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."

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Are You Confident That When They Hand Over Your Health Information In Anonymised Form It Really Is Anonymised?

Some articles that appeared this week might shake your confidence.
First we have:

'Anonymised' data can still be used to identify you, scientists show

By Gina Kolata
July 24, 2019 — 11.26am
Your medical records might be used for scientific research. But don't worry, you're told; personally identifying data was removed.
Information about you gathered by a government bureau might be made public. But don't worry; it, too, has been "anonymised."
This week, scientists showed that all this information may not be as anonymous as promised. The investigators developed a method to re-identify individuals from just bits of what were supposed to be anonymous data.
Data can be anonymised in various ways, but keeping it useful often means leaving it open to reconstruction.
In most of the world, anonymous data is not considered personal data; the information can be shared and sold without violating privacy laws. Market researchers are willing to pay brokers for a huge array of data, from dating preferences to political leanings, household purchases to streaming favourites.
Even anonymised data sets often include scores of so-called attributes; characteristics about an individual or household. Anonymised consumer data sold by Experian, the credit bureau, to Alteryx, a marketing firm, included 120 million Americans and 248 attributes per household.
Scientists at Imperial College London and Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium, reported in the journal Nature Communications that they had devised a computer algorithm that can identify 99.98 per cent of Americans from almost any available data set with as few as 15 attributes, such as gender, postal code or marital status.
Even more surprising, the scientists posted their software code online for anyone to use. That decision was difficult, says Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, a computer scientist at Imperial College London and lead author of the new paper.
Ordinarily, when scientists discover a security flaw, they alert the vendor or government agency hosting the data. But there are mountains of anonymised data circulating worldwide, all of it at risk, de Montjoye says.
So the choice was whether to keep mum, he said, or to publish the method so that data vendors can secure future data sets and prevent individuals from being re-identified.
"This is very hard," de Montjoye says. "You have to cross your fingers that you did it properly, because once it is out there, you are never going to get it back."
Some experts agreed with the tactic. "It's always a dilemma," says Yaniv Erlich, chief scientific officer at MyHeritage, a consumer genealogy service, and a well-known data privacy researcher.
"Should we publish or not? The consensus so far is to disclose. That is how you advance the field: publish the code, publish the finding."
This not the first time that anonymised data has been shown to be not so anonymous after all. In 2016, individuals were identified from the web-browsing histories of 3 million Germans, data that had been purchased from a vendor. Geneticists have shown that individuals can be identified in supposedly anonymous DNA databases.
Very quickly, with a few bits of information, everyone is unique
Yaniv Erlich
New York Times
More here:
There was lots of coverage of the same Nature article here:

Easily re-identified 'anonymised' data threatens privacy

By Juha Saarinen on Jul 25, 2019 6:38AM

Gaussian copula could trip GDPR trap.

Researchers have once again shown that sensitive data, supposedly anonymised so as not to  reveal its subjects, can be re-constituted with relative ease.
Data scientists from London's Imperial College and the Universit√© Catholique de Louvain in Belgium had a crack at estimating the likelihood of a specific person being correctly re-identified in even heavily incomplete, anonymised datasets.
Their Gaussian copula-based method turned out to be very accurate.
"Using our model, we find that 99.98 percent of Americans would be correctly re-identified in any dataset using 15 demographic attributes.
"Our results suggest that even heavily sampled anonymized datasets are unlikely to satisfy the modern standards for anonymisation set forth by GDPR and seriously challenge the technical and legal adequacy of the de-identification release-and-forget model," the researchers wrote in the Nature Communications scientific journal.
Lots more here:
To me, it is really up to those handing the ‘anonymised’ data to prove, to a reasonable level, that your identity is protected. It seems in 2019 this is a pretty big ask indeed.
For myself I am going to tick the no-sharing box for now!

The ADHA Is Now Writing Propaganda For Other Organisations Regarding The #myHealthRecord.

This appeared a few days ago:
26 Jul 2019 2:31 PM AEST

Digitally empowered pharmacists to lead the way in medicine safety          

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today released its digital health report Connecting the dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists.

The report, funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency, describes how digital health initiatives and technological transformation will empower pharmacists to be more accountable and responsible for medicine safety and efficacy.

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said the transformation to a more digital workplace was long overdue.

Medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually.

"Gaps in information and time delays in accessing important information are the two most significant factors contributing to medicine misadventure," he said.

"This transformation will connect the dots of a currently fragmented health system, where health professionals such as pharmacists have had to make health decisions without accessing sometimes critical health information."

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s program of work, particularly in medicine safety, will drive this transformation. This program of work strongly aligns with system changes needed to achieve the outcomes identified in the PSA’s
Pharmacists in 2023 report.

Key projects which will transform care include: electronic prescriptions; real-time prescription monitoring; pharmacist input into My Health Record; enhanced incident reporting capabilities, improving pharmacovigilance; and improved medicine information for consumers.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s Chief Clinical Health Information Officer, Angela Ryan, says increasing the safe and quality use of medicines is a priority area of the National Digital Health Strategy, approved by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council in 2017.

“All healthcare providers, including pharmacists, GPs and specialists, play a role in supporting the safe use of medicines by their patients. The Australian Digital Health Agency is collaborating with governments and industry on digital solutions that will support healthcare providers to manage their patients’ medicines," she said.

Connecting the Dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists provides readers with multiple case examples which describe a ‘new normal’ of seamless healthcare, protecting medicine safety, backed by the power of digital health. These examples will help pharmacists understand the digital transformation which is taking place and contextualise them to real, tangible patient examples.
Here is the link to the press release:
The report is another great marketing effort from an army of PSA and ADHA staff – is full of pictures about how wonderful it will all be, but is a bit thin on the ground when it comes to risks, safely and costs.
Of course it is all based on the #myHR as a core information source and the third manifestation of a medication list.
Of course the report was sponsored by the ADHA!
Have a read and let us all know what you think!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Commentators and Journalists Weigh In On Digital Health And Related Privacy, Safety And Security Matters. Lots Of Interesting Perspectives - July 30, 2019.

