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, August 21, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 21st August, 2017.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

General Comment

A quiet week with all sorts of interesting things going on – but hardly as busy as a week or so ago.
I am really keen to see the investigations on ‘Digital Disasters’ have a look at the myHR. Surely it deserves some scrutiny…

SA Government sued for $185m over delays with new Royal Adelaide Hospital electronic health record system

Lynne Minion | 17 Aug 2017
Less than three weeks out from opening, the $2.3 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital is at the centre of a $185 million lawsuit in the Federal Court, with builders claiming delays with the new electronic patient records system made it “impossible” for the project to be completed on time.
The Adelaide Advertiser broke the news of the case brought by two building firms that had partnered in the construction of the new RAH — Hansen Yuncken and CPB Contractors — against South Australia’s Health Minister Jack Snelling, the state of SA and the private consortium overseeing the project.
The claim lodged two weeks ago alleges the build could not be completed by the original opening date in April last year because installation of the Enterprise Patient Administration System (EPAS) was delayed.

Data security is shaping up as a serious public health challenge

16 August 2017
Imagine a hacker breaks into a GP clinic or hospital IT system and modifies a patient’s medical records to show they have a higher potassium level than they actually do.
The treating doctors respond appropriately, but because the levels have been manipulated, the treatment is unnecessary and actually harms — or even kills — the patient.
This might sound like a plot from a thriller, but it’s actually a warning in a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece.
Data security is no longer an administrative nuisance or a matter of patient privacy, but a serious public health challenge, according to the article by three US healthcare IT experts.

Australia’s most urgent digital health care issue is appalling interoperability

Severe interoperability problems in the healthcare sector are holding back efficiency, massive cost savings for government, and, most importantly, patient safety.
Each year it is believed that as many as 18,000 deaths are caused or at least expedited in Australia by medical errors. A lot of these errors have their origins in a digital ecosystem beset by bespoke secure communications systems that simply that don’t talk to each other.
In general practice, there are about 18,000 fax machines, which currently do most of the grunt work of secure messaging for things like referral letters to specialists and hospitals, and, at times test results. That gives a very clear picture of how stuck in the dark ages healthcare messaging and data sharing remains.
It’s become a high priority for the recently formed federal body, The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).

Artificial vision: what people with bionic eyes see

August 17, 2017 6.12am AEST


  1. Matthew Petoe
Team Leader, Bionic Eye Psychophysics, Bionics Institute
  1. Lauren Ayton
Senior research fellow, Department of Surgery (Ophthalmology) University of Melbourne, Centre for Eye Research Australia
  1. Mohit Shivdasani
Senior research fellow, Bionics Institute
Visual prostheses, or “bionic eyes”, promise to provide artificial vision to visually impaired people who could previously see. The devices consist of micro-electrodes surgically placed in or near one eye, along the optic nerve (which transmits impulses from the eye to the brain), or in the brain.
The micro-electrodes stimulate the parts of the visual system still functional in someone who has lost their sight. They do so by using tiny electrical pulses similar to those used in a bionic ear or cochlear implant.
Electrical stimulation of the surviving neurons leads the person to perceive small spots of light called phosphenes. A phosphene is a phenomenon of experiencing seeing light without light actually entering the eye - like the colours you may see when you close your eyes.

Queensland genomics centre opens to transform cancer care

Lynne Minion | 16 Aug 2017
A new genomics centre that will harness DNA sequencing technology to detect cancer-causing genetic mutations, transform treatment and prevent hereditary forms of the disease has opened in Brisbane.
One of the largest programs of its kind in Australasia, the Australian Translational Genomics Centre will lead to potentially fewer side-effects and better survival rates for cancer patients, according to Health Minister Cameron Dick.
“Within the next 10 to 15 years, genome sequencing will replace most genetic tests currently used, and nearly all patients with significant cancers will have whole exome sequences to inform treatment choices,” Dick said.

Govt's digital 'tech wrecks' to be scrutinised

By Allie Coyne on Aug 17, 2017 11:17AM

Labor gets its inquiry.

The senate has approved a push by the Labor party for an inquiry to be conducted into the government's digital transformation efforts in the wake of a series of damaging technology bungles.
Shadow minister for the digital economy Ed Husic earlier this week called for the finance and public administration committee to scrutinise the handful of high-profile "tech wrecks" that have occured over the past year.
He also asked for an explanation on the government's plans to boost its IT spend to $10 billion, over $3 billion more than last year.

