Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 14th January, 2013.

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

I hope everyone had a great break!
On the e-health front things have been very quiet on the surface but we have seen things happening - especially with e-PIP preparedness - where I see on the list MD is now compliant with the Feb 1, 2013 requirements.
 I have had a look at my NEHRS record today and noted a forced password change and that loading the main screen was amazingly slow - at least 10 seconds of ‘wirly thing’ and please wait! I have no idea what that is about.
The next couple of weeks may be pretty interesting I suspect as we see efforts ramp up!

Renewed calls for e-PIP extension

11th Jan 2013
MANY GPs could lose their eligibility for the e-health Practice Incentive Program (e-PIP) unless the 1 February deadline for software compliance is extended, says the AMA.
Prior to Christmas, AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton was calling for an eleventh-hour delay in the cut-off for payments if doctors do not achieve software compliance – required under new legislation to remain eligible – by the deadline.
Under the new arrangements practices can apply online through the Department of Human Services National Authentication Service for certification that their software is compliant.

Practice won’t pay for ransomed records

9 January, 2013 Kate Newton 
A Gold Coast medical practice whose patient records were hacked and encrypted by foreign cyber criminals will not pay a $4000 ransom, instead choosing to recreate the records bit by bit.
GPS at Miami Family Medical Centre discovered last December that their server had been hacked and all 15,000 patient files encrypted, making them unusable.
The hackers, believed by Queensland police to be operating from eastern Europe, did not steal any patient details but demanded a ransom of $4000 to decrypt the files.

Vigilance crucial to keep patient records safe from cyber-criminals

18th Dec 2012
THE RACGP has urged practices to be vigilant about their computer security following the recent hacking of patient records at a Queensland clinic by Russian cyber-criminals.
The hackers were able to access and encrypt patient records at the Miami Family Medical Centre on the Gold Coast and demanded a $4000 ransom in order to return the practice's access to the files.
RACGP president Dr Liz Marles said the case – the latest in a number of similar attacks which have left practices relying on paper records – highlighted the need for practices to apply risk management of their systems and security requirements to ensure every potential avenue for breaches was secure.
“Even large multinational corporations and governments are susceptible to sophisticated cyber-security breaches, however if the right precautions are taken early enough, the vulnerability of the system is greatly reduced and is less likely to be infiltrated,” Dr Marles said.

Health record switch secure

By Kylie Stevens

Dec. 19, 2012, 10:48 a.m.
PATIENTS at Mount Druitt Medical Centre are among the first to register for a e-health record which they will control and could potentially save their lives.
It was the first western Sydney surgery to connect to the national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system with the first successful upload of a shared health summary.
Patients who register for an e-health record will have their medical records and details about allergies, adverse reactions, immunisations and medications in the one spot.
Shared health summaries can be assessed by other health providers but patients can consent to who has access to personal information.

General practices hit by telehealth funding cuts

3 January, 2013 Paul Smith
Hundreds of general practices will be hit by the $130 million cuts to telehealth Medicare funding which were introduced this week.
Under the original scheme – launched in 2011 – GPs, practice nurses, midwives and nurse practitioners in remote, rural and outer metropolitian areas were eligible for rebates for sitting in on patient telehealth consults with “remote specialists”.
The idea was to increase access to specialist care through technology.
But from this month telehealth rebates will be scrapped for patients in outer metropolitain areas – except those living in aged care facilities or receiving care from Aboriginal medical services.

RACGP wary of "virtual" clinics plan

3 January, 2013 Paul Smith
A plan to set up “virtual” clinics allowing doctors to provide remote video consultations with unknown patients has sparked safety warnings from the RACGP.
Skype2doctor is due to be rolled out from January 14. Under the service, patients register free with a website and then book online appointments with GPs signed up to the system.
The website states: "Our unique virtual waiting room provides a countdown to your appointment and keeps you informed if your doctor is running late. Simply log in to Skype, relax in our waiting room and wait for your doctor to connect."

Controversy over GP telehealth service

20 December, 2012 Jo Hartley
The launch of a new telehealth service that allows unknown patients to take part in direct video consultations with GPs has split the profession, with the RACGP warning that it could compromise patient safety.
The new service called skype2doctor was announced earlier this week by the company GP2U, which already offers patients Skype consultations with specialists inline with the federal government’s telehealth project.
The service offers online bookings, online GP consultations and online delivery of prescription medications in collaboration with Terry White Chemists. Patients also have the option for scripts to be posted out, faxed to their nearest chemist or home delivered.

