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, December 24, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 24th December, 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

Happy Christmas to everyone for tomorrow. It has been a big year!
21 December 2018

Why we should love our medical software industry

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
This week, the medical software industry of Australia put a very large and potentially game-changing stake in the ground, which may have a very positive impact on doctors (and patients) around the country – eventually.
Although not that well-funded – it’s still a relatively small group of local and global players – the local organisation has decided to employ a full-time CEO to up the stakes for both its members and the direction of digital health policy in the country.
If that sounds just a little ‘ho hum’, then stop and consider for a moment the context in which the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) has made this decision.
Digital health technology, and concomitant health transformation, is starting to take in a lot of overseas markets. Some countries like China and Norway have determined already that they are going to lead the world in health innovation because health is so important to every country in the world.

CSIRO develops tech to aid parents of premature babies

Telemedicine researchers at Australia's national science agency, the CSIRO, have developed new video-streaming technology to help parents stay connected to their premature babies while in hospital.
A statement from the CSIRO said the technology allowed parents to watch live video of their babies using a mobile phone app. A trial of the technology is underway.
One of the women involved in testing out the technology, Samantha Hayden, who has pre-term twins Zachary and Sebastian, said she was happy to be able to see her babies whenever she wanted.
The twins spent the first weeks of their lives in The Townsville Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Huawei launches story-reading app for deaf community

Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei has launched an artificial intelligence-powered app that can enrich story time for people who are hard of hearing or deaf.
Known as StorySign, it is claimed to create an authentic reading experience. A statement from the company said the app would be available in Australia from February 2019.
Huawei Australia has struck a deal with Deaf Australia, a local charity, to encourage support and donations for those affected, and to offer the app to the Australian deaf community. The company is also looking to raise awareness of deaf literacy.
“Deaf children don’t learn to read in the same way as hearing children. Many struggle to learn how to read because they can’t match words with sounds," said Kyle Miers, chief executive of Deaf Australia.

Medicolegal tip: Should doctors video-record consults?

Dr Craig Lilienthal addresses doctors' fears that, if something goes wrong, they may be unable to defend claims brought against them
Dr Craig Lilienthal
18th December 2018
When I was a young GP in the small country town of West Wyalong in Central West NSW, no one asked me if they could take a video of their wife having their baby.
That’s probably because domestic video cameras didn’t exist at the time. That’s so long ago, I was the first GP in town to insist that fathers be present on these important occasions.
However, when I began undertaking medicolegal work with the MDU (a precursor of Avant) in the 1980s, a number of obstetricians expressed concern about fathers wanting to video the births of their children.
The obstetricians were worried that if they did anything wrong or if something went wrong, they would be unable to defend claims brought against them because a visual account of the procedure would be available to the experts and the courts.
Timothy Bowen Senior Solicitor – Advocacy, Claims & Education December 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is often touted as changing lives for the better, including in healthcare.

A recent Senate inquiry recommended Australia lead AI development and ethics.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists told the inquiry “[a] digital health future presents risks and opportunities for healthcare professions. The potential for automation is high…but there are some very clear limitations…” 
How do we approach healthcare AI?
The American Medical Association recently released a policy on ‘augmented intelligence’.  It covers advocacy on healthcare AI priorities, incorporating clinician perspectives, ensuring high quality initiatives, education on benefits and limitations, and exploring legal implications.
MIGA advocates on issues of digital health, including the Senate inquiry into My Health Record, the South Australian Enterprise Patient Administration System review and the Australian Digital Health Agency National Digital Health Strategy consultation. We also engage with the Australian Digital Health Agency and other stakeholders in working groups.  The issues we raise include:
  • Ensuring digital health reflects healthcare realities
  • Augmenting existing initiatives to improve operation, utility and use
  • Ensuring regulation is fair and balanced, identifying potential implications when things don’t work as intended
  • Fragmentation of sources and information, inconsistency in use and ‘information overload’.

New CEO for the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre

The Board of the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Victor Pantano as the DHCRC’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Recently established, the DHCRC is an industry-led, academically powered leader of research and development in digital health, formed to create new opportunities for Australian business and society. One of the largest and most complex CRCs, it was established with an investment over seven years of $56m cash and $120m in kind from its 80+ partners, along with a grant of $55m from the Australian Government's CRC Program.
Dr Pantano will join the DHCRC from the University of Canberra (UC), where he is currently Associate Vice President – Innovation and Strategy, responsible for identifying, developing and negotiating strategic growth opportunities for UC. This has included working to support the growth of UC’s health faculty, together with its state-of-the-art health precinct. He brings a wealth of experience in business development, commercialisation and venture capital investment, underpinned by the creation of collaborations between universities and industry.
Over the course of his career, Dr Pantano has raised hundreds of millions of dollars across a variety of technologies and in a broad range of fields.

