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.
A really quiet week save for the news that Google had been caught out being rather dishonest and deceptive – a far cry from the ‘don’t be evil’ days!
Elsewhere the Government seems to be loosing goodwill all over the place as it tries retrospectively to change telehealth rules. Just annoying the GPs it needs for the vaccine roll-out!
Google misled Android users about location data collection
By Juha Saarinen on Apr 16, 2021 1:00PM
Loses Federal Court case.
Google misrepresented to consumers what privacy settings do in its Android mobile operating system, the Federal Court has found in a world-first case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC was able to show that unlike what Google claimed, turning off the Location History setting in Android did not stop the collection, storage and use of consumers' personally identifiable location data.
Another Android setting, Web & App Activity, that was turned on by default, meant that people's location data was collected, which was misleading for customers.
"Between January 2017 and December 2018, consumers were led to believe that ‘Location History’ was the only account setting that affected the collection of their personal location data, when that was simply not true,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
Google misled customers about use of location data, court rules
April 16, 2021 — 12.31pm
Google misled some consumers about the digital giant’s collection and use of their location data, the Federal Court has ruled in a decision touted as a world-first by the consumer watchdog.
In a decision on Friday, Justice Thomas Thawley said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had established Google misled some users of Android devices about how their location data could be obtained, retained and used when a customer used various Google apps including Google Maps.
The company is considering an appeal.
The ACCC alleged Google gave users the impression they could opt out of having location data collected by the company by switching off the “location history” setting on their accounts. The default setting for this function was “off”.
Health department launches GP telehealth crackdown
Up to 1000 compliance letters have been sent to doctors over alleged breaches of the 'existing relationship' rule for telehealth items
14th April 2021
By Kemal Atlay
GPs have begun receiving 'please explain' letters from the Federal Department of Health over alleged inappropriate billing of the MBS telehealth items.
The key issue is whether the doctors saw an "existing patient" for the telehealth consult, defined as a patient they or another GP at their practice has consulted in the previous 12 months.
Melbourne GP Dr Henry Monkus received one of the missives last week which asked him to review 192 telehealth consults he has billed since July last year.
“While there are limited circumstances where these items can be claimed by a practitioner who is not a patient’s usual health provider, the department asks you to review your claiming to ensure it meets MBS requirements,” the letter said (see below).
GPs cry foul over Medicare's 'misleading' telehealth rule
Doctors targeted in the latest health department crackdown say they are victims of bureaucratic semantics
15th April 2021
By Kemal Atlay
GPs targeted in a Federal Department of Health telehealth compliance blitz say they are victims of misleading Medicare rules.
On Thursday, the department said 400 doctors had been sent letters demanding they justify their claims amid concerns that they were billing for consults with patients who had not been in their practice in the previous 12 months.
Among them was Dr Henry Monkus who is being asked to review 192 telehealth claims.
He said it was never clear to him or other doctors that the 12-month rule applied not only to a patient’s initial telehealth consult, but to all subsequent telehealth consults.
He referred to one of his regular female patients who he had last been seen face-to-face at his Melbourne practice on 5 September 2019.
“Her first telehealth consult was 11 months later, in August last year. So for me that showed I had re-established the relationship.
Lumos shines a light on patient journeys in NSW
The Lumos program links de-identified records to map patient journeys from primary care to other settings and health information sources in NSW, including hospitals, cancer registry and cause of death information. Data from this program uncovers new insights to identify ways to improve patient outcomes and experiences across the state. So far over 380 general practices are enrolled, and new information about the patient journeys of approximately 25% of the NSW population is generated twice per year.
Secure data linkage
Risk to patient privacy is minimised by de-identifying data before it leaves practices through Privacy Preserving Record Linkage (PPRL), which uses bloom filters in a probability-based linkage framework. The PPRL technology used in the Lumos program was developed by Curtain University and linkages are performed in partnership with the NSW Centre for Health Record Linkage (CHeReL).
An innovative solution for data access
The Secure Analytics Primary Health Environment (SAPHE) was developed in 2020 to allow secure access this unique data asset. It is a custom cloud solution with built-in analytics tools and extensive privacy and security measures. SAPHE users can use data to support planning, funding, management or evaluation of health services. The SAPHE allows employees outside NSW Health to access this type of data for the first time in NSW.
