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, November 26, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 26th November, 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

A quiet week on the non #myHealthRecord front. Just the odd stuff up and data breach to report and a few small policy shifts.
Parliament is back today so it will be interesting to see where the #myHealthRecord legislation goes.

Teens to get more My Health Record privacy after another government reversal

RACGP claims victory after winning over senators with its concerns
19th November 2018
The privacy of teenagers with a My Health Record is set to be better protected after government senators voted in favour of changing the laws to prevent parents from having automatic access to their child’s records.
Legislation underpinning the system currently allows parents default access to the health records of teens aged 14-17, unless the child actively changes the privacy setting through the MyGov website.
The RACGP had called for parents to lose automatic access to bring the system in line with the approach governing doctors’ own medical records.
It argued teenagers would be less likely to seek help for mental health or sexual health issues if they are worried about their parents knowing.

How Queensland became a leader in medical technology start-ups

By Lucy Stone
18 November 2018 — 10:33pm
A combination of research power, financial backing, imagination and persistence is driving Queensland's rising reputation as Australia's home of medical technology start-ups.
An industry report into Australia's start-up scene showed in 2018 Queensland had the second-highest number of start-ups in the country, many of them health and medical focused.
And at a start-up convention held in Brisbane in October, 26 per cent of entrants into a start-up competition were in the medical technology sector.
Early in November, the state's third Chief Entrepreneur, Leanne Kemp, described innovation as "the oxygen that flows within our blood ... the DNA of our communities".

GP software to feature surgeons' fees and experience

A private health fund-backed database will link into GP software from next year
19th November 2018
GPs will be given access to information on surgeons’ fees, experience and availability via their practice software, under a program backed by three major private health funds.
The database of 6000 surgeons is being integrated with Best Practice’s software from February, before it is added to Medical Director by the end of next year.
The aim is to give GPs more information when making referrals for patients. But it has already be condemned by the AMA as a play by health funds to unduly influence GP referral decisions.
The database, which is drawn from the Whitecoat practitioner’s directory, will not attempt to list all the individual fees charged by surgeons, but aims to list average fees they charge for a range of common procedures.

Digital health agency gets its first CDO

By Justin Hendry on Nov 19, 2018 4:55PM

Service NSW exec appointed.

The Australian Digital Health Agency has poached the exec responsible for Service NSW’s network of service centres as its inaugural chief digital officer.
The My Health Record system operator announced late Monday that Steven Issa would join its ranks in January to drive customer focused outcomes across the agency.
He has spent the last four-and-a-half years at NSW's central service delivery agency, most recently managing face to face and digital customer service channels as its service centres director.
Issa has also spent time managing Service NSW’s alternative channels and middle office, as well as its accelerated distribution strategy program.

Four Australians gifted bionic sight

Bionic eyes have restored some vision to four blind Australians after a clinical trial in Melbourne.
Gemma Najem
Australian Associated Press November 19, 201812:05am
Four blind Australians have had some of their vision restored through the implantation of bionic eyes.
Before the trial, the patients, who lost vision due to degenerative Retinitis Pigmentosa, could sense light and dark but couldn't see a hand waving in front of them.
Bionic Vision Technologies says the patients can now distinguish objects around them in pixelated greyscale, giving them the ability to navigate without the aid of guide dogs, a cane or family members.

More like su-don’t: Health Department seeks to clamp down on privileged accounts

Seeks to implement mandatory security measure
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 19 November, 2018 13:10
The Department of Health is seeking software to help it manage privileged user accounts as it strives to comply with one of the mandatory security requirements for Commonwealth entities.
The department has issued a request for tender for privileged access management (PAM) software which it said will help its “move towards compliance with the Essential Eight Security Controls”.
“Ultimately, the solution will increase the risk posture for the department and safe guarding its people and information from potential threats related to privileged accounts,” the department said.
The ‘Essential Eight’ is a list of high priority security mitigation strategies drawn up by the Australian Signals Directorate. The ASD published the Essential Eight in 2017, building on the agency’s mandatory Top 4 mitigation strategies.

This wearable sensor makes monitoring movement fun

PRODUCT REVIEW: It's not cheap, but the possibilities are endless
Dr Rob Park
22nd November 2018
The dorsaVi ViMove2 has taught me that I have a significant lumbar lordosis, that I really can’t squat on one leg, and that my varus and valgus chakras are definitely out of alignment.
The device is a set of wearable sensors linked with powerful analysis algorithms controlled through an iPad or similar device that can assess multiple aspects of physical movement.
From spinal flexion to your running technique, the dorsaVi VIMove2 can inform and analyse movement data with surprising accuracy.

