Thursday, February 22, 2018

It Looks Like The Telstra Health Developed National Cancer Registry Is Almost There!

This popped up a few days ago:

Major component of Australia's cancer register still without go-live

By Justin Hendry on Feb 14, 2018 1:37PM

Planning will recommence after delivery of first phase.

The replacement of Australia’s outdated bowel screening register remains without a go-live date almost a year after a complex data migration process stalled the original launch.
Australia’s new Telstra-built cancer screening register is a single platform that will replace the paper-based national bowel screening register as well as the eight separate cervical cancer screening registers operated by the states and territories.
Telstra won a $220 million contract to implement and maintain the single national record for the screening of cervical and bowel cancers in May 2016.
The register was first intended to go live in time to support both the national bowel cancer screening program in March 2017 and national cervical screening program in May 2017.
But the go-live was pushed back by a complex data migration process, stalling the bowel and cervical cancer programs and resulting in extra costs for the Health department.
The system officially went live on December 1 with new human papillomavirus (HPV) tests for cervical cancer, but will remain only partially functional until next month when the transfer of historical information from the state and territory cervical registers is complete.
However the overhaul of the bowel cancer register looks some time off, with a senate committee today informed that there was currently no go-live date for this major component of the program.
“The national bowel cancer screening register planning will recommence at a point in time when we fully deliver the register service for cervical,” first assistant secretary of the national cancer screening taskforce Bettina Konti said.
Security, privacy plans now in place
The Department of Health also today revealed it had acted on criticisms about the system's security and privacy provisions.
A June 2017 audit of the system's procurement revealed the Health department had no plan for how Telstra would manage the privacy and security of the register a year after the contract was signed.
More here:

So it seems almost a year late we are almost there and the register will disappear from the agenda now it is fulfilling is purpose.

It is also good that the issues identified in the security and privacy audit have been addressed.

You have to wonder what plans are in place to extend the range of the register to cover other cancers that are screened for (breast, prostate etc.) so as to create a one stop shop for all your cancer screening needs. I don't know just how the myHR fits here and if there are overlaps or gaps and if all this capture by Government is a great idea or not?
 
Time will tell I guess.

David.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Wonder If These Changes Will Avoid More Hacking Of The Medicare Number Database?

This appeared a few days ago:

Government to crack down on access to patients’ Medicare numbers

Accelerates shift away from PKI for HPOS
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 16 February, 2018 12:44
The government has endorsed the recommendations of a review into health providers’ access to Medicare card numbers.
The government commissioned the review of the Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS) system after revelations that a Tor-protected service was offering to retrieve the Medicare numbers of individuals.
The ‘Medicare Machine’ service on the now-defunct AlphaBay marketplace site offered access to the data in return for a small fee.
The HPOS review made 14 recommendations and the government said today it agreed or agreed in principle to all of them.
“We are committed to protecting the personal information of the Australian people,” a statement issued by human services minister Michael Keenan said.
“These recommendations will make practical improvements to the security of Medicare numbers, without increasing the administrative burden on health professionals.”
The government said it agreed in principle to a recommendation that HPOS be used as the primary channel to access or confirm Medicare numbers and that telephone channels be phased out over two years except in exceptional circumstances.
However, the government said that further work with the health sector would be required before making changes to telephone channels.
The government said it would accelerate the transition away from Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for HPOS authentication to use of Provider Digital Access (PRODA) accounts.
.....
The government’s full response is available online.
More here:

There is further coverage here:

Govt backs Medicare card safety changes

The federal government has accepted 14 recommendations following a review into the reported sale of Medicare card details on the dark web.
Australian Associated Press February 16, 201812:41pm
A public awareness campaign to encourage Australians to better protect their Medicare cards is one of 14 recommendations accepted by the federal government.
An independent review found Medicare cards should be retained as a secondary form of proof of ID despite reports last year some numbers were being sold on the dark web.
But it was suggested the Human Services Department undertake a public awareness campaign encouraging people and organisations to better protect their details.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan and Health Minister Greg Hunt on Friday accepted 13 of the 14 review recommendations and committed in principle to working with stakeholders on the last.
They include that it is a condition of claiming Medicare benefits on behalf of patients that health professionals are required to take reasonable steps to confirm the identity of their patients.
More here:

The direct link to the full Government response is here:


What is impressive here is just how co-operative the Governmnent was in just accepting pretty much all of what was suggested. I don't recall any other report which has received such total agreement except - maybe - those on child abuse and aboriginal disadvantage.

At least some parts of the system still work!

David.

This Is An Area Where The myHR Might Help But Only With A Lot Of Work.