Digital wellbeing tools funded by MoH
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
NEWS - eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
The Ministry of Health will fund one or more digital mental
wellbeing tools to develop, grow and increase their reach to New Zealanders.
The Registration of Interest says it will provide $900,000 a year for two years towards existing or soon to be launched ‘Digital Wellbeing Tools’.
The ROI says that part of the Government’s response to He Ara Oranga (Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction) is to support the achievement of mental health and wellbeing for all New Zealanders.
“A key component in the programme … is digital solutions, including whole of population Digital Wellbeing Tools that support people to manage their mental health and wellbeing on a day to day basis and at times of increased stress or distress,” it says.
HealthEngine paid $3.8M for vaccine platform
12 April 2021
The federal government will pay HealthEngine nearly $4 million for a COVID-19 vaccination bookings platform following a secretive limited tender process.
The Western Australia-based medical appointment booking company announced in early March that it had been selected to develop the bookings platform as part of the federal government’s end-to-end vaccination information and bookings service.
It came just months after HealthEngine was fined $2.9 million as part of court proceedings brought forward by the competition watchdog for “misleading conduct” relating to the sharing of user information with private health insurance companies and for publishing misleading reviews and ratings.
Details of the contract have now been revealed publicly, more than a month after it was awarded. HealthEngine will be paid $3.85 million as part of the one-year contract for the “national vaccine booking system”, running from 2 March to 1 March 2022.
The contract was awarded following a limited tender process as this was deemed necessary to “facilitate a speedy procurement … to protect human health”.
9 April 2021
Concerns telehealth will remain undersubsidised
Posted by Ben Falkenmire
Telehealth remains on track to become a permanent fixture on the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS), despite the Department of Health delaying making items permanent for a second time, with temporary arrangements to remain until 30 June.
It appears the government needs more time to finalise subsidies with peak doctor groups, having not yet knuckled down the best approach for video and phone rebates and whether to treat remote, rural and regional doctors differently.
Telehealth is costing doctors money. For Melbourne-based rheumatologist, Dr Daniel Lewis, who sees half of his patients via telehealth and 95% of those via Zoom, the costs are significant.
“The bottom line is I can only see half as many patients with Zoom than I could face-to-face. There is a significantly higher administration burden. We need to register the patient, help them with technology, do the paper admin after the consult, email a summary of advice, and then email prescriptions to a pharmacy. It is very laborious and time consuming.
Friday, 16 April 2021 09:43
Health tech provider Alcidion snaps up patient flow firm ExtraMed
By Sam Varghese
Digital health technology provider Alcidion Group has acquired British patient flow management software maker ExtraMed for $9.6 million and also said it plans a capital raise of $17.9 million.
Alcidion, which is listed on the ASX, will become the patient flow leader in the UK with this acquisition, which will bring in an additional nine NHS Trusts, six of which are new to the company. Alcidion will have a presence in 27 NHS Trusts or 19% of the NHS acute care market.
Alcidion will purchase 100% of the shares in ExtraMed, a wholly-owned business unit of bedside communication and entertainment unit provider Hospedia, under the sale contract, with all staff, customers and assets included.
A statement said Alcidion was working with 322 hospitals and 54 healthcare providers across Australia, New Zealand and the UK, at the moment.
9 April 2021
HotDoc wins the clinics, PenCS COVID dash live
Following the surprise win by HealthEngine of the government’s centralised back up booking solution for clinics without a booking system, major competitor HotDoc yesterday announced it was partnering with the federal government to provide a booking solution for GP-led respiratory clinics.
There are about 240 respiratory clinics across the country.
At the same time HotDoc claimed that in its first week of going live with its COVID booking module on its core system it had already processed over 130,000 bookings from patients for a COVID vaccination.
Given HotDoc services about half of all GP practices we might assume from this that there were somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 patient bookings made for vaccinations at GP practices in the first week of phase 1b.
This is more than double the first week capacity of general practice based on about 1,000 practices starting last week, with an average of 75 doses per practice (practices received between 50 and 400 doses for their first week). This means practices are now booking patients into the future on the expectation that they will receive supply as promised by the government.
The best gadgets to help manage your heart health
By Alice Clarke
April 15, 2021 — 11.04am
The Apple Watch has finally been approved to collect ECG readings in Australia, but in the years since that feature debuted internationally the market has filled with devices ready and waiting to give you information about your heart.
