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, July 09, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 9th July, 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

Seems to have been a huge week with all sorts of news from diverse sources as the opt-in / opt-out period arrives.
Enjoy the long browse.

Privacy in digital health: Matters of trust in a scandal-plagued era

Trent Yarwood and Justin Warren | 03 Jul 2018
Privacy is about being able to determine who can see what information when and for how long. Security is required to be able to provide privacy. If your information is not secure, you are not in control of who can see your information and you do not have privacy.
But no person is completely self-sufficient. For society to function, we must place our trust in others: engineers to build bridges that do not collapse, restaurants to sell food that doesn’t poison us, and doctors to consider our best interests when they prescribe medicine that will heal us instead of kill us. In every case, we expect those we trust to look after our interests at least as much as their own. We must risk their betrayal in order to let them help us.
For medical practitioners to help us to stay healthy, we must – by necessity – give them information about ourselves. This information is deeply personal; indeed, information about our health is some of the most personal information that exists.

Healthcare is full of 'fake news' – but fortunately, there's a quick fix

6 July 2018


US doctor and blogger Dr Suneel Dhand delves into the problem of 'fake news' in healthcare and reveals the easiest way to combat it. 
Fake news is a term that’s become notorious over the last couple of years. For notorious reasons perhaps. But there’s actually another serious arena where there is inadvertently an awful lot of “fake news” on a daily basis.
And that is, well you guessed it — in healthcare throughout the US’s hospitals and offices! Let me explain, and I suspect anyone who works in healthcare will be familiar with the scenario.
A physician or nurse assumes care of a new patient and a huge amount of information is thrown their way. They have “coronary artery disease”, they “drink five beers a day”, they “take a steroid pill every day”, they “will be discharged to rehabilitation”.

Data, the GDPR and Australia’s new consumer right

By Peter Harris • 05/07/2018
Productivity Commission chairman Peter Harris says the new consumer right will put Australia in the forefront of countries attempting to claw back community and individual control over their data.
The Productivity Commission produced our final report on Availability and Use of Data in March last year.
In the course of multiple inquiries by our organisation over the past decade, two things in the data world made it a clear priority for root and branch review.

My Health Record: on a path to nowhere?

Authored by  Bernard Robertson-Dunn
THE impending move to opt out of the My Health Record will potentially have a very significant impact on GPs and their work practices. It is suggested that GPs need to make informed decisions regarding their use of the system and the advice they give to patients.
The following is a summary of the My Health Record, its context within the government’s broader agenda for acquisition of health and other datasets as well as the way the government is attempting to persuade GPs to participate in its use.
What is My Health Record?
According to the government’s website myhealthrecord.gov.au, “My Health Record is a secure online summary of your health information”.
This gives the impression that when a patient signs up for a My Health Record, or is registered for one under the opt-out scheme, they will get a summary of their health information. They won’t.

WA Health breaks CIO fast

By Justin Hendry on Jul 4, 2018 12:02PM

Reformer appointed after seven years.

Western Australia’s health department has appointed the architect of the state’s transformed IT infrastructure buying scheme, Holger Kaufmann, as its first permanent chief information officer since 2010.
The former head of GovNext-ICT reform initiative at WA’s office of the chief information officer, took up the role at Health Support Services (HSS) arm of WA Health in late May.
WA Health has been without a dedicated technology executive since 2010, opting instead for a series of acting arrangements before handing the role to the CEO of HSS.

Why e-health records are just like self-driving cars

4 July 2018


Drivers are distracted klutzes and computers could obviously do better. Self-driving cars will make all of us safer on the road.
Doctors have spotty knowledge and keep illegible records. Electronic health records with decision support will improve the quality of healthcare.
The parallels are obvious. And so far the outcomes are disappointing on both fronts of our new war against human error.

Australian online digital doctor service expanding to provide comprehensive GP services and specialist appointments

Lynne Minion | 03 Jul 2018
Australian digital doctor service Qoctor is moving to solidify its position as a national healthcare provider with plans to expand beyond sick notes and referral letters to provide comprehensive GP services and specialist appointments by the end of 2018.
Primed to issue its 15,000th medical certificate in the next week, Qoctor has been embraced by patients who choose to access sick notes online following a telehealth consultation with a doctor. The company last year also expanded to provide prescriptions and medication delivery nationwide.
But the company’s greatest growth spurt will likely occur when patients are able to book video consultations with Australian GPs to address their wider healthcare needs, including chronic disease management and mental health issues.

