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, May 14, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th May, 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

Secondary Use Framework for myHR Data was the big news – but the Budget and a lot else happened.
Browse away!

He died alone after his medical test results were faxed to wrong number

By Melissa Cunningham
10 May 2018 — 6:08pm
Mettaloka Halwala was alone in a hotel room near Shepparton when he was found dead from complications that arose from his chemotherapy treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hotel staff opened the door of his room on the morning of November 17, 2015 to find the 58-year-old father of two deceased in his bed, fully clothed in jeans and a shirt, a lit torch beside him.
Now, a Victorian coroner has found Mr Halwala's lonely death could have been prevented had he not been let down by a series of systematic failures by the medical profession.

My Health Record will share de-identified data by default

By Justin Hendry on May 8, 2018 11:43AM

But opt-out controls to be built in.

De-identified health data from the personal e-health records that will soon be created for every citizen will be mined by default under the Department of Health’s yet-to-be released secondary data uses plan.
The department said in answers to questions on notice at additional budget estimates hearings that My Health Record data would be provided for research and public health purposes uses unless citizens opted out.
“Individuals will be able to choose to opt-out of having their data used for secondary purposes through the My Health Record access controls,” it said.

Govt releases My Health Record secondary data use plan

By Justin Hendry on May 11, 2018 4:22PM

Provides more detail on opt-out model.

The Department of Health has released the framework governing secondary use of data from the My Health Record, providing more detail on the opt-out approach it has settled on for releasing "de-identified" information.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the framework [pdf] will inform how records data can be used for public health policy, planning and release purposes from 2020.
It has been more than two years in the making, with the department consulting with clinicians, medical researchers, consumers and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner during its development.

Researchers and drug companies will be able to get data from your new digital health record

Sue Dunlevy, National Health Reporter, News Corp Australia Network
May 11, 2018 10:00pm
INSURANCE companies will be banned from accessing sensitive information on a new online My Health Record that will be created for every Australian this year.
However, other third parties will be able to apply to access the health data under rules released by Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Australians who don’t want their private health data shared will have to take action to inform the government they want to keep it out of the hands of researchers and other interested parties.

eHealth NSW uses electronic medical record to improve digital diabetes management

By: Nicky Lung
Published: 8 May 2018
The Glucose Management View in the electronic medical record provides clinicians with a consolidated view of a patient's diabetes management, supporting safe and consistent ongoing treatment and monitoring throughout the patient's hospital stay.
Australia’s eHealth NSW recently announced that it has made significant steps to use new electronic medical record (eMR) functionality to support better care for patients with diabetes.
At the moment, one in five acute-care hospital admissions requires diabetes management. At the same time, insulin represents one of the top causes of medication errors and adverse events. The complexity of prescribing and administering insulin is an ongoing challenge for many healthcare professionals.

‘Damaging our trust’: why My Health Record lets down sexual and gender minorities

It is critical that people—especially people from gender and sexual minorities and people living with HIV—are made aware of the potential risks of the My Health Record system.

My Health Record is a well intentioned policy but its execution discourages marginalised groups from confidently accessing healthcare.
It stokes fears of the forced disclosure of confidential health information—such as the results of sexual health tests and HIV status—which undermine public health outcomes and the individual wellbeing of people in the LGBTI community.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) was created in 2016 to improve health outcomes for Australians using digital systems.

Govt earmarks $2.4bn for tech infrastructure

By Justin Hendry on May 9, 2018 6:50AM

All the tech in the 2018 federal budget.

The government has unveiled plans to invest more than $2.4 billion into "Australia's public technology infrastructure".
Treasurer Scott Morrison said that the $2.4 billion investment would be put towards "supercomputers, world class satellite imagery, more accurate GPS across Australia, upgrading the Bureau of Meteorology's technology platform, a national space agency and leading research in artificial intelligence".
However, these projects appeared to be worth only around $400 million of the total investment:

Govt hands another $316m to Centrelink IT overhaul

By Justin Hendry on May 8, 2018 7:40PM

Budget 2018: WPIT gets tranche three funding.

