Friday, September 19, 2014

This Sounds Like Very Good News For E-Health. Some Positive Results.

This appeared a little while ago.

EHRs help California hospitals reduce medical errors

May 6, 2014 | By Marla Durben Hirsch
An electronic health record is one of the primary tools that can decrease the number of medical errors in hospitals, according to a new report published by the office of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California, pictured).
The staff report surveyed 283 California hospitals to determine what they were doing to reduce common medical errors, such as surgical site infections and pressure ulcers, receiving responses from more than half (53 percent). While hospitals are taking many approaches to reduce medical errors--such as minimizing blood transfusion--EHRs figured prominently in the hospitals' efforts to reduce errors.
Some of the identified approaches included:
  • Using computerized physician order entry with the EHR to eliminate adverse drug events
  • Building a tool in the EHR to document performance and prevent central line bloodstream infections
  • Using the EHR to prompt a clinician to order deep vein thrombosis prevention
The hospitals also acknowledged that alarm fatigue was a problem.
…..
To learn more:
- read the report (.pdf)
More here:
This is a very interesting report from the ‘clinical front-line’ where individual organisations are trying interesting Health IT innovations and reporting the differences they can make.
A good source for some evidence based ideas that can be considered.
David.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review Of The Ongoing Post - Budget Controversy 18th September 2014. It Just Rolls On!

Budget Night was on Tuesday 13th May, 2014 and the fuss has still not settled by a long shot.
It is amazing how the discussion on the GP Co-Payment just runs and runs. Some more this week.
Here are some of the more interesting articles I have spotted this 16th week since it was released.
Parliament is now up for a while and apparently does not come back until 22nd September.

General.

'Confected' budget emergency: Chris Bowen to slam Joe Hockey

Date September 11, 2014 - 6:11AM

Mark Kenny

Chief political correspondent

Labor's Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen will launch a major broadside at the Coalition government on Thursday alleging it has confected a budget emergency in a bid to permanently damage Labor's reputation as a financial manager.
And he will propose three initiatives designed to lift the fiscal debate above politics by strengthening the powers and responsibilities of the independent Parliamentary Budget Office by taking some tasks away from Treasury.
Mr Bowen will use a televised National Press Club address to claim that Treasurer Joe Hockey shifted some of the measurement parameters in last year's mid-year economic and fiscal outlook document - the half-yearly budget snapshot traditionally released towards Christmas.
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Just what the doctors ordered

Anne Hyland
Brian Owler has dropped his eldest daughter at school, assisted a colleague in surgery and reviewed paperwork that includes notes for an afternoon speech by the time he arrives – punctually – for lunch.
I had envisaged an older, professorial type, but in fact Owler, a neurosurgeon who is also the president of the Australian Medical Association, is neither. He’s charismatic, refreshingly down to earth and a little nerdy.
The 43-year-old has picked Bistro Mint on Sydney’s Macquarie Street, near the NSW State Parliament, for lunch as it’s convenient to his next appointment.
He became AMA president in May and stepped right into the federal government’s crosshairs as it pushes to introduce a widely unpopular $7 co-payment for doctor visits. Owler, who has three children under the age of six, clearly relishes a challenge.
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Tony Abbott makes anniversary pledge to ‘protect the vulnerable’

Prime minister says he will repair the budget, which has been criticised for hitting the poorest the hardest
Lenore Taylor, political editor
Tony Abbott has pledged to use the remainder of his term to “protect the vulnerable” and also to build roads and repair the budget, as the government marks the first anniversary of its election.
Just back from a trip to India and Malaysia, Abbott attended a Father’s Day event on Sunday with his own dad, Dick, suggesting voters should reserve judgment on his government – which trails Labor in the polls – and conceding he could have done some things better.
“Look, with the wisdom of 20:20 hindsight there are always some things (that could have been done differently) but we’ve faced some difficult challenges and I think we’ve handled them pretty well. In the end, that’s going to be a matter for the people to judge in two years’ time but we have faced some tough challenges. We’ve faced them squarely and honestly and we’ve done the best we can, sometimes under difficult circumstances,” he said.
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Sensible healthcare reforms are necessary

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 08/09/2014
Reporter: Emma Alberici
Health Minister, Peter Dutton, discusses government health policy including the proposed Medicare co-payment.

Transcript

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: With the carbon tax and mining tax now repealed, the Government will turn its attention to its next big-ticket Budget measure, the Medicare co-payment. So far, Clive Palmer and his PUP senators are not for turning. The Health Minister Peter Dutton remains hopeful. He joined me from Canberra a short time ago to discuss that and the future of Australian pharmacies.
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First Year Of Abbott Government.