RACGP claims gaining patient consent for My Health Record uploads is not the job of doctors and calls for improved incentives

Lynne Minion | 06 Jul 2018
GPs are calling on the Federal Government to recognise their role to the success of My Health Record with appropriate financial incentives, and just over a week out from the start of the opt-out period claim they can’t be required to obtain consent from patients every time a clinical document is uploaded into the system.
According to its latest My Health Record Position Statement, the RACGP said it supports the vision for a national electronic health record and is committed to making sure GPs can make informed decisions about participation in My Health Record.
But the organisation representing Australian general practitioners is seeking greater recognition for the role its members play in producing the Shared Health Summaries that are cornerstone documents in the My Health Record system. The RACGP is also pushing back against the Australian Digital Health Agency’s expectation that GPs are responsible for gathering patient consent.

HealthEngine reveals data breach

By Ry Crozier on Jun 29, 2018 4:51PM

Patient feedback information 'may' have been accessed.

HealthEngine has revealed a data breach in which 59,600 pieces of patient feedback “may have been improperly accessed”.
The company, which acts as an online booking engine for medical practices, said it had notified those affected as well as the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
It blamed the breach on “an error in the way” its website operated, saying that information “ordinarily not visible to users on the site” was accidentally exposed in the webpage’s code.
Of the 59,600 pieces of feedback, 75 contained identifying information about a site user.

Doctor booking service HealthEngine leaks data through website

Australia's biggest online doctor appointment booking service, HealthEngine, has reported a data breach, saying that personally identifiable information of some users may have been accessed through the company's online Practice Recognition System.
Last week, the company was reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation to have sent the private medical information of hundreds of users to lawyers who are on the hint for people who would want to file personal injury claims.
In response to this claim, HealthEngine said it "does not provide any personal information to third parties without the express consent of the affected user or in those circumstances described in our privacy policy". Consent was obtained through a pop-up box during the booking process, the company adds.
2 July 2018

HealthEngine fights to win back trust

Posted by Julie Lambert
HealthEngine, the medical booking service under investigation for sharing patient details, has pledged to make “substantial changes” to its advertising and referrals policies despite denying any wrongdoing. 
The company says media reports have created a false impression that patient information was being “widely shared with third parties without their knowledge”.
“This simply isn’t the case,” HealthEngine’s CEO, Dr Marcus Tan, said in a communiqué to clients late last week. 
Australia’s biggest online GP booking service is under fire from all sides after revelations that it has been sharing patients’ details with third parties.

HealthEngine app announces 'major changes' after doctor and patient backlash

By Pat McGrath, ABC Investigations
Updated yesterday at 7:35pm
Australia's biggest online doctor-booking service HealthEngine has announced "major changes" to how it does business following revelations it shared users' medical information with personal injury law firms and other third parties.

Key points:

  • HealthEngine has promised "major changes" after coming under fire from GPs, patients
  • Health app boasted to advertisers it could tailor advertising to patients' symptoms
  • Start-up says it will now stop third-party referrals
Last week, the ABC revealed the company had funnelled hundreds of users' health data to lawyers, and boasted to advertisers it could target users with marketing based on their symptoms and medical conditions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has ordered the Information Commissioner to investigate the company and asked the Digital Health Agency to conduct an "urgent review" of its relationship with HealthEngine.

Scandal-hit HealthEngine axes third party referrals, patient reviews

By Esther Han
Updated 5 July 2018 — 6:26pmfirst published at 6:00pm
Amid public outrage over its handling of patient data, online GP booking business HealthEngine has announced significant changes to its business practices, including no longer funnelling patient information to law firms seeking new clients.
HealthEngine CEO Marcus Tan said after extensive reviews of its partnerships and policies, he decided to axe its controversial "third party referral service", patient reviews of GPs, and third party banner advertising.
"We've apologised for any confusion caused around the editing of reviews ... and to make sure there's no more confusion we've shut that part of the business down," Dr Tan, himself a GP, told Fairfax Media.

Embattled HealthEngine boss talks to Aus Doc

Scandals force booking website back to basics
6th July 2018
After weeks of outcry over its handling of patient data, scandal-hit booking website HealthEngine says it’s going back to basics, excising the parts of the business that have caused it so much drama over the past month.
The company says its core business — allowing patients to book appointments online with practices that sign up to HealthEngine — is its top priority.
Founder and CEO Dr Marcus Tan says the company is no longer publishing reviews, has ditched third-party marketing arrangements and it will soon drop advertising on the website.

Health informatics booster shot for critical care

By Matt Johnston on Jul 6, 2018 6:56AM

Good data saves lives.

Keeping sufficient ICU beds immediately available in hospitals for the most serious and critical cases has been a longstanding challenge for hospitals - but good data fuelled by analytics is changing things for the better.
As pressures the health system increases, experts at the coal face have argued the long awaited shift from paper to digital data across hospitals in Australia is helping to drastically reduce the number of avoidable admissions to the intensive care unit.
Speaking during a webinar convened by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA), chief clinical information officer at Epworth Healthcare's eight hospitals, Dr Damian Claydon-Platt openly questioned what was the best way to free-up the most intensely focused care for those who need it most.

