Sunday, November 11, 2012

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 12th November, 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

Another quiet week with seemingly a lot actually happening under the surface. It seems recruitment of users to the NEHRS has really dropped to a trickle while we have vendors beavering away to make sure they can qualify for their customers receiving ePIP payments.
Interestingly my weekly browse of the NEHRS was complicated by two things.
1. It seems my name has changed again. Initially I was DAVID MORE. Then I became DAVID G MORE and at my check today I am DAVID G MORE (DR). I wonder what happens next?
2. The response time at 9:20am on Sunday was dreadful with the whirly wait icon spinning for up to 40 seconds before a screen painted. The system was basically unusable.
I did check here for availability and it was claimed all was well!
It was also good to see the silly national Internet filter finally canned. It was never going to work as intended and it is much better in my view to make parents responsible for child use of the Internet - despite what the loony Australian Christian Lobby say.

Providers begin to connect with PCEHR

Providers are beginning to connect to the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) as they make use of the national Provider Portal and vendors release software for uploading clinical documents to the system.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) told 87 individual providers have now established authorisation links with one or more of the 143 healthcare organisations registered in the PCEHR system.
She added usability testing for the Provider Portal is continuing as they “seek to refine and improve the interface”, making use of input and feedback from clinicians.

Health summary no click of a button

7 November, 2012 Paul Smith
GPs who have created more than 600 personally controlled electronic health records destined for the e-health system say the work is adding between five and 15 minutes to an average patient consultation.
The findings, which have not been officially released, were collected from 60 practices involved in the e-Health Collaborative, one of the pilot sites set up to test the system.
An unnamed source told Australian Doctor many GPs in the e-Health Collaborative believed specific funding for creating the summaries should be considered — either as a dedicated MBS item number or as a Service Incentives Payment.

Apology over e-health advice

2 November, 2012 Sarah Colyer
A senior bureaucrat has formally apologised to a practice manager after she phoned the government’s e-health telephone helpline for advice and was told to read the 40-page Healthcare Identifiers Act.
Helen Portus, practice manager at Moss Vale Medical Centre, had called the line hoping for a clear explanation of confusing terminology involved in registering the practice for a healthcare identifier.
Ms Portus told Australian Doctor: “The process was seriously flawed”.

Qld Health payroll system may be scrapped

Published 2:01 PM, 10 Nov 2012
Queensland's government may scrap the disastrous health payroll system over its failure to properly pay staff and allegations of collusion to ensure IBM won the contract for it.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says the enormity of the situation has forced him to question whether to keep the current system or start afresh.
"Queensland Health has been forever tarnished by a payroll system and a dodgy contract that they were not even a signatory to," he told AAP.
"Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a failed and flawed system that has created misery, destroyed lives, overpaid, underpaid and not paid people at all."

Putting medical app through its paces

APP NAME: Bublove
PUBLISHER: Epworth Hospital
COST: Free
PLATFORM: iPhone only (not Android)
PURPOSE: The app was developed by an Australian hospital and presents information and tools for expecting mothers to manage their pregnancy journey

NEHTA report reveals funding, expense increases

The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) has confirmed it will continue to play a significant role in the future of Australian healthcare until at least 2014.
The organisation has released its 2011-12 Annual Report which reveals a significant year-on-year increase in funding from federal, state and territory governments. Expenses have also climbed during the period, reflecting a busy season that included the public introduction of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR).
Headline figures include $237 million in total revenue (compared with $122 million in 2010-11), a 35 percent increase in staff costs (totalling $43.3 million) and contractor expenses which more than doubled to $19.9 million. Consultants also cost NEHTA $58.7 million compared to $33.1 million in the previous financial year.

Project STOP could be used for codeine: Guild

7 November, 2012 Nick O'Donoghue
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia would support proposals to extend Project STOP to track codeine sales, but says such a move would require legislative changes at state and territory level.
The Guild’s backing for the expansion of Project STOP to provide real-time monitoring of sales of codeine containing products followed comments by Tasmania pharmacist, Michael Meaney, who told Pharmacy News that he, and other pharmacy owners in the state, were using the system to prevent people from pharmacy shopping for the drugs.
A Guild spokesperson told Pharmacy News it had previously sought approval for Project STOP to be used to track codeine sales, but there were legislative issues. 
9 November 2012, 11.05am AEST

For your own good? Privacy law and enthusiastic pharmacists

Bruce Arnold
Lecturer in Law at University of Canberra
Earlier this week the ABC reported that a handful of pharmacists in Tasmania had engaged in community policing. They’re tracking the purchase of codeine-based painkillers, sharing information with their peers and refusing sales on the basis of that information.
Clearly, the road to privacy hell is paved with good intentions; these pharmacists are attempting to build a freeway that bypasses statutory protection. Their non-government initiative is supposedly justified by the need to protect people from codeine abuse.
The action is a private version of Project STOP, a government program that aims to restrict access to pseudoephedrine, which is a precursor of methamphetamine, aka speed or ice. Project STOP provides a real-time database for recording all requests for products containing pseudoephedrine.