Tony Abbott admits: we could have done some things better

  • AAP
  • September 07, 2014 1:19PM

Simon King

TONY Abbott has acknowledged he and his party could have some things better in their first year in power.
But speaking at a Father’s Day community tea in northern Sydney he was attending with his 90-year-old father Dick, the Prime Minister defended his party’s performance after one year in office and said overall he “looked back at the last 12 months with some satisfaction”.
“With the wisdom of 20-20 hindsight there are always somethings (we could have done differently), but we’ve faced some difficult challenges and I think we’ve handled them pretty well,” Mr Abbott, who had just returned after a three-day trip to India and Malaysia, said.
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Year of surprises and excuses: Shorten

September 07, 2014 4:49PM
AAP
AUSTRALIANS have a right to be disappointed about what the Abbott government has served up in its first year, the opposition believes.
OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten says there is a sense of anxiety in the community about what the Abbott government has done in the year since it won office.
"When Tony Abbott was elected it was on the basis that things would get better," he told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday, the anniversary of the election.
"Ever since then we've seen nasty surprises and pathetic excuses."
Labor would focus on standing up for ordinary Australians, Mr Shorten said.
Opposition frontbenchers issued a flurry of statements on Sunday morning pointing to promises across all portfolios they said had been broken.
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Aussies feel tasered by Abbott's year: Xenophon

Date September 7, 2014 - 12:19PM
Australians feel more tasered than surprised by the Abbott government's first year in power.
That's the opinion of independent senator Nick Xenophon, who's accused the government of "sneaking up on people with quite radical changes" over the past 12 months.
"The government promised no surprises," Senator Xenophon told ABC on the one-year anniversary of Tony Abbott's election as prime minister.
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Tony Abbott’s one-year report card: ‘needs to improve’

Phillip Hudson

TONY Abbott says he looks back at his first 12 months as Prime Minister with “some satisfaction”. But today’s Newspoll shows satisfied is not the word voters might use.
Of the past five prime ministers, only Julia Gillard suffered a bigger loss of support in the first year of power.
The raw numbers in Abbott’s report card are far worse than those for John Howard and Kevin Rudd who, like him, took power at general elections. The next trip to the ballot box is not due for two years so there is still plenty of time for Abbott, if he’s good enough. The government’s support has ­already risen from the alarming low of 35 per cent reached in June and July after the worst received budget in 20 years.
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GP Co-Payment.

Alternative health cost-saving measures – new book

Jennifer Doggett | Sep 07, 2014 9:56PM |
Whether or not the Abbott Government gets its way on GP co-payments, the sustainability of our health system is likely to remain very much on the political agenda, Dr Agnes Walker, from the Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health, reviews a new book which aims to identify the most cost-effective health system interventions. In line with the recent Senate Committee report on out-of-pocket costs, the book argues for an increased focus on chronic disease prevention and management rather than higher costs for primary health care. Dr Walker writes:
Reducing cardiovascular risks across the Australian population would be much more cost-effective than increasing co-payments, according to a new health economics book.  The book  Health Policy in Ageing Populations: Economic Modeling of Chronic Disease Policy Options in Australia discusses ‘best value for money’ health reforms and is available as an open access ebook.  
Link:
The book is available at  www.eurekaselect.com/118691/volume/1
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Govt holds course on $7 co-payment

9th Sep 2014
THE Coalition is standing firm on plans to introduce its $7 Medicare co-payment despite no current prospect of it actually being legislated.
Health minister Peter Dutton told the ABC last night he was optimistic about introducing the reform before 1 July, 2015, and said discussions with key senators were ongoing.
"I think we can negotiate in good faith, and in private, I'm encouraged by some of the discussions we're having with the independent senators, but as you point out, people publicly have made comments and I'll leave that to them," Mr Dutton said.
Asked if that was a hint Mr Palmer was being disingenuous in ruling out support for the co-payment, Mr Dutton said he couldn't comment on private discussions.
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Time to put some more health funding options on the table

Jennifer Doggett | Sep 12, 2014 9:59AM |
One of the more puzzling aspects of the current debate over health funding is the lack of new or innovative policy options being proposed by the Government and others from the conservative side of politics.  Given the level of panic being invoked about our alleged health funding crisis (disputed by many economists) it would seem logical that policy makers should be searching for viable options to combat the so-called health spending tsunami.   
Yet apart from the GP co-payment, there are few, if any, realistic policy options being put on the table for discussion.  The co-payment proposal has clearly not been accepted by either consumers or health care providers (for good reasons, as discussed at length here and here).  But since the failure of the Government to convince stakeholders that increased primary care co-payments are the way forward, there has been no ‘Plan B’ on offer to reform health funding arrangements to meet the changing needs of the community. 
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Dozens air co-payment concerns: Video

