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."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 25th April, 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

Rather a quiet week as we count down to the Budget on the Digital Health front. There seem to be a good range of topics this week.
I wonder when SA Health can get their act together – seems like a huge mess at present!

Are Sonic and Primary sitting on digital health progress?

The wonders of modern digital connectivity are there for the taking, but there are elephants in the e-waiting room
By Jeremy Knibbs

21 April 2017
This is one of those stories that as a GP you won’t, on spec, be interested in. But only because you’ve never been told “what lies beneath” the story: the unnecessary, and potentially significant, retardation of better communication between the various important hubs of health information in this country, and therefore the slowing of delivery of much more efficient healthcare, via GPs, to their patients.
Ask most GPs what they think of the big private pathology providers and your response will be usually be somewhere between indifferent to unusually positive. One GP we asked is literally thrilled with the new mobile results service that Sonic Healthcare now provides through its path labs. To GPs, path results arrive through their patient management system with relative ease. What is there to be bothered about?

Why are we communicating so badly?

Authored by James Dando
I AM too young to be familiar with fax machines. My parents had one, and I can vaguely remember them making fun of my grandfather’s skepticism of this “new” technology. I didn’t have to use one. That was until I started working in a hospital.
Now I use a fax machine almost daily, as well as other arcane technologies, such as the pager that has to be carried around at all times.
These rather quaint examples make for fun anecdotes to regale non-medical friends with, but they speak to something more profound: the generally abject quality of the communication tools employed by health care practitioners.
This is especially clear in our handling of medical records. It’s ironic, given that our profession takes so much pride in the ability to tell the story in a succinct and a systematic way, that we are so tolerant of platforms that obscure rather than illuminate the important points in a patient’s history.

Optometry updated on digital health

Thursday, December 29, 2016
By Ashleigh McMillan
A roundtable on the future of digital health in Australia has shed light on the implementation of My Health Record for allied health in 2017.
The event held on 7 December was hosted by Allied Health Professionals Australia (AHPA), of which Optometry Australia is a member, with support from the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).
In 2017, pathology and diagnostic imaging will be added to the My Health Record, with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data being used to ensure current medications are included in patient profiles.
ADHA chief executive officer Tim Kelsey announced at the event that his main goal was to assist secure messaging platforms in the health-care sector to communicate with each other.

New telerehab study shows benefits to cardiac patients

18 April 2017

New Australian research released by the Journal of Physiotherapy again shows that governments and private health insurers should facilitate tele rehabilitation as part of the health system. This is another example of the growing benefit of digital health consultations to patients.
The study, conducted at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital and The Prince Charles Hospital, showed that tele rehabilitation is as effective for improving exercise capacity, strength and quality of life in patients suffering chronic heart failure as traditional hospital outpatient rehab. Importantly, it also found that patients were much more likely to attend their rehab sessions when they were delivered by video as opposed to having to come into an outpatient clinic.
Exercise-based rehab increases physical function, improves quality of life and lowers hospital admission rates for people with chronic heart failure. However, cost and the availability of convenient rehab programs often prevents people from undertaking proper rehab.

Agencies failing to meet cybersecurity norms

  • Anthony Wong
  • The Australian
Cybersecurity issues continue to grab headlines as industry and government focus on developing strategies to build capability and competitiveness.
Reports last week of security flaws in the wireless chips used in a wide range of Apple and ­Android mobile devices came hard on the heels of news that network-enabled toys are being used by hackers to access ­personal data.
At the same time, Gemalto’s latest Breach Level Index ­revealed 1.4 billion data records were compromised last year in 1792 major data breaches, which represented an 86 per cent ­increase in attacks over 2015.
In light of such revelations, it’s concerning to see that two of ­Australia’s three largest government agencies recently failed an audit of their cyber resilience capabilities.

How we can fix poor quality data in GP software

18 April 2017


Less time would be spent on data scrubbing if software flagged problems.