Circumstances in which Australians’ personal Medicare information has been compromised and made available for sale illegally on the ‘dark web’

On 9 August 2017, the following matter was referred to Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by 16 October 2017:
Circumstances in which Australians’ personal Medicare information has been compromised and made available for sale illegally on the ‘dark web’, including:
  1. any failures in security and data protection which allowed this breach to occur;
  2. any systemic security concerns with the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system;
  3. the implications of this breach for the roll out of the opt-out My Health Record system;

Senate committee to probe how personal Medicare details appeared on dark web

Committee is to report by October 16 on how Medicare details appeared on the dark web.
By Chris Duckett | August 16, 2017 -- 02:34 GMT (12:34 AEST) | Topic: Security
The Australian Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee will conduct an inquiry into how it was that some personal Medicare information became available for purchase on the dark web.
Under the title of "Circumstances in which Australians' personal Medicare information has been compromised and made available for sale illegally on the 'dark web'", the terms of reference for the inquiry are to look into "any failures in security and data protection which allowed this breach to occur".
The inquiry will also examine whether there are any systemic issues in the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system, the implications for the My Health Record system, and the practices and proceedings surrounding the handling of Medicare information.

Govt delivery of digital services to face Senate inquiry

Broad terms of reference to scrutinise "all the digital failures"
George Nott (Computerworld) 17 August, 2017 12:27
The government’s delivery of digital services will be scrutinised in a Senate inquiry which is due to report by the end of the year.
The terms of reference for the inquiry, referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee yesterday, are far reaching, and include an assessment of present and planned projects with regards to privacy, security, reliability and value for money.
The inquiry will also investigate the strategies behind whole-of-government digital transformation.

Senate to probe Commonwealth digital service delivery following annus horribilis

The Australian government has opposed a probe into the recurring failure of its digital initiatives, labelling it a waste of time and money.
By | | Topic: Enterprise Software

The Australia Senate voted to instigate an inquiry into the digital delivery of government services on Wednesday, following a recent series of embarrassing failures.
The inquiry will be conducted by the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, and will look into whether the government's digital services have "due regard" for privacy, security, quality, reliability, and are value for money; the digital transformation approach by the government; and how digital projects are being delivered.
The Coalition opposed the inquiry, with Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Senator James McGrath saying it was unnecessary.

Australia's HPOS Medicare review opened for public consultation

Just over a month into the review of the country's HPOS system, the Australian government has called for public consultation.
By | | Topic: Security
The Australian government has opened its review into the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system, releasing a discussion paper on Friday for public consultation.
The review, announced last month, is expected to consider the balance between appropriate access to Medicare card numbers for health professionals to confirm patients' Medicare eligibility with the security of patients' Medicare card numbers.
It will also review a citizen's -- and a health professional's -- access to Medicare card numbers via the HPOS system and the accompanying telephone channel.
HPOS, introduced in 2009, is currently used 45,000 times daily, and allows medical practitioners and health providers to look up Medicare details when a person does not have a Medicare card on them.
15 August 2017

Fearing medical AI for the wrong reasons

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
If you’ve been watching the ABC in the last week you could be excused for starting to feel a little nervous about your future as a doctor if artificial intelligence (AI) starts to take on in the manner their reporters are suggesting it might.
On one night, they suggested that if you’re male and in a trade or profession – they didn’t delineate which sector of either – two thirds of those jobs will be done by computers within the decade and you stood a great chance of being unemployable in the not too distant future. Thanks ABC.
The situation isn’t helped by a string of consulting firm media stars appearing adding to the hype. And voodoo demographer Bernard Salt, with predictions of an ageing population creating a healthcare Armageddon.

Privacy risks in the online world

Anthony Mennillo Manager – Claims & Legal Services August 2017

The recent extraordinary privacy breach by a Sydney cosmetic surgery has highlighted the importance of ensuring that patient information is protected and kept secure, particularly where information is stored online.

