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, August 13, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 13th August, 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

Still seems to be a lot of discussion on opt-out. With Parliament coming back this week it will be fascinating to see how it plays out.
-----  Opt-Out News Start.

Proof the web can pull a report out of the hat

Sorry, Parliamentary Library, but we peeked behind the scenes of your My Health Record disappearing act
Antony Scholefield
7th August 2018
Privacy advocates and parents of Snapchatting teens will warn you that what happens on the internet will eventually resurface on the internet. 
A few weeks back, the Parliamentary Library, which provides independent expert advice to MPs, published an article on My Health Record, declaring that it represented a “significant reduction” in the legal threshold for the release of private medical information to government agencies, including the police.
The point was simple: under the My Health Record Act, access to a patient’s medical records can be granted if the Australian Digital Health Agency “reasonably believes” a law has been breached. 
August 6 2018 - 12:40PM

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network plans more engagement after privacy changes to My Health Record

Toby Vue
The Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network plans more engagement after privacy changes to My Health Record

My Health Privacy Changes 'Just A Few Band-Aids', More Needed

Josh Butler

Ten Daily Senior News Reporter

"It’s a bit of a joke," critics said.

The government's abrupt backdown on certain privacy issues around the My Health Record system is welcome but does not go far enough, according to critics who remain concerned about security of sensitive data.
Health minister Greg Hunt announced on Tuesday that protections would be strengthened around the disclosure of health information from the government database. The My Health Records Act 2012 allows system operators to legally disclose health information if "reasonably necessary" to prevent or investigate crimes, or for "the protection of public revenue" -- but the Australian Digital Health Agency said internal policies, which are superseded by legislation, would require a court order to pass on health info.

Privacy concerns given all clear

07 August 2018
FEDERAL Minister for Health Greg Hunt has alleviated privacy concerns around the My Health Record.
Several groups had raised concerns holes in the My Health Record legislation would have allowed police and government agencies to access personal details without permission.
Mr Hunt said the security around the online files would now be strengthened and a court order required before any information was released for any purpose.

My Health Record opt-out formally extended

By Justin Hendry on Aug 10, 2018 11:50AM

Aussies given another month.

Australians have been given an extra month to opt-out of the My Health Record scheme after the federal government moved to bolster privacy provisions.
Health Minister Greg Hunt formally extended the opt-out window on Friday morning after flagging the change last week.
Individuals will now be given until November 15 to withdraw their consent from the scheme, though the changes are yet to be reflected in the opt-out portal.
The actual creation of records is now likely to occur in mid-December.

Opt-out period for My Health Record officially extended until November 15

Individuals will have an extra month to opt out of the digital health record in a move that buys the government more time to fix the related legislation.
By Asha McLean | August 10, 2018 -- 01:52 GMT (11:52 AEST) | Topic: Security
Individuals wishing to opt out of the federal government's My Health Record will have an extra month to do so, with the period for cancelling the digital medical file extended until November 15, 2018.
Originally, the opt-out period was from July 16 through October 15, 2018.
On the first day of the opt-out window, 20,000 people chose not have a digital health record.

My Health Record opt-out period extended

The Australian Government has extended the opt-out period for My Health Record by an extra month to 15 November 2018.
10 August 2018
The Turnbull Government has today extended the opt-out period for My Health Record by an extra month to 15 November 2018, as was announced last week.
This was a key request from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners and gives Australians more time to consider their options as we strengthen the 2012 My Health Record legislation.
The Government will amend the 2012 legislation to ensure if someone wishes to cancel their record they will be able to do so permanently, with their record deleted from the system forever.
-----  Non Opt Out News i.e. All The Rest!

You've got mail – but should you reply?

