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, 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.


Anonymous said...

The first two articles are worth looking into.

Anonymous said...

@5:29 PM Cerner in Qld (not good), Cerner in NSW (sounds good), Cerner integrted with My Health Record (no comment).

Anonymous said...

Not sure throwing random files at the MyHR should be thought of as ‘integrated’.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know just how seriously this government takes our health have a listen to this week's Background Briefing

The Pub Test: why Australia can't stop drinking

Alcohol, pharmaceuticals, sugar, fast food, coal, digital health - all backed by lobby groups distorting our well-being.