Quote Of The Year

Quote Of The Year - Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"

Monday, October 29, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 29th October, 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

Lots happening under the surface this week. The headlines tell the story but you can dig deeper if you want.

Health hands Fred IT AU$23m for Australia-wide prescription data-sharing exchange

​Fred IT will lead the new national system for real-time prescription monitoring.
By Asha McLean | October 23, 2018 -- 21:49 GMT (08:49 AEDT) | Topic: Innovation
The Department of Health has this week announced the signing of pharmaceutical-focused IT services firm Fred IT to stand up an Australia-wide data exchange system for real time prescription monitoring (RTPM).
The AU$23 million contract, valid until September 2021, will see Fred IT design, build, and deliver the software system for the National Data Exchange component of the national RTPM system, tying together Australian state and territory prescription monitoring systems.
"The national RTPM system will provide an instant alert to doctors and pharmacists, through their clinician software, if patients have previously been supplied with target drugs," the tender documentation detailed in June. "This information will assist in clinical decision-making."

Work to start on national real-time prescription monitoring system

Hafizah Osman | 24 Oct 2018
The push for a national real-time prescription monitoring system has gained momentum, with an Australian firm appointed to develop it. 
The Department of Health has selected pharmacy IT solutions provider, Fred IT Group, to lead the new national system, which aims to reduce the impact of prescription medicine overdoses.
As part of the agreement, Fred IT is expected to design, build and deliver the software system for the National Data Exchange (NDE) component. 
This includes collaborating with medical and pharmacy software vendors and jurisdictions in the delivery of a consistent user experience for health professionals practicing in different environments and to reflect individual state and territory requirements in the national system.

Will the cervical cancer screening register be taken away from Telstra?

A parliamentary committee suggests terminating the telco's $220 million contract
24th October 2018
Telstra’s bungling of the new national cervical cancer screening register, which delayed the roll-out of the world-leading HPV screening program, could see the telco giant stripped of the multimillion-dollar contract.
The revamp of the National Cervical Screening Program was delayed by seven months because the screening register outsourced to Telstra was not ready on time.
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, which scrutinises all government contracts, suggested terminating the contract in a report handed down last week.
It recommended that the Department of Health consider whether “such serious underperformance by Telstra Health” warranted the termination of the contract and consideration of other options for the register.

Telstra Health to keep troubled Aussie cancer database contract

If nothing else goes wrong, National Cancer Registry goes live in November ... 2019

By Richard Chirgwin 25 Oct 2018 at 23:33
A rushed federal government decision to pull cancer screening registers out of the nonprofits that used to run them may finally draw to a close at the end of next year.
In the midst of electioneering in 2016, Malcolm Turnbull's government decided Telstra's newly-formed healthcare business was the ideal bidder to take over the National Cancer Registry, and since then, the project has been mired in trouble.
In March 2017, the National Cancer Registry missed its first deadline to go live online. Telstra Health blamed trouble with data integration and promised the registry would be up and running in December 2017. On Wednesday the Department of Health provided a revised deadline: November 2019.

Chemist Warehouse chases full application portability

By Ry Crozier on Oct 22, 2018 7:00AM

Dynamic movement between services, physical locations.

Chemist Warehouse is starting to realise a long-term ambition for complete application portability between its data centre, warehouses, retail store environments and public cloud.
AM Solutions’ - which operates as the pharmacy group’s head office - infrastructure architect Antoine Sammut told VMware’s vForum in Sydney that he’d “always had a dream of a single scalable vision [where] I I can run an application at a store, at one of our warehouses, inside the data centre or in a cloud, seamlessly and the business should not even know about it.”
“From a business point of view, the business people don’t really care where applications run, they just want them to run reliably,” Sammut said.