This appeared last week and got me thinking:

'Anything to save them': Medics reveal human cost of our denial

Emma Young
Published: February 15 2018 - 11:48AM
One day in an Australian hospital ward, two men were dying. Both lay in rooms off the same corridor. But their stories unfolded very differently.
The first was 95 years old. He had end-stage diabetes and heart disease. He had collapsed during a heart attack and was taken to hospital unconscious. There was no advanced care directive to indicate how he felt about treatments. His daughter arrived, shocked and distraught, and insisted on all possible treatment.
Doctors did CPR for 45 minutes, "jumping on his chest," breaking his ribs and sternum – as was standard for resuscitation, said Merran Cooper, the junior doctor who was on the wards that day.
"We could not bring him back to life," she said. "After a certain number of times the head physician had to call it – there was no oxygen left in his brain. By that time there were nurses crying."
Across the corridor lay another man, also 95, also very sick. His daughter, a nurse, and his wife were both with him. They had had family conversations about the end of his life well in advance. They decided this was enough, that they would make him comfortable and let him die.
"They had a room in which they could be together, and each had time alone with him, a little vigil," Dr Cooper said. "He passed away peacefully."
Dr Cooper is no stranger to the mystery and unfairness of death.
When she was 23, her husband Mark was diagnosed with leukaemia after they had been married six months. After 11 months of intensive treatment he was able to go home, only for the family to hear his bone marrow transplant had failed. Yet nobody said the "D-word" until a family friend visited.
"He said, 'Mark, you are going to die, whether it is now or in a few weeks or in a few years. Face it now. Speak to your parents, speak to Merryn. Stay hopeful but face it now.' It changed the last three weeks of Mark's life. He said goodbye to people," Dr Cooper said.
Mark was hospitalised on his last morning of life but medical intervention was minimal. He had no intravenous drugs, no tube down his throat. His wife and family agreed that this was it. His wife was able to lie on the bed beside him. Among his last words were 'Mezzy, you are so soothing'.
It was after this experience, and the death of her best friend at 45 of a neurological disease, that Dr Cooper decided to retrain in medicine. She finally gained her qualifications at age 56. Last year was her first as a junior medical officer. Since then she has seen many people whose last moments look a lot like the first father's.

Lots more here:


The idea of using the myHR as a repository of Advanced Care Directives (ACD) is hardly new but the issue is how to make sure they are both available, accessible and even more important it is really certain they reflect the patient's wishes so they will actually be acted upon if the time comes.

What this is going to mean is that those who want to have an ACD stored make sure their nearest and dearest all know there is a ACD available and they know what it says so there is no confusion or disagreement about what should be done.

Making the ACD's accessible to those who need them is a soluble technical problem. Building the social understanding and infrastructure in the community is a problem of an entirely different dimension that needs to be fully addressed in parallel before use of the myHR in this role makes any sense at all.

What do you think on all this?

David.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Good To See The Medical Republic Doing Lots On Technology And Pointing To The Inevitable Future!

Last week we had the Medical Republic run two long articles of relevance to Digital Health.

First we had:

