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 25, 2017

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 25th 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

I hope you all had (are having) a great Christmas and will have a great New Year.
Just a few titbits to note as you wander past!

Practices repay average of $9k each for My Health Record failures

GPs forfeit $11m in e-PIP incentives for not uploading shared health summaries
20th December 2017
General practice has lost a total of almost $11 million in e-health cash incentives since new requirements were introduced in 2016, the Department of Health has revealed.
The Practice Incentive Program (PIP) payments were linked to uploading My Health Record shared health summaries for 0.5% of patients every quarter - starting from the quarter ending July 2016.
However, health department figures show that of the 5000 practices registered for the so-called e-PIP, about 1,440 were asked to repay the funds in April, after falling short of the My Health Record requirements. 

Govt to shave $104m off Centrelink IT overhaul cost

By Allie Coyne on Dec 18, 2017 1:53PM

MYEFO: WPIT gets slightly slimmer.

The federal government is expecting to save $103.7 million off the cost of its $1.5 billion Centrelink payments system overhaul by using commercially available front-end software and accelerating certain projects.
It revealed the expected saving in its mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) published today.
The government said its decision to use "existing commercially available software to deliver an improved user experience", along with bringing forward the implementation of three unspecified projects, were behind the savings.

Medicare payments system given $17m to keep the lights on

By Justin Hendry on Dec 18, 2017 2:12PM

MYEFO: Govt tries to breathe new life into 30-year-old system.

The federal government will spend $16.6 million this year on its 30-year-old Medicare payments system to keep the platform running while it continues to search for a replacement.
The Department of Health will use the funding for “remediation and essential maintenance of the health and aged care payments systems”, it said in its 2017-18 mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) released today.
It will also ensure that the IT platform continues to be owned and operated by the public sector.

Medicare payments system outages surge over the last year

By Justin Hendry on Dec 20, 2017 6:40AM

Potential security risks increase.

The continuing deterioration of the Medicare payments system has seen an increase of outages and potential security threats over the last 12 months, Australia's national auditor has found.
It explains the almost $17 million handed to the Department of Health in this week's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) to shore up the system.
The 30-year-old system currently delivers 600 million payments worth $50 billion each year across Medicare, the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, veterans and aged care recipients.

Roxy Jacenko’s hubby Oliver Curtis joins hi-tech family venture funded through Bitcoin trading in medical records

JENNIFER SEXTON, Exclusive, The Daily Telegraph
December 18, 2017 12:00am
CORPORATE crook Oliver Curtis is back in business as the boss of a hi-tech venture trading in your personal medical records — which he is kickstarting via $60 million raised through the super-risky Bitcoin market.
Five months since walking free from jail after serving a year for insider trading, the husband of PR queen Roxy Jacenko is knocking on the doors of professional investors seeking to raise funds in the unregulated market of cryptocurrency tokens.
The Daily Telegraph can exclusively reveal Mr Curtis has this week been appointed boss of E-Nome — setting him on a collision course with corporate cops likely to scrutinise whether it is in compliance with the company bans handed out as part of his conviction.
“Oli is back in the saddle in a big way,” his father Nick Curtis — a respected businessman who is also the co-founder and chair of E-Nome — told The Daily Telegraph.

Rebuffed by the ADHA, E-Nome looks to GP and hospital systems to enable people to access their health information and sell it on

Lynne Minion | 19 Dec 2017
The Australian Digital Health Agency has denied claims by technology start-up E-Nome that patients will be able to access their My Health Record and sell their medical data to researchers, governments, pharmaceutical companies and insurers via the company’s upcoming app.
But head of E-Nome Nick Curtis has told Healthcare IT News Australia the My Health Record data isn't crucial to the success of the company's platform, with plans to integrate into GP, hospital, allied health services and wearables systems, enabling people to trade their most private of information, including genomes.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that E-Nome was seeking investors to fund the development of its online platform.
According to the company's Position Paper, the app will allow individuals to share their de-identified health data with whomever they choose.

