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."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th May, 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

Until the huge global ransomware attack on the weekend the Budget was the big news with a lot of funding for the myHR. It is claimed there are benefits but no evidence is offered other than some hand waving.
There are a few other fun things in the Budget – like some funds for my Aged Care which was a bit of a fiasco initially! Enjoy the browse!

Every Australian will now get an automatic e-health record

By Allie Coyne on May 9, 2017 7:32PM

Budget 2017: Policy change backed by funding injection.

The federal government will spend $374.2 million over the next two years giving every Australian an electronic health record by default.
The policy change from an opt-in to opt-out approach for the My Health Record scheme has been on the cards since 2015 when the government took up the recommendations of the Royle Review and announced trials that would automatically create e-records for individuals.
The review was undertaken as a result of poor adoption rates of the formerly named personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) scheme since 2012.
It looked even more likely earlier this year when the Health department quietly published the results of the trials, revealing that only 1.9 percent of the 971,000 trial participants had asked not to have a record created for them.

Govt's electronic health record plan is a data breach waiting to happen

And you should opt out of it as soon as you can, freelancer Asher Wolf writes.
I love me my internets. Love ’em. Datalove, cyber-hippies, instant-data-transfers, crowdsourced decision-making, OpenGov, making shiny cyber-societies of transhuman wealth and immortality, and all that shit. Share your selfies, encrypt your hearts! Etc, etc, etc.
But every so often in the government’s search for INNOVATION! and CYBER! a shitty proposal rears its head that’s so utterly noxious that I feel the need to wave my wooden spoon around: Bad government! Bad!
As some of you may have noticed, the 2017 federal budget contains a proposal to roll-out e-health to all Australian citizens.
Let me just pop on my mask and robe and take the form of prophetess of digital doom for a moment …
12 May 2017

MyHR might now be ‘the mother of all red tape’

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
In the ABC satire Utopia, the head of department asks a consultant to do an “independent review” of a recent project. The consultant asks: “What do you want the findings to be?”
The government-commissioned report by the Siggins Miller consultancy on the My Health Record trials is life imitating art. Here are 10 reasons why this report feels a lot like it is what the Department of Health wanted it to be.

1. A compulsory MyHR?

So far, not one key stakeholder has bought into the MyHR in a meaningful manner, except, of course, for the government itself. Not patients, not healthcare professionals, not key service providers such as software vendors or private pathology.
So, after $1.5 billion and counting, what is the government’s answer to this dilemma? Make it compulsory? Sorry.

Generics to become default as government tinkers with practice software

3 May 2017
Generic drugs would become the default setting on GP software under a Federal Government plan to cut prescribing costs.
The move is rumoured to form part of a $1.8 billion savings deal with the pharmaceutical industry that will be unveiled in next week’s Federal budget.
Pharmacists are embracing the idea, but AMA vice-president Dr Tony Bartone warns it will restrict doctors’ autonomy and independence.
“By changing the default option, the government is suggesting that they will interfere with clinical decision making."

How Twitter more accurately maps vaccination coverage than census data

Kate Aubusson
Published: May 12 2017 - 11:36AM
Julie Leask is used to the cacophonous vaccination echo chambers on social media. The barrage of anti-vaccination activists, the scaremongering and conspiracy theories sloshing up against vaccine advocates and public health campaigns. 
But every now and then, a tweet cuts through the miasma. Like the message from a father who had decided not to vaccinate his daughter.
"He said something I tweeted changed his mind," said Associate Professor Leask at the University of Sydney's School of Public Health. 

New website to tackle childhood obesity

May 13, 201710:00am
Dominica Sanda Australian Associated Press
Often one of the most difficult parts of eating healthy is choosing the right food at the supermarket, but a new website, launched today could help you make that decision.
Healthy Kids for Professionals features an innovative video teaching families how to make healthy choices at the supermarket and a healthy weight calculator for children.
The NSW Health website has been launched to battle against childhood obesity after new data found parents had limited awareness of overweight or obesity in their children.

Former job centre worker charged with illegally accessing ex-lover's phone number

Shannon Tonkin
Published: May 13 2017 - 10:52AM
A former job centre employee upset her co-worker had ended their extra-marital affair is accused of illegally accessing his new mobile phone number in order to harass and threaten him
Brooke Holmes, who now runs F45 Training at Shellharbour, is accused of repeatedly ringing the man after he ended their 12-month relationship in 2014 and threatening to divulge their affair to her husband.
Ms Holmes also allegedly phoned the man's new girlfriend, telling her they were still sleeping together and that he was the father of her unborn child.