16 February 2018

Cloud patient management systems come of age

Posted by Matthew Galetto
Across our country, thousands of practices, including GPs, specialist and allied health, own and maintain a practice server. The practice server is the powerhouse of the clinic, the primary function of which is to host the clinical and practice management software.
Other critical functions include the hosting of a myriad of add-ons and plugins that connect to, and extract from, the practice management software.
As a secondary function, the practice server often operates as a file server to store business documents, or often as a file repository for incoming faxes. It can also have accounting software installed or be used as an email service for programs such as Microsoft Exchange.
There is no doubt that the practice server is a critical piece of infrastructure and central to the successful operations of a clinic.
So how much does it cost to own and operate a practice server that is so critical to your business? Is there a way to reduce the operating costs? Are there alternative solutions that not only cost less, but also reduce the risk of having to maintain a practice server?
These are fundamental questions that all practice owners should be asking themselves, most especially when setting up a new practice or when an operating practice is nearing the end of its depreciation life cycle on existing server equipment (that is, it’s getting old and your practice will soon get a declining return on maintaining the old equipment).
WHY SHOULD I CARE?
If you’re not an owner GP or a practice manager, should you keep reading here? Do you really care?
You should.
The technology is changing very fast, and if your owners or your practice manager is considering updating their IT in the near future there are enormous potential advantages to moving away from fixed in-house servers to a cloud-based system. But it all starts with money. And if you are interested in better-connected practice technology, which cloud systems inevitably bring, then you can engage your peers and practice managers by starting with discussion about cost.
Not many GPs know the total cost of purchasing, operating and maintaining a practice server exclusive of all other peripherals such as printers, routers and user computers located at reception desks or doctors’ rooms.
If you do, you can more accurately calculate the cost of ownership and make a valid comparison between on-premise and desktop bound computer installations versus a cloud-based service.
The issue has been that when comparing a cloud service to a desk top service, many practice owners will look simply at the comparative cost of subscriptions to the service. In this respect, the two aren’t that dissimilar, so as an ongoing operational cost, the advantages of putting a cloud system in generally then falls to the increased utility of better connectivity to services such as patient portals, allied health, to much better security, and, to the ability to make your GPs far more mobile.
All these advantages tend to still be somewhat in the future for many GPs. Desktop systems, driven by a local server environment are a known beast, and though locally served, they can still be quite flexible in terms of patient portals, apps, and even connectivity.
But if you look at the cost of the two systems, and compare them like-for-like over the  life your equipment, the picture changes dramatically.
Table 1 on the next page summarises the estimated costs of buying, owning and operating a practice server for a GP clinic with five doctors and four administration staff applying best practice processes to ensure the business runs without disruption.
Capital costs for year 1 exceed $30,000. In combination with initial software licensing (including practice management software and MS Office 365), electricity costs and consulting fees to both setup and manage your infrastructure, takes the total year one expenditure to $62,724.
Ongoing annual costs are estimated at $39,474 per year. Over a five-year period, the total cost of ownership is estimated to be $220,620.
CLOUD SERVICE COSTS
Calculating the total cost of ownership for cloud services is easy. There is no need for a dedicated practice server to host the clinical and practice management software, and the only requirement is to include licensing and initial software configuration costs.
Of course, as previously stated, the practice server is often used for other purposes, the most common being a file server for the practice, where documents are saved. To compare like-for-like, subscriptions to MS Office 365 for all staff are also included. MS Office 365 is a cloud-offered service providing access to MS Word, Excel, Email and most importantly OneDrive. OneDrive is a dedicated cloud-based file service hosted in Australia when linked to an Australian entity. This guarantees that any clinical documents are saved on OneDrive securely and in Australia. Practices can use OneDrive to file and backup business documents and faxes.
Table 2 on the next page summarises the estimated costs of cloud services.
Including setup fees, data migration and licensing of both your cloud provider and MS Office 365 the total year one estimated cost is $13,106. Ongoing annual costs are estimated as $8856.
Lots more here including much more on comparative costs:

Second we had an article on just how practice systems we moving to the cloud.

16 February 2018

The insidious cost of old technology

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
When I first became CEO of a big publishing company, I used to take pride in hanging on to our IT infrastructure for far longer than we depreciated that equipment in our accounts.
I thought at the time: “They’re computers right … what’s the use in updating just to get ones with new chips and smarter screens?” It was a rookie management error. Saving pennies in capital costs, but throwing away pounds in productivity, and in our potential for innovation.
By the time I left this big company to start a small one of my own, I was a technology convert. Not a nut. Just a convert. You have to be careful. You can’t go blindly at it. But if you do your homework, understand what you need and make sensible investment, the pay-off is generally very good.
In this new company, which we started just a few years ago, we had decided that cloud-based technologies were mature enough for us to attempt to put as many of our business systems on the cloud as we could.
We sat down and did our homework and we were surprised.
Xero could do all our accounting. We could hook Xero to a publishing management system to do all our advertising booking, sales team management, and production and client services, our events could be ticketed and planned all on Eventbrite, our awards could be done on Ewards, our subscriptions handled through Moonclerk with credit card payments handled via Stripe, and we could back up everything we did easily on Dropbox.
That meant that our staff, and us as managers, could work anywhere, and at anytime could access any system, to look at any report, up to date and live, and work from anywhere.
Journalists could be anywhere, our accounting could be done at any time by anyone we authorised, our banking and payroll was all seamless.
We did all this in a surprisingly short amount of time. I still remember being shocked at how quickly and easily we established these systems and how they all just seemed to hook together, somewhere up there in the cloud.
We had that new business up and running, with two publications we had acquired from our old company, complete with all our sales and customer data, within a couple of weeks.
The savings in our first year, just from going to these new systems, and doing a couple of other clever things, like not installing a phone system and using our own mobiles, was above $400,000. That delightful surprise was enough for us as a group to do something that would change our lives, launch The Medical Republic. We did have other backing, but this got us over the line on quite a big decision. One very important aspect of the change was that most of these savings were ongoing.
My conversion to cloud technology was also apparent in my earlier decision to be a first round investor – albeit a small one – in the cloud-based patient management start up MediRecords.
More here:

These two articles are both worth reading as, in my view, they point to an inevitable move to the cloud for practice systems.

