Pulse+IT Blog

Much betwixt a SIP and a PIP

This week got off to a rather officious start when the Australian Digital Health Agency rolled out Health Minister Greg Hunt to belatedly do the honours in officially launching the national digital health strategy and its accompanying framework for action.

The strategy was in fact released last August although it is apparently just now going to kick off, while the draft framework for action was actually released in March and nothing much seems to have changed since then.

Don't go chasing ambulances

HealthEngine found itself in a pretty pickle this week when in another bout of bad PR for the online appointments booking service, it was revealed by the ABC to have been flogging off patient contact details to personal injury compensation firm Slater and Gordon.

Exactly what the reasoning was behind developing “referral partnership pilots” with law firms or private health insurers we don't know, but by week's end, HealthEngine CEO Marcus Tan was apologising and promising to review the company's business model for advertising and referrals.

Where will Telstra Health be in 2022?

This week in health IT got off to a gallop when we revealed there'd been finally been a breakthrough in secure messaging interoperability after many years of reporting on false starts, but by mid-week, all eyes were on the plummeting returns for Telstra's long-suffering shareholders.

We realised that Pulse+IT is getting a bit long in the tooth when we reflected that we've been reporting on attempts to make secure messaging interoperable since the magazine was established back in 2006. Since then, there have been any number of announcements of breakthroughs: the secure message delivery (SMD) standard, the announcement of the SMX collaboration involving the three main vendors, NEHTA's SMD-POD trials, which promised lots and went nowhere.

TripAdvisor for doctors trips up

The Queen's birthday long weekend languor seemed to grip the Australian health IT industry this week and it turned out to be a bit of a slow one, but the weekend itself was spiced up somewhat by a rather fascinating article in Fairfax newspapers on Saturday that had a lot of us agog.

That was the bad review saga, in which it was revealed that online appointments booking service HealthEngine had been editing customer reviews of practices on its site to such a degree that negatives were not just deleted, but sanitised to the point they became positives.

Temper tantrums and the tortured path of health IT

All eyes were on Canberra this week as the upper house's community affairs committee put the Department of Health and its agencies under the microscope during Senate budget estimates, but it turns out it was in the lower house where the real fireworks were about to go off.

Long-term eHealth watchers have become used to estimates hearings being quite bruising affairs, particularly when it comes to the tortured progress of the PCEHR/MyHR over the last seven or so years. But it was a much more agreeable atmosphere this week when Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey fronted up with chief operating officer Bettina McMahon, core systems head Ronan O'Connor and chief medical adviser Meredith Makeham.

Apple on FHIR with third-party apps

One of the biggest stories this week for the technology community was Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, where in addition to previewing its new macOS and iOS, Apple announced that it was opening up its Health Records APIs to third-party developers.

Apple first launched this app back in January, revealing it has been working with EMR vendors on the Argonaut Project to use the FHIR standard to develop APIs that can allow different systems to talk to each other. This involved a restricted list of vendors and 12 healthcare organisations, which has now increased to over 50, all in the US.

Consent and the Clayton's communications campaign

The Australian Digital Health Agency did a pretty good job publicising that fact that its CEO, Tim Kelsey, would be addressing the assembled hacks and no-hopers of the nation's media at the National Press Club in Canberra on Thursday.

Mr Kelsey gave a celebratory, forward-looking speech, outlining a brave new world of digitally enabled healthcare in which the hum and the whirr of the fax machine is finally silenced. He got a nice round of applause, a genial introduction from NPC president Sabra Lane and then a gentle enough opening question about the difficulties US doctors were finding with EMRs.

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