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 22, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 22nd 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

Really a quiet week with most action in the private sector. The range of cheaper alternatives to the functions expected of the myHR seem to be growing daily.
Good lessons on what to do with ransomware and how to avoid it.
Lots of fun reading below.
15 May 2017

The EMR mouse that would like to roar

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Amid the $375m funding announcement for the MyHR and a swathe of tech vendor electronic medical record patient app plays, a Western Sydney GP has built and released his own patient side app which he says bypasses any issues with the MyHR and is a simple and practical answer to the issues some patients face with keeping a record of their medical condition.
The mICE (Medical in Case of Emergency) app is available for download now on the iPhone app store, which doesn’t talk to either the MyHR or the patient management system on a doctor’s desk.
Creator, Dr Adrian Sheen, who is a practising GP at the Mulgoa Medical Centre in Mulgoa and a lecturer in general practice at the University of Sydney, says that this app allows patients to “easily and securely manage their history and medical information”.

The Diary smartphone apps offer healthy approach to data

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 16, 2017

Chris Griffith

The days of haphazardly following a GP’s advice will be over if health app developer The Diary has its way.
Many of us fall victim to waning interest in following a doctor’s orders. It could be to change diet, lose weight, exercise more, take medications and monitor vital signs.
The Diary Corporation seeks both to record health information, encourage patients to follow-up plans and to report back patient progress. Information can be selectively shared by a patient, their GP, and others involved in their care, including family members.
So life after visiting the doctor becomes a continuum of treatment, self-help and feedback, rather than one of dwindling commitment.

HCF Catalyst: Diversity a driver for success

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 16, 2017

Supratim Adhikari

The latest intake of health insurer HCF’s start-up accelerator, HCF Catalyst, has not only managed to unearth an interesting crop of healthcare-focused local technology businesses, but has also struck a blow when it comes to fostering greater diversity in the technology space.
With five female-led start-ups gearing up to pitch their business to investors and healthcare stakeholders this week, at the demo day event scheduled for tomorrow, HCF’s chief strategy officer Sheena Jack said this year’s program was specifically focused on encouraging women in the heath-tech space.
“If you look at the percentage of women who are engaged in the healthcare sector, it’s very high,” Ms Jack told The Australian.
“They provide a lot of the workforce, they are deeply embedded in the day-to-day activities and there’s a real power in that.”

Bendigo’s ‘hospital in the cloud'

  • The Australian
  • 11:21AM May 16, 2017

David Swan

Bendigo Hospital is one of Australia’s first to build a ‘hospital in the cloud’, deploying technology to change the traditional patient-doctor relationship.
The hospital houses 372 inpatient beds, 72 same-day beds, 11 new operating theatres, an integrated cancer centre, an 80-bed psychiatry services facility, and a parent-infant unit, and CIO Bruce Winzar said tech has enabled world-class medical access in regional areas, which had been largely unachievable until now.
“The key change has been a move from episodic care to a more holistic patient-centric approach using a digital patient record rather than paper,” Mr Winzar said.
“Rather than patient interactions being based on the current issues being addressed, the treating team’s access to patient information is at the clinicians’ finger tips, thus allowing the patient to also be better informed about their treatment and care. Patients will know what medications they’re on and when they are due to take them, so that the patient actively begins to manage their recovery while they are in hospital as well as out of it.

Information Sharing on Digital Health, a Focus of Health Cooperation with Germany

Information sharing on the best uses of digital health to improve the health status of populations is a key focus of a Joint Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Health Cooperation.
Page last updated: 19 May 2017
19 May 2017
Information sharing on the best uses of digital health to improve the health status of populations is a key focus of a Joint Declaration of Intent on Bilateral Health Cooperation signed by the Australian Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt and the German Minister for Health, Hermann Grohe, during the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin.
Representing the Australian government at the first ever G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Wyatt said that Australia and Germany share many similar challenges, in particular the increasing health care costs driven by increase prevalence of non-communicable diseases and an increasingly ageing population.

How ‘Instagram for doctors’ could change practice

19 May 2017
More than one million people use the image-sharing app Figure 1. Compared with the 700 million people using Instagram, it’s actually not that many, but what’s interesting is that Figure 1 is set up for healthcare practitioners.
The app allows verified healthcare workers to upload photographs of anonymous patients or test results of real clinical cases.
Its promise is to ‘crowd-source’ diagnoses and collaborative learning, and verified healthcare professionals can comment on an image and discuss possible causes or treatments.

My Health Record likely to be compulsory for pharmacies?