By ADAM HOLMES
Sept. 12, 2014, 3:04 p.m
A SLIGHTLY different shade of green was added to the vibrant greenery of Eaglehawk's Canterbury Park on Friday.
About 30 people held up "Save Medicare" posters in the park as part of an action day to oppose the federal government's Medicare co-payment proposal.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King spoke to the gathering, and said it should not be government policy to discourage visits to the GP.
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Sigma Pharmaceuticals lifts first-half profit, sees healthy future

Jared Lynch
Australia’s biggest listed pharmacy brand Sigma Pharmaceuticals is welcoming the prospect of a GP co-payment, saying it will be a shot in the arm for chemists.
Sigma chief executive Mark Hooper said cuts to the federal government’s $9 billion Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme were hurting pharmacists, upending their business models.
But he said the Abbott government’s controversial plan to charge a $7 co-payment for GP visits, could offset some of that pain as pharmacies start introducing more professional health services.
“If there is any hesitation from people wanting to go see a doctor, the next place they will go to is a pharmacy,” Mr Hooper said.
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Pharmacy Related Articles.

Dutton rules out changes ahead of Pharmacy Guild talks

Joanna Heath
Health Minister Peter Dutton has ­conceded that pharmacies get special protections but says the ­government has no plans to change the rules that limit the number of pharmacies in ­locations and require them to be owned by pharmacists.
Mr Dutton begins negotiations soon with the Pharmacy Guild, a union that represents pharmacy owners, to ­determine the sixth community ­pharmacy agreement.
The five-year agreement sets out ­government remuneration for dispensing prescription medicines at regulated prices. It was last worth $15 billion.
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No supermarket ownership of pharmacy: Dutton

9 September, 2014 Chris Brooker
The Federal Government remains unconvinced of the need for supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths to run pharmacies, according to Health Minister Peter Dutton. 
Speaking on ABC’s Lateline program, Mr Dutton reinforced his previous commitment to existing pharmacy ownership regulations.  
“The Coalition's long held the belief that we shouldn't have that corporate ownership model… we believe very strongly in a pharmacy that is owned at a community level. And I think that is an important policy for us to adopt ongoing.”
Mr Dutton said existing regulations provided the operating basis upon which Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations are to be conducted.
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The long arm of the Pharmacy Guild

Joanna Heath
Andrew Laming knows what it’s like to mess with Australia’s $15 billion pharmacy industry. In 2005, the Liberal MP was bold enough to write an op-ed arguing that taxpayer savings could be found in the price of medicines through more generics.
Two years later, in the lead-up to the 2007 federal election, petitions and leaflets designed to weaken his chances of re-election were handed out to people when they walked into a chemist. The campaign was led by the powerful pharmacy owners’ union, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
“It made absolutely no difference at all, except every pharmacist knew me by my first name,” says Laming, shrugging off the experience. He’s a rare politician to be so relaxed about the guild.
Pharmacies exist in a parallel world, immune from the ordinary forces of competition. They are cocooned in laws and regulations that prevent big companies like supermarkets from muscling in and “location rules” that create mini-fiefdoms.
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Pharmacy rules ‘archaic’, says Chemist Warehouse’s Gance

Joanna Heath and Jared Lynch

Key points

  • Damien Gance says regulations raise costs and prevent innovation.
  • Pharmacy Guild argues the rules benefit the public.
The reclusive group manager of Chemist Warehouse has broken his silence ahead of the government’s competition review, describing regulations which prevent large companies such as supermarkets owning chemists as bizarre and archaic.
Damien Gance oversees 260 stores nationwide. He argues current arrangements protecting the industry should be abolished.
“The impact of regulation has been to raise costs for consumers, to prevent innovation in the industry and to undermine the value of investments,” he said in a submission to the review. He estimated his businesses’ large-scale and heavy discount model had saved $15 million in pharmaceutical benefit scheme costs in 2010-11.
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Supermarket pharmacy worth considering: AMA

11 September, 2014 Chris Brooker
The AMA appears to have no opposition to pharmacy services being provided in supermarkets, but is concerned with pharmacists checking patients’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  
Speaking yesterday at a briefing at Parliament House, AMA national president Dr Brian Owler questioned the Community Pharmacy Agreement and expanding pharmacy services, while appearing to support opening up prescription medicine sales.
When asked if Coles and Woolworths should be allowed to sell prescription medicines, Dr Owler said: “If the best thing is for the patient being able to access medicines at a cheaper rate, but still have access to a pharmacist that has the sort of training and expertise to provide the information to the person that's collecting their script…. then that's something that I think needs to be considered”.
His comments have drawn a strong response from George Tambassis, national president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
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Guild hits back at AMA over supermarket support

12 September, 2014 Christie Moffat
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia says recent claims from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) that supermarket pharmacies are worth “consideration” are contradictory to previous statements made by the organisation.
Earlier this week, AMA national president Dr Brian Owler was questioned on whether supermarkets should be permitted to sell prescription medicines.
Dr Owler said the case “should be looked at in terms of what the best thing is for the patient”.
However, a spokesperson for the Guild quoted an AMA media release from 1 July 2014, where Dr Owler stated, “Good health is not something you can pick off a supermarket shelf”.
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Medicare Locals.