Besides the cost and continuity advantages, as will as the access anywhere that is needed capability the ability to facilitate patient access makes it all a no-brainer. No matter who are the commercial winners the direction is inevitable. (Note: These articles are a bit of shameless self promotion for one provider but the overall direction is right!)

The myHR is a dinosaur waiting for that great big meteor!

David.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 19th February, 2018.

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

Seems to have been a pretty quiet week other than the to-ing and fro-ing between the ADHA and the MSIA.
Elsewhere we learn a little more about opt-out and watch the Barnaby saga!
------

Doctor-shopper reforms all but compel GPs to join script exchanges

12 February 2018

NEWS

More than 6000 GPs in Victoria will have to join script exchanges in order to prescribe S8 drugs and benzodiazepines under the state government's real-time prescribing reforms.
The $30 million system — Safe Script — is designed to allow doctors to identify doctor-shoppers and cut deaths from prescription drug misuse.
But it will mean that GPs in the state will be expected to join Medisecure or eRx, a consultation paper released last week confirmed.
-----

Opt-out for My Health Record 011-04150000

This document outlines key information on the My Health Record opt-out record.

On this Page:

Opt-out My Health Records

From mid 2018 every Australian will receive a My Health Record.
The date has not been announced.
Until then, the My Health Record is currently an opt-in system for both individuals and healthcare providers.

How to opt-out

An online opt-out portal will be available for individuals and families when the opt-out period commences. It is not available now.
The My Health Record enquiry line will offer an opt-out service as well.
The Resources page contains a link to the My Health Record enquiry line.
-----

How to opt out of Australia's e-health record scheme

By Allie Coyne on Feb 12, 2018 4:45PM

Get in within three months.

The federal government has released guidance on how Australians will be able opt out of having a personal electronic health record created under the country's My Health Record scheme.
It ends a period of uncertainty for those who have expressed concern about privacy and data sharing in the scheme.
A policy change from opt-in to opt-out e-health records was first mulled in 2015 when the government starting trialling the automatic creation of electronic health records for individuals.
The trials stemmed from poor adoption of e-health records under the formerly-named PCEHR voluntary scheme.
-----

Govt backs Medicare card safety changes

The federal government has accepted 14 recommendations following a review into the reported sale of Medicare card details on the dark web.
Australian Associated Press February 16, 2018 12:41pm
A public awareness campaign to encourage Australians to better protect their Medicare cards is one of 14 recommendations accepted by the federal government.
An independent review found Medicare cards should be retained as a secondary form of proof of ID despite reports last year some numbers were being sold on the dark web.
But it was suggested the Human Services Department undertake a public awareness campaign encouraging people and organisations to better protect their details.
-----

Government to crack down on access to patients’ Medicare numbers

Accelerates shift away from PKI for HPOS
Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) 16 February, 2018 12:44
The government has endorsed the recommendations of a review into health providers’ access to Medicare card numbers.
The government commissioned the review of the Health Professionals Online Services (HPOS) system after revelations that a Tor-protected service was offering to retrieve the Medicare numbers of individuals.
The ‘Medicare Machine’ service on the now-defunct AlphaBay marketplace site offered access to the data in return for a small fee.
-----

'Anything to save them': Medics reveal human cost of our denial

Emma Young
Published: February 15 2018 - 11:48AM
One day in an Australian hospital ward, two men were dying. Both lay in rooms off the same corridor. But their stories unfolded very differently.
The first was 95 years old. He had end-stage diabetes and heart disease. He had collapsed during a heart attack and was taken to hospital unconscious. There was no advanced care directive to indicate how he felt about treatments. His daughter arrived, shocked and distraught, and insisted on all possible treatment.
Doctors did CPR for 45 minutes, "jumping on his chest," breaking his ribs and sternum – as was standard for resuscitation, said Merran Cooper, the junior doctor who was on the wards that day.
"We could not bring him back to life," she said. "After a certain number of times the head physician had to call it – there was no oxygen left in his brain. By that time there were nurses crying."
-----

Major component of Australia's cancer register still without go-live

By Justin Hendry on Feb 14, 2018 1:37PM

Planning will recommence after delivery of first phase.

The replacement of Australia’s outdated bowel screening register remains without a go-live date almost a year after a complex data migration process stalled the original launch.
Australia’s new Telstra-built cancer screening register is a single platform that will replace the paper-based national bowel screening register as well as the eight separate cervical cancer screening registers operated by the states and territories.
Telstra won a $220 million contract to implement and maintain the single national record for the screening of cervical and bowel cancers in May 2016.
The register was first intended to go live in time to support both the national bowel cancer screening program in March 2017 and national cervical screening program in May 2017.
-----

Backlash continues to reverberate following ADHA announcement

Lynne Minion | 13 Feb 2018
It was meant to be another dispatch designed to promote the Australian Digital Health Agency’s collaborative style. But when it dropped a media release last week announcing a new project with the RACGP and the healthcare software industry, the furious fall-out caught the agency by surprise and still shows little sign of abating.