15 May, 2017 Heather Saxena  
It could become compulsory for pharmacies to use My Health Record, if the government accepts the recommendations of an independent review.
A report on the review calls for investment to make pharmacies a “key place” for public education and support to achieve optimal uptake.
“In focus groups, participants repeatedly mentioned pharmacists as an accessible, trusted location [for information or assistance] with their My Health Record,” says the The My Health Record Participation Trials Evaluation Report.
The government is yet to respond to the review but allocated over $374 million in the federal Budget to continue and expand it.

Aged care missing out on e-health

By Natasha Egan on May 17, 2017 in Industry
Residential aged care facilities could be a key beneficiary of Australia’s new e-health system, so why aren’t more engaging?
Incompatible software and an unwillingness to sign up are among reasons for low uptake of the national e-health system by residential aged care in the opt-out trial regions, the independent evaluation shows.
The report, which was finalised in November, recommended government proceed to a national opt-out approach, which gained unanimous support at COAG last year.
However, the report was only released this month ahead of last week’s Federal Budget that contained an additional $68.7 million among a total of $374.2 million over two years to expand and improve the My Health Record including rolling out the opt-out model nationally (see that story here).

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).


OAIC forces Australian govt into a data privacy code

By Allie Coyne on May 18, 2017 9:59AM

To guard against any more breaches.

The Australian government has agreed to a push by the Information Commissioner to implement a privacy code that guides its handling of personal data in light of several high-profile bungles and policy changes.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet today said it would work with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to create a code that will "enhance the capability of Commonwealth agencies to deliver data innovation that integrates personal data protection".
The announcement was prompted by a letter [pdf] sent to the department by Information Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim in late March urging the agency to help the OAIC develop a privacy code for the Australian Public Service, rather than have one forced upon it.
Pilgrim said recent privacy breaches with open datasets - like at the APSC and the Health department, whose botched Medicare dataset led the government to try to criminalise those who point out badly de-identified government open data - showed there was "a need to strengthen the overall privacy governance processes within APS agencies".

Fines to penalise privacy breaches under new APS code, Senate inquiry told

Doug Dingwall
Published: May 18 2017 - 11:37PM
The government will ramp up oversight of its growing data-matching programs with a new privacy code that could see departments slugged with fines of $1.8 million for breaches.
Australia's privacy commissioner told a Senate inquiry into the "robo-debt" saga on Thursday the code will be binding for public service agencies, which could be hit with fines for seriously or repeatedly breaching the rules.
The tough new regime was announced as Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim confirmed his office had resumed informal investigations of the Department of Human Services' release of Centrelink recipients' personal information.
Public servants will have to conduct and publish privacy assessments in cases of data-matching deemed to involve "high risk", Mr Pilgrim said.

Qld public servants told not to 'peek' at personal data

By Allie Coyne on May 18, 2017 11:26AM

CCC warns govt workers to stay within the law.

Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission has warned the state's public service not to "peek" at personal and confidential information on citizens contained within government databases.
It follows a spate of charges against Queensland Police officers for accessing private data not related to their duties.
Two weeks ago sergeant Steven Patrick Wright was fined for accessing information on netballer Laura Geitz as well as his family and friends.

ARM's brain implant chips will fight paralysis

By Staff Writer on May 19, 2017 10:35AM

Chipmaker teams up with University of Washington researchers.

ARM wants to put chips in our brains to help battle paralysis and spark recovery from degenerative disorders. 
The chip designer has teamed up with the Centre for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CNSE) at the University of Washington to develop brain-implantable processors. 
The target is neurodegenerative disorders, with the implantable chips helping paralysed people regain movement and eventually recover from a stroke or other brain-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 
The chip will capture and decode brain signals, digitising them to be processed and acted on, the organisations said. The aim is to control the body and its muscles via the chip, which they said was "the key to tackling neurodegenerative disease".

Health Data Governance: Re-identification of health records

Australia, USA
May 11 2017
Australian governments have long recognised the potential of big data, which can provide the depth of insight about the community to enable genuine evidence-based policy development, public infrastructure planning, and service delivery innovation.
The intensive analysis of data sets drawn from a range of different sources to uncover important trends and insights, commonly referred to as `Big Data', has a particularly important role to play in Australia's health system, which comprises a complex web of medical, social and behavioural influences. Rich data sets exist at patient and system levels, reflecting the dominant role that Australian Governments play in our system, anchored in the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and now-ubiquitous My Health Record (MHR).
Big data can improve population health, stimulate therapeutic innovation and enhance system efficiency and sustainability. The benefits can only be realised with the trust and confidence of citizens, bringing privacy issues into sharp relief. The use and management of data and health information is now regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and health records legislation in most States and Territories.