Why we can’t dismiss big data

2 July 2018
We live in a connected world and health is no different. These days that means that good care is not just about a good patient-doctor relationship. Good care now includes good data.
Many of you reading this will remember the 5-by-8-inch cards used to record scanty information. They persisted up until the mid-1980s until the electronic medical record took over.
Now e-records are an essential part of medical practice and GPs know first-hand that as technology and medicine have advanced, the data that gather around patients and their care have grown too. Keeping a track of it and ensuring it’s stored safely are also essential aspects of quality care.

Patients empowered with new clinical trials app

Updated yesterday at 5:56pm
It is almost three years since 29-year-old truckdriver Carem Mehrez was given just months to live.
"I can't even explain it, you know," Mr Mehrez told the ABC. "I'm just very happy to be here."
What started with a cough turned out to be, "a big mass in the chest, 8x4cm, it was pretty massive".
Mr Mehrez was diagnosed with grey zone lymphoma — and four rounds of chemotherapy and radiation took its toll.

Dispensing disruption: Are pharmacies ready for digital rivals?

By Nassim Khadem & Patrick Hatch
7 July 2018 — 12:05am
When Amazon announced its purchase last week of online pharmacy PillPack, which packages and delivers pre-sorted doses of prescribed drugs direct to consumers’ homes, major US-based pharmacies from CVS Health to Walgreens saw their share prices fall about 10 per cent.
It was Amazon’s play at a slice of the United States’ booming prescription drug market that in 2016 totalled $US328.6 billion ($443 billion).
It was also, possibly, a crystal ball into Australia’s destiny.
In an age when everything from a box of fresh vegetables to someone who will help assemble your Ikea furniture can arrive on your doorstep within hours after a few taps on a smartphone, how long will people continue to line up in pharmacies waiting for their medicine to be dispensed?

The simple handheld device that's saving $22m a year

2 July 2018
Big data. Teleconsultations. My Health Record. These technologies are going to transform general practice, allegedly.
But are we missing a trick when it comes to older technological ideas, such as point-of-care testing in primary care?
In 2008, the airline in the NT that transported path samples to labs closed down. So the NT Government and Flinders University in Adelaide started funding hand-held blood analysers for 80 remote primary care clinics.
The analysers perform tests for electrolytes, troponins, blood gases, urea, glucose, INR and creatinine in just 10 minutes, with studies showing sensitivity and specificity comparable with other labs.

Federal Government announces fast-tracked My Aged Care overhaul and new national dementia network

Lynne Minion | 03 Jul 2018
An ambitious overhaul of the Federal Government’s My Aged Care is poised to kick off with the establishment of an advisory group to guide the platform’s integration with clinical systems, but linkage with My Health Record remains off the table in the initial revamp.
At the Medical Software Industry Association’s Stakeholder Forum in Sydney yesterday, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said in a video address that the Department of Health will work closely with the sector to implement projects including a referral system for health professionals.
“This project will allow doctors and specialists to send referrals to My Aged Care directly from their clinical information systems and to track the progress of their clients through My Aged Care,” Wyatt said.

NUAA Statement on My Health Record

Below is a statement by NUAA on the My Health Record — a new initiative by the federal government to create an online summary of your health data. A range of groups and experts have raised serious concerns about privacy and security of the data. Everyone will get the chance to opt-out over a three month period from July 16 to October 15, you can register here to receive for information on opting out. At this stage, NUAA recommends if you have concerns, to opt out.
Please read the statement for more information, check out a collection of articles or get in touch at nuaa@nuaa.org.au or phone (02) 8354-7300 or free call 1800 644 413 if you have any questions. We will be supporting community members to opt out when more information is available on the process.
Note: (NUAA) is The NSW Users and AIDS Association.

Proposed future data sharing laws revealed

By Justin Hendry on Jul 4, 2018 4:50PM

Flags 'Accredited Data Authorities'.

The federal government has called for comment on sweeping new laws that propose making far more public data available for sharing and release.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Wednesday released an issues paper [pdf] that seeks input from citizens, businesses and researchers on the development of the Data Sharing and Release Bill.
The government committed to introducing legislation to underpin wider data sharing and release in its official response [pdf] to a Productivity Commission report into data availability and use.

SHPA to raise engagement with My Health Record

Another pharmacy peak health body has committed to supporting My Health Record

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia and the Australian Digital Health Agency have partnered to deliver a flexible online and face-to-face national education and training package on My Health Record to hospital pharmacists.
This is aimed at increasing engagement and awareness with hospital pharmacy departments across Australia.
The package will inform hospital pharmacists working in public and private healthcare services about the expansion of My Health Record in 2018 and how they should revise services and care to integrate the My Health Record given this significant growth in Australians’ use of the digital health record.

