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, February 04, 2019

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 4th February, 2019.

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

Well we have seen the opt-out period end and we now wait for the final figures on numbers – which should have been disclosed as we went along. The ADHA has badly damaged itself along the way I believe.
Otherwise a few little tit-bits. Enjoy.

GPs seek legal advice on My Health Record

By Dana McCauley
27 January 2019 — 11:45pm
Doctors are seeking legal advice over whether they may be held liable for mishaps that occur as a result of incorrect patient data on My Health Record, as the task of populating millions of new records puts pressure on GPs, specialists and hospitals.
With the January 31 opt-out deadline just three days away, up to 17 million Australians will soon have a My Health Record automatically created for them.
But they will not get instant access to their complete health records; it will take at least 12 months before the system is up and running, with many hospitals and medical practitioners needing IT upgrades to get connected to the system.
29 January 2019

Phelps raises fresh medicolegal concerns over MHR

Posted by Julie Lambert
Wentworth MP Dr Kerryn Phelps says the government should drop Thursday’s opt-out deadline for the My Health Record until it can clarify the medico-legal ramifications for doctors.
The former AMA president argues that doctors need a guarantee that they will not be exposed to lawsuits from patients if a mishap arises because of an incorrect or incomplete My Health Record.
Dr Phelps raised her concerns with various media, including The Medical Republic, over the holiday weekend, saying there was “monumental potential for mishandling” and the medicolegal problems could outweigh the benefits of the database.

eHealth Queensland chief suddenly resigns

By Justin Hendry on Jan 31, 2019 10:27PM

State's corruption watchdog probes conflict of interest allegations.

The chief of eHealth Queensland, Richard Ashby has resigned over allegations of an undeclared relationship with a staff member working on the replacement of one of the state’s most mission critical systems.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Director-General Michael Walsh said Dr Ashby, who doubled as the chief information officer of the e-health arm, had made the decision to quit following the allegations.
“This morning, I provided allegations to a senior eHealth Queensland executive about a potential undeclared conflict of interest regarding an alleged relationship with a staff member involved with the Patient Administration System replacement,” he said.
“The information has been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission who is investigating.”

Corruption investigators swoop on Queensland's PAS project

​Queensland eHealth chief executive Dr Richard Ashby resigns following allegations of undeclared relationship
George Nott (Computerworld) 01 February, 2019 11:34
Queensland eHealth chief executive Dr Richard Ashby has resigned following allegations of an undeclared relationship involving an individual linked to the replacement of the state’s Patient Administration System (PAS).
The roll out of the replacement PAS has been halted, while the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigates.
Queensland Health director-general Michael Walsh said in a statement he had "provided allegations to a senior eHealth Queensland executive about a potential undeclared conflict of interest regarding an alleged relationship with a staff member“ involved with the PAS replacement.
The statement said that Ashby had resigned “for personal reasons”.

'Pill shaming' and stigma causes regional Australians to battle mental illness for longer

3 February, 2019
A new awareness of the impacts of 'pill shaming', which can prevent people from purchasing medication to help treat their mental illness, has emerged in online forums.
The movement has been shared across various social media and blogging sites, with individuals using #PillShaming to open up about their own experiences, or to encourage others to drop the stigma around mental illness and taking medication.
The campaign has been discussed internationally, with one blogging site's video attracting around 15 million views.
In 2017, The National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) identified that around 20 per cent of people Australia-wide experience mental illness.

New working group to map AI’s impact on radiology in Australia and New Zealand

Created by RANZCR, the working group will explore what AI means for radiologists, the safety of the technology and training needed for doctors to use it.
January 27, 2019 09:22 PM
In an effort to deliver on safety for patients through the establishment of protocols around AI, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR) has created a working group that determines how the technology fits into the world of radiology and healthcare.
Composed of practicing radiologists, data scientists, computer scientists and professionals in AI, the working group will explore what AI means for radiologists, the safety of the technology and training needed for doctors to use it.

Healthy way to lower premiums

  • 12:00AM January 28, 2019
Health insurer Medibank is set to roll out a new app to help customers lower premiums by living a healthier lifestyle, in what it says is an industry first.
The company will first offer its new Medibank Live Better app to its more than 4000 employees to test the technology before an official launch to its 2.8 million customers mid-year.
The app works by rewarding customers with points they can use to pay their premium, boost their extras limits, reduce their hospital excess or get a service such as a remedial massage.
Medibank chief customer officer David Koczkar said it was a significant move for Medibank and a first in Australia.