How to keep patients happy while navigating privacy laws
Georgie Haysom
30th July 2018
It may be easier to communicate with your patient by email, but is it appropriate and will you be breaching privacy laws?
 ‘Really doctor, can’t you just email it to me? I can’t take a day off work to come and pick it up.’
You check the patient’s file and the address looks to be a shared email address for ‘thesmiths’. You are not sure whether it’s still current. Can you email the report?
Your patients may be asking for email communication as it is often much easier and more convenient for them. But doctors worry about whether they can send information via email — particularly in light of the recent focus on data protection and privacy.
  • Updated Aug 10 2018 at 9:00 AM

Doctor Google could put you in danger and a world of pain, as I found out

by Robert Shrimsley
As I lay on my side, retching on the 12-millimetre tube that was being worked ever deeper down my throat, I had good reason to reconsider the diagnostic benefits of Dr Google. The subsequent elation that nothing grim had been discovered dissolved over the following hours into an irritation that I had nonetheless allowed the internet to goad me into doing this to myself.
You can imagine the process that led me to the endoscopy room and the powerful role that internet-enabled self-diagnosis played in the discomfort that followed. The path to the probe was a low-level but long-running sense that something was wrong with my throat, some occasional difficulties swallowing, long hours googling and an interview given by a now late journalist, in which he discussed early symptoms that seemed disquietingly similar to my own.
I'm not, I think, in the category of people always looking for health problems. My odd visits to the doctor have tended to be justified. Ordinarily, I would be only too happy to go away with assurances that there is nothing major wrong, and I was initially satisfied with the simple, non-scary explanation of acid reflux and the medication that seemed to solve the problem. But when it returned, with other more ambiguous symptoms and no better explanation, I began to think about all those stories that begin: "If only the doctors had taken this seriously when I first went to see them."

Standards group looks to accelerate adoption of SNOMED

Wednesday, 8 August 2018  
eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth
The Health Information Standards Organisation is repurposing its SNOMED implementation working group to become the SNOMED Adoption Accelerator NZ and is looking for new projects to support.
HISO is an expert group that sits under the Ministry of Health and SNOMED CT is the most comprehensive clinical terminology product in the world.
MoH director of health information standards Alastair Kenworthy says the group’s aim is to develop the thinking and do the proof of concept work that will accelerate SNOMED adoption, as it is “our most important standard for interoperability in the digital health ecosystem”.

‘Reputations on the line’: NT digital health record roll out approaches the halfway mark

Lynne Minion | 07 Aug 2018
It contains some of the most remote areas on earth and communities of people suffering from diseases that have no place in a developed nation, but despite colossal challenges the Northern Territory is on track to deliver its digital health record on time and on budget.
As the $259 million five-year project approaches its halfway mark, it is readying to reach a population distributed throughout more than 1.35 million square kilometres and significantly improve care outcomes, according to Chris Hosking, Deputy Chief Executive with the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Corporate and Information Services.
With InterSystems TrakCare being implemented at every point of care across public health facilities – including six hospitals, 54 remote health centres and all community-based health services – Hosking said the sickest Territorians stand to benefit most from what is a transformation.

Department of Health tightens grip on GP quality and data

Authored by Edwin Kruys
IN 2019, the Department of Health, via its practice incentive scheme, will not only start setting the key performance indicators (KPIs) of general practice but also further tighten its grip on practice data. It is not unlikely that the Department’s strategy will create the same issues the National Health Service is currently encountering: loss of patient-centeredness of care, unreasonable KPIs and low doctor morale.
The redesign of the Practice Incentive Program (PIP) has been in the cards for a while. The introduction of a new quality improvement (QI) payment system was deferred for 12 months in May 2018 because of concerns that it was not fit for purpose.
If it goes ahead in May 2019, the impact of the new scheme will be significant. The big change will likely be that Primary Health Networks (PHNs) become exclusive “QI providers” for general practice. This means that they will extract, analyse and store practice data and present GPs with benchmark reports. Many PHNs have already started collecting data in anticipation of the changes.

Access to partner's data can save women

5 August 2018 — 5:13pm
It is clear that further reform is required as the scourge of domestic violence continues to affect the lives of countless Australians. Domestic Violence Victoria says women face “Russian roulette” when reporting their situation to police, depending on which officer they speak to.
Victoria Police says it has started an assessment of how to implement reviews of family-violence related homicides, but we need to be proactive about urgent reform for the future.
A domestic violence disclosure scheme is being trialled in NSW, and a similar pilot is due to start in South Australia in October. The schemes are based on Clare’s Law, which was introduced in England and Wales in 2014 after the murder of British woman Clare Wood, who was unaware of her partner's violent criminal past. Scotland and New Zealand followed suit the following year.