Transcript of Sydney Doorstop

Transcript of Minister for Health, Greg Hunt's doorstop in Sydney regarding the A new digital trial to help patients better manage their medication after they leave hospital and My Health Record.
Topics: A new digital trial to help patients better manage their medication after they leave hospital; My Health Record

Look I’m delighted to be here at the CBD Pharmacy with Jay the pharmacist and Jen and Michelle and (inaudible) who are behind the counter serving and all magnificently trained Australian pharmacists.

David Quilty from the Pharmacy Guild, Jane Jackson from the Pharmacy Society and the head of the Digital Health Agency Tim Kelsey, but perhaps most importantly, Robyn. Because Robyn is a patient who represents everything that we’re launching and trying to improve today.

Robyn is one of more than 200,000 Australians who were admitted to hospital in the last year because of a medication error. Essentially there was an error between the practice and the pharmacy in terms of the transmission of her script. That meant that she had the wrong medicine and that meant that she ended up in hospital. Fortunately she’s okay because we’ve got such a great health system.

Media release - Day dawns on Australia’s Digital Health Strategy

Australians will be able to access new digital services that help them take more control of their health and wellbeing following the official launch of Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, Seamless, and Secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia.
The strategy will help deliver improved services including digital baby books for new parents, and coordinated real time care for patients with chronic illnesses. In addition, GPs and other health professionals will no longer need to use fax machines to communicate key clinical reports, as they will transition to safe, using digital health services.
The strategy has a clear plan for collaboration and action to improve health outcomes for all Australians. All Australian governments, industry, and providers have developed the first Framework for Action under the strategy. The framework promotes collaboration and information sharing, and acts as a guide for organisations recalibrating their work programs to deliver national priorities.

Government backs projects to test My Health Record’s potential

$8.5 million for 15 trials as part of Digital Health Test Beds program
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 03 July, 2018 16:00
The federal government will fund 15 trials that will use data drawn from the My Health Record system to boost patient outcomes.
The projects, funded as part of the $8.5 million Digital Health Test Beds program, will utilise data from consenting participants’ eHealth records.
The projects cover a wide range of areas including medication management, the integration of mobile apps with My Health Record, pathology results analysis, predictive analytics and data exchange.

Govt tries to prove My Health Record's worth

By Justin Hendry on Jul 3, 2018 5:57PM

Funds 15 digital testbeds.

The federal government has funded 15 testbed projects to investigate new ways of addressing priority health areas using information from the My Health Record.
The Australian Digital Health Agency went looking for projects to fund in May to trial new models of healthcare and enhance consumer participation.
It wants to use the projects to test digital technologies and create evidence of the impact of new services or models of care, drawing on information from the personal e-health record.
A three-month opt-out period for the My Health Record will run from July 16 to October 15, after which the record shifts to an opt-out model.

Govt backs 15 trials of tech built around My Health Records

Apps, data exchanges, education platforms and secure messaging among the 'test bed' initiatives
George Nott (CIO) 04 July, 2018 10:42
A mobile app for pancreatic cancer patients, a data exchange to help beat diabetes, an online health education platform and a secure messaging solution to communicate between aged care homes and GPs are among 15 projects being given early access to existing My Health Records in a government backed ‘test beds’ program.
The projects are being run by universities, patient advocacy groups, health tech firms and hospitals between them sharing $8.5 million in funding.
As of last month 5.89 million Australians have registered for a My Health Record, as well as 12,763 healthcare organisations including general practices, hospitals, pharmacies and aged care services. More than 20 million prescription and dispense records have been uploaded. Only consenting My Health Record holders will participate in the trials.
July 4, 2018

Govt spends up on MHR tests

Health records
The federal government has revealed how it will spend $8.5 million on a number of test cases for the use of data from My Health Record as it continues efforts to justify the merits of the controversial scheme.
It comes just weeks before the three-month opt-out period for the electronic health record begins. From late October, every Australian will have a My Health Record (MHR) unless they have expressly chosen not to.
The government will be providing $600,000 each to 15 “testbed” projects using anonymised data from consenting MHR accounts in order to improve medical research and treatment.

Med safety project a coup

Pharmacy IT group to lead a new project to explore the impact of digital health records in improving patient medication safety

The Fred IT Group has been named by the Australian Digital Health Agency to lead a new project to explore the impact of digital health records in improving patient medication safety.
This is the second coup for Fred IT in recent months, as it was also appointed to develop a real-time prescription monitoring system, called SafeScript, across Victoria.

