Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th January, 2018.

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

Again a quiet week with little going on as the summer daze rolls on and on. This week may see a bit more activity.
Enjoy the read – there is more than I realised!

MedsASSIST to be discontinued… this time, for good

With the Guild’s system to be shut down from the night of 31 January, what is the outlook for real-time prescription monitoring across the country?

MedsASSIST – the real-time recording system developed by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia to help reduce misuse of over-the-counter combination analgesic medicines containing codeine – will be discontinued nationally from the night of 31 January 2018, the Guild has announced.
“The reason for the shutdown is that all of the medicines recorded in MedsASSIST will be up-scheduled to prescription only from 1 February, and the system will become redundant at that time,” says the organisation.
“MedsASSIST was designed specifically to record over-the-counter medicines containing codeine. MedsASSIST was not designed to record prescription medicines.”

Payday lenders ask customers to share myGov and banking passwords, putting them at risk

ABC Science
By technology reporter Ariel Bogle
Payday lenders are asking applicants to share their myGov login details, as well as their internet banking password — posing a security risk, according to some experts.
It also goes against the advice of the government website.
As spotted by Twitter user Daniel Rose, the pawnbroker and loan provider Cash Converters asks people receiving Centrelink benefits to provide their myGov access details as part of its online approval process.

How patients can access their medical records

11th Jan 2018 3:44 PM
PATIENTS at a recently-closed Hervey Bay medical practice will still be able to access their medical record.
In December, administrators were appointed for Ranveer Medical Practice Group, which traded as Drs on Main.
Several former patients raised concerns about medical record access with Hinkler MP Keith Pitt, who said anyone who sought access to medical records could send a request to ranveer@svp.com.au.
Other medical practices are also able to request records.

Alfred Health now uploading discharge summaries to My Health Record

Alfred Health have now commenced uploading discharge summaries for inpatient episodes to My Health Record.
From November 27th, patients who have registered for the My Health Record and are discharged from Alfred Health will have their discharge summaries uploaded, unless the patient has withdrawn consent for this to occur.
The discharge summary will be uploaded to My Health Record when the discharge summary is sent to the patient’s nominated GP.
Click here for more information for health care providers about My Health Record.

Aussie start-up creates blockchain prescription solution

David Barbeler | 10 Jan 2018
ScalaMed, founded by Australian doctor and former pharmaceutical executive Tal Rapke, allows patients to receive prescriptions directly from their clinician to their mobile phones.
“The only person in common at the hospital, the pharmacy, the GP or the specialist is the patient. There's not necessarily any shared data across all of those locations,” Rapke said.
“But if you can get the patient in the middle of their healthcare journey with their data, engaged with the right kind of algorithmic or AI support behind them, then you truly start creating a new healthcare future that's oriented towards the patient.”

Building a rich data repository of accurate information

My Health Record Expansion Programme Deputy Chair Dr Steve Hambleton discusses My Health Record.
Created on Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Now that I have the ability to easily and securely share information on the My Health Record, my understanding of the purpose of my notes and in particular my health summary has changed from an aide memoire for myself to a collection of information that can benefit my patient as they touch other parts of the health system. An up-to-date shared health summary can be rapidly accessed by the other healthcare practitioners my patients encounter to help them make much more informed decisions to maximise benefits and minimise misadventure.
A key recent enhancement to the My Health Record is the Medicines View. The Agency has used the smarts of the computer systems to collect medicines information from many different places within the My Health Record and display it all on a single page. I can see what has been dispensed and what has been prescribed by other doctors with links to the original documents. Allergies from all sources are there, patient recorded information is there as well as information from the discharge summary if the patient has recently spent time in hospital.

Apps that Connect to your My Health Record

Are you an App developer? Visit the App developer page for more information.
You are now able to interact with your My Health Record using mobile apps. This means that with your permission information uploaded by you, your healthcare providers, or by Medicare could be accessed with an app.
The My Health Record system is committed to strong security and safeguarding your privacy. We require apps to obtain your informed consent before accessing your My Health Record. You can set access controls in your My Health Record to remove apps if you no longer wish for them to access your data.
You will need to have a My Health Record before you use apps that connect to your record. If you don’t have a My Health Record, visit our Registration page to register.

MEDIA RELEASE: ‘Open Data’: Too much sharing, too little care? Who’s reading your health information now?