Do look now, there’s a revolution

| Dec 18, 2012 9:03AM
The e-health revolution has begun with a whimper.   As Associate Professor Craig Fry writes below, the lack of public awareness about the introduction of such a far-reaching development is a shame.
The low-key approach also appears to be part of a quietly-quietly tactic by the Federal Government.  That stems partly from the delay and snag-prone nature of the national e-health project which has been promised for the past decade, sucked in many hundreds of millions of dollars and not yet shown much return.
The delicate issue of patient privacy and the  big brother overtones of national patient record system,  which encouraged the Government to make it an opt in rather than opt out scheme,  also explains the lack of popular engagement with this revolution.

An app a day keeps the doctor away

Date December 21, 2012

Melissa Davey

Health Reporter

First the medical centre changed our relationship with the local GP, now it's the internet.
When all you need is a medical certificate to show your boss the Friday you took off work was for illness - not a long weekend - hunting for a doctor who can fit you in is the last thing you want to do.
Particularly just for a piece of paper or an urgent prescription.
But it is a familiar scenario, with the 2012 Menzies-Nous Australian Health Survey finding that 30 per cent of Australians wait more than three days to get an appointment with their doctors. Half of us struggle to find a doctor after hours.

Mind over matter: paralysed woman operates robotic arm

Date December 18, 2012 - 1:57PM
A paralysed woman has been able to feed herself chocolate and move everyday items using a robotic arm directly controlled by thought, showing a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb.
Jan Scheuermann, 53, from Pittsburgh, was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder 13 years ago and is paralysed from the neck down.
These electrodes are remarkable devices in that they are very small. You can't buy them in Radio Shack. 
"It's so cool," said Scheuermann during a news conference. "I'm moving things. I have not moved things for about 10 years ... It's not a matter of thinking which direction any more, it's just a matter of thinking, 'I want to do that'."

Robotic hand pushes new frontier for paralysis sufferers

  • From: AFP
  • December 17, 2012 1:11PM
PENTAGON-backed scientists say they have created a robot hand that is the most advanced brain-controlled prosthetic limb ever made.
The mind-powered prosthesis is a breakthrough, the team of neurologists and bio-engineers reported in The Lancet on Monday.
With further development "individuals with long-term paralysis could recover the natural and intuitive command signals for hand placement, orientation and reaching, allowing them to perform activities of daily living", they said.
Researchers have long been interested in the brain-machine interface, whereby implants pick up electrical signals in parts of the brain associated with movement.

Wheeled workers heroes of hospital

Date December 27, 2012

Bellinda Kontominas

THEY don't take sick leave or smokos and their manners are impeccable. But the newest employees at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital did not attend the staff Christmas party.
For the past month, these automated guided vehicles have been going about their work, transporting the heavy trolleys of linen and food throughout the hospital's new main building and politely telling anyone who gets in their way to ''please step aside''.
There are 13 of the machines, which communicate with the building via Bluetooth and GPS technology.

Life insurers entitled to DNA results

Date January 8, 2013

Vince Chadwick

AUSTRALIANS sending their DNA to be analysed cheaply overseas are obliged to share the results with life insurers and risk losing control of their most sensitive information.
Dr Gillian Mitchell, head of the Familial Cancer Centre at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said one risk of recreational genetics was offering up the ''mine of information'' contained in our DNA to companies identified only online.
Fairfax Media reported on Monday that 180,000 people had sent their blood or saliva to be analysed by 23andMe, a company that assesses health risks and genealogy. The service now costs $99, and similar kits from other companies are offered online in Australia from $300.

Former iSoft chief tied up in collapse of digital services group Kit Digital

Monday, 07 January 2013
The Australian arm of global tech services firm Kit Digital has been placed in administration, with dozens of workers now out of a job as the business continues to suffer problems around the world.
The collapse also affects the company's Australian subsidiaries, including tech services business Hyro – which counts former iSoft chief executive Gary Cohen as a chairman.
Cohen had attempted to stop the sale of Hyro to Kit Digital in June of last year.
PBB Advisory announced last month that Nicholas Martin, Marcus Ayres and Stephen Longley would be appointed as administrators to the company, which counts large firms including NAB and Foxtel as clients.
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Windows 8 fails to lift the PC market in Q4

PC shipments also fell in the fourth quarter due to a challenging economy and the growing adoption of tablets and smartphones
  • Agam Shah (IDG News Service)
  • 10 January, 2013 23:52
Microsoft's Windows 8 OS failed to provide a spark to PC sales during last year's fourth quarter, with worldwide unit shipments falling by 6.4 pe rcent compared to the same quarter in 2011, according to research by IDC.
Windows 8, the successor to the popular Windows 7, was released in late October, with PCs and tablets with the new OS shipping almost immediately after. But PC demand continued to be sluggish and the new OS failed to provide a spark, IDC said in a statement.
The problem was compounded by challenging economies and people holding back on spending to upgrade PCs, IDC said. The PC market also took a backseat to alternate computing devices like smartphones and tablets, which are being used increasingly for basic computing, Web browsing, video and email.