As the Australian government ups the national response to the coronavirus outbreak by banning non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday, the federal Department of Health on Friday released a package of welcome measures to try to help manage the coronavirus outbreak and the massive pressure it is destined to place on our healthcare system.
The department has made available 30-odd new MBS items that will allow GPs, specialists, nurse practitioners, psychologists and occupational therapists to treat patients remotely, either by video or telephone. The items cover not just those diagnosed with COVID-19 or requested to quarantine themselves, but vulnerable groups like the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
This week kicked off with the official go-live of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health and ended with a bit of controversy over SA Health's policy on sharing diagnostic reports and discharge summaries with the My Health Record for people under the age of 18. We congratulate our old HISA and ACHI friends on the successful rebranding to the new AIDH in what looks like a very smooth transition.
Another big story this week was the launch of a new index on the Australian stock exchange that covers the highest performing technology stocks, including six from the healthcare sector. The idea of the index is to draw attention to emerging companies and to widen interest in technology stocks beyond just information technology.