The real future of healthcare is cultural change, not just AI and other technology

Governments need to create digital health policies that focus on the cultural changes that the new technologies initiate, says medical futurist Dr Bertalan Mesko.
By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt | November 23, 2018 -- 05:31 GMT (16:31 AEDT) | Topic: Security
"It actually is quite easy to be a futurist with regards to where are we going with health," says Dr Ron Grenfell, director of health and biosecurity at CSIRO.
"It takes 15+ years to get evidence into practice," he told the Commonwealth Bank's Future of Health conference in Sydney last week. The "inertia of the system" will hold back the adoption of a lot of technology that's being pitched as the future of health.
That, in your writer's view, is one of the two big conceptual challenges at the heart of so many discussions of the digital transformation of healthcare. Vendors are pitching technologies like AI and chatbots to reduce the workload of humans, yet the healthcare sector is way behind the pace.
Dr Kevin Cheng is founder of Australian healthcare provider Osana. They use cloud communications provider 8x8 for their own needs, and use cloud-based medical records, but they run into the usual problems when communicating with other providers.
23 November 2018

How AI might actually affect your GP job

Posted by Julie Lambert
Doctors will need to prepare for disruptions and safety challenges as artificial intelligence makes inroads in healthcare, a leading Australian AI expert has warned.
Professor Enrico Coiera, a trained medical doctor and computer scientist, says the UK smartphone app, GP at Hand, is an example of AI causing anxiety and eroding an existing business model.
The NHS-linked virtual GP service, launched in London in 2017, uses a chatbot to ask patients about their symptoms and can then provide a video consult with a GP or arrange a face-to-face appointment if needed.
“It is on the one hand really exciting, but there are lots of challenges.  This is really quite early technology, so there are anxieties around how safe that app is,” Professor Coiera told delegates at the Wild Health summit in Sydney earlier this week.
21 November 2018

Best Practice develops RACGP survey

Posted byTMR Staff
Best Practice Software has developed a survey to gauge industry and customer opinion about the recent exclusive arrangement issue surrounding the RACGP and Canadian software developer of Hello Health.
Best Practice CEO Dr Frank Pyefinch said it was important to find out what the medical community really thinks.
“The RACGP has stated that ‘relevant and convenient software that is suitable for the general practice environment and the unique and evolving needs of Australian GPs … is something RACGP members have been asking for’,” Dr Pyefinch said. “
We would like to know if respondents agree with that statement and whether they think that software could be sourced in Australia.

Microsoft’s Android launcher now tracks your digital health

November 21, 2018
The 5.1 beta also adds “hey Cortana” voice control right from the launcher, and can sync both your Sticky Notes and To-Do entries across devices. It’s hard not to see Microsoft shadowing Google’s just-released Digital Wellbeing tools to some extent. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As The Verge notes, the Microsoft Launcher runs on devices running Android 4.2 and later. This gives people with older devices a major digital health option without having to buy new hardware. To put it another way, you can decide whether or not you’re addicted to your phone before you buy a new model that might exacerbate the problem.

Pithy quotes give snapshot of e-health world

Thursday, 22 November 2018  
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
“Digital transformation is coming to health, but we are getting close to the end of the curve of disappointment and we are going to see rapid change in the next few years.” Saxon Connor, e-clinical health lead, Canterbury District Health Board
“The most important thing to get digital transformation in health is accepting it’s about a cultural transformation and revolution. We have to change the way we think and therefore the way we act.” Lloyd McCann, head of digital health, Healthcare Holdings
“You give patients information and with information comes power.” Judy Murphy, chief nursing officer, IBM Global Healthcare, USA
“Advances in technologies will help to achieve government priorities and find new ways of solving problems in a patient-centred way that makes a real difference to our health system.” David Clark, Minister of Health

RACGP deal with software firm a 'conflict of interest'

College encouraged Canadian software company to compete with existing Aussie products, says Best Practice CEO
21st November 2018
The boss of Best Practice has accused the RACGP of having a potential conflict of interest following its controversial commercial deal with a rival practice software company.
Few details have emerged, but earlier this year the college entered into a commercial partnership with Hello Health, a Canadian company that is currently developing practice software for GPs.
The move has angered those inside and outside the college, who point out the RACGP is currently developing a new set of standards for GP software.