Telstra's ailing $220m cancer register now less terminal

By Justin Hendry on Jan 29, 2019 6:55AM

Impact would be “significant”.

The Department of Health has revealed it is unlikely to axe Telstra’s $220 million contract for the late-running national cancer register due to the significant “costs and impact” that would be associated with doing so.
Last October the department was directed by a joint parliamentary committee to consider terminating its contract with the telco over underperformance on the build of single national record for the screening of cervical and bowel cancers.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit asked to know whether it was “in the Commonwealth’s interests to terminate the contract and pursue other options for either of both registers”.
It also suggested Health could consider pursuing damages against the telco “given the significant extra costs incurred” as a result of delays.

HIV records of more than 14,000 people leaked in Singapore

Updated29 January 2019 — 12:15amfirst published 28 January 2019 — 10:20pm
Singapore: Singapore's health ministry accused an American on Monday of stealing and leaking the records of 14,200 people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, before January 2013.
It said Mikhy K. Farrera Brochez recently put the official records of 5400 Singaporeans and 8800 foreigners online. These included HIV test results, names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses and other health information, it said.
"While access to the confidential information has been disabled, it is still in the possession of the unauthorised person, and could still be publicly disclosed in the future," it said in statement. "We are working with relevant parties to scan the internet for signs of further disclosure of the information."

Three tips to stop hackers breaking into your home internet

28 Jan 2019 — 11:00 PM
Once a month or so for the past six months, a computer on my home network has been sending me an email containing a worrying warning.
Someone is trying to break in.
The computer, which I use to store all my family photos and videos, is always connected to a similar computer in another suburb, and the two computers each maintain a copy of all my files just in case my house burns down or (far more likely) the hard disks on one or other of the machines fail.
It's this connection (known as Secure Shell, or SSH connection) that the hackers have been targeting. When the computer on my home network detects that someone has made 10 incorrect guesses at the SSH password, it blocks all contact from the attacker's internet address, and lets me know.

Will more at-risk seniors soon be wearing an Apple Watch for their health?

Jan 29, 2019 2:43pm
More grandmas and grandpas may soon have an Apple Watch strapped to their wrist—all in an effort to keep them healthier.
Apple is in talks with at least three private Medicare Advantage plans to subsidize the cost of the Apple Watch for seniors to use to help track their health, according to a CNBC report.
If the talks come to fruition, it would be a unique pairing of technology, health plans, seniors and doctors.
People familiar with the discussions say Apple is proposing subsidizing the watch for people over the age of 65 to use as a health tracker, CNBC said. No agreements have been reached yet, but Apple officials have spoken to several of the largest insurers in the market, as well as some smaller Medicare Advantage plans, according to the report. Apple declined to comment, CNBC said.

DHBs develop national Electronic Oral Health Record

Thursday, 31 January 2019  
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
An implementation plan for a nationally consistent Electronic Oral Health Record will be presented to the country’s 20 district health board chief executives by the middle of this year.
Professional services organisation TAS is leading the implementation on behalf of the DHBs after recently signing a contract with the Ministry of Health.
Chair of the EOHR programme board Robin Whyman is clinical director oral health at Hawkes Bay DHB.
He says the programme started around 2015–16 because staff operating oral health services recognised that, while nearly all DHBs are using the same clinical system, differences in local implementations mean they are unable to get nationally consistent information out of it.

Computers that converse: artificial intelligence expert John Ball's next project

25 Jan 2019 — 12:15 AM
Artificial intelligence expert John Ball is working on a new generation of computers that will hold proper conversations with us. In the meantime, he plays a lot of chess, which is a good circuit breaker for the founder and chief technology officer at Pat Inc. "I find playing between tasks works well," he says.
Before you became a cognitive scientist and an inventor working in artificial intelligence [AI], you played chess. As a kid I was a little bit geeky; I probably haven't changed in that regard. My family lived in Princeton where I joined the school chess team and I've pursued it ever since. My goal for 2019 is to play every day – either against an opponent somewhere in the world online or against the computer. There's also a couple of friends I play with where it's not quite so vicious. You let them take moves back until you've lost a couple of games, then you don't let them do that any more.
Chess and AI have a history. Yes, AI has always wanted to be good at chess, the idea being that human intelligence is shown through a chess game. These days the world's best players can't compete with the world's best chess engines, which can look at so many moves in front that no human can compete.