Note: I have excluded (or marked out) any commentary taking significant  funding from the Agency or the Department of Health on all this to avoid what amounts to paid propaganda. (e.g. CHF, RACGP, AMA, National Rural Health Alliance etc. where they were simply putting the ADHA line – viz. that the myHR is a wonderfully useful clinical development that will save huge numbers of lives at no risk to anyone – which is plainly untrue) (This signifies probable ADHA Propaganda)
Note: I have also broadened this section to try to cover all the privacy and security compromising and impacting announcements in the week – along with the myHR. It never seems to stop! Sadly social media platforms also get a large run most weeks. There are a lot of actors out there trying all sorts of things on!

AFP wants a system to collect social and political info to aid police operations

Opens expression of interest for the two-year project.
By Asha Barbaschow | July 23, 2019 -- 00:21 GMT (10:21 AEST) | Topic: Innovation
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) wants a better view into social, technological, political, and policy changes from around the nation and abroad, seeking a solution to compile this information.
Publishing a request for expressions of interest (EOI) for the provision of an Open Source Information Collection Solution, the AFP expects the solution to provide daily reporting.
The AFP said the EOI responses will be used to shortlist for a Request for Tender (RFT) to establish a services agreement for the "provision of publically available and open source information".
As the EOI explains, vendors shortlisted will have the opportunity to tender for the provision of open source information, which includes listening, collecting, and reporting of information on events that could impact on AFP Protection Operations.

How the ACCC wants to protect your privacy from big tech

Bo Seo Reporter
Jul 26, 2019 — 4.56pm
Users will have more say in how their data is collected, shared and erased, under a raft of new privacy protections proposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
While six of the 23 recommendations of the landmark review into digital platforms are about protecting consumers, advocates have already warned the measures might fall short.
The consumer-focused recommendations in the ACCC report roughly fall under four categories.
First, proposed enhancements to the Privacy Act would impose higher standards for issuing notifications and obtaining user consent for the collection, use, or disclosure of user information.

Digital platform concerns need global response

Google and Facebook have business models that have flummoxed competition regulators and governments seeking tax reform.
Jul 27, 2019 — 12.00am
There are parallels between the competition regulator’s deep dive into the powerful and globally dominant business models of Google and Facebook and the work being done by the G20 to stop tax avoidance by global multinationals.
At the core of both investigations is the willingness of billions of people to take advantage of “free” services in return for supplying valuable personal information about themselves and their online activities.
This bartering of services has stumped competition regulators who have not had the power to intervene when the computer algorithms which make Google and Facebook so efficient are used to maximise their own commercial interests to the detriment of competition.
Bartering is even more problematic for governments trying to collect taxes because it is almost impossible to determine when the right to tax arises and where the income is payable. Google and Facebook pay relatively little tax in Australia compared to their revenue.

Apple Watch must not become Big Brother

The boundary between personal data monitoring and mass surveillance has to be protected.
John Gapper
Jul 25, 2019 — 12.27pm
When I went swimming in my local pool this week, my Apple Watch tracked not only my time on each lap, but also my heart rate throughout. Then I rode a Lime e-bike home, which noted my exact route, time and calories burnt - “GPS Tracked”, it declared proudly.
Apple was not the first to imagine heart sensors. In George Orwell’s 1984, the “telescreens” in the homes of party members recorded heartbeats that might reveal a plot against Big Brother. “You could not control the beating of your heart, and the telescreen was quite delicate enough to pick it up.”
Swimming times are mundane data but shouldn't be used to sell products. Fairfax Media
Apple Watch does not feel Orwellian but many cases of data surveillance do. Equifax, the credit scoring agency, this week agreed to pay almost $US800 million ($1.1 billion) to settle with US regulators over a 2017 hack in which the sensitive personal information of 147 million customers was stolen from a database.

ACCC Digital Platforms report calls for sweeping reforms

By Matt Johnston , Simon Sharwood on Jul 26, 2019 12:31PM

Google and Facebook's dominance drives call for new regulation of privacy, competition, content and more.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry has delivered its long-awaited final report, and it recommends a raft of far-reaching regulatory changes to curb the powers of web giants in Australia, and make them more responsible for content they distribute.
The 600-page report focuses on the market power amassed by Google and Facebook and finds they’ve together accumulated so much of it that they distort markets and do harm to consumers and industry (especially advertisers and publishers).
The report also calls for reform of Australia’s privacy laws, to inform citizens about how digital platforms use their data and offer incentives to tend it well.

Tech giants in reform firing line

  • 12:00AM July 26, 2019
The Morrison government will consider regulating the market power of multinational digital platforms — including Google, Facebook and Amazon — with a 600-page report into the behaviour of the tech giants to be handed down today by the consumer watchdog.
The Australian understands the government will not finalise its response to the unprecedented investigation by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission until the end of the year after setting up an advisory unit to be led by Treasury.
The Communications Minister will also be part of a process that could ultimately lead to significant reforms to the practices of the tech companies, including new regulations to cover breaches of consumer and competition law, private consumer data collection and copyright theft from major media.

ACCC digital platforms inquiry breaks new ground

Future policy around tech giants must be 'sensible and desirable'

  • July 26, 2019
ACCC chief Rod Sims sees his digital platforms inquiry as the first real holistic look at the impact of the digital platforms from a consumer and competition perspective. The recommendations back his claim.
Europe and the US have looked at the issue from privacy or other perspectives, without trying to tie the issues into one bundle.’
The final report thankfully rejects the notion of a new digital regulator. Instead, there will be a new division of the ACCC looking at platforms, from an enforcement angle, with regard to consumer and competition breaches.
This division will run its own experiments, evaluating the platforms’ algorithms and continually testing Google and Facebook on what they are doing any why.

Citing Australia, US Attorney General demands backdoors

By Simon Sharwood on Jul 25, 2019 4:15PM

'It can and must be done' says William Barr.

US attorney general William P. Barr has cited Australia’s efforts to compel access to encrypted communications as justification for his own nation to legislate for the same outcome.
Speaking at the International Conference on Cyber Security, Barr said “We believe that when technology providers deploy encryption in their products, services, and platforms they need to maintain an appropriate mechanism for lawful access".
“This means a way for government entities, when they have appropriate legal authority, to access data securely, promptly, and in an intelligible format, whether it is stored on a device or in transmission.”
Barr cited Australia, where the Assistance and Access Bill compels technology companies to facilitate access to encrypted material, as proof the US needs similar capabilities.