Australian aged care peak body partners on My Health Record

A new partnership has been announced between one of the aged care sectors leading peak bodies, and the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).
6 July, 2018
LASA has shared their support of My Health Record which is rolling out by the end of 2018 (Source: Shutterstock)
The partnership between Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) and the ADHA will aim to provide information to LASA members and stakeholders about the My Health Record Expansion Program, and all its benefits for all Australians.
LASA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sean Rooney highlights that the Agency will have digitised My Health Record for all Australians, except those that opt out, by the end of 2018, meaning that doctors, pharmacists and authorised healthcare providers will be able to access a person’s My Health Record to assist in their future treatment of patients and issues such as prescription of medicines and advance care planning.

My Aged Care overhaul to make referrals easier for doctors

By Judy Skatssoon on July 5, 2018 in Community Care Review
The federal government hopes to have a new system which will allow health professionals to send referrals directly from their own clinical systems to My Aged Care ready to go by June next year.
The changes are part of a comprehensive overhaul of the aged care portal foreshadowed in the 2018-19 budget.
Addressing a medical software forum via video link on Monday, aged care minister Ken Wyatt briefed stakeholders on the referrals project, which will be funded through the more than $60 million earmarked to improve access to services through the gateway.

Technology recognised as the bedrock of the future of healthcare as Health Minister launches Australia’s digital health roadmap

Lynne Minion | 04 Jul 2018
A spotlight was placed on the health technology industry yesterday and its fundamental role in the future life-saving possibilities of healthcare, advances in medical research and health system efficiencies as the Federal Government pledged supercharged support to the sector at the official launch of the Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy and Framework for Action.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government’s first framework will act as a roadmap for the development of high quality digital healthcare as he also announced the 15 successful bidders for $8.5 million in funding for digital test bed trials that will support the uptake and development of My Health Record.
“My Health Record will help save and protect lives and it will offer increasing clinical utility in our health system in the future,” Hunt said.

Australia’s My Health Record to deliver national education and training package to hospital pharmacists

By: Teresa Umali
4 Jul 2018
A My Health Record is an online summary of a citizen's health information. It can be accessed at any time by the citizen and his or her healthcare providers.
Technology should be embraced when it can influence positive practice change because sifting through growing volumes of medicines information while caring for some of the most unwell patients is a daily challenge in hospital pharmacy.
An announcement made by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) highlighted on the national education and training package on My Health Record is being delivered to hospital pharmacists, informing them of the My Health Record expansion in 2018.

IBM inks $1bn whole of government deal

By Julian Bajkowski on Jul 5, 2018 7:27AM

$300 million in existing deals covered.

The federal government has locked in a deal touted to be worth up to $1 billion with mega vendor IBM as its efforts to extract better value from major enterprise suppliers grinds on.
The five year deal is a coup for the supplier which has been fighting a rear-guard action to keep its heavily entrenched business across federal agencies following a series of bungles and blowouts including the Census fail debacle and previous problems at Health and Immigration.
“As a major buyer of IBM’s products and services, the deal enables us to maximise the return on our ICT investments and ensures that taxpayers are always getting the best possible value for money,” Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said in an announcement.

Government signs mammoth five-year IT deal with IBM

Highest value contract ever signed by the government
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 05 July, 2018 08:57
The federal government has signed a whole-of-government purchasing agreement with IBM worth an estimated $1 billion over its five-year lifespan.
The government expects the mammoth deal will deliver more than $100 million in savings.
All government agencies will be able to take advantage of the agreement, IBM said. The scope includes hardware, software, support and cloud-based services. IBM said it also covered “joint innovation programs” in quantum computing, information security, and research.

IBM deal exposes real cost of legacy

By Justin Hendry on Jul 5, 2018 12:00PM

The vendor government can't live without.

At the heart of the Commonwealth’s $1 billion government-wide deal with major vendor IBM is a push to find new ways to save, but also new ways to spend.
It is the latest in a series of deals with the federal government’s biggest IT dollar value vendors brokered by the Digital Transformation Agency to try and synchronise how essential IT needs are sourced.
Similar deals have already been inked with software giant SAP in recent months, although the only major contract to emerge from that is nowhere near as dear as the figure being touted with IBM.
  • Updated Jul 5 2018 at 3:38 PM

Experts question Turnbull government's $1b contract with IBM after census fail

Information technology analysts have questioned the decision by the Turnbull government to award IBM a $1 billion contract after the 2016 census debacle.
The deal, which covers the whole public service, raised concerns the deal could lock out rival vendors and fail to deliver value for money.
The government has touted the five-year deal for delivering $100 million in savings and benefits for taxpayers taking advantage of the Commonwealth's buying power to lock in discounts on hardware, software and cloud computing for all departments and agencies irrespective of their size.
But Dr Wissam Raffoul, an adviser with ICT consultancy IBRS, said the government should have opted for a smaller deal and made IBM earn back trust.