AI and the NHS: How artificial intelligence will change everything for patients and doctors

The rise of artificial intelligence is set to reshape the health sector as we know it, from back office to doctor's office.
By | | Topic: Digital Health and Wellness

The current UK government has made its vision for artificial intelligence use in the NHS very clear. It wants AI, data and innovation to "transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030", with the UK to be "at the forefront of the use of AI and data in early diagnosis, innovation, prevention and treatment".
Under this vision, AIs could ultimately become the first point of contact for the sick instead of a human doctor, could help healthcare professionals to diagnose medical conditions, and even monitor individuals' health by analysing data from their wearable devices or smart-home sensors.
It's a huge ambition for a set of technologies that are still developing, and whose use is relatively restricted in the health service today. Can AI really make a difference to the future of the NHS?

Robots and the NHS: How automation will change surgery and patient care

The rise of robots is inevitable in healthcare, but for now, keeping it simple is just what the doctor ordered.
By | | Topic: Digital Health and Wellness
From the surgery robot in the operating theatre to the care robot that looks after you at home, robots are beginning to make their way into healthcare across the globe, and their potential to cut costs and improve results for patients means that soon they could be as much a part of hospital practice as bedpans and blood pressure cuffs.
Surgeons are one of the first medical specialties to welcome their robot overlords: in the NHS, surgical robots can already be found assisting with a range of operations, including urology, colorectal, and prostate procedures. These robots -- which are made up of a set of arms wielding cameras, lights and medical instruments -- are controlled by a surgeon sitting at a console who is then able to control the actions of the robot's arms with great precision.
Using robots means surgeons can make smaller incisions, reducing blood loss and pain for patients, which can mean a faster recovery time and a shorter stay in hospital. That's good news for the patients, who can get back to their normal life quicker, but also good news for the NHS, which has fewer infections and complications to deal with, and sees beds freed up faster.
  • Updated Nov 21 2018 at 11:00 PM

Comparison of aged care costs at home a step closer

Home care providers have until the end of November to publish pricing information relating to the services they offer, including any administration and case management fees.
But it will be a further six months before full transparency and information comparing pricing will be available on the government's My Aged Care website.
In a move not unlike that imposed on the superannuation industry that took at least 20 years to get to a point where consumers could compare apples with apples, it could take a while before home care package recipients really understand whether they are getting value for money.
In the meantime some providers seem to be having a field day with high administration charges, hidden case management fees and the charging of GST when they are not supposed to.

Encryption committee caught in crossfire as debate flares

By Staff Writer on Nov 23, 2018 7:10AM

Don’t buckle to govt pressure, says industry.

Eight industry associations have implored a joint committee examining encryption-busting laws not to “bow to government pressure” to cut their examination short.
The associations - which include the Australian Industry Group, Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Communications Alliance and Internet Australia - said it was “crucial” that enough time is afforded to fixing the bill’s “well-documented flaws”.
“There is a need for cool heads to prevail, accompanied by detailed analysis of the impact on Australians and Australian businesses, and for lawmakers to approach this important task systematically while following due parliamentary process,” Internet Australia chair Paul Brooks said in a joint statement.

Australian PM insists on encryption-busting Bill being passed in next sitting fortnight

Australian agencies need the power to intercept encrypted content, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
By Chris Duckett | November 22, 2018 -- 03:56 GMT (14:56 AEDT) | Topic: Security
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for the proposed Assistance and Access Bill to make its way through Parliament in the next sitting fortnight.
"Our police, our agencies need these powers now," Morrison said on Thursday.
"I would insist on seeing them passed before the end of the next sitting fortnight."
Speaking alongside Morrison was Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who said it was unacceptable for police to be unable to read encrypted messages.

Car-sickness cure is within reach

  • By Will Pavia
  • The Times
  • 11:54AM November 22, 2018
A group of 30 men and women who tend to suffer from car sickness were swept around a track in central England in a self-driving vehicle this year, on a journey designed to make them feel mildly ill.
They were testing a device that could end the nausea for millions of people. The OtoTech, a small device worn behind the ear to deliver vibrations, has been developed by a start-up tech firm in Washington state.
Spencer Salter, a PhD student at Coventry University, said that he chose people who were going to be sick. “You want people who go for the bag after 30 seconds,” the 30-year veteran of research at Jaguar Landrover said. The brave pioneers of this technology were lured by the chance of a ride in a self-driving car.

Algorithms viewed as 'unfair' by consumers

By Matt Johnston on Nov 19, 2018 11:30AM

Landmark US study finds adults wary of machine intelligence.

