Monday, March 06, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 6th 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 pretty quiet week with some submissions on the Digital Strategy appearing and a further set of items on things that have not gone as well as might have been hoped.
The biggest noise this week has been the Government sneakily using unknown exemptions to invade privacy and leak private information for their own purposes.

What is the future of digital health in Australia?

The Australian Digital Health Agency launched a nationwide ‘Your health. Your say’ conversation to find out. 
The 'Your health. Your say.' consultation period closed on Tuesday 31 January 2017, 5PM AEDT. Thank you to the individuals and organisations who contributed to the future of digital health by responding to the survey, sending us a submission, or attending one of the national conversation events.

Our goal now is to produce a National Digital Health Strategy that reflects the needs and aspirations of Australians.

The Australian Digital Health Agency is currently reviewing all feedback. Stay tuned for further updates on the findings of the national conversation and the development of the National Digital Health Strategy, which will be available here on the conversation website.

E-health records could help fill data gaps: Sax submission

Latest news: 27 February 2017
The national, electronic patient medical record, My Health Record, could prove a significant boost for health research, enabling valuable data on use of health services to become available in “real time”, a Sax Institute submission on Australia’s digital health future says.
The submission was put to the National Digital Health Strategy Consultation being undertaken by the Australian Digital Health Agency, which is driving the development and delivery of Australian digital health initiatives, including the My Health Record system.
The value of health data can be enhanced markedly when administrative data for services provided across the health system ‒ such as MBS, PBS and hospital services data ‒ is linked with survey data from population studies such as the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study, which provide important additional information on the participants’ health and welfare over time, the submission says.

AMA Submission On Digital Health Strategy


Surgeries in doubt due to computer bungle

February 28, 2017 8:00pm
HUNDREDS of operations across Victoria are at risk of cancellation or complication because hospitals have been left without the vital supplies needed for surgery.
Victoria’s Health Department is fighting to avert chaos, after a bungled computer ­ordering program at one of the largest medical suppliers left hospitals unable to order surgical instruments and other items for more than six weeks.
The situation has become so critical that several patients suffered “adverse outcomes” — including extended recovery times in hospital and needing additional pain medication — after surgeons used alternative products.

IT glitch leaves hospitals without surgical supplies, patients at risk

Chloe Booker
Published: March 1, 2017 - 11:52AM
Hundreds of patients have been put at risk after Victorian hospitals were left without vital surgical supplies due to an IT glitch.
The hospitals were unable to order surgical instruments when the computer ordering program of one of Australia's largest medical suppliers, Medtronics, went down.
There were 7290 outstanding orders a fortnight ago, leading to shortfalls in surgical and laparoscopic instruments, respiratory products and sutures, skin staples and tissue adhesives.

Corporate Plan 2016 - 2017

Created on Thursday, 02 March 2017
The Australian Digital Health Agency is committed to achieving a world-leading national digital health capability, which will advance the efficiency, quality and delivery of healthcare provision to improve the health outcomes of all Australians.
Read more about the Agency’s work and how we’re ensuring that the work we do is shaped around the needs, wants and aspirations of the Australian healthcare community.

Relax: This phone measures your blood pressure

Measuring blood pressure is stressful for some, but Leman Micro Devices says let your phone do it, not your doctor
This Swiss electronics company is on a mission: to stop millions of people dying of ignorance each year.
Worldwide, high blood pressure leads to around 9.4 million deaths annually according to figures from the World Health Organization. And yet, the condition is easily diagnosed and treated. In the Americas, the prevalence of high blood pressure fell from 31 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 2014, but remains high in developing countries.
Before high blood pressure can be controlled, though, it needs to be detected, and that's the part that Leman Micro Devices wants to make simpler. It is showing off its solution at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
Measuring blood pressure usually requires a bulky and inflatable cuff that fits around the upper arm, squeezing it till it stops the flow of blood in the artery then releasing it until the flow starts again. Some cuffs can automatically detect the stop and start and record the pressure at each point; others require the medical practitioner to listen to the blood flow using a stethoscope and record the pressure manually.