Facebook fined record $7bn for privacy failures

  • By John D. Mckinnon
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • 12:00AM July 25, 2019
Facebook has agreed to pay a ­record $US5 billion ($7.16bn) fine and better police its data-privacy practices to settle a long-running federal investigation that has damaged the company’s standing with consumers and clouded its future.
Under the settlement, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be required to certify that the company is in compliance with new privacy strictures, and could be subject to civil and criminal penalties for false certifications.
“The $US5 billion penalty against Facebook is the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy and almost 20 times greater than the largest privacy or data security penalty ever imposed worldwide,” the Federal Trade Commission said. “It is one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation.”
Thursday, 25 July 2019 02:47

Trust important as foundation for AI-based decision-making: report

The necessity of trust to achieve long-term business success — especially as a foundation for decision-making based on artificial intelligence — has been highlighted in a new study that found three in five business leaders (63%) in nine countries, including Australia, say they would trust decisions made by AI if substantial reasoning for reaching those decisions is available.
The global study — Fujitsu Future Insights Global Digital Transformation Report 2019 — released on Wednesday by Fujitsu, found that organisations were more likely to succeed in digital transformation when their approach included measures to drive trust, such as long-term perspectives, empathic leadership and measures to empower employees.
And in addition, two thirds (66%) of study respondents were inclined to trust organisations that published a code of ethics governing their use of AI.

What Google, Facebook could face in U.S. antitrust probe

Reuters (Computerworld) 25 July, 2019 09:24
Google, Facebook and Amazon are among those expected to face scrutiny
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating whether big technology companies are engaged in anticompetitive behaviour, addressing a rising tide of criticism they have become too powerful to the detriment of consumers.
The Justice Department has said it will investigate "whether and how" online platforms in "search, social media, and some retail services online" are engaging in behaviour that stifles competition and harms consumers.
While the Justice Department did not name any targets in announcing the probe on Tuesday, sources have indicated Alphabet's Google, social media giant Facebook, online retailer Amazon.com and possibly Apple will likely be reviewed.

Equifax’s billion-dollar data breach disaster: Will it change executive attitudes toward security?

Cynthia Brumfield (CSO (US)) 24 July, 2019 21:38
Equifax has been fined over US$1 billion for its 2017 breach and is expected to spend over $2 billion in mandated and voluntary security improvements. All organisations that profit off consumer data should take notice
Equifax announced on Monday that it has agreed to a record-breaking settlement related to its massive 2017 data breach, which exposed the personal and financial records of more than 148 million people.
The settlement requires the beleaguered credit ratings agency to spend at least US$1.38 billion to resolve consumer claims against it. It creates a non-reversionary fund of $380.5 million to pay benefits to the class of consumers harmed by the breach, including cash compensation, credit monitoring, and help with identity restoration.

Machine learning can find you in heavily sampled, anonymised dataset

An 'anonymised' dataset is anything but, researchers demonstrate
A sample set of anonymised data can be reverse engineered using machine learning techniques to re-identify individuals, a paper by researchers from Imperial College London and the UCLouvain in Belgium has demonstrated.
Stripping a dataset's records of direct identifiers like name and email address, and sharing only a small proportion of them, has been the main method of sharing data while preserving people’s privacy.
The intuition is that there may be multiple people who are, say, in their 30s, female, and living in Brisbane. Any record matching those demographics in a sample of anonymised data could conceivably belong to any number of individuals.
“The issue? It does not work,” the researchers said.

Easily re-identified 'anonymised' data threatens privacy

By Juha Saarinen on Jul 25, 2019 6:38AM

Gaussian copula could trip GDPR trap.

Researchers have once again shown that sensitive data, supposedly anonymised so as not to  reveal its subjects, can be re-constituted with relative ease.
Data scientists from London's Imperial College and the Universit√© Catholique de Louvain in Belgium had a crack at estimating the likelihood of a specific person being correctly re-identified in even heavily incomplete, anonymised datasets.
Their Gaussian copula-based method turned out to be very accurate.
"Using our model, we find that 99.98 percent of Americans would be correctly re-identified in any dataset using 15 demographic attributes.

Australian Medical Association assesses My Health Record's success so far

Nathan Eddy | 26 Jul 2019
The Australian Medical Association federal president Dr. Tony Bartone touted the success of the country’s electronic health record platform, My Health Record, during a speech for the National Press Club on Wednesday, but stressed the need for more patient data in those records.  
While Dr. Bartone noted that almost all (90%) of Australians have an account, the number of participants is equaled in importance by the information contained in those records.
"At the moment, there's just not the information being shared between all parts of the system in a meaningful manner to allow utility (between doctors)," he said during a Q&A session at the National Press Club.
In an email interview with Healthcare IT News, AMA South Australia president Dr. Chris Moy explained the two biggest challenges so far in rolling out the platform have been related.

AMA says almost all Australians have a My Health Record but not everyone is using it

The AMA's federal president has said the number of records doesn't mean anything if there's nothing in it.
By Asha Barbaschow | July 24, 2019 -- 05:08 GMT (15:08 AEST) | Topic: Innovation
Despite the number of Australians that have a My Health Record, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) federal president Dr Tony Bartone has highlighted that it will not deliver all that it's touted as promising if it isn't being utilised properly.
"So almost a year on from that debate we've seen the introduction, and the legislation has passed, and certainly 90.7% of Australians now do have a My Health record," Bartone said, addressing the National Press Club on Wednesday.
"But that's only part of the conversation, because that record doesn't mean anything if there's nothing in it."

TGA Weighs In On Cyber Security Expectations For Medical Devices

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (the TGA) has finally published long-awaited cyber security guidance targeted specifically at:
  • manufacturers developing software for use in medical devices, including artificial intelligence;
  • manufacturers of medical devices which include components susceptible to cyber-based threats; and
  • medical device sponsors in Australia.
Further information, including the guidance documents themselves, can be found here.

Enabling health care with artificial intelligence

By Dhannu Daniel*
Tuesday, 16 July, 2019
Artificial intelligence (AI) is augmenting human capabilities and enabling people and machines to work collaboratively, thereby changing the very nature of healthcare work.
A healthcare executive survey showed that an impressive 72% of Australian healthcare leaders are either piloting or planning AI adoption.1 Furthermore, 93% of health executives have AI projects on their agenda, with just 7% saying they are minimally or not at all focused on AI.
With the strong focus on implementing AI, Accenture has identified four areas that healthcare organisations need to focus on to generate a strong return on investment (ROI) and ensure AI and humans work effectively together.

