Monday, January 08, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 8th 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 very quiet week with little going on as the summer daze rolls on.
Enjoy the quick read!
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Opinion: AMAQ calls for real-time monitoring for codeine prescriptions to tackle addiction

Richard Kidd, The Courier-Mail
January 2, 2018 1:00am
A FEW months ago President Donald Trump told a crisis meeting at the White House that the US’s opioid drug epidemic was a “national emergency”.
Unusually for President Trump, his comments did not attract controversy.
That’s because fatal drug overdoses in the US hit 59,000 last year – a massive jump from the 1990s when the annual toll was under 10,000.
It is no longer heroin that is America’s drug scourge, but powerful prescription opioid drugs such as oxycodone.
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  • Updated Jan 3 2018 at 12:15 AM

BabyGlimpse DNA testing app affords couples a look into their baby's future

by Allison Eatough
What will my baby look like?
It's a question expectant parents have had for centuries as they await the birth of their little one. Now, a new app co-founded by Calvert County, Maryland resident Jennifer Lescallett is offers an answer.
BabyGlimpse uses a couple's individual DNA to explore everything from a baby's potential hair and eye colour to whether it will be lactose intolerant, prefer sweet or salty snacks or sneeze when it looks towards the sun. It's one of the latest examples of a growing direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry, where companies market genetic tests to consumers and then work with labs to sequence, analyse and interpret the customer's DNA.
"BabyGlimpse is sort of like the bright side of genetics," said Lescallett, a mother of three and former genetics research associate. "We've coined it sunshine science. You get to look at the fun part of your potential future baby versus some of the scary stuff."
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Consumer health care priorities for 2018

MEDIA RELEASE Thursday 4 January 2018
In this new year, the Federal Government should look to harness the forces transforming the health system and recognise the contribution health makes to national productivity, the Consumers Health Forum says.
“The internet-enabled consumer power that has transformed people’s interaction with the economy in areas such as banking, travel and telecommunications is rapidly creeping into the tradition-bound world of health care,” the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum, Leanne Wells, said.
“The dynamics of health are shifting towards a stronger role for consumers.  With the right support through self-management programs and services, many of which can be digitally enabled and delivered, and roles leading and shaping health care policy, consumers are better placed than ever to drive innovation and improvement in health care.  In 2018, developments on a variety of health fronts will reinforce this trend.
“The gradual roll-out of consumer-centred primary care, the critical need to put in place community-based alternatives to hospital care, expansion of the My Health Record and proposals for a database where patients can check their surgeons’ fees and performance records when taking up a referral, exemplify the changing influences in health.
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03 Jan 2018
Transcript: AMA President Dr Michael Gannon, 6PR, Breakfast with Lisa Barnes and Geof Parry, Wednesday 3 January 2018
Subject: Dr Google
LISA BARNES:   The Australian Medical Association President, Michael Gannon, joins us now. Good morning, Michael.
MICHAEL GANNON:   Good morning, Lisa.
LISA BARNES:   I'm not sure if you heard that call then with Judy, but it seems she had a good experience in using Dr Google yesterday. Is that what you're finding among other patients as well?
MICHAEL GANNON:   I think there'd be plenty of patients who would have positive experiences, and there'd be plenty of patients that are led down the garden path. I think that if you put into a search engine the basic symptoms, in my experience most patients end up diagnosing themselves with either leukaemia or a brain tumour. But if you ask for something very specific, there's some very credible and very useful health information that gives patients an idea how to proceed.
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So, it IS okay to Google your symptoms: AMA chief says patients can seek credible advice about their health online

  • AMA boss Michael Gannon said patients Googling symptoms was beneficial
  • Research enabled them to have 'more informed conversations' with doctors
  • But patients shouldn't substitute the internet for doctors visits 
Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said doctors should not be annoyed if patients sought information from 'credible sources' on the internet
Patients looking up their symptoms online before going to a doctor could be beneficial, Australia's top doctor advised.
Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said doctors should not be annoyed if patients sought information from 'credible sources'.
The veteran doctor said Googling their symptoms would enable people to have 'more informed conversations' with medical practitioners.
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Hospital discharge letters too slow say frustrated GPs

Grant McArthur, Herald Sun
January 3, 2018 8:30pm
PATIENTS’ lives are being risked daily because of hospitals’ and specialists’ failure to provide timely discharge letters, frustrated GPs say.
The lack of instructions for patients and their family doctors after operations and other hospital stays are leading to thousands of costly readmissions to hospital, and a worsening of Victorians’ health, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners says.
The problem has also increased pressure on state and federal governments to roll out electronic hospital records.
A State Government spokeswoman said health services were expected to provide GPs with timely patient discharge summaries, and the Commonwealth was encouraging more clinics to adopt technology to receive the information from hospitals.

