Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 16th 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

The ‘Heckler’ in the SMH has noticed e-Health with a very funny article of the impact on how care is delivered. Very much worth a read.
Otherwise we have a few bits and pieces and we are amazed to discover that the term ‘meaningful use’ has somehow made its way across the Pacific and into the mind of the DoHA bureaucrats.
What is different is that what is proposed is a pale replica of the US program in scope, design and size.
I suspect there will be more to say on all this as time passes!
Otherwise all I can say is I will miss my mouse - it seems to work for me and the screen does not get finger marks! (See last article)

Welcome to the age of 'you sick, we click'

Date October 5, 2012


IF YOU were in hospital in the good old days - and by that I mean a time when the world was a simpler place - and you saw a doctor or nurse heading your way, they would be most likely armed with one of three things: a stethoscope, a thermometer or a bedpan.
In this modern age, the accessory of choice is likely to be a computer. And while this clever gadget may streamline hospital administration, a fat lot of good it does if you're waiting for treatment in a hospital emergency ward - which is where I recently found myself after fighting a losing battle with modern packaging.
Late on a Friday night, I had foolishly used a pair of rusting scissors to punch a hole in the cap on a tube of toothpaste, piercing instead the index finger on my left hand.

Labor says State Govt committed to Mullumbimby e-health trial

Posted Mon Oct 8, 2012 5:08pm AEDT
The State Opposition says a controversial tele-health trial involving hospitals on the far north coast now looks certain to go ahead.
Under the proposal, emergency patients arriving at Mullumbimby after 11 pm would be assessed using a video link by doctors at Tweed Heads.
The local health network has so far insisted the trial won't go ahead unless staff concerns can be addressed.

CRN Verticals: Health check

By David Binning on Oct 8, 2012 4:35 PM

Digital medicine revolution marches into health.

The failure thus far of the Australian healthcare sector to reap the enormous potential for IT to improve the delivery and quality of medical services in Australia represents a massive opportunity for the Australian channel.
Whether it’s the personally controlled electronic healthcare records (PCEHR) system or the generous federal government subsidies to encourage the uptake of telehealth, it seems no matter how clever or potentially game-changing an initiative is, convincing decision makers within the medical profession has always been a challenge, and is expected to remain so for some time.
Typically in healthcare, disjointed data is collected across highly fragmented systems that are still often predominantly paper-based. For those that have evolved into electronic forms, most have poor interoperability with other electronic systems used by various payers, providers, or government agencies. 

$16.4m ‘virtual’ mental health clinic to be launched

11th Oct 2012
THE federal government will launch later this year a $16.4 million ‘virtual’ clinic which it hopes will increase patient access to phone and online support services for mental health.
Making the announcement during Mental Health Week, Mental Health Minister Mark Butler said with many Australians seeking advice and information on the internet, the new portal would help assure they received “the right help online”.
“We need to eradicate the stigma mental illness can carry, but we also need to recognise that many people still prefer the convenience and anonymity the web can offer when it comes to seeking help,” Mr Butler said.

Bright future for e-mental health: Kate Carnell

You’d expect Kate Carnell to rank her former role as ACT chief minister as the most significant milestone in her career.
Instead, she points to twenty years of work as an owner-operator at a community pharmacy as the defining period of her life which shaped her attitudes towards healthcare.
“I saw just how prevalent mental health issues were and how difficult they could be to deal with. On a daily basis people would come in troubled about seeking help or knowing how to comply with medications they had been prescribed,” she said.
This grassroots experience led to a series of leadership roles in community service, the Australian Pharmacy Guild and a decade long stint in politics.

New Website Boosts Patient Access to Australian Clinical Trials

Joint Release

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP
Minister for Health

The Hon Greg Combet AM MP
Minister for Innovation and Industry
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

11 October 2012
Patients suffering chronic diseases will benefit from the launch of a new website that offers easier access to clinical trials of new drugs, treatments and medical procedures.
The Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek, today said that the Australian Clinical Trials website was created in response to the needs of consumer groups, the pharmaceutical industry and research institutions.
“Clinical trials give tens of thousands of patients access to new and innovative treatments and play a vital part in the fight against disease,” Ms Plibersek said.

Medicare Locals eHealth Change and Adoption Program

3 October 2012

What needs to be achieved

The Medicare Locals eHealth Change and Adoption program is designed to support primary care providers in achieving four successive levels of eHealth change and adoption. Each tier is a foundation for the next and the achievement of meaningful use of the PCeHR (Tier 4) is necessary for delivering the health and economic benefits of eHealth.

AMA response to the consultation draft National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework

National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework – Consultation Draft

The AMA has made comments on the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework Consultation Draft released by the Commonwealth Government (and prepared with State and Territory governments under the National Reform Agreement).
The AMA supports measures to improve primary health care in Australia and maintain a GP-led primary health care model. The AMA has expressed concern that the draft Framework makes no new funding available in primary health care while expecting the primary health care system to take further pressure off the public hospital system.

