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, December 18, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 18th December, 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

The wind down for Christmas is not underway – but there is still some news emerging.

Interesting stuff about the AMA view on the myHR and the chronic care program being slowly developed by the Government.

And lastly - and amazingly this is the 5000th post on the blog. My how time has flown!

AMA calls for improvements to My Health Record for it to reach potential

Lynne Minion | 15 Dec 2017
My Health Record has the potential to save lives and deliver economic benefits but the system needs improvements and doctors don’t have time to talk patients through the opt-out process, according to the Australian Medical Association.
In its Pre-Budget Submission 2018-19, the doctors’ advocacy group this week claimed the federal government needs to invest in improving the national repository of Australians’ healthcare information for it to reach its potential.
“The AMA believes a fully functioning and widely used My Health Record will not only save money but save lives. Ongoing improvements will help ensure its success,” the submission says.
13 December 2017

Patient-centred care: It’s not the technology, stupid

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Technology might be starting to become a fall guy for why the introduction of integrated care models isn’t going much faster, as it should.  As usual, it’s much more complex and people issues are at the centre of that complexity
Somewhat ironically, in almost all successful cases of digital transformation, “it’s not the technology, stupid”, eventually becomes a catchcry for those leading the change.
When transformation is really in play, most often the technology has been the catalyst of the shift,  despite naysayers being quick to paint it as the culprit when initiatives are slow in being adopted.

National cancer register switched on, nine months late

By Justin Hendry on Dec 12, 2017 12:00PM

System goes live for HPV tests.

Australia’s national cancer register has gone live nine months later than originally planned, and will remain only partially operational for at least the next three months.
The Telstra-run register replaces the eight separate cervical screening registers currently operated across the states and territories, as well as the outdated paper-based national bowel screening register.
It was first intended to go live in time to support both the national bowel cancer screening program in March and national cervical screening program in May this year.
13 December 2017

AMA warns govt over PIP changes

Posted by Julie Lambert
The AMA has held up the planned hollowing-out of GP practice incentives as an example of why the government could again risk losing votes over health at the next election.
In its 2018-19 pre-budget submission, the AMA says the introduction of a new Quality Practice Incentive Program to replace the existing PIP system will have the “ludicrous” effect of leaving many GPs worse off.
It also warns the government not to expect GPs to bear the costs of guiding patients through the intricacies of the opt-out My Health Record in February next year.

GP software should be more useful when lawyers come knocking

11 December 2017


The Issue

GPs increasingly receive requests or demands from lawyers, courts, insurers and others for copies of a patient’s clinical record. 
This might be for the entire record or for extracts from it.
Doctors have a duty to maintain the privacy of the patient and of other people who might be mentioned in clinical records. 

Connected wisdom: Queensland claims online GP portal success story

Lynne Minion | 12 Dec 2017
Queensland Health’s online patient information portal has led to more comprehensive and better coordinated care, saved GPs time otherwise wasted on paperwork, and attracted surprisingly low opt-out rates in the six months since its launch.
The Viewer provides general practitioners with access to their patients’ public hospital records and is already being billed as a success by the state government, with more than 1550 GPs signed up and 35,800 interactions in the Health Provider Portal.
Queensland was the first state in Australia to roll-out a platform allowing GPs to access data from a number of its clinical systems, and feedback has been “very positive,” according to Deputy Director-General of Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Division Dr John Wakefield.

nib claims Aussie first with health insurance chatbot launch

nib health funds is claiming first mover rights as the first Australian health insurer to introduce artificial intelligence technology and chatbots to assist Aussies with their health insurance inquiries.
Known as nibby, the chatbot provides customers with access to simple responses regarding their health insurance.
And, according to nib, unlike many other chatbots, nibby is integrated into its web platform – allowing it to intelligently move customers to the right sales or claims consultant as a customer’s query becomes more complex, and to offer assistance during “key customer service moments”.

