Pulse+IT headed to HISA's Health Informatics Conference in Melbourne this week, as we are wont to do, and what a smashing event it turned out to be. The focus at HIC is often on the acute care sector and, naturally, health informatics, and there was certainly plenty of that, but we were very pleased with the depth of presentations from primary care and even aged care this year.
We were also delighted to see the former chair of the RACGP's eHealth expert committee, Nathan Pinskier, pick up HISA's prestigious Jon Hilton award. Dr Pinskier, who does a huge amount of voluntary work in the background lobbying for standards and quality in health IT, joins luminaries such as Grahame Grieve, Adam McLeod, Mike Georgeff and Terry Hannan in winning the award.
We must admit that yesterday's announcement by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it had launched legal action against health IT firm HealthEngine was a bit of a surprise, coming as it does over a year after the online booking service was thoroughly roasted in the media for its decision to edit or delete patient reviews of practices on its site.
The main surprise was with the consumer watchdog showing a bit of bite when we thought it was due a new set of dentures. However, the ACCC recently wrapped up an inquiry into digital platforms and is keen to see consent and notification requirements under the Privacy Act strengthened, and HealthEngine may just have found itself a case study.
It has been years in the making and has suffered several unexpected delays, but the Department of Health's bright and shiny new general practice quality improvement incentive (PIP QI) arrived this week, and was promptly met with a chorus of disapproval from GPs.
The PIP, which replaces a handful of others and requires general practices to send quarterly reports to their primary health network (PHN) on the proportion of patients with 10 different clinical indicators, is worth the not insubstantial sum of up to $50,000 a year to practices.