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, March 19, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 19th March, 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

Some very good news from the Australasian College Of Health Informatics on its Fellowship / Doctoral Program to start – followed by some weird and wonderful stuff – like a nurse using telemedicine to treat his own heart in real time in remote WA. This week has it all!

Media Release - Workforce is key: first Agency work placement awarded

13 March, 2018.
A PhD student specialising in speech recognition for digital health record based documentation has been awarded a paid work placement at the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Toby Hodgson has been offered this placement as part of the four-year Australasian Health Informatics Fellowship Program (AHIFP) run by the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI).
College President Dr Chris Pearce said the program is designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles in health informatics, as well as address the current demands for experienced and qualified specialists from various disciplines.
“Securing the Australian Digital Health Agency as the first work placement partner represents a significant milestone in the development of the program.

Nurse administers DIY treatment for his own MI

He performed an ECG, cannulated himself and administered drugs
12th March 2018
When a nurse in remote WA experienced the signs of a myocardial infarction, there was only one person on duty to provide lifesaving treatment: himself.
Suffering severe chest pain and dizziness, Ryan Franks, 44, used the facilities at the Coral Bay nursing post to perform electrocardiograms, cannulate himself and self-administer thrombolysis drugs until the Royal Flying Doctor Service arrived.
Just before Christmas, Mr Franks had finished his shift at the WA coastal town, 150km from the nearest medical facilities and 1000km from Perth, when he experienced chest pains.

It’s time to ‘get real’

A national real-time prescription monitoring system must happen as a priority, says Anthony Tassone

The need for a real time prescription monitoring system to prevent avoidable overdose deaths from pharmaceutical medicines is not disputed but it’s worth questioning why the TGA did not build this in as a fundamental flow-on from the up-scheduling of codeine recommendation.
In a consultation on the use of prescription opioids for pain, the TGA initially listed on its webpage options including; “consider whether the highest dose products should remain on the market, or be restricted to specialist/authority prescribing” and “potentially include controls of prescribing for… particular classes of medical practitioners”.
In other words, potentially influence the prescribing of opioids in the first place at the practitioner level. However when this was reported in the media, with the usual outrage from doctors’ groups, we saw a quick retort with the TGA posting on its website:  “The story today (27 January 2018) that suggests GPs may not be able to prescribe high dose opioids under a review being done by the TGA is totally incorrect. The medicines’ regulator is not proposing and will not be stopping GPs from prescribing high dose opioids. As part of the discussion paper the TGA has issued on the use and misuse of opioids, there is an option about the level of training for potentially dangerous drugs which is being discussed in consultation with the AMA, the RACGP and other appropriate bodies.”

My Health Record: the guidelines

The PSA has released guidelines for pharmacists concerning the My Health Record program

PSA, in partnership with the Australian Digital Health Agency, met with pharmacy and consumer groups and subject matter experts to finalise the PSA My Health Record Guidelines for Pharmacists following a public consultation.
Under the My Health Record expansion program, all Australians will have a record by the end of 2018 unless they choose to opt out. 
PSA says this will support timely access to important health information by both patients and their treating healthcare providers, and improve patient health outcomes.

Australia and the US enter health tech alliance to boost innovation

Lynne Minion | 15 Mar 2018
Top tech leaders in Australia and the United States will work to promote revolutionary technology in healthcare with the launch of a transnational innovation alliance announced by the Federal Government this week.
A new Australian Advisory on Technology and Healthcare Competitiveness has been established to partner with the US Council on Competitiveness in improving engagement between the nations’ businesses, universities and research institutions in the development of pioneering health tech.
Jointly announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt and Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash, the alliance will boost collaboration in health technologies, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

Cross-Tasman tech leaders consider creating a health ‘passport’

Wednesday, 14 March 2018
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
Development of a consumer app that holds verified medication information for clinicians to view if a New Zealander or Australian requires medical assistance while across the Tasman is being explored.
Health technology leaders discussed the creation of a health ‘passport’ at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney this month.
The passport would start as a simple consumer app that holds verified medication information for clinicians to view if a New Zealander or Australian requires medical assistance while travelling across the Tasman.

GP corporate accused of holding rural town to ransom over medical records

Tristar wants $100,000 to cover the cost of handing over patient records
13th March 2018
One of Australia’s largest GP corporates is being accused of holding a rural community “to ransom” after demanding $100,000 to hand over patient records to the GP taking over the town's sole general practice.
Tristar, the bulk-billing rural corporate, ended its services in the NSW Riverina town of Hay last month.
But it is now asking for the money from Hay Shire Council to cover the administrative cost of transferring its patient records to the practice taking over the lease.