The ADHA-backed project, according to the announcement, was aimed at opening a dialogue between the medical community and software vendors to ensure GP clinical information systems were ultimately fit-for-purpose.

“The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has announced a new project that will see the college working closely with GPs and software developers to ensure CISs are useable, secure, interoperable, and ultimately fit-for-purpose,” the ADHA’s media release said.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel, who was quoted in the communique, said the project would lead to the development of minimum clinical software functionality requirements.
-----

We are at a fork in the digital health road

Emma Hossack | 13 Feb 2018

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
                                 — Robert Frost

Rarely has there been a better reason for optimism in our field of digital health. We have a solid, sophisticated health industry sector, the start of professional courses to assist individuals with health literacy and, significantly, I believe with Greg Hunt we have the first Health Minister who properly understands digital health, together with a commitment to realising the value of data.

So where are we now? Why don’t we lead the world in digital health the way we have in med tech? What can we do to capitalise on this perfect opportunity?

Health is byzantine in its complexity: payment policies don’t match desired outcomes, the open data policies promoted by the Productivity Commission’s recent report have yet to become reality and the equilibrium between government and the health software industry is fragile, as recent media suggests.
-----

Is the medical software industry holding us back?

There’s a Dutch theory called ‘De wet van de remmende voorsprong’ which, according to Wikipedia, translates as ‘The law of the handicap of a head start’. The theory suggests that an initial head start by an individual, group or company often results in stagnation due to lack of competition or growth stimuli. This may eventually lead to losing pole position.

General practice was one of the first fully digitalised, more or less paperless, medical disciplines in Australia. The question is, are GP software packages keeping up with the times or is the profession at risk of falling behind and being overtaking by others?

Good job

Overall I am satisfied with the desktop software I use to look after my patients. It does the basics very well such as recording patient demographics and medical history, medication management, printing scripts and investigation referrals.
-----

Blog: Sydney North PHN facilitates a smooth transition to My Health Record

Created on Monday, 12 February 2018
The thought of signing her pharmacy up to My Health Record was ‘a bit daunting’ for Berowra pharmacist Carrie Leung, but with assistance from the Sydney North Primary Healthcare Network (PHN) the process was completed smoothly and successfully.
I was surprised that many elderly people have a My Health Record and at the other end of the spectrum – the children.
We service a fair number of elderly people with dose administration aids and some of them go in and out of hospital quite often. Generally hospitals are quite good at letting us know they are going home, but knowing there is verified information we can get from the hospital is great.
-----
16 February 2018

Cloud patient management systems come of age

Posted by Matthew Galetto
Across our country, thousands of practices, including GPs, specialist and allied health, own and maintain a practice server. The practice server is the powerhouse of the clinic, the primary function of which is to host the clinical and practice management software.
Other critical functions include the hosting of a myriad of add-ons and plugins that connect to, and extract from, the practice management software.
As a secondary function, the practice server often operates as a file server to store business documents, or often as a file repository for incoming faxes. It can also have accounting software installed or be used as an email service for programs such as Microsoft Exchange.
-----

Australia Moves Closer to Nationwide Electronic Health Record as Nation’s Leading Pathology Laboratories Join Initiative

February 12, 2018 By Jude
Doctors’ advocacy organization praises potential of ‘My Health Record’ but voices concerns about functionality, interoperability, and added burden placed on providers
Australia’s goal of implementing a nationwide electronic health record (EHR) system received a major boost when the country’s largest pathology laboratories signed agreements with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to join the project. But the My Health Record system has yet to fully win over providers as the Australian Medical Association (AMA) raises concerns over functionality, interoperability, and the added burden placed on healthcare providers.
ADHA Chief Executive Tim Kelsey praised the addition of pathology and diagnostic organizations to the My Health Record platform. In Australia, pathology laboratory is the term to describe what are called clinical laboratories in the United States.
The largest diagnostic organizations in Australia have now agreed to share their test reports with Australian consumers,” Kelsey said in an ADHA news release. “We are working to deliver a My Health Record for all Australians next year, unless they choose not to have one. Health consumers will benefit from this significant commitment by the pathology industry and their software partners.”
-----

