Sunday, April 1, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd April, 2012.

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

My view is that last week was a ‘biggie’. We discovered that the Government was so worried about GP support of and for the PCEHR is suggested it was actually prepared to pay something to help encourage adoption and we heard that the system, when it went live would not be national and would essentially be functionless behind a registration screen. The truth seems slowly to be coming out.
What is really interesting is that there is no actual amount specified for the incentives so it is very hard to make any assessment as to how serious the Government is with all this. Potentially it could cost a huge amount I suspect.
In other news we have NEHTA ‘junketing’ to Malaysia to chat with a whole lot of surgeons who are the least likely of the clinician population to engage with the National E-Health Records Service (NEHRS) - as we are now told it is called.
Last, SA seems to be trying to do a Queensland, with its implementation of a Financial System in its health system.
Lots more fun as you scroll down.

NEHTA joins the ASC

Last Update: 28/03/2012 17:11
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) will have a major exhibition presence at the Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) in May in Malaysia. Delegates will get to experience a model eHealth community that demonstrates how eHealth and the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record will work throughout the patient health journey.
NEHTA's National Clinical Lead and past AMA President Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AO is also joining the ASC to contribute to the eHealth program at the ASC convened by Melbourne vascular surgeon and NEHTA Clinical Lead, Dr Gary Frydman.

Directing doctors is like herding cats

Emma Connors
If you want a successful system in health, don’t try telling doctors what to do. That’s one of the key findings of a KPMG analysis that found the most successful systems had several factors in common.
A Hong Kong system that tracks 44 indicators and prompts nurses to call patients identified to be at risk has helped reduce hospital re-admissions by 25 per cent. Five of the largest health systems in North America, including Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic, have agreed to link up patient data in what they will hope will be a model for a national system. The US Veterans Health Administration has built an enterprise-wide system focused on electronic health records. All were designed by clinicians.

Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health, visits eHealth truck

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health, saw eHealth in action when she visited the recently launched Model Healthcare Community (MHC) truck.
At the 'Health e Nation' Conference on 28 March 2012, the Minister received a briefing and tour from NEHTA's National Clinical Lead Dr Mukesh Haikerwal. The eHealth Truck will tour Australia showcasing the NEHTA eHealth foundations, clinical documents and the personally controlled electronic health record.

SA Health falls behind on its bills

  • by: Political Reporter Daniel Wills
  • From: The Advertiser
  • March 28, 2012 11:00PM
SA HEALTH'S financial performance deteriorated to the point where it failed to pay even half its bills on time.
The Auditor-General is expected to reveal there was inadequate managerial oversight of account reconciliation.
Health and Ageing Minister John Hill yesterday tabled the department's long-awaited 2010-11 annual report, about six months later than forecast, and foreshadowed findings in a looming Auditor-General's report.
The Government has been under attack from the Opposition for months over management of the rollout of Oracle, a new accounting system taken up by the department.

Restructure Of Clinical Representation In Nehta Work Programmes

NEHTA National Clinical Lead, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, has led a preliminary review of clinician representation on Program Reference Groups in NEHTA. As developments move rapidly it is important to constantly monitor where and how resources and skills are allocated. Reference Group clinical leads are extremely important in providing clinical leadership. The work they do in Reference Groups is somewhat at the coalface of developments in specific areas of NEHTA work, for example, Medication Management, Continuity of Care and PCEHR.  These clinicians devote a good deal of their time away from their practices and it is essential we employ their passion, knowledge and skills efficiently and effectively.