Vexatious reviews and dirty tricks: True stories of medicine on social media

12 March 2018


Imagine you’re a hospital specialist — an obstetrician, specifically — and you find out someone has written an online post claiming your care left their newborn brain-damaged.
You don’t recognise the writer, so you spend thousands of dollars on digital forensic investigations to deduce their identity.
It turns out to be a rival obstetrician and you ask for legal advice about defamation. Your medicolegal advisers tell you, however, not to seek compensation because the internet will then ignite over this inter-obstetrician legal stoush.

Media Release: First My Health Record connected town in Australia

16 March, 2018
The community of Berrigan in NSW is the first town in Australia where all key healthcare providers are connected and using My Health Record.
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Member for Farrer, representing Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Minister for Rural Health, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said people in rural and remote areas of Australia need to be able to have their important health information when they receive care.
“My Health Record allows Australians and their health professionals to securely access their health information to improve their care, whether at home or in a metropolitan hospital.”
“I’m so proud that the community of Berrigan have shown Australia how it’s done, by embracing digital health to bring world class health care to the bush,” Ms Ley said.
14 March 2018

Who is viewing MyHR? Hardly anyone, it seems

Posted by Felicity Nelson
Very few healthcare providers are actually viewing the data held on the My Health Record, even though nearly 40% are regularly sending data to the platform.
Around 10,700 healthcare providers are now registered for My Health Record, but the statistics suggests that only a small fraction are using the system to source clinical data.
Over the past year, only 6.5% of registered health providers viewed at least one My Health Record document each week, while 39% uploaded documents regularly, according to data provided by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
Around 23% of the Australian population is registered for My Health Record, but less than one-third of those registered actually have an electronic health record.  But the low number of views did not reflect a lack of desire to use the system, nor show a lack of potential for the system, Dr Andrew Hugman, a senior emergency consultant at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, said.
14 March 2018

What’s the ADHA’s progress score on MyHR?

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) has only been around for 18 months, but the My Health Record (MyHR), in its various incarnations, is closer to eight years old. That’s if you start from its first appearance in the Budget of 2010-11 after the-then health minister, Nicola Roxon, announced it as the “key building block of the National Health and Hospitals Network”.
At the time the ADHA was announced, there was a significant degree of scepticism around whether it could deliver, given how moribund the project had become. It’s been so long and so hard that several “alt MyHR” organisations have grown large and influential, and they are invariably now very negative about the whole project.
The degree of difficulty, given the past, and these committed conscientious objectors, remains very high. The agency can’t breathe the wrong way without being criticised by someone.

SA Labor promises to review troubled EPAS

By Justin Hendry on Mar 13, 2018 11:00AM

If returned in upcoming election.

South Australia’s troubled electronic patient administration system (EPAS) will be reviewed by the Wetherill Labor government if it is returned in the upcoming state election.
Health minister Peter Malinauskas made the commitment to address issues with the system in the lead up to the March 17 election.
It comes a month after Nick Xenophon’s SA-BEST Party called for a review of the system as part of its health policy.

SA election 2018: ED doctors call for election winner to address health system ‘in crisis’

Brad Crouch, Medical Reporter, The Advertiser
March 13, 2018 11:17am
EMERGENCY department doctors say SA’s health system is “in crisis” and have demanded whoever wins Saturday’s election moves immediately to repair it.
The plea, at 10am, came as SA Health data showed the metropolitan public hospital system had 64 people who had been treated in EDs still waiting for beds in wards, including 13 who had been waiting for 12-to-24 hours and two who had been waiting more than 24 hours.
The $2.3 billion flagship Royal Adelaide Hospital had 31 people waiting for beds.
  • Updated Mar 11 2018 at 11:00 PM

Nib Holdings CEO Mark Fitzgibbon says US health mega-mergers awash in data

Mark Fitzgibbon, the boss of private health insurer Nib Holdings, can only dream about the immense amount of cost-saving data being unlocked via a spate of multibillion-dollar mergers in the US healthcare sector.
Last week global health insurer Cigna Corp lobbed a $US54 billion ($69 billion) bid for pharmacy company Express Scripts in a sign that the medical supply chain – where multiple companies are responsible for different aspects of care – has become too cumbersome.
But for Mr Fitzgibbon, the story is much greater than a simple focus on lowering costs and smoothing out complexity within the many-layered healthcare system, which includes pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, large medical groups and insurers.