Kogan set to launch health insurance business with Medibank partnership

Online discount retailer Kogan is continuing its rapid expansion from delivery of electronic goods including mobile phones and mobile services, branching out into the health insurance market in a new partnership with Medibank through its wholly-owned subsidiary Australian Health Management Group.
Set to launch in the second half of the current financial year, Kogan says it’s on a path with a new brand — Kogan Health — to deliver “budget health policies” and bring healthy competition to the health insurance industry.
Kogan’s health insurance offerings will be administered via Medibank’s Australian Health Management Group in a deal to run for an initial period of three years, with underwriting provided by Medibank.
13 December 2017

Digital key to health literacy and self-care

Posted by Julie Lambert
Western Sydney’s Primary Health Network is giving doctors the keys to a digital library they can share with patients.
The WentWest PHN and the region’s local health district have tapped Healthily, a Melbourne-based producer of patient education resources on more than 100 health topics, for the large-scale initiative to promote self-care.
The phased roll-out will focus first on western Sydney’s 22 general practices taking part in the government-backed Health Care Homes trial and clinics at two major hospitals.

eRx hits critical mass

eRx Script Exchange has achieved a significant milestone: two billion clinical records, while delivering the majority of electronic prescriptions in less than a second

With more than 22,000 GPs and 90% of Australian community pharmacies using eRx, this means that the clinical data on prescriptions and dispenses available to the MyHR has grown significantly in the eight years since eRx was launched in 2009, Fred IT says.
The first billion electronic clinical records occurred in a little over six years (between May 2009 and July 2015), whilst the second billion took a little over two years.
According to David Freemantle, General Manager of eHealth for Fred IT Group, this achievement of two billion clinical transactions demonstrates the significant progression of eHealth in Australia over recent years.

Cancer patients at risk from ‘archaic’ handwritten scripts being used in Adelaide hospital because EPAS system isn’t ready, inquest hears

Penelope Debelle, The Advertiser
December 15, 2017 9:22pm
ADELAIDE hospitals are relying on “archaic” handwritten chemotherapy scripts, exposing cancer patients to the risk of another dosing error, the SA coroner’s court was told.
Giving evidence at the inquest by South Australian deputy coroner Anthony Schapel into the deaths of four of the ten underdosed patients, Dr Peter Bardy, a clinical haematologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital said an electronic prescribing system was recommended in 2009 and was expected to be in place years ago.
This was after 11 children at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital had been accidentally overdosed in 2008 with a chemotherapy drug, triggering a review.
December 14, 2017

Reassured by a Patient's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Results? Not So Fast!

Ali S. Raja, MD, MBA, MPH, FACEP reviewing
Nearly two thirds of patients with opioid dependence had no opioid prescriptions logged over the prior 12 months.
Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) are available in every state. Designed to collect and display prescriptions for controlled substances, they are becoming an indispensable part of prescribing practice for providers. The data they contain can help inform decisions about whether or not to prescribe controlled substances, including opioids for pain. However, the proportion of patients with opioid dependence who are captured by PDMPs remains unknown. Using data previously collected for an emergency department–based treatment trial in Connecticut, researchers determined the correlation between self-reported nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid prescriptions recorded in the state's PDMP.

She'll be right? Not for long. Mandatory data breach notification scheme is set to shake up healthcare

Alan Mihalic | 14 Dec 2017
Australian organisations that have been able to self manage their IT indiscretions and security breaches may soon be legally obliged to disclose them when the mandatory data breach notification scheme comes into effect on February 22.
After many failed attempts and numerous governments, the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016 passed through the federal parliament earlier this year, meaning businesses, service providers and government agencies subject to the Privacy Act will soon need to report when their systems have been compromised due to technical shortcomings or cyber attack.
Given the recent number of data breaches, such as last year’s Australian Red Cross Blood Bank Service breach in which the details of many donors were exposed online, many believe the legislation is long overdue. So much so the bill gained support from all sides of parliament.

$20m boost for Medicare payments system consultants

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 12, 2017

Sean Parnell

Taxpayers have pumped another $20 million in consultancy fees into the contentious program to replace the federal government’s outdated Medicare payments system, which is expected to move another step forward within weeks.
The program, which will also affect future veterans, aged-care and pharmaceutical payments, was launched after warnings from bureaucrats that the existing ­systems were “old, overly com­plicated, expensive to operate and change and ... in need of ­redevelopment”.
Secrecy surrounding the program last term, combined with a freeze on Medicare rebates and the dumped GP co-payment, prompted Labor’s claims that the Coalition wanted to privatise Medicare.

IEEE launches ethical design guide for AI developers

We must "move beyond both the fear and the uncritical admiration," IEEE says
George Nott (Computerworld) 14 December, 2017 10:29
As autonomous and intelligent systems become more pervasive, it is essential the designers and developers behind them stop to consider the ethical considerations of what they are unleashing.
That’s the view of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) which this week released for feedback its second Ethically Aligned Design document in an attempt to ensure such systems “remain human-centric”.
“These systems have to behave in a way that is beneficial to people beyond reaching functional goals and addressing technical problems. This will allow for an elevated level of trust between people and technology that is needed for its fruitful, pervasive use in our daily lives,” the document states.

