumers, and even then not to its fullest uses. So how can we get a greater return on the estimated A$1.2 billion taxpayer dollars invested in the system?

1. More health professionals need to add information

To date, approved health-care providers in the system have uploaded only about 1.7 million clinical documents, for the 4.6 million Australians who have a My Health Record. Just over one third of these clinical documents are Shared Health Summaries - listing health conditions, allergies, medications, and immunisations.

Illawarra cancer network investigates HoloLens’ potential

Microsoft’s mixed-reality headset could deliver training for nurses at ISCaHN as part of a broader mobility program at the cancer network
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 21 March, 2017 08:40
Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens headset will be used for nurse training by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Cancer and Haematology Network (ISCaHN) if a proposal currently under consideration goes ahead.
Kenneth Masters, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District’s oncology information system manager, said the purchase of two headsets has already been approved by ISCaHN’s IT steering committee and directors and was just awaiting a final sign-off from finance.
The initial use for the headsets would be training for nurses in the patient care environment. The headset could allow virtual assets to be set up in a critical care environment, displaying patient information at a bedside and making that same information visible to different nurses.

Gene therapy: What personalized medicine means for you

From CNET Magazine: What if the next pill you took were tailored to your genetic makeup? That day is almost here.
by Marguerite Reardon March 22, 2017 5:30 AM PDT @maggie_reardon
Thuy Truong thought her aching back was just a pulled muscle from working out. But then came a high fever that wouldn't go away during a visit to Vietnam. When a friend insisted Truong, 30, go to an emergency room, doctors told her the last thing she expected to hear: She had lung cancer. Back in Los Angeles, Truong learned the cancer was at stage 4 and she had about eight months to live.
"My whole world was flipped upside down," says Truong, who had been splitting her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Asia for a new project after selling her startup. "I've been a successful entrepreneur, but I'm not married. I don't have kids yet. [The diagnosis] was devastating."
Doctors at the University of Southern California took a blood sample for genetic testing. The "liquid biopsy" was able to detect tumor cells in her blood, sparing her the risky procedure of collecting cells in her lungs.

Contractor army wanted for Qld Health's middleware overhaul

By Allie Coyne on Mar 23, 2017 10:24AM

Getting into meaty part of big transformation.

Queensland Health has put a call out to the market for an army of IT contractors it can turn to for help with its long-running middleware overhaul.
In late 2015 the department revealed its intention to incrementally replace its massive legacy environment by implementing new plumbing between the systems.
Addressing the middleware means the agency can overhaul small pieces at a time without impacting stability of other systems and applications.
Later that year it chose Fujitsu to help it implement Orion Health's integration software into its sprawling environment.

Opportunities for providers as seniors adopt digital healthcare

By Natasha Egan on March 24, 2017 in Technology
A majority of Australian seniors are using digital devices to manage their health, signalling a critical role for consumer-focused technologies in aged care, new report finds.
The report draws on Accenture’s 2016 survey of 7,840 consumers in seven countries – including 241 Australians aged over 65 – and their views on health and healthcare technology.
With a majority of older people reporting they use technology to manage their health at least monthly, the analysis concluded there were many opportunities for aged care providers to offer digital services to Australia’s four million seniors.
Lead author and Accenture Australia principal director – healthcare Ian Manovel said more seniors were using digital health technology than they had been expecting.

Government cracks down on fake doctors after NSW doctor is impersonated

Sue Dunlevy, National health reporter, News Corp Australia Network
March 24, 2017
FAKE doctors will face longer jail sentences and tougher financial penalties under a crackdown agreed by state and federal ministers after a recent NSW case.
And every Australian will be given an e-health record unless they take action to opt out under a change that could have major privacy implications.
A major overhaul of the regulation of medical practitioners was agreed by state and federal ministers meeting in Melbourne on Friday.