Hyper-growth at HealthEngine as it looks to expand globally and transform to a one-stop online health shop

Lynne Minion | 14 Mar 2018
A international expansion and the roll-out of new products are among the ambitious plans at HealthEngine, as the company’s hyper-growth sees it continue to move beyond the online GP booking origins to become a “care experience platform”.
An Australian digital health success story, HealthEngine experienced a supercharged 2017, raising $26.7 million in its Series C funding round led by venture capitalists Sequoia India, earning an 87 per cent year-on-year growth and almost doubling its workforce.
Ten of thousands of GPs, dentists, specialists and allied health practitioners are now on the platform, which attracts over 2 million unique visitors a month. Late last year the company launched Medication Manager, allowing patients to monitor their prescriptions, and receive dosage reminders and prompts before scripts run out.

New online tool can predict your melanoma risk

March 12, 2018 6.04am AEDT
People who are unable to tan and who have moles on their skin are among those at heightened risk of developing melanoma. from shutterstock.com

Authors: Phoebe Roth   Sasha Petrova

Australians over the age of 40 can now calculate their risk of developing melanoma with a new online test. The risk predictor tool estimates a person’s melanoma risk over the next 3.5 years based on seven risk factors.
Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australia and the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
The seven risk factors the tool uses are age, sex, ability to tan, number of moles at age 21, number of skin lesions treated, hair colour and sunscreen use.
  • Updated Mar 13 2018 at 7:03 AM

New melanoma test online could stop you dying from skin cancer, say researchers

by Stuart Layt
People over 40 will now be able to check their risk of developing melanoma using a fast new online tool designed by Queensland researchers.
The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute developed the online test based on data from nearly 42,000 people aged from their forties to seventies.
Professor David Whiteman from QIMR Berghofer said early detection of melanoma is vital, and the tool they've developed can help people identify if they're at risk.

Government’s former digital chief warns of skills shortfall, capability gap

Former senior DTO figures call for procurement shakeup, capability planning
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 13 March, 2018 15:29
The government faces structural, cultural and skills-based barriers to its digital transformation efforts, according to former senior figures from the Digital Transformation Office.
The Senate’s Finance and Public Administration References Committee is currently scrutinising the digital delivery of government services.

Biomedical engineering: hand in hand with medicine

Authored by Matthew Taylor
THIS morning on the train I read an inspirational article by a young doctor, Skye Kinder, who discussed the many facets of practising rural medicine. She argued that the term “pipeline” should be replaced so new interns are given less “binary” choices in deciding to pursue rural medicine. I thought it was a good initiative for a young doctor to write an opinion piece to inform newly graduated physicians.
Another interesting book I have read is Kerry Breen’s guide to becoming a doctor in Australia, So you want to be a doctor? This is a comprehensive overview of admission processes, medical schools and what it’s like to be a doctor. The book is a well informed analysis of the complex facets of studying medicine and is also of immense use to young doctors or those considering a medical career.
While there are various discussions in the medical community regarding young doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, there is little focus on biomedical engineers. So, I thought it might be of interest to young doctors (and other readers of MJA InSight) to learn about some of my experiences as a young biomedical engineer.

RACP launches inquiry into IT exam failure

By Allie Coyne on Mar 12, 2018 3:44PM

Tasks Ferrier Hodgson with investigation.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has hired financial advisor Ferrier Hodgson to investigate the failure of a critical online exam for medical students.
Late last month education testing software vendor Pearson Vue promised to refund student fees for the botched online test.
The week before, trainee doctors had found themselves locked out of software for the 'basic divisional written exam', leaving them unable to complete the test.

New law supports advance care directives

Saturday, 10 March, 2018
As new medical treatment decision-making laws come into effect, Victorians are being urged to consider how their current or future power of attorney planning might be affected.
From 12 March 2018, the existing legal framework for medical treatment decision-making will change in an attempt to provide greater autonomy to potential patients by enabling them to give advance care directives that are legally enforceable under the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016.
Rigby Cook Lawyers wills and estates associate Rosa Bazzanella said the new legislation brings medical treatment decision-making in line with contemporary views that patients have a right to have their medical treatment preferences respected, even when they lose the capacity to express their wishes.