SA Health staff caught spying on patient records and 7000 children’s pathology results exposed online

Lynne Minion | 08 Aug 2018
An SA Health worker has been sacked for accessing patient health records without authorisation, bringing the total to 13 since February, as the state government continues its crack down on the unethical conduct.
SA Health has released new figures as part of a privacy breach update that confirmed another employee received a final warning for snooping on medical records.
According to the Adelaide Advertiser, 26 employees have been disciplined in 2018.
Earlier this year 21 staff were caught spying on confidential patient information, including 13 who accessed the records of alleged murderer Cy Walsh following the death of his father Phil Walsh, who was the celebrated coach of the Adelaide Crows AFL team.
6 August 2018

Pathologists slam direct-to-consumer genetic testing

It isn’t good enough to bring in a doctor after a consumer has ordered a genetic test, say pathologists concerned about the increasing marketing of tests direct to consumers. 
The appetite for home-ordered genetic tests appears to be growing, with companies offering patients everything from their ancestry to their risk of future health conditions and susceptibility to drugs.
Amid concerns about fragmentation of care and the ethics of providing such information free of professional guidance, companies have commonly said that they advise customers to speak with their doctor or a genetic counsellor afterwards to interpret the results. 

More SA Health staff sacked and disciplined for spying on patient records

Brad Crouch, Medical Reporter, The Advertiser
August 7, 2018 1:10pm
AS public debate rages over the security of health data, the gatekeepers of patients’ health information continue to be sacked and disciplined for snooping.
SA Health has now sacked at least 13 staff and disciplined 26 — one on their final warning — for trawling patient health records without authorisation.
The revelation comes as concern grows about the security of the Federal Government’s planned My Health Record scheme, and the extraordinary blunder where more than 7000 patient records from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital were left online for 13 years — and only discovered by a parent googling his child’s name.

Privacy breach update

1 June 2018

Privacy breach update

From 1 March 2018 to 31 May 2018, two SA Health staff received disciplinary sanctions for inappropriately accessing patient records, one employee received a final warning and one employee had their employment terminated.
SA Health committed to report quarterly how many staff have been disciplined for inappropriately accessing patient medical records during the previous three months.

Diagnosis data: getting the IP right on healthcare apps

This publication it first appeared in Digital Health Age.
Apple’s recent announcement that it will be opening its Health Records application programming interface (API) will be big news for healthcare app developers in the US. The data covers patients at more than 500 hospitals and clinics and it’s hoped that, by making the data available, a new suit of apps and products will be developed focused on helping patients better manage medications, care plans and long term conditions.
Digital health is a growing field and there is no doubt that better and more sophisticated apps, underpinned by better and more sophisticated data, have the potential to make a real difference to people’s health outcomes. Alongside technical challenges, developing successful apps also poses significant business challenges such as how to monetise the app and crucially, how to secure the time and money invested in developing it with robust intellectual property (IP).
Patens are the best known means of protecting an invention from imitation. Apps however, as with software in general, are not always easy to patent. The reason for this is that patents are designed to protect technical innovations and not all apps can be considered ‘technical innovation’. Many apps are based upon the presentation of data in novel ways – an app might harvest data from other sources to show you restaurants in your local area for example. While there is no doubt that many successful apps have been based upon such principles, the innovation here is more one of imagination than technical advances.

New $220m cervical cancer screening register putting lives at risk

Jane Hansen, Health reporter,
The Sunday Telegraph
August 5, 2018 12:00am
THE $220 million National Cancer Screening Register for cervical cancer is putting lives at risk because it is much ­slower than the old system at matching test results with women’s medical histories.
The NCSR was launched in December last year, replacing the state-based registers that had a turnaround time of 1-2 hours to match test results to women’s histories. The NCSR is taking as long as two weeks.
Public Pathology Australia’s Jenny Sikorski said there were major concerns with the NCSR, which is run by Telstra Health.