ACT’s future Primary Health Network – opportunities galore

5 September, 2014
Ms Leanne Wells
Dr Paresh Dawda
The Budget brings Medicare Locals short life to an end in June 2015.  Their function as a primary health care organisation will be replaced by Primary Health Networks (PHNs).  Successful PHNs will be announced next year, following an open contestable process; the details of which are expected in Spring.  The ACT Medicare Local  (ACTML) will tender to be the ACT’s PHN.  For the ACTML this is a natural progression in a unique jurisdiction and the reforms offer a springboard to the next level.
The ‘Horvarth’ Report has been endorsed by the Federal Government and provides a window on the specification for PHNs.  The expectations include a paramount role for general practice as well as other primary care providers.  A key function will be to integrate care across the whole health system leading to improved patient outcomes.  Where services gaps exist, they will commission those services rather than provide them (unless there are exceptional circumstances).
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Comment:
I also have to say reading all the articles I still have no idea what is actually going to happen with the Budget at the end of the day!
To remind readers there is also a great deal of useful health discussion here from The Conversation.
Also a huge section on the overall budget found here:
Enjoy.
David.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This Is A Very Interesting Article With Some Details On Where The PCEHR Is Developed And Supported.

This appeared a little while ago and a few paragraphs in the middle were very interesting:

Union hits out at proposed offshoring of ATO test & dev

Tax Office insists no financial data will be stored overseas.

-----
It says the Department of Health has already confirmed that work contracted to Accenture as infrastructure partner to the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record will be done from India.
Accenture has been paid more than $100 million to date for its PCEHR infrastructure support, and another $111 million for associated data warehousing.
However a Health spokesperson pointed out that this has been the case since Accenture was first engaged in 2011, and there are no plans to expand on the Bangalore-based support.
“Accenture does have an off-shore team that is involved in coding of changes to the system that are then shipped to Australia for testing, integration and implementation by the local team.
“This off-shore team does not have access to the operational PCEHR system and no PCEHR records are able to be accessed by any off-shore developers,” she said.
-----
Lots more here:
I will leave it to the reader to figure out what implications these little revelations have but it does seem to me the development and bug-fixing loop is being rather extended by this cost cutting approach from Accenture.
I am interested to note just how long it has taken for these sort of arrangements have made it to the public domain.
David.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

There Is Something Pretty Odd Going On With Standards Australia And The Sale Of SAI-Global.

First a little background. SAI-Global is an ASX Listed company that has a long term license to sell Standards Documentation that us created by a huge range of organisations from that include the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Nursing Federation and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Steel Institute, Master Plumbers Australia and Telstra Corporation, among many others including some e-Health entities.
One set of publications are those created by Standards Australia’s IT-14 Committee which manages e-Health Standards in Australia.
Here is the relevant Standards Australia web site.
Close reading of this web site reveals that there has been no activity or work-planning since June 30, 2014 Additionally there has not been any Standards published since May 2014.
Over the last few years Australian e-Health Standards have been developed by volunteers (often pushed and maybe dominated by NEHTA ) and have had the publication sponsored by the Department of Health (It is not clear if this is happening after June 30 this year).
So maybe co-incidentally, or not, we now have the publisher of standards under offer by two private equity (PE) groups who seem to be offering up to $A 1 Billion for what is a monopoly publishing business.
Not surprisingly Standards Australia are a little concerned, as they see the potential for some profiteering. See this report.

SAI Global blocks buyer talks with Standards body as $1bn bids heat up

Simon Evans
Takeover target SAI Global has refused requests by private equity bidders and other potential buyers for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, which has an influence on the future profitability of a lucrative contract held by SAI.
SAI is understood to have reinforced to potential bidders that all of the pertinent information about the contract it currently holds with Standards Australia – under which SAI sells and publishes around 7000 standards on behalf of Standards Australia – is contained in the data room for potential buyers.
It has refused requests by potential bidders for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, itself an unlisted not-for-profit company that has a membership base of 74 organisations from a range of different industries.
Lots more here:
Indeed, so worried is Standards Australia that they might try to take SAI Global over themselves.