An abomination': Government given final warning on encryption laws

By Emma Koehn
29 January 2019 — 12:09pm
Australia's encryption laws are very difficult to understand and could result in tech entrepreneurs serving jail time, according to the final round of submissions on the government's assistance and access legislation.
Business groups have warned the federal government the amendments to the laws, which were passed in December, are "difficult to understand and interpret" and don't help the tech industry's worries about the fallout.
The policy, which allows ASIO to compel businesses to help decrypt messages in order to fight serious crime, are currently open for a final round of submissions despite already being law. This is because of the way the legislation was passed in 2018, where a series of amendments were passed without full debate but with the promise of a review in 2019.

ASIO has concerns about encryption law - but it's a secret

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation apparently still has some concerns about the encryption law that was passed by Parliament on 6 December, despite there being no changes to the draft that was discussed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence.
But you and I will not be able to know what the great minds at the spy agency — which, by the way, has yet to catch a single spy — are thinking.
The contents of the ASIO submission are apparently meant only for the eyes of the committee. Secrecy hints at dark and deep secrets, of matters that are just too dastardly for the average man or woman to know.
Governments and law enforcement the world over control the people in their countries through fear and ASIO is certainly good at this.

Encryption law: developer lists economic, practical and ideological concerns

An Australian software engineer, who works at a health tech start-up that uses encryption to protect patient data, has suggested several changes to the Federal Government's encryption legislation which was passed in December.
Jake Bloom, who formerly worked with Facebook in California, listed the following changes which, he said, should be made to the law in the event that it was not taken off the books altogether:
  • Remove the concept of a Technical Capability Notice (TCN) as it amounts to nothing more than servitude;
  • Amend the legislation such that Technical Assistance Requests (TARs) and Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) can only be served to a corporation, not an individual;
  • Narrow the scope of the legislation so that it can only be used in the case of terrorism and child sex offences, not the broad scope that currently exists;
  • Properly define a “whole class of technology”;
  • Allow the public to immediately view which companies have been served with TARs and TANs.
The bill was passed on 6 December but just 12 days later, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security said it would begin a fresh review.

Home Affairs says encryption law amendments implemented

All 17 amendments proposed to the Federal Government's encryption law, which was passed by Parliament on 6 December last year, have been implemented, the Department of Home Affairs says in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
In the submission, Home Affairs claimed the new powers in the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 — which is being referred to as the TOLA Act — were already being used by law enforcement and national security agencies to support their work.
"The Department understands that Commonwealth law enforcement and national security agencies have used the powers in the Act to support operations and investigations. The Department refers to the submissions from agencies for further details on the use of the powers," the submission said.
However the only other submission received from a government agency as of today is from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation – which states that its contents are confidential and only viewable by the PJCIS.

‘Encryption’ legislation: AFP calls for end to its oversight role

First AFP assistance requests under legislation still being finalised
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 01 February, 2019 14:01
The Australian Federal Police has called for the its oversight of Technical Assistance Notices (TANs) issued by state and territory police forces to be scrapped. 
TANs are one of three levels of assistance created by the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (TOLA Act). They are a direction to a communications provider that that provider carry out certain acts to assist a law enforcement agency.
Technical Assistance Requests (TARs) are a request for a provider to voluntarily perform certain acts, while a Technical Capability Notice (TCN) is a government-issued direction for a provider to “do acts or things directed towards ensuring that the provider is capable of giving certain types of help to ASIO or an interception agency” — essentially implementing new capabilities required by an authorised agency.
The TOLA Act, including 183 amendments made by the government as it was rushed through parliament on the last sitting day of 2018, is currently the subject of an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS).

Innovating our way through the healthcare data tsunami

InterSystems Corporation (Australia)

By Dimitri Fane and Kathleen Aller, InterSystems
Tuesday, 01 January, 2019
In the early days of computerised healthcare analytics, it was exciting when summarised billing data and tabular reporting delivered insights, albeit fuzzy ones, into care processes, costs and opportunities for improvement. Even those blurry pictures strained computing capacity at the time, forcing a rethink on data management.
As healthcare information systems have become more sophisticated, along with greater storage and computing power, it has become possible to measure and monitor care with greater clarity, leveraging ever more granular clinical data and better visualisations.
Now, almost the opposite processing challenge has arisen. Computing capacity isn’t the issue any more — rather, the rate at which healthcare information is collected is outstripping ability to make sense of and act on it. Meanwhile, the pace of healthcare data collection continues to accelerate well beyond that of other industries.1 There are a number of contributors to this growth:

Cormann rejects calls for NBN write-down from Labor

Updated 01 Feb 2019 — 4:05 PM, first published at 12:36 PM
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has flatly rejected calls for a National Broadband Network write-down, saying there is no argument for it and in any case it would not be up to the government.
Senator Cormann's comments come after Labor slammed NBN Co chairman Ziggy Switkowski for failing to back up his claim the NBN would be worth $50 billion when finished.
Labor's communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland has said the Coalition's shift to the so-called "multi-technology mix" reduced the network's value – which, if true, would make a write-down more likely.

