Useful and Interesting Health IT Links from the Last Week – 02/11/2008

Again, in the last week, I have come across a few reports and news items which are worth passing on.

These include first:

Terminology Services Newsletter Issue 1, OCTOBER 2008

Welcome to the first newsletter from NEHTA’s Terminology Services Group. This newsletter will be issued quarterly and is aimed at informing interested stakeholders of recent product releases, news and events within the Terminology Services group. You have received this newsletter as a current SNOMED CT® Licence Holder, or as a person who has registered interest in SNOMED CT. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter in future, please unsubscribe from the 'My Profile' section of the Terminologies website: if you are a registered SNOMED CT Licence holder or reply to this email with 'unsubscribe' in subject line.

More here:

This is an interesting newsletter which is well worth a browse to follow what NEHTA is doing with SNOMED CT. If this approach of communication and easy access is followed into the future it can only be a very good thing.

Second we have:

ATO loses CD with private details

Mahesh Sharma | October 30, 2008

THE Australian Taxation Office has lost a disk containing the tax details of thousands of people.

The ATO admitted that the CD was not encrypted and victims were only notified three weeks later.

The disk contained the name, address and super fund tax file numbers for 3122 trustees and was being couriered to the ATO, but failed to reach the department.

The Tax Office was notified about the missing CD on October 3 but only sent out letters to the victims on October 24, offering to re-issue the tax file numbers for their super funds.

The main reason for the time-gap was that the ATO had hoped to recover the CD before informing the trustees.

The ATO only used the postal service to inform the victims of the breach. No one has accepted the offer of a new tax file number, it said.

The Tax Office would not disclose the name of the courier company responsible for the loss.

It is understood that the courier company had the appropriate security clearance to transport the CD without it being encrypted.

More here:,24897,24575839-15306,00.html

Just another reminder of how easy it is to lose identified information and then incur significant costs trying to clear up an unpleasant mess.

Third we have:

Software slug for age care centres

Karen Dearne | October 28, 2008

MICROSOFT will rip an estimated $70 million out of the aged care sector's IT budget over the next 18 months as it forces users to pay full commercial rates for previously discounted software.

Aged care providers are shocked by Microsoft's decision to revoke their not-for-profit status, which gave them access to its products at a heavily discounted rate. As a result, Microsoft's Office, Sharepoint and SQL server products are firmly entrenched in the sector's IT infrastructure.

The Aged Care Industry IT Council says full commercial rates would hike annual licensing fees paid by users by about 400 per cent - and swallow half of the sector's annual technology budget.

More here:,24897,24561082-15306,00.html

This is a worrying report. It would hardly be helpful if the cost of software goes up to the extent where it becomes a barrier to deployment.

Fourth we have:

Minister for Health

The Honourable Stephen Robertson

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New software to deliver Queensland cancer patients improved treatment

Queensland cancer patients are set to benefit from improved treatment thanks to new diagnostic software being rolled out at four of the State’s leading hospitals.

Health Minister Stephen Robertson said the new $3.5 million Pharmacy Oncology Information Management Solution would deliver Queenslanders better co-ordinated oncology services.

“This new system will deliver safer and improved treatment for up to 1500 Queensland cancer patients each year,” he said.

“It will provide extra support to doctors who prescribe cancer treatment, pharmacists who supply chemotherapy drugs and nurses administering treatment to cancer patients.

“This will mean a reduction in clinical errors, improved patient safety and the more efficient allocation of existing health resources.”

Mr Robertson said the new software would be introduced at Princess Alexandra, Gold Coast, Royal Children’s and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s hospitals.

“Planning is underway and the rollout of the new software to the four hospitals will occur over the next six to 12 months,” he said.

“This will lead to better coordination of oncology services across the spectrum of cancer care services in Queensland.

“The upgrade will be carried out by Charm Health, a Queensland-based company specialising in advanced software solutions, in a further sign of our commitment to home-grown Smart State technologies.”

Mr Robertson said the new system was being funded via the Bligh Government’s Health Action Plan (HAP) Cancer Funding Package.

Dr Euan Walpole, Chair of Queensland Health’s Cancer Clinical Leadership Group, said the new software would enhance cancer data collection, provide more meaningful clinical information and reduce chemotherapy and clinical decision errors.

“The new system will improve the flow of information between relevant health care facilities including external oncology service providers, general practitioners and community health services,” he said.

He said the new system would serve as a valuable risk management tool and support patient safety strategies.

The release is found here:

The company web site is found here:

This looks like a really good initiative for Queensland and to be assisting a clearly useful and evolving e-Health company is a good thing for Australia.

For a company that was founded in 2000 to have 10 sites around Australia is pretty impressive indeed.