Standards Australia in surprise last-ditch buyout bid in SAI takeover tussle

Simon Evans and Sarah Thompson
Standards Australia, an organisation controlled by 74 member bodies including the Australian Dental Association and Master Plumbers Australia has, made a last-ditch approach to takeover target SAI Global, seeking to buy back a lucrative part of the business.
But the approach, understood to be preliminary, has come too late for Standards Australia to be admitted into the data room because deadlines for final offers for SAI Global are due on September 12 as private-equity bidders circle.
Standards Australia is understood to have made a pitch to buy back the lucrative Publishing Licensing Agreement business, a major profit contributor in SAI’s information services division. The division made up more than half SAI’s total earnings before interest and tax of $72.6 million for 2013-14.
Lots more here:
Blind Freddy can pick that is a PE group gets hold of these publication rights there is a real chance of sudden price increases!
So - right now - e-Health Standards setting seems to have stopped and the costs seem to be at considerable risk of going up. This all just adds to the disillusionment of most volunteers who have worked for IT-14.
Additionally there seem now to be some uncertainty as to how things will play out with SAI-Global in private hands.
Rumours and other intelligence more than welcome.
David.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 15th September, 2014.

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

Lots of things going on - with the exception of resolution of what to do about the PCEHR.

Under the radar we have all sorts of silliness going on regarding Standards Australia and most especially in the e-Health space and all sorts of disconnected activity going on - most of which is destined to turn out to have been a waste of money and time - sadly!

Just so you know Orion - the makers of the interface to what is regarded as a hopeless user interface to the PCEHR are apparently getting close to suggesting NZ investors buy shares in them and assist the directors become rich - (An IPO - or Initial Public Offering). How you feel about this is up to you.

Hard to know what comes next - just as it is regarding IS, Ukraine, Gaza, Ebola, Boko Haram, Liberia and so on. Pretty sad I have to say.
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Manly lifeguards test wearables for emergency information

Safe Mate is waterproof and does not require charging
The Manly Life Saving Club is trialling wearable wristbands for nippers, swimmers and surfers that quickly provide critical information in the case of an emergency.
The Club is conducting a pilot of Safe Mate, a waterproof silicone wristband that contains a near-field communications (NFC) chip that does not require charging.
Wristband wearers upload their emergency contact and medical information to the Safe Mate website. In an emergency, first responders can access the information by scanning the user’s wristband with an NFC-compatible Android smartphone running the Safe Mate Professional app.
The data itself is not stored in the wristband but rather a local Australian data centre.
The Manly Life Saving Club has deployed hundreds of the wristbands to the Manly Nippers and will provide the professional app, mobile devices and training to the Manly LSC.
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Hooked on cloud - as Apple Watch debuts, new models step up

Socialisation technologies are inexorably drawing health and government into new models of industry engagement and industry-led protocols to protect health data. 
This week Apple CEO Tim Cook rolled out Apple's health-enabled smartwatch today amidst increasing scrutiny of healthcare apps and the storage of healthcare information in the cloud.
The new $US350 watch, known simply as Apple Watch, embodies a range of sensors, including pulse rate, workout intensity and the type of exercise. Using the HealthKit App, the watch is able to share the health information with healthcare providers and other associated apps, a move that has drawn interest in the US from players including Mayo Clinic and Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
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3D-printed hearts will help surgeons better prepare for operations

Date September 8, 2014 - 12:00AM

Amy Corderoy

Sydney hospitals are preparing to use 3D printers to produce life-size replicas of their patients' hearts to prepare for surgery.
Within a year, patients at Liverpool and St Vincent's hospitals are likely to have access to the technique, which will help  surgeons  have a better understanding of a patient's problem  before they operate.
Doctors say the new technologies will reduce patient deaths and injury, by decreasing the time operations take and preventing unexpected problems.
Cardiologist and clinical faculty member at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, James Otton, said for the first time in Australia he had used a 3D printer to make a replica of a patient's heart.
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  • 12 September 2014 08:09

Justice Health Deploys Orion to Support Better Patient Healthcare

The Orion Health product suite will provide a critical platform for the Justice Health electronic health system’s migration to a computerised record of a patient’s medical history.
Sydney, 12 September 2014 - Orion Health, a global e-health technology leader, today announced that the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network (JH&FMHN) in New South Wales has gone live with the Orion Health EMR (electronic medical record) Suite to support the organisation goal to deliver complete electronic medical records across the New South Wales public health system.
The Orion Health product suite will specifically provide a critical platform for the Justice Health electronic health system’s (JHeHS) migration to a computerised record of a patient’s medical history related to the clinical care received while in JH&FMHN. This will contain a subset of information previously held in paper medical records including patient details, medical conditions, appointments, pathology results, electronic forms and medicines prescribed. The data is now held in one consolidated place and therefore available state-wide as opposed to being held in multiple paper files and stand-alone electronic registers.
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Justice Health rolls out electronic medical records

