Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Has The ADHA Lost Its Way Or Is It Just Resting? I Wish I Knew!

This advertisement appeared very recently.

Director Communication | EL2

  • Office of the CEO
  • Canberra location
Tasked with improving health outcomes for Australians through the delivery of digital healthcare systems and the national digital health strategy for Australia, the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) is responsible for national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety. Our focus is on putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them.
The Agency is currently seeking people with a desire to make a difference to health outcomes, who are passionate about the use of digital health to meet these goals and have the relevant experience to deliver solutions in a highly complex stakeholder and technical environment.
Responsible for the reputation and brand management of the Australian Digital Health Agency the Director Communication ensures consistent and accurate messaging across the organisation with specific focus on the promotion of strategic priorities and programmes of work.
The Director Communication will provide a wide range of experience, knowledge and skills, including, but not limited to:
  • Managing a dynamic team of communications professionals responsible for the Agency brand and reputation across all communication channels.
  • Liaising and advising the CEO and Executive on key messages, media liaison and strategic communications.
  • Producing strategic communication plans and providing consistent and accurate key messages across the organisation.
  • Liaising with the Department of Health and Ministerial Media advisers to deliver collateral and advice on communication/media-related matters, including: briefs (information and event), questions on notice, and question time briefs.
  • Identifying and managing reputational risk in relation to communication and media, and developing mitigating strategies.
  • Responsible for the Agency's website and intranet, social media, staff newsletter, corporate publications, style guide, key messaging, media relations and marketing/promotional strategies and products.
  • Responsible for delivering daily media monitoring to all Agency staff.
  • Media issues management from receipt of enquiry and managing workflow through required channels to provide approved responses.
  • Leading and managing the Agency's social media strategies, content production, analytics and reporting.
  • Managing media plans to drive publicity and editorial content for external media.
  • Maintain strong and effective working relationships with the media and key stakeholders in the health and digital health sectors, along with other Government departments and agencies, as required.
To be successful in this role you will demonstrate a strong background in managing a large Communications team across multiple locations.  Media liaison with national mainstream media, including social media management, strategy production and content development for a Government organisation will be essential. Your prior experience will show involvement in delivering significant organisational change through communications and stakeholder engagement and a demonstrated ability to manage reputation risk.  In addition, you will require the appropriate degree in Marketing, Public Relations or Journalism/Communication. You will have full rights to work in Australia.
Applications for this position will close on Monday, 8th May 2017 at 11:59pm (AEST). For further information regarding the position and the Australian Digital Health Agency please contact 1300 895 669 or apply online.
Here is the link (If you want to apply):
This is clearly a really big job. Here are the scales for the Department of Health:
Before lodgement
On commencement
12 months after commencement
24 months after commencement
Executive Level 2 (EL2)
Here is the link:
The question that flows out of all this is just why the ADHA needs “a large Communications team across multiple locations” Surely it is delivery, not spin, that we all need from the ADHA?
Somehow I am getting the sense that the ADHA is slipping back on deliverables and trying to cover it all with spin.
The comments on recent blogs seem to rather confirm this view.
Looking at the ADHA’s planned time-table we seem to have not actually seen any discussion drafts on the Strategy etc.
It is interesting to note we have also not had any Board Papers published since Feb 21, after regular monthly publication before that.
I may be being alarmist but it does seem that the silence from the ADHA has been deafening!
Maybe some people who are internal to the organization can let us all know?

AusHealthIT Poll Number 368 – Results – 30th April, 2017.

Here are the results of the poll.

What Are You Expecting For The ADHA In Federal The Budget On May 9, 2017?

Big Increase 1% (2)

Small Increase 1% (2)

About The Same 71% (115)

Small Cut 17% (27)

Large Cut 3% (5)

I Have No Idea 6% (10)

Total votes: 161

We seem to think stability is the call, with a skew to a decrease rather than an increase.

A really great turnout of votes!

Again, many, many thanks to all those that voted!


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 29th April, 2017.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and 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.

Mobile device strategies catch on among hospitals

A recent survey shows that more hospitals are developing mobile strategies, but there is still work to do on the implementation side.