Court orders stay on $280m claim over Royal Adelaide Hospital delay

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 15, 2017

Michael Owen

In a major blow to the builders of the new $2.3 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Federal Court has ordered the suspension of a legal claim worth about $280 million against the state government, operating consortium Celsus and engineering firm Donald Cant Watts Corke.
In a decision this week in the Federal Court in NSW, judge ­Michael Lee referred the claims by joint-­venture partners CPB Contractors and Hansen Yuncken against Celsus to arbitration and issued a stay on proceedings “on the basis that the claims are the subject of a valid and binding arbitration agreement”.
The claims against the Minister for Health, the state of South Australia and Donald Cant Watts Corke were suspended pending the outcome of arbitrations currently being case-managed by former Federal Court judge Kevin Lindgren.

Do you have a good 'webside manner'

14 December 2017


It may already seem like medicine is overflowing with sub-specialties and sub-sub-specialties, from urogynaecology to paediatric nephrology. Well, brace yourself. There’s another on the way: medical virtualism. 
According to doctors writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this will be a new sub-specialty devoted to telehealth. 
Medical virtualists will almost exclusively practise using video-link, or perhaps virtual reality.

News release - Peter Malinauskas

3D printing joins fight against diabetes at the RAH

Peter Malinauskas December 6, 2017
In an Australian first, the Royal Adelaide Hospital will be home to a new 3D organ printer which promises to revolutionise treatment for people with Type 1 Diabetes.
The printer will be capable of making pancreatic islets suitable for transplant.
The RAH is the first hospital in Australia to receive this cutting edge biomedical printing device, developed by researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW) and set to be manufactured in South Australia.

NSW Health enhances its HealtheNet Clinical Portal by adding discharge medication information via My Health Record

By: Priyankar Bhunia
12 Dec 2017
NSW Health enhances its HealtheNet Clinical Portal adding discharge medication information via My Health Record.
NSW Health announced recently that it has enhanced the functionality of its HealtheNet Clinical Portal, enabling patients’ discharge medication information to be viewed by other healthcare providers via the national My Health Record.
Live at all local health districts, the HealtheNet Clinical Portal is a secure database that provides NSW Health clinicians with immediate access to patient information which resides outside of the hospital's electronic medical records (eMR). This includes hospital medical imaging results, pathology results, medication information, discharge summaries, community health summaries and alerts and allergies.

Strong user growth achieved post-capital raising, says HealthEngine

Perth-based online healthcare marketplace, HealthEngine, says it has achieved significant growth post its $26.7 million capital raising earlier this year.
The company claims year-on-year growth in active users of 87%, reaching over 1.5 million a month - with total workforce numbers doubling, employee numbers in the Sydney office tripling, a Melbourne co-workspace, and a new office in Perth to accommodate growth.
Dr Marcus Tan, HealthEngine’s CEO and Medical Director, said, “2017 has been a landmark year for HealthEngine, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved”.

Australia's new face verification system will actually improve privacy

By Allie Coyne on Dec 8, 2017 4:23PM

Impact assessment finds significant gains.

Australia's national face verification service will significantly improve the privacy of biometric data processed by the government rather than lessen it, a privacy impact assessment of the system has found.
The face verification service (FVS) launched just over a year ago, allowing the AFP and DFAT to match a person's facial image against records held by Immigration.
The FVS complements the existing document verification service (DVS). It is intended to reduce cross-border crime by letting law enforcement agencies share facial images to verify people and identify unknown individuals.

NBN may be biggest infrastructure debacle

  • Laurie Patton
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 15, 2017
Internet Australia, the not-for-profit peak body representing the interests of internet users, recently attracted criticism from some quarters, including via comments published in this newspaper.
Some people associated with the NBN had apparently not taken kindly to IA’s campaign for#BetterBroadband, which highlighted flawed technology choices currently leaving many NBN customers pretty unimpressed. Sadly, a couple of former members also weighed in on the back of personal agendas obvious to anyone associated with IA.
In one article in The Australian, IA was described as “the nation’s most vocal internet group”, which is an epithet we proudly accepted. Other assertions were not so generous, including a suggestion we’d made “exaggerated claims” while pursuing our efforts to have NBN Co change course.