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The Advertiser Letters to the Editor, January 2 2018

The Advertiser
January 2, 2018 1:00am

Costly mistake

THE “motherhood” vision offered by AMA President William Tam for our health care prospects in the year ahead (The Advertiser, 29/12/17) avoids the harsh reality of the parlous state of our health and hospital systems.
The downgrading and fragmentation of hospital services with Transforming Health has resulted in serious problems in equity and access to health care. These problems must be addressed urgently in 2018 and beyond.
Remediation of the system requires administrative reform. SA Heath is beset with governance problems, inefficiencies and a lack of continuity in senior management; it presides over a toxic culture with poor staff morale.
A new overarching executive body should be established, with significant input from clinicians, and professional and industrial organisations, to provide an effective bridge between government, the bureaucracy and health workers.
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  • Updated Jan 1 2018 at 11:30 AM

Sweat: Tobi Pearce and Kayla Itsines' $100m 'Netflix of health and fitness'

Tobi Pearce compares the Sweat health and fitness global empire he has built from Adelaide with his fellow Young Rich List member Kayla Itsines to a software business or Netflix.
And following in those footsteps, with 28-minute workouts, dietary advice, yoga and post-pregnancy plans all tailored to women aged 20-35 around the world, is how Pearce says Sweat will maintain its relevance and keep growing in 2018 and beyond.
Sweat has a huge presence around the world and has hit upon the magic formula of combining fitness, the endless search for ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet with a huge social media presence.
The secret, according to Pearce, has been to harness his and Itsines' passion for workouts with tech savviness and pinpointing exactly what their consumers what via relentless data mining and consumer research.
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Flying Doctor Service looks to the future

With 69 planes covering seven million square kilometres, the Royal Flying Doctor Service has come along way from one plane on loan from Qantas.
Best known for medical retrievals of Australians in some of the most remote parts of the continent, the service will mark its 90th year in 2018.
And as it does, it will continue to evolve and innovate, bringing Australians a broader range of services.
"We want to ensure we take the right services to the right people at the right time, that's the ambition," RFDS chief executive John Lynch says.
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Living with robots: expect evolution at home, in AI, social VR and AR

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM January 4, 2018

Chris Griffith

They say all roads lead to Rome, but this year all technology roads lead to human-like robots. Better sensor technology, computer vision, object recognition, speech, voice recognition, artificial intelligence and unnervingly human facades will see the mechanical species increasingly viable.
But an elegant walking, talking robot is a way off. While AI is developing at an astonishing rate, the one area holding back robots is the mechanics of movement. They may move around on rollers but you struggle to find one that can walk gracefully, dexterously stack the dishwasher or clear the dinner table.
The beginnings of robots in the home are humble. We have Google Home, a speaker device you can talk to and request information such as the weather and news and speak commands to control your home.
This year Google Home will connect with an increasing number of Australian businesses and services. Already you can contact Officeworks, Optus and eBay, and Uber is coming.
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It will take decades ‘if ever’ for cost of NBN to be recouped: Telstra

Jennifer Duke
Published: January 5 2018 - 12:15AM
NBN Co’s business model has been slammed by major telecommunications providers, which say the government needs to reconsider whether the company should have to fully recoup its investment costs.
In public submissions made in response to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review of the communications sector, Optus, Telstra and other leading retail service providers said a review of NBN's costs and pricing was needed sooner rather than later.
The government requires the $49 billion NBN to recover the cost of its rollout around Australia, which directly affects the prices it charges telcos for access to its network, which they pass on to consumers.
The ACCC's draft report, released in October, included a proposed recommendation that the government consider whether the NBN should continue to be obliged to recover these costs.
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What you need to know about the big chip security problem

Ian King
Published: January 4 2018 - 2:24PM
Intel Corp has said that most of the processors running the world's computers and smartphones have a feature that makes them susceptible to attack. The largest chipmaker is working with rivals and partners on a fix, but the news sparked concern about this fundamental building block of the internet, PCs and corporate networks.
What's the problem?
Modern processors guess what they'll have to do next and fetch the data they think they'll need. That makes everything from supercomputers to smartphones zippy. Unfortunately, as Google researchers discovered, it also provides a way for bad actors to read data that had been thought to be secure. In a worst-case scenario that would let someone access your passwords.
How bad is it?
This won't stop your computer working and doesn't provide an avenue for hackers to put malicious software on your machine. There's been no report so far of anyone's computer being attacked in this manner, but in theory this puts important data at risk. Hardware and chip-level security has long been pushed by the industry as more tamper-proof than software. Those claims may have been overstated.
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What you can do to protect against chip flaw

  • Jay Greene
  • Dow Jones
  • 3:32PM January 5, 2018
While tech giants grapple with the chip security flaws disclosed this week, there are steps people can take now to mitigate potential harm to their iPhones, Windows PCs, Android devices and other gadgets.
The most important is ensuring software on any device is up to date.
Apple acknowledged today that its mobile devices and computers — even the Apple TV — are affected by one of the vulnerabilities, called Meltdown, but said it already issued updates to fix the problems.
For iPhones and iPads, iOS version 11.2 released last month includes the latest fix. You can update via the settings app.
For Macs, Apple pushed out version 10.13.2 to its High Sierra operating system last month. Users can find the update by clicking “About this Mac” under the Apple icon.
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Enjoy!
David.

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