There can be benefits from the ‘sharing’ (distribution) of health and other personal information  among health care professionals and researchers. Any such ‘sharing’ must, however, be based on an understanding of potential risks. It must only occur within an effective legal framework, and controls appropriate for those risks. A ‘Trust me, I’m from the government!’ approach is a recipe for pain. So is sharing such sensitive data with government without full openness, transparency and a legal framework that prevents them from misusing it out of the public eye.
The inadequacy of Australia’s current health data privacy framework – inadequate risk assessment, inadequate law, inadequate enforcement – was demonstrated recently by a major independent study from Chris Culnane, Benjamin Rubinstein and Vanessa Teague at Melbourne University, released in the last days of 2017. [1]
In 2016 the Australian government released a large-scale data set relating to the health of many Australians, under the fashionable rubric of ‘Open Data’. [2] This 10% sample included all publicly reimbursed medical and pharmaceutical bills for selected patients spanning the thirty years from 1984 to 2014. The data as released was meant to be ‘de-identified’, meaning that it supposedly could not be linked to a particular individual: and since it would thus raise no privacy issues, it could be released ‘into the wild’, without controls.

Doctors already use phones to share clinical images of patients - legislation needs to catch up

January 9, 2018 6.34am AEDT


  1. Adrian Dyer
Associate Professor, RMIT University
  1. Jair Garcia
Research Officer, RMIT University
  1. Ted Rohr
Director, Research Ethics & Compliance Support, UNSW
Imagine this scenario: you’re a recently graduated doctor working at a medical clinic in rural Australia. A person presents with a bite of what seems to be a poisonous spider - but you’re not sure. You take a photo of the skin lesion on your phone, and post it in a social media group to source swift advice from more experienced experts.
Digital image capturing devices like smartphones have enormous potential to facilitate communication for time critical medical interventions. And, as a society, we all seem to be part of a contract where we tacitly consent to immediate, mass distribution of images depicting us.
But there’s a catch: image capture and storage may fail to comply with current legislative frameworks for privacy, with significant ethical, legal and security implications.

Privacy Foundation: Trusting government with open data a 'recipe for pain'

The Australian Privacy Foundation wants the government to develop security controls around sharing open data and provide the agency charged with investigating data misuse with 'adequate' resources.
By Asha McLean | January 8, 2018 -- 02:03 GMT (13:03 AEDT) | Topic: Security
The Australian Privacy Foundation (APF) has called out the federal government and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) after failing to publish a report on the September 2016 incident that revealed Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data was not encrypted properly.
The dataset was found by a team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and was subsequently pulled down by the Department of Health.
At the time, the OAIC announced it was investigating the publication of the datasets, however more than 12 months later, it is still investigating.

AMA submission to the ​National Health Genomics draft implementation plan

11 Jan 2018
The AMA considers the COAG draft implementation plan​ for a coordinated national health genomics approach in the public sector is a good first step in moving forward. However the plan would be strengthened if it recognised the potential contribution of the private sector. The AMA also cautions on the secondary use of personal data.
Related document (Public): 

Skype adds Signal protocol powered ‘Private Conversations’

Follows WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo in adding end-to-end encryption
George Nott (Computerworld) 12 January, 2018 10:04
Microsoft is adding an end-to-end encryption option, powered by Signal, to Skype.
‘Private Conversations’ are powered by the Signal Protocol, which is already being utilised by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Allo among others.
“At Signal, our goal is to make private communication simple and ubiquitous,” Signal’s Joshua Lund wrote in a blog post.
“With hundreds of millions of active users, Skype is one of the most popular applications in the world, and we’re excited that Private Conversations in Skype will allow more users to take advantage of Signal Protocol’s strong encryption properties for secure communication.”

Health tech minnow Pro Medicus makes big US splash

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM January 13, 2018

Sarah-Jane Tasker

Australian minnow Pro Medicus has muscled its way into the US, beating global giants to secure sought-after contracts in a health technology industry that boss Sam ­Hupert says Australia could learn a lot from.
Dr Hupert, who started the Australian-listed company in the early 1980s, said the past four years had been transformational for Pro Medicus, driving the share price from below $1 to more than $8.
Melbourne-based Pro Medicus, which also has offices in Berlin and San Diego, makes software that allows large healthcare ­institutions to store and transport images.
Dr Hupert said the “step change” in the company started to take shape in late 2007 when he decided to target a company that did digital imaging.