New proposed health data report misses many of the marks

2 March 2017
The health system is awash with data. Sometimes the data is transformed into useful information about health system performance, like comparing rates of health-care associated infection by named hospital, waiting times in emergency departments by hospital and ambulance response times by state.
There are currently three different publications that report these data: the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s series of reports on specific aspects of hospitals or primary care and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s separate biennial report on Australia’s Health.
The heads of Australia’s health departments recognise the way we measure the system at the moment is not good enough. They recently released a consultation paper in which they called for a single performance report instead of the three we have currently.

Fury over delay in switch to HPV tests

27 February 2017
Furious pathologists are warning that Pap smear test results will take as long as six weeks following the last-minute deferral of the changeover to HPV testing.
The revamp of the National Cervical Screening Program was due to kick in on 1 May but has been put off until 1 December this year because the screening register outsourced to Telstra will not be ready on time.
The Department of Health said last week that it remained committed to “delivering the register as early as possible within the 2017 calendar year”.

Failed cancer data integration project means labs can't see patient histories

Telstra Health and Australian gov miss deadline in bungled privatised registry rollout

26 Feb 2017 at 22:48, Richard Chirgwin
The Australian government's attempt to rush the rollout of a privatised cancer registry has backfired, with Telstra Health unable to meet a March deadline for data integration.
As a result, the May 1 launch for the National Cancer Screening Register has been ditched.
Telstra Health won the AU$180 million contract in May 2016, to support the switch from two-yearly pap smears to five-yearly tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV) as the primary screening technique for cervical cancer.

Cancer register delayed

The start date for Australia’s first National Cancer Screening Register has been delayed.
Since May last year, the Department of Health has been working with its program partners, including Telstra Health, the contracted Service Provider, States and Territories, healthcare providers, the Department of Human Services and others to deliver the National Register, which was scheduled to begin operating from March.
However, the Department said it was now apparent that the Register would not be ready in time.
It said it, along with its program partners, remained firmly committed to delivering the Register as early as possible within the 2017 calendar year.

Don't leave GPs in the lurch over the new cervical screening program

1 March 2017
It will add insult to injury if the delay in the switch to HPV-based cervical cancer screening means public misinformation about the national program’s renewal is allowed to fester for another nine months.
Last week the government announced the program will now not start until 1 December because Telstra Health is unable to get the new National Cancer Screening Register operational for the original 1 May deadline.
But while argy-bargy over the delay continues, women’s apparently growing concerns about the demise of the trusted Pap smear are failing to be addressed.
8:29pm March 1, 2017

$16m bill for govt cervical cancer bungle

Taxpayers will cough up more than $16 million for the federal government's bungling of the rollout of a new test said to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer by 30 per cent.
Federal health department boss Martin Bowles has revealed officials have known since before Christmas there was a risk the May 1 deadline for the rollout of the new test would not be met.
But the delay was only revealed last week by a leaked department communique with the new test now set to be available from December 1.
2 March, 2017

End of over-hyped promise of wearables?

Posted by David Glance
As the market leader, Fitbit has always been regarded as being synonymous with wearables in general. Its launch as a public company was at a point when the hype of wearables was at a peak with claims of the technology bring about a revolution in healthcare.
Unfortunately, the revolution never happened and Fitbit itself has now hit a wall. Sales are down, and last week, Fitbit reported a financial loss and announced it would be laying off 6% of its staff. Its share price is around 90% down on its peak of US $51 in 2015.
Fitbit doesn’t see its fortunes changing much in 2016 as it competes in a wearables market that is seeing little to no growth. Even this statistic may be misleading however because it combines pure fitness trackers such as the models made by Fitbit, with smartwatches like the Apple Watch which customers may buy for its non-fitness features.

Faster, easier, more intuitive: GuildCare evolves

GuildLink is set to launch GuildCare NG at the Australian Pharmacy Professional conference on the Gold Coast

GuildCare NG has been developed in response to the industry’s changing needs. A game-changer when it was first released in 2009, the GuildCare platform was created to give pharmacy the tools it needed to improve patient care, drive patient loyalty and enhance the role of pharmacists as healthcare professionals within the community.
To date, more than 11.7 million Professional Services cases have been completed through the GuildCare platform.
Now, after consulting with industry leaders and GuildCare users, GuildLink has redeveloped the platform to create a faster, easier, more intuitive and user-friendly Next Generation framework – while retaining the same range of industry-leading Professional Services.