Lifehouse to spend $4 million on core network

Clinicians, patients and their carers will bring their own devices and connect to a secure wireless network across the hospital
The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA will spend $4 million on a Cisco network to initially support around 300 hospital staff and their patients at the new cancer treatment and research facility, set to open in September 2013.
The $230 million centre – named after the late head and neck surgeon Chris O’Brien – has engaged system integrator Dimension Data to deploy and support new wireless infrastructure, expected to go live in February.
Lifehouse has begun designing the network to support mobile clinicians, patients and their carers who want to bring their own devices – such as Apple iPads and iPhones, Android or other mobile gadgets – to the treatment centre.

Fatal risk at heart of lax security

Date November 6, 2012

Ben Grubb

Deputy technology editor

A hacker with a laptop watches a crowd of people from a distance, presses a button and 10 people grip their chests and drop dead. The hacker then walks away, leaving no evidence of the mass murder he has just committed.
It sounds like a scene from a James Bond movie, but it's entirely possible.
Until these companies accept that there's a legitimate problem here, then zero progress will be made. 
Security flaws in pacemakers and defibrillators implanted in those with heart problems and designed to save lives could actually be putting users at risk, say IT security experts and a recent US government report.

McKesson to Buy New Zealand Patient Flow Management Vendor

McKesson Corp. will purchase New Zealand-based Emendo Ltd, which sells software enabling hospitals to forecast patient demand and improve patient flow, for an undisclosed sum.
November 08, 2012 09:45 ET

Orion Health and eHealth Saskatchewan Receive the Honour of Project Implementation Team of the Year at 2012 Canadian Health Informatics Awards

Awards celebrate and recognize contributions and commitment to Canadian Health Informatics Industry
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2012) - Orion Health, a leader in electronic healthcare records (EHR), and eHealth Saskatchewan have received Project Implementation Team of the Year at the Canadian Health Informatics Awards. The annual black tie gala honours individuals, companies, projects and teams for their exemplary role in using communications and information technology to improve the health of all Canadians. The 8th annual event took place Wednesday, November 7 at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto, and was co-hosted by ITAC Health and Canada's Health Informatics Association (COACH).

FARGP online course inadequate: ACRRM

7th Nov 2012
THE Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has criticised the RACGP’s revamped Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) course, arguing its duration and online platform are inadequate.
The RACGP recently laun­ched the updated FARGP program and said the revised model included 12 months of advanced rural skills training and a six-month community-based project available to GPs and GP registrars as an inter­active online program.
However registrars will be able to seek exemption for components already undertaken, allowing the course to be completed in less time.

MLs to run collaboratives program

8th Nov 2012
THE Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program (APCCP), involving 1100 general practices, will be transferred to the control of Medicare Locals, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced today.
Speaking at the Australian Medicare Local Alliance’s National Primary Health Care Conference in Adelaide today, Ms Plibersek also said the Commonwealth would contribute $5 million to a new ML preventive health program.
Addressing almost 1000 delegates, Ms Plibersek said changing responsibility for the APCCP from Canberra to MLs “recognises the network’s role in improving the effectiveness, safety and quality of the primary health care system”.

GPs outdo patients and hotline for appropriate ED referrals

5th Nov 2012
GPs have the highest success rate in appropriately referring people to hospital emergency departments (EDs) while a Commonwealth-funded after hours telephone line fares slightly worse than people referring themselves, a new study claims.
The observational study - carried out by WA researchers and funded by the WA department of health - which analysed data from ED admissions in Royal Perth Hospital from August 2008 to April 2009, found that 89.7% of GP referrals were deemed “appropriate”.
By comparison, 73.8% of self-referrals to EDs were deemed appropriate and just 72.9% of referrals from the federal government funded healthdirect telephone line were deemed appropriate, the study, published in this week’s Medical Journal of Australia, said.

Consumer privacy laws face delays

NEW laws that could result in companies being fined up to $1.1 million for privacy breaches could face further delays to accommodate recommendations in parliamentary reports.
The bill would need to go for final debate in the Senate in the coming week to have a chance of passing this year but a spokeswoman for the Attorney-General said the government was "actively considering" changing it to give consumers better protection.
"In particular, a number of recommendations would give additional power and rights to consumers. For example, allowing corrections to be made to an individual's credit report if their financial difficulty occurred as a result of natural disasters, fraud or mail theft," the spokeswoman said.

Government gives up plan for Internet filter

Kevin Rudd promised to introduce an Internet filter when Labor won office at the 2007 election, but it was always a controversial policy.
  • AAP (Computerworld)
  • 09 November, 2012 08:50
Labor has abandoned its controversial plan to introduce an Internet filter, but is banning all websites related to child abuse.
The federal government will use its powers under the Telecommunications Act to block hundreds of child abuse websites already identified by Interpol, Fairfax reports.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said blocking these websites met "community expectations and fulfils the government's commitment to preventing Australian internet users from accessing child abuse material online".