Big Brother is here as the government links your face scan to tax, health and welfare benefits

Sue Dunlevy, National Health Reporter, News Corp Australia Network
June 30, 2018 10:00pm
YOUR face will be scanned - and then analysed - to access Medicare and childcare subsidies, the age pension, welfare benefits and pay tax online under a controversial reform.
Under a Big Brother style scheme, Australians will have to provide biometric data to a controversial myGovID pilot program which will begin in October and Human Services
Minister Michael Keenan wants the $90 million system to be fully operational by 2025.
The government says it will help Australians frustrated at having to remember different passwords to access up to 30 government services but privacy and tech experts are worried people’s most personal attributes could be hacked.

The GP letter experiment: so what the bl**dy hell is BERT?

And what of the role played by the RACGP and AMA?
2nd July 2018
Although very few were aware what was happening, last year some 5300 GPs were the lab rats in an experiment concocted by a small unit based in the bowels of the Department of Health known as BERT.
BERT, which stands for the Behavioural Economics and Research Team, was set up with the idea of using psychology to alter, change and adapt the behaviour of those who fall under the department’s wide remit - including GPs it seems.
The experiment was a simple one — what would happen if you sent out four different versions of a letter alerting doctors to their relatively high rates of antibiotics prescribing?
Well, last week we found out the results.

HIMSS Asia Pacific and eHealth Queensland sign an Agreement for the HIMSS AsiaPac18 Conference and Exhibition

Jul 02, 2018
SINGAPORE, July 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- eHealth Queensland and HIMSS Asia Pacific have signed an agreement for eHealth Queensland to assist with the facilitation of the HIMSS AsiaPac18 Conference and Exhibition, to be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in Brisbane Australia from 5 – 8 November 2018.
HIMSS AsiaPac18 will be convened under the theme Healthcare Anytime, Anywhere. The key topics that the event will be addressing are in the following tracks:
  • Connect – Telehealth, Interoperability, Health Information Exchange, Integrated Care
    In this track, we explore tools that will drive connectivity between providers, consumers and providers, healthcare information, IT systems and care settings.
  • Consumer-Partnership – Engagement, Connected Health, Team-Based Care, Consumer-Centred Care
    In this track, find out how best to keep pace with new age healthcare consumers. At the same time, discover ways to engage with those who have yet to jump on the bandwagon by leveraging information and technology.

Data breach at Tasmanian electoral body

The Tasmanian Electoral Commission says an “unknown attacker” has downloaded a back-up file containing personal information of electors.
Australian Associated Press June 30, 20188:00pm
The Tasmanian Electoral Commission says an "unknown attacker" has breached a server's security and downloaded a back-up file containing the names, addresses, emails and date-of-birth information of electors.
The breach occurred through a server of the Barcelona-based company Typeform, whose online forms have been used on the TEC website since 2015 for election services, the commission said in a statement on Saturday.
The breach was identified on June 27 with the vulnerability closed down within half an hour of detection.

Tasmanian voters caught in data breach

By Ry Crozier on Jul 2, 2018 8:39AM

Express vote applicants impacted.

Data on Tasmanian voters that applied for an express vote at recent elections has been stolen by hackers, the state’s electoral commission has warned.
The commission is one of a growing list of victims of a breach at Spanish web form maker, Typeform, in which hackers were able to exfiltrate a “partial backup” file containing a range of client data.
The Tasmanian Electoral Commission said in a statement that data collected through five forms on its website had been stolen.

Breach at big Australian firm can end up costing $35.9m: survey

Big Australian companies — more than 500 employees — that suffer a breach can incur economic losses of up to $35.9 million, a study done for Microsoft by Frost & Sullivan claims.
In a statement, Microsoft said economic losses were calculated from direct costs, indirect costs — including customer churn and reputational damage — and also induced costs such the impact of a cyber breach to the broader ecosystem and economy, such as the decrease in consumer and enterprise spending.
The study also came to the conclusion that the potential direct economic loss caused to Australian businesses by cyber security incidents could amount to $29 billion annually - about 1.9% of Australia's GDP. Direct costs mean tangible losses in revenue, decreased profitability and fines, lawsuits and remediation.

