Pulse+IT Blog

Listen to the heartbeat

Primary care was back in the news this week, highlighted by yesterday's announcement that Fred IT had won the tender to build Victoria's new real-time prescription monitoring system, with ReferralNet and Argus scoring a few runs on secure messaging, a new survey out looking at the digital general practice, and a whole gang of diagnostic imaging software vendors signing up for the My Health Record.

The survey, carried out by online booking, recall and reminder service HotDoc, had a number of very interesting nuggets – not the least of which is that yes, sometimes your patients will pay to not have to come in to see you – but also the finding that most people use online booking systems not for their own convenience but so they can book their personal doctor more conveniently. A good proportion are also willing to follow their doctor when they change practices, which just reiterates what everyone has been banging on about for years now about how the relationship between doctor and patient is a special one.

ADHA's positive self-report card

The Australian Digital Health Agency released its first annual report this week and gave itself a nice pat on the back for a few milestones reached. The agency, which likes to style itself as the Agency with a capital A and which we like to imagine is modelled after a certain bureau (of investigation) with a capital B, laid out its strategic priorities and how it reckons it measured up.

Turns out it reckons it did OK, fulfilling a number of strategic priorities such as setting up the secure messaging trials, writing the national digital health strategy, and increasing the number of people and organisations registered for the My Health Record. While the agency has been set up to handle a few different things, progress with the MyHR is of course the biggie, so we were keen to see what it had to report.

Clinical content is king

The My Health Record was back in the news bigly this week as the Digital Health Agency announced that three community pharmacy software vendors had connected to the system, joining frontrunners Fred IT and Simple Retail, which both managed the feat way back in May 2013.

With 1404 out of the estimated 5500 pharmacies in Australia currently registered with the system as of November 5, that number is likely to increase substantially. Symbion's Minfos, for example, boasts about 800 pharmacies as customers, and with the Pharmacy Guild and the Pharmaceutical Society now behind the My Health Record, we expect many of the others will sign up soon enough.

Doing digital across the ditch

After the utter shambles that was last week in Canberra it was a relief for Pulse+IT to head over the Tasman to check out what the K Ones were up to at the annual Health Informatics New Zealand conference in Rotorua this week.

Having just come off their own drawn-out political saga we were wondering what the vibe was like over the ditch, what was happening with the New Zealand Digital Health Strategy, and whether it would turn out like the bit of a damp squib that Australia's seems to have done.

Political tremors hit the health IT world

Pretty much every Kiwi and many Australians – and the odd dual citizen, like me and my cuzzy bro Barnaby – were pretty much transfixed to the telly on Thursday as we awaited Winston Peters' announcement about who he'd back to occupy the top floors of the Beehive, and didn't Winston just love the limelight.

Considering how long he'd taken to deliberate and then to deliver the verdict, his choice of Labour became increasingly likely, so NZ now has a young, attractive leader to rival the Trudeaus and Macrons of this world. It will be a couple of days yet before we know who will take over the health portfolio but most people's money would be on Labour nabbing the ministry, health policy being one of its traditional strengths.

Senate turns on a stunner

Political junkies were utterly entranced by the events in Canberra this week as Australia's 45th Parliament turned into an utter farce, the end result of which is that the government has lost its majority and the Senate has thankfully lost one of its looser marbles.

Senator-no-more Malcolm Roberts has been given the boot and few will miss his presence or his egregious attacks on science and the country's collective intelligence. At the same time, we have lost Fiona Nash as well. While she is a champion for rural Australians and their health, she rarely contributed much as the government's representative when the Senate community affairs committee examined the health portfolio during budget estimates hearings.

Bowling a wobbly to Beauchamp

The decision by former Department of Health secretary Martin Bowles to make a quick and unexpected exit from the public service and hand over to then Industry secretary Glenys Beauchamp back in August is looking increasingly like a clever move, with a few high-profile health and eHealth projects looking a little shaky at the moment, we are hearing.

According to The Mandarin, Mr Bowles' decision to decamp to Calvary Health Care with just nine days' notice was in part due to rumours, which Pulse+IT has also heard, about a difficult relationship with the office of Health Minister Greg Hunt.

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