RACGP, AMA formed pre-budget pacts with govt

Geir O'Rourke | 11 May, 2017 |  
The RACGP and AMA entered into pre-budget pacts with the Federal Government, trading a slow end to the Medicare freeze for support of future health reforms.
The deal between the RACGP and Minister for Health Greg Hunt commits the college to supporting the MBS review and encouraging GPs to adopt the online MyHealth Record system.
The text of the AMA agreement differs from that signed by the RACGP, but it declares the AMA's committment to supporting the MyHealth Record system and tightening access to expensive after-hours claims.
Both pacts have been used by the government to justify its controversial decision to delay the end of the rebate freeze, claiming that it is working in “partnership” with doctors.

Budget 2017: My Health Record given AU$374m

The government has gifted My Health Record with AU$274 million over the next two years to continue and expand the e-health system.
By Corinne Reichert | May 9, 2017 -- 10:05 GMT (20:05 AEST) | Topic: Innovation
The Australian government has announced that it will be providing AU$374.2 million over the next two years to both continue and expand its My Health Record System via the implementation of a national opt-out arrangement.
This includes AU$94 million in capital, with the government adding that the costs will be partially offset by AU$305.5 million over the next four years, including by delivering health system efficiencies when it is used by doctors, specialists, and hospitals.
My Health Record reached a milestone in August last year, claiming to have signed up over 4 million users to the automatic opt-in service.
Originally switched on in 2012, the Australian government's e-health record system has since been rebranded from the "personally controlled e-health record system" (PCEHR) to My Health Record.

Budget 2017: Government prepares for My Health Record expansion

Opt-out shift receives COAG backing
09 May, 2017 22:34
The budget sets aside $374.2 million over two years, beginning in 2017-18, for the expansion of the national e-health record system as it moves to an opt-out participation model.
The COAG Health Council agreed to shift to an opt-out model in March, budget documents state.
“As part of our support for Medicare and medicines, we are investing $374.2 million in My Health Record which will allow individuals to access and control their own medical history and treatments – such as medical tests and vaccinations,” a statement from health minister Greg Hunt said.
“This follows unanimous support at COAG for a national roll-out of My Health Record with every Australian to receive a record, or opt out if they so choose.”

Budget 2017: Out with the old IT (and in with the new)

Government eyes more whole-of-government IT platforms, data integration project
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 09 May, 2017 20:51
The government is eyeing upgrades to aging ICT systems across the public sector as well as pushing for platforms that can be used across multiple departments and agencies, and increased use of data analytics to help drive evidence-based policy.
The government will spend $129.6 million on the agency sustainability stream of its Public Service Modernisation Fund, which will support a number of agencies “transition to more modern and sustainable operating models” — including upgrading outdated ICT systems.
The government will also invest $350 million over three years from 2017-18 “in a range of projects to modernise, transform and enhance the productivity” of agencies, including the greater collection and use of government data.

Infosec, e-health, Vets' Affairs scoop up cash in Oz federal budget

Australia's needy IT sector gets its annual dose of validation

9 May 2017 at 22:55, Richard Chirgwin
The IT sector always loves it when the Australian government acknowledges its existence in the federal budget, and 2017-2018 is no exception.
Infosec professionals are basking in the warm glow of bureaucratic validation this morning, with AU$10.7 million devoted to establishing a Cyber Security Advisory Office.
Operating as part of the Office of Eternal Beta, the Digital Transformation Agency, the CSAO's job will be to centralise “governance and assurance” across government, working with other government agencies to “ensure they are appropriately managing the risks of cyber and other digital vulnerabilities on digital services (sic)” (Vulture South thought that fell within the Australian Signals Directorate's remit).
It's the government's response to having the 2016 Census hosed by too many users some kind of denial-of-service attack last year.

What the budget means for doctors, in five key points

10 May 2017


Here, in five points, are the key bits of the Federal Budget for doctors.