6 useful apps – as developed by health professionals

4 July 2018
Meet six healthcare professionals who have used their clinical experience to develop useful medical apps. Neil Bramwell reports


Canberra GP Dr Christine Colson developed her travel medicine app in her spare time over two decades.
The TripGenie app was adapted for mobile devices from the desktop software, tMeD, developed by her company, Rover TravelScript, set up in 1997 as an “essential travel medicine prescribing companion” for health professionals and overseas travellers, available through an initial subscription of $180 (with a $90 annual renewal) per user.
An instant report, with particular reference to yellow fever alerts and the need for yellow fever vaccination certificates when travelling between countries, is generated for all combinations of itineraries covering 229 countries.
“When I was working in travel medicine we were regularly seeing people coming in on their GP’s advice for vaccinations they didn’t need, particularly regarding yellow fever,” Dr Colson says.

South Islanders choose not to opt-out of sharing their health information

Sunday, 1 July 2018  
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
Less than 0.2 percent of South Islanders have opted out of having a shared-care record since HealthOne went live in 2012.
The South Island’s electronic shared-care record view, HealthOne, stores health information including GP records, prescribed medications and test results.
HealthOne covers everybody living in the South Island, more than one million people, and only 1,150 patients have opted out.
The system collects data from secondary and primary care providers and makes it visible in a single shared patient record. Access to the record is available at the point of care for multiple providers including GPs, pharmacists, hospital clinicians and Nurse Maude staff.

Orion Health sells Rhapsody division for $205 million

July 5, 2018
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
 Orion Health is selling its Rhapsody division to British investment company Hg for $205 million. Orion will then buy back a 25 per cent shareholding in the business for $28 million.
The company says the sale will have no impact on its customers’ day-to-day relationship with the Orion Health team.
Rhapsody is Orion Health’s integration engine and is an integral part of the company’s suite of applications used by health providers across New Zealand.
A statement to eHealthNews.nz says, “our Orion Health team will continue to work with customers as part of the Hg agreement.

Facebook Australia’s ‘most distrusted’ media brand: survey

Social media is deeply distrusted by Australians, with Facebook by far the most distrusted media brand, according to a national survey by Roy Morgan Research.
According to the Roy Morgan MEDIA Net Trust Score Survey half of all Australians – or 47% - distrust social media, compared to only 4% who distrust, for example, magazines. And the survey found that the national broadcaster, the ABC, is by far Australia’s most trusted media organisation - with only 9% saying they distrusted the ABC.

And distrust of social media was highest amongst young Australians, with 68%  of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 53%  of 25 to 34-year-olds distrusting social media the most, while men (49%) distrust social media marginally more than women (45%).

Software error blamed for leak of 150,000 NHS users' data

The data of 150,000 patients, who had told their GPs that they did not wish to share it, was shared because the patients' objections were not sent to Britain's National Health Service due to errors in third-party software supplied by a company known as TPP.
UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jackie Doyle-Price, said in a statement on Monday: "NHS Digital recently identified a supplier defect in the processing of historical patient objections to the sharing of their confidential health data."
The data sharing occurred between March 2015 and June this year.
The software supplied by TPP is known as SystmOne and a glitch within its innards resulted in the patients' objections to data sharing not being respected.

Top cyber spy warns against dependence on artificial intelligence we don't understand

By David Wroe
2 July 2018 — 5:32pm
Australia’s top cyber spy says the world needs to think more about risks created by over-reliance on artificial intelligence so that people don’t “sleepwalk” into dependence on machines they don’t actually understand.
In an rare public speech, Mike Burgess, Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate, also said spy agencies around the world - including his own - were increasingly using artificial intelligence to carry out their covert activities.
“It is right the world embraces artificial intelligence, but we must embrace this with our eyes wide open. We should not sleepwalk into this, where we suddenly find ourselves in the world that is controlled by software and very few people understand how it works,” Mr Burgess told a conference on artificial intelligence hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Government looks at changing role of telco industry ombudsman

By Jennifer Duke
5 July 2018 — 9:39am
Substantial changes to the way consumer complaints about telecommunications companies are handled are on the cards, with the role of the industry ombudsman potentially to be changed by the government.
Handing some of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) functions to a new External Dispute Resolution body is part of three proposals in a new Consumer Safeguards paper released on Thursday.
The first proposal is for telcos to have complaint handling policies that will outline their processes and procedures for dealing with customer complaints.

Telco complaints are too damn high, government says

Government mulls replacing TIO to deal with telco complaints
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 05 July, 2018 10:28
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) could be reshaped or replaced under government proposals to deal with soaring complaints about phone and Internet services.
The government today released a discussion paper on potential reforms to the handling of consumer complaints about telecommunications services.
TIO figures have revealed a massive increase in consumer complaints to the body — particularly complaints relating to services delivered over the National Broadband Network.