Safety, quality and efficiency of care depend on high-quality clinical data.
General practice records are plagued by inferior data that decreases the quality and efficiency of care, and increases risk to patients and GPs.
Poor quality data causes frustration and embarrassment during care planning, clinical audit and research projects, and can lead to loss of incentive payments.
Incomplete or inaccurate data is usually uncorrected in the process of providing care.
Following discovery of poor-quality data during audits, practices spend some of their profit, as well as the time and energy of their GPs, practice nurses and practice staff, to undertake data cleansing.

Doctors "lost control of ED" after planned EPAS shutdown: union

Doctors lost control of an Adelaide emergency department after the hospital's electronic patient health records system was switched off at the start of the hospital’s busiest day, a union inspection report says.
Bension Siebert @Bension1
Adelaide Tuesday April 18, 2017
A report penned by a doctors’ union inspector, obtained by InDaily, says medical staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital “effectively lost control of the patients and the service” during a 24 hour period late last month.
The crisis was caused by a severely overcrowded emergency department, a lack of available staff and hospital beds, and a planned shutdown of e-health system EPAS, which occurred during “the busiest day for ED’s and hospitals generally” says the report, by South Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Association senior industrial officer Bernadette Mulholland.

EPAS failings highlighted by death of former Socceroo Stephen Herczeg, inquest told

By court reporter Rebecca Opie
April 19, 2017
Questions surrounding the traumatic death of a patient whose oxygen tube was connected to his catheter may never be answered because of failings with South Australia's new electronic patient record system, a coronial inquest has heard.
Former Socceroo Stephen Herczeg, 72, died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) last September.
The chronic lung disease patient was admitted to hospital after a fall to treat a suspected urinary tract infection.
South Australian coroner Mark Johns started an inquest 35 days after Mr Herczeg's death amid concerns for patient safety.

SA Health leadership turmoil due to recruiting wrong people

20 April, 2017
SA Health has admitted it recruited the "wrong people" to leadership positions after the Australian Medical Association (AMA) questions the "revolving door" of staff during a time of "immense change" within the public healthcare system.
On Tuesday it was revealed Central Adelaide Local Health Network interim chief executive Len Richards had quit after only two months in the job.
Mr Richards was appointed to replace previous CEO Julia Squire, who was sacked in January following an industrial dispute with the nursing union.
At the time, SA Health said Mr Richards would continue until after the opening of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH), which is now only weeks away.

SA Health executive roles "impossible"

The SA head of the Australian Medical Association has suggested SA Health's senior roles should be carved up after the under-fire department's boss admitted the high turnover rate of executives was damaging morale and leading to staff ignoring executive directions.
Bension Siebert @Bension1
Adelaide Thursday April 20, 2017
Interim Central Adelaide Local Health Network CEO Len Richards resigned yesterday after just two months in the role – the latest in a long series of resignations from top positions in Health in recent years. He replaced Julia Squire, who was sacked in January.
Speaking on ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, SA Health boss Vicki Kaminski said that the high turnover rate among executives at the department was affecting staff morale, and part of the problem was that the department was recruiting “the wrong people”.
She said some lower-level staff had stopped following executive directions because they did not expect the same individuals to be in their roles for long enough to make a difference.

Patients to get live access to health summaries

21 April, 2017 Heather Saxena  
Patients at 180 GP practices will soon have access to their medical history via a $5.99 app.
The Australian-developed Meditracker app, which is being rolled out at IPN practices, gives live access to health summaries and medications.
Patients can also show their medication list to pharmacists to help avoid drug interactions or adverse events.
The app has been trialed at several IPN medical centres since January. It also links to various fitness trackers.

Online psychology for bush a much-needed advance

The introduction of Medicare cover for online consultations with psychologists for people in rural Australia is a welcome development, the Consumers Health Forum says.
“The expansion of telehealth services for country people is timely and appropriate particularly for psychological services when so many rural Australians currently miss out on this often critically-needed therapy,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.
“The announcement by the Health Minister Greg Hunt and the Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash, provides a valuable signpost to making the most of telehealth in semi remote and remote Australia where a full array of multidisciplinary health services are often inadequate and rates of untreated illness are significantly above those in urban areas.

