Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 2nd October, 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

A quite interesting week with many companies announcing progress with various initiatives - some NEHRS related and some not.
The NEHRS Program remains very low key with virtually no users and with September now over we are beginning to wonder when a real impact will be seen - September having been promised as the time GP / NEHRS integration would all be up and working.
The HealthSMART post mortem seems to have had its last episode and we can only hope other States learn from what had happened!

CIOs back e-health despite slow start

Two prominent healthcare CIOs have backed the federal government’s national e-health initiative despite early teething problems and slow uptake across Australia.
As of midnight 24 September, only 10,577 Australians had registered for a personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) scheme – up from around 5000 in mid-August – since its launch on July 1, according to the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).
Around 90 per cent had registered online, despite some reports that users are frustrated with the arduous process of enrolling to access a single record of their medical history, gathered from multiple systems.

eHealth record system – OAIC Enforcement Guidelines – August 2012

Submissions to this consultation closed on 18 September 2012.


The Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (PCEHR Act) establishes the personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system and provides for its regulatory framework.
The PCEHR Act provides that the Information Commissioner (the Commissioner) is the independent privacy regulator for the eHealth record system and gives the Commissioner the power to investigate alleged contraventions of the Act and pursue enforcement mechanisms that are appropriate in the circumstances of the case.

Visionstream wins $71 million contract with Royal Adelaide Hospital

Network to provide 150Tbps of switching capacity for state-of-the-art new hospital.
Visionstream will build network infrastructure for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital to be completed in 2016, under a $71 million deal announced today with design and construction partners Hansen Yuncken Leighton Contractors Joint Venture. Visionstream is a subsidiary of the Leighton Telecommunications Group.
Under the deal, Visionstream will provide all core, distribution, edge switching and wireless access points in the hospital. It will install an IP PABX unified communications system, including wired and wireless handsets, as well as a wireless real-time location system to track patients and equipment.

Focus and Future of eHealth in New South Wales

The government of New South Wales in Australia launched an ambitious US$1.5 billion (AUD$1.4 billion) eHealth agenda in June this year in a bid to improve the current health system across the state.
FutureGov met with Steven Boyages, Medical Director, eHealth NSW during the recent Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Singapore to discuss the progress of NSW’s future plans for eHealth.
“In Australia, at the national level, there’s a big project around electronic health records which is rolling out infrastructure, operating standards and architecture,” said Boyages. “The next level is managing what we are going to plug in to that grid to have a functional purpose.”
“The state governments are building many hospital based systems for electronic finance, patient administration, clinical reporting, and clinical documentation and information to assist in the day-to-day care,” Boyages explained.
“These two levels will start to integrate, and the hope is that the information that we collect at one point of care can then be shared at multiple points of care.”

New site helps patients find doctors

DOCTORS have rarely been the greatest of entrepreneurs. By their very nature, they tend to be risk-averse. "And that is understandable," GP Marcus Tan says, "because when doctors take risks, people can die."
Tan, however, is something of an exception. A committed angel investor, providing capital for start-ups, the Perth-based practitioner has started, a national directory listing doctors, specialists and allied professionals with whom patients can book appointments online. Predictably, medical professionals were initially cautious to enrol. But with patients embracing it quickly, and in rapidly growing numbers, more doctors are paying the monthly $90 fee to join.

Victoria starts airing its IT dirty laundry

news The Victorian State Government has over the past month started holding hearings which touch in depth on the wide-ranging IT project delivery issues which have resulted in the state’s departments and agencies broadly failing to deliver ten major IT projects over the past half-decade.
Australia’s state governments are currently facing a systemic failure to deliver major IT projects, with initiatives in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia all failing over the past several years. In the case of Queensland, the state’s catastrophic payroll systems overhaul at Queensland Health was notorious enough that it attracted a great deal of public interest and contributed to the downfall of the incumbent Labor Government at this year’s state election.

Scattered authority doomed HealthSMART

Public sector probity rules under fire.

