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, March 11, 2019

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 11th March, 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

Quite a busy week with all sorts of odds and ends being exposed to public gaze. There were coroner’s reports and other bad news as well as some good software news and further revelations on the NBN and its tortuous progress!

Baby born with brain damage after 'fragmented' care at Queensland hospital

By Lucy Stone
March 3, 2019 — 9.53pm
A baby was born with brain damage in a Queensland hospital after critical patient data was entered into different sections of its mother’s electronic medical record, meaning obstetricians were “unlikely” to have seen a key test result.
A confidential case review of the early 2018 incident, seen by Brisbane Times, also identified poor communication between regional healthcare and hospital staff, lack of a complete medical history, staff fatigue, and a failure to use all available resources as contributing factors to the incident.
A Queensland Health spokesman said patient safety and care was always the department’s number one priority.
The baby’s mother, who was considered a high-risk patient, suffered short-term memory loss due to eclampsia, and her baby required ongoing specialist support.

Coroner blames IT system for VTE death

The system, eMeds, is used widely in NSW hospitals
4th March 2019
A hospital’s IT system has been blamed after doctors failed to administer prophylactic anticoagulation to a burns patient who later died of pulmonary emboli.
A coroner has heard that the display of the Electronic Medical Management (eMeds) software, which is used across NSW, was too wide for a computer’s monitor display used at Concord Repatriation General Hospital in Sydney.
A doctor using the system saw the word “heparin” on the left of the screen, but the word “cancelled” was listed off the screen, leading the doctors to believe that the drug had been administered.
The NSW inquest was told that this “impediment” was to blame for 51-year-old Stephen Kline not receiving heparin in the days before dying from pulmonary thromboemboli due to a DVT in March 2016.

Fewer Human Services staff caught accessing customer data

By Sally Whyte
March 4, 2019 — 11.58am
The number of Human Services staff found to be accessing customer data without authorisation has been steadily dropping over the past two years, but has increased slightly this year.
In the first half of this financial year, seven public servants have been sacked for breaching the APS code of conduct relating to unauthorised access, the same amount who were sacked in the whole 2017-18 year.
In that year two staff pulled the plug themselves before their employers could.
The Department of Human Services includes Centrelink and Medicare services, meaning staff have access to highly sensitive personal information about millions of Australians. But the way those files are accessed is constantly monitored, meaning staff can't delve into the medical and financial histories of others without the department finding out.

Another job for GPs? Plans unveiled for fee comparison site

It will ultimately provide information on all specialties except general practice
4th March 2019
GPs will be expected to give their patients an education on the workings of the MBS when making a referral, under the Federal Government’s latest plan to tackle medical bill shock.
The government is creating an online database listing non-GP specialists’ fees, saying it will help patients make informed decisions about where to go for treatment.
The website was recommended by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Out-of-pocket Costs in a report released on Saturday, which found “egregious” gap fees were leading to financial hardship for patients and damaging the private health funds.
Specialists will not be forced to sign up to the system; however, it is expected to come online within two years at a cost of $6.5 million.

My Health Record now live

Sophia Bolden | 05 Mar 2019
My Health Record is now live and available to the 17 million Australians who did not opt-out of the electronic health system. Health and aged care services are increasingly connecting to the system, with 2.4 million shared health summaries and 2.6 million discharge summaries now uploaded.

Tech glitch puts NDIS clients in cash limbo

  • Exclusive
  • 12:00AM March 5, 2019
People using the $22 billion Nat­ional Disability Insurance Scheme are having their support packages reviewed early and cut off, leaving them unable to access the remaining funds that can total thousands of dollars.
The glitch in the system happens when plans, which typically are valid for a year, are reviewed early to avoid a gap between one plan ending and a new one beginning. However, when a review results in a person’s support being downgraded they lose access both to the remaining money in their existing plan and receive less funding in the future.
The computer system used by the National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the scheme, is borrowed from the Department of Human Services and is so ill-equipped for the task that a support plan cannot simply be updated or changed without triggering an entirely new package.
4 March 2019

Hunt funds telehealth for flood-affected regions

Posted by Penny Durham
Queenslanders affected by the recent floods are now able to reach their GP for a consultation by phone, email and video call.
The emergency Medicare telehealth provisions, announced by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Friday, will attract the same fees and rebates as current standard GP consultations.
The new items will be available until 30 June 2019.
The response is in addition to the $33.5 million for GP telehealth measures announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December.