Smartpage Orderly goes live at major New Zealand hospital

  • The Orderly module of Oncall System’s proprietary clinical messaging technology, Smartpage, has gone live at North Shore and Waitakere public hospitals in Auckland
  • Oncall Systems has recently entered into a definitive acquisition agreement with Alcidion
  • Smartpage’s Clinical and Orderly modules are now installed at 4 large public hospitals across New Zealand, and the Clinical module is in the process of being rolled out at the first Australian location via Monash Health
  • Strong market demand exists for reliable and proven communication technology solutions in hospital settings, providing strong strategic rationale for the acqusition of Oncall Systems
Adelaide, South Australia, 10 January 2018 – Alcidion Group Limited (ASX:ALC) today announced that Oncall Systems Limited (“Oncall”), the company which is currently the subject of a definite acquisition agreement with Alcidion, has gone live with the Orderly module of its clinical messaging technology, Smartpage, at North Shore and Waitakere Hospitals, in Auckland, New Zealand.

New pill tracks gases through your gut

In first tests in humans, an ingestible electronic monitors gas molecules in the digestive system

11:00am, January 8, 2018
Ingestible electronics are giving their first full tours of the gas in people’s guts.
Newly constructed capsules, described online January 8 in Nature Electronics, sense various gases while traveling through a person’s digestive tract, revealing how the gut’s chemical composition reacts to factors like diet.
What exactly each person’s gut gas could reveal about his or her health “is still to be determined,” says William Bentley, a bioengineer at the University of Maryland in College Park. But using capsules to gather gas fingerprints of many people with different diets or disorders could help researchers better characterize gut problems and improve disease diagnoses as well as boost monitoring of the effects of dietary or medication changes.
Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, an engineer at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, and his colleagues built plastic capsules about 2.5 centimeters long — about as long as a Jolly Rancher hard candy — that sniff out carbon dioxide, hydrogen and oxygen gas molecules in the gut. Such molecules are primarily generated when microbes feast on undigested food. These battery-powered capsules continuously relay gas updates to a smartphone until expelled from a person’s body.

'Swarm' cyber attacks, crypto-currency stealing malware predicted for 2018

Ben Grubb
Published: January 8 2018 - 11:15AM
2018 will be the year malicious software becomes smarter and cyber criminals increasingly chase crypto-currencies like bitcoin, according to predictions from computer security companies.
It will also be the year ransomware — software designed by hackers that locks up computer systems until a fee is paid — will become more targeted and prevalent among big business, where ransom demands are often much higher in dollar value due to businesses having more money to divulge than consumers, according to computer security firm Fortinet.
Derek Manky, global security strategist at Fortinet, says that although the threat magnitude of ransomware has grown by 35 times over 2017 with "ransomworms" and other types of attacks, there is more to come.

Check This List To See If You're Still Vulnerable To Meltdown And Spectre

Jan 7, 2018, 12:00pm
Security researchers revealed disastrous flaws in processors manufactured by Intel and other companies this week. The vulnerabilities, which were discovered by Google's Project Zero and nicknamed Meltdown and Spectre, can cause data to leak from kernel memory -- which is really not ideal since the kernel is central to operating systems and handles a bunch of sensitive processes.
Intel says that it's working to update all of the processors it has introduced in the last few years. "By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 per cent of processor products introduced within the past five years," the company said in a statement today.
Unfortunately, Meltdown and Spectre impact a ton of different products -- cloud services, computers, phones, and browsers. Luckily, in many cases, consumers won't have to do much to secure their devices and services; they will just need to keep an eye out for updates and install them when they become available. In some cases, you may simply be out of luck.

Telstra CEO: 2018 will be big for 5G

The rollout of commercial 5G networks could begin in 2019 if standardisation and technologies are set during 2018, Telstra CEO Andy Penn has said, adding that Telstra is a world leader in the space.
By Corinne Reichert | January 12, 2018 -- 05:33 GMT (16:33 AEDT) | Topic: Mobility
5G will be the watchword of 2018, with Telstra CEO Andy Penn telling ZDNet at CES 2018 that this year will bring further standardisation, spectrum allocation, and wide-scale trials across the globe.
According to Penn, Telstra has only physical implementation and chipset aspects remaining in its preparation work for the extensive 5G trial on the Gold Coast that will take place during the Commonwealth Games in April.
"We've orchestrated the spectrum availability; we have effectively signed up the arrangements with the equipment manufacturer, which is Ericsson that we're trialling it with, and so it's pretty well advanced," he told ZDNet during CES.

Cheaper prices, higher speeds on offer as telcos pass on NBN price cut

Jennifer Duke
Published: January 9 2018 - 4:00PM
Telecommunications companies have reduced their prices, with some customers saving an average of $120 a year, following last month's national broadband network wholesale price cuts.
Most major NBN providers have announced cheaper prices for plans with speeds of 50 Mbps or more and some smaller players are planning to introduce a 50 Mbps product in coming months.
Amid spiralling complaints about broadband speeds, NBN Co slashed the wholesale cost of its 50 Mbps plans in December.