New guidelines simplify discharge summaries

28 February, 2017
The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care has released guidelines showing hospitals what to include on an electronic discharge summary, and how to present it in a clear and succinct format.
The guidelines come in the form of style sheets designed to be incorporated into hospital software.
The templates include the essential components of a discharge summary, such as diagnosis, procedures and medication lists.
More information:

Healthi App connects to My Health Record

01 March 2017

Consumers can now access and view their My Health Record on mobile devices using Healthi app. 
The app includes a summary screen, two searchable document screens, as well as allergies and medications data, including prescriptions and PBS items.

What counts as a privacy breach?

2 March, 2017 Antony Scholefield 
New privacy laws can impose potential fines of $340,000 on practices that fail to report serious data breaches to the Australian Information Commissioner. Georgie Haysom (pictured), head of advocacy at medicolegal firm Avant, explains how these laws will affect GPs.
Australian Doctor: How do practices know when to report a privacy breach?
Georgie Haysom: You need to determine whether there’s an unauthorised access or disclosure of information, and then decide whether a reasonable person would conclude the access or disclosure is likely to result in serious harm to the patient whose information it is.
There’s a list of various matters you can take into account to determine whether the access or disclosure is likely to result in serious harm, and if it is, it’s an eligible data breach.

Video: Is security overstated in healthcare?

By Staff Writers on Mar 3, 2017 11:50AM

Perceptions don't necessarily line up with reality.

Two leading healthcare CIOs say the perception that IT security concerns are holding back e-health technology isn't grounded in reality.
Speaking at the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2017 panel sessions last week, Healthcare category finalists Nasa Walton of the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, and Ramsay Health's John Sutherland, discussed the importance of security in healthcare.
Sutherland said surveys indicate consumers are actually far less fearful about security than the healthcare industry and IT vendors believe them to be.

Govt seeks power to publicise private health records

Antony Scholefield | 3 March, 2017 
The Federal Government is giving itself new powers to publish individual veterans' healthcare information if authorities feel there is "misinformation in the community".
The powers are contained in the Veterans’ Affairs Legislation Amendment (Digital Readiness and Other Measures) Bill, currently before parliament.
If passed, it will allow the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) to reveal any information a veteran has given the department — including details of what medical care they are claiming — if it is in the “public interest”.

Webinar: How data and technology can be used to improve health and care in rural and remote communities

The Australian Digital Health Agency held a webinar on Wednesday 1 February 2017, 11:30am-1:00pm AWST/1:00pm-2:30pm ACST with rural and remote clinicians to gather feedback on how data and technology can be used to improve health, care and the quality of life for Australians in rural and remote communities.

Rural and remote clinicians webinar recording and presentation now available

Created on Tuesday, 28 February 2017
The Australian Digital Health Agency held a webinar on Wednesday 1 February 2017, 11:30am-1:00pm AWST/1:00pm-2:30pm ACST with rural and remote clinicians to gather feedback on how data and technology can be used to improve health, care and the quality of life for Australians in rural and remote communities.
The webinar can now be watched on our website and presentation slides are now available for download in the Webinars area.

1ST Group crosses major milestone in online appointment booking

16:00 27 Feb 2017
Over 5 million appointments booked on the portal since 2012.
1st Group (ASX:1ST) has crossed a major milestone by booking over 5 million appointments on its cloud-based online health portal since 2012.
The company’s secure portal enables patients to schedule appointments, receive automated appointment reminders and provide feedback to their practitioners.
The number of new patients using 1st Group’s appointment booking platform on a monthly basis has surged 700% since 2015.

Commissioner confirms privacy 'override' provisions exist

By Paris Cowan on Feb 28, 2017 4:44PM

Following release of Centrelink data to media.