Step aside doctor, medical robots are here

Anthony Elliott and Julie Hare
  • 12:01AM March 5, 2019
Predictions about the impact of artificial intelligence and ­advanced automation on society and the economy alternate ­between the euphoric and the cataclysmic. But there are few areas where the impact of robotics will be more profound than healthcare, medicine and surgery.
There is nothing futuristic about medical robotics. They are here and helping the medical fraternity with your diagnosis, surgery, care, recovery and redesigned healthy lifestyles. It’s only a matter of time before they become as ubiquitous in your GP clinic as the stethoscope and blood pressure monitor.
Machine learning algorithms are already part of our daily healthcare routines: they send us reminders to schedule an appointment; they track our exercise, sleep and eating habits; they can accurately identify suspect melanomas; monitor energy levels; map fertility statistics; and collate other diagnostic data.

Researchers rip Microsoft over Windows 10 update restarts

Windows 10 Home's update and upgrade processes are confusing users and leaving them frustrated, researchers from University College London found
Gregg Keizer (Computerworld (US)) 04 March, 2019 05:00
Microsoft has created a mirage for users of Windows 10 Home, crafting an illusion of partial control over updates and upgrades, researchers have concluded.
In a paper presented at the Workshop on Usable Security - part of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium - in San Diego on 24 February, researchers from University College London analysed Windows 10 Home's update and upgrade processes, and the behaviours of experienced users, 93 of whom completed a long survey.
The researchers' goal: assess how well the Windows 10 update model fit the needs of users.

Oracle claims Defence Health core insurance system

By Julian Bajkowski on Mar 5, 2019 12:17PM

Ousts 20-year Australian incumbent HAMBS.

Multinational software giant Oracle has wrested a key Defence software account from 20-year local incumbent HAMBS as the vendor continues to snap-up key deals amid continued government systems renewal.
Defence Health, a restricted not-for-profit health fund that provides private coverage to Defence’s military and civilian employees, said on Tuesday it had selected Oracle Health Insurance as its new software platform as the insurer embarks on a digital transformation over the next 18 months.
Chief executive of Defence Health, Major General Gerard Fogarty said that the decision was made following an assessment of vendors that was both “extensive and exhaustive”.
The decision to pick Oracle over an established local supplier will not have been made lightly with persistent government and local industry pressure to give domestic suppliers a cut of the action at big agencies like Defence.

Health ends limbo over Telstra's $220m national cancer register

By Justin Hendry on Mar 6, 2019 7:02AM

Go-live for last major component planned for November.

The protracted period of uncertainty over the replacement of Australia’s outdated bowel cancer screening register has finally been lifted, after the Department of Health issued a firm go-live date for the second-half of its troubled national cancer register being built by Telstra.
The major component of the $220 million single national record for the screening of cervical and bowel cancers has been languishing without a go-live for the last two years, after a complex data migration process stalled the original launch date.
The register was first intended to be ready in time to support both the national bowel and cervical cancer screening programs in March and March 2017.
Two years on and only the cervical cancer component of the register – which went live in December 2017, nine months later than originally planned – is operational.

Government agrees that Australia's NDIS needs a chatbot

Following a report into the IT problems plaguing the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, a chatbot has been flagged as a viable solution.
By Asha McLean | March 7, 2019 -- 05:53 GMT (16:53 AEDT) | Topic: Innovation
Australia's National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will be getting a chatbot, after the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS flagged that having such technology in place would reduce the frequency of calls and improve "interactive problem solving".
Following the committee's report on the NDIS ICT Systems [PDF], the federal government on Thursday agreed to implement all six IT-related recommendations.
"While the NDIS is designed to assist people with disability to achieve their goals while exercising choice and control, it is acknowledged a number of challenges relating to ICT remains and requires ongoing work," the government wrote in its response [PDF].

Fact-checker software uncovers costly errors in biomed research

By Matt Johnston on Mar 6, 2019 11:44AM

A quarter of papers examined contained errors.

Unreproducible results in research papers is a growing problem affecting academia and the publishing industry, but a cancer researcher at the University of Sydney is hoping to change that with a new, semi-automated fact checker.
Whether it’s an honest mistake in transcribing results, or something more sinister like research fraud, errors in research papers can not only be a waste of time but also a huge cost to labs and institutions.
The ‘Seek & Blastn’ program, co-developed by professor Jennifer Byrne from the University of Sydney and Dr Cyril Labbé from the University of Grenoble Alpes, aims to tackle the problem in the field of biomedicine by identifying DNA and RNA constructs used to target genes and comparing them with a database of known genes.
Byrne likened the use of the DNA and RNA constructs, known as nucleotide sequence reagents, to ingredients in a recipe.