Innovation, Australia 2030, and precision medicine

Authored by Bob Williamson
WE measure the pace of change by comparing what our children do (Facebook, FitBit, Facetime and Netflix) with our pastimes when we were young (charades and Scrabble, and maybe a black and white TV).
That pace is beginning to change our professional lives as well. Many disruptive technologies, ones that change our patterns of work and play, are entering into health practice. The world of 2030 will be very different!
Two reports have recently been released that speculate on the nature of those changes. Australia 2030: prosperity through innovation, produced by Innovation and Science Australia, is a whole-of-government vision with a focus on innovation, industry and education, and an assumption that it will be possible to achieve a high level of cooperation between government agencies, states and the Commonwealth, and public and private enterprise.

Health tech startup Solus Health wins 54-hour CEA startup weekend

Dominic Powell /

After a gruelling 54 hours of formulating ideas, developing products, and pitching those ideas in front of hundreds of people, health tech startup Solus Health has won Creative Enterprise Australia’s creative tech startup weekend with an idea that could improve the lives of countless people.
Brought together earlier this month, project lead and co-founder Eduardo Jorgensen and a team of designers, software developers, and financial advisors formulated the concept of an inner sole that sits in a user’s shoe to detect irregular gait patterns that may indicate early-onset Parkinsons and Alzheimers.
The startup team, now formed as Solus Health, took the $30,000 worth of prizes home against a field of 46 pitches, armed with a rudimentary hardware prototype and a powerpoint presentation.

Queensland-based blockchain startup dHealthNetwork looks to raise $150 million in ICO for its decentralised health information platform

Dominic Powell /

A Queensland-based healthtech startup is looking to raise over $150 million via an initial coin offering to help medical patients secure their medical records and fetch second opinions from medical professionals.
DHealthNetwork launched a pre-sale for its token at the end of last week. The startup has an ambitious goal of selling 60 million of its DHT tokens by February 9, followed by two more tranches of 60 million tokens to be sold by March 9. These tokens can be purchased for a price of between 2000 to 1350 DHT per Ether contributed, leading to a potential total raise value of more than $150 million at current prices.
So far, the company has raised just $142 at time of publication, according to the company’s funding contract listed on its website.
  • Updated Mar 12 2018 at 9:19 AM

Genome sequencing blockchain start-up Shivom taps Aussie investors in $96m ICO

A German genome sequencing blockchain start-up led by some of the world's leading experts in the field, is in Australia hunting for local investors to be part of a $US75 million ($96 million) initial coin offering to support the commercialisation of its technology.
Shivom has appointed ASX-listed ICO adviser DigitalX to help it manage the raise and it's hoping to tap into cryptocurrency-friendly private equity investors, as well as high net worth individuals and institutions.
An ICO is a form of fundraising in which companies exchange their own crypto tokens for bitcoin or ether, similar to an IPO in which investors pay money in exchange for shares. It is hoping the equivalent of $US45 million will be raised in Shivom's pre-sale and an additional $30 million in a public token sale.
The company is able to map a person's genome, unlocking information on diseases they are predisposed towards, and stores this information on its secure blockchain, accessible only to the individual. 
Press Release, for immediate release:  14th March 2018

PenCS and Ocean Health Systems team up

Now serving Shared Care Plans in General Practice via LinkedEHR and Topbar decision support
 Sydney, 14th March 2018 – Pen CS and Ocean Health Systems have partnered to deliver dynamic Shared Care Plans to healthcare professionals across Australia. Focusing on chronic disease management, the partnership will give Topbar users with LinkedEHR software a comprehensive care planning tool that connects patients with their carers across a continuum of care – from the community to the hospital.
As part of the new partnership, Pen CS and Ocean Health Systems’ customers will benefit from workflow efficiencies, increased product functionality, technical innovation and competitive pricing.
LinkedEHR provides a single, dynamic shared care plan that is accessible by the entire care team.  It enables General Practitioners, allied health providers, specialists and hospital-based clinicians, insight to the complete range of care activities that are planned or being carried out for their most complex patients as they move between each participating healthcare provider.
16 March 2018

New desktop decision support tool for GPs

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Pen CS and Tonic Health Media have partnered to deliver targeted desktop accessible health education and disease awareness programs for more than 4,600 GP practices across the country through the Pen CS network.
The network will deliver contextually relevant, clinically appropriate messages to patients and Doctors, through the Topbar decision support tool, part of the PenCS suite of GP clinical auditing and decision support products.
According to Tonic CEO Dr Matthew Cullen, the new network will be able to reach more Australians than ever before and engage consumers at all stages of the patient journey.