E-Nome: mobile medical records

E-Nome is an Australian based private company that has developed a patent pending system based on blockchain technology that empowers consumers to take control of their medical history on their smartphone, with ultimate security and privacy. The system allows consumers to anonymously share their data to participate and assist in medical research.

Statement on Daily Telegraph article regarding use of medical records

Created on Monday, 18 December 2017
My Health Record is a secure electronic health record, which enables health care providers and consumers to share health information securely.
This includes critical health information like pathology reports, diagnostic imaging, medications information and health summaries uploaded by authorised health professionals. A person, or their authorised representative, can securely view their My Health Record via accredited channels - but cannot download content. Accredited channels may include authorised applications and portals, such as Tyde. A person wanting to view their My Health Record via a mobile application, must first undergo an authorisation process. Additionally, a person can revoke at any time their approval for an application to access their My Health Record.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (The Agency) has contacted Tyde Australia (a registered Portal Operator for the My Health Record) in relation to the claims published in the Daily Telegraph today.
The Agency has been assured that the article is incorrect in relation to any operational involvement of E-Nome in the operation of the Tyde consumer application. Additionally, it is currently not possible for a mobile application to download information from the My Health Record system.
The My Health Record Act does not permit a third party to sell a healthcare recipient’s information without the Healthcare Recipient’s consent and other legislation, such as the Healthcare Identifiers Act and Privacy Act, strictly regulates the use of healthcare identifiers and other personal information.
The Agency understands Tyde will be publishing a media response correcting the Daily Telegraph article.
Media contact: Belinda Newham, Director Communications
Mob: 0466 772 312 Email: media@digitalhealth.gov.au

Safe and smart technology helps seniors manage healthcare documents

SPONSORED STORY – Capturing and managing healthcare related documents is incredibly important for elderly people as they need to share them with different  health professionals and care providers, and have access to them for medicare and health insurance claims.
CareDocs believes that a secure and simple way to capture, organise, manage and share healthcare related documents is an important digital solution for the elderly and the people helping them.
Director Rajat Kulshrestha says the aim is to save elderly people and their carers a significant amount of time and reduce the frustrations relating to managing the large number of documents that relate to their health care.

Here's a new tool to help combat problem drinking

13 December 2017


Daybreak: Change your relationship with alcohol
Free for selected Primary Health Networks. $60 a year for individuals
Free trial, interactive and interesting, useful for patients who use their phones a lot

Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia And Nine To Explore Creation Of Anonymised Digital Identity Co-Op To Drive Audience Addressability

Three of Australia’s largest digital publishers, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia and Nine have come together to explore the creation of an Australian anonymised digital identity co-operative, that will enable marketers to more effectively target their audiences at scale across all three publishers using authenticated user IDs.
The co-operative would bring together and leverage the combined identity assets of each of these major content publishers, across a combined audience reach of more than 15 million Australians (Nielsen Consumer & MediaView).
Following an initial planning and consultation stage, the new co-operative would look to launch in the first half of 2018 and will enable marketers to engage in people-based marketing at scale across Australian digital properties.

Community pharmacy: plans for the new year

The Pharmacy Guild has laid out its priorities for 2018

Guild Executive Director David Quilty has explored the hot topics of this year and the next in his last editorial for 2017.

Looking back

The Guild highlights some of its achievements for pharmacy in 2017 including:
  1. Its ongoing advocacy of MedsASSIST as a patient support tool.
  2. Signing an agreement with the Australian Digital Health Agency to assist pharmacy’s readiness for opt-out My Health Record next year.
  3. Community pharmacists in all jurisdictions were able to administer flu vaccinations, with an estimated 500,000 conducted around Australia.
  4. Advocating for the current community pharmacy model and working with the Health Minister Greg Hunt alongside the Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation Review.

Human Services CIO quits

By Allie Coyne on Dec 21, 2017 2:50PM

Exclusive: Sterrenberg ends six-year stint.