'Anonymised' data can still be used to identify you, scientists show

By Gina Kolata
July 24, 2019 — 11.26am
Your medical records might be used for scientific research. But don't worry, you're told; personally identifying data was removed.
Information about you gathered by a government bureau might be made public. But don't worry; it, too, has been "anonymised."
This week, scientists showed that all this information may not be as anonymous as promised. The investigators developed a method to re-identify individuals from just bits of what were supposed to be anonymous data.
Data can be anonymised in various ways, but keeping it useful often means leaving it open to reconstruction.

Managing reputation and online reviews in an era of fake news, keyboard warriors and troll farms

Consumer reviews are big business. We are operating in a world where a lone keyboard warrior can reach a global audience, warehouses of people (usually in other countries) known as ‘troll farms’ can mass generate fake content, and consumer activism is on the increase.
The growth potential of online forums as a means for your business to engage with, and market to, consumers is exponential. A key focus is how to implement and continually evaluate strategies to take advantage of these opportunities. In doing so, you should be attune to the legal and reputational issues which can arise and the ways in which your business and brand can be susceptible to damage and disruption.
Knowledge is power
You can’t protect your reputation if you don’t have eyes on what is being posted about you. When you are already grappling with increasing legal, regulatory and compliance obligations it is difficult to commit time and resources to overseeing publications. You need systems and processes to identify content and reviews.
Consider using an online reputation monitoring tool, which is a type of software, sometimes freely available, which assists you to identify reviews and provide reports on feedback trends. At the very least have Google Alerts set up for your organisation.

Are GPs ready to let go of the fax?

Zilla is a Sydney-based freelance journalist covering business, finance and practice management topics.
23rd July 2019
Rumours of the death of the fax machine, it seems, are greatly exaggerated.
It’s been almost three years since the RACGP identified what it said was a new national priority to save patients’ lives by eliminating faxes and letters as the chosen means for doctors to communicate with each other about patient care.
The safety stakes can be high. In 2015, a patient with Hodgkin lymphoma, Mettaloka Halwala, was found dead in a hotel room near Shepparton, Victoria, where he was staying while undergoing chemotherapy at Goulburn Valley Hospital.
A PET scan had revealed severe, rapid-onset bleomycin toxicity affecting both lungs, but Mr Halwala’s haematologist, Dr Robin Filshie, did not receive these results until five days later.
NB: Seeing the fax as the whole problem for this case I believe is patently absurd.

Australians lost $16m to ID theft so far this year

By Matt Johnston on Jul 23, 2019 11:30AM

Prompts fresh warning to report incidents.

Australians have already lost $16 million to Identity theft and phishing-related scams this year,  according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The ACCC's deputy chair Delia Rickard urged Australians that had lost money to scammers to report it.
“If you think scammers might have gained access to your personal information, even in a scam completely unrelated to your finances, immediately contact your bank,” Rickard said.
Four in 10 reports to Scamwatch so far this year have involved either attempts to gain information or the actual loss of information, largely through digital channels or phone scams.

Smart Energy Council calls for state to abandon facial recognition

By Adam Turner
July 22, 2019 — 11.44am
Australia's Smart Energy Council is calling on the Victorian government to immediately scrap the need for facial recognition to claim the solar rebate, amid a backlash from customers and installers struggling with the new technology.
Almost half of all attempted facial recognition identity checks failed in the first two weeks of July, after Solar Victoria began using Service Victoria's new facial recognition system as an alternative to the traditional 100-point paper-based identity check required to prove eligibility for the rebate scheme.
The government should "immediately scrap" the use of facial recognition, with its failure stalling installations across the state and leaving elderly customers in tears, says John Grimes, chief executive of the Smart Energy Council.
"This application has made the process of installing solar even harder. The industry is really struggling after being choked by Solar Homes Victoria, and this application is not helping, it's making things worse," Grimes says.

Half of medical errors preventable: study

It's possible many errors in primary care haven't been picked up, say researchers
22nd July 2019
More than half of healthcare incidents resulting in patient harm are preventable, say UK researchers, who are calling for more research into diagnostic errors in primary care.
The review and meta-analysis of data from more than 337,000 patients across 70 studies by University of Manchester-led researchers identified more than 47,000 harmful incidents, of which nearly 26,000 were preventable.
In the results, published in the BMJ, they said the pooled prevalence of preventable harm was one in 20 patients, half the total proportion of harmful events.
Twelve per cent of incidents led to serious harm or death.

Security of patient data needs to be prioritised

SOTI Inc. Australia

By Michael Dyson, Managing Director
Monday, 22 July, 2019
As mobility continues to transform the way we live and work, cybersecurity and privacy concerns are top of mind for many individuals and businesses.
The healthcare industry is increasingly adopting mobile technology and becoming more reliant on the transmission of data, including confidential patient data on mobile devices. This shift has led to concerns around data security risks in health care, and the implications this may have on the privacy and safety of patient health information.
While recently the most intense scrutiny has been directed at the Australian Government’s My Health Record, both healthcare providers and services generating patient health data should ensure this information is kept secure.

Healthcare sector under scrutiny

Data security in health care has been a contentious topic since the government extended the deadline to opt out of My Health Record to 31 January 2019. My Health Record is an online summary of an individual’s health information, which can be viewed by both patients and healthcare providers. However, following public pressure regarding the security of this information, several amendments have been made.