CIO | Apr 19, 2017 5:00 AM PT
Nearly two-thirds of hospitals now have formal mobile device strategies, a big jump from just five years ago, according to the latest survey by Spok, a healthcare communications company focusing on the acute-care sector. To a large extent, observers say, this growth reflects hospitals’ recognition that their doctors and nurses are already using or wish to use mobile devices at work.
From 2012 to 2017, Spok found in its survey of more than 300 healthcare professionals, the percentage of hospitals with a documented mobile strategy increased from 34 percent to 65 percent. Forty percent of institutions have had mobility strategies for one to three years, 14 percent for three to five years, and 25 percent for more than five years. Twenty-one percent launched their strategies less than a year before they participated in the survey.
This rapid growth in mobile strategy can be attributed to hospitals’ recognition that many of their doctors and nurses are already using mobile devices at work. “We think it’s [due to] a number of people playing catch-up,” says Brian Edds, vice president of product strategy at Spok.

VA Invests in Clinical Decision Support Tool Standardization

A $22 million initiative to optimize a VA clinical decision support tool standardization marks another effort by the federal agency to improve the interoperability and efficiency of its health IT.

Kate Monica

April 20, 2017 - In an effort to promote interoperability, efficiency, and safety of patient care, VA has chosen two vendors to improve and standardize its clinical decision support: Cognitive Medical Systems and Motive Medical Intelligence.
The two vendors will lend their expertise in standards-based clinical decision support software and health IT infrastructure, as well as evidence-based clinical workflows. 
Through a one-year agreement with help from prime contractor B3 Group, the two clinical decision support vendors will aid VA’s Office of Knowledge Based Systems (KBS) in integrating the technology into EHR systems.
VA intends to give clinicians access to the right information at the right time to improve patient health outcomes with improved clinical decision support.

Too many healthcare employees would share sensitive data

Dell survey finds connecting to public Wi-Fi to access confidential information, using personal email for work and widespread use of public cloud services also pose risks to health information.
April 20, 2017 02:56 PM
The most recent Dell End-User Security Survey has some found that three in four employees across all industries, including 68 percent of employees at healthcare organizations, would share sensitive, confidential or regulated information under certain circumstances. 
Some situations, such as being directed to do so by management (43 percent) or sharing with a person authorized to receive it (37 percent), would seem legitimate.
But others, such as determining that the risk to their company is very low and the potential benefit of sharing information is high (23 percent), or feeling it will help themselves or the recipient do their jobs more effectively (22 percent and 13 percent respectively) play a bit looser with the rules.

Most doctors say patient health, safety jeopardized by EHR outages

Published April 21 2017, 7:25am EDT
More than half of U.S. physicians indicate that the health or safety of their patients was put in jeopardy because of an electronic health record system outage.
That’s the finding of a new survey by SERMO, a social networking website exclusively for doctors.
According to the Office of the National Coordinator for health IT, EHR outages represent a significant potential patient safety hazard that directly affects patient care, raising the likelihood of increased risk of medication errors, lack of access to images and canceled procedures.

Secure message program aids patient-doctor communication

Published April 20 2017, 4:00pm EDT
Healthgrades, which offers information on hospitals and physicians to help patients make choices about healthcare provider choices, has been testing a pilot program to enable consumers to have encrypted two-way secure messaging sessions with physicians.
Two-hospital Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs was an early adopter, working with a school district that encouraged employees to sign up for the service, particularly those with chronic conditions.
Healthgrades, which operates consumer health information web sites, partnered with Conversa, which sells “Digital Checkups” software to enable messaging conversations with physicians or other clinicians when necessary between visits, giving providers a glimpse into patients’ lives which can inform how to motivate them. The service supports chronic care management, pre and post-surgery checkups, lifestyle health coaching and personal development.

EMR reminder did not improve cardiovascular disease risk screening among patients with RA

April 17, 2017
Implementation of an electronic medical record reminder did not improve the rate for cardiovascular risk screening among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to recently published data.
 “In an effort to improve [cardiovascular disease] CVD screening, we implemented an electronic reminder and decision support tool to increase provider awareness of the importance of assessing and managing CVD risk in [rheumatoid arthritis] RA,” Ayobami T. Akenroye, MD, MPH, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “However, implementing the electronic reminder did not improve CVD screening in [rheumatoid arthritis] patients in a large tertiary care center, and lipid screening rates remained low.”

AMA launches EHR training platform for medical students

Apr 20, 2017 11:32am
An AMA-sponsored training platform uses deidentified data to provide EHR training for medical students.
As part of an effort to build the medical school of the future, the nation’s leading medical association has launched a new platform designed to train medical students to use EHRs.
The American Medical Association announced the new training platform, which was built by the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Medicine with the help of a $1 million grant from the AMA, on Wednesday. The Regenstrief EHR Clinical Learning Platform incorporates deidentified data from Eskenazi Health and will be used at Indiana University, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and the Southern Indiana University School of Nursing.