NHS slapped for sharing patient data with Google's DeepMind

By Staff Writer on May 17, 2017 10:38AM

Data watchdog says health service was misleading about its intentions.

The legal justification used for sharing patient data from a London NHS hospital with Google-owned DeepMind wasn't valid, according to the UK's National Data Guardian. 
Health data watchdog Dame Fiona Caldicott expressed her legal opinion of the controversial DeepMind data sharing deal in a letter to the head of the Royal Free NHS trust, after being asked for advice from Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
The NHS trust teamed up with the deep-learning firm to trial a kidney app called Streams, which is designed to predict organ failure and avoid patient illness.

Budget 2017: Health Care Homes postponement welcomed

Authored by Nicole MacKee
PEAK medical bodies have welcomed the postponement of the rollout of stage one of the Health Care Homes (HCH) trial, announced in last week’s Federal Budget, but concerns remain about the funding model and the practice representation in the first stage.
The federal government announced that the implementation of stage one of the HCH project would be delayed from the planned commencement date of 1 July to 1 October 2017, when 20 selected general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services would begin to provide services under the new HCH model. A further 180 selected practices will provide HCH services from 1 December 2017. The 200 practices set to participate in the trial have also been announced.
No increase in HCH funding was announced in the Budget, with $21.3 million over 4 years earmarked for the implementation and evaluation of the trial, which will see the enrolment of 65 000 patients across 200 practices in 10 Primary Health Networks. Participating practices will receive a one-off participation grant of $10 000. An additional $93 million in Medicare Benefits Schedule funding is being redirected for clinical service delivery.

Data#3 delivers digital infrastructure for Sunshine Coast University Hospital

Brisbane-based ICT services provider Data#3 has completed a multi-million-dollar, digital infrastructure project for the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH).
Completion of the project, leveraging HP technology, sees patient services commenced at SCUH in a phased approach as the hospital provides a range of new and expanded health services.
Data#3 was engaged to equip the hospital with more than 4200 digital technology devices in partnership with HP Australia (HP) and the project was part of an overall strategy to help SCUH become a more digital and connected hospital.

NeuRA launches virtual Schizophrenia Library

18 MAY 201712:07 PM
Thursday 18 May 2017: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) officially launched a new virtual library on mental health called the NeuRA Discovery Portal. Developed to support the community, practitioners, people living with brain-related disorders, and their families, the new online library opens up a world of fresh knowledge.
The first virtual library to be launched is the Schizophrenia Library, which appropriately launches during Schizophrenia Week in Australia. Further NeuRA virtual libraries are being developed over the next two years for Bipolar Disorder and Dementia.
Developed by NeuRA scientist Dr Sandy Matheson with creative framework in conjunction with Prof Vaughan Carr (Research Unit for Schizophrenia Epidemiology, UNSW School of Psychiatry, St Vincent’s Hospital, and NeuRA), the new online library found at library.neura.edu.au offers thousands of pages of information contained in more than 2,000 downloadable fact sheets and technical evidence reports, some up to 50 pages in length, just for one topic. The Library also includes videos, podcasts, and interviews with leading scientific researchers in the mental health sector.
Commenting on the launch, Dr Sandy Matheson said due to the increasing volume of worldwide research into mental health and brain disorders, there is a need to collect, collate, and synthesise these research findings in a free, online database.

cdmNet takes on central role in Health Care Homes reform

Precedence Health Care has been selected to provide crucial enabling technology for the Australian Government’s new Health Care Homes initiative, a major health system reform proposed by the Primary Health Care Advisory Group’s Report into “Better Outcomes for People with Chronic and Complex Health Conditions”.
Precedence will provide the risk stratification tool used by all Health Care Homes from October 2017 onwards, including general practices and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
The solution, which uses Precedence’s cloud-based coordinated care platform, cdmNet, will determine an individual patient’s eligibility for the Health Care Home.  It will identify and stratify patients based on their disease complexity and other factors so that health care services can be targeted accordingly.

eHealth ambassador calls for more funding for medicines management

Aaron van Delden avandelden@nzdoctor.co.nz Tuesday 16 May 2017, 9:27AM
The size and shape of the Government’s financial commitment to health is under scrutiny this month – Thursday 25 May is Budget Day in an election year. Today we publish the second in a pre-Budget series that will run this week and next, until we begin our full coverage on the day
Island Bay Medical Centre GP and eHealth ambassador Richard Medlicott is after more investment in medicines management in this year’s Budget.
Richard MedlicottAnd Dr Medlicott says investment needs to be coordinated at a national level, not by DHBs, which have varying financial outlooks, with some in surplus and others in deficit.
The RNZCGP’s recently released Workforce Survey 2016 reports a low uptake for the New Zealand ePrescription Service, which allows doctors to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically, via a central exchange, and is currently available on Medtech and myPractice systems.