Time may be nigh for some medical software vendors

July 19, 2019    
Migration from not so interoperable and older closed architectures to ones which are more flexible, open, web based and interoperable, may no longer be a matter of waiting things out to see how the market pans out. If some vendors don’t start evolving their products in earnest now, they may not make it to the other side.
At last month’s Wild Health Summit in Sydney there were some subtle but very clear warnings in play for some of the country’s major healthcare software vendors, indeed, even some for some of the major global vendors. The people who pay for healthcare, mainly the government, but in the end, patients as well, aren’t going to tolerate specifying or using systems which do not have future proofed open systems architectures built in.
Until now, Healthcare has stubbornly resisted the ‘open economy’ technologies that have driven transformation in other markets. And many have expressed a view that healthcare is different and won’t transform like other markets because it is too complex, regulated, risky and culturally awkward (the cult of the doctor). But the new open economy is cheaper, safer, more efficient and much more patient friendly. Procurement by big government departments is now driving change to open technologies which offer safer and more efficient patient outcomes.

eHealth standards and governance might not be the issue people think

 July 19, 2019    
Angst over the need for Australia to develop and introduce suitable governance and standards for the delivery of ehealth products and data sharing might be misplaced. The market, led by powerful government procurement and commissioning trends, might be informally getting the job done anyway.
Last month’s Wild Health summit in Sydney put some serious stakeholders onto a panel to debate the need for Australia to get it’s act together on developing an appropriate governance and standards regime for healthcare data sharing and product development. We had a bad regime some years back but it disintegrated until we didn’t even have on, and now, while there are standards swirling around, key among them HL-7 and FHIR, nothing is formally being pushed or backed by the government at this stage.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is hard at work looking at the issue and is due to release some early findings of commissioned work done by #wearehealthinformatics managing director David Rowlands.
The ADHA’s COO, Betting McMahon, told Wild Health attendees that the topic of standards and governance was a complex milieu involving many stakeholders at various stages of commercial stress. She said that things being so complex dictated that time was needed so that stakeholders had an ability to adapt within their various current constraints.
She also said it was the Agency’s role at this stage to identify the issues, and make them known to all stakeholders, so that the process of moving to a universal standards and governance regime in Australia was productive, not damaging.

Artificial intelligence could boost success of clinical trials

Artificial intelligence (AI) can potentially boost the success rate of clinical trials, according to a review by researchers from IBM Research-Australia and MIT published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. Big Pharma and other drug developers are grappling with a dilemma: the era of blockbuster drugs is coming to an end. At the same time, adding new drugs to their portfolios is slow and expensive. It takes on average 10–15 years and $1.5–2 billion to get a new drug to market; approximately half of this time and investment is devoted to clinical trials. Although AI has not yet had a significant impact on clinical trials, AI-based models are helping trial design, AI-based techniques are being used for patient recruitment, and AI-based monitoring systems aim to boost study adherence and decrease dropout rates. The researchers found that AI can potentially boost the success rate of clinical trials by efficiently measuring biomarkers that reflect the effectiveness of the drug being tested; identifying and characterising patient subpopulations best suited for specific drugs. Less than a third of all phase 2 compounds advance to phase 3, and one in three phase 3 trials fail, not because the drug is ineffective or dangerous, but because the trial lacks enough patients or the right kind of patients. Start-ups, large corporations, regulatory bodies, and governments are all exploring and driving the use of AI for improving clinical trial design. The authors also identify several areas showing the most real-world promise of AI for patients: AI-enabled systems may allow patients more access to and control over their personal data; coaching via AI-based apps could occur before and during trials; AI could monitor individual patients’ adherence to protocols continuously in real time; AI techniques could help guide patients to trials of which they may not have been aware; the use of AI in precision medicine approaches, such as applying technology to advance how efficiently and accurately professionals can diagnose, treat and manage neurological diseases, is promising.
Comments more than welcome!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 29th July, 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

First off we have an interesting comparison between Qld and NSW – looks like management and other positive qualities do actually matter!
As usual we have breaches, leaks and the NBN continuing to frustrate.

eHealth NSW Cerner roll-out running ahead of time

Wednesday, 24 July 2019  
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
eHealth New South Wales has rolled out an electronic medical record to more than 170 hospitals state-wide as part of a 10-year programme of work in digital health transformation.
The EMR programme was forecast to finish in 2023, but by feeding back and learning from prior implementations, it was rolled out much more quickly and will now be completed in 2020.
NSW Health is the largest public health system in Australia, with a population of around 8 million and $25 billion in spending every year.
The state’s eHealth strategy is a 10-year programme of work designed as a set of guidelines and roadmaps that drive investment in this area.

Queensland digital hospital system roll-out stalled

7:11pm Jul 24, 2019
Problems impact the safety of Queensland hospital patients
The state-wide rollout of Queensland’s beleaguered digital hospital system has stalled after vital funding was knocked back.
9News understands during funding negotiations government officials knocked back a $150 million budget required to push the integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR) system into Metro North hospitals including the Royal Brisbane and Women’s, Redcliffe, Caboolture, and Prince Charles hospitals.
The system, which is now in place in 14 hospitals, was backed by the state government as the future for Queensland’s electronic medical records but has been plagued by controversy.

Mental health gets tech upgrade

  • July 23, 2019
Australians now have access to free real-time text chats about their mental health, thanks to a new partnership announced today.
Swinburne’s national eTherapy centre has teamed with telehealth software platform Coviu in a bid to provide online mental health services.
The partnership will form part of Swinburne’s mental health online service, which is free for Australians and provides access to treatment programs for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
It will allow clinicians to interact with their clients via encrypted real time text chat sessions, which are then automatically deleted.

'Taking a stand': Website launched to compare medical specialists' fees

By Dana McCauley
July 23, 2019 — 11.45pm
A new medical fee comparison website driven by patients has been established to help put the spotlight on medical specialists charging excessive fees.
The MyDrBill website is an initiative of consumer group the Health Issues Centre and draws upon a cache of de-identified Medibank Private billing data made available through a project the insurer did with the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.
Its creators - two retired doctors - are calling on Australians to add their own bills to the website to enable a detailed comparison of out-of-pocket costs.
Chief executive Danny Vadasz said the centre was "taking a stand and addressing the problem head-on" rather than "passively" waiting for doctors to act.

Swinburne mental health unit deploys self-deleting chat tool

By Matt Johnston on Jul 24, 2019 11:11AM

Taps Data61-spinout Coviu.

Swinburne University’s National eTherapy Centre has built on the uni’s relationship with Coviu, a telehealth spin-out from the CSIRO’s Data61, to offer a broader range of digital mental health solutions.
Coviu’s platform has so far been geared towards AI-assisted video-based health consultations, but is expanding into an encrypted messaging service for the Centre’s free Mental Health Online service.
“Most of our clients are already familiar with instant messaging, which makes text-chat an attractive option for getting support,” Mental Health Online clinical program manager, Lauren Rossi said.
Importantly, the mobile and desktop messaging service is used to complement other communication profiles like email and video calls to make the service more appealing and approachable for younger people starting to engage with mental health services.