More than 30,000 patient records compiled each year are being digitised
The Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network plans to deliver complete electronic medical records across the New South Wales public health system following the deployment of new software.
The NSW organisation – which provides mental health services to people in the criminal justice system – has rolled out the Orion Health EMR platform to eliminate manual information sharing between the organisation and other healthcare providers.
The new system contains medical records for more than 30,000 patients each year who are highly vulnerable and who have numerous and more complex health needs than people in the wider community, the organisation said.
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Outsourcing Medicare: Is it as easy as π?

| Sep 09, 2014 11:29AM
Following on from the range of issues raised by Croakey contributors about the outsourcing of MBS and PBS payments, Margaret Faux discusses the most appropriate role for the private sector in supporting core government functions and the risks involved when private sector interests conflict with the central role of government. She writes:
In a U.S managed care styled initiative, private insurers have been given the right to tender to manage the operation of the government’s new Primary Health Networks, which will soon replace existing Medicare Locals. And recently, the government’s expression of interest from the private sector to provide outsourced claims and payment services for the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (PBS) was closed.
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Question: FHIR release schedule

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
Question:
I’m using the Java version of FHIR release 0.81. A bug fix that I needed required a later version of the code. I downloaded the code (rev. 2833) from SVN and, following the directions on the FHIR build page, had no trouble recompiling all of FHIR. Since rebuilding and replacing FHIR in our application is time consuming, I have some questions concerning release management:
  1. Is there a published release plan and schedule for FHIR?
  2. Is there a mechanism for patching or updating FHIR code between releases?
Note: this question was originally asked on StackOverflow where it was (a little unfairly) ruled out of scope.
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Union hits out at proposed offshoring of ATO test & dev

Tax Office insists no financial data will be stored overseas.

Australia’s public service union has kicked up a stink over a proposal being assessed by the Tax Office that would see its application development and testing sent to the Philippines.
The ATO has confirmed that it is thinking about handing its test and dev functions to Accenture, which already undertakes hundreds of millions of dollars worth of IT work for the agency. Under the deal, the work would be supported out of Accenture’s Philippines-based delivery centre.
The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has described the proposal as a kick in the teeth for ATO staff, who have already been forced to deal with the prospect of thousands of job losses out of the agency.
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OAIC cautions over app privacy policies

Not enough Australian iOS apps provide adequate privacy policies, OAIC says
Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has urged Australian businesses and government agencies to improve their act when it comes to their mobile apps.
A study of 53 iOS apps by Office of the Australian Information Commissioner revealed that 70 per cent of them don't provide users with a privacy policy before the app is downloaded.
"This is not good privacy practice," Pilgrim said in a statement. "Organisations must have a clearly expressed and up to date privacy policy that tells people how their personal information will be managed.
"A user can't make an informed decision about whether they should download an app if they aren’t told up front what personal information that app will collect and how it will use, store and protect that information."
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Email not worth the effort

12 September, 2014 Amanda Davey
The idea that patients can email their doctor fills most GPs with dread, a 6minutes poll shows.
When asked whether email communication between patient and GP was a good alternative to a follow-up phone, call 80% of respondents answered “no”.
Less than a fifth of respondents thought email communication in general practice was a good idea. Just 3% were undecided.
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Controversy over new health secretary

5th Sep 2014
DOCTORS have criticised the appointment of a top immigration official to head the health department in the wake of the row over an asylum seeker put on life support after complications from septicaemia acquired at the Manus Island detention centre.
Queensland GP Dr Richard Kidd, who heads the group Doctors4refugees, criticised the appointment of former immigration and border protection secretary Martin Bowles, given the sustained controversy about the physical and mental health of asylum seekers in detention offshore.
Dr Kidd spoke to MO after returning from a lunchtime vigil for Hamid Kehazaei, a 24-year-old Iranian declared “brain dead” after being admitted to ICU with septicaemia from a cut to the foot.
It was vital the culture of secrecy surrounding asylum seeker affairs did not spread to health, Dr Kidd said.
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www.MyHealthJourney.com

About US

Vision

A world where everyone is healthy enough to live their life to its fullest potential. 

Mission

We dramatically enhance the efficiency of the world’s healthcare resources. 

Our key feature

We've created a global healthcare portal that connects patients to their healthcare providers and medical records. 

