A rising tide of expectations : consumers' views on electronic health records.

CSC has released an independent research report on Australians' views of electronic health (e-health)records. CSC's report, A Rising Tide of Expectations, found consumers are ready and waiting for the government to deliver an individual e-health record : what they see as a basic Australian right.

In March 2010, CSC commissioned an independent, national Newspoll phone survey of 1208 Australian consumers to understand how important they believe it is to have an individual e-health record. The results showed that 96 percent of Australians in favour of e-health records believe that common medical data should be stored on a shared electronic record, despite only 46 percent being aware of the proposed introduction of e-health records.

The report also found that almost 90 percent of participants actively make an effort to improve and maintain their health already while 86 percent personally keep a record of some type of medical information. Ninety-one percent of participants want to see their healthcare data in one place. Ironically, Australians also feel they are effectively maintaining or improving their health despite increasing rates of chronic disease and obesity.

N.B. To open the report requires filling in a free registration screen.

Sydney Morning Herald coverage

Aboriginal Cancer Journeys

Aboriginal Cancer Journeys: Our stories of kinship, hope and survival is a book of stories from Aboriginal people affected by cancer. It includes personal insights and words of wisdom so Aboriginal people can get an insight into other people's experience of cancer. Print copies are also available from the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20. A number of fact sheets are also available.

AMA releases its health policy platform

On 21 July the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released its Key Health Issues for the 2010 Federal Election - a summary of the major health issues that the AMA considers must be addressed by the major parties. It covers General Practice; Indigenous Health; Public Hospitals; Health Financing (including dental care); Workforce and training; Mental Health; Aged care; Rural Health; E-health; Priorities for Prevention; Climate Change and Health; Research; and Long-Term Care.

Finding jobs for homeless women is a Big Issue

They are among the legions of Australia's less-visible poor: the 46,000 women who, on any given day, are homeless. Yet Sheynell Perry and Clarissa Hall have been more visible than most because they have worked as street vendors, selling The Big Issue.

The Big Issue announced an employment project to keep women off the streets - as a place of work, and hopefully as a place for sleeping. It is pioneering a program that will rely not on charity or more government money but on profits to address a big social problem.

Aboriginal sexual health resource (DVD)

The North Coast Area Health Service has produced : "The cultural respect & Communication Guide". This guide aims to provide a resource for health professionals to gain a better understanding and knowledge of aboriginal communities, how to work together with communities, and how to priovide culturally appropriate sexual health services for individuals and communities.The DVD is available to professionals working with indigenous clients.

Further information : Jenny Heslop NCAHS 02 6656 7939
Email : Jenny.Heslop@ncahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Indigenous youth learn life and work skills through Beyond Billabong program

Thirteen indigenous teenagers from remote Queensland communities have come to the busy Gold Coast as part of Beyond Billabong, a program aimed at helping them make a better life for themselves and their families.Troubled and disadvantaged Aboriginal youths and young men learn life and work skills which will hopefully secure them a job.

Coroner calls for publication of suicide toll in newspapers

A state coroner has proposed newspapers publish suicide statistics in the same way they update the road toll. His comment has sparked intense debate in the media and mental health communities.

Australia ranks second in world Quality of Death

The Quality of Death Index released today sees Australia come in second to the United Kingdom in the world rankings. Prepared by the Economic Intelligence Unit of The Economist, the Index rates countries according to how well they provide end of life care.

Professor Margaret O'Connor AM, President of Palliative Care Australia, warns, "Australia mustn't rest on its laurels. We stillhave a long way to go to ensure that all Australians can access high quality end of life care, delivered in the location of their choice in a culturally appropriate manner. We need to improve funding and delivery of community based palliative care, and to rapidly increase training in the field to better meet our health care needs."

"Raising awareness of what is possible with high quality palliative care is an important goal. Palliative Care Australia has identified that this need applies both to the broad community and to health professionals generally ", argued Professor O'Connor. "As a society we need to relax the taboos and have open conversations about what our needs might be when we reach the end of our lives. Let*s chat openly and make sure that our loved ones know what we want".

Taking Control: Diabetes, Depression & Anxiety [Free DVD]

This free DVD, produced by Beyond Blue for National Diabetes Week, 2010, features interviews with:

* people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and depression and/or an anxiety disorder - and a carer

* health professionals including a psychologist and an endocrinologist.