Swinburne and Coviu partner to provide real-time chat mental health support

The service is offered as part of Swinburne’s Mental Health Online, which is free for all Australians and provides access to treatment programs for common mental health issues including depression and anxiety.
July 24, 2019 01:32 AM
Swinburne University’s National eTherapy Centre has partnered with medtech startup Coviu to allow Australians to access quality mental health services through encrypted, real-time text chat sessions.
The service is offered as part of Swinburne’s Mental Health Online, which is free for all Australians and provides access to treatment programs for common mental health issues including depression and anxiety.
Real-time text chat sessions with clinicians will now be a part of the service, alongside email and video calls, offering an additional modality to suit a broader remit of needs within the community.  

Health bosses defend delay in making patient privacy breach public

By Felicity Caldwell
July 25, 2019 — 5.04pm
Health authorities have defended not alerting the public for almost a week about thousands of confidential patient files falling off the back of a truck.
In the early hours of Thursday, June 20, a private contractor was removing documents from the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital for destruction when several boxes spilled across Abbotsford Road in Bowen Hills.
Bystanders saw the incident and staff members were sent to pick up the documents a short time later.
Metro North Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jackie Hanson said the incident involved about 8000 pages of documents.

Copy-pasting medical records gets GP in trouble

They agreed to repay the Medicare rebates after a PSR investigation
24th July 2019
A GP who apparently copied and pasted the same text into different medical records has agreed to repay $160,000 in Medicare rebates
The GP admitted to inappropriately claiming level B and level C consultation items, antenatal attendances and skin cancer excisions by failing to meet the Medicare requirements, including those for record-keeping.
Some records “appeared to paste identical text across multiple entries in the medical record for multiple patients, and in some cases, the text was not relevant to the presention,” according to the Professional Services Review (PSR).

This event caused 20,000 consults and emergency ops to be cancelled

UK researchers found 1% of incidents caused by the WannaCry cyberattack caused severe harm
Antony is a medical reporter with a special interest in technology and pharmacy.
24th July 2019
Health IT failures cost dollars, frequently of the six-digit variety. But what about damage to actual health?
Some 20,000 appointments, including emergency operations, were reportedly cancelled when the WannaCry cyberattack hit the UK National Health Service (NHS) in 2017.
To understand the consequences of a more typical glitch, researchers examined 18 million reports in the NHS’ patient safety database.
They found 2557 computer-related safety threats for review. Some 82% of those led to “no harm”.
26 Jul 2019 2:31 PM AEST

Digitally empowered pharmacists to lead the way in medicine safety          

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) today released its digital health report Connecting the dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists.

The report, funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency, describes how digital health initiatives and technological transformation will empower pharmacists to be more accountable and responsible for medicine safety and efficacy.

PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman said the transformation to a more digital workplace was long overdue.

Medicine-related problems cause 250,000 hospital admissions and 400,000 emergency department presentations in Australia each year, costing the healthcare system $1.4 billion annually.

Digital upgrade for pharmacists

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) released its digital health report, ‘Connecting the dots: Digitally empowered pharmacists,’ funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency.
The report described how digital health initiatives and technological transformation will empower pharmacists to be more accountable and responsible for medicine safety and efficacy.
 “Gaps in information and time delays in accessing important information are the two most significant factors contributing to medicine misadventure,” said PSA National President Dr Chris Freeman.

McKinsey identifies $30m cost-cutting spree at Healius

The country's second largest operator of pathology services and medical centres is tipped to embark on a redundancy round as early as next week.
Jul 25, 2019 — 3.03pm
Healius, the country's second largest operator of pathology services and medical centres, is finalising a cost review which is expected to include a clean-out of senior executives and an initial redundancy round tipped to begin as early as next week.
Consulting group McKinsey is advising on the $1.8 billion company's review, which included the establishment of a so-called "Sustainable Improvement Office", which this paper first revealed last month.
But the scope of the expected cost cutting and reshaping of the business is greater than expected, The Australian Financial Review has been told.

Govt to reintroduce consumer data right bill

By Ry Crozier on Jul 22, 2019 1:08PM

After it lapsed at parliament’s dissolution.

The government will reintroduce legislation for the consumer data right (CDR) to parliament this week after it lapsed without passage when parliament was dissolved back in April.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement that progress on implementing a data right was continuing despite the legislation not being in place.
The bill was first introduced back in February this year before being sent to a Senate committee for further examination.
Its reintroduction should provide some answers around how much industry criticism over the scheme has been addressed.

Spam Act changes back before parliament

By Matt Johnston on Jul 23, 2019 6:41AM

Adding opt-outs for charity, political spam.

The Centre Alliance’s proposal to beef up the Do Not Call Register and force political parties to offer an ‘unsubscribe’ option is back up for debate after lapsing at the end of the last parliament.
The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Unsolicited Communications) Bill 2019 was introduced by South Australian Senator Stirling Griff in February this year but failed to gain traction before the election.
The Bill seeks to amend the Spam, Electoral, and Do Not Call Register Acts to give consumers more control over which unsolicited messages they get from political parties and registered charities.
In the second reading of the Bill, Griff said the need to reduce charities’ and political parties’ exemptions from those laws was highlighted by Clive Palmer’s recent SMS-based campaigns.

UNSW team opens the gate to quantum computing

  • 5:49PM July 25, 2019
University of NSW quantum physicist and 2018 Australian of the Year Michelle Simmons is not someone short of accolades but, by her reckoning, a discovery she and her team revealed last week could be the highlight of her career so far.
Simmons announced that her team had built the world’s first two-qubit quantum logic gate using atom qubits in silicon, a description that is not very informative to the uninformed.
But it means they have passed a critical milestone in their race to build the world’s first practical and useful quantum computer.
It was enough not only to get their paper published in last week’s edition of Nature — one of the world’s top science journals — but also to be promoted as the week’s cover story.

Improved medicines information for consumers

The Australian Government is improving information about the safe and effective use of prescription medicines and certain over-the-counter medicines.
Date published: 26 July 2019
Australian consumers will soon benefit from improved information about the medicines they and their family take.
The Australian Government is introducing an improved format for the documents – called Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) – that doctors and pharmacists give to patients to inform them about the safe and effective use of prescription medicines and certain over-the-counter medicines.
This is in response to concerns raised by doctors, pharmacists and consumer health advocates regarding the complexity and readability of such documents.