The US-based Pew Research Center has found the American public is growing increasingly distrustful of the use of computer algorithms in a variety of sectors, including finance, media and the justice system.
It's a sign that for all the trumpeting of AI, automation and machine learning, many people are increasingly suspicious of where technology is headed.
report released over the weekend found that a broad section of those surveyed feel that computer programs will always reflect some level of human bias, that they might violate privacy, fail to capture the nuance of human complexity or simply be unfair.
The findings back up musings from leading tech and ethics figures at the Human Rights and Technology Conference held by the Human Rights Commission held in Sydney earlier this year.

WA looks at AI to bridge remote health divide

By Justin Hendry on Nov 21, 2018 11:57AM

Wants real-time monitoring for distant patients.

Australia’s largest country health service will look at using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics as a means to bridge its remote healthcare divide.
WA’s Country Health Service (WACHS) has begun exploring how remote patient monitoring could help it better provide “proactive and pre-emptive” health services across its two-and-a-half million square kilometre network.
It currently services a network of 70 public hospitals and 38 nursing posts, as well as a range of community health and mental health services – the largest geographical area of any Australian health provider.
But the size of the network makes providing high quality healthcare services difficult, with individuals in regional rural areas experiencing poorer general health than those in metropolitan areas.

Australian Digital Health Agency appoints CDO

Former Parramatta deputy lord mayor joins ADHA
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 20 November, 2018 10:53
Steven Issa will join the Australian Digital Health Agency as the organisation’s inaugural chief digital officer.
“Steven brings extensive experience in digital service innovation and delivery and a demonstrated ability to deliver customer focused outcomes,” an ADHA statement said.
Issa currently holds the role of director, Service Centre, for Service NSW. He is also  a member of the City of Parramatta’s council and has chaired its smart city committee.
Issa has previously served two terms as Parramatta’s deputy lord mayor.

Appalling' emergency services data breach to be investigated

By Matilda Boseley & Simone Fox Koob
24 November 2018 — 11:35am
The state government will launch an immediate investigation into an "appalling"  data breach that saw personal details of emergency services staff posted to the web.
The breach reportedly occurred in October and saw private details – including addresses and medical information – of staff from a number of departments shared online.
“This kind of cybercrime is nothing short of appalling,” said Victorian Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino.
Nov 16 2018, 5:03am

'I’m Possibly Alive Because It Exists:' Why Sleep Apnea Patients Rely on a CPAP Machine Hacker

An Australian hacker has spent thousands of hours hacking the DRM that medical device manufacturers put on CPAP machines to create a free tool that lets patients modify their treatment.

Christy Lynn was tired all the time, and, after months of trying to diagnose the problem, one of her doctors thought they’d figured out why.
“I didn’t fit any of the descriptions for sleep apnea,” she told me on a phone call. “I’m a woman, I wasn’t overweight. No one would have thought to test me, except I was seeing a doctor who had a similar medical history.”
Lynn, who lives in rural Arizona, did an at-home oximetry test, which tests blood oxygen levels, and then a sleep study. She was diagnosed with a difficult-to-treat form of sleep apnea, a disorder in which patients suddenly stop breathing for periods of time while they sleep that most often affects overweight men. She was given a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and face mask—which blows air down a patient’s windpipe to keep the airways open—and sent home.

Drone delivers human organ to hospital

  • By Tom Knowles
  • The Times
  • 12:36PM November 21, 2018
A human kidney has been successfully delivered by drone for the first time, paving the way for a change in how emergency organs are transported.
The kidney was taken 4.8km at a top speed of 67kph by a group of doctors and engineers in Baltimore, Maryland, with biopsies conducted on it afterwards showing that it suffered no damage.
The experiment was initiated by Joseph Scalea, a multi-organ transplant surgeon at the University of Maryland medical centre, who had become frustrated with the amount of time it took to deliver donated organs.
He and his colleagues modified a drone to carry a refrigerated box that could hold a kidney and designed a biosensor that would monitor the organ while it was in flight.

What have we learnt about using digital technologies in health professional education?