The Department of Human Services' high-profile chief information officer Gary Sterrenberg will depart the agency next month after more than six years in the role, iTnews can reveal. 
It leaves arguably the most technology-intensive leadership position - which involves looking after the IT operations of Centrelink and Medicare - across the federal government up for grabs.
Sterrenberg departs to work on a PhD, which he has been studying part time at the Australian National University, iTnews understands.

HealthEngine survey shows patients want on demand convenience and calls for GPs to sign up to new teleheath platform

By HealthEngine | 20 Dec 2017
In today’s fast-paced world, patients want to look after themselves, but life’s responsibilities often get in the way.
Whether it involves taking time off work, having sick children at home or travelling on the go, circumstances can sometimes impact when and how a patient can get in to see a doctor for non-urgent health issues.
Telehealth is shaping up to play a major role in the provision of healthcare. With this in mind, HealthEngine recently surveyed more than 1000 patients and 44 GPs to find out how often patients neglect their health because making and attending an appointment is inconvenient to their situation, and to gauge interest in online messaging options.

Health record details exposed as 'de-identification' of data fails

Ben Grubb
Published: December 18 2017 - 12:31PM
One in ten Australians' private health records have been unwittingly exposed by the Department of Health in an embarrassing blunder that includes potentially exposing if someone is on HIV medication, whether mothers have had terminations, or if mentally unwell people are seeing psychologists.
A report, published on Monday by Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne's School of Computing and Information Systems, outlines how de-identified historical health data from the Australian Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) released to the public in August 2016 can be re-identified using known information about the person to find their record.
"We found that patients can be re-identified, without decryption, through a process of linking the unencrypted parts of the record with known information about the individual such as medical procedures and year of birth," Dr Culnane said. "This shows the surprising ease with which de-identification can fail, highlighting the risky balance between data sharing and privacy."

Health open data bungle meant Aussies could be identified

By Allie Coyne on Dec 18, 2017 12:00PM

Privacy commissioner investigating.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have been able to easily re-identify patients from confidential data released by the federal Health department, without using decryption methods.
Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague found that de-identified Australian Medicare benefits scheme (MBS) and pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) claims data released to the public in August 2016 can be used to re-identify the patients involved.
The dataset included the de-identified medical billing records of 2.9 million people, or 10 percent of all Australians, from 1984 to 2014. It also included year of birth, gender, and medical events data.

One in 10 Australians’ health records exposed in department data blunder

CONFIDENTIAL data on around 2.5 million Australians has been revealed in a massive information leak by the Department of Health.
Emma Reynolds @emmareyn  news.com.au December 18, 2017 1:32pm
ONE in 10 Australians’ private health records have been exposed in a major error by the Department of Health that shows what medication patients are on and whether they are seeing a psychologist.
Heath data from the Medicare Benefits Scheme and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme released in August 2016 can be traced back to the individual, University of Melbourne researchers found.
The data was supposed to be anonymised when it was released in August 2016, but the report found it could easily be traced back to the owner by linking a record with known information such as date of birth and medical procedures.

Greens call for limits on open data

University of Melbourne researchers shine spotlight on data de-identification flaws
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 18 December, 2017 13:02
The Australian Greens have called for a revamp of the government’s approach to releasing sensitive data after a University of Melbourne study revealed that two supposedly de-identified datasets could be re-identified.
A study by University of Melbourne researchers Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague found that health data released by the government could be re-identified.
“We found that patients can be re-identified, without decryption, through a process of linking the unencrypted parts of the record with known information about the individual such as medical procedures and year of birth,” Culnane said.