Privacy commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has confirmed agency-specific laws can "override" the Privacy Act and hand some public service bosses the power to disclose personal information.
Pilgrim and his assistant commissioner Andrew Solomon, were busy making calls to the Department of Human Services’ legal officers this morning following revelations that the agency gave details about an individual, Andie Fox, and her welfare debt dispute to Fairfax.
The details were handed over in response to an article criticising Centrelink written by Fox, also published by Fairfax.

Thought-controlled movement

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Tuesday, 28 February, 2017
The stentrode. This tiny device is the result of a collaboration of 39 brilliant minds from 16 departments across the University of Melbourne’s medicine, science and engineering faculties.
Smaller than a paperclip, the stentrode, implanted into a blood vessel next to the brain’s motor cortex, will one day allow paraplegics to move with the power of thought.
Once implanted, it picks up signals that would normally be sent to a person’s limbs to create movement.

Gigabit per second speeds aren't needed yet, NBN Co boss Bill Morrow says

Lucy Battersby
Published: March 1, 2017 - 12:04AM
Households with a fibre-to-the-node connection - the slowest of the NBN Co's fixed technologies - will get an upgrade when augmented reality, virtual reality and ultra high definition internet television become mainstream, the company's chief executive told a Senate committee on Tuesday night.
Bill Morrow said these futuristic applications will need much faster speeds like 50 megabits per second [Mbps] or 100 Mbps.
"Let's assume within five years [that technology] is going to be here en masse," he said.

Telstra outlines plans for its ‘network of the future’

5G, IoT and a boost to the capacity of optical fibre links are among the initiatives outlined by Telstra at Mobile World Congress
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 27 February, 2017 11:31
Telstra has used Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as the venue for unveiling major infrastructure initiatives as part of its “network of the future” program.
The telco’s CEO, Andy Penn, said in August during a briefing on FY16 results that Telstra would boost its capital expenditure by $3 billion over the next three years, lifting its capex to sales ratio to approximately 18 per cent.
“We will be investing in three critical areas of importance to our customers,” Penn said. We will be investing in the network of the future which is the foundation of the program, we will be investing in accelerating the digitisation of our business and, ultimately, this will all lead to us investing in improving the customer experience that we provide.”

Windows 10 least secure of Windows versions: study

Windows 10 was the least secure of of current Windows versions in 2016, with 46% more vulnerabilities than either Windows 8 or 8.1, according to an analysis of Microsoft's own security bulletins in 2016.
Security firm Avecto said its research, titled "2016 Microsoft Vulnerabilities Study: Mitigating risk by removing user privileges", had also found that a vast majority of vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products could be mitigated by removing admin rights.
The research found that, despite its claims to being the "most secure" of Microsoft's operating systems, Windows 10 had 395 vulnerabilities in 2016, while Windows 8 and 8.1 each had 265.

Softbank chief Masayoshi Son: AI to outsmart us within 30 years

  • Stu Woo
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • 12:00AM March 1, 2017
Within 30 years, artificial intelligence will be smarter than the human brain.
SoftBank Group chief executive Masayoshi Son also says supersmart robots will outnumber humans and more than a trillion objects will be connected to the internet within three decades.
These beliefs underpinned the wave of large and surprising deals the Japanese internet and telecommunications company had pulled off in the past year, he said yesterday.


Anonymous said...

I find the AMA digital health strategy submission interesting. Notably the AMA does not seem sold in the MyHR, are very clear they have concerns about the run away vendor market and how co-produced could result in costly outcomes. They recognise the need for clinical involvement at all layers and stages, I would suggest ADHA and AMA build up the nations clinical informatician capability, this rare bread is vital and would better bridge the standards world as well to ensure clinical input is understood and used wisely. There are many good examples with Clinicians on FHIR, the care plans working groups and other international standards efforts. We all want Interoperability and AMA seems to get this as its themes flows through there submission, working together is more than some consumer app and the government PDF store. As the AMA points out new funding models are needed.

My big question is around the use of 'we want secure messaging' I can't help think this gets confused with a need to secure communicate and the Secure messaging brand, in this day and age do we really need Messaging providers in such a closed market?

Look for to how the Twitter in Chief of the ADHA tackles this. The AMA is not one to disappoint.

Anonymous said...