The Victorian Government's $360 million whole-of-health IT modernisation was scuttled by a complex three-way delivery arrangement that devolved project responsibility, according to a pair of former iSOFT executives.
Appearing before the Victorian Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee back in August, James Rice and Gary White — both now with CSC, after its buyout of iSOFT last year —revealed their thoughts on Victoria's HealthSMART initiative.
The official transcript of their appearance before the committee was released last week. (pdf)

Aust develops world-first e-health supply catalogue

Under a “world-first” initiative, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) is helping develop a National Product Catalogue (NPC) that fully integrates suppliers’ medical and product information electronically.
In future, suppliers tendering for public health sector contracts will need to publish their product data in the NPC.
At present, WA Health in Western Australia and NSW Health in New South Wales are using NEHTA’s eProcurement service – while drawing on NPC data to ensure the right products are ordered and delivered.

Australia’s Medibank Health Solutions Selects HP to Accelerate Delivery of New Services

HP Converged Infrastructure boosts efficiency and uptime for healthcare provider
SYDNEY, Australia, Sept. 26, 2012 — HP today announced that Medibank Health Solutions (MHS) has selected HP Converged Infrastructure to deliver efficient, cost-effective healthcare services to a growing number of customers.
MHS provides telephone- and web-based healthcare services as well as walk-in wellness clinics for organisations across Australia. After being acquired by Medibank Private, Australia’s largest private insurance company, MHS experienced rapid growth, resulting in a five-fold increase in staff and greater demand for its services. However, MHS’ existing IT infrastructure was unable to meet performance and availability requirements associated with this upswing in demand.

InterSystems Awarded 2012 Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific Healthcare IT Company of the Year Award

Sep 27, 2012
Frost & Sullivan recognizes InterSystems for delivering innovation and "extraordinary client value" to leading Asia-Pacific healthcare organizations
InterSystems Corporation, a global leader in software for connected care, today announced it has been awarded the prestigious 2012 Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific Healthcare IT Company of the Year award for the "extraordinary client value it has delivered in the Asia-Pacific healthcare IT space."
In selecting InterSystems for the award, global research firm Frost & Sullivan employed both qualitative and quantitative benchmarking criteria in the following three areas: Excellence in Growth Strategy & Differentiation, Degree of Innovation in Business Process, and Leadership in Customer Value and Market Penetration.


27 September 2012

Zedmed achieves PCEHR compliance

Zedmed Medical Software continues to be at the forefront of eHealth developments, being the first to achieve access to the Personally Controlled eHealth Records (PCEHR) directly through their medical software.
For general practitioners using Zedmed, this means accessing the PCEHR to view and upload clinical documents will be simple, with no additional software required. “We are proud of our recent developments and are excited to provide users with the confidence they need to become eHealth compliant” General Manager of Zedmed, Grant Williamson said.

IHE seminar addresses PCEHR challenges

IHE Australia is holding a seminar for healthcare providers and IT vendors to address the practical challenge of exchanging health information in the new PCEHR environment.
According to IHE Australia’s event manager, Bernie Crowe, the one day event on October the 10th has two main goals. One is helping clinical leaders understand the array of technical aspects to sharing health information electronically, and bringing them together with IT vendors who provide the software and solutions to achieve this end.

Websites rating doctors just 'patient clamour'

Date September 26, 2012

Amy Corderoy, Rachel Browne

WEBSITES that rate doctors and other health professionals are unconstructive and often ''patients shouting among themselves'', according to a patient feedback expert.
The health insurer NIB yesterday faced a barrage of criticism from doctors and other medical practitioners over its planned ''whitecoat'' website, which will enable people to rate and compare healthcare providers.

New storage systems repair Ramsay's care

  • by: Jennifer Foreshew
  • From: The Australian
  • September 25, 2012 12:00AM
RAMSAY Health Care's expansion in recent years meant its infrastructure was operating at full capacity, which impacted the performance of its core applications and the efficiency of its hospitals.
The group's 69 healthcare facilities across Australia used both an SAP enterprise resource planning application to manage financials and clinical product ordering, as well as the MEDITECH patient management system.
Hospitals and day surgeries required the systems to be online around-the-clock to allow product managers to order vital medical supplies and administration staff to record and update patient information and to process transactions.