When it comes to patient information, less is sometimes best

12 February 2018
Too much knowledge can harmful, writes Antony Scholefield.
One of the buzz phrases of recent years has been ‘empowering patients’. It’s presumably based on the old chestnut that ‘knowledge is power’ because, at its essence, it gives patients access to health information so they can make informed decisions.
But according to another old adage, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ — a wise warning that a small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking they are more expert than they really are.
It’s a dilemma that researchers, led by Professor Jane Halliday from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, are focusing on.
The team looked at the quantity of information mothers-to-be should be given about antenatal genetic testing in the context that it’s a field that’s set to become cheaper, more precise and more common in the coming years.
-----

Amazon explores medical supplies for US hospitals

Amazon is keen to expand its medical supplies business.
  • Melanie Evans,Laura Stevens
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • 12:32PM February 14, 2018
Amazon.com is pushing to turn its nascent medical-products business into a major supplier to US hospitals and outpatient clinics that could compete with distributors of items ranging from gauze to hip implants.
Amazon has invited hospital executives to its Seattle headquarters on several occasions, most recently late last month, to sound out ideas for expanding its business-to-business marketplace, Amazon Business, into one where hospitals could shop to stock outpatient locations, ­operating suites and emergency rooms, according to hospital ­executives who attended the meetings.
Amazon Business already sells a limited selection of medical supplies, as well as industrial and office goods.
-----
16 February 2018

The insidious cost of old technology

Posted by Jeremy Knibbs
When I first became CEO of a big publishing company, I used to take pride in hanging on to our IT infrastructure for far longer than we depreciated that equipment in our accounts.
I thought at the time: “They’re computers right … what’s the use in updating just to get ones with new chips and smarter screens?” It was a rookie management error. Saving pennies in capital costs, but throwing away pounds in productivity, and in our potential for innovation.
By the time I left this big company to start a small one of my own, I was a technology convert. Not a nut. Just a convert. You have to be careful. You can’t go blindly at it. But if you do your homework, understand what you need and make sensible investment, the pay-off is generally very good.
-----

Virtual cancer cells aid the quest for a cure

Academics from the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) have developed the world’s first virtual platform to host 3D copies of human cancer tissues, revolutionising the way researchers access critical information needed to advance cancer treatment. The Virtual Biobank will digitise and help speed up the process of accessing vital tissue samples donated by patients, which up until now could only be requested through physical biobanks. Each digital cancer sample in the Virtual Biobank is made up of high resolution microscopy images in both 2D and 3D, plus important clinical and molecular information that provides the foundation for virtual research into cancer. “We’ve taken a tiny sample from tumour biopsies stored at the Hunter Cancer Biobank and converted them into a virtual copy, enabling anyone around the world with an internet connection to carry out research from their computers or easily request access to the physical sample they need,” the researchers said. “This process ensures the physical sample remains intact, but a 3D, digital copy with clinical and experimental information is kept online for future use. This is particularly critical for rare cancers, which are hard to study due to a limited number of samples.” The addition of 3D images was made possible by the innovative 3D Tissue Clearing and Lightsheet Microscope Facility (established by the same team in 2016) based at HMRI, which specialises in making tissue samples see-through for cutting-edge 3D microscopy.
-----

Tech to change your 2018 world

From taxi drones to wearables, tech revolution shows no signs of slowing. Here are the top 100 gadgets to impact 2018.
  • From The Deal
  • February 16th, 2018
77 Paper v privacy
My Health Record is a central repository of patient information able to be controlled by the consumer and used by stakeholders. Pathology labs signed up last year, diagnostic imaging providers will link up this year, and governments are working to maximise the connectivity with public hospitals. This year, Australians will be given a three-month period to opt out before their data and records are centralised permanently. With privacy concerns hopefully resolved, governments are banking on savings from less duplication of tests and scans, while health groups expect fewer medication mishaps. In the long term, My Health Record might harness, or be harnessed by, other technological advances to improve patient access. SP
-----

Data breach reporting laws hit Australia with serious implications for businesses

  • Bede Hackney
  • The Australian
  • 1:38PM February 16, 2018
Australia has finally reached a point of maturity when it comes to lawfully disclosing serious breaches of personal and business data, with the long-awaited data breach notification laws coming into effect on February 22.
Under the new laws, all organisations covered by the Australian Privacy Act will be accountable to the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme.
The news is likely to come as a relief to consumers who have been left in the dark for too long. Companies have swept data breaches under the carpet without significant consequence. These very businesses will now be lawfully obliged to instantly report cases of compromised data.
-----