The incident occurred at The Cosmetic Institute in Bondi Junction where, according to media reports, before and after photos of patients who had undergone breast augmentation procedures were uploaded to a publicly accessible index of the clinic’s website. The site was automatically storing photographs (including naked photographs) and pre-surgery medical forms that patients were required to submit online.
Ordinarily, this was not accessible to the public, but it is claimed that an IT error caused the information to be publicly available.
The clinic owner is reported to have taken steps to disable the website as soon as he became aware of the privacy breach, however, as is often the case in the online world, the damage was done.
15 August 2017

Dating apps and the rise of STIs

 “Hey, let’s bareback,” is the first thing that comes to mind when former Grindr-user Paul discovers that the hook-up app now includes HIV status in a user’s “stats”.
Having people describe themselves as HIV positive or negative, and listing the date of their last test, will encourage people to serosort, that is, pick partners with the same status, he says.  But this may give a false sense of security to have unprotected sex.
“You may have had the test, but have seroconverted since,” he points out. “So, I don’t like it really, and I think Grindr doing that gives the whole thing [serosorting] some legitimacy.”
Even assuming serosorting was successful at preventing HIV transmission, it still opens the door for the spread of other STIs.

Toolkit for prescriptions just what the young doctors ordered

Rachel Clun
Published: August 16 2017 - 12:20PM
Prescribing medicine involves more than just writing a script, and junior doctors and medical practitioners in Australia lack confidence in doing so, research suggests.
To help students gain the confidence required, researchers from four universities have developed a toolkit for universities to teach prescribing skills.
The project lead, pharmacist Lynda Cardiff of QUT's School of Clinical Sciences, said they found a "lack of confidence" across all 10 prescribing professions.

MedsASSIST and codeine: a snapshot

Survey data shows 93% of consumers support pharmacists supplying codeine without a prescription under strict conditions

Following the results of a July survey into consumer attitudes towards the impending upscheduling of OTC codeine-containing products, the Guild has produced a snapshot of MedsASSIST data.
According to Guild figures published in this week’s edition of Forefront, 72% of consumers surveyed indicated that they would most likely to go to a doctor for a prescription for these medicines once they are upscheduled.
The Guild surveyed 585 consumers in pharmacies to obtain the data.

Renewed calls to improve electronic sharing of residents’ clinical information

By Megan Stoyles on August 18, 2017 in Industry, Technology
Aged care, doctors and pharmacists groups are calling for seamless digital integration between aged care and health records.
Aged Care Industry Information Technology Council representative Rod Young has described Australia’s aged care services as “the forgotten sector” in the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) plan to deploy a universal health record for all Australians over the next two years.
“Aged care services are a missing piece of the health aged care electronic interface that requires urgent attention,” Mr Young told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Robot Doctor for Rural Australia

Deakin University launches their medical diagnosis robot for remote ultrasound procedures.
June 17, 2016
Researchers at Deakin University have created a unique and innovative solution for patients who live in remote and rural areas.
Developed by a team based in Geelong at the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), the technology features 3D vision and is designed to deliver ultrasound diagnostics.
It allows the doctor or health professional to undertake an examination of a patient without having to be in the same room.
“They could be as far as 1,000km away from the ultrasound unit,” Deakin researchers explained, “or the equivalent of the distance between Melbourne and Sydney.”

Clinical App: A research project for endometriosis

14 August, 2017 Staff Writers  
Most health apps offer to help users with some kind of problem, whether it’s remembering to take medication or treating a mental health condition.
Phendo is different. It’s appealing to users for their help.
The app is part of a global research project into endometriosis, run by Columbia University in the US, that wants to gather quantitative and qualitative data from patients. 

Government Unveils National Digital Health Strategy

The strategy sets forth ambitious goals for the government to achieve by 2022.
August 14, 2017
Healthcare is a critical but contentious issue for countries all over the world. Everyone knows that it’s a necessary part of everyday life, but the disagreements come down to how it’s accessed, how it’s delivered and simply what’s available to patients and doctors alike.
To combat some of these problems, the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has unveiled Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy, an ambitious plan that lays out the government’s plans around all things healthcare for the next five years.
Whilst the report set forward seven strategic priority outcomes to be achieved by 2022, two points of emphasis are likely to have the most impact going forward: the potential of telehealth and the way data can be shared effectively amongst healthcare providers.