Displaying Medicare price data in EHRs won’t reduce unnecessary tests

Apr 21, 2017 11:37am
Including price data in EHRs won't necessarily reduce the number of unnecessary labs, according to new research.
The high costs associated with unnecessary testing in healthcare have spurred a movement to reduce such tests, but new research shows EHRs might not be the best vehicle.
Incorporating price transparency into EHRs at the time physicians order lab tests is one tactic that some hospitals have used in an attempt to reduce wasteful lab testing. But in a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Health System found displaying Medicare fees for inpatient lab tests had almost no impact on physician ordering.

Select committee criticises lack of consistent strategy in health IT

Laura Stevens

17 April 2017
A House of Lords select committee has published a highly critical report on the state of NHS health IT, saying there is a “worrying absence of credible strategy to encourage uptake”.
The document, released on 5 April and produced by the select committee on the long-term sustainability of the NHS, expressed concerns about the lack of unity and direction for NHS health technology.
“There is a worrying absence of a credible strategy to encourage the uptake of innovation and technology at scale across the NHS”, members of the committee said. “It is not clear who is ultimately responsible for driving innovation and ensuring consistency in the assessment and the adoption of new technological approaches.”

Artificial intelligence spending to surge in 2017, hit $46 billion by 2020

Quality management and diagnosis and treatment systems are among top use cases for AI and cognitive computing, IDC report says.
April 19, 2017 11:18 AM
IDC predicted that worldwide spending on artificial intelligence and cognitive computing technologies will leap by 60 percent to $12.5 billion this year — and then escalate to $46 billion by 2020.
The IT consultancy’s estimates span several vertical industries, healthcare included, and suggest that businesses and consumers will spend the most on cognitive applications, AI platforms, cognitive-related services, as well as dedicated storage and servers, respectively.
IDC distinguishes between cognitive applications and platforms as such: apps contain features and functionalities capable of learning and discovery to ultimately make recommendations, while platforms provide tools for accessing and analyzing both structured and unstructured data.

Telestroke Guidelines Released for Clinicians

Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Thursday, April 20th, 2017
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has released the latest guidelines for telestroke care.
The guidelines are published in Telemedicine and e-Health, and are designed to help clinicians use the latest telemedicine communication technologies to provide remote care for patients with symptoms of acute stroke.
“The authors are to be commended for this outstanding work,” said Charles R. Doarn, MBA, co-editor-in-chief of the journal. “These guidelines will be of great value to clinicians and the patients they treat.”

Phishing-as-a-service: White hats help but beware the dark web

Hospitals can hire white hat hackers to conduct anti-phishing campaigns but the dark web boasts eerily similar offerings to cybercriminals, too. Infosec pros share tips for using one and avoiding the other. 
April 18, 2017 05:55 AM
Hackers have been walloping the healthcare industry and hit their stride in 2016. Whether via ransomware, plain old malware, general phishing or targeted spear-phishing attacks, the onslaught has continued into 2017 and, by many accounts, will only get worse before things settle down.
Healthcare executives, IT and information security professionals are ardently striving to bolster their security posture — but what happens when it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between a legitimate email and a phishing scheme?
Here’s the rub: The same sort of services legally available to hospital IT shops can also be found on the dark web, where would-be cybercriminals and other hackers can use them to gain access into a healthcare entity's network to track down protected health information, personally identifiable information and other sensitive, if not potentially lucrative, information.

When patients text: 4 ways physicians can protect privacy, maintain professionalism

Apr 19, 2017 9:31am
There's no rule to prevent doctors and patients from texting, but there are best practices.
While the Joint Commission currently bans doctors from using text messages to order treatments, there’s no such restriction on patients and doctors communicating via texting.
But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some guidelines to help doctors determine when it’s appropriate to reply to a patient’s text and how to send a text that meets transmission criteria, according to an article on AMA Wire. At its annual meeting in Chicago in June, the American Medical Association will consider a report from its board of trustees expanding advice on email communication to include text-based messaging with patients.

Survey: Hospital IT execs see employees as their biggest security threat

Apr 19, 2017 9:21am
Hospital executives see insider threats as a top concern during a time when cybersecurity funding can be hard to come by.
Cyberattacks might come from outside an organization, but hospital executives are overwhelmingly concerned that employees are creating security vulnerabilities.
More than 46% of respondents ranked employee security awareness and culture as their number one concern when it comes to security threat exposure, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics and sponsored by Level3. The survey included responses from 125 IT professionals, managers and executives, most of whom worked in an acute care hospital or health system.