MSIA: There and back again: an eHealth journey

Written by Dr Geoffrey Sayer on 26 March 2012.
This article is published in the forthcoming April 2012 edition of Pulse+IT Magazine.
As the journey to the PCEHR begins its approach to the station, is the end result going to be a smooth disembarkation or an absolute train wreck? The answer may lie somewhere in between, but whatever occurs, it is important that the work already done on standards, terminologies and the foundation pieces of eHealth are not lost for the future.
With apologies to the Bard, this has been a summer of malcontent. In Sydney it feels that we have missed out on summer altogether due to the constant wet weather. No one can remember having a sunny day at all and yet you can feel the eHealth debate getting hotter and hotter as we get closer to the infamous July 1, 2012 deadline.
Let’s recap what we are actually going to get delivered — the ability to register for a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR). We will be reminded of that with greater frequency as we close in on that date, and as ambition is tempered by reality. There is a palpable sense that there is a push to deliver a working system so that the ambition and opportunity is not lost before political attention and interest is diverted elsewhere.

Ramsay Healthcare signs up for social media

Ramsay Healthcare has embarked on a social media program to communicate with clients, plus educate and support staff.
The Challenge: Embrace social media to serve and reach clients and staff.
The Approach: A social media “guru” was employed. The company uses LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
The Outcomes: A higher level of interaction and service to clients.

Plibersek confirms Medicare rebate for e-health records

DOCTORS will be paid a Medicare rebate of up to $101 to set up an e-health record for their patients as the government warns its e-health scheme due to start on July 1 may take years to reach its full potential.
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek says she is "determined not to rush it'' and warned that just as the Snowy Scheme took years to build the e-Health system would "grow and evolve in a similar way'' and not "happen overnight''.
"This isn't a matter of flick a switch on 1 July and away you go,'' she told the Health e- Nation conference on the Gold Coast yesterday.

Doctors to be paid for PCEHR set-up

28th Mar 2012
GPs will be allowed to bill Medicare for the creation and maintenance of shared e-health summaries according to Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, who confirmed for the first time today "nominated providers" would be paid for their time.
The minister made the announcement during a speech to the Health-e-Nation conference on the Gold Coast this morning and said GPs would be welcome to claim existing level B, C or D consultation items to cover the cost of setting up summaries when the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) goes live on 1 July.
RACGP e-health spokesperson Dr Mike Civil said the announcement was “fantastic news” and due recognition of the “vital role GPs will play” in creating and maintaining e-health records.

PCEHR set-up payments still in doubt

29th Mar 2012
CONFUSION is lingering among GPs and doctor’s groups in the wake of Health Minister Tanya Plibersek’s announcement yesterday that MBS consultation items would be available for ‘nominated providers’ creating electronic shared health summaries.
The news was welcomed by the RACGP and AGPN but AMA president Steve Hambleton and readers responding to the story on the MO website said there was nothing new in the minister’s announcement.
A spokesperson for the minister confirmed to MO this morning that a GP making what would normally be a level B consultation would be entitled to claim a level C if the extra work involved in creating a shared health summary made the consultation longer than 20 minutes.

PCEHR and the MBS – more work for and no reward for GPs

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the Health Minister’s announcement about Medicare rebates for preparing shared health summaries for the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) raises more questions than answers.
Dr Hambleton said it is still unclear whether Medicare rebates will be available for this new clinical service that GPs are being asked to provide for their patients.

RACGP welcomes recognition of GPs’ vital role in PCEHR roll-out

28 March 2012

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) warmly welcomes the government’s announcement today that funding will be available to recognise GPs who act as nominated healthcare providers when the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) roll out from 1 July 2012.
RACGP President, Professor Claire Jackson, said she was very pleased with this outcome and thanked the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister of Health, for listening to the profession on this critical issue.

Govt finally offers e-health incentive for GPs

GPs participating in the PCEHR program will have access to the Medicare Benefit Schedule
The Federal Government has confirmed it will provide incentives for GPs to participate in its $467 million national e-health record system, scheduled to go live on 1 July, following a prolonged period of lobbying by industry.
Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, confirmed that amendments have been made to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) to enable access for GPs who participate in the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).
“I am pleased to confirm MBS consultation items will be available to GPs as part of providing continuity of care to a patient, and if they are creating or adding to a shared health summary on an eHealth record which involves taking a patient’s medical history as part of a consultation,” Plibersek said.

