Active users get a gold star

Secure medical communication started in Australia in the mid-nineties with simple home spun solutions. Since then a number of companies have developed secure communication as a service to medical practitioners. Over the ensuing years some of the early providers have disappeared and there has been consolidation in the market.

The current providers’ systems are incompatible with each other, making it frustrating for end users who complain it is like being on Optus but not being able to call Telstra phones. While it is feasible to bridge data from one provider to another, it is never in an individual company’s interest to enable this.

The fear is losing customers to a rival or worse incurring the technology costs while the rival reaps the income. Discussions aimed at progressing a solution have been ongoing for years but the business problem has yet to be solved.

China is the powerhouse of world economic growth and Australia's largest trading partner. Clinical Editor David Guest shares his impressions of a massive nation on the move.

“China is a big country, inhabited by many Chinese. ”
Charles de Gaulle

Chinese civilisation dates back several millennia. Its history is one of successive dynasties rising and falling as a result of war and conquest. Unlike Western societies its culture has been one of almost continuous development and many of the West’s societal, agricultural and industrial processes started there.

On every level, China’s development is continuing at a frenetic rate.

Greg Hunt, MP

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt went public on 27 October to promote the government’s decision to list on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme a costly immunotherapy cancer drug that will give more than 1000 Australians with advanced lung cancer access to the discounted medication.

Without PBS subsidy Keytruda would cost around $188,000 a year, or $11,300 per script. Patients will now pay $39.50 per script, or $6.40 for concessionals. In so doing, patients will be able to avoid chemotherapy. The drug is delivered intravenously, usually every three weeks.

Tamara Smith, MP

Festival season is upon us for another year and it’s time to think about the dangers of drug taking at these events. As much as we want to discourage people, young and old, from taking illegal drugs, the reality is that many will still engage in this risky behaviour. Drug users make a personal choice to risk their health and the health of those around them when they take drugs.

I support pill/drug testing at music festivals in order to help protect young (and not-so-young) risk takers. This is a different matter from the moral issue of drugs, it is a safety issue. Without pill testing, drug takers have an unforeseeable risk of further harm because they do not know the exact substance they are imbibing. Collectively, turning a blind eye to the harm caused by dangerous chemicals in recreational drugs is forcing drug takers to take risks, rather than arming them with choice.

In his 20 September 2018 blog, Dr Edwin Kruys, former Vice President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), writes of the increasing consolidation of Australian health data and its analysis within the Federal Department of Health.

May 1st 2019 will see changes to the Australian Government’s Practice Incentive Scheme, with the abolition of practice incentives for asthma, cervical screening, diabetes, quality prescribing and aged care access. While the exact nature of the replacement is not known, the previous plan was shelved just prior to the May 2018 Budget. It envisioned an all encompassing Quality Improvement payment and this remains the most likely basis for the new system.