What we believe

We believe everyone should have access to fast, effective and affordable healthcare no matter who you are or where you are.  
Together we will ensure better health for everyone - we all have a part to play.
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Stool smell test detects superbug infections

10 September, 2014 Hugo Wilcken
It may not be the most fragrant of solutions, but clinicians could soon have another weapon at their disposal in the fight against hospital infections.
UK researchers have come up with an “electronic nose” capable of sniffing out the highly infectious C. Difficile bacterium in a patient’s faeces.
The team from the University of Leicester used a mass spectometer to identify C. Diff’s unique “smell”, leading to an instantaneous diagnosis of infection.
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Standards Australia turns up heat on in-play SAI Global

Edited by Sarah Thompson, Anthony Macdonald and Jake Mitchell
Australia’s peak standards body has written to takeover target SAI Global, concerned SAI has not adequately disclosed how the renegotiation of an important contract between the two parties could affect SAI’s value.
It’s understood Standards Australia chief executive Bronwyn Evans wrote to her counterpart Andrew Dutton last week, unimpressed that Dutton’s SAI Global failed to address the contract’s expiry accurately at its 2013-14 financial year results in August.
It comes as bidders, including private equity firms Pacific Equity Partners, KKR & Co and The Carlyle Group, work up $1 billion offers for SAI Global in time for Friday’s deadline.
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SAI Global blocks buyer talks with Standards body as $1bn bids heat up

Simon Evans
Takeover target SAI Global has refused requests by private equity bidders and other potential buyers for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, which has an influence on the future profitability of a lucrative contract held by SAI.
SAI is understood to have reinforced to potential bidders that all of the pertinent information about the contract it currently holds with Standards Australia – under which SAI sells and publishes around 7000 standards on behalf of Standards Australia – is contained in the data room for potential buyers.
It has refused requests by potential bidders for official permission to speak to Standards Australia, itself an unlisted not-for-profit company that has a membership base of 74 organisations from a range of different industries. Those members include the Australian Dental Association, the Australian Nursing Federation and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Steel Institute, Master Plumbers Australia and Telstra Corporation.
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Standards Australia in surprise last-ditch buyout bid in SAI takeover tussle

Simon Evans and Sarah Thompson
Standards Australia, an organisation controlled by 74 member bodies including the Australian Dental Association and Master Plumbers Australia has, made a last-ditch approach to takeover target SAI Global, seeking to buy back a lucrative part of the business.
But the approach, understood to be preliminary, has come too late for Standards Australia to be admitted into the data room because deadlines for final offers for SAI Global are due on September 12 as private-equity bidders circle.
Standards Australia is understood to have made a pitch to buy back the lucrative Publishing Licensing Agreement business, a major profit contributor in SAI’s information services division. The division made up more than half SAI’s total earnings before interest and tax of $72.6 million for 2013-14.
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Droplet lens that turns smartphones into microscopes for $2 wins Eureka prize

Date September 10, 2014

Frances Mao

The inventors of a $2 smartphone microscope and Ebola-fighting resources have won the nation's top gongs at the Oscars of Australian science.
Sydneysiders Tri Phan and Steve Lee won the Innovative Use of Technology prize in Sydney at the Eureka Prizes for creating a plastic droplet that can be hooked into smartphones to create a cheap high-powered microscope.
"I think where this will have a lot of potential is in the delivery of medicine to remote and rural communities," said Dr Phan before the awards.
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Funding for new children's health complex

By ANDI YU
Sept. 11, 2014, 2:19 p.m.
Bendigo Community Health Services will receive $2.6 million in funding from the state government to build a centre for children's health. 
Health Minister David Davis visited Bendigo Community Health Services in Kangaroo Flat on Thursday to announce the grant. 
Acting chief executive of Bendigo Community Health Services, Anne Somerville, said staff were delighted that plans for a new "Kidzspace Children's Precinct" would come to fruition. 
"People were just overwhelmed with excitement and a sense of validation that we know this is so needed in central Victoria," Ms Somerville said.
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Google buys Lift Labs, maker of health tech for degenerative disease

Summary: Lift Labs has developed a high-tech spoon to replace frustration with fun for those who combat tremors and find eating a difficult experience -- and Google wants in.
By Charlie Osborne for Between the Lines | September 11, 2014 -- 10:18 GMT (20:18 AEST)
Google has acquired Lift Labs, makers of a smart spoon which combats tremors suffered by those with Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The tech giant revealed the purchase on Wednesday. In a blog post, Google said Lift Labs will join the firm's research arm, Google[X].
San Francisco-based Lift Labs is the developer of smart eating equipment laden with sensors which detect tremors in the hand and compensate accordingly. The creators of the product, which comes with multiple attachments including a spoon, fork, and deep soup spoon, say these sensors then relay tremor data to make the equipment stabilize itself in response.
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Serious flaws in Turnbull's NBN cost-benefit analysis report