NEC sues Feds over binned Biometric Identification Services project

By Simon Sharwood on Jul 19, 2019 3:23PM

‘Simply seeking to have investment returned’ after negotiations failed.

NEC Australia (NECA) has decided to seek redress for the termination of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Biometric Identification Services (BIS) project.
NEC won the project in 2016, but by 2017 it was in trouble. ACIC eventually fired NEC before the project could be completed.
In a statement sent to CRN today, the firm said that since the project’s termination in June 2018 it has sought to recover its costs, but has not been able to do so.
So now it’s filed suit in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Medical device connectivity: Leveraging current approaches, developing new capabilities

This pre-HIC 2019 workshop will be held on Saturday 10 August and will explore Service-oriented Device Connectivity (SDC), an emerging standard for integrating devices from the device interface to connected point-of-care systems to remote applications including EHRs.
Topics will include:
  • Medical device connectivity and usability
  • Role of medical devices from patient physiological monitoring and care delivery to specialist systems
  • Health Software As a Medical Device (SAMD)
  • Integration challenges in acute care
  • Regulatory approaches
  • Patient-connected systems leveraging AI and machine learning powered technologies
  • Impact of the widespread adoption of specialist and general EMR systems
  • Closed-loop control across multiple devices, automation of medical procedures and remote control
Who should attend?
  • Anyone involved in the development, integration and use of connected medical technology
  • Clinical technologists, biomedical engineers and system implementers / integrators / clinicians
  • Medical technology developers and vendors
  • Regulatory and governmental agencies and public policy makers
  • Enterprise IT system developers and integrators of device-based content and services
  • Researchers and medical device informatics SMEs
Event run by:

Alcidion delivers positive cash flow for Q4 and FY19 overall

  • Positive operating cash flow of $566K for final quarter
  • Cash flow surplus from operations of $2.1M for FY19 overall, improved cash position of $3.4M
  • FY19 final revenue likely to be in range $16.5M to $16.9M subject to final year-end adjustment
  • Strong start to FY20, with $11.7M sold revenue to be recognised in FY20 and a further $19.5M out to 2024
  • Strategic reseller agreement signed with Better by Marand for Medications Management
Adelaide, South Australia – Alcidion Group Ltd (ASX:ALC) today released its Appendix 4C  quarterly cash flow statement for the three month period ended 30 June 2019 (Q4 FY19).

The company delivered a net operating cash flow surplus of $566K in Q4, the second consecutive quarter of positive operating cash flow. The company delivered a net operating cash flow surplus of $2.1M for FY19, after three cash flow positive quarters and one quarter (Q2) with a small negative cash flow.

Available cash reserves are now $3.4M, up from $2.9M at the end of Q3.

Cash receipts for the quarter were $6.1M, in line with Q3. Operational cash outflows for Q4 were approximately $700k higher than Q3, primarily due to the payment of $400K in VAT on UK Q3 sales, sales commissions related to these two major UK contracts, and advance payment of superannuation contributions for Q4.  

Kate Quirke discusses Alcidion’s transformation on CommSec’s Executive Series

Alcidion Group is pleased to share an interview published by CommSec today between Alcidion Managing Director Kate Quirke and CommSec’s Market Analyst Tom Piotrowski.

In the 7-minute interview, Kate discusses how Alcidion’s health IT solutions are improving the delivery of healthcare in a changing environment, how the Alcidion business has transformed in FY2019, and also discusses the Company’s focus on cross-selling its solutions across Australia, New Zealand and UK markets.

Watch the interview by clicking the image above, or see here
For further information, please contact:
Kyahn Williamson, WE Buchan
Ph: 0401018828

NAB says 13,000 customers' data breached

National Australia Bank has blamed human error for a breach which saw the personal data of 13,000 customers given to two data companies.
Reuters July 26, 20198:15pm
National Australia Bank Ltd says 13,000 customers are being contacted after a breach where personal data was uploaded without permission to two data service companies.
Australia's fourth-largest bank said on Friday that the breach was not a cyber-security issue, adding that no log-in details or passwords were compromised.
"The issue was human error and in breach of NAB's data security policies," Chief Data Officer Glenda Crisp said in a statement on NAB's website.

NAB admits it shared personal info on 13,000 customers with two external parties

The compromised data included customer name, date of birth, contact details, and in some cases, a government-issued identification, such as a driver's licence.
By Asha Barbaschow | July 26, 2019 -- 09:16 GMT (19:16 AEST) | Topic: Security
The National Australia Bank (NAB) has admitted that some personal information on approximately 13,000 customers was uploaded, without authorisation, to the servers of two data service companies.
NAB chief data officer Glenda Crisp said the compromised data included customer name, date of birth, contact details and in some cases, a government-issued identification number, such as a driver's licence number.
The information, NAB said, was provided when an account was set up.

'We take full responsibility': NAB discloses breach involving 13,000 customers' driver's licences

By Ben Grubb
July 26, 2019 — 6.09pm
National Australia Bank began contacting about 13,000 customers on Friday night to advise them of a security breach involving customer names, dates of birth, contact details and in some cases, a government-issued identification number, such as driver's licence numbers.
The disclosure of the breach comes after the private details of almost 100,000 Australian bank customers were exposed in a cyber attack on the real-time payments platform PayID, which allows the instant transfer of money between banks using either a mobile number or email address. That breach involved compromised Westpac customers accounts being used to facilitate the attack.
In a statement disclosing the breach on Friday night, NAB said personal information provided when customer accounts were set up was uploaded, without authorisation, to the servers of two data service companies.

ACT police breached metadata laws thousands of times

Disclosure of telco data took place without legal authority
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 26 July, 2019 16:14
ACT Policing has revealed that in the 2015-16 financial year it accessed so-called telecommunications metadata on 3365 occasions without the lawful authority required.
A Commonwealth Ombudsman report tabled in parliament earlier this week revealed that during a two-week period in October 2015, an officer within ACT Policing had authorised access to telecommunications data on 116 occasions, despite not having the legal authority to do so.
The Ombudsman said that the Australian Federal Police, of which ACT Policing is part, told it that the “omission on the written authorisation was due to an administrative oversight”.