Women at risk because of delays in cervical cancer screening system

Nine months after its launch, register's automatic functions still not working
6th August 2018
Women are waiting up to two weeks for their HPV screening results because the national cervical cancer register is still unable to automatically match the results with their medical histories.
The hold-ups have been described as “unacceptable” by Jenny Sikorski, CEO of Public Pathology Australia, who says it could delay the treatment of some patients with cancer.
The $220 million National Cancer Screening Register, which has been in operation since December last year, was meant to optimise the process for cervical screening by electronically analysing test results.

Secure cloud tools throwing a data lifeline to besieged healthcare sector

Why should doctors carry the burden of data security, practice-management CTO asks
Centralisation of healthcare data will help secure it but it will take ongoing close collaboration amongst disparate players to truly protect data in an industry that is “screaming out for” better security, according to the technology head of a major clinical software provider.
“The thing about healthcare is that a there are a lot of really small players that are necessary to make this whole thing come together,” David Higgins, chief technology officer with practice software provider MedicalDirector, told CSO Australia.
“You are only as secure as your weakest link, so the industry is screaming out to make sure that it becomes more integrated.”

DHS inks $480m IBM hardware contract

By Justin Hendry on Aug 9, 2018 12:00PM

Extends mainframe support until 2023.

The Department of Human Services has signed a $481 million contract with mega vendor IBM to continue to support its mainframe environment.
The new five-year ICT hardware lease deal will push out a long-running partnership between the pair until at least 2023.
It brings the total value of their relationship to close to $2 billion since 2005, after the last four year mainframe deal was signed back in 2016 for the almost identical sum of $484.2 million.

Australia gets its first National Data Commissioner

By Justin Hendry on Aug 9, 2018 12:01AM

To steer public data reforms.

The federal government has appointed Deborah Anton as Australia’s first National Data Commissioner, albeit in an interim capacity.
Anton, who has spent the last three years as IP Australia’s policy and corporate division deputy director general, will spearhead the public sector data reforms that emerged from the Productivity Commission’s report into data availability and use.
She has the difficult task of supervising the public data system at a time when projects like the publication of de-identified health records that researchers used to re-identify patients, and more recently, the My Health Record, have damaged public trust.

Government appoints interim commissioner for open data push

Deborah Anton appointed interim National Data Commissioner
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 09 August, 2018 09:23
IP Australia’s deputy director general for policy and corporate, Deborah Anton, has been appointed interim National Data Commissioner, the government has announced.
The creation of the new role is part of a broader four-year government open data program.
The government revealed in May it would appoint a commissioner to oversee a new framework that will govern the sharing and release of data held by the government.
Human services minister and minister assisting the prime minister for digital transformation Michael Keenan said today that a mooted Data Sharing and Release Act will help “simplify the complex web of more than 500 privacy and secrecy provisions that currently exist across government departments”.

New CareMonkey mobile apps improve access to online student medical records

CareMonkey delivers offline access, display, speed and user experience improvements with new version of its Android and Apple mobile apps
Melbourne, Australia, Thursday 2 August, 2018: CareMonkey – the world’s fastest growing cloud platform for online student medical records, forms and excursion management – has launched new versions of its Apple and Android mobile applications.
CareMonkey CTO and REA Group Co-Founder, Martin Howell, said that the new applications furthered CareMonkey’s commitment to empower teachers, youth group leaders, carers and service providers to access critical medical records for those within their care.
“Updates to our Android and iOS mobile applications strengthen CareMonkey’s position as the only provider of secure, reliable access to digital student medical records – even when offline,” said Howell.

Exciting innovation in healthtech

Monday, 06 August, 2018
The next generation of healthtech entrepreneurs is developing unique and innovative products, designed to make a difference to the healthcare industry. To help them get their ideas off the ground HCF Catalyst, a health tech accelerator program, is helping start-ups and scale-ups transform their health and wellness ideas into investment-ready businesses. We meet three of the finalists from this year’s program.

Vantari VR

Vantari VR has developed a proprietary imaging tool that utilises virtual reality (VR) to enable new ways to visualise, interpret and understand medical images. It achieves this by pulling together cutting-edge rendering technology to take medical imaging into VR.
Vantari VR delivers value to three key groups across the healthcare value chain, including surgical planning, patient decision-making and medical education.

