Pulse+IT Blog

Nice set of numbers turns sour

The Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health put on a brave face at Senate Estimates this week when they popped up yet again to be interrogated about the My Health Record. A couple of hours earlier ADHA had quietly released details on the number of people who had opted out of the system, and at 9.9 per cent of the eligible population, representing about 2.5 million people, it was not a figure they seemed keen on shouting from the rooftops.

Their defence of the number seems to have changed as well. Asked how the figure of 9.9 per cent opting out compared to international experience, ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey told Senate Estimates that as Australia was leading the world with a system that provides patients with control over their record, there was nothing really to compare it to.

Big guns making strides in health IT

The big news this week came out of the ginormous HIMSS exhibition in Orlando, Florida, which Pulse+IT's resident jetsetter attended for the first time. Mr Jetsetter insists the rumours are scurrilous but we hear he took the mammoth task of visiting the hundreds if not thousands of booths in his stride by touring them at his leisure on a Segway.

Mr Jetsetter reports back that the size of the exhibition and the number of attendees was astounding, with loads of antipodeans in attendance but the Segway doing it tough trying to avoid knocking anyone over. In the end, Mr Jetsetter is of the opinion that the exhibition side of HIMSS is more of a networking opportunity for health IT blokes than anywhere that serious business is being carried out.

Medibank taps another health app

One of our most popular stories this week was Medibank's announcement that the insurer would trial a new health and wellbeing app with its staff before offering it for free to customers and the general public.

Called Live Better, the app will able to combine data from health devices along with wearables like Fitbits and wellbeing apps all in one location. Medibank customers will be offered the incentive of earning points for using the app and achieving goals that can then be used to reduce premiums.

The rough end of the pineapple

There was a bit of breaking news late yesterday afternoon and no it wasn't a final, desperate bid to halt the inevitable march of Australia's troublesome My Health Record. It was the resignation of eHealth Queensland CEO Richard Ashby for personal reasons amid intense scrutiny of the procurement of a new patient administration system to replace the very elderly and infirm HBCIS system that has been puttering away for nigh on 30 years.

Queensland has made a few attempts to replace HBCIS, which is based on the old Homer technology that still lurks about in both Australia and New Zealand, including one by InterSystems last decade that was a failure. It has been clear for some years that replacing HBCIS will be incredibly difficult as it is inextricably entwined in many of the systems, old and new, that support the Queensland healthcare system.

SingHealth hack welcomes us back

Pulse+IT had a very leisurely summer holiday, thank you very much, including plenty of time for summer reading. This included perusing a stunning profile of Epic founder Judy Faulkner in the New York Times just before Christmas that we highly recommend you take a look at.

Epic's headquarters in rural Wisconsin includes a treehouse, a Humpty Dumpty sculpture and a conference room reached by way of a rickety bridge. The article itself has a fascinating profile of Ms Faulkner, who has long been of interest to the health IT industry despite flying very much under the radar of the wider industry.

Finns take first steps towards European Health Record

As Australia gets ready for the vast bulk of its population to be able to access a summary of their health data and share it with their healthcare professionals through the My Health Record, the European Union is getting ready to create what is in effect a European-wide Electronic Health Record through an agreed data exchange format.

This week, Finland and Estonia became the first EU countries to allow digital prescriptions issued in one country to be retrieved electronically when the patient is in the other country without having to present a written script.

A merry MyHR to you all

This week, Pulse+IT is so far wound down for the silly season that we are practically catatonic so rather than report something useful, we thought we'd take a look at what we pontificated upon this time last year to see if anything had changed much.

Considering our pronouncements in December 2017, when we opined that this year would be a make or break one for ADHA and the My Health Record, the answer is no.

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