Unlike some other health metrics collected by gadgets like smartwatches and scales, which are more there for entertainment and general information purposes, a lot of the data collected on your heart has the potential to be diagnostically relevant. Amanda Buttery, manager of clinical evidence for the Heart Foundation, welcomes these innovations.
“The development of smartwatch ECG technology is promising, particularly because atrial fibrillation is known to cause a third of all strokes in Australia,” she said. Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia in which your heart beats irregularly.
“However, findings from such technology should be interpreted and discussed by a doctor in the context of a person’s overall health.”
Most people who buy smartwatches are under the age of 40, and yet the people who would derive the most benefit from the health features are much more mature than that. The Apple Watch is ideal for iPhone users over the age of 60, who are far too young to need any kind of medical alert necklace, but still want some way to monitor their health and get help if needed.
15 April 2021
Australia now 3D printing bone implants for cancer patients
A new 3D printer that will take up an entire room at the Sarcoma and Surgical Research Centre at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney is one of only five in the world and the first in a hospital.
The 3D printer manufactured by German company EOS will be used by a multidisciplinary research to create plastic bone implants for cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.
“When patients who have implants come to radiation therapy, we need to be really sensitive to the material that the implant is made from,” said Associate Professor Natalka Suchowerska, a medical physicist and director of VectorLAB.
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) can be 3D printed into customisable bone implants that are radiopaque and do not interfere with radiations. This offers two main advantages: PEEK implants can be easily seen in radiographs, and they do not hinder radiation therapy.
Traditional bone implants are made from titanium, but the way titanium behaves in the radiation beam is very different from bones, she said.
April 13 2021 - 3:00AM
My Health Record website changed after AstraZeneca vaccine advice confused Canberra man
Lyneham resident John May was confused after his GP and My Health Record told him different things about when he should get a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vic govt names hospitals, health services to share in $30m IT funding
By Justin Hendry on Apr 15, 2021 4:29PM
Details clinical technology refresh program.
Twenty-eight hospitals and health services across Victoria will benefit from a $30 million funding package aimed at upgrading IT infrastructure to protect against future cyber attacks.
Health minister Martin Foley revealed the hospitals and health services in line for investment – provided as part of the clinical technology refresh program in last year’s state budget – on Thursday.
It follows a spate of high-profile ransomware attacks over the last 18 months, the most recent of which impacted one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan public health services, Eastern Health.
The $30 million funding will be used to “refresh older network infrastructure and replace end-of-life systems”, as well as “support the rollout of wi-fi at the bedside”, the government said.
Auditor weighs up review of govt's digital ID system, COVIDSafe app
By Justin Hendry on Apr 16, 2021 7:00AM
Front of mind for ANAO.
Australia’s national auditor is considering an audit into the development of the federal government’s GovPass digital identity system as the now $450 million-plus project enters its sixth year.
The Australian National Audit Office has also singled out the government’s COVIDSafe contact tracing app for review, including whether its design and use is both economical and effective.
In its draft annual work program for 2021-22, released on Thursday, the auditor proposed 16 reviews aimed at government IT, cyber security, privacy and data over the next 12 months.
One of the potential areas for review is the GovPass digital identify system, which the ANAO has hand-picked following the government’s $256.6 million investment in last year’s budget.
Friday, 09 April 2021 16:18
Roche mySugr diabetes app recalled
The mySugr Bolus Calculator from Roche Diabetes has been recalled due to a serious bug.
But a bug means it can recommend an incorrect amount in certain circumstances.
Administering an incorrect dose of insulin can lead to serious health complications, the recall notice warns.on 3.74.1.
Govts to develop national data sharing agreement
By Justin Hendry on Apr 13, 2021 1:21PM
National leaders agree.
Federal, state and territory leaders have agreed to create an intergovernmental agreement to facilitate greater data sharing between all levels of government.
The plan for the high-level agreement, which is still to be developed, was endorsed at a meeting of national cabinet on Friday last week.
“National cabinet agreed that jurisdictions will work together to capitalise on the value of public data to achieve better outcomes for Australians,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“In order to achieve this, first ministers [and state and territory premiers] committed to develop an intergovernmental agreement which will be considered at a future national cabinet meeting.”