Wearable devices may help prevent stroke: Monash wants $100m for trials

Ben Potter
Mar 8, 2019 — 5.12pm
About six months ago Michael Erb, a 33-year-old IT professional from Mount Waverley in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, began to suffer from intermittent heart palpitations.
The problem was that whenever Erb presented himself for diagnosis after an episode, the symptoms had disappeared and his heart specialist, Monash University Associate Professor Andrew Teh, was unable to find anything.
Teh saw a solution in the proliferation of wearable or mobile devices designed to monitor vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure and sleep, from Apple watches and Fitbits to bespoke devices such as AliveCor's KardiaMobile, available online for about $200.
Such devices can monitor a wearer's pulse via light sensors which pick up small changes in skin colour. The latest Apple watch - not yet available in Australia - has an electrocardiogram (ECG) which the wearer can activate by placing a finger on the watch's crown.

Fremantle Hospital deploys EMR system for better support of care in WA

Hafizah Osman | 06 Mar 2019
Western Australia’s Fremantle Hospital has transitioned from paper to digital records with the implementation of BOSSnet Electronic Medical Record (EMR). 
The healthcare provider joins the list of other providers that have made their move into the EMR space. Most recently, Justice Health Victoria and Bass Coast Health deployed Global Health’s MasterCare EMR.  
Fremantle Hospital deployed Allscripts’ BOSSnet EMR platform as it required a seamless transition of records across its mental health, aged care and elective surgical services, and when patients get transferred to and from the Fiona Stanley Hospital. 
“With patients being transferred between Fiona Stanley and Fremantle hospitals daily, the EMR standardises clinical access to a patient’s medical record and medical history,” Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG) ICT Program Manager Jonathan Langdale said. 

One in three organisations suffered data breaches due to mobile devices

New Verizon report shows a big gap between organisations' mobile security risk concerns and mobile security best practices they implement
Lucian Constantin (CSO (US)) 06 March, 2019 08:29
The number of security incidents involving mobile devices has increased over the past year, but companies are not protecting their mobile assets as well as they do other systems. 
One in three organisations admitted to suffering a compromise due to a mobile device, according to a new study by Verizon that surveyed 671 professionals in charge of mobile device procurement and management in their organisations.
This represents a five per cent increase compared to the results of a similar survey last year.
"Mobile devices are prone to many of the same attacks as other devices," Verizon said in its Mobile Security Index 2019 report.

Southern DHB in New Zealand commences digital maturity assessments

On March 27, a training workshop with HIMSS, the Ministry of Health, Mid-Central staff and DHB representatives from each region will introduce the assessments nationally.
March 05, 2019 02:13 AM
Southern District Health Board (DHB) in New Zealand has kicked off its Digital Health Maturity Models project with the Ministry of Health.
Southern and Mid Central DHBs were chosen by the Ministry last year to pilot three HIMSS Analytics maturity assessments: the electronic medical record adoption model (EMRAM), outpatient EMRAM (O-EMRAM) and the continuity-of-care maturity model (CCMM).
Southern DHB business solutions manager Jack Devereux says the CCMM assessment project started in late February and involves filling out questionnaires based on five care settings: acute, secondary, primary, home support and residential care.
For each of these settings there are three stakeholder groups – governance, clinical and information technology. Each of these has 250 questions to answer and around three weeks to respond.

World Health Organization announces new Department of Digital Health

Thursday, 7 March 2019  
WHO has announced the most wide-ranging reforms in the organisation’s history to modernise and strengthen the institution to play its role more effectively and efficiently as the world’s leading authority on public health.
One of the key changes is “harnessing the power of digital health and innovation by supporting countries to assess, integrate, regulate and maximise the opportunities of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, supported by a new Department of Digital Health”.
The changes are designed to support countries in achieving the ambitious “triple billion” targets that are at the heart of WHO’s strategic plan for the next five years: one billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage (UHC), one billion more people better protected from health emergencies, and one billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.

Australia's anti-encryption laws ridiculed on world stage

By Ry Crozier on Mar 6, 2019 3:47PM

'Not going to end well for anyone'.

Australia’s decision to rush in laws designed to weaken encryption has drawn ridicule from international cryptographic experts at the annual RSA security conference.
Cryptographer Whitfield Diffie, a panel regular at the conference, said that Australia’s laws would not be “productive”.
“I think the problem is roughly this: that it's actually easy to disrupt the use of cryptography by legitimate large scale commercial organisations to make them a lot of trouble, but it's not clear whether those techniques are going to be the same amount of trouble to, for example, terrorists,” Diffie said.

