Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 22nd 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 most amusing news this week came from the Senate Estimates hearing last week where your humble blogger was described by the Secretary of the Department of Health as ‘infamous David More’ and by a Senator as a ‘serial blogger’ - whatever that means!

What I see as good about all this - and we can do without the name calling - it that clearly the blog and the comments made are being read by the ‘powers that be’ - so if you have a serious point to make it is possible to make it pretty directly. For serious points probably using your real name might be a good idea!

Reports of the details from Senate Estimates will hopefully be provided later this week.

The other big news is that this is the week when Window 8 is to drop on us all. See last item. It seems the new has more than a few a little nervous. I for one think I might wait for version 8.1 before updating!


Patient sign-up to PCEHR steady

19 October, 2012 Kate newton
Uptake of Australia’s new e-health system is gradually increasing, with more than 12,500 people signed up for a personally controlled electronic health record by mid-October.
However, the number is still a long way short of the 500,000 target the Federal Government has set for 1 July 2013.
There are also 68 individual health practitioners and 86 health organisations — including hospitals and practices — signed up to access the e-health system, which was launched this year on 1 July.

E-health ramp-up awaits GP software

Summary: The Australian government is banking on the roll-out of software for GPs to boost uptake of e-health records from 13,000 today to 500,000 at the end of June 2013.
By Josh Taylor | October 19, 2012 -- 03:37 GMT (14:37 AEST)
The Department of Health and Ageing has said it is pleased that 13,000 Australian residents have signed up for e-health records since July 1, and has downplayed the original forecast that 500,000 will be signed up by the end of June 2013.
Since the federal government's AU$466.7 million personally controlled e-health record (PCEHR) system launched on July 1, take-up has been slow. But the government has stated that a slow take-up was the aim.
In the 109 days since the launch (to October 17), there has been a total of 13,340 sign-ups for the records either online, on the phone, or in writing — an average of 122 people per day. On this average, just over 44,500 people will have signed up for the service by the end of June next year. A total of 791,764 documents have been uploaded to those records.

PCEHR targets depend on new medical software

Half a million users registered by June still feasible, Health officials claim.

The most important factor in getting more consumers to use the Government’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) will be medical provider-friendly software that will be released by the end of October, a Senate Estimates Committee has been told.
Heath & Ageing secretary Jane Halton told the Committee yesterday that she was "delighted" with the early numbers of consumers registering for the $628.3 million initiative since it launched on July 1.

US cyber crime sparks concern for PCEHR

17th Oct 2012
WARNINGS from a leading internet fraud investigator that e-health crime is the fastest growing crime in the US and is spreading have sparked renewed criticism of the security of the government’s personally controlled e-health record system (PCEHR).
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay from Queensland’s Fraud and Corporate Crime Group has told MO that doctors in Australia are unprepared for cyber attacks on their business computer files.
His comments follow a series of attacks on Australian medical centre business file servers in recent weeks in which hackers blocked access to patients’ data and demanded $1000 ransoms.
“Over 21 million medical files have allegedly been stolen since 2009 in America. It’s been reported that a medical file can sell for $50. It’s already a US$10.5 billion dollar industry.

Mandatory privacy breach paper should become law: Pilgrim

Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim supports federal government's discussion paper, says data breach incidents that may go unreported are concerning.
The federal Attorney General’s discussion paper, Australian Privacy Breach Notification should be considered by all Australian organisations and passed into law, according to Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim.
The paper covers a number of discussion questions including the possible introduction of mandatory data breach notification laws, the kind of breaches that should trigger notification requirements and how a data breach notification requirement should be enforced.
“Privacy breach notification is an important issue that needs community debate, and I’m sure there will be a wide range of views expressed on whether this notification should be mandatory.” Pilgrim said in a statement.

Consumers irked by pharmacist access to medical records

15 October, 2012 Nick O'Donoghue
Most health consumers do not feel comfortable with the idea of pharmacists or practice nurses having access to their medical records, a study reveals.
Australian research into pharmacists’, GPs’ and consumers’ views on integrating pharmacists into general practice found there was overall support for the move.
However, the majority of patients (63 per cent) did not want pharmacists to have access to their medical files, despite 73 per cent of consumers saying that pharmacists should have a role within general practice.

National E-health Transition Authority (NEHTA) and the Personally Controlled Health Record (PCEHR)

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA), in association with Cor Mentes Health Consulting, has recently delivered a series of 23 interactive information sessions in hospitals around Australia to help Doctors in Training understand the Personally Controlled Health Record (PCEHR), the National eHealth Records System (NEHRS) that supports this, and how Doctors in Training – so often on the patient front line in hospitals – will be able to interact with them.