Optus to compensate homes as ACCC targets slow NBN speeds

  • The Australian
  • 11:38AM December 11, 2017

Supratim Adhikari

Optus has finally revealed exactly how many of its customers were sold substandard services over the National Broadband Network (NBN), with 8700 homes to receive compensation from the telco.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the telco had failed to deliver the high speeds offered to its customers between September 1, 2015 and June 30, 2017, including the “Boost Max” plan which advertised maximum download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and maximum upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps.
Optus has joined Telstra in remedying its error, with the telco saying that technical limitations on the fibre to the node (FTTN) or fibre to the building (FTTB) NBN connections, meant that the advertised speeds couldn’t be delivered.

NBN customers not willing to fork out hard-earned for faster internet

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 14, 2017

Adam Creighton

Australians overall still spend more on cigarettes than telecommunications, according to the ABS’s latest household expenditure survey. That’s the NBN’s fundamental problem: people simply have not been willing to spend as much of their limited budgets on faster internet services as the NBN’s architects had hoped.
More than 80 per cent of households who have the NBN are on speeds of 25mbps or less. A third are on the slowest option, 12mbps. NBN Co’s decision to slash the wholesale prices it charges ISPs for the 50mbps and 100mbps options is an attempt to shore up the company’s financials and avoid a ­humiliating writedown.
The NBN needs to make average revenue per user of $52 a month by 2021, up from about $43 now, to clear a return hurdle of 3 per cent, which is just enough to maintain the charade the government-owned company is “commercial”.

Rowland makes NBN an issue ahead of by-election

Labor Shadow Communcations Minister Michelle Rowland claims it is unthinkable that Malcolm Turnbull is spending $50 billion on a second-rate NBN that could be leaving residents on the HFC network with fifty times more network downtime when compared to those on fibre.
 “Is this really what the Turnbull Government proposes to give the students, families and small businesses of Bennelong? An expensive HFC network that still doesn’t work properly — and is producing up to 50 times more dropouts?”, Rowland said, speaking ahead of next weekend’s Bennelong by-election.
“Time without internet connectivity is a critical source of lost productivity for businesses, students and professionals working from home.
  • Updated Dec 14 2017 at 12:01 AM

NBN drops prices in attempt to fix crawling connections

NBN Co has unveiled cheaper prices to ensure that internet providers can offer faster and more reliable broadband plans but will wear a revenue hit that risks pushing the troubled project onto the budget bottom line.  
In a long-awaited move, following pressure from retail service providers (RSPs) like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, NBN announced it would introduce a new pricing structure, which should mean RSPs are able to offer disgruntled customers better speeds and confidence in getting what they pay for.
However the government-owned company conceded the changes would lead to a short-term revenue hit, meaning questions will again emerge about whether the government's NBN investment should be written down and added to the budget bottom line.

ACCC sues Optus for rushing users onto NBN

By Allie Coyne on Dec 15, 2017 12:08PM

Allegedly misled HFC customers about timelines.

Optus has been taken to court by the ACCC for allegedly misleading 20,000 HFC customers about their disconnection date in order to rush them onto the national broadband network.
The consumer watchdog claims Optus told customers they had as little as 30 days to move to the NBN before their HFC service would be disconnected. 
The alleged "false and misleading statements" occurred between October 2015 and March this year, according to the ACCC.

Google crunches data to help NASA find two new planets

Paresh Dave
Published: December 15 2017 - 8:22AM
SAN FRANCISCO: Advanced computer analysis identified two new planets around distant stars, including one that is part of the first star system with as many planets as Earth's solar system, Alphabet Inc's Google and NASA said on Thursday.
The research by Google and the University of Texas at Austin that used data from NASA raised the prospects of new insights into the universe by feeding data into computer programs that can churn through information faster and more in-depth than humanly possibly, a technique known as machine learning.
In this case, software learned differences between planets and other objects by analysing thousands of data points, achieving 96 per cent accuracy, NASA said at a news conference.
December 14 2017 - 4:01PM

Don't look up: Interactive atlas allows us to explore the universe in amazing detail

Liam Mannix
Call it a symptom of our modern age. Thanks to a new sky atlas developed by Australian astronomers, we can now look to the skies without ever glancing away from our screens.
Using more than 70,000 ultra-high-resolution images painstakingly shot over 15 months, astronomers have created the most detailed map of the southern sky ever made – and from Thursday it's available to the public.

The most detailed map of southern night sky

Australian National University astronomers have created the most comprehensive map of the southern sky.

1 comment:

Michael Legg said...

Congratulations David on your 5000th blog from one who has gratefully read most all of them. It is a wonderful service that you provide for our community. Here's to the next 5000...