1. The Medicare Freeze will thaw at a glacial pace

As foreshadowed in pre-budget leaks, the Medicare freeze will begin to thaw.
But the pace will be slow. Very slow.
Indexation for Medicare items will be introduced in four stages, beginning with bulk-billing incentives from July 1.
A year later — in July 2018 — indexation will recommence for GP consult items.
A year after that, indexation for specialist and allied health consultations will kick back in.
Yet an indication of the immediate impact can be found in the measly cost to the government in year one: just $9 million.
10 May 2017

Budget conspiracy theories you might have missed

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Nothing beats a good conspiracy theory. Except conspiracy theories that turn out to be true. Here are a few candidates from last night’s budget
Almost everyone will have the top line on the key health-budget items by  now:
  • The phased lift of the Medicare rebate freeze over three years
  • A Medicare guarantee levy to secure Medicare into the future
  • $375 million for the opt-out MyHR roll-out
  • Virtually nothing on After Hours items in terms of a mooted government crackdown – did someone get to them?
  • Health Care Homes will be delayed a bit and funding still isn’t clear, or is it?
  • The GP pathology rents issue remains up in the air
  • Pharmacists get $600m for “expansion of community pharmacy programs”.
But what lies beneath? Here are a few not so half-baked conspiracy theories that underpin what we guess the government might be thinking is a bunch of measures that are suitably non controversial (an overriding theme running through the budget).

Australian government allocates AU$374.2 million for national rollout of opt-out model of My Health Record

The costs are expected to be partially offset to the extent of AU$305.5 million over four years, by delivering health system efficiencies through greater use of the My Health Record.

The Australian government plans to provide AU$374.2 million over a period of two years, from 2017-18 onwards, including AU$94.0 million in capital, to ensure that every Australian has a My Health Record, unless they prefer not to. This fund will support continuation and improvement of the operations of My Health Record, in addition to the expanded roll-out of the opt-out model across the country.
The costs are expected to be partially offset to the extent of AU$305.5 million over four years, by delivering health system efficiencies through greater use of the My Health Record by general practitioners, specialists and hospitals, and by utilising uncommitted health program funds.
The My Health Record system allows individuals to control and track their medical history and treatments, such as medical tests and vaccinations. Users can choose to share health information with doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers, who can then view the details online from anywhere at any time in an accident or emergency.

The Govt’s big budget IT projects for 2017

All the big ticket tech projects that could see local partners competing for lucrative government contracts
Leon Spencer (ARN) 10 May, 2017 10:52
The Federal Government’s 2017 Budget, which was handed down on 9 May by Australian Treasurer, Scott Morrison, coughs up funding for a range of big ticket tech projects that could see local partners competing for lucrative government contracts.
Among the new initiatives set to receive tens of millions of dollars in funding is the establishment of a new Cyber Security Advisory Office, measures to improve security and resilience for the Bureau of Meteorology and an investment in whole-of-government IT systems.
Meanwhile, some existing long-running IT projects are set to get their next allocation of Federal funds, including the Centrelink IT payment systems replacement and the Medicare payment systems overhaul.
Below are a few of the Government’s big ticket tech items in this year’s Budget:

Budget: Wins for aged care and health ICT infrastructure

By Natasha Egan on May 10, 2017 in Government, Industry
The My Aged Care platform will get a $3.1 million funding boost in 2017-18 to improve system performance, the government announced in last night’s budget.
It is the only aged care budget measure to attract new funding and is targeted at all My Aged Care users including over 33,000 aged care workers.
An evaluation of My Aged Care undertaken in 2016 highlighted inefficiencies in the system particularly for providers (read our story on that here).
That feedback continues to inform the accelerated design process while findings from the second evaluation are due mid-year (read that story here).

How will Australia’s mandatory data breach notification law affect health service providers

Australia May 10 2017
The apparent privacy breach illustrates the potential harm to reputation of health service providers and underscores the need to improve information handling practices in order to minimise the need to comply with the mandatory data breach obligation.
This article briefly summarises the incident at the John Fawkner Privacy Hospital and explains, in general detail, the obligations health services providers assume when the mandatory data breach notification obligations begin to apply.
Between now and 22 February 2018 (when the data breach notification obligations take effect, according to the Privacy Commissioner), health service providers should:
  • Review their privacy policies and internal data handling procedures to ensure that they are up to date, accurate and comprehensive;
  • Review arrangements with suppliers to ensure that suppliers are maintaining the privacy of personal information disclosed to the supplier by health service providers;
  • Train staff on the importance of privacy, including how to spot a potential data breach; and
  • Formulate a plan to implement in the event a data breach is detected.

