Pulse+IT Blog

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.

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.

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.

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:

Pulse+IT Poll: August 1 – Hedging our bets

It's a tough job for anyone to take up the reins at a new government agency and smooth over the ruffled feathers and lingering cynicism of the past few years in Australia eHealth so perhaps it's a blessing for new Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) CEO Tim Kelsey that not many people are aware of his existence.

Mr Kelsey was appointed to the top job at the ADHA just over a week ago in what came as a surprise move on behalf of the agency's board, nominating not just a newcomer to the country but one with a bit of baggage. Mr Kelsey is set to take up the high-profile role guiding the My Health Record program forward some time next week.

We asked readers whether they thought Mr Kelsey would have much ability to positively influence the roll-out of eHealth initiatives in Australia as ADHA head.

In this week's poll, we asked:

Do you think new ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey will be able to positively influence the roll-out of eHealth initiatives?

The results as at COB on Monday, August 8 were as follows:

Pulse+IT Poll: August 8 – Some happy, some not

Often our most read stories relate to issues with the implementation of large hospital clinical systems. Given the sums of money involved and the effects on both clinical and administrative workflows, such projects – which typically run over many years – are always topical.

While the computerisation of medical records in general and specialist practices is far more established and receives less attention, the recent launch of several web-based clinical software offerings provides practices with an opportunity to consider how their existing software stacks up.

In this week's poll, we asked:

If you use clinical software or a hospital EMR, where do you sit on a sliding scale from not happy at all (1) to very happy (5)?

The results as at COB on Monday, August 15 were as follows:

Opinion: Five principles for eHealth design

“I’ll tell you how to make documentation easier. Throw all the computers out the window.”

That tip came from an ED doctor during some recent research. I laughed it off at first, but he wasn’t joking. He went on to describe the battle that is recording patient notes.

What used to take him a minute on paper is now several painful minutes of selecting check boxes and menu items on his whiz-bang electronic health record.

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