Date September 8, 2014 - 9:06AM

Rod Tucker

OPINION
In their cost-benefit analysis of the national broadband network, the Vertigan panel predicts that in 2023, an average Australian household will require a broadband download speed of 15 megabits per second (Mbps).
Bill Morrow, the CEO of NBN Co said he is "curious" about this prediction. I would go further and say it is simply wrong, and calls into question the validity of the conclusions of the Vertigan cost-benefit analysis.
Let's look at the data. The chart below shows average broadband download and upload speeds in Australia from January 2008 to January 2024. The curves in the shaded region in the lower left of the chart are actual measured Australian average upload and download speeds, as reported by Ookla, and reproduced from page 103 of the Vertigan Panel's report.
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NBN fibre trial document 'misguided': NBN Co

Date September 8, 2014 - 7:19PM

Lia Timson

NBN Co has acknowledged the existence of an internal document detailing results of a fibre-to-the-premises deployment trial but said it was written by a well-meaning member of staff and was misguided.
The company disputed an article published by Fairfax Media on Saturday detailing cost and rollout time-frame savings and recommendations based on a trial in Melton, Victoria. It dismissed the report as inaccurate in an online statement.
On Monday, an NBN Co spokeswoman said the document had not been endorsed by management "due to a number of shortfalls in the methodology and metrics", and had not been verified.
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Coalition's NBN speed forecasts are on the right track

The Vertigan Panel has, on behalf of the Government, recently published a cost benefit analysis of various approaches to the NBN. One input to their work was a forecast of Australian bandwidth needs prepared by my firm. We found that by 2023 the top five per cent of households would require at least 43 Mbps, and the median household would require 15 Mbps.
At first blush these numbers may seem low. But it’s worth remembering that most Australian households have just one or two people. A household where two people were both watching their own HDTV stream, each surfing the web and each having a video call all simultaneously, then (in part thanks to improving video compression) the total bandwidth for this somewhat extreme use case is just over 14Mbps in 2023.
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NBN Co fears fibre floodgates opening on TPG decision

Summary: NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has said that should TPG roll out fibre networks along with Telstra and Optus in competition with the NBN, it would undermine the business model for the company.
By Josh Taylor | September 12, 2014 -- 05:43 GMT (15:43 AEST)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) decision to allow TPG to roll out fibre to the basement to apartment blocks in Australia's CBDs could potentially undermine NBN Co's business model if other players follow suit, CEO Bill Morrow has said.
After four months of investigation, the ACCC decided yesterday that TPG's plans to upgrade 500,000 units across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth are not in breach of the Telecommunications Act rules against allowing fibre companies to extend their existing networks by no more than 1km.
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TPG's challenge: It's either a speedbump or the first step to ruin for the NBN

Date September 12, 2014 - 9:18AM

David Ramli

NBN Co staff would've spent Thursday morning muttering into their cooling cappuccinos as they read the competition regulator and government's plans to let TPG Telecom eat their lunch by building a rival broadband network.
They know better than most that letting TPG connect half a million apartments to a rival network by running fibre to the building's basement is a dangerous move for the $41 billion national broadband network.
This is why NBN fought tooth and nail to convince the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to slam the breaks on TPG's project, arguing that the rival would destroy its business model and broke the spirit and letter of the laws protecting its monopoly over our broadband future.
Instead the ACCC gave it a go-ahead with warnings it would set a regulated price, while Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced he'd also let it go through, calling for any company offering services to split their wholesale and retail divisions.
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Stephen Hawking says Higgs boson has potential to destroy entire universe

  • September 08, 2014 3:51AM
  • News Corp - Australia
SCIENTIST Stephen Hawking has warned that the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, could cause space and time to collapse.
But there is time for lunch: It may take trillions of years to topple.
The British professor said that at very high energy levels the Higgs boson – the subatomic particle which gives us our shape and size - could become so unstable that it would cause space and time to collapse.
Hawking made his comments in the preface to a new book, Starmus.
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God particle a threat to universe: Stephen Hawking

  • JONATHAN LEAKE
  • The Times
  • September 08, 2014 12:00AM
THE Higgs boson, once hailed as the God particle, may have the potential to destroy the universe, Stephen Hawking has warned.
He suggests that, at very high energy levels, the Higgs could suddenly become unstable, causing a “catastrophic vacuum decay” that would cause time and space to collapse.
Such a disaster is, he stresses, very unlikely — and the fact that such a possibility even exists is exciting because it suggests a whole new realm of physics.
Professor Hawking’s comments are contained in his preface to a new book, Starmus, due out next month, containing lectures by renowned cosmologists and astronomers first given at a scientific conference of the same name.
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Enjoy!
David.