I think the driver was to replace the millions of bits of paper floating around the health system with millions of PDFs floating around the health system. Does anyone know why the delay in secure messaging? I know what they are saying but as always government people paint over the real issue. I am also yet to see the issues raised by MsIA CEO around terminology and identifiers being addressed, is NASH and the HPI-o now being implemented by Jurisdictions? Also have we got agreements with and a plan to include allied health, insurance, workplace, Medicare, Clinics, complimentary, drug companies, dental and so on and so on, without this there is a high chance we will simply increase the millions of bit of paper as well as fragment information more and create confusion - did I receive that by mail, email, SMD how did we send those results...... we were promised a quick win here Tim why so quiet?

Anonymous said...

Re: ... "I am also yet to see the issues raised by MsIA CEO around terminology and identifiers being addressed, is NASH and the HPI-o now being implemented by Jurisdictions?"

I fear the MSIA has once again been seduced into a false sense of optimism that maybe this time around the MSIA and its disparate membership might be listened too by the gurus leading ADHA. Naivete can be very costly.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

When I registered for a MyHR I agreed to have MBS/PBS data uploaded. It wasn't. I finally found in the system that it was tuned off and that I could turn it on.

The MBS data is a largely meaningless jumble of items that have been paid by Medicare, most of them lacking in meaning, context and most certainly in the case of tests, lacking reasons/outcomes. I can't see any way of searching MBS data, even if I could, the data is so sparse/vague/opaque it is useless.

I had an operation paid for by a multinational corporation who made a prosthesis that was subsequently found to be both defective and dangerous. None of that operation appears in the MBS data but some associated items do. I'm now having tests to investigate if the faulty prosthesis has had any on-going consequences.

It would take a long time for me and my GP to properly document my experiences (Apart from having the faulty prosthesis, I slipped in the rain, broke my pelvis and loosened the prosthesis - it was diagnosed by the public hospital as a fall), why and put it into the format that is acceptable to the MyHR - i.e. a number of events, their relationships and outcomes.

Why would I bother? My GP has all the data and history, I have my own, physical health record (going back 40 years) including a prioritised summary, along with XRays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound tests, reports/diagnoses, test results and, more importantly IMHO, where diagnoses were wrong and I was prescribed the wrong treatment.

My experience is not that serious or complicated. Apart from the prosthesis and its potential consequences, I have very little in the way of health problems. Most of my interactions with the healthcare system are aimed at investigations re potential problems and their prevention, not treatment.

I go into hospital for another test in a few weeks. I have a paper form to fill in, there is no option to specify I have a MyHR. Even if I could, the hospital would find it unreliable. They ask if I have had a whole range of conditions/illnesses etc. Just because my MyHR doesn't mention something doesn't mean I haven't experienced it. The hospital needs positive affirmation of my health status, the MyHR doesn't give that and I can't see how it ever would, not without a huge amount of effort on my and my GP's behalf.

For someone who has chronic or multiple problems, MyHR is probably useless, it couldn't cope withe the volume and complexity of the data. For someone who has no interaction with the health care system (either because they are totally healthy or uninterested in managing their own ill health, it is also useless - there would be no data to collect.

I'm really struggling to find any meaningful use for MyHR, certainly anything that is better than my GP's eHR and my own records.

Anonymous said...

Bernard you might know if not hopefully someone else does. With the emerges of services like Meditracker ( I have relationship to this it is on PulseIT), now Meditrack claims to do what the MyHR states as benefits for patients and providers. So if the government forces opt out, is this something that ACCC should investergation? Seems the government is dominating a market, stifling jobs and growth, would the be allowed to force everyone to use a government bank? Or will MyHR allow data to be extracted from it for consumer chosen needs, how do we prevent further fragmentation?

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Sorry, I don't fully understand the current situation and most certainly don't know what the government/ADHA intends doing. I also don't know anything about Meditrack/Meditracker

AFAIK, the only people who can download data from MyHR are those who have conformant software and who have the appropriate access rights.

Patient/s/consumers can't download stuff and I don't think there is any mechanism for an app to do so.

Of course, people can log onto their MyHR through the portal and let anyone see what is there.

Anonymous said...

Healthi have a mobile app that accesses MyHr