Digital Health Transformation Summit 2019

18 February, 2019 - 21 February, 2019

Join digital health leaders to discuss how you can leverage technology and improve the quality of care across Australia.
Attendees at this event will learn how to streamline the digital transition, futureproof their hospital, innovate for patient-centric care and engage stakeholders through change.

Event Details

18 February, 2019 - 21 February, 2019
Liquid Learning
Note: You have to wonder what Liquid Learning would know about the topic….

Healthdirect Australia pulled plug on Docker after six months

By Ry Crozier on Dec 21, 2018 12:37PM

Early adopter couldn't make it work.

One of Australia’s earliest Docker adopters, the government-run health directories provider Healthdirect, wound up pulling the pin on the technology after six months.
It saw containerisation as a way to improve its speed to deliver enhancements and new services, and to ensure the infrastructure underpinning those services could keep up with user demand. It also believed the technology would free up developers’ time to focus more on improving customer-facing services.
In reality, however, containerisation became an expensive time sink as Healthdirect fought a “complexity and immaturity” in the production readiness of Docker.

National Clinical Terminology Service – Introductory recordings

The National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) at the Australian Digital Health Agency has published introductory level recordings about SNOMED CT-AU and the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT).

Webinars include:

1. Introduction to SNOMED CT-AU terminology
An introductory webinar (approx. 30 mins) that provides an overview of SNOMED CT-AU, its structure and content, purpose, use cases and more.
2. Introduction to the Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT)
An introductory webinar (approx. 40 mins) that provides an overview of the AMT, its structure and coverage, purpose, use cases and more.
3. SNOMED CT-AU content hierarchy overview
A webinar (approx. 30 mins) that provides an overview of the content available within each of the SNOMED CT-AU hierarchies.

IT delays roll-out of National Bowel Screening Programme

Monday, 17 December 2018  
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
Delays in developing the new National Screening Solution have pushed back the roll-out of the National Bowel Screening Programme to some DHBs.
Deloitte has been contracted for the initial planning and design phase of the IT system to support the new screening programme, with work expected to be completed in late July 2018.
A Ministry of Health Annual Review published this month says the completion date was extended until November 2018, but the initial design phase is not complete. This initial phase has a budget of $2.5 million and as of 30 June this year, its risk status was green-amber.

Australian healthcare researchers take too long to assemble data: report

Hafizah Osman | 21 Dec 2018
Despite an abundance of digital data in Australia, health and medical researchers are spending “several months and even years” when it comes to assembling data required for research, a recent study has found. 
The Australian Researchers and Digital Health Australian Health Data Series: Volume 2 report identified that Australia holds high-quality, well-coded and valuable digital health data, but is not tapped to its full potential. 
This has led to a direct impact on advances in both health and medical science, and the development of the health and medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors, it indicated. 

Encryption law not smart politics, says Signal developer

The Federal Government's encryption law does not seem like smart politics, but then nothing about it seems particularly smart, according to developer Joshua Lund who works for the project developing the encrypted messaging app Signal.
In a blog post about the encryption law, which was passed by Parliament on 6 December, Lund said through the entire eight-year development of Signal, a project run by Open Whisper Systems which is the brainchild of well-known cryptographer Moxie Marlinspike, resistance had been encountered from people who struggled to understand end-to-end encryption or those who sought to weaken its effects, adding that this was not a new dynamic.
"We can’t include a backdoor in Signal, but that isn’t a new dynamic either," wrote Lund. "By design, Signal does not have a record of your contacts, social graph, conversation list, location, user avatar, user profile name, group memberships, group titles, or group avatars.

More spin in an effort to polish the encryption turd

The Australian Cyber Security Growth Network and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute are planning to issue a report that will apparently provide "high-level case studies" of what the government's encryption law means.
Exactly what that means is open to debate, given that ever since the draft of the bill was issued on 14 August, we have seen plenty of commentary from eminently qualified people who have essentially said that the bill should be cremated as a public service.
AustCyber (now there's a catchy name for you) chief Michelle Price was quoted extensively by the website InnovationsAus as effectively saying that everything spoken and written about what is officially known as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 was a load of ballyhoo.