Smart bandages which tell doctor how wound is healing to begin trials

16 April 2017 • 12:09pm
Smart bandages which can detect how well a wound is healing and send a progress report to the doctor will be trialled within the next year, scientists have said.
The dressings are fitted with tiny sensors which can pick up blood clotting, or spot infections, and wirelessly send data back to a clinician.
Swansea University, which is hoping to trial the bandages within 12 months, said the new technology could offer a personalised approach to medicine.

Handling wearable data remains challenging for physicians

April 17, 2017
Patients are using wearable devices from fitness trackers to blood pressure cuffs to record their own healthcare data, and the number of patients doing so is expected to grow significantly.
The Smart Wearables in Healthcare, 2016-2030 report from research firm Research and Markets identified nearly 250 wearables in the medical field.
Most are activity/fitness trackers, but the report said companies increasingly are focused on more advanced wearables that produce data ranging from electrocardiograms to blood pressure readings to blood glucose numbers.

Employee Healthcare Data Security Awareness Top Industry Threat

A recent study conducted by HIMSS Analytics found that lacking employee education and awareness are top healthcare data security threats.

Elizabeth Snell

April 18, 2017 - Approximately 80 percent of surveyed health IT executives and professionals report that employee security awareness is their greatest concern regarding healthcare data security.
The 2017 Level 3 Healthcare Security Study was conducted by HIMSS Analytics and sponsored by Level 3 Communications, Inc. HIMSS interviewed 125 individuals who worked in or alongside the IT department at a healthcare provider organization.
Half of the respondents – 49 percent – were a director or manager of IT, while 30 percent were listed as IT security officers or other IT positions.
Exposure from partners or third-parties was the top concern for nearly 69 percent of those surveyed, followed by securing wireless or BYOD devices (54 percent of respondents) and a lack of actionable intelligence (36 percent of respondents).

Hackers hit 320% more healthcare providers in 2016 than in 2015, per HHS data

Cybersecurity has become an enterprise-level risk in healthcare and should be managed like one, CynergisTek says.
April 18, 2017 02:02 PM
The number of providers victimized by hacking attacks rose by 320 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to “Breach Report 2016: Protected Health Information,” a study from consulting firm CynergisTek. 
What’s more, 81 percent of records breached in 2016 were the result of hacking attacks. 
CynergisTek’s seventh annual study provides an analysis of the causes of PHI breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services and the overall state of cybersecurity in healthcare.

How EHRs can support effective pop health strategies

Published April 19 2017, 4:31pm EDT
The beginning of 2017 marked the start of the first MACRA reporting period and a step forward for value-based healthcare. Because of MACRA—the law behind the Quality Payment Program (QPP)—from this point on, quality and efficiency will be even bigger drivers of reimbursements.
For physicians and their teams, the focus now needs to be on finding economical ways to do the most good for the most people, making population health management a critical strategy. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, practices that implement population health programs can more easily identify chronic and preventive care needs, provide planned care and outreach based on diseases or conditions, offer patients self-management support, monitor health and recommend changes to care plans, and evaluate practice performance by tracking patient data and comparing it with national guidelines and internal benchmarks.
The key to achieving these and other population health benefits is data that enables healthcare teams to focus on the various factors impacting their patients, and then work to create proactive care programs for different patient groups.

Wearable tech enables hospital to deliver care at home

Published April 19 2017, 7:18am EDT
Physicians in the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are sending some patients back home with medical and technology support in a new “home hospital” program.
Through the program, any necessary medications and equipment go home with the patient along with a physician and nurse, for at least several hours a day for as long as needed—the clinicians set up everything necessary for home treatment and make sure the patient’s condition is improving.
Patients favor the approach because they’re in familiar surroundings—they get to sleep in their own beds, rather than share a hospital room with another patient, and get to eat their own food.

Getting useful data from wearables still a challenge for doctors

Apr 18, 2017 12:18pm
Wearables can provide a ton of health data, but seldom in ways doctors can actually use in a clinical setting.
Patients generate more health-related data from wearable technology all the time—but that doesn’t always mean doctors can use it.
As the number of wearable devices capable of tracking health-related metrics continues to grow, the ultimate utility of fitness trackers and wrist-worn heart rate monitors remains questionable. Despite some promise for tracking certain patients’ health between office visits, most physicians have seen little clinical use for the majority of the data generated by the most common wearables.

GAO Report: Telehealth Troubles Tied to Reimbursement Barriers

The GAO report finds that telehealth and remote patient monitoring services aren't being used much by Medicare, Medicaid, VA or DOD beneficiaries, mainly due to reimbursement and coverage issues.

