Pulse+IT Blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes minister, this hospital is full of patients

Those of us with an appetite for the absurd were served up an absolute treat this week by South Australian Health Minister Stephen Wade, who confidently joined the pantheon of comic greats such as Monty Python's hospital administrator who swoons over the machine that goes ping and Yes Minister's manager of the hospital with no patients.

Mr Wade was holding forth in SA's Legislative Council this week on the topic of a turnaround plan devised to extract the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) out of a $300 million budget mire it appears to have got itself into.

Pros and cons of a single vendor exposed

It seems like just last month that we were taking a close look at the roll-out of the Cerner integrated electronic medical record (ieMR) in Queensland (and what do you know, it was) but we were still keen when a large report on the system by the state's auditor-general thumped down on our table this week, figuratively speaking.

The main headlines following the report's release were about a probable blowout in the budget for the system, estimated at $1.2 billion in total since it began in 2011 until its expected conclusion in 2025, mainly due to extra resources being required by individual HHSs. We've reported on this in the past.

So NEHR and yet so far

Pulse+IT took a trip across the ditch this week to pay a visit to the annual Health Informatics New Zealand conference, where among a terrific line-up of speakers we were lucky enough to hear a ripping yarn from the multi-talented Will Reedy, director of digital for telco Spark NZ, emergency department doctor and independent chair of the advisory committee for New Zealand's national electronic health record (NEHR) project.

Dr Reedy was presenting on the topic of consumer-held records, and it just so happened that on one particularly busy Friday recently at the Middlemore Hospital ED in Auckland, a 60-year-old woman from Boston, Massachusetts, turned up having turned her ankle on a visit to the Cable Bay Vineyards at Waiheke.

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