Telehealth boost for rural psychological services hailed

21 Apr 2017, 10:30 a.m.
FARMERS and medical professionals have praised moves to enhance the delivery of virtual mental health support services into regional and remote areas of Australia, where standards are lower and suicides rates higher.
Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash unveiled the telehealth boost for rural psychological services that will cost $9 million over four years from 2017/18 to 2020/21.
Senator Nash said it was the first outcome from the Coalition’s Regional Australia Ministerial Taskforce that met for the first time last month of which Health Minister Greg Hunt is also a member and also backed the improved access to psychologists in rural areas through the introduction of a new Medicare rebate.

New telehealth rebate for rural psychology consults

Antony Scholefield | 20 April, 2017 |  
Rural patients on GP-written mental health plans will soon receive Medicare rebates for teleconsults with psychologists.
From November, patients in select rural areas will be able to claim subsidies for seven video consults per year.
That's three fewer than the 10 face-to-face consults that presently attract subsidies under mental health plans.
Rebates will be available to patients in regions four to seven of the Modified Monash rural classification scheme.

When patients slam you online, here's what to do

19 April 2017
These days, it is very common and quite easy for people to comment online about any experience they have, be it a meal at a restaurant or a holiday destination. This concept is being extended to patients rating doctors and medical practices through a growing number of websites and social media platforms — including through numerous online forums such as RateMDs, Truelocal and Whitecoat, on Google or Facebook.
It is never pleasant to read negative comments about yourself, particularly if you think they are unfounded. Sometimes, a negative online review is the first you know about a patient’s dissatisfaction with you during a consultation, with the staff at your practice or some other aspect of the care you provided. It doesn’t help that comments are often posted anonymously or under a pseudonym so you may not be able to identify the person to know if they were even a patient of yours.
Generally speaking, people are free to publish what they like, but subject always to the laws relating to privacy, defamation and, for example, sexual discrimination and racial vilification. Most websites and social media platforms will have privacy policies and terms of use that outline acceptable content and how to contact them if you want something removed.

Tax Office commits to stop sharing personal data of its public servants

Noel Towell
Published: April 18, 2017 - 12:15AM
The Tax office has assured its 19,000 public servants that their sensitive employment data will no longer be shared with external private sector polling companies.
The pledge comes as further progress is made towards ending three years of industrial stalemate at the revenue agency.
Fairfax revealed last month that Tax Office secretly handed sensitive employment details on its own workforce to a private firm in an attempt to voter-profile an all-staff industrial ballot.
The ATO covertly supplied its contractor with the names, email addresses, locations of work and pay grades of each of its 19000 employees without their knowledge or consent.

DHS challenges agencies to cyber wargames

By Paris Cowan on Apr 19, 2017 11:50AM

September battle heats up.

The Department of Human Services has laid down the challenge to Canberra’s biggest IT shops to go head-to-head in simulated cyber wargames this September.
The department’s CISO Narelle Devine says this is likely the biggest and first-of-its-kind security training exercise the government has staged.
The Australian Taxation Office, Department of Defence, and Department of Immigration and Border Protection have agreed to field teams of between five-to-ten of their best security professionals to battle it out over two days. A handful of other agencies are still waiting to opt in.
“If you learn how to attack you can defend well. If you can think like the cyber adversary then you’re going to be in a good place,” says Devine, a former Navy commander who joined the department in October last year.

Virtual care at the cutting edge of digital health

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Friday, 14 April, 2017
Our Industry Comment guests for Autumn are HISA CEO Dr Louise Schaper and Nurse practitioner Matiu Bush, presenting at the Australian Telehealth Conference 2017 where they will be exploring trends and innovations in digital health technology.
Nurse practitioner Matiu Bush takes his passion for creative innovation to the next level — as a patient experience consultant co-designing with patients.
Matiu was the former nurse manager at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre where he transformed the patient experience from waiting room through to consultation and rehab.
As the new Design Integration Lead at RSL Care, he is now revitalising service delivery for aged care patients across the country.