The federal government has handed the Department of Human Services another $316.2 million to progress its massive Centrelink payments system overhaul to the next stage.
The new funding will see the continuation of the welfare payments infrastructure transformation (WPIT) program, bringing total allocations to almost $600 million since the program's inception in 2015.
To date, the project has been focused on reforming student payments and developing core system capabilities.

Medicare payments system gets $107m cash splash

By Justin Hendry on May 8, 2018 7:40PM

Budget 2018: Plus upgrades to e-prescribing software.

The federal government will spend a further $106.8 million on a replacement its 30-year-old Medicare payments system, bringing the total cost of the project to more than $170 million.
The project to replace health and aged care payments systems has been progressing since early 2016.
The additional funding will be used to further the modernisation effort and ensure that the IT platform continues to be owned and operated by the public sector, the government said in 2018-19 federal budget papers.

Budget 2018: Government funds push to unlock data

Details $65 million data initiatives
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 08 May, 2018 21:30
The government will put more than $65 million towards funding new rules that will give consumers greater control over their personal data and make more public-sector data sets available for businesses, agencies and researchers.
The budget details the funding for the initiatives that the government unveiled as part of its response to the Productivity Commission’s 2017 report on data availability and use.
The government said it would spend $44.6 million over four years to develop the new ‘Consumer Data Right’. The government announced in November that it planned to introduce legislation that will allow individuals to access data relating to a range of services they purchase.

WA govt funnels $10m into health systems

By Justin Hendry on May 11, 2018 12:11PM

And brings forward cyber security funds.

The WA government has prioritised $10 million to overhaul a number of the state’s critical health systems in this year’s state budget.
The government said that the capital funding had be reprioritised “in recognition of the current fiscal environment”.
The funding will go towards “a number of ICT requirements that are critical to the operation of key clinical and corporate system”, it said.

No timeline to roll out service to end doctor shopping, court told

By Angus Thompson
10 May 2018 — 6:05pm
Health authorities have no timeline for the introduction of a real-time prescription monitoring service to stop doctor shopping in NSW, an inquest into opiate deaths has heard.
NSW Chief Pharmacist, Dr Judith Mackson, told Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame that, despite government commitments to rolling out the service, the potentially lifesaving system was still far from being realised.
The Health Council of the Council of Australian Governments last month determined that a national model for real-time prescription monitoring would be created, with states feeding the data from their own systems into a federal one.

We know cyberbullying is serious, so how can GPs help?

9 May 2018
The devastating effects of cyberbullying were made clear in the national consciousness earlier this year after the widely reported death of Amy “Dolly” Everett, aged 14.
The girl from the NT, who was for a time the face of the famous Australian brand Akubra, took her own life in January.
Her parents have used the tragedy as the catalyst for a cyberbullying campaign, which they believe played a role in Dolly’s death.

LaunchVic turns funding focus to healthtech

State has 'all the ingredients' to become internationally competitive hub, agency says
George Nott (Computerworld) 11 May, 2018 12:43
LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s startup development agency, has announced its eighth round of funding grants will be focused on healthtech.
It is seeking to invest in accelerator programs that work with startups in medtech, biotech, pharma, health & ageing services and disability services, with up to $1 million available per application.
Health startup education programs for founders and investors can also apply for funding up to $250,000.

3D printers let doctors make simulated body parts

Printing body parts in hospital shows 3D tech's growing reach
Reuters (Computerworld) 07 May, 2018 14:11
3D printers are letting doctors in Minnesota make simulated body parts in a hospital and a Brooklyn startup create rocket engines designed to put satellites into orbit, executives last week told a New York event hosted by General Electric Co.
The unusual locations for additive printing, highlighted at the first such event GE has organized, showed how quickly the technology is moving beyond plastic prototypes to everyday industrial use.
Companies are now routinely printing titanium engine parts, customizing dashboards of high-end cars, turning out jewelry and eyeglass frames and developing rocket engines.