NSW hospital patients not told their medical records were found in public areas

20 March, 2017
NSW hospital patients have had their confidential details compromised on multiple occasions, including medical records being found in a public carpark.
Many of the most serious privacy breaches have been reported in the Central Coast Local Health District, which runs Gosford and Wyong hospitals.
In 2015, a patient's emergency assessment paperwork was discovered on the ground near Gosford Hospital.
However, the patient concerned was never informed because the Health District said there was not a "serious risk of harm".

Patients should be able to add notes to their clinical record

20 March 2017
Patients have their own agenda for what they plan or hope to do in a consultation, but most clinical software packages don’t provide any means for them to enter this into their clinical record.
Instead, for most clinical software systems, GPs and practice nurses act as the patient’s scribe, with an attendant likelihood of errors, bias, mis-emphasis and selective recording tailored to fit with the GP’s or practice nurse’s agenda.
Sometimes the patient’s agenda or reason for consultation is not recorded at all.
The Health Engine online appointment system allows patients to add notes to their booking with their reason(s) for making the appointment, but those notes do not automatically become part of the patient’s clinical record. As with all communications with or about patients, they should.

Govt to launch mass data-harvest on Australia's pensioners

Noel Towell
Published: March 23, 2017 - 5:16PM
The federal government is to begin the mass-harvesting of financial information on hundreds of thousands of Australian pensioners as it steps up the "automation" of the nation's welfare system.
Centrelink is to be given the power to force superannuation funds and other sources of income for retirees to hand over the details of payments made to their members.
The move is expected to save up to $38 million each year in reduced administration for Centrelink and fewer overpayments of the age pension.
The welfare reform bill that passed late on Wednesday night contained the clause empowering Centrelink to demand the information, which is expected to be in the form of data-sets, from super funds and other "income stream" providers.

Balancing act on the right to use, access and protect data

  • Anthony Wong
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM March 21, 2017
In today’s digital and connected economy, data has become a vital resource that, when combined, could unlock new forms of value, connect previously unseen linkages and provide insights to stimulate growth and innovation in the digital economy.
Organisations of all sizes are taking steps to exploit the competitive advantage that big data, social media and the Internet of Things offer in profiling and analysing customer buying patterns.
Data drives revenue
Facebook reportedly generates 96 per cent of its revenues through targeted advertising that leverages user data, while Google’s sophisticated search capabilities attracted advertising revenues of more than $US57 billion last year. Between them, the two companies accounted for over 70 per cent of digital advertising, creating a global duopoly.
In this data-driven world, however, it’s often the case that the people who generated the data have little or no control over what happens to it once it has been captured. Even our ability to access data relating to personal transactions in areas such as banking, telecommunications and health has become more challenging in our increasingly paperless environment.

Angus Taylor: we’re delivering on digital projects and promises

  • Angus Taylor
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM March 21, 2017
Earlier this month the member for Chifley, Ed Husic, published an opinion piece in this paper highlighting the purported weaknesses of the Coalition’s digital strategy. Unfortunately, the piece was a masterclass in why Labor will never truly understand how to lead.
Given that it rather conveniently forgot to address the years of underinvestment in IT and digital under Labor’s watch, it’s perhaps pertinent to look at the transformative work going on inside government to remedy the past mistakes.
As the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, I see every day how this government is delivering on its promises — from infrastructure development to industrial relations reform to energy security. In my own portfolio I’m proud of how the Digital Transformation Agency is delivering real reform through an unprecedented government- wide overhaul that the Labor Party didn’t bother to pursue when it had the chance.

Digital healthcare ‒ addressing cyber security risks for medical devices in the digital age

Australia March 16 2017
Addressing cyber security threats in medical devices proactively will help mitigate the risks associated with the rise of these technologies.
Healthcare, as with most sectors, is becoming increasingly digitised in the modern age. This presents both opportunities and risks for healthcare systems ‒ in particular, the cyber security of medical devices that employ wireless technologies and software.
Recently, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have actively addressed this issue. The TGA had previously noted the possibility of unauthorised users gaining remote access to Hospira's Symbiq Infusion System and LifeCare PCA3 and PCA5 Infusion Pump Systems, while both regulatory bodies have turned their attention to potential vulnerabilities in implantable cardiac devices.