PCEHR upgrade needs e-health PIP payment: AGPN

29 March, 2012 Michael Woodhead
More flexible MBS arrangements for the PCEHR have been welcomed by the AGPN, but it says practices will also need an eHealth PIP incentive to help set up PCEHR infrastructure.
Health minister Tanya Plibersek told an e-health conference this week that MBS longer consultation items would be available to GPs “if they are creating or adding to a shared health summary on an eHealth record which involves taking a patient’s medical history as part of a consultation.”
“I want to confirm that the use of the longer consultation items will be seen as appropriate by the Medicare Australia Practitioner Review Process and the Professional Services Review in circumstances where there is clear evidence of patient complexity and there is documentation of a substantial patient history,” she told the conference.

GPs to receive support for e-health

By Michael Lee, on March 29th, 2012
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has announced that general practitioners (GP) will receive additional support from the government if they use e-health records as part of a consultation.
Addressing the Health E-Nation Conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, Plibersek outlined the three levels of support that GPs would receive if taking a patient's medical history was required.

MBS will fund GPs for e-health work: Plibersek

28 March, 2012 Paul Smith  
GPs will be able to claim Medicare attendance items to fund the work in creating and curating patients' e-health summaries, the Federal Government has revealed.
The shared health summaries will form a key part of the Personally Controlled E-health Records system being rolled out from July this year. They contain a list of patients' diagnoses, medications, adverse reactions and allergies, as well as immunisation history.
But there has been concern from doctors groups about the workload involved in GPs ensuring the information uploaded onto the shared summaries is accurate, up-to-date and fit for clinical use.

No ehealth Big Bang: Halton

Australia won’t see an ehealth big bang once the deadline for the introduction of the personally controlled electronic healthcare record passes on July 1. “Our strategy is about demonstrating capability,” said health department secretary Jane Halton, in an exclusive interview with
According to Ms Halton, the focus immediately post July 1 will be on the existing Wave 1 and 2 sites, which were paused earlier this year due to a software specification issue.

Nurses to train with robots at UTS

By Luke Hopewell, on March 30th, 2012
Nursing students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) are set to benefit from next-generation training sponsored by the Federal Government, which will see them looking after talking, breathing, moving robots.
The robots resemble mannequins, designed to have realistic features to accurately recreate the care process. The robots will display pain symptoms and speak to nurses about where they hurt and what it feels like. The robots will even have rising and falling chests to simulate breathing.
The new labs will also house audio-visual equipment that can record and replay situations for later study.

Scan problem delayed SA girl's treatment

Updated: 06:05, Tuesday March 27, 2012

The lack of digital records at a major Adelaide hospital delayed life-saving treatment for a 10-year-old girl who later died from a brain seizure, a coroner has ruled.
But South Australian Deputy Coroner Anthony Schapel said he could not determine if an earlier diagnosis of a blocked shunt in the girl's brain could have saved Amber Sweetman.
'It may be that her chances of survival ... would have been greater,' Mr Schapel said in his findings on Monday.
'But, in my view, there is no evidence upon which a positive finding can be made on the balance of probabilities that Amber would have survived.'

PIN and token needed to access system

DOCTORS will have to enter a PIN with their hardware token each time they log on to the personally controlled e-health record system.
The electronic signature processes for individual health providers and organisations were revealed in a paper released by the National E-Health Transition Authority last week.
The paper says federal, state and territory governments have differing electronic transaction laws and requirements for doctors' signatures on prescriptions. "During 2011, the Electronic Signatures initiative gained consensus on the personal e-signing of clinical documents like e-referrals, specialist letters, diagnostic requests and reports, and hospital discharge summaries.

