Pulse+IT Blog

More front than Middlemore

You've got to admire the chutzpah of New Zealand's shadow assistant minister for health Shane Reti in taking new minister for health David Clark to task over his alleged mishandling of the National Oracle Solution program, what with him only having been in the job for less than six months and the project having limped along for close to six years.

Whether it's chuztpah or more front than Myers, Dr Reti is claiming that the project, which promises to streamline financial management, business intelligence and the supply chain for district health boards, including a single catalogue of medicines and medical devices, is alternatively “failing” and “going off the rails”.

eHealth still a hard path to hoe

Pathology and its place in the public domain was the big topic of discussion this week as things started to heat up in the My Health Record stakes. On Monday we reported that we reported that Canberra Hospital was set to begin uploading pathology and diagnostic imaging reports to the system in May, joining NSW and the NT in contributing data from the public sector.

ACT is doing it slightly differently from the others in that it's using the capabilities of Orion Health's Rhapsody integration engine rather than the HIPS middleware developed a few years back by Adelaide firm Chamonix or the HealtheNet system that NSW uses for a number of clinical purposes.

Bad news is better out than in

It probably comes as no surprise that our two most popular stories this week both concern nefarious goings on in the darker recesses of our networked world, but apart from them both involving thankfully unsuccessful attempts by hackers to gain unauthorised access to our healthcare systems, what they both have in common is an unfortunate lack of transparency about what really went on.

On Wednesday, we revealed that Western Health, which runs the Sunshine, Footscray and Williamstown hospitals in Melbourne's west, had been subject to an attack from the WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm that caused such havoc for the NHS last year and disrupted the basic operation of about a third of the UK's hospitals for days.

Transfixed by a terrible tall tale

In 2017, technology research firm Gartner ranked virtual assistants and machine learning at the “peak of inflated expectations” on its much-quoted emerging technologies hype cycle, but it also named AI as one of three big megatrends that will provide unrivalled intelligence and create profoundly new experiences in the next five to 10 years.

We were pondering this projection this week having read up on a stunning yarn that has utterly transfixed the health IT and the wider IT industry in New Zealand. In two seriously good stories in Kiwi independent site The Spinoff – here's the first, and here's the follow-up – Auckland journalist David Farrier took a look at a purported artificial intelligence technology called Zach, the creation of a supposed charity called The Terrible Foundation and its founder Albi Whale, which was set to revolutionise healthcare as we know it.

The inconvenient truth about EMRs

It's a common tactic of incoming governments facing big budget shortfalls to call for an independent inquiry to investigate the horrors bequeathed by their vanquished foes, and it happens no matter what stripe your political colours.

Tony Abbott federally and Campbell Newman in Queensland were big fans of “commissions of audit”, arranging them as soon as they took government in the high hopes that the blame for all nasty manner of remedial action could be sheeted back to their predecessors.

Action stations at the agency

We decided to take a bit of a squizz at the goings on over at the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) this week amid a flurry of activity that seems to be emanating these days from Pitt St. We'd been thinking they had a pretty quiet start to the year and were ready to go nosying about, but it turns out that they'd all been busy little bees, what with organising the recent international gabfest and putting the final touches on an absolutely ginormous program of work for the coming years.

We described it in our story this week as putting some meat on the bones of the seven priorities outlined in the National Digital Health Strategy, but if you take a look at what the draft Framework for Action actually entails, it's a hefty enough slab that will keep ADHA's 250 or so staff eating barbecue for the next four years.

Digital health is neither penicillin nor panacea

Pulse+IT visited the University of NSW to hear from some of digital health's luminaries on Wednesday, mingling with a gathering of the usual suspects from Australia, as well as numerous international speakers at the inaugural International Digital Health Symposium.

The symposium, organised by the George Institute for Global Health and the Australian Digital Health Agency, followed a two-day talkfest in Canberra on Monday and Tuesday to celebrate the Global Digital Health Partnership, which ADHA hopes will become very important in the digital health scheme of things.

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