My Health Record: a practical demonstration (Communicare)
5 May 2021
11:00am - 12:00pm (AEST)
Australian Digital Health Agency
These one hour sessions are aimed at GPs, Specialists, Practice Managers, Practice Nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers interested in learning more about My Health Record and how to use it most effectively in routine practice.
Using a software simulation platform the instructor will demonstrate how to:
- access your patients’ My Health Records in your software
- use filters to find documents
- view documents and overviews
- understand how to view immunisation history in My Health Record
- enter access codes for patients with protected documents/records
- upload documents to My Health Record; and
- ensure appropriate security and access governance mechanisms are in place.
Run via GoTo webinar platform, these sessions will afford an opportunity for participants to raise questions directly with the instructor and to discuss other issues encountered in using My Health Record. These demonstrations will be run on a weekly basis at varying times throughout the day.
If you can not find a session time that suits you, we may be able to provide an out of schedule session to accommodate you and your staff. For more information on this or for follow up My Health Record support for your practice please contact email@example.com. This education is CPD accredited by AAPM, RACGP and ACRRM.
Using the Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP)
15 April 2021
1:00pm - 2:00pm (AEST)
Australian Digital Health Agency
This session will equip staff (both administrative staff and vaccine providers) from COVID vaccination clinics with a sound knowledge of how to use the Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP). CVIP is used to manage vaccinations and report vaccination information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). It can be used by recognised vaccination providers who do not already have clinical software that reports to the AIR.
The webinar will cover:
- The COVID-19 vaccine rollout and new legislation
- The Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP)
- Getting started and prerequisites
- Provider end-to-end workflow
- Adding and managing vaccines
- Further resources
HammondCare CIO to leave for funeral giant InvoCare
By Justin Hendry on Apr 12, 2021 6:55AM
Set to take up newly created role.
Australia’s largest funerals company InvoCare has appointed HammondCare chief information officer Jose Perez as its first chief information and technology officer.
Perez will take up the newly-created role at the ASX-listed funeral home and crematoria operator in July after more than two years at HammondCare.
It is understood InvoCare has been without a dedicated CIO since former tech chief Andy Luiskandl left the company in July 2016.
The company does, however, have a head of IT in David Sinclair, who will now assume a new role of head of infrastructure.
PrimaryClinic Medical 4.7.0 now on the Conformance Register
Posted at 11:33h in News
Global Health’s PrimaryClinic Medical 4.7.0 has been listed on the Australian Government’s Electronic Prescribing Conformance Register to the most current standard v2.2.1 as of the 31st of March 2021.
The Electronic Prescribing Conformance Register is a register of conforming software products ensuring software developers create software that complies with government legislation. This register enables healthcare providers to know which companies and products are conformant.
PrimaryClinic Medical is a clinical software used by GPs and Specialists to manage patient notes securely, clinical documents and prescribe electronically. The Patient records encompass features such as recording notes, accessing past medical history, allergies and other important patient information.
PrimaryClinic Medical now supports all three forms of prescribing including traditional paper, image-based and electronic prescribing.
Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:44
Nine Entertainment still not fully back to normal after network attack
Australian media company Nine Entertainment has restored a number of major systems affected in a network attack which was made public on 28 March but things are still not back to normal.
iTWire understands that while significant progress has been made, it will take weeks for Nine to get back to the state that existed before the attack.
The Australian, a newspaper from the rival Murdoch camp, reported on Monday that Nine's ad revenue had taken a hit as the network attack had crippled the internal advertisement booking and placement system.
It said it believed that several Nine clients had gone to other companies after being told they could not book fresh slots on the radio stations that Nine owns.
9 April 2021
How drones could screen for COVID-19
Posted by Professor Javaan Chahl
COVID-19 has revealed how vulnerable economies and businesses are to contagion. The virus has caused death, chaos and economic destruction. Yet, it is not as dangerous as it might have been. COVID-19 provides us with a salient warning of just how unprepared we are.
In early 2020, a team of researchers at the University of South Australia (UniSA) started to talk to the Canadian drone technology company, Draganfly inc., about the ways that drone may facilitate non-contact health monitoring. Staff at Draganfly had seen a journal article by the UniSA team from in 2017 that illustrated the ways that vital signs could be measured from a hovering drone .