The Qld govt is headed towards another payroll disaster

By Allie Coyne on May 11, 2017 3:00PM

Independent auditor gives project low chance of success.

The hundred million-dollar overhaul of the payroll system used by Queensland's emergency services workers is very likely to fail without "significant intervention", according to an independent audit of the troubled replacement.
The Queensland government has been trying to replace the long out-of-support Lattice system - which was similarly at the centre of the infamous Queensland Health payroll failure - within emergency services agencies since 2014.
The initial plan was to spend $100 million outsourcing the payroll function for the state’s ambulance and prison officers, firies, and non-frontline support workers to Datacom, and implementing a new HCM solution.
It was to be completed by June 2016 and deliver business benefits of $4.2 million.

My Health Record

08 May 2017
Just the mention of anything relating to a digital health record is enough to make most health bureaucrats’ eyes glaze over and a politician may even experience a heart flutter! The corridors are littered with the projects and goodwill of many people who have passionately sought to lead the innovation the change the digital transformation in health. Yet in 2017 we are still grappling with the challenge of delivering one of the largest transformational undertakings in health. Ask anyone in leadership where things are at at the current time and you are likely to get many different answers.
Since the National Electronic Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the evolution of Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) there has been much anticipation about essentially the next round of engagement and subsequent transformation.
With the announcement of the new National Digital Health strategy later this year it is timely to revisit this topic. The My Health Record was never designed to replace an organisation’s patient health record. It could be said that it was to facilitate the communication and sharing of medical information on behalf of patients. It is clearly going to be of most benefit to Australians with chronic and complex illnesses, to ATSI and to mentally ill and older Australians and to rural and regional Australians.
8 May 2017

MyHR use should be compulsory: trial report

Posted byJulie Lambert
Uploading patients’ information to the My Health Record system should be made compulsory for GPs as part of a one-step, national opt-out strategy, a government-commissioned analysis has concluded.
 The report, based on data and follow-up interviews on participation trials held at four locations last year, said support for the automatic creation of My Health Records was almost universal – albeit for different reasons – among individuals and healthcare providers. 
But opinions differed among healthcare professionals on questions of whether the system added to providers’ costs or if the practice incentive payment e-Health (ePIP) worked. 
“General practitioners interviewed do not see the ePIP as being a major determinant of their use of the My Health Record system,” the report by Siggins Miller consultancy said. 

Using blockchain to secure and share health data

Australia, USA May 3 2017
2017 has seen an increased focus on the use of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry.
The latest IBM Institute for Business Value blockchain study found that, of the 200 healthcare executives surveyed, around 16% are intending to implement a commercial blockchain solution later this year.
Recent examples of blockchain in the healthcare industry
Earlier this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and IBM (through IBM Watson Health) announced a new research initiative aimed at “defining a secure, efficient and scalable exchange of health information using blockchain technology”.
The two-year collaboration, which will initially focus on oncology-related data, will test how data from disparate sources, can be securely stored and shared. This information might come from clinical trials, patient data or health data generated from mobile devices or wearables. This data can then be securely stored and shared amongst researchers and healthcare providers using blockchain technology. The FDA and IBM plan to publicise their initial findings later this year.

This app is a must-have first aid solution for your patients

10 May 2017


App: Australian Red Cross pocket guide to first aid and CPR
Price: Free
Resource for: Patients
Compatibility: iPhone and Android
Registration required? No
Verdict: ★★★★★
1=optional 2=useful 3=recommended 4=must have
The free Red Cross First Aid app is a treasure trove of practical advice and health education.

Pharmacists can now benefit from full integration of Don’t Rush to Crush into AusDI

A full integration of Don’t Rush to Crush 2nd Edition is now available in AusDI providing Australian pharmacists with easy access to important drug management information and advice in one convenient location.
This final stage is part of an agreement between AusDI and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) to deliver the Don’t Rush to Crush message – that the form of medicines and the way they are ingested is crucial to their efficacy – within the workflow of the AusDI platform.
“SHPA is excited about the benefits that pharmacists will experience as part of the evolution of this collaboration. Having the Don’t Rush to Crush information easily identifiable alongside drug information contained in AusDI, will provide pharmacists with a central repository of quality medicines information”, said SHPA Chief Executive, Ms Kristin Michaels.