Gaumard and Abacus dx bring the World's Most Advanced Pediatric Simulator to Australia and New Zealand

BRISBANE, 7 March 2019
A young child may have trouble explaining medical symptoms, yet a quick look at his facial expressions can reveal much about anxiety and pain.
That's why Gaumard Scientific Company unveiled Pediatric HAL® S2225 (www.gaumard.com/S2225), the world's most advanced wireless and tetherless mobile pediatric patient simulator. HAL is designed to help health care students and professionals at all levels develop the specialised skills needed to effectively communicate with, diagnose, and treat young patients throughout the continuum of care. HAL's responsive features set a new standard for training across the pre-hospital, transport, emergency, nursing, and intensive care settings.
Pediatric HAL is coming for a Down Under Tour for the first time from March 18 to 29, 2019 appearing at ten different events across Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with Gaumard’s local distributor, Abacus dx (www.abacusdx.com).

Liverpool Hospital claims best health project at iTnews Benchmark Awards

By Staff Writers on Mar 8, 2019 6:01AM

Life-saving Project ECHO takes the top spot

Liverpool Hospital has won the 2019 iTnews Benchmark Award for best health IT project for its implementation of the US-based Project ECHO, bringing health expertise to rural and remote communities.
More than 350 de-identified cases from regional areas have been connected with hepatitis experts at the hospital using Zoom’s off-the-shelf cloud video conferencing platform, saving patients from the time and cost of travelling to Sydney to receive a diagnosis.
It's believed Project ECHO has saved lives by significantly reducing the cost of treatment, as many of the patients wouldn't have been able to afford the time off work, travel, and accommodation while they went to Sydney for diagnosis and treatment.
On top of saving an estimated 2,600 hours of travel, it’s also enabled doctors in smaller communities to build their hepatitis knowledge and boost their confidence in diagnosing the disease themselves, freeing up the project’s resources for other cases.

Vic DHHS takes Benchmarks crown for incident reporting system

By Staff Writers on Mar 8, 2019 6:01AM

Wins state government category.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has won the state government award in the iTnews Benchmark Awards for the overhaul of its client incident management system (CIMS).
The mission-critical system is used to manage incident reports in a centralised manner when clients are harmed due to incidents arising from accidents, staff mistakes or misconduct.
It was borne from the need to support the department’s revised incident management policy and replaces what were previously manual, cumbersome processes that lacked transparency.

Pro Medicus to invest in automation and other 'ologies' in 2019

Jan 13, 2019 — 2.48pm
Health imaging software company Pro Medicus wants 2019 to be the year it expands beyond radiology, helping doctors who increasingly refer to photos – often just a snap on their iPhone – when diagnosing patients to better manage their records.
The company's flagship Visage software lets radiologists view reports and large image files generated by X-rays and other medical scans on the go from their mobile devices, enabling them to make diagnostic decisions remotely.
Now, one of the company's big goals for 2019 is to expand this service into other fields such as cardiology and ophthalmology, which also involve large amounts of imaging.

Vodafone says NBN Co still providing dodgy speed data

By Ry Crozier on Mar 8, 2019 1:05PM

Retail service providers fear more legal problems.

Retail internet providers are in no better position to judge the maximum attainable speed of NBN services than a year ago when most were shamed for “overcharging” consumers, Vodafone has claimed.
In an explosive regulatory filing, Vodafone said it considered NBN Co-supplied speed test results so unreliable that it needed to build its own speed test system to run checks.
iTnews reported in late 2017 that bad processes and data on NBN Co’s side had led to almost all major retail service providers (RSPs) being pinged for “overcharging” users.

NBN Co reveals uneven spread of 50Mbps-capable premises

By Ry Crozier on Mar 6, 2019 6:58AM

Majority of states and territories to fall short of mandate.

NBN Co has revealed that five out of Australia’s eight states and territories are expected to fall short of the promise to have 90 percent of fixed line premises capable of at least 50Mbps peak speeds.
In what is likely to be a contentious admission, NBN Co said it would meet what is effectively the stretch goal of the government’s revised 2016 statement of expectations [pdf] “at a national level”.
However, the distribution of 50Mbps-plus capable premises by state and territory will be uneven.
NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory are anticipated to be the only states and territories that are expected to have over 90 percent of fixed line premises capable of at least 50Mbps peak speeds by the time the network is built and the co-existence period - where some NBN services are speed-limited to avoid impacting ADSL services - ends.