Data retention: Law enforcement accessed ‘metadata’ more than 296k times in FY18

Drug investigations remain key use of ‘metadata’
A government report reveals that law enforcement agencies sought access to information covered by Australia’s data retention regime on more than 296,000 occasions in FY18.
The Department of Home Affairs today released its annual report on the operation of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 for 2017-18 (a delayed release of the TIA Act report is not unusual for the government).
The report offers a snapshot of telecommunications interception, access to stored communications, and access to historical and prospective telecommunications data. 
Telecommunications data, sometimes dubbed ‘metadata’, covers a range of information such as the source, destination and timing of a particular communication, but not its content.

Police cop the most blame for illegal telco metadata searches

By Ry Crozier on Jul 23, 2019 6:27PM

Authorisation errors and typos behind many issues.

Police agencies made a series of illegal - or otherwise problematic - telecommunications metadata searches between 2015 and mid-2017, according to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
In a report tabled in parliament [pdf], it was revealed that 116 authorisations for ACT Policing to access metadata over a fortnight in October 2015 were made by an officer without the authorisation to do so.
ACT Policing is the portfolio of the Australian Federal Police responsible for police services in the Australian Capital Territory.
The AFP blamed an “administrative oversight” where it failed “to authorise any officers within ACT Policing” to approve metadata requests.

Law Council wants data retention loopholes shut

By Ry Crozier on Jul 22, 2019 10:49AM

Put a stop to the growing number of data users and uses.

All agencies that have permission to access telecommunications metadata should be “exhaustively listed in the primary legislation” to avoid continued scope creep, the Law Council of Australia says.
The comments, made to a joint parliamentary committee reviewing Australia’s data retention laws, come after it emerged that a further 27 bodies - including councils, “illegal dumping” authorities and industry overseers - made requests for stored data since November last year.
The Communications Alliance, which represents telco interests, keeps track of the types of organisations requesting access to metadata under the data retention scheme.
It said last week that 87 different bodies nationwide that have made requests for telecommunications metadata, though even it noted that might not be exhaustive.

Firms 'blacklisting' Australia over encryption laws, government contractor says

By Nick Bonyhady and Max Koslowski
July 22, 2019 — 3.49pm
An IT firm holding data for some of the government's most secretive departments has warned the nation's encryption laws are leading to some multinational companies withdrawing from Australia while keeping data in Russia and China.
Vault Cloud, which provides online storage to parts of the federal government including the Department of Defence, said companies were abandoning Australia because of its small market and the "perceived compliance burden of the jurisdiction".
Australia passed a controversial law last year that allows government agencies to compel IT companies to give the government access to users' encrypted communications for a wide range of law-enforcement purposes.
Vault Cloud boss Rupert Taylor-Smith said the secret nature of the process the government uses to ask for users' encrypted information meant companies did not know how difficult and expensive it would be to comply with.
Thursday, 25 July 2019 01:41

NBN Co drops 'important hint’ on improving consumer experience, says Rowland

NBN Co has signalled renewed focus is needed to address in-home issues impacting on customer experience with the national broadband network, according to the Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland.
Rowland made her comment on Wednesday in response to a report from NBN Co, the builder of the national broadband network, that internal research by the company had found that 90% of Australians, if given the option, would be likely to take up technical assistance to optimise their home broadband connection.
“Despite clumsy attempts at blame shifting by the previous minister, this finding is relevant to up to 750,000 Fibre to the Node premises expected to be impacted by in-home wiring issues that cause unreliable NBN service and reduce attainable speeds,” Rowland said.
“This is why Labor took a considered NBN policy to the May election where qualified technicians would be offered to address this problem, at no cost to the household, if a premises was identified as having an in-home wiring problem.
Wednesday, 24 July 2019 09:49

More than 10 million now able to connect to NBN, says network builder

More than 10 million homes and businesses are now able to connect to the NBN network with less than twelve months of the build remaining.
Earlier this month NBN Co, the company building the broadband access network, says it had achieved trial download speeds of 994Mbps — or 1Gbps — in technology trials on its hybrid-fibre coaxial access network.
NBN Co said that during the trial, next generation DOCSIS 3.1 technology demonstrated its capability over an expanded spectrum range to support future wholesale speed upgrades using a standard NBN HFC connection box in the home – with the trial providing “new insights to guide future technical development and planning".
And NBN Co said the in-field trial, in Templestowe in outer Melbourne, demonstrated the potential for around 2.5 million homes and businesses that use or are due to be connected to the HFC access network across Australia.
Tuesday, 23 July 2019 11:34

Consumer complaints about telcos continue to fall

Consumer complaints to Australia’s telcos have fallen by 12% in the three months between April and June this year – the lowest rate for the quarter since 2016.
In its latest Complaints in Context report released on Tuesday, the Communications Alliance reveals a decline in complaint ratios over the last quarter and continuing year-on-year reductions and continuing year-in-year reductions in complaint levels.
And the last three quarters reported have been the lowest rate since their equivalent 2016 quarter (except October – December, which was the lowest rate since 2015), which CA says shows ongoing progress in improving customer service over the last three years.

NBN ‘isn’t taking tech shortcuts’

  • 12:00AM July 22, 2019
NBN Co has rejected claims that it is taking shortcuts to meet its construction deadline, with the company’s chief network deployment officer Kathrine Dyer saying homes are not being downgraded from fixed to fixed wireless technology at the last minute.
“That’s absolutely not the case,” she told The Australian. “Our overarching network plans have been set well in advance and we have well-defined network boundaries in place.
“What does happen is that when you are working on the ground some premises may be shifted from fixed to wireless, but there’s no deliberate strategy to move homes into fixed wireless.”
Monday, 22 July 2019 10:10

ISP backs NBN Co's efforts to make gigabit speeds possible on HFC

The NBN Co's efforts to make it possible to get gigabit speeds on HFC will help alleviate the scaling problem that exists due to the pricing model for CVC, according to the head of a small ISP.
Damian Ivereigh, chief executive of the Launceston-based Launtel, told iTWire in response to queries that he was looking forward to having the technology turned on.
"We would also like to see how the service performs in the real world with multiple services, given that HFC is by it's nature a shared infrastructure," he added.
Earlier this month, the NBN Co said it had achieved trial download speeds of 994Mbps on the HFC network, using next-generation DOCSIS 3.1 technology.