How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware

Security pros recommend opting for recent operating systems, paying attention to software patches, and backing up your files

By Robert McMillan
May 14, 2017 4:23 p.m. ET
The past few days have alerted the wider world to the dangers of ransomware, and it has been an ugly awakening for victims including doctors at the U.K.’s National Health Service, employees at Russia’s Interior Ministry, and staffers at some FedEx Corp. offices.
Ransomware, which has been on the rise for the past few years, encrypts files on a computer so that they can’t be read and the device becomes essentially useless. It gets its name because the culprits post messages on victims’ computers demanding payment, generally in the digital currency bitcoin, to undo the encryption (a promise they don’t always fulfill).
The good news is that there are effective measures to protect against the software in Friday’s attack, generally called WannaCry, and other Ransomware. Here is what security pros recommend:

Massive global ransomware attack highlights faults and the need to be better prepared

May 13, 2017 4.39pm AEST

Author David Glance

A massive malware attack was launched on Friday, affecting at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries. Computers running Microsoft Windows were infected with “WanaCrypt0r 2.0 or WannaCry” ransomware. Once infected, all of the files on the computer are encrypted by the malware, which then displays a ransom demand of between US $300 and $600 in bitcoin that needs to be paid before the files can be decrypted.
The WannaCry ransomware is being spread through a weakness in Microsoft Windows that was originally exploited by the US National Security Agency (NSA) as part of their arsenal of cyberweapons in a tool called “Eternal Blue”. Unfortunately, this tool, along with many others, was stolen by hackers and leaked to the world in April 2017 by a hacker group calling themselves the “Shadow Brokers”.
Microsoft had already released a fix for the Eternal Blue vulnerability in March, but the extent of the WannaCrypt attack has highlighted how many organisations have failed to apply the fix, or are running copies of Windows that are so old that there wasn’t a fix for them.

Ransomware attack: Time to kill off old Windows XP systems for good

  • The Australian
  • 5:51AM May 16, 2017

Chris Griffith

It’s time for everyone to kill off their old Windows XP systems for good. This is the first of several necessary actions following the digital ravaging caused by the WannaCry virus on the weekend.
The same can be argued for other unsupported versions of Windows such as Windows 8 and Server 2003. Upgrade to a supported version and make sure automatic updates are ON.
Using network-attached computers unprotected without the latest patches is worse than having unprotected sex with a stranger in the real world. Metaphorically, it’s more like having unprotected sex that causes everyone in the neighbourhood to become infected.
An unprotected PC with the WannaCry exploit can encrypt files on even protected computers if those files are configured as a shared drive on the infected computer and are writeable. We’ve seen this in earlier forms of ransomware.

Ransomware - mitigation advice

Created on Friday, 19 May 2017
Ransomware is an increasingly prevalent threat, with a rising number of variants designed to target our computer networks. Consequently, prior to the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attacks that recently affected many healthcare organisations globally, the australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) had t...
Ransomware is an increasingly prevalent threat, with a rising number of variants designed to target our computer networks. Consequently, prior to the ‘WannaCry’ ransomware attacks that recently affected many healthcare organisations globally, the australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) had taken proactive steps to defend against this type of attack.

HPE demos ‘The Machine’: Prototype 160TB memory-centric computer

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has given a prototype of its new memory-centric computer architecture, dubbed ‘The Machine’ its first public airing, in Washington DC
Stuart Corner (Computerworld) 16 May, 2017 23:00
Hewlett Packard Enterprise has given a prototype of its new memory-centric computer architecture, dubbed ‘The Machine’ its first public airing, in Washington DC.
It has 160TB of addressable memory, but HPE says it expects the architecture could easily scale to “An exabyte-scale single-memory system and, beyond that, to a nearly-limitless pool of memory – 4,096 yottabytes… 1000 times the entire digital universe today.”
The Machine abandons the traditional computer architecture of having a central processor with peripheral storage and replaces it with a vast fabric of non-volatile semiconductor memory that simultaneously fulfills the functions of long term storage and traditional computer memory, and that makes that data it holds available to multiple processors.

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