Google's deep learning system aims to tame electronic health records

Google is using a deep learning system to navigate electronic health records without the data wrangling.
By Larry Dignan for Between the Lines | May 8, 2018 -- 21:24 GMT (07:24 AEST) | Topic: Artificial Intelligence
Google is betting that its deep learning systems can sort through the electronic health record morass.
At Google I/O, CEO Sundar Pichai outlined how the company was using its artificial intelligence and machine learning infrastructure to better predict healthcare outcomes. The field is emerging on multiple fronts, but much of healthcare data is unstructured and requires a lot of wrangling.
For Google, the interest in healthcare is more of a way to prove its models and algorithms in the field. There's also a natural extension for Google Cloud Platform. Google has partnered with Fitbit on data and health APIs, too. Given that backdrop, Google AI is keenly interested in health.

HL7 Australia crosses final hurdle to future-proofing constitutional change

Lynne Minion | 08 May 2018
HL7 Australia has taken a significant step forward in its quest to change its governance structure and institute constitutional reform, as it continues its growth march and positions itself as the leader in the nation’s moves towards healthcare interoperability.
As part of its “maturity journey”, the data exchange standards organisation has increased its membership, with large scale vendors including Cerner, Oracle, InterSystems, DXC and MuleSoft joining the community, while putting in place the framework to suit the scale up.
Originally incorporated as an entity in the ACT in 2002, HL7 Australia had been required to conduct at least 50 per cent of its trade inside the territory’s borders. Following legal advice in 2015, the organisation has undertaken a lengthy and consultative restructuring process to support its growth spurt.

How to engage patients in a digital world

Study shows apps and social media have become more engaging than community pharmacies
8th May 2018
Pharmacists should embrace health apps to reach out to patients in a digital world, UK research shows.
That’s because patients are increasingly seeking health advice from mobile health apps and social media ahead of community pharmacists, according to the survey of about 820 Londoners.
GPs are the primary source of health advice, followed by digital mediums and then community pharmacists, according to the survey.

SafeScript on track for October 2018 - Time to prepare

Australia May 8 2018
The real-time prescription monitoring service (known as "SafeScript") will be launched in October this year. SafeScript, will transmit pharmacy dispensing records for certain medicines in real-time to a centralised database, allowing prescribers and pharmacists to access an up-to-the-minute prescription history of certain high risk medicines for their patient at the point of consultation, enabling safer clinical decision making.
It will be mandatory for prescribers and pharmacists to check SafeScript when writing or dispensing a script for a high-risk medicine, which include all Schedule 8 medicines as well as Schedule 4 benezodiapines, Z-drugs and quetiapine.

Federal budget 2018: world-first $225m GPS project could save lives

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 10, 2018

Sian Powell

GPS positioning in Australia will be far more precise in future, with an enhanced positioning system costed into the budget.
GPS positioning can be dangerously adrift by as much as 5-10m at times in Australia, but the new system will allow small planes to land at rural airports regardless of low cloud cover or otherwise impaired visibility, and driverless vehicles will be able to be precisely positioned on a road.
The improved technology will help graziers find particular places in largely featureless landscapes and help mining firms operate equipment remotely at sites hundreds of kilometres away.

Budget boost: Health tech windfall in federal budget but critics say immediate patient needs are left begging

Lynne Minion | 09 May 2018
Treasurer Scott Morrison has delivered a federal budget described as good for science, with investments in genomics, medical research, digital health and critical IT infrastructure placing technology at the centre of Australia’s economic ambitions.
Biomedtech innovators were also exempted from changes to the R&D tax incentive, in news that came as a relief to industry groups.
But critics are concerned that funds have been put towards generating the advances of the future and supercharging industry rather than addressing immediate healthcare needs.