NBN won't close broadband gap, say advocates for rural communities

Rural areas likely to remain disadvantaged, officials tell ACCAN conference.
Even with the National Broadband Network (NBN), more work remains to bridge the digital divide between regional and metropolitan areas in Australia, said advocates for rural communities at the the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) conference in Sydney.
The NBN will help address the rural/urban digital divide but it won’t close the broadband gap, the advocates said.
“The rollout of the NBN and the increasing importance of the digital economy present both opportunities and challenges for regional and remote Australia,” said the independent Regional Telecommunications Review Committee (RTRC) chair, Rosemary Sinclair. “There continues to be a risk that people in regional Australia are left further behind unless we really stay on the case.”

Research and Markets: Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health - Initiatives, Pilots and Projects

Published: September 25, 2012 
DUBLIN — Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Australia - Digital Economy - E-Health - Initiatives, Pilots and Projects" report to their offering.
E-health where key killer applications utilise truly high-speed broadband networks are starting to emerge. The Australian Government is a leader in strategic trans-sector thinking, is linking e-health developments to the National Broadband Network.

Senate should pass privacy bill: committee

19:23 AEST Tue Sep 25 2012
The Senate should pass new privacy laws that strengthen the enforcement powers of the Privacy Commissioner, a parliamentary committee says.
The bill passed the lower house of federal parliament where it had been introduced by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon as the most significant reform since the Privacy Act was first introduced in 1988.
The new measures include tighter regulation of the use of personal information for direct marketing, a modernised credit reporting system, tighter rules in sending personal information outside of Australia, and imposing a higher standard of protection for sensitive information such as health-related information, DNA and biometric data.

Coalition seeks 'softer' privacy law

  • by: Andrew Colley
  • From: Australian IT
  • September 26, 2012 12:00AM
COALITION senators will seek to limit company exposure to fines up to $1.1 million for privacy breaches contained in new laws currently before by parliament.
A spokesman for shadow attorney-general George Brandis said that Liberal senators would recommend softening parts of the bill around company liability for privacy breaches following a strong backlash from the industry, particularly the internet sector.
If passed in their current form, the new laws would give the Federal Privacy Commissioner the ability to seek court ordered fines against companies and large organisations of up to $1.1m in cases of severe or repeated privacy breaches.

IBM's Watson being put to the test in healthcare

Summary: One of the leaders from the IBM Watson team discusses how the supercomputer could transform the way doctors make decisions.
By Rachel King for Between the Lines | September 24, 2012 -- 21:05 GMT (07:05 AEST)
SAN FRANCISCO -- IBM's Watson supercomputer might be best known by most people for winning Jeopardy, but the science behind the system is getting so much stronger that we could see the technology being implemented in various industries worldwide soon.
Rob High, vice President and chief technology officer for Watson Solutions within the IBM Software Group, cited healthcare as a prime example while speaking at the DataWeek 2012 Conference on Monday afternoon.

Electronic implants dissolve in body

Date September 28, 2012

Nicky Phillips

Science Reporter

Electronic devices that disappear without a trace; they sound like science fiction.
But engineers have developed a range of ultra-thin electronic components, including transistors, wireless power coils, sensors, diodes and a digital camera, that can dissolve in water or bodily fluids within minutes.
The "transient electronics" could be used as medical implants that can be reabsorbed harmlessly by the body, as sensors to measure temperature changes in the environment and in consumer devices to reduce the amount of electronic waste in landfill.

When the internet wakes up will it kill us?

Dan Falk
In the world of sci-fi movie geekdom, August 29, 1997, was a turning point for humanity: on that day, according to the Terminator films, the network of US defence computers known as Skynet became self-aware – and soon launched an all-out genocidal war against Homo sapiens.
Fortunately, that date came and went with no such robo-apocalypse. But the 1990s did bring us the world wide web, which is now far larger and more “connected” than any nation’s defence network. Could the internet “wake up”? And if so, what sorts of thoughts would it think? And would it be friend or foe?
US neuroscientist Christof Koch believes we may soon find out – indeed, the complexity of the web may have already surpassed that of the human brain. In his book Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, published earlier this year, he makes a rough calculation: take the number of computers on the planet – several billion – and multiply by the number of transistors in each machine – hundreds of millions – and you get about a billion billion, written more elegantly as 10 to the 18th. That’s a thousand times larger than the number of synapses in the human brain (about 10 to the 15th).