Pulse+IT Blog

Opioids, kickbacks and EMRs

As the local health IT industry gears up for next week's HL7 International working group meeting in Sydney, the big news this week has come from the US, where the full details of the massive $US145 million fine levied against practice management system vendor Practice Fusion were revealed.

Practice Fusion, which first developed a PMS in 2008 and spruiked it to small, independent family doctor practices from its headquarters in San Francisco, gained substantial market share when it decided to offer the system for free. It quickly gathered investors and was a successful company, earning its revenue from advertising sales, predominantly from pharmaceutical companies. Practices were able to get an ad-free version by paying $100 a month, but few did.

Amazon signals entry to pharmacy jungle

It was back in June 2018 that eCommerce giant Amazon first signalled it was seriously interested in shaking up the pharmacy market when it bought full service digital pharmacy PillPack for over $US750 million. PillPack specialises in shipping prescription medications directly to patients, managing repeats on their behalf and has also developed an automated system to individually sort and label medications for patients to take by time and date.

PillPack has since run into a bit of trouble in the US following a decision by the country's largest electronic prescription exchange service, Surescripts, to end a data-sharing agreement with a third party that has effectively cut PillPack off from patients' medication history, but it's unlikely Amazon is going to give up. The US is the prime market but Amazon has since cast its eye wider, including to Australia.

Bonkers start to the new year

Welcome back to readers from the Pulse+IT team, which has refreshed itself over the summer break by doing a little redesign of the daily eNewsletter for 2020. We've made some improvements to the template so articles can be more easily shared on social channels and so the newsletter can be displayed differently on phones, making mobile reading easier.

We've also redesigned the Pulse+IT Directory, which lists the products and services provided by Australia and New Zealand's leading clinical software and health IT vendors, so take a look around if you are in the market.

Kelsey calls time at ADHA

As the year draws to a close so has Tim Kelsey's time at the Australian Digital Health Agency. Mr Kelsey is off to do something exciting in analytics at HIMSS, best known for its digital adoption maturity models, but he will remain living in Australia so we expect him to pop up now and then in Pulse+IT.

In a sign-off email, Mr Kelsey said he was proud of what had been collectively achieved at ADHA, including that Australia has a national digital health strategy which all its governments have agreed to. Mr Kelsey was predominantly responsible for writing that strategy and it's quite a good one, with defined steps and timelines that might be achievable with the right will.

My Health Record meets the auditor

This week the Australian National Audit Office released its much-anticipated report into the effectiveness of the implementation of the My Health Record by the Australian Digital Health Agency and the Department of Health.

The audit mainly looked at the implementation over the opt-out period rather than the distant days of the opt-in Pecker (PCEHR), and apart from a few security stumbles, the ANAO gave it a pretty clean bill of health.

My Health Record remobilises

It has taken well over a year but it appears that the Australian Digital Health Agency's plans to allow mobile apps to access the My Health Record are getting back on track.

The agency closed off new entrants to the mobile gateway in August 2018, at the height of the drama over the first opt-out period. At that time, one of the four apps with portal operator status, Tyde, was forced to re-evaluate its business model when changes were made to legislation to prevent insurance companies from handling My Health Record data.

NZ heads towards nHIP

Pulse+IT had a whale of a time consorting with assorted hobbits this week at the HiNZ conference in Hamilton, which managed to attract a remarkable 1440 attendees and over 100 exhibitors. No offence to Hamiltonians but its proximity to Hobbiton and the conference venue are two of the main things likely to tempt people to visit the town so it's a good thing that HiNZ is returning there next year.

NZ Health Minister David Clark and Ministry of Health deputy D-G for digital Shayne Hunter showed up and both seemed pretty confident that the business case for a national health infrastructure platform (nHIP) would get up and begin a roll out later in 2020. Mr Hunter confirmed that the idea touted by the previous health minister at HiNZ in 2015 for a single, national electronic health record would not go ahead.

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