Going paperless: ACT pharmacies and doctors prepare for introduction of e-prescriptions for medicines

On Breakfast with Dan Bourchier
How often do you take a paper script to your local chemist for medicine?
The introduction of e-prescription software at doctors offices next year will signal the end of paper scripts being issued across Australia.
A total of $28.2 million has been allocated to upgrade electronic prescribing software and 10 October 2018 has been set as the start date for the new system.

'My Health Record for Receptionists’ Information Session - Toowoomba

When: 12:00pm - 1:30pm Wednesday, 13th June 2018
Where: Toowoomba City Library, Seminar Room, Level 3 155 Herries Street Toowoomba, QLD 4350
DID YOU KNOW? By the end of 2018 every Australian will have a My Health Record.  
This workshop will introduce the My Health Record system and explore its features, functionalities, benefits and uses. The workshop will prepare participants to engage with the system and integrate it with their clinical workflow.

Media release - Digital test beds to drive change in healthcare

8 May 2018
Health technology organisations, clinicians, patients and health service managers are driving innovation and developing creative solutions to improve how health services are delivered. These ideas often give life to the next solution, which can improve safety, drive health efficiency, and enable choice and control for patients.
The Australian Digital Health Agency is calling for proposals for innovative test beds that can be rigorously reviewed and then scaled nationally.
These pioneering initiatives will be co-produced by consumers, governments, healthcare providers, and entrepreneurs and will test evidence-based digital empowerment of key health priorities.

Should you prescribe a health app?

Australian research suggests few of them actually work
10th May 2018
There is little evidence that health apps for managing chronic conditions do what they say they do, according to the results of an Australian study.
Four Bond University academics conducted an overview of systematic reviews to identify “prescribable”, standalone health apps suitable for use in a primary care setting.
Only 22 apps fit this description, but the reviewers caution that the risk of bias in the randomised controlled trials analysed was high and the overall quality of the evidence of effectiveness was very low.

Fitness apps found to make almost no difference to users' health

Researchers studied a range of apps and found only one was effective, while others failed to spark improvements or made the problem worse
An app developed by the Swedish government to curb drinking among university students actually led to them drink more, while a globally popular fitness app made almost no difference to the weight of those who used it, a review of the effectiveness of health apps has found.
Researchers from Bond University in Queensland decided to examine which health and wellness apps, of the quarter of a million available, had been proven to actually work, in the hope that they could provide doctors with a list of evidence-based apps to suggest to patients.
The researchers examined all of the existing credible studies on health apps and evaluated the results to see how many of those studies had shown proven benefits. Only 22 apps had been studied as part of a systemic review, a standard high enough for the researchers to consider.

Gestational diabetes app helps healthcare workers keep a close eye on pregnant women

A smartphone app, developed by Australian scientists and health workers, is helping Queensland mothers-to-be protect themselves and their babies from the potential risks of gestational diabetes.
That figure is expected to jump to more than half a million in the next decade.

Enabling practices to create their own e-record prompts will improve care

10 May 2018


Some diagnoses, problems, examination findings and test results require specific action for the patient’s benefit and/or for the practice’s legal protection. 
But a number of software issues can make recognising the need for action — and then taking that action — more difficult and time consuming.
The first issue is that GPs are not always familiar with a patient’s history, which can be compounded by poor clinical record systems that fail to show, at a glance, the patient’s active conditions and any clinical issues that are yet to be addressed.

Confronting Dr Robot: Creating a people-powered future for AI in health

2 May 2018
Artificial Intelligence could become part of the front door to healthcare. It could make the health system simpler, more accessible, more responsive, more sustainable, and put patients more in control. But there’s a risk that the public could experience it more as a barrier than an open door, blocking access to care, offering opaque advice and dehumanising healthcare in every sense. We’re now at a crucial moment when decisions are being made which will determine whether the technology develops into People Powered AI.
Artificial intelligence (AI) looks like it could be one of the transformative technologies of our era. Healthcare is rich in the data that AI thrives on, and in the kinds of questions that it can tackle. While the use of AI in healthcare is at an earlier stage than the hyperbole surrounding the technology might suggest, it is developing at pace, and this raises both significant opportunities and risks.
9 May 2018

myDr rebirthed, but has the patient information game changed?