Eric Wicklund

April 17, 2017 - Healthcare providers aren’t embracing telehealth and remote patient monitoring because they aren’t being reimbursed for those services, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The GAO report, issued last week as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, found that Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of Defense used telehealth to treat 12 percent or less of their beneficiaries in 2014 through 2016, with less than 1 percent of Medicare beneficiaries using any telehealth services.
Providers surveyed for the report cited “the potential to improve or maintain quality of care as a significant factor encouraging the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring,” but they rated “cost increases or inadequate payment and coverage restrictions” as either somewhat or very significant barriers to adoption.

Cerner Most Likely Vendor to Replace Homegrown VA EHR System

Black Book has named Cerner the top EHR vendor across the four Trump Administrative initiatives and the likely pick for the new VA EHR system.

Kate Monica

April 17, 2017 - Cerner EHR is rumored to be the most likely candidate to replace the outdated homegrown VA EHR system presently serving the 1,200 healthcare sites of the Veterans Health Administration, according to a new Black Book report.
After an expensive failed attempt, VA is planning on implementing a commercial EHR system in place of its VistA EHR to bring the federal agency up to speed technologically alongside other healthcare organizations.
Now over 30 years old, VistA is set to be abandoned after several attempts to amend and modernize the system have resulted in frustration and fruitless spending. While VistA was once considered ahead of its time, it has long since been surpassed by commercial systems.

How telemedicine pulled one rural hospital back from the brink of bankruptcy

Apr 17, 2017 11:34am
Facing a declining population, one 14-bed hospital in Idaho was preparing to shut its doors before an enterprising new CEO pulled it back from the ledge by integrating innovative tech-based approaches to care.
Now, the hospital may serve as the poster child for how rural facilities can use digital technology to remain financially stable and maintain access to care.
In 2013, Lost Rivers Medical Center in Arco, Idaho, had just $7,000 in the bank and saw its community population drop below 1,000, according to Kaiser Health News. The hospital’s demise appeared inevitable, but incoming CEO Brad Huerta saw an opportunity.  

Veterans Affairs explores commercial cloud migration for health records — VistA-as-a-Service

Billy Mitchell
The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking to industry experts to consider whether a commercial off-the-shelf, cloud-based platform could replace its current mess of an electronic health record system.
In a request for information released Wednesday, the VA proposes migrating its Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture, better known as VistA, to a software-as-a-service platform. It calls the hypothetical off-the-shelf system VistA-as-a-Service.
The call to industry focuses solely on the clinical EHR component of VistA, but also asks respondents to give feedback on possible modernizations of “integrated administrative, financial, business, and other supporting operations.”
April 14, 2017

1.5 million records lost in March health care industry data breaches

The 1.5 million records were lost during 39 separate incidents nationwide.
A sharp spike in the number of health care data breaches was recorded in March with 39 incidents taking place compromising more than 1.5 million patient record.
Protenus' monthly Breach Barometer noted that this was more than 2.5 times the number that had taken place so far in 2017 with almost half of last month's total coming from a single incident where 697,800 records were exposed. Protenus could not determine whether this specifics incident so it was included in the theft/loss/missing category. Overall, the number of records assigned to this category was 737,131.

Health data breaches in March surpassed January and February combined, study finds

There were 39 breach incidents in March, affecting 1,519,521 patient records, Protenus says in a new report.
April 17, 2017 11:53 AM
Security incidents spiked upward during March, according to the Protenus Breach Barometer, a monthly snapshot of reported or disclosed breaches impacting the healthcare industry, with data compiled and provided by DataBreaches.net.
The number of patient records breached also rose, with almost 700,000 in one single incident, the report said.
March, in fact, had more than 2.5 times the number of breached records in January and February combined. There were 39 breach incidents in March, affecting 1,519,521 patient records. Information was available for 35 of those incidents.
The largest single incident involved 697,800 patient records and was reported to HHS as “theft-other,” the Breach Barometer found.

New system finds stolen health data on the Dark Web

Published April 17 2017, 3:20pm EDT
With health data breaches reaching epidemic proportions, healthcare organizations are resigning themselves to the fact that losing sensitive data to hackers is inevitable. It’s no longer a question of if they will become victims of data theft, but when it will happen.
A popular destination for such data is the Dark Web, the nefarious online marketplace where it is bought and sold. However, the problem is that the average breach takes more than 200 days to discover—long after the damage has occurred.
But, one vendor claims they can shorten detection times from months to just hours and notify organizations when their data shows up on the Dark Web. Baltimore-based Terbium Labs claims to have the world’s first fully private, fully automated data intelligence system—called Matchlight—that instantly locates stolen data on the Dark Web as soon as it appears.