Optus' Allen Lew reveals plans to pick customers off NBN

Updated 31 Jan 2019 — 8:12 PM, first published at 8:00 PM
Optus chief executive Allen Lew says his company will exploit weaknesses in the national broadband network with the launch of a new 5G fixed wireless plan, in a move that will put more pressure on the NBN's "user pays" funding model.
Unveiled on Thursday, the new fixed wireless product will use 5G wireless technology to deliver unlimited home broadband that Mr Lew insisted would be as high quality as fibre-optic broadband, and superior to NBN plans in some areas, such as those where Telstra's legacy copper wire is still in use.
It's the first time a telecommunications company has revealed concrete plans to do what many predicted they would – use their new 5G spectrum holdings and superior 5G technology not for mobile purposes, but to pick customers off the substandard parts of NBN.

Optus unveils 5G plan to take on NBN

31 Jan 2019 — 10:26 AM
Optus has revealed it will launch its first 5G fixed wireless broadband plans by June, with speeds and pricing comparable or better than its fixed-line broadband plans, in what will be seen as a move to compete with the national broadband network.
The new plans will use Optus's 5G spectrum to deliver unlimited high speed internet to customers' homes at speeds capable of supporting high volumes of ultra-high definition video streaming.
At a cost of $70 a month, and with guaranteed minimum download speeds of 50 megabits per second, the plans cost the same as Optus's cheaper NBN plan, which offers slightly inferior peak-time download speeds of 40 Mbps.
The plans will initially only be available in 49 suburbs of Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, however Optus said it would expand into more regions as its 5G network was rolled across Australia. The Singtel-owned telco said it would have 1,200 5G sites by 2020.

Telco complaints fall to lowest level in three years: report

The rate of consumer complaints in Australia about telecommunications services fell further in the most recent quarter – generating the best results seen since 2015.
The report, from industry lobby group Communications Alliance, shows that complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, as a proportion of services in operation for service providers who participate in the report, decreased to 6.0 complaints per 10,000 services for the period October-December 2018. This is now the fourth consecutive quarter in which the ratio has decreased – indicating that focused efforts by service providers have improved service delivery and the overall customer experience.
CA says the latest figures are the lowest ratio since October-December 2015.

TPG cancels 4G network plans, blames Huawei ban

By James Fernyhough
Updated 29 Jan 2019 — 11:15 AM, first published at 9:44 AM
TPG Telecom has cancelled its plans to build the nation's fourth 4G mobile network, in a dramatic move that the telco blamed on the federal government's ban on Huawei equipment from use on 5G networks.
But the surprise announcement comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) considers the proposed merger between TPG and Vodafone, and will be read as an attempt to force the ACCC to approve the $15 billion deal.
TPG barely mentioned the merger with Vodafone, focusing instead on the Huawei ban, in its statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Should ACCC also tackle NBN Co about speeds? One ISP thinks so

The Australian competition watchdog has the right intentions when it fines Internet service providers for not living up to the speed claims they make, a small ISP says, but adds that the NBN Co should not be allowed to get off scot-free.
Damian Ivereigh, the chief executive of Launtel, a Launceston-based ISP, told iTWire that retail service providers should definitely be testing the line to find out the sync speeds that people were getting in order to determine whether they should be downgraded to a slower plan.
"However this is something NBN is in a lot better position to help on than the RSP," he added.
His comments came in reaction to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's advice to NBN users on 23 January, asking those who experience slow speeds to check with their providers if they were eligible for a refund in line with agreements that the watchdog negotiated with providers over the last 15 months.


Anonymous said...

Ho hum, "Telstra's ailing $220m cancer register" too costly to fail. Another hugely troubled health IT project - built on the fly - too big to fail - keep throwing more money at it to avoid political fallout from terminating the project. Only in the public service where commercial reality and pragmatism can be cast aside with no consequences to those responsible.

Anonymous said...

The government knows full well that the problem was with the contract, not the contractor. Telsra's defence will be "we did what you asked. Don't blame us if it couldn't be done in the time or for the costs you insisted on"

Very few IT companies ever get sued for non performance for that exact reason.

Anonymous said...

Procurement/contracting needs so much work. There's a reason buildings are often contracted as Design - Build - Manage. Either do it almost all internally, or externally - piecemeal leads to this problem