Pulse+IT Blog

Now is the winter of patient consent

There is a certain type of news reporting common in Australia that we like to call pavlova journalism, in which basic ingredients are beaten up so hard they turn into a meringue, crisp on the outside but slightly unctuous in the middle and certain to make you feel sick if you eat too much of it.

That's pretty much the feeling MedicalDirector staff would have had if they made the mistake of reading some News Corp publications on Monday. Nestled in a swirl of eggy slop was the bold claim that 45 per cent of Australian GPs were now required to share all of their patients' data due to a software upgrade.

Marked movement in medical software market

Practice management software vendor MediRecords was in the news this week when we revealed on Wednesday that it had picked up the contract to replace the now unsupported practiX for Queensland Health in a deal worth about $1 million over five years.

MediRecords managed to secure the contract in front of 13 other bidders in what was a hotly contested exercise, and while $1m is not a huge amount in the scheme of things, it will be warmly welcomed by MediRecords, which hasn't had as big an impact on the market that it originally hoped for when it launched in mid-2016.

Uber CRCs and digital health buzzword bingo

We were all set to have one of our regular bouts of whingeing about the My Health Record this morning when what should pop into our inbox but an embargoed press release from the impressively titled $200 million+ Digital Health CRC.

Apparently this organ is set to transform healthcare delivery, improve the health of hundreds of thousands and save the health system $1.8 billion. It will also develop new solutions and take them to the world through the efforts of a crowd called HMS, which appears to be involved in flogging products to reduce costs for health insurers in the US.

More front than Middlemore

You've got to admire the chutzpah of New Zealand's shadow assistant minister for health Shane Reti in taking new minister for health David Clark to task over his alleged mishandling of the National Oracle Solution program, what with him only having been in the job for less than six months and the project having limped along for close to six years.

Whether it's chuztpah or more front than Myers, Dr Reti is claiming that the project, which promises to streamline financial management, business intelligence and the supply chain for district health boards, including a single catalogue of medicines and medical devices, is alternatively “failing” and “going off the rails”.

Bad news is better out than in

It probably comes as no surprise that our two most popular stories this week both concern nefarious goings on in the darker recesses of our networked world, but apart from them both involving thankfully unsuccessful attempts by hackers to gain unauthorised access to our healthcare systems, what they both have in common is an unfortunate lack of transparency about what really went on.

On Wednesday, we revealed that Western Health, which runs the Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown hospitals in Melbourne's west, had been subject to an attack from the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm that caused such havoc for the NHS last year and disrupted the basic operation of about a third of the UK's hospitals for days.

eHealth still a hard path to hoe

Pathology and its place in the public domain was the big topic of discussion this week as things started to heat up in the My Health Record stakes. On Monday we reported that we reported that Canberra Hospital was set to begin uploading pathology and diagnostic imaging reports to the system in May, joining NSW and the NT in contributing data from the public sector.

ACT is doing it slightly differently from the others in that it's using the capabilities of Orion Health's Rhapsody integration engine rather than the HIPS middleware developed a few years back by Adelaide firm Chamonix or the HealtheNet system that NSW uses for a number of clinical purposes.

Transfixed by a terrible tall tale

In 2017, technology research firm Gartner ranked virtual assistants and machine learning at the “peak of inflated expectations” on its much-quoted emerging technologies hype cycle, but it also named AI as one of three big megatrends that will provide unrivalled intelligence and create profoundly new experiences in the next five to 10 years.

We were pondering this projection this week having read up on a stunning yarn that has utterly transfixed the health IT and the wider IT industry in New Zealand. In two seriously good stories in Kiwi independent site The Spinoff – here's the first, and here's the follow-up – Auckland journalist David Farrier took a look at a purported artificial intelligence technology called Zach, the creation of a supposed charity called The Terrible Foundation and its founder Albi Whale, which was set to revolutionise healthcare as we know it.

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