Department of Health's IT project costs soar by more than $103 million

By Felicity Caldwell
24 October 2018 — 11:51pm
Taxpayers will fork out an extra $103 million after the cost of dozens of Department of Health IT projects blew their budget.
The total cost of the department's ICT projects rose by 19 per cent from its original budget of $530.95 million to a revised estimated cost of $634.49 million.
The information was listed on the state government's publicly available ICT dashboard, which was launched by the former Newman government in 2013, following two audits and an inquiry sparked by the Queensland Health payroll debacle.
LNP Health spokeswoman Ros Bates said $100 million could be used to deliver 75 new hospital beds or ice detox and rehabilitation facilities.

Telehealth in drought affected areas now covered by Medicare rebates

Doug Hendrie 26/10/2018 3:10:55 PM
For the first time, rural GPs in drought-affected areas will be able to bill Medicare for mental health consultations by phone.
Fresh hope for drought affected areas.
The news brings the RACGP’s long-sought goal of government-funded general practice telehealth a step closer, coming after Health Minister Greg Hunt announced at the recent GP18 conference that he agreed with the college’s view that telehealth was the ‘future of general practice.’

Health Minister Greg Hunt today announced a $3.6 million Medicare funding boost to allow rural GPs to offer mental health support remotely.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon welcomed the news and said telehealth would boost mental health assistance for Australians in the bush.

Vaccine side effects: Australia's world-first surveillance system

By Kate Aubusson
22 October 2018 — 12:01am
A world-first surveillance program that tracks adverse reactions to vaccinations will soon monitor every vaccine on the national immunisation program (NIP).
SmartVax was created in response to the 2010 Fluvax disaster, when a spike in convulsions and fever prompted Australia’s chief medical officer to suspend the flu vaccine program for children under five.
"We needed to develop a better way to detect vaccine safety signals [a link between a vaccine and severe side effects] that could mobilise an effective response in a timely fashion,” said co-developer and Perth GP Alan Leeb.
"Especially for new vaccines and influenza vaccines, which change formulation every year."
SmartVax has monitored more than 1 million vaccinations since 2010 – including the highly reactive meningococcal B vaccine Bexsero – across more than 270 GP practices, Indigenous medical centres and hospital immunisation clinics.

ResMed awake to the dream of online data

11:00PM October 26, 2018
The chief of one of Australia’s top biotech success stories says a wave of digital disruption is set to revolutionise healthcare, while revealing his company now has a treasure trove of medical data in the cloud.
ResMed CEO Mick Farrell, speaking to The Weekend Australian from the US after reporting a 13 per cent lift in quarterly revenue, said the biotech had more than three billion nights’ worth of sleep apnoea data in the cloud, swamping anyone else in healthcare and medtech.
He said the data would play a big role in population health and predictive analytics.
ResMed already has its own AI and machine learning teams in Sydney, Singapore, Canada’s Halifax and San Diego.
Mr Farrell said technology had changed the game, and the company had reinvented itself five years ago when it made the plunge into digital health.
22 October 2018

Six reasons digital disruption is about to really affect GPs

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
The Medical Republic is offering readers a big incentive to get involved in the emerging issues of digital health which are likely to affect them in the coming year. CLICK HERE for tickets to attend Wild Health No 3 next month. Your code is WHTMR1. Offer expires November 1.
If you think digital disruption and digital health issues aren’t likely to affect you that much in the near term as a GP, you might want to get along to Wild Health No 3, being held at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in one month’s time.
Here’s six major emerging issues that are likely to have an impact on you in the coming year and which will be debated at the this major innovation summit.

1.       Will the real My Health Record please stand up

Where does primary care really stand on the recent MHR opt-out launch? Most industry-based surveys indicated the majority of GPs were going to opt out, and felt conflicted by the decision of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to effectively automatically opt all patients into an MHR.