E-health data system is 'vulnerable to attack' from fraudsters

THE Health Department has conceded the Gillard government's personally controlled e-health record system is vulnerable to attack at the users' end.
Health chief information officer Paul Madden said clinical data would be encrypted during transmission between medical providers or patients and the national infrastructure, "so that it cannot be interfered with or intercepted".
"But at the point of viewing, the security risks start to turn into the level of protection on the PC," he told a Cybersafety for Seniors inquiry last week in Sydney, where he also touched on the future of the National E-Health Transition Authority.
"The mitigations are about consumer or health-provider information and education about securing and eradicating the risks that exist at the PC level," he said.

PCEHR data will be safe: NEHTA

Written by Kate McDonald on 26 March 2012.
The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has moved to allay fears over the security of the PCEHR system and who has access to personal health information.
Addressing the joint select committee on cybersafety for senior Australians in Sydney on March 23, NEHTA's head of architecture David Bunker said that in the design and development of its eHealth systems, NEHTA is implementing risk controls to safeguard both services and those who will be using them.
Mr Bunker told the committee that NEHTA had developed a National eHealth Security and Access Framework (NeSAF) to support both public and private organisations in national eHealth.

eScript payments automatic from April 1

ePrescribing achieves a major milestone on 1 April with the launch of real time claiming through PBS Online, removing the need for payment claims to be lodged manually by pharmacies.
According to Jason Bratuskins, Pharmacist and Product Manager of eRx Script Exchange, “We congratulate Medicare on this significant step. ePrescribing is vital in supporting the work of pharmacy and health professionals, and in keeping pharmacy part of the connected health team of the future.”

E-medical records help streamline Sydney's new cancer centre

LOCAL oncology software developer Charmhealth will supply a $5 million e-medical record system for the $230m Lifehouse cancer treatment and research facility under construction in Sydney.
Cancer patients are typically treated by a diverse team of medical specialists, and the oncology-based e-medical record (EMR) system will support secure sharing of patient information across the facility.

Network identified as dearest in the world

LABOR'S $36 billion National Broadband Network has been branded the most expensive rollout of its kind in the world, according to new research by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The NBN was ranked the world's eighth-best plan (out of 13) by the study because of the limited private-sector involvement and its "outstanding example of extreme government intervention", new analysis showed. That places it behind Singapore, which ranked first; South Korea; Japan; Finland and Estonia.
"Countries topping the index are deemed to have the most ambitious speed, coverage and rollout targets, the most appropriate regulations for realising targets and fostering a competitive broadband market, and where public-funding commitments are putting the least amount of pressure on public-sector finances," the report says.

Opinion: Why Linux on the desktop is dead

Do yourself a favour and stick with Linux servers. The desktop OS market is a two-horse race, and Linux was not invited to the party
Linux is awesome. It's a powerful, capable, flexible operating system with tremendous potential. But, it's never going to be a factor on the desktop, so don't even waste your time considering it.
On the server side, Linux is kicking ass and taking names. An IDC report from 2010 claims that Linux made up more than 20 percent of the server market. I've seen some estimates claiming it could be significantly higher than that today. Recent reports claim that Amazon alone is using as many as half a million Linux servers in data centers around the world to power its cloud services--a strong indicator of just how established Linux is.
That's great, but on the desktop side of the fence Linux is a non-issue. Compared to Microsoft Windows, even Mac OS X has trivial desktop market share, but it's enough to put it on the radar, and Mac OS X has been growing strong in recent years. Linux, on the other hand, has never really been more than a rounding error. It is up slightly, but it generally makes up about one percent of the desktop OS market.

Meet the father of the email attachment

Patrick Kingsley
March 28, 2012 - 7:55AM
As his invention celebrates its 20th anniversary, Nathaniel Borenstein explains how and why he revolutionised modern communications.
Twenty years ago this month, 100 American web geeks opened their inbox to find a bizarre email.
Inside the message were two attachments. The first was a photograph of the Telephone Chords, an a capella quartet comprising four hirsute IT researchers (see above).
The second: the Chords' recording of an old barbershop favourite, Let Me Call You Sweetheart (click the play button above).