New Virtual Reality biomechanical facility launched at University of Melbourne

By: Priyankar Bhunia
16 Mar 2018
CAREN simulates a field environment, where researchers can use unplanned, physical perturbations to mimic real-life tripping and slipping scenarios. They can then analyse the motion of joints, muscle activation and brain activity during movement, including the effects of mental and physical strain. 
A new Virtual Reality (VR) biomechanical facility, which brings together biomechanics, computer science and neuroscience to analyse human movement and performance in real-time, has been launched at the University of Melbourne. The facility aims to improve understanding of human movement and how to treat and prevent injuries.
The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), developed by Motekforce Link, was launched on 15 February by Federal Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt. The facility is the first one of its kind in Australia.

Half of NBN users who connected in last 12 months experienced dropouts

Nearly half of the consumers who connected to the NBN during the last 12 months experienced dropouts while a little more than a quarter experienced service outages, according to data on the NBN consumer experience released by the Australian Communication and Media Authority on Thursday.
Twenty-seven percent reported no issue or fault, the survey found. Among all users, 33% reported slow data speeds in general while 36% reported slow speeds in the evening with varying frequency.
Thirty-four percent of households reported that they were left without either a phone connection or an Internet connection during the connection process.

NBN to detail HFC relaunch next month

HFC sales have been on hold since November
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 13 March, 2018 00:01
NBN has been working to address problems encountered by households connected via hybrid fibre-coaxial before it gives retail service providers (RSPs) the green light to resume sales of HFC services. However, the company’s chief customer officer, residential, Brad Whitcomb, says an announcement about HFC sales can be expected in April.
“Work is underway with RSPs to ensure we are ready as an industry to restart sales of services over this network and we’ll provide more specifics around the timing of our relaunch next month,” he told a media briefing on the company’s new monthly progress report.
The government-owned company announced in November that it would temporarily halt sales of HFC services while it worked on addressing performance problems encountered by some of its end users.

New rules to be introduced for handling NBN complaints

New rules to handle complaints about the NBN will take effect from June this year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has announced.
The rules cover the handling of consumer complaints and the keeping of records of these complaints. Details for public submissions are available here.
"As we announced in December, the ACMA is putting in place stronger rules to improve consumers’ experience in migrating to the new network," said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

NBN Co to issue monthly progress reports

NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, has announced it will publish a monthly progress report from now on to track any improvements in services which it delivers on its network. 
The report will cover any improvements in service quality, co-operation with partners in the industry and also detail progress in the rollout of the network.
The company said in a statement that the monthly reports would include the number of homes and businesses that could connect to the NBN, congestion levels, percentage of 50Mbps or higher connections, installations that succeeded the first time around, and the average number of faults.

NBN Co Feb figures show 60% connected to network

Take-up of the NBN in homes and businesses that are ready to connect is about 60% judging by figures issued by the NBN Co, the company rolling out the network, for February.
According to figures issued by the company today, 6.3 million homes and businesses were ready to connect by the end of February. Of these, 3.6 million had opted to connect, a percentage of slightly more than 57%.
These figures, and a number of others, were issued as part of the company's decision to issue monthly progress reports.

Microsoft team uses AI to match human translation

Researchers at Microsoft claim to have created the first machine translation system that is able to translate news articles from Chinese to English with the same level of accuracy as a human.
Personnel from the company's Asia and US labs said their system achieved human parity using a commonly used test set of news stories called newstest2017 developed by industry and academic partners.
External bilingual human evaluators compared the results achieved by the Microsoft researchers to two translations produced independently by humans.

Harpoon to shoot down space junk

  • Oliver Moody
  • The Times
  • 9:04PM March 16, 2018
How do you start tidying up the 7500 tonnes of dead satellites, antennae fragments and other junk in orbit around the Earth? With a space litter-picker, of course.
British engineers have demonstrated a titanium-tipped harpoon that can punch into the carcass of a broken spacecraft and reel it out of harm’s way. It is one of a range of technologies including nets, lasers and robotic arms being developed to rid space of more than half a century’s worth of detritus.
Telescopes are tracking about 23,000 items of debris and there are thought to be more than 26,000 more objects that are too small for them to detect but large enough to pose grave problems.

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