Fixed line NBN stats put heat on ALP

  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM July 6, 2018

Ben Packham

The biggest study yet of NBN traffic has revealed customer network usage is broadly the same for all fixed-line technologies, intensifying the pressure on Labor as it considers whether to dump plans to further “gold plate” the $49 billion network.
The study, undertaken in April, found there was virtually no difference in the volume of data used by fixed-line customers, whether they were on Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises connections, the ­Coalition’s preferred fibre-to-the-node technology, or the old HFC cable-TV network.
The finding is revealed in a blog post today by NBN Co chief technology officer Ray Owen, and follows an analysis of the network’s entire user base in April, which then stood at 3.7 million.


Anonymous said...

The following story is well worth reading. Privacy in digital health: Matters of trust in a scandal-plagued era

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Then there's this one:

It's crunch time for the 'My Health Thing'


9 July 2018

It's less than a week until the opt-out period for My Health Record starts. If patients don’t opt out between 16 July and 15 October, they will have a record created automatically, filled with two years of MBS and PBS data for starters.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has to persuade patients of the importance of My Health Record while also ensuring they know about opting out if they don’t share the agency’s optimism.

The deadline has coincided with a qualitative study detailing exactly why some patients aren’t hot on joining the billion-dollar system.

Conducted by a professor of communication at the University of Canberra, it highlights some unexpected concerns, particularly among patients who registered when My Health Record was first launched but are disillusioned with their records lying empty.

"It was just like a system ... created that did nothing," said one participant.

Another: "I saw three or four different doctors for this one problem and they really struggled to communicate with one another. Which is weird, because I’m on the My Health Thing so surely it couldn’t have been that hard."

It shows what doctors have said for years: there’s no point selling the My Health Thing to patients if GPs don’t see any value in using it, as it is GPs who create and curate shared health summaries — the thing’s clinical backbone.

The government expects 15 million more patients in the system after the opt-out period. One test of its success will be how many secure a nominated provider (a GP) to upload shared health summaries.

Another study participant said she made a point of not signing up because she couldn’t see how My Health Record would help in an emergency.

Where did this patient work? The Federal Department of Health.


Dr Chris Kear
One of the big problems with MHR is that there are enormous potential penalties to any practice who are implicated in a data leak from the system. This doesn't encourage GP's to join, and it is a bit hypocritical for a Government who can't stop leaks from it's own Cabinet, to bring in jail terms for GPs whose systems are maliciously hacked.

I think we need a more kid glove approach, and some support, from the Government, rather than a list of potential penalties before we even join the thing.

At present I have no interest in joining. Not because it couldn't be a good thing, but the potential downside in prison is a bit discouraging if one of our practice staff are careless, or if we're hacked.

If I'd been consulted about shared health records, I'd have brought up the idea behind the French system, where the patient has a smart card with their data on it. They can take it to any clinic, it has all their information on it, it's owned by them, and is their own responsibility to look after it.

Anonymous said...

I think people need to be aware of this, some implications and some big questions


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

July 11, 2018 8:44 AM - WTF?

"Doctors and specialists will be able to send referrals directly from their clinical information systems, and track the progress of their clients under the changes, but integration with the national health record will not be part of the revamp."

but ....

Federal Government announces fast-tracked My Aged Care overhaul and new national dementia network


"Integrating with GP systems is a top priority, with connection to the Australian Digital Health Agency’s My Health Record part of the longer-term vision."

In other words, the GP's system is the centre of the patient's health data environment.

The first reference also contains:

"Industry advice is instead being sought on how to implement two-way messaging, integration with clinical systems, built-in decision support and integration into other health and aged care sector systems."

Is this in addition to, part of ADA's initiative, or what?

ADHA's Framework for Action says

"There is an ecosystem of digital initiatives that are relevant to managing people’s health and wellbeing with discrete governance and management processes, including My Aged Care, Mental Health Gateway, Govpass, MyGov, the NDIS, the National Cancer Screening Registry and claims and payment processes.

To address the risk of fragmentation and duplication, and to ensure the consumers of these services receive coordinated and efficient care that is simple to navigate, a national health technology strategy will be co-produced.

The technology strategy will be a high-level, whole-of-government strategy that will identify upcoming requirements and ensure that existing investment is optimally leveraged, describe how existing digital health foundation infrastructure services and different streams of government technology relating to health will integrate and align, and identify opportunities that will help provide a seamless experience for users."

Apart from the problem not being just technology, it is difficult to work out exactly what is going on.

Anonymous said...

The ADHA like the DTO are probably discovering that they are in the scheme of this, rather insignificant back office agencies and like good little English children should be seen and not heard and speak only when spoken too.

Anonymous said...

6:34 PM you might be right, the signals will appear after optout has concluded. Will ADHA downsize? What will it’s new purpose be? Will it simply return to being the eHealth branch of old?

Anonymous said...

Because it's digital, we could simply switch it off?