Drone operators can measure a human’s heart rate from using technology known as imaging photoplethysmography (iPPG). iPPG uses a visible light camera to detect the changes in the volume of blood in the face following each heartbeat. Such changes are invisible to the human eye. Wrist-worn heart rate monitors use a similar technique and work very reliably, but they require skin contact and a light source.
In contrast, iPPG doesn’t rely on skin contact, but it does require serious image processing and artificial intelligence. Putting the technology on a drone adds additional challenges, because the computer must be small, the camera is moving, distances may be 10 metres or more and the system has to determine what to look at.
Advanced digital diagnostics feature at new Westmead facility
Thursday, 15 April, 2021
Fast-tracked under the NSW Government’s COVID-19 response, the new state-of-the-art Central Acute Services Building — the centrepiece of the $1 billion+ Westmead Health Precinct — has opened, featuring new digital imaging-enabled operating theatres and expanded imaging services, two new emergency departments, 25 digital operating theatres, and more than 300 patient rooms alongside world-class research and education facilities.
Equipped with advanced medical imaging technology from Royal Philips, the facility boasts what is reported to be Australia’s first Elition X dual entry intraoperative MRI machines, designed to provide and enhance speed and efficiency for critical neurology cases such as stroke and acute trauma where speed is crucial to the diagnosis and treatment of patients in critical condition. Additional diagnostic and image-guided therapy solutions include Azurion Bi Plane and Azurion Flexmove as well as the DigitalDiagnost C90, Zenition 70 and wDR MobileDiagnost 2.1.
The digital imaging-enabled operating theatres are predicted to boost speed, efficiency and collaboration between surgeons and radiologists. With the immediate feedback of intraoperative MRI, clinicians can achieve first-time correct diagnoses and real-time adjustments based on up-to-date MRI information at virtually any time during surgical procedures.
Biden is about to burst Big Tech’s bubble
By Robin Pagnamenta
April 13, 2021 — 8.16am
On the campaign trail, Joe Biden rarely displayed much interest in the debate over how to regulate Big Tech nor indeed a great deal of knowledge of many of the issues.
But just weeks after taking office, he is rapidly shaping up to be a transformative figure for Silicon Valley — with a string of proposals which, if fully implemented, could amount to an earthquake for the global tech industry.
In perhaps his administration’s boldest economic move to date, last week President Biden unveiled plans for a new global tax regime which would force multinational companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google to pay national levies based on their local sales.
The plan, which would set a minimum global corporation tax rate of 21 per cent, could raise an extra $US300 billion ($394 billion) in annual taxes globally and deal a hefty blow to the complex tax avoidance and profit-sharing measures adopted by many of the world’s biggest and most profitable companies.
Aussie Broadband says some customers are switching providers to get high-speed NBN discounts
By Ry Crozier on Apr 15, 2021 4:34PM
Not otherwise available to existing customers.
Aussie Broadband has revealed a temporary discount by NBN Co for new sign-ups to its fastest plans is driving some existing high-speed customers to switch providers to qualify for the cheaper price.
The consequence of NBN Co’s ‘Focus on Fast’ campaign was revealed by Aussie Broadband’s managing director Phillip Britt during an earnings update on Thursday afternoon.
Focus on Fast is the latest marketing campaign by NBN Co aimed at driving users onto higher speed plans, and sets wholesale costs the same for all speed tiers 100Mbps and above.
Theoretically, the idea was to coax sub-100Mbps users to upgrade.
How NBN Co pieced its service assurance function back together
By Ry Crozier on Apr 13, 2021 6:55AM
'Jigsaw' transformation delivers $100m in benefits.
NBN Co transformed its service assurance function - the part of the company that deals with service faults and outages - under a program of work codenamed ‘Jigsaw’ that is already said to have delivered $100 million in ‘benefits’.
The transformation started around the end of 2017 though has been set up in such a way that there is no defined end-date.
“We had no border pieces on our picture puzzle for this,” capability and experience design senior manager Mike Dyson told a recent Panviva webinar, continuing with the jigsaw analogy.
According to an online description, the Jigsaw transformation set out to “create a flexible, simple yet dynamic interface that displayed information from multiple downstream systems into a single screen to reduce the number of swivel chairs, optimise the work processes and provide access to new data to help service assurance operators make right decisions.”