Pulse+IT Blog

Health minister flies into scandal to herald new year

There's nothing like the resignation of a health minister, even temporarily, to get the year in healthcare off to an interesting start so we thank Sussan Ley for her contribution to shaking the cobwebs out of the old year and giving us a cracking start to the new.

Ms Ley's decision to stand aside on Monday was the right one and, considering the outpouring of public disgust during the week at the culture of entitlement that seems rife in the political class, her decision to resign on Friday was probably the correct one too.

Health information management: at the heart of healthcare

Even before last month's national conference for the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) and National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH) opened, it was clear that health information management really is “at the heart of healthcare”, the theme for this year’s event.

In opening the annual conference for Australia’s health information management (HIM) and clinical classification peak bodies respectively, the secretary of Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services Kym Peake described state of the art developments for Australia’s health reform 'pathfinder' jurisdiction, particularly in the area of eHealth, and health information management and clinical classification were central to reform at every turn.

Microsoft Excel as clinical software and other fabulous beasts

In a week that was dominated by chatter about the purchase of a smallish Aussie EMR vendor by a global EMR behemoth and the never-assuaged desire for news of all things My Health Record, it was a nice yarn about two Top Enders adapting what tools they had at hand to a job that needed doing that piqued the curiosity of many of our readers.

They have built a bespoke system that takes reports from two commercial products – CSC's MedChart ePrescribing system and InterSystems' TrakCare Lab pathology system – dumps them into an Excel spreadsheet and runs them through a series of rules. At the end is a practical and easy to use antimicrobial stewardship system that they believe has prevented many adverse events.

Digital hospitals will roll on despite chequered career for EMRs

Our little scoop on Tuesday about the shortlist for the Northern Territory's $186 million Core Clinical Systems Renewal Program (CCSRP) was by far the most-read story for the week and one of the most popular for the year, and last week's story about how Royal Children’s Hospital has fared with its new EMR wasn't far behind.

The release of the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) digital health strategy, which included some interesting tidbits on the EMR plans of some its health services, was also popular, as were the ever-interesting dramas surrounding the much-maligned EPAS in South Australia.

Attention turns back to My Health Record trials

The much-maligned My Health Record has been out of the news for a while now as the two opt-out trials in NSW and Queensland go through their motions and the opt-in trials being held in Victoria and WA continue to fly under the radar.

The official conclusion of the widely publicised opt-out version was October 31, and it is expected that the evaluation being managed by Siggins Miller – which has been undertaken while the trials are in progress – will be finalised and presented to the government early in the new year.

Could discharge summaries be the carrot for GP views of the MyHR?

One of the more interesting stats in a presentation chock full of them given by Nepean Blue Mountains PHN's Donna Sedgman at Pen Computer Systems' PHN conference in Sydney last week was that GPs in her catchment were three times more likely to be able to see a patient's discharge summary on the My Health Record (MyHR) than they were to receive it by secure messaging.

While the vast majority of GPs surely would prefer that they receive it by the latter route, in the absence of that happening reliably the MyHR does provide an alternative, not the least because those hospitals that are linked to the system – and there are quite a lot of them now, including the subject of one of our most popular stories this week, Royal Children's Hospital – are sending discharge summaries up for those patients who have a record.

Pulse+IT Poll: August 16 – Counting the cost

With all the coverage of the issues with this year's census, you would be forgiven for thinking it was the first time Australia had tried to implement an electronic submission option. So it was surprising to me to discover that 2016 was in fact the third time the Australian Bureau of Statistics had provided citizens with the opportunity to complete an 'eCensus', as they were referred to in 2006 and 2011.

Beyond the basic and well canvassed IT issues that resulted in the electronic form being taken offline for several days, issues relating to data retention time periods and other privacy concerns overshadowed the census.

In this week's poll, we asked:

Will the census debacle affect the public’s acceptance of an opt-out My Health Record?

The results as at COB on Friday, August 19 were as follows:

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