ASX-listed G Medical seeks subsidiary listing on HKSE

Medical and e-health company G Medical Innovations seeks to list its Chinese subsidiary, Guangzhou Yimei Innovative Medical Science and Technology Co. Ltd, on the main board of the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Under the proposed listing, Guangzhou Yimei Innovative Medical Science and Technology Co., Ltd (GYIMSTC Ltd) would "spin off from G Medical, with the ASX listed G Medical to retain not less than a 50% ownership stake in the proposed Hong Kong Stock Exchange listed GYIMSTC Ltd.
G Medical Parent Co currently owns 70% of GYIMSTC Ltd.
iTWire has previously interviewed G Medical CEO Dr. Yacov Geva in October 2017 in an article entitled: "VIDEO Interview: G Medical Innovations brings 21st century 'tricorder' to life" and in May 2018 wrote a follow-up article entitled "G Medical's new e-store lets consumers buy Prizma medical smartphone case direct". 

DHS, ATO move Govpass hosting in-house

By Justin Hendry on Aug 7, 2018 6:30AM

Vault Systems loses govt digital identity gig.

The whole-of-government Govpass digital identity solution has been pulled from Vault Systems' cloud platform and handed to agencies Human Services and Tax to host internally.
Vault Systems was picked to host the solution in its ASD-certified cloud computing platform last year while the Digital Transformation Agency developed digital identity prototypes.
The then-DTA chief Gavin Slater hailed the decision as a win for the company, which was one of only a handful of firms to received protected-level accreditation from the Australian Signals Directorate last year.

Vodafone drops NBN prices in 'aggressive' push for customers

By Jennifer Duke
6 August 2018 — 2:36pm
Competition among the major telecommunications companies is heating up on National Broadband Network plans, with Vodafone Hutchison Australia cutting its prices to attract new customers during the final years of the roll out.
Low margins for telecommunications companies selling NBN to consumers has not stopped Vodafone from choosing to drop the price on its unlimited plans on Tuesday to attract new households, chief commercial officer Ben McIntosh told Fairfax Media.
One in five people currently coming to Vodafone for NBN connections are new to the telco and switching from a rival provider, as part of a “churn event” giving millions of Australians a chance to re-think who supplies their internet connection and providers the opportunity to attract new customers.

NBN Co revenue may take hit after 5G arrives: Rowland

The financial position of the NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, the NBN, is likely to worsen due to competition from wireless networks once 5G begins to make its presence felt, the Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has warned.
Rowland was responding to a query from an interviewer on Sky New about a recent study by credit rating agency Standard & Poor's that claimed the NBN would never make a profit and would have to take a damaging write-down which would have a political cost for the Coalition Government.
She told an interviewer on Sky News on Monday: "...here's where the real problem arises: and that's the impact of wireless competition with the advent of 5G and entry-level pricing at certain level for the NBN versus whatever entry-level pricing there will be for 5G services.

NBN Co activates 'thousands' of DOCSIS 3.1 HFC premises

By Ry Crozier on Aug 8, 2018 6:01AM

Cuts back on node splitting.

NBN Co has activated DOCSIS 3.1 for several thousand premises connected to its HFC network in Sydney and Melbourne.
The network builder has brought forward the timeline on its planned DOCSIS 3.1 deployment by several months, having previously put a “late 2018” timeline on the work.
It said the use of DOCSIS 3.1 would “double downstream capacity” on its HFC network, and allow the company to stop using other methods to increase capacity, such as physical and virtual node splits.
  • Aug 8 2018 at 6:00 AM

NBN to kickstart HFC with faster technology, but holds back top speeds

NBN will begin deploying new technology to increase the capacity of its struggling hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network, as it seeks to kickstart interest in the crucial element of the government's multi-technology mix after it was abruptly halted last November.
In an announcement to be released on Wednesday morning NBN says it will begin enabling cutting edge DOCSIS 3.1 technology across the network, which will eventually serve about 3 million premises. It claims the technology will double the capacity and therefore remove performance issues during peak times. 
However, despite NBN previously talking up the performance benefits of DOCSIS 3.1 to offer potential download speeds of up to a gigabit per second (Gbps), it will only be giving the option for retail service providers to offer speeds up to existing caps of 100 megabits per second.

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