NBN Co predicts pick-up as Australia loses places in internet speed rankings

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM January 8, 2018

Anthony Klan

The nation has fallen two places in global internet speed rankings and despite the $49 billion ­National Broadband Network Australia is now in 55th place — between Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates.
According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average Australian internet connection last month delivered speeds of 25.88 megabits per second, below the average of 40.71Mbps for the 129 countries surveyed and well below Singapore at a rocket-fast 161Mbps.
An NBN Co spokesman said the lacklustre performance was because only about three million Australians were connected to the NBN, with many homes able to do so yet to make the switch.

Australia's broadband is slower than Kazakhstan's

Jennifer Duke
Published: January 8 2018 - 11:43AM
Australia’s fixed broadband has fallen below Kazakhstan on a global ranking of internet speeds, with performance continuing to be below the global average.
The Ookla Speed Test Global Index ranked Australia as 55th in the world for fixed broadband in December, with an average download speed of 25.88 Mbps.
Globally, the average download speed is 40.71 Mbps, pushing Australia behind countries including Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Russia.
Singapore had the fastest fixed broadband, with average downloads of 161.21 Mbps.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

"Building a rich data repository of accurate information
My Health Record Expansion Programme Deputy Chair Dr Steve Hambleton discusses My Health Record."

Gee, he's an optimistic chap.

a) how do you keep myhr data accurate, even assuming it's accurate when it first gets put in there?

b) how does a health professional assess the accuracy of the data?

c) should anything that is older than, say, a week be discarded/ignored? After all, people age, get sick, have accidents, get better, start taking new medication, stop taking n medication, get pregnant, etc.

It's interesting that he says things like "We still have a way to go to make it even easier to use for GPs, our patients and for their carers and to provide more and more useful information but there have been some real advances in the right direction."

and "It will become more and more valuable to health care providers and more importantly to our patients as more data sources connect and contribute to our patients' My Health Record."

Reading between the lines, and to we who have been following this sad story for a decade or so, what was implemented had little value, the Royal Review said as much, but virtually nothing has been done to fix it, apart from try and force everyone to have one so that Health's only criteria (the number of registrations) is as high as possible.

Anonymous said...

You might find many say the Govhr is next to godliness so they get to move other Agendas forward. That is not dishonest in anyway, simply a fact of life and why we still have this thing floating about.

Anonymous said...

David, does Dr Mukesh Haikerwal agree with his colleague Dr Steve Hambleton?

Trevor3130 said...

On the basis of
From November 27th, patients who have registered for the My Health Record and are discharged from Alfred Health will have their discharge summaries uploaded, unless the patient has withdrawn consent for this to occur.
I predict the Minister has already booked a campaign tour spot with a devotee from MyHR (like Dr Hambleton) at a blue-ribbon public hospital (like The Alfred), gathering around the bedside of a canny patient who pokes away at a tablet or phone.
This is a tried & absolutely true formula, of course, as some may remember from a cameo with a Victorian Govt Minister touting HealthSMART and its attraction for gifted iPads.
A future campaign for MyHR will, of course, be very careful to avoid open discussions of the pitfalls of poor design, as noted again by Scot Silverstein. If there has been an(other) unfortunate incident, and obligatory asides referring to safety & quality of healthcare IT do creep in, they will be dealt with by the cover-all recommendation that all users "should be more careful".

Anonymous said...

@10;44 PM Both gentlemen were President of the AMA. Mukesh left NEHTA speaking out about all that was wrong and fed up that no-one was listening or wanted to know. Since then he has spoken up about shortcomings with the MyHR. It is difficult to believe he could now agree with Steve Hambleton who is paid handsomely to wax lyrical about how the MyHR helps him in the management of his patients.

Heavens forbid that an independent researcher should be permitted to spend a day in the life of Dr Hambleton to monitor and evaluate Dr Steve's use of the MyHR.

Let's face it he has been corrupted by the politics and delusional self-belief that because he is a GP he is well versed in the complex world of health IT. And look at all the other medically degreed people pushing the same message eg. Dr Meredith Makeham, a very nice lady indeed, but with little experience in health IT.

These people are all paid to beat the drum. With the exception of Mukesh none have shown they have the courage to speak the truth.

Anonymous said...

9:30 AM spot on the mark. They are all spin and fluff merchants with not an ounce of pragmatism between them. All that does is to perpetuate the futility of the MyHR feeding gullible Health Ministers into believing all is well.