Researchers say people can be identified from released medical data

A group of researchers from Melbourne University say it is possible to re-identify people with a high degree of confidence from de-identified medical data that was released last year.
The three researchers — Dr Vanessa Teague, Dr Christopher Culnane and Dr Benjamin Rubinstein of Melbourne University's Department of Computing and Information Systems — had identified issues with the data last year, and shown that analysing the 10% linked dataset made it possible to decrypt some service provider IDs.
The dataset was made available to the public by the Department of Health on the data.gov.au website but was removed after the researchers pointed out that service provider IDs could be identified.
Denham Sadler
December 19, 2017

Medical records can be re-identified

Dr Vanessa Teague: Report reveals Australian medical records caught up in open data bungle. 
The confidential medical records of one in ten Australians were exposed by the Department of Health in a bungled release last year, a new report has revealed.
The privacy breach was discovered by a team of researchers at the University of Melbourne - Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague - who informed the government of the vulnerability in December last year. They have now warned that the government should not release any anonymised data that refers to individuals as it could easily be re-identified using the same method.
The researchers found that the anonymised data could be re-identified as an individual using readily available information, such as date of birth and gender. While this method puts more prominent individuals at risk, it also exposes everyday Australians to data breaches, especially from banks or insurance agencies, the report said.

Garvan Institute eyes OpenStack to help it crunch big data

Turns to OpenStack in search of flexibility
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld)
The Garvan Institute of Medical Research is preparing to use an OpenStack-based private cloud to aid the efforts of its researchers.
HPC senior engineer Manuel Ballesteros said the institute is eyeing OpenStack for running data-intensive non-HPC workloads.
“We run HPC and it’s quite successful for us because it gives us the opportunity to compute very efficiently, but one of the challenges we face with HPC is that it is not flexible.”
Science & Medical | 19/12/2017 11:07:04 AM

Virtual reality allows multiple scientists to 'walk' through cancer cells

Ground-breaking virtual reality technology is allowing multiple scientists to see inside a human cell at the same time, giving researchers a three-dimensional tool to improve doctor interaction and help analyse how cancer drugs work.
UNSW Art & Design’s Associate Professor John McGhee is working with Professor Maria Kavallaris, from UNSW Medicine and Children’s Cancer Institute, in the second phase of the Journey to the Centre of the Cell project, a major initiative that combines scientific data, microscopy images and animation to create a virtual reality (VR) world of cells and blood vessels that can be seen through headsets.
“I saw we could do so much more with VR than selling products and superheroes,” says McGhee. “We have amazing gaming technology and we can use it to benefit patients and specialists. The inner workings of the body can often get lost in specialist data and this makes the process democratic.”

ACMA's New Year's broadband resolutions vow to end the NBN blame game

Adam Turner
Published: December 22 2017 - 8:11AM
Things should turn around for the NBN in 2018, because 2017 was the year when so much blew up in its face.
Long-suffering Australian broadband users received an early Christmas present this week when the Australian Communications and Media Authority unveiled proposed new rules to force internet retailers to lift their game when it comes to hooking up homes to the NBN.
The long-overdue rules mostly address systemic problems that NBN, retailers and the government have tried to sweep under the carpet for the last 12 months.

ACMA lays out new rules to ensure smoother move to NBN

Telecommunications providers will next year have to adhere to a number of new rules drafted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to improve the experience of consumers who move to the national broadband network.
The ACMA said today that it drafted the rules after analysing the industry's own data.
The new rules will:
  • Specify the minimum information that telcos must provide about their network services before they sign up consumers;
  • Specify minimum standards for telcos’ complaints-handling processes and a requirement for telcos to report their complaint numbers to the ACMA so that changes can be monitored;
  • Require telcos to "line test" new services on the network to ensure that lines are working and that faults are identified early; and
  • Require consumers to be reconnected to legacy network services, if fall-back is needed until the new network service is successfully connected.

NBN Co's HFC freeze hits more than 500,000 homes

By Allie Coyne on Dec 21, 2017 8:05AM

Number of premises unable to connect skyrockets.

NBN Co's decision to freeze the rollout of its HFC network to improve the underlying infrastructure has meant more than 500,000 premises are no longer able to order services.
Late last month the network builder revealed it would temporarily pause all new orders on the HFC network and delay go-live for some premises while it worked to raise the quality of service for end users.
It said the move would result in delays in the rollout timing for HFC areas of between six and nine months.