GPs need greater support in national framework

11 October, 2012 Megan Reynolds  
The AMA is calling for new funding to support GP consultations, e-health initiatives and chronic disease management in a submission on the National Primary Health Care Strategic Framework.
Vice president Professor Geoffery Dobb said the organisation is “astounded” the framework that will shift a greater patient care burden into primary care is “based on there being no new funding to support primary care over the next three years”.

Health videolink slow to warm up

MEDICARE has paid out just a 10th of the projected rebates for telehealth consultation, thanks to a slow uptake by doctors.
The annual report of the Department of Health and Ageing, published this week, shows just $3.6 million was paid in Medicare rebates for online consultations in 2011-12, far below the $30.5m allocated.
The measure was part of a $352m initiative over four years unveiled in 2010, which then health minister Nicola Roxon said would "cut down the tyranny of distance and bring specialist services to the patient's doorstep through the use of online videolink technology".
Media releases are provided as is and have not been edited or checked for accuracy. Any queries should be directed to the company issuing the release.

Online booking boosts health system capacity: HealthEngine

New figures showing that close to 40 per cent of Australians attending emergency rooms could have been treated by a GP have spurred calls for governments to back online appointment booking systems.
Figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show 38 per cent of people attending emergency departments — about 2.1 million a year — could have been dealt with by a GP.
Search and booking site says publishing available GP appointments online could reduce demand for emergency rooms even in areas with recognised GP shortages.

Putting medical apps through their paces

THE SunSmart app allows users to monitor their exposure to the sun.
APP NAME: SunSmart
PUBLISHER: Cancer Council Victoria
COST: Free
PLATFORM: iPhone and Android
Allows people anywhere in Australia to see during which hours of the day they need sun protection, how long they can safely remain outside without burning, and when it is safe to venture out to ensure they get enough vitamin D.

Web snooping plan suppressed by government

Date October 10, 2012 - 2:55PM

Philip Dorling

Law enforcement wants telcos to store vast amounts of data they currently don't keep on us.
National security bureaucrats are keeping secret the details of a plan to store the internet history of all Australians for at least two years.
The Prime Minister's department has rejected a Freedom of Information application by Fairfax Media for release of its file on the proposed “third tranche” of national security laws on the grounds that declassification would “substantially and unreasonably divert the Department's resources from its other operations”.

Illegal online medicines crackdown: 37,000 pills seized

8th Oct 2012
More than 37,000 pills, including diet supplements, erectile dysfunction medication and steroids, have been seized in Melbourne and Brisbane in a crackdown on fake and illegal medicines.
The haul, valued at more than $147,000, was intercepted as a result of a week-long international effort across more than 80 countries that included Australia's Customs and Border Protection and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Most of the substances were slimming and diet supplements and erectile dysfunction medication, Customs said in a statement on Friday.
Progress toward Australia’s first bionic eye is well underway, with news last month that Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) researchers have successfully performed the first implantation of an early prototype bionic eye with 24 electrodes. Ms Dianne Ashworth has profound vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited condition.

The Interview – Djakic’s decree: GPs unite

9th Oct 2012
WHEN Dr Emil Djakic fronted the AMA’s 2011 annual conference, it was always going to be interesting.
It was May, a month from the day the first 19 general practice divisions were to morph into Medicare Locals, taking nurses, pharmacists and all manner of other allied primary health people into their previously GP-focused structures.
The AMA had recently opposed the government-decreed change, and made no attempt to hide this at the conference. The opposition health spokesman, Peter  Dutton, showed up and showed solidarity.

Technology for the body on the road to cyborgs?

Date October 8, 2012

Sarah Bakewell

Speakers at a symposium on body-enhancement technology raised the idea that we may converge with our technology to the point that a superhuman entity emerges.
On September 2, 2010, Karen Throsby became the 1153rd person to swim the English Channel, taking 16 hours and nine minutes, and keeping herself going on handfuls of jelly babies.
Many Channel swimmers are purists: wetsuits are banned, never mind performance-enhancing drugs. The sport sees itself as an assertion of human ability in natural form. But Throsby, a sociologist researching the effects of extreme sports, takes a different view.
She was a speaker at Human Limits, a Wellcome Collection symposium linked to its Superhuman exhibition in London on physical and mental enhancement. The question it investigated was how much technology can humans use before they become something else — a cyborg, perhaps, or a superhuman, a post-human, or a trans-human. What are our limits?

Mouse faces extinction as computer interaction evolves

Date October 8, 2012 - 12:33PM
Swipe, swipe, pinch-zoom. Fifth-grader Josephine Nguyen is researching the definition of an adverb on her iPad and her fingers are flying across the screen.
For my one-year-old daughter, a magazine is an iPad that does not work. It will remain so for her whole life. 
Her 20 classmates are hunched over their own tablets doing the same. Conspicuously absent from this modern scene of high-tech learning: a mouse.