Israel’s G Medical to list on the ASX

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 10, 2017

David Swan

Israeli mobile health outfit G Medical Innovations is launching on the ASX today, following a $12 million IPO raising that gives the firm a market capitalisation of $45m.
The company’s key product is its medical smartphone jacket, a consumer device that transforms any smartphone into a medical monitoring device. Other products include the G medical patch, a clinical-grade solution for real-time monitoring of a range of vital signs and biometrics for clinics.
“Australia was a natural port of call for us,” CEO Yacov Geva told The Australian. “The ASX was a readily available route to market with an appetite to fund growth capital for new technology and catapult the company to the next stage of its development.

Digital health to be a key focus at CeBIT Australia

By Australian Hospital + Healthcare Bulletin Staff
Wednesday, 03 May, 2017
The application of robotics, artificial intelligence and big data in the health industry are to be discussed at Asia–Pacific’s largest technology conference.
The latest strategic advancement in digital health designed to improve service delivery and health outcomes in Australia will be discussed at Asia–Pacific’s largest and longest running business technology event, CeBIT Australia, to be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney, 23–25 May 2017.
With Australia’s digital health industry set to reach a market value of $2.21 billion by 2020, an expected annual growth of 12.3%, according to Austrade Digital Health Report, CeBIT Australia’s dedicated Digital Health conference provides a unique opportunity for industry professionals to hear from the leading experts who will share insights into the future of health innovation.

Director Core Services My Health Records | Executive Level 2

  • Core Services Systems Operations
  • 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 leading and managing the operations related to the My Health Record system including continual service improvement and defining business requirements for operational enhancements for the system the Director, Core Services My Health Records provides leadership for the service management functions and in close partnership with the National Infrastructure Operator (NIO) (currently contracted to Accenture), enables the My Health Record to run effectively and efficiency and to meet the needs of the board range of users including coordinating partner agency support of the My Health Record system's  interaction with consumers, providers and connecting systems. In addition to managing designated functions of the My Health Record System Operator, the Director drives business continuity planning and leads the development and implementation of recovery plans for the My Health Record system.

My Health Record – continuation and expansion

This measure supports the continued and improved operation of the My Health Record system, which allows individuals to access and control their own medical history and treatments – such as vaccinations. This follows unanimous support at COAG for a national rollout of My Health Record with every Australian able to have a record, unless they prefer not to.
Page last updated: 09 May 2017

Why is this important?

A transition to opt-out participation for My Health Record will bring forward benefits many years sooner than the current opt in arrangements. Opt-out is the fastest way to realise the significant health and economic benefits of My Health Record for all Australians including through avoided hospital admissions, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people seeing multiple healthcare providers, and better informed treatment decisions.
Opt-out participation is supported by an independent evaluation of two opt-out trails undertaken in Northern Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network areas. The evaluation showed a high level of support for automatic creation of My Health Records by both healthcare providers and individuals. Across the two opt-out trial areas, the opt-out rate was just 1.9 per cent.


Anonymous said...

The third arrival sums it up - In the ABC satire Utopia, the head of department asks a consultant to do an “independent review” of a recent project. The consultant asks: “What do you want the findings to be?”
The government-commissioned report by the Siggins Miller consultancy on the My Health Record trials is life imitating art. Here are 10 reasons why this report feels a lot like it is what the Department of Health wanted it to be.

Just a complete joke. Still they know that is the grand scheme of things no one will take much notice. It is a sadly a reflection of the troubled times we are in.

Anonymous said...

For me the Cricky Article is perhaps the best pub test reflection. Amongst the colourful language there is a well thought through sense of reality. Perhaps the twitter in Chief could spend some time with the Author, he might learn the difference between dribble and thought provoking story telling.

Anonymous said...

As much as I applaud the loosening of government check and balances and trying to be all accomodating it is a terrible gamble. Something is going to go horribly wrong very soon, agility is not making it up in an uncontrolled environment where one is constrained by ones imagination. The result will be a quick and painful tightening of the bureaucracies sphincter. The upside will be hopefully a complete rethink of its role. Yes NEHTA purpose was dull methodical and slightly boring, but it was important and until the PCEHR was engaging and more importantly to a large degree technology natural where it matter.

Anonymous said...

The ADHA has yet to produce anything that can be translated into something by a vendor for the benefit on consumers or healthcare providers. Or should I add a twitter link to a clincalnapplication and copy and paste a blog into my consumer notes?