Here’s how Princess Alexandra Hospital became digital ready

Hafizah Osman | 25 Oct 2018
When Queensland's Princess Alexandra Hospital developed an integrated electronic medical record (ieMR) system, it was more than a trailblazer – it was a template for the rest of the state.
According to Executive Director PAH-QEII Network at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Dr Michael Cleary, the hospital was identified as a “lead site” in the early days of strategy for the implementation of software.
The rollout involved two stages of implementation. The first stage was in 2015, involving the clinical records system but excluding the medications management, anaesthetics and research support (MARS) modules. The second phase occurred in 2017, adding over it the more complex components of the modules that were initially left out. 
  • Updated Oct 26 2018 at 11:00 PM

Coalition plans overhaul of data sharing and release laws in 2019

The Coalition will overhaul cumbersome and outdated data sharing laws in 2019, part of efforts to close an entrenched trust deficit with the public and improve service delivery.
Digital Transformation Minister Michael Keenan wants to win back public confidence about privacy and security, to harness the power of big data through government digital transformation.
Aiming for Australia to remain among the top three nations for digital delivery through to 2025, Mr Keenan says the appointments of former deputy Australian statistician Randall Brugeaud to head the government's Digital Transformation Agency and former IP Australia chief operating officer Deborah Anton as interim National Data Commissioner will help deliver progress and reform.

ShareRoot joins with St Vincent’s Hospital in clinical trial recruitment initiative

Australian listed software as a service company ShareRoot is collaborating with St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne to apply its MediaConsent platform as a way to better improve the dynamics of clinical trial recruitment.
The Silicon Valley-based ShareRoot (ASX:SRO) Medi Consent platform is also designed to improve patient engagement in and around clinical trials and understanding of patients’ health-related behaviour through the use of social media and the proper accompanying consent processes.
Under the collaboration, St. Vincents' is working with MediaConsent to offer the first solution within its respective industry to ensure compliance with human research ethics committees, while enhancing the relationship development between the hospital and its patients.

Services Landscape for e-Health

Posted on by wolandscat
Every so often I get bored of what I am doing and start trying to draw one of those ‘services roadmap’ kind of diagrams for e-Health. These pretty pictures appear in slide presentations, standards, whitepapers etc, but are not often used as a tool to help map out the road ahead, mainly because (I think) they mix too many conceptual levels together. We do however need some sort of vision of the future for defining services. I like my latest version enough that I thought it would be worth putting up publicly to get reactions and input. Please comment and/or add content to the wiki page.

'They can’t help it': Australians struggle with technology 'addiction'

By Andrew Taylor
21 October 2018 — 12:00am

Talking points

  • Rule 1: The first person to answer a call or text in a restaurant pays for everyone’s meal
  • Rule 2: Disable social media notifications
  • Rule 3: Switch off smartphones for a period of time
  • Rule 4: No smartphone usage in shops, on public transport or while walking
A growing number of Australians are checking their screens from the moment they wake and every 12 minutes throughout the day – and they’re not happy about it.
The Korn Group’s Switching Off survey found Australians readily admit to over-dependence on technology and are concerned about the incursion of screens into their daily lives.
“Checking their screen is the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing they do at night,” the survey said. “They can’t help it. Their device is always with them.”

Blockchain – what is it good for? At the moment not much, DTA says

Lack of standards holding back blockchain, government CDO says
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 23 October, 2018 12:00
The Digital Transformation Agency’s scrutiny of blockchain has confirmed it is “an interesting technology” that is “well worth being observed”. However, without standardisation and a lot more work, “for almost every use of blockchain you would consider today there is a better technology” — such as databases and APIs.
That’s the DTA’s verdict so far, according to the government’s chief digital officer, Peter Alexander, appearing this morning at a Senate Estimates hearing.
The government in this year's budget revealed that the DTA would conduct a $700,000 research program to examine the potential of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) to “investigate areas where blockchain technology could offer the most value for Government services”.

Encryption bill: What’s a ‘systemic weakness’? It depends, the government says

What a key protection in a surveillance bill means in practice is not clear
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 19 October, 2018 13:05
A key protection in a government bill that is designed to increase the ability of police to access online communications is a prohibition on forcing a company to build a “systemic” security vulnerability into its products or services. However, exactly what that provision will mean in practice remains unclear.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security today held its first public hearing on the Telecommunication and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018.
The bill contains several schedules boosting the powers of police and intelligence agencies to access communications services (although the government has been at pains to point out that the provisions in the bill won’t undo any existing warrant requirements to get access to a particular piece of content or intercept communications).