NBN told to shape up or be slugged

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM December 19, 2017

Anthony Klan

The National Broadband Network faces hefty fines early next year if it fails to improve on ­shoddy service delivery after the competition watchdog said it would move to protect telcos and internet users as soon as possible.
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said potential penalties against the infrastructure network for poor delivery performance were very low.
“There’s no point in having standards if there are no consequences (for noncompliance),” Mr Sims told The Australian after launching the commission’s discussion paper into NBN wholesale service standards yesterday.

One third of NBN users 'would change back if they could,' calls to scrap NBN12 speed tier

A new report "reveals widely varying user experiences for Australia’s NBN customers, with a third of NBN users wishing they could return to their non-NBN service."
The news comes from Australian phone and Internet comparison site, WhistleOut and its new report dubbed ‘NBN 2017: The Customer View’, which "aims to discover what it’s actually like to use NBN services, and the results paint an inconsistent picture for Australia."
The findings "show only two-thirds (68%) of NBN users are satisfied with their NBN service, and 32% of NBN users would change back to their non-NBN service if they were able to.


Anonymous said...

Not related to any of the stories but I had the pleasure of sitting in on a talk from this gentleman at HINZ recently. For those not familiar it is well worth watching https://youtu.be/TzFXtL7XaFE

Anonymous said...

@ December 26 5:45 PM. Thanks for posting that really interesting subject matter. I do like the children’s party analogy the second story reminds me of aspects of the ADHA. For 2018 I really hope they tone down the cultural change dribble we have, it was amusing at the beginning but now I can help wondering if it has done its job and anymore is just wasting time and effort. That and it simply highlights hypocrisy across parts of the management, at a cost of taunting some really good managers who really do care and support you.

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

@ 1:00 in the youtube video.

"One of the big dangers at the moment is the de-personalisation of people, reducing people to being a source of data rather than being human beings. We can see this in a lot of the Internet of Things.

And the basic, naive belief that if you just get all this data and make it available to everybody, then the world will be a wonderful place. It won't be it will be a world deeply manipulated for political and commercial purposes."

Trevor3130 said...

From that clip of Dave Snowden at HINZ, it seemed to me the crucial part of how he manages his Type 2 Diabetes is for him to keep his own records ("daily diaries"). That puts the finger right on the matter of the politics of centralised health records, since voters have little, if any, personal investment in keeping their own records.

So, there's How Big Tech Is Going After Your Health Care.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:46 - What you describe is the traits of aggressive/defensive persons, I would suggest a blustery and autocratic manager or two are at large. If so it is best extracted from the workforce. The aggressive manager is really using that aggressiveness to keep people from seeing their weaknesses. This defensiveness is a learned behaviour and works well at keeping people away. You may also find if they are in a position of financial delegation they surround themselves with ‘friendly folk’ for moral support to put it politely. Collectively they will focus on punishing and discouraging, often bolster one employee to demean another and then repeat that with the first, it is a form of negative competition and effects team moral and productivity.
Is this the case at ADHA? There is a pattern emerging not only in snippets on this blog but also in conversations in the community. The strength of the concerns raised must surely be known by the Executives and surely they see this is not a good situation to be in as we move towards a national opt out implementation.

Anonymous said...

If the head of the agency had significant experience in public service and had worked their way up the ladder, learning how to manage people and lead groups, then this sort of thing wouldn't happen.

Unfortunately ......

Anonymous said...

The head of the Agency I doubt is the problem by the sounds of it, he maybe accountable but responsibility is delegated and then delegated again. You maybe correct in as much as there is a lack of PS in key positions that can guide the Agency and its staff as a Comminwealth entity. Having worked in the Pulic Service and Private Sector they are two very different operating models.

Anonymous said...

Developing an organisation is about putting together a complete way of working and principles of how work is lead that allow hundreds or thousands of people to be able to do their best work in an organisational model that makes sense. And this is a CEO accountability, and no-one else's. How well or not well they do this is the guts of what sees strategy delivered and talent retained, and the results are as predictable as the direction a river flows.
Perhaps the CEO needs to dredge a bit of the river to get things flowing again if there is actually a problem emerging