Fifth we have:

Windows 7 first look: A big fix for Vista

Pre-beta Windows 7 addresses many Vista complaints -- and introduces a slew of changes

Yardena Arar and Harry McCracken (PC World) 30/10/2008 08:31:00

What if Microsoft waved a magic wand and everything people hated about Windows Vista went away? You might have an operating system that you liked--and that's what Microsoft appears to be striving for with Windows 7. We checked out an early beta of the future OS, and though at this point many features are either missing or works in progress, the improvements to everything from user interface to memory management look highly promising.

Along with several dozen other reviewers and analysts, we got our first real look at the OS, preinstalled on loaner notebooks, over the weekend at a workshop on the eve of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference. Microsoft planned to hand out installation discs later Tuesday, after the head of engineering for Windows and Windows Live, Steven Sinofsky, delivers his scheduled keynote formally introducing Windows 7 to PDC attendees. (We'll report on our experiences upgrading PCs from Vista to 7 later on.)

Of course, some of the promised features are things that Microsoft has pledged--and failed to deliver--before. Wasn't Vista supposed to be faster than its predecessor? We won't be able to test performance (and other under-the-hood features) for some time, obviously, but we can share with you what Microsoft is saying to back its claims.

On some details, Microsoft has said very little. As of Monday, the company had offered no new word on when the OS will ship--the official target date continues to be early 2010, but some insiders say that the actual date may move forward by a few months. Likewise Microsoft hasn't said anything about editions (and pricing) other than to indicate that they probably won't mirror the Vista lineup.

Microsoft has said all along that Windows 7 would refine (but not rewrite) the Vista kernel. However, some of the anticipated changes depend on support that Microsoft may not be able to control. For example, a number of cool network features will work only if your employer installs Windows Server 2008 R2 (also handed out to reviewers). Other new features require cooperation by hardware vendors, though this time their contribution won't extend to rewriting drivers. Still other changes involve slimming down the code by offloading applications (such as e-mail and photo management) that were once bundled with the code. With Windows 7 you'll get them either as downloadable apps or as Web services.

But the OS that remains tries very hard to please users by addressing some of the biggest gripes people had about Vista, and by generally making everyday tasks accessible and easy to perform. To the extent that these efforts are visible in our early beta, they look pretty good.

Vastly more here:

It is always big news when MS announces a new operating system which most of us will probably be using a year or so from now. From the article is sounds a lot like “Vista done right” so I will just stay with XP until it comes I think.

More consumer level detail here:

Microsoft unveils Windows 7 features

More technical detail here:

Microsoft vows Windows 7 will fix Vista mistakes

Microsoft showed off Windows 7 for the first time and said the OS will reflect lessons learned from Vista.

Elizabeth Montalbano (IDG News Service) 29/10/2008 08:43:00

Microsoft on Tuesday for the first time publicly demonstrated Windows 7, the next major release of its OS for PCs that Microsoft insists will reflect lessons learned from the widely panned Windows Vista.

Microsoft also laid out a road map for the release of Windows 7 and handed out a pre-beta version to developers at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC), where it also demonstrated new features in a keynote address Tuesday.

The first public beta of the OS will be available early next year, and subsequent test releases and release candidates will follow based on that feedback, said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live at Microsoft.

Windows 7 is still targeted for release three years after Vista, he added. This would put its business release in late 2009 and general availability at the end of January 2010 if the OS remains on schedule.

Long list of features follows here:

Last we have the slightly more technical article for the week:

Windows Azure FAQ: The future in a cloud

Microsoft's new cloud operating system was launched this week, here's what you need to know...

John Fontana (Network World) 31/10/2008 09:28:00

This week, Microsoft took the wraps off the cloud operating system that CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at earlier this month and that has been under development for two years under Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie. Named Azure, it is the foundation of what will become the hosting platform run by Microsoft, first in its own data centers and potentially licensed to other data-center providers. The release is the first part of Microsoft's services platform, and it provides an outline for where Azure is going.

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft's operating system for the cloud, code-named Red Dog, and will anchor the Azure Services Platform that Microsoft will run from its hosting data centers. Azure also is a development environment for builders of applications for the cloud.

What's with the name?

Azure is a blue color in the HSV color space, which is widely used to generate high-quality computer graphics. Blue Sky. Clouds. Get it?

So it's just an operating system?

Yes and no. While Azure includes elements of Windows Server 2008 and its sub-systems. Azure OS is a part of a separation of the operating system, infrastructure services and applications so each can be managed separately. That lets users upgrade applications or boost computing resources on the fly. Azure combines with layers of services that live on top of it -- infrastructure services such as security and application services -- to provide the complete cloud platform.

Many more answers here:

Other coverage is here:

Microsoft's Ozzie unveils `cloud computing' play

This is probably an important announcement and a strategic direction setter for MS. We need to keep a close eye as implementations follow.

More next week.



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