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
Tonic Health Media’s acquisition of myDr may lead to a signficant resurgence of this once premium patient information site. But is this really how patients will be getting their information in the future?
The first and most comprehensive commercial patient side health information portal, myDr.com.au, may stage a comeback into the health information limelight, following its acquisition last month by rapidly growing health and well being network, Tonic Health Media.
MyDr was conceived well over 15 years ago by the global publisher UBM as Australia’s answer to WebMD. Back then their was dot com money spinning around and UBM had big dreams. Also the owners of MIMS locally and the now defunct weekly tabloide newspaper Medical Observer, UBM was even trying to launch its  own version of the MedicalDirector patient management system and had more than 50 software developers employed in Canberra, burning millions of dollars trying to take on the rapidly expanding MD business.

Senate backs Greens push for GDPR-style data laws

By Justin Hendry on May 10, 2018 1:30PM

Supports Privacy Act review.

The Senate has backed a motion from Greens senator Jordon Steele-John to improve Australia’s privacy regulations and bring local laws up to the level of the European Union.
Steele-John today moved that the federal government strengthen the protections in the Privacy Act, which he said were “woefully inadequate”.
He called on the government to “consider the impact of Australia’s insufficient and outdated privacy laws”, looking at the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a model of “as a potential model for privacy protection”.

Senate backs Greens motion for privacy laws based on GDPR

The Australian Senate has reversed its position and backed a motion by the Greens calling for the adoption of more stringent privacy protections in line with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, acknowledging that it is world's best practice.
The EU legalisation is scheduled to take effect on 25 May and companies and institutions around the world are scrambling to be compliant with its stipulations.
Greens privacy spokesman Senator Jordon Steele-John said in a statement that the fact that privacy protections needed to be beefed up online was evidenced by the recent scandal over the leaking of Facebook data to the analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. The firm has now closed down but is believed to be operating under a different name.

Privacy is dead. Here’s what comes next

  • Christopher Mims
  • Dow Jones
  • 2:34PM May 7, 2018
Short of living in a remote hut while forsaking mobile phones, the internet and credit cards, there is no longer any way that you, as an individual, can prevent marketers, governments or malicious actors from gathering and using comprehensive, personally identifying information about you.
There are things you can do to reduce the amount of information you leak. You could, for example, ask Facebook to delete your browsing history, or perhaps one day you’ll be able to pay the company to not track you. But keeping up requires more time, sophistication and paranoia than most of us can muster. And it still isn’t 100 per cent effective.
There has been a sea change in how data about all of us is gathered and distributed. Those who want information about us no longer have to observe us directly. They can now collect our data from our friends, contacts - even people we don’t know.

10 key privacy messages you need to know

The first step is to have a policy that the team know and understand
7th May 2018
Privacy Awareness Week (Paw) starts at the weekend and this year the focus is on privacy in small businesses.
Here are 10 key privacy messages from the Pharmacy Guild, which is a Paw partner:
  • Have a privacy policy in place and ensure all staff understand and comply with it.
  • Train your staff and make sure they understand the privacy obligations in your pharmacy.
  • Seek a patient’s consent before using or disclosing their personal or health information. The exception is when consent is not legally required, such as for PBS-related processes.
  • Take immediate action if a patient’s privacy is breached. A guide to what to do next is available through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner .

Security fears over impending national bank customer database

By Eryk Bagshaw
6 May 2018 — 1:30pm
A massive breach of Commonweath Bank data exposed last week has raised security fears around a new national database of Australian bank customers, as Labor pushes for a delay to part of the scheme's scheduled introduction in less than two months.
The database - set to go live on July 1 - will include the details of every person who has taken out a loan or a credit card, along with their repayment history.
The Mandatory Comprehensive Credit Reporting scheme was a recommendation of the 2014 financial system inquiry and is designed to give lenders access to a deeper, richer set of data to ensure loans are only being approved for people who can afford to repay them.

Cyber resilience self-reporting on auditor's radar

By Justin Hendry on May 7, 2018 6:27AM

After agencies struggle to meet top four strategies.

Australia’s national auditor will consider reviewing the effectiveness of agencies assessing their own compliance with the federal government’s mandatory minimum cyber security requirements.
It follows an audit of the Immigration, Human Services, and Tax agencies' cyber resilience in March last year, which revealed that only DHS was fully compliant with the Australian Signals Directorate’s 'top four strategies to mitigate cyber security incidents'.
The top four became mandatory for agencies in April 2013, as part of their annual protective security policy framework (PSPF) self-reporting commitments.

UK watchdog orders Cambridge Analytica to hand over American's personal data

6 May 2018 — 10:48pm
Britain's data privacy watchdog has ordered Cambridge Analytica to hand over all the personal information it holds on a US academic, confirming the right of people abroad to seek data held by a UK firm.
Data privacy activists say that it sets a precedent that would enable millions of others to request information that the company had collected on them.
The Information Commissioner's Office served notice to SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica's parent, to provide the information it holds on David Carroll, saying failure to do so would be a criminal offence punishable by an unlimited fine.

NBN ticks up as Morrow flags wholesale bundles

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM May 11, 2018

Supratim Adhikari

NBN Co’s revenue continues to edge up as more homes are connected to the National Broadband Network, with the company’s outgoing boss Bill Morrow flagging further tweaks to the company’s wholesale pricing model.
The company posted revenue of $1.4 billion for the nine months to March 31, with 3.7 million homes connected to the NBN and 6.5 million premises ready to connect to the network.
Mr Morrow said yesterday that NBN Co could introduce bundled pricing for fixed wireless services offered over the NBN.

NBN Co losses for year mount to $3.3b as users rise to 3.7m

NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, has recorded a loss of $3.3 billion in the nine months to March 2018, the third quarter of the current financial year. This compares to a loss of $2.7 billion for the nine months of the previous financial year.
During the third quarter of 2018, the company recorded losses of $937 million, compared to a loss of $1.04 billion in the corresponding quarter a year ago.
But the company's presentation of the results, by chief executive Bill Morrow (seen above) and chief financial officer Stephen Rue, made no mention of the red ink on the balance sheet.

NBN Co digs in on 12Mbps 'class war'

By Ry Crozier on May 10, 2018 11:51AM

But flags concessions for fixed wireless users.

NBN Co is digging in on its bid to force 12Mbps fixed-line users up to higher priced products, with the company all but confirming it wants to vacate the tier of broadband users.
iTnews reported last month that about one million 12Mbps users will face a choice between price and performance in October, when NBN Co’s permanent new price construct comes into effect.
To move up to the new price construct, 12Mbps users must agree to pay $45 a month wholesale - and likely $60 retail, up to twice what they pay now.

NBN levy is a broadband tax: Labor MP

A levy on fixed line NBN services to fund satellite and wireless services is a broadband tax that could add $84 a year to household bills, a Labor MP claims.
Karen Sweeney
Australian Associated Press May 9, 201812:20pm
Thousands of internet users are facing a "broadband tax" that could add $84 a year to some household and business internet bills, a federal opposition MP claims.
Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland believes a proposed $7.10 monthly per-premises charge to fixed-line broadband providers is a sign the economics of the government's multi-technology national broadband network have deteriorated.
"It is telling that in the week of the federal budget the Turnbull government is seeking to pass a broadband tax that is seeking to raise nearly half a billion dollars over the next decade," she told parliament on Wednesday.

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