AARNet helps students and staff cut the cable in Qld hospitals

AARNet providing wireless access to online resources from multiple healthcare facilities across the state
Australia’s Academic Research Network (AARNet) has expanded its “eduroam” high speed wireless network in several hospitals across Queensland.
The wireless service enables staff and students at the University of Queensland to gain access to the institution’s online resources from multiple healthcare facilities across the state.
It is the result of a five-year initiative between AARNet, Queensland Health and Queensland universities, under the Queensland Regional Network Organisation.

NeHTA Conformance

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 12:15pm
We are pleased to announce that we have passed all four of the National eHealth Transitional Authority (NeHTA)’s CDA (Clinical Document Architecture) conformance tests.
The CDA is a standard developed by HL7 that defines the format and semantics of clinical documents (eg, progress notes and discharge summaries) that are to be exchanged between health services. Now that we are compliant, this means that Communicare can send, receive and unpack any CDA message and display these within Communicare.

Raising standards to save lives: Klaus Veil

It can be difficult to imagine a clear connection between someone clinging to life in an emergency room and the interoperability standards governing the use of healthcare technology.
Yet for Associate Professor Klaus Veil, one of the nation’s leading experts on interoperability standards and long time ehealth educator, the link is too important to overlook.

Redefining medicine with apps and iPads

Date October 14, 2012

Katie Hafner

Dr Alvin Rajkomar was doing rounds with his team at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center when he came upon a puzzling case: a frail, elderly patient with a dangerously low sodium level.
As a third-year resident in internal medicine, Rajkomar was the senior member of the team, and the others looked to him for guidance. An infusion of saline was the answer, but the tricky part lay in the details. Concentration? Volume? Improper treatment could lead to brain swelling, seizures or even death.
Rajkomar had been on-call for 24 hours and was exhausted, but the clinical uncertainty was "like a shot of adrenaline", he said. He reached into a deep pocket of his white coat and produced not a well-thumbed handbook but his iPhone.

Using Your iPhone To Detect Ear Infections Also Keeps The Doctor Away

Andrew Liszewski 13 October, 2012 1:30 AM
Forget that daily apple. Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have developed the Remotoscope, an accessory that turns the iPhone into an ear-inspecting otoscope so doctors can diagnose and treat kids remotely in the event of an ear infection.

Bench test : putting medical apps through their paces

NAME: iQuit ItPUBLISHER: FlexibleCodeCOST: Free (previously $1.99)PLATFORM: iPhone
PURPOSE: It claims to assist in weaning people off various addictions by recording the date when quit attempts will begin and allowing users to register when they have been tempted or relapsed.
Media Release
Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

Construction begins on $12.5 million rural medical training facility in Armidale

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today officially started construction on a new medical training facility at the University of New England.
The Tablelands Clinical School, which is part of UNE’s School of Rural Medicine, will provide medical training, deliver rural health care, and promote medical research for regional and rural Australia.
“The Gillard Government is proud to be contributing $10.5 million dollars to build this wonderful new facility, which will be at the forefront of training medical professionals here in regional Australia,” Senator Conroy said.

Tasmanian health agency gives external contractors the flick

Tasmania’s Department of Health and Human Services uses technology to upgrade its core services in-house and plans to create shared services for use by all agencies across the state
Tasmania’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by using technology to upgrade its enterprise software in-house rather than spend vital funds engaging costly external IT consultants.
In the 2011/2012 financial year DHHS – Tasmania’s largest government agency which delivers services through 300 health-related facilities –needed to achieve $100 million in savings within a $1.8 billion budget.
It also needed to decentralise its operations by establishing three regional statutory authorities called Tasmanian Health Organisations as part of the National Health Reform agreement.

Only 6400 NBN fibre connections so far

Just over 25,000 premises now connected to NBN
NBN Co has hooked up just shy of 6400 fibre broadband connections to the National Broadband Network. Of the 25,495 NBN-connected premises, “just under 6400 are fibre, just under 600 are fixed wireless and just over 17,000 are for satellite,” Jim Hassell, head of product development and sales at NBN Co, told a Senate Estimates committee yesterday.
Of those 17,000 satellite connections, around 8000 were new customers and 9000 were customers who were previously on the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) for more than three years, the committee heard.
The ABG ended in June last year and was designed to help residential and small business premises access broadband services regardless of where they were located.

Early look at Windows 8 baffles consumers

  • By Peter Svensson
  • AAP
  • October 20, 2012 5:08PM
THE release of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is a week away, and consumers are in for a shock.
Windows, used in one form or another for a generation, is getting a completely different look that will force users to learn new ways to do things.
Microsoft is making a radical break with the past to stay relevant in a world where smartphones and tablets have eroded the three-decade dominance of the personal computer.
Windows 8 is supposed to tie together Microsoft's PC, tablet and phone software with one look. But judging by the reactions of some people who have tried the PC version, it's a move that risks confusing and alienating customers.