Mining firm Downer EDI Mining avoids court after agreeing to sanction

NT News
14/02/2018
  • A mining firm has avoided court after NT WorkSafe accepted an enforceable undertaking after two workers loss consciousness after allegedly being exposed to a toxic environment in 2015.
Downer EDI Mining was charged under the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act in February 2017 and faced one charge contrary to Section 32, failure to comply with a health and safety duty, and one charge contrary to Section 39, failing to preserve an incident site.
The enforceable undertaking is a legally-binding agreement between NT Worksafe and Downer EDI Mining as an alternative to prosecution, and the charges against Downer EDI Mining have been withdrawn.
NT WorkSafe may apply for a court order to enforce compliance and impose financial penalties, as well as commence prosecution for the original alleged contravention, if Downer EDI Mining does not comply with an accepted enforceable undertaking.
-----

Network expert says NBN Co's business model is broken

A prominent network expert and frequent commentator on the national broadband network has described NBN Co's half-yearly results as a "train wreck" and said that there is nothing that can be done to get the company back on the rails.
Writing in InnovationsAus.com, Mark Gregory, associate professor in network engineering at RMIT, said that, increasingly, statements that were made by NBN Co "about performance and progress are little more than fodder for the joke of the day".
Gregory has been a critic of the NBN's multi-technology mix rollout which was adopted after the Coalition Government, under Tony Abbott, came to power in 2013. The plan has been kept in place after Malcolm Turnbull shafted Abbott in late 2015 and took over as prime minister.
-----
  • Updated Feb 12 2018 at 2:40 PM

5G feeds wireless optimism as NBN struggles

A growing number of Australians are looking to faster mobile networks and upcoming 5G to provide their internet service. Shutterstock.com
As NBN talks up its expectations for getting more customers on to faster 50 Mbps plans, a growing number of Australians are fed up waiting for the national network to deliver on their expectations and are looking to faster mobile networks and upcoming 5G to provide their internet service.  
New figures from research firm Telsyte showed that, in the past year, 20 per cent of Australians had decreased the amount of fixed broadband usage, in favour of using their mobile data plan quotas, and almost 30 per cent had needed to tether mobile devices at home to cover for slow or non-working fixed broadband connection either at home or at work.
The figures appear in Telsyte's 2018 digital consumer study and come shortly after another research firm, Venture Insights concluded a co-funded study with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which found that 30 per cent of Australian households that are currently on fixed broadband, could switch to wireless.
-----

NBN Co posts record $2.4 billion loss for first half

NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia's national broadband network, has reported a record loss for both a quarter and a half-year,  with the company losing $1.13 billion for the three months October to December 2017 and running up a $2.4 billion loss for the first six months of financial year 2018.
The latest accounts for the six months to the end of December 2017 were announced on Monday, with the company's chief executive, Bill Morrow, saying that the company was on track for a scheduled end to the rollout by 2020 as laid out earlier.
According to NBN Co, 6.1 million premises are now ready to connect, and there are 3.4 million active services.
-----

No changes to HFC in NBN rollout plan, says Morrow

Despite the fact that a number of suburbs which were marked down to get the national broadband network via HFC cable have had a quiet change of technology, NBN Co head honcho Bill Morrow says that there is no change in the HFC rollout.
At the half-yearly results announcement on Monday, Morrow said the issues with the HFC rollout, which led to the company putting such connections on hold in December last year, were technology-related and would be sorted.
He stressed that HFC was a vital component of the technology mix and it would proceed as indicated after the problems were sorted out.
-----

Up to 40pc of homes may not use the NBN with 5G mobile on way

If it fails to deliver a minimum commercial return, NBN Co will be required to add the project’s tens of billions of debt to the government’s deficit.
  • The Australian
  • 12:00AM February 10, 2018

Anthony Klan

As many as 40 per cent of households may not use the $49 billion National Broadband Network given the looming arrival of 5G mobile broadband technology and the fact that 10 per cent of homes are not expected to connect to the internet.
A survey of 1500 broadband internet users by analyst Venture Insights found that of the 85 per cent who were plugged-in by fibre or copper wire connections, 30 per cent said they would be willing to switch to a wireless service in the next two years.
What we saw was people had doubts over the quality of NBN services and consumers generally are becoming more comfortable with wireless services to access the internet,” said Nigel Pugh, head of consulting at Venture Insights.
-----
Enjoy!
David.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Few More Details A Gradually Leaking Out On How Not To Get Stuck WIth A myHR.