Patient privacy breach: over 1600 medical letters found dumped in Sydney bin

Kate Aubusson
Published: April 21, 2017 - 4:52PM
More than 700 public patients have had their privacy breached and potential delays in their follow up care after more than 1600 medical letters were found dumped in a Sydney bin.
NSW Health is investigating the incident involving a sub-contractor for a company tasked with transcribing medical letters sent from specialists to general practitioners.
On Tuesday, April 11, a man found piles of follow-up letters containing patient details stuffed into a garbage bin at an apartment block in Ashfield. It is understood there were more than 1600 documents in total. Some of the letters were duplicates. 
The man called in his neighbour, a female health worker, who recognised the documents were out-patient letters and contacted Ashfield police. 

#FHIR Testing is Coming

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Grahame Grieve
The FHIR Team has been working with the HL7 Education Work Group to introduce FHIR certification testing so that members of the FHIR community can demonstrate their knowledge of the specification. There’s going to be 2 levels of certification test.
FHIR Proficiency Test
This test ascertains whether a candidate has basic knowledge of the FHIR specification – what areas it covers, what resources, data types, and profiles are, some basic overview of the way RESTful interfaces work. This test is open to anyone, and it works very much like the existing V2 and CDA tests – though it’s a little easier than them.
Anyone can sit – and pass – this closed book test.
FHIR Professional Credentials 
This is a much harder test – it explores the functionality of the FHIR specification deeply, and to pass it requires considerable experience working with the specification. The idea of this test is that if you pass it, you’ve met our expectations for being an expert and providing advice to other implementers about how to implement the specification properly.

Australian CEO stresses significant role of digital healthcare

  • By Constance Williams
  • Approval 2017.04.17 11:57
Modern, efficient data management not only benefits doctors and patients in overseeing individual cases but also promises a wealth of data that can be anonymized and aggregated for analysis and diagnosis.
Which is why healthcare experts such as David Hansen, CEO of the Australian e-Health Research Center, stresses the importance of the role of information and communication technologies in digital healthcare.
“A lot of people consider digital health to be from electronic medical records, but it’s much bigger than that; it’s about digital disruption of the healthcare system,” he said in an interview with Korea Biomedical Review on Wednesday.

National Blood Authority recruits new CIO

Simon Spencer leaves Australian Public Sector Commission for NBA
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 21 April, 2017 12:30
The National Blood Authority has recruited Simon Spencer to take charge of IT at the government agency.
Spencer comes to the authority from the Australian Public Service Commission. He had been deputy CIO at the APSC since June 2015.
“He is an experienced ICT leader with nearly 20 years of experience across public sector organisations, including as a consultant and contractor,” NBA CEO John Cahill said in staff notice.

Health in an age of information

Thursday, 20 April 2017
"Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl"[1]
You know these lyrics. Madonna's single "Material Girl" and its accompanying video were huge hits in 1985, and went on to define much of her career. But was she right? Is she really a material girl? And are we living in a material world? More than 30 years after she sang this song, we find that the world we live in is becoming less and less about material things, and more and more about information.
From the perspective of the national and global economy, information technology is a vast and growing sector that is displacing manufacturing in value and influence. A similar trend is apparent in the economy of our daily lives: financial transactions are routinely conducted electronically, and reliance on the physical tokens of notes and coins starts to seem quaint.
The rising influence of information even shows in our understanding of reality itself. We’ve known for some time that the apparently solid objects of our experience are composed of atoms that consist mostly of space. And as physicists probe ever more deeply, even subatomic particles seem less and less substantial. Some theorists go so far as to propose that this gossamer-thin materiality rests on a bedrock of – you guessed it – information.

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