Orion Health signs on for Victorian Government interoperability infrastructure contract

Lynne Minion | 16 Aug 2017
Orion Health has announced a “significant win” as it signs a five-year contract with the Victorian Government to implement an interoperability solution throughout most of the state’s public hospitals and health services.
The department had sought a health messaging integration application to replace the legacy JCAPS interface system and chose the New Zealand company’s Rhapsody Integration Engine.
“This is a significant win for the Australian subsidiary because it is a sizable infrastructure project,” Orion Health Australia General Manager Dr David Dembo told Healthcare IT News Australia.

Opportunities Down Under for Swedish health tech

Welcome to H2 on August 25 to meet Rachel de Sain, Excecutive Manager at Australian Digital Health Agency in Australia to hear about Australia’s commitment to transform healthcare.
Meet Rachel de Sain, Excecutive Manager at Digital Health Agency in Australia at H2 on August 25 to hear about Australia’s commitment to transform healthcare and how Swedish health tech companies can benefit.
 The Australian Digital Health Agency is responsible for all national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety. Their focus is on putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them.

End of the line: Telstra's day of reckoning has arrived

John McDuling, Lucy Battersby
Published: August 19 2017 - 7:55AM
 This was the week Andy Penn finally confronted a bitter reality. Penn is a little more than two years into one of the biggest jobs in corporate Australia and insists his vision for Telstra – to become a world-class technology company – remains intact.
But while it is on that journey Telstra simply can't keep paying out the generous dividends for which it's known to its shareholders.
"I'm not suggesting we are going to be the next Netflix or Facebook or Amazon," Penn, the chief executive of the monolithic telecom carrier, told Fairfax Media this week.

How to pick an NBN provider

The plan you choose should depend on the size of your family and average household usage.
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM August 17, 2017

Chris Griffith

Choosing a National Broadband Network provider and plan can be daunting. There are more than 140 listed on NBN’s website. So where do you start?
A good way is to assess your needs first, then look at plans and providers that can meet those needs. The same provider or plan will not suit everyone.
If you’re only emailing or browsing the web, using the internet for Facebook or online coursework, or live alone, a moderate speed plan and upload-download allowance may be enough. There’s no point paying for a high-speed link and a big download quota if you don’t use them.
But if you stream movies and television, play online games and or have a large family, you’ll need a faster speed.

NBN: Bill Morrow should hang head in 12Mbps of shame

COMMENT Former prime minister Kevin Rudd first spoke of a 12Mbps NBN back in 2007, which even then wasn’t that fast, so to still have 29% of Australians stuck on 12Mbps in 2017 is shameful.
Remember when Rudd was banging on, back in 2007, about a 12Mbps network?
ADSL2+ was available back then, and promised speeds of “up to” 20Mbps depending on how close you were to the exchange, so it was no surprise to see Rudd’s 12Mbps plan quickly extended to 100Mbps and even gigabit plans later on.
With NBN Co stating that 12Mbps is the slowest speed that 29% of NBN users are connected to, as opposed to 54% on 25Mbps plans, it’s clear that many are doing so because this is the cheapest plan on offer, offering similar speeds to what users theoretically already have with ADSL2+.

Fixed 5G wireless to become fibre competitor by 2025

By 2025, 1.4 billion 5G connections will see fixed wireless technology becoming a fibre competitor, according to Juniper Research.
The firm is predicting that from 1 million 5G connections in 2019, which is now being billed as “the anticipated first year of commercial launch”, will grow to 1.4 billion connections in 2025, an “average annual growth of 232%".
Juniper’s new research, dubbed “5G Market Strategies: Consumer & Enterprise Opportunities & Forecasts 2017-2025” is on sale to relevant parties at relevant prices, and notes that for 5G to be successful, “5G fixed wireless broadband would need to meet expectations in real-world scenarios to compete with fibre broadband".

Telecommunications woes link to NBN: Is 2017 the year of the customer complaint?

Amy Remeikis
Published: August 12 2017 - 9:07PM
In a world of uncertainty, there remain some constants; taxes, Donald Trump's tweets – and complaints about telecommunication services.
It's what is sparking those complaints that is up for debate.
In the three months to June, complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman increased from 8.4 complaints per 10,000 services, to nine complaints per 10,000 services, continuing an upward trend for most of the past financial year.

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