Encryption busting laws face new probe

By Justin Hendry on Dec 17, 2018 4:13PM

Final amendments fall under the microscope.

Final government amendments to newly passed encryption busting laws rushed through parliament in the final hours of sitting this month will be subject to scrutiny by a joint parliamentary committee.
The joint committee on intelligence and security (PJCIS) on Monday commenced a review into the Telecommunication and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 following its passage through parliament earlier this month.
The law gives law enforcement the power to ask technology companies to create a vulnerability on "one or more target technologies that are connected with a particular person".

Labor queries HFC cost rise despite drop in homes served

Michelle Rowland: "On every measure, the Liberals’ disastrous decision to adopt HFC has left taxpayers and consumers worse off." Supplied
The Australian Labor Party has questioned how the cost of the NBN Co's HFC build has increased by 64% since 2015, despite the fact that the number of premises being served by the technology has fallen by 37.5%.
Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said in a statement on Thursday that the Federal Government needed to come clean on "the extent to which Australian taxpayers have been fleeced" due to the decision to use HFC as one of the technologies for "the second-rate NBN".

NBN Co to re-launch fixed wireless at up to 75 Mbps

By Simon Sharwood on Dec 18, 2018 12:03AM

Spectrum management tricks turn fixed wireless into Fixed Wireless Plus.

NBN Co has announced a significant restructuring and relaunch for its fixed wireless services that will see the product reach for 75 Mbps downloads in the year 2020, as revealed by iTnews in August.
The re-launch is a child of urgent necessity and innovation.
The necessity is an ACMA edict to spectrum users in the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz bands that requires a new interference management regime that includes specified downlink and uplink network configuration measures. The effect of that edict is that NBN Co will have to withdraw its current wholesale 25-50/5-20 Mbps products by the end of 2019.
The innovation is in what comes next: NBN Co claims it will be better at utilising its accessible spectrum and will have the potential to offer a 75/10 Mbps service in future.

Government gives NBN Co more time to pay off its loan

Government ​won't reveal the financial impact of the decision​
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 17 December, 2018 10:04
NBN Co will have an additional three years to pay off a loan from the government intended to plug the gap between the cost of the NBN rollout and the cap on the total equity contributions from Canberra. However, the government would not reveal the financial impact of the decision.
The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released today, revealed that the government would modify its $19.5 billion loan agreement with NBN Co, extending its term by three years to the end of June 2024 and allowing the company to source up to $2 billion from private debt markets.
The MYEFO document states that the “financial implications of this measure are not for publication ... due to commercial sensitivities.”

Australian 5G will cost billions more due to Huawei ban: claim

Australia's ban on the use of 5G equipment from Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies will result in the cost of deploying wireless base stations being higher by anything from 15% to 40%, Huawei chairman Ken Hu says.
Hu, who is the rotating chairman of the company at the moment, told a media event in Dongguan, where Huawei has opened a new campus, that his figures were taken from a study titled The Value of Competition on 5G Network Deployment carried out by a company known as Frontier Economics. Journalists from AP, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, CNN, CNBC, Reuters, Fortune and Nikkei were among those present at the media event on Tuesday.
The cost of building an entire 5G network in Australia would be higher by several billion dollars, said Hu, adding that was what even worse was that the time for people to adopt and use 5G technology would be delayed.

Personal translator device brings us a step closer to Star Trek

By Cynthia Karena
17 December 2018 — 12:43pm
While we are not quite in Star Trek’s Universal Translator territory yet, where everyone’s spoken languages are translated and spoken in real time communication, Japanese technology company Logbar has created a voice-to-voice translating device called ili.
Speak English into ili ($US199 + shipping to Australia) and it translates and speaks in Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish. More languages may come later.
Ili is small and lightweight at 42 grams, it can be hand held or worn with a neck strap and it’s incredibly easy to use. Press and hold a button to speak, and in under half a second your words are translated out loud.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Thank you for all your hard work in this and other years. The blog, which is a platform for discussion and dissemination of news, is very much appreciated.
Have a Merry Christmas, a good break and a great new year.

Oliver Frank said...

I would like to add my thanks to Bernard's. Your blog is an amazing achievement and service, all the more so as a voluntary unpaid self-determined mission. It provides an important forum for discussion and debate.

I proposed to the RACGP some years ago that it should recognise National Living Treasures of Australian general practice informatics. Perhaps HISA and ACHI will consider recognising National Living Treasures of Australian clinical informatics. You will be my first nomination.

I hope that you will continue to publish your blog in 2019.

Best wishes,
Oliver Frank