Automated patient check-in for Gold Coast Health

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Tuesday, 21 March, 2017
Gold Coast Health has launched an automated patient check-in system across its five busiest departments at the Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH). The check-in system is part of the Q-Flow patient optimisation framework that includes a series of kiosks that patients use to register their presence on arrival, as well as a backend patient management system that organises patient records.
Demand for Gold Coast Health’s services is only increasing, with growth in the number of total patients being seen in clinics across the city going from 699,000 in 2014–15 to 835,000 in 2015–16.
Gold Coast Health has partnered with patient flow management software specialist NEXA to integrate Q-Flow with GCUH’s core systems. The system is helping to eliminate patient queues, while capturing critical performance data from many of the hospital’s departments.

Government pushes ahead with work on Centrelink payment system

Accenture gets lead systems integrator role on first phase of WPIT
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 22 March, 2017 13:31
Accenture has been chosen as the lead systems integrator for the first part of a program to overhaul Centrelink’s payment system.
Human services minister Alan Tudge said that the selection of the company as preferred tenderer for systems integrator services on the first phase of the Welfare Payment Infrastructure Transformation (WPIT) Program was still subject to commercial negotiations.
DHS is currently planning a range of WPIT-related projects including a new online user interface for welfare payments, a new payment utility to deliver payments faster, and work on designing an end-state technology solution for future phases of WPIT.
The government said in October that Capgemini and Accenture were shortlisted for the role.

Codeine handling ‘suboptimal,’ says study

Newly published research has shown that in roughly a quarter of direct product requests for non-prescription combination analgesics containing codeine, pharmacists weren’t involved

Researchers from LaTrobe University conducted 145 covert pharmacy visits in which one of two scenarios took place, each of which involved a direct product request for Nurofen Plus.
The scenarios involved identical reasons for use, symptoms and medical history but varied previous product use: one involved a first-time user while the other had used the products regularly for the past month.
The research was undertaken between July and August 2015, well before the Pharmacy Guild’s MedsASSIST program began to roll out in March 2016. The product category is to be upscheduled to prescription-only on 1 February 2018.

National Clinical Terminology Service: Website User Survey

Created on Monday, 20 March 2017
In October 2016, the Australian Digital Health Agency launched the National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) website to provide our customers with a one-stop shop to access our terminology products, tools, applications and supporting resources. We are conducting a survey to seek your feedback on the website and to help identify future improvements to the service.
Click on the link below to start the survey. You have until Thursday 13th April 2017 to complete it. Thank you for your participation!

National Product Catalogue Data Quality in Health Program

Created on Friday, 24 March 2017
GS1 Australia and the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency), in partnership with the Healthcare Industry, are continuing to implement the National Product Catalogue Data Quality Improvement Program to address healthcare industry concerns relating to data quality within the National Product Catalogue (NPC).
Key highlights include new data quality reporting passing the pilot phase of the project with reports now scheduled to be released to the Healthcare Industry by July 2017. This is a significant step forward to improved medical product data being available across healthcare systems via the National Product Catalogue.

Digital Health in an Era of Precision Medicine — The Genome Generation

Thursday, 23 March 2017
As the Chief Medical Adviser for the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency), I'm privileged to have the opportunity to meet with many inspiring people – clinicians, health consumers, researchers and innovators who help us think about the way our organisation can best serve Australians to get a good deal out of our investment in digital health services and technologies. We are delivering key services at the Agency that will enable our health system to remain world-leading in its innovation and ability to support a high standard of health and well-being for our citizens. Our continued efforts to improve and expand our understanding of how our services underpin and interrelate to the broader health and care ecosystem depends upon us continually looking outwards, reflecting and learning about future directions for health and care clinical priorities, as well as focussing on striving for internal excellence in our organisation.

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