Overwhelming majority of Aussies oppose encryption bill: survey

A survey of 4039 Australians has found that nearly 85% of them are deeply worried by the Federal Government's proposed encryption bill, which was introduced in Parliament by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on 20 September.
The survey was carried out by the Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet, a grouping of consumer groups, rights bodies, big corporations and industry lobby groups.
It also found that nearly three-quarters (74.2%) were concerned that the government’s attempts to undertake more cyber surveillance of criminals and terrorists could make the data of all Australians – including healthcare, banking and other personal information – less secure.

Tim Cook calls on Bloomberg to retract China spying story

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has taken the unusual step of asking Bloomberg to retract a story it published earlier this month, claiming that his firm was among companies that were exposed to spying through chips implanted on server mainboards made by US company Supermicro Computer.
Cook told Buzzfeed News in a phone interview: "There is no truth in their story about Apple. They need to do that right thing and retract it."
Apple issued a detailed denial when the story was published. Later, its former general counsel, Bruce Sewell, said that the FBI had told him it had told him it had no knowledge of any probe into such an incident, as claimed by Bloomberg.

Journalists’ union ‘gravely concerned’ over encryption bill

MEAA says government is using a “sledgehammer to crack a walnut”
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 25 October, 2018 11:20
The union representing journalists has said a government bill that will enhance the ability of police agencies to monitor encrypted communications services is akin to using a “sledgehammer to crack a walnut”.
The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has made a late submission (PDF) to a parliamentary inquiry scrutinising the controversial legislation. In it, the union said that is “gravely concerned that the proposed legislation is neither reasonable nor proportionate”.
The MEAA is concerned about the potential for warrants and orders to be issued “in cases where matters of public interest have been reported through the provision of information by confidential sources and which attract penalties under the Commonwealth Crimes Act”.

AIIA says encryption bill may drive tech vendors out of Australia

The Australian Information Industry Association has warned that the Federal Government's encryption bill would lead to overseas vendors withdrawing from the Australian market as they would not want their products to be caught in the government's dragnet.
In a statement, AIIA chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick said the other side of the equation also applied: Australian vendors could find themselves locked out of international markets with their products being viewed as untrustworthy.
The bill is aimed at getting around encryption which, the government claims, is used by criminals to prevent their communications being read.

NBN Co chair rules out write-down, says network could sell for $50b

The chairman of NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, has told Senate Estimates that the NBN could still fetch a price of $50 billion once it is fully rolled out in 2021.
Ziggy Switkowski, former head of Telstra, also said on Tuesday that in his personal opinion, a write-down of the network was not needed, The Australian reported.
Earlier this month, the Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the Labor Party was keeping open the option of writing down the value of the NBN if it won the next federal election, which is due by May 2019.

NBN Co to spend $80m on DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade

By Ry Crozier on Oct 24, 2018 11:35AM

'More than offset' by benefits.

NBN Co is expecting to spend around $80 million upgrading its hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) network to DOCSIS 3.1, but says the costs will be “more than offset”.
“The incremental cost of moving to DOCSIS 3.1 is expected to be approximately $80 million,” the company said.
“These costs are, however, more than offset by ongoing capacity management benefits, including fewer HFC node splits and operational benefits of spectral efficiency.”
NBN Co started activating the first DOCSIS 3.1 premises in Sydney and Melbourne back in August.

Global fixed broadband subscribers exceed one billion

There are now more than one billion fixed broadband subscribers worldwide the Broadband Forum revealed today at Broadband World Forum 2018, according to the Q2 2018 Point Topic Report,
Broadband Forum’s TR-069 protocol has been credited with playing a key role in achieving the milestone.
The achievement, confirmed by market analysis firm Point Topic, follows the release of the aforementioned report linked above "which saw the number of fixed broadband subscribers grow by 2.5% from Q1 2018, the highest surge in the last six quarters".
Broadband Forum chief executive Robin Mersh said: "This is a truly outstanding achievement, led by the communications industry, that has resulted in a major leap forward for humankind.

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