This appeared last week:

How to opt out of Australia's e-health record scheme

By Allie Coyne on Feb 12, 2018 4:45PM
Get in within three months.
The federal government has released guidance on how Australians will be able opt out of having a personal electronic health record created under the country's My Health Record scheme.
It ends a period of uncertainty for those who have expressed concern about privacy and data sharing in the scheme.
A policy change from opt-in to opt-out e-health records was first mulled in 2015 when the government starting trialling the automatic creation of electronic health records for individuals.
The trials stemmed from poor adoption of e-health records under the formerly-named PCEHR voluntary scheme.
The federal government confirmed it would officially move into a full-scale rollout of opt-out records in its May 2017 budget, following support from the country's states and territories. The underlying strategy was approved in August.
But until now it had not provided clear advice on how individuals could request not to be involved in the scheme.
It had only offered the ability to register on the My Health Record website to receive updates about the process and the forthcoming opt-out period.
The department has now made public an online resource explaining how individuals will be able to opt out of the process in response to a freedom of information application. The resource had previously been blocked to public viewing.
IT consultant and analyst Justin Warren made the request through the Right to Know FOI platform.
The resource - accessible here - confirms there will only be a three-month window for individuals to request to be left out of the scheme.
The start date for this window has not yet been announced. DHS says it will be revealed early this year.
More here at this link:
The official page with the details is here:

Opt-out for My Health Record 011-04150000

This document outlines key information on the My Health Record opt-out record.

On this Page:

Opt-out My Health Records

From mid 2018 every Australian will receive a My Health Record.
The date has not been announced.
Until then, the My Health Record is currently an opt-in system for both individuals and healthcare providers.

How to opt-out

An online opt-out portal will be available for individuals and families when the opt-out period commences. It is not available now.
The My Health Record enquiry line will offer an opt-out service as well.
The Resources page contains a link to the My Health Record enquiry line.

Individuals wanting to opt-out

Currently, there is no ‘wait list’ for individuals to opt out.
The national opt-out period and timing will be announced early next year. Date to be confirmed.
Individuals can get a generic email about the opt out measure: go to the My Health Record website (see Resources page for a link) and scroll down to the Budget announcement information and enter their email address.
Service Officers should advise individuals to visit the My Health Record website (see Resources page for a link) for up-to-date information about the My Health Record system.
The Resources page contains questions and answers about My Health Record privacy concerns.

Individuals who don’t need to opt-out

Individuals don’t need to opt out if they:
  • opted out of getting a record during the 2016 trials
  • cancelled a record
Individuals who currently have a record will not be able to opt out. They must follow the existing cancellation procedure. See Cancel an individual’s My Health Record.

Opting out newborn children

Individuals can only opt out of getting a record for themselves and their children after the opt-out period commences (date has not been announced).
Parents who chose not to get a record for their newborn when submitting registration information before the opt-out period will still have to opt their child out.

Caller concerns

The Resources page contains questions and answers to help Service Officers assist individuals with basic privacy questions and general opt out questions.
Service Officers should warm transfer providers to Tier 2 My Health Record provider line, see My Health Record.

Historical opt-out trial information

An opt-out model of participation for the My Health Record system trialled in North Queensland and Nepean Blue Mountain regions. The trial was completed in 2016.
We do not have information about the outcomes of the trial.
Service Officers should advise individuals to visit the My Health Record website (see Resources page for a link) for up-to-date information about the My Health Record system.
The Resources page contains:
  • questions and answers about My Health Record privacy concerns
  • letters that were sent during the mail out
  • links to the My Health Record website

Cancellation of an individual’s bulk created My Health Record

Individuals who had a My Health Record created for them as part of the opt-out trial can cancel their record at any time, however before they can cancel their record, they must link to their record.
Opt-out trial participants are able to cancel their My Health Record themselves by linking it to their existing MyGov account, entering the record and selecting Cancel My Health Record. See the Procedure Help Individual or parental authorised representative to cancel a My Health Record.
Service Officers can cancel a My Health Record on behalf of an opt-out trial participant through the Admin Portal. See Cancel an individual’s bulk created My Health Record table in Cancel an individual’s My Health Record.
The Resources page contains general opt out information questions and answers, privacy concerns questions and answers, historical opt out trial 2016 information including the letters that were sent during the initial mail out and the transaction reference number and a link to the My Health Record website.

Related links

----- End Extract.
The resources page is basically a FAQ and is also worth browsing. One can only assume the information provided on the official web site is accurate.

One has to feel. reading through all this that there is a gritty determination on the part of the bureaucrats to make it as hard as possible to opt out!

There is also a major question to be answered as to just why you can't have your record deleted once and for all. The only reason I can imagine is Government pigheadedness! Just what right does the Guvmint have to say you can't delete your data from places we know they have a less than perfect record on security? I wonder why no-one has made a fuss about this previously?

My view is that there need to be some hard questions asked of the ADHA as to why this non-deletion rule exists. The myHR of itself contains no primary data so nothing would be lost other than user-contributed data the user presumably wants shot of!

So, if you value your privacy and want to stay out of this scheme read carefully and sign up to be alerted when the opt-out window opens.

Best of luck!

David.