Australia slips in fixed broadband speeds while mobile prospers

Australia has slipped five places from 55th in December to 60th in January with an average download speed of 33.28Mbps in the fixed broadband table compiled by Ookla, the company that provides the online Speedtest application for testing download and upload speeds.
But in the rankings for mobile speeds, Australia is right up there, maintaining its sixth position from December 2018 with average download speeds of 56.70Mbps. Only Iceland (73.93Mbps), Norway (70.29), Canada (65.68), Qatar (59.05) and the Netherlands (56.87), in that order, are ahead of Australia.
New Zealand was 24th in the fixed broadband list with an average of 85.56Mbps and 19th in the mobile rankings (44.74) while the UK was 38th with 55.17Mbps among the fixed broadband crowd and 51st in the mobile rankings with speeds of 30.12Mbps.

Australia identified as a 5G world leader in new global benchmarks

Australia has been identified as a leader, among a small group of elite countries, in its progress toward the implementation of 5G networks, according to a new global benchmarking study.
The 5G Country Leadership Index, released on Thursday by global management consultancy Arthur D. Little, benchmarked more than 40 countries and turned up some surprising findings.
The Index identified South Korea as the clear leader in terms of 5G commercialisation and infrastructure availability, closely followed by the US and Australia.
Also in the leadership group, but clearly behind the leading three countries, were Qatar, Finland and Switzerland.

Labor claims govt will miss own NBN speed mandate

The Federal Government's national quality benchmark of 90% of premises being able to obtain speeds of 50Mbps in the fixed line footprint of the NBN will be achieved in only two states and the NT, according to evidence provided to the NBN Joint Standing Committee.
Victoria (92%), NSW (91%) and the Northern Territory (96%) are the three which will meet the guarantee. The percentages for other regions are; Queensland (89%), ACT (84%), South Australia (88%), Tasmania (87%) and Western Australia (85%).
Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Josh Wilson, the member for Fremantle and deputy chair of the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN, said in a statement that these levels were based on network performance in 2022, and not 2020 when the NBN Co says the rollout will be completed.
They said this came after Labor had warned Communications Minister Mitch Fifield repeatedly that the levels of fibre-to-the-curb were not enough, especially in WA where the fixed-line speeds were the slowest.

NBN says no, actually, Australian internet prices are not too high

By Tim Biggs
March 7, 2019 — 12.00am
NBN Co has hit out at telcos and consumer groups that claim internet prices are too high, commissioning and publishing research that suggests Australia is actually one of the most affordable markets for broadband in the world.
The research — commissioned late last year and undertaken by AlphaBeta — aims to undermine Telstra's frequent calls for NBN Co to lower its wholesale prices, placing Australia seventh out of 22 countries in terms of "broadband affordability", behind Germany, France, the UK, Japan, Russia and South Korea, but ahead of many others including the US, Italy, Poland and Spain.
A key consideration not taken into account by other calculations, according to AlphaBeta, is the relative wealth of Australia as a country. Rather than directly comparing the price of broadband between countries, the research derives an "affordability" figure by expressing broadband cost as a percentage of each country's average income.

Celebrating the brilliant, bold and charming creator of Australia's first electronic computer

Trevor Pearcey had the intellect, but also the chutzpah needed to make "off the wall" CSIRAC a reality
George Nott (CIO) 06 March, 2019 11:56
Trevor Pearcey was just 27 years old and had been with his employer, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (later CSIRO), for less than a year when he went to his bosses with a bold idea.
“[He] felt confident enough to propose a very radical and expensive idea,” his biographer Barbara Ainsworth said at a Pearcey Foundation event marking the centenary of his birth on Tuesday. “And he succeeded.”
The idea was for a stored program electronic computer, to handle the complex equations of his radio physics researcher colleagues.

U.S. back in the space race

  • 12:00AM March 5, 2019
 “We’ve got NASA ‘rocking’ again. Great activity and success,” a buoyant Donald Trump tweeted yesterday.
Like some of the US President’s most sweeping claims, it was also premature because the mission he is talking about — the test-run for the US’s return to its human spaceflight program — has yet to finish and the most dangerous phase lies ahead.
But the historic launch of billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which docked late on Sunday at the International Space Station, has been a stunning success.
 “Everything looks great,” said NASA astronaut Anne McClain, who greeted the capsule when it docked at the ISS. “Ripley and Earth both look like they enjoyed their trip up here.”

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