Helen Wozniak, Rachel H Ellaway and Peter GM de Jong
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (10): 431-433. || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00152
Published online: 19 November 2018
Informed use of digital learning technologies can contribute to effective learning experiences
The growing use of digital educational technologies in health professional education has mirrored the changes wrought by the digital revolution as a whole. However, while some activities in contemporary health professions education are almost exclusively mediated online (such as providing learning materials), others are still largely conducted face-to-face (such as supervision and assessment). Indeed, as the heat of the e-learning revolution has cooled,1 it has been replaced by a growing focus on integrating and sustaining the many technologies that learners, teachers and administrators now use. Despite this, the use of technology in health professions education is often ad hoc and reactive, rather than being purposive and strategic. In this article, we highlight some of the prevailing misconceptions surrounding the use of technology and recommend that educators and health professionals recognise that compromises are needed when designing technology-mediated educational experiences.

Meet the robot conquering old French hearts

By Adam Satariano & Elian Peltier and Dmitry Kostyukov
24 November 2018 — 11:04am
Paris: Zora may not look like much — more cute toy than futuristic marvel — but this robot is at the center of an experiment in France to change care for elderly patients.
When Zora arrived at a nursing facility an hour outside Paris, a strange thing began happening: many patients developed an emotional attachment, treating it like a baby, holding and cooing, giving it kisses on the head.
Zora, which can cost up to $US18,000 ($24,000), offered companionship in a place where life can be lonely. Families can visit only so much, and staff members are stretched.
Patients at the hospital, called Jouarre, have dementia and other conditions that require round-the-clock care.

Infinite Care trailblazes new generation of aged care innovation

BRISBANE, 16 November 2018 -- Infinite Care has become the first aged care provider to implement TechnologyOne and Telstra Health’s integrated aged care solution, aligning with its vision to be an Australian leader and innovator of residential aged care.
TechnologyOne and Telstra Health have worked collaboratively to provide the complete, end-to-end solution for residential aged care providers.
As one of Australia’s fastest-growing residential aged care providers, Infinite Care’s Director of People & Corporate Services, Rebecca Pacey, said the organisation selected TechnologyOne and Telstra Health’s solution due to their collaborative partnership and significant experience in the aged care sector.
 “We had a level of comfort because of the successful implementation and relationship we had previously with Telstra Health with their Clinical, Care and Medication Management solution. With TechnologyOne working closely to understand our business requirements, and the level of communication between all three parties, it has enabled a successful integration,” said Pacey.

Inquiry calls for changes to government’s ‘NBN tax’

Broadband levy should be updated to take into account increased fixed wireless investment by NBN Co
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 20 November, 2018 11:34
A parliamentary inquiry into the roll out of the National Broadband Network in regional and rural areas has called on the government to update the modelling used to underpin a levy scheme that has been dubbed an ‘NBN tax’.
The government’s Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS) is intended to help subsidise unprofitable NBN fixed wireless and satellite services. The RBS levy will be payable by telcos that deliver “NBN comparable” fixed line services that have theoretical maximum speeds of 25 megabits per second or faster.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has previously indicated that telcos may pass the  $7.09 per service levy on to consumers.
The Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2018 has passed the lower house and is currently before the Senate.

NBN Co ARPU still stuck as losses continue to mount

The NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, has made no progress on raising the average revenue per user, which remains stuck on $44, the same as that recorded for full-year 2018, even though other metrics have shown an increase.
The company has said in the past that it would have reach $52 ARPU in order to break even.
As part of its quarter one 2019 results on Monday, NBN Co said that revenue had increased by 53% year-on-year to $620 million.
  • Nov 19 2018 at 1:21 PM

NBN Co boss defiant in face of calls for cheaper wholesale prices

by James Fernyhough
NBN Co chief executive Stephen Rue has refused to yield to pressure from retailers to reduce the wholesale costs of the NBN, saying the plans' comparatively high cost was necessary to pay for the network.
But in good news for retailers and consumers, Mr Rue also dismissed concerns NBN Co would raise prices, saying its plan to increase revenue by $7 per user would be achieved by customers voluntarily moving to higher-speed plans and by businesses buying extra bandwidth.
Announcing NBN Co's first-quarter results on Monday, Mr Rue was upbeat about the progress of the roll-out, saying the government-owned corporation was on track to meet its target of connecting 8 million homes and businesses to the fibre network by 2020.

Labor accuses govt of avoiding 'inconvenient metrics' in NBN Co results

The Australian Labor Party has, predictably, slammed the Federal Government for avoiding any mention of what it calls "inconvenient metrics" in the NBN Co's first-quarter results which were announced on Monday.
In a statement, Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers said both Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, who were referred to as "infamous backers of Peter Dutton", had given an "out-of-touch assessment of their second-rate NBN".
The results showed that NBN Co had not increased its average revenue per user from the level of $44 for the full-year 2018 and was still continuing to haemorrhage money.

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