They talk about how to manage both diabetes and depression/anxiety and have tips for taking control of these conditions.

This DVD, and many other free beyondblue resources may be ordered direct from beyond blue.

Geospatial diabetes map

The Geospatial Diabetes Map, produced by the National Diabetes Supply Scheme, shows diabetes prevalence throughout Australia. Of concern for GWAHS, is that the top 6 local government areas for diabetes in NSW (Brewarrina, Central Darling, Broken Hill, Bourke, Bogan & Walgett) are all part of GWAHS.

New Chronic Disease Management resource for General Practitioners, General Practice Nurses and Allied Health Professionals

A new on-line resource Chronic Disease Management for General Practitioners, General Practice Nurses and Allied Health Professionals: Sharing the Care and Understanding between General Practice and Allied Health Professionals is now available. Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) developed this web site as a resource package specifically for healthcare professionals working in chronic disease management. It provides information for allied health professionals and general practice professionals on the most effective ways healthcare professionals can work together in multidisciplinary teams to achieve improved outcomes for patients with chronic and complex conditions.

Downloads include "The chronic disease management resource package" and a DVD on chronic resource management.

Wind turbines and health.

Wind power has been gaining prominence as a viable sustainable alternative to other forms of energy production. In GWAHS, the existing Blayney wind farm, the proposed Black Springs wind farm, and the proposal to build Australia's largest wind farm at Silverton give the subject extra relevance. Many other rural areas now have major wind farm installations. Studies have found that there is increasing population demand for "green" energy. In Australia, this has been encouraged by the introduction of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act in 2000 and the Renewable Energy Target Scheme in 2009.

As with any new technology, wind turbines are not without controversy. Those who oppose the development of wind farms contend that wind turbines can adversely impact the health of individuals living in close proximity.

The NHMRC has released two documents examining the facts about wind farms and health.

Public Statement
The Public Statement presents the current evidence relating potential health impacts of wind turbines on people living in close proximity. The Statement concludes that there is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.

Evidence Review
The Evidence Review presents findings from a rapid review of the evidence from current literature on the issue of wind turbines and potential impacts on human health. The Review focuses on concerns regarding the adverse health impacts of infrasound, noise, electromagnetic interference, shadow flicker and blade glint produced by wind turbines.

Photo : "Electric cow" by Ian Sand on Flickr.com.

A National Health and Hospitals Network for Australia's Future : Delivering the Reforms

The timeline for the further delivery of better health and hospital services was released yesterday by the Minister for Health and Ageing.

The Government's implementation plan spells out the details as to when initiatives such as extra sub-acute beds, more doctors and more nurses will be part of our health system. It has clear, defined goals for improving the system to which the Government expects to be held accountable. The implementation plan clearly shows what is already happening, and the delivery dates for other initiatives.

Media release

LIFE resources on suicide and suicide prevention

There is a significantly higher and rising rate of suicide in rural and remote areas compared to regional and metropolitan populations, especially among men. Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) provides resources for anyone working with those at risk of suicide. These include a national Framework to shape and guide suicide prevention activities; Research and Evidence which reviews statistics, trends, comparisons and issues in suicide and self-harm prevention; and a set of 24 practical Fact Sheets. The LIFE website provides access to LIFE News (newsletter), Professional Development Network for secure online discussion, and the LIFE library.

Breast cancer PD opportunities for rural health professionals

The National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Centre is hosting a series of online breast cancer education modules for clinicians, nurses and Aboriginal health workers in rural and regional areas. Three modules including presentations from breast cancer experts covering the continuum of care from diagnosis are available online:

* Breast cancer diagnosis : what now?
* Breast cancer treatment : managing the impact
* Breast cancer treatment is over : what's next?

The modules are supplemented by satellite broadcasts and (coming soon)interactive virual classroom sessions.

Issues paper on Multi-purpose Services

The Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association in partnership with the Australian College of Health Service Executives brought together a working group to explore the multi-purpose service (MPS) model operating across most jurisdictions.

The issues paper highlights key design principles, differences across jurisdictions and recommendations to enhance and reinvigorate the program. The focus of the recommendations is on evaluating the current model in operation across Australia, identifying critical success factors and applying these in a nationally consistent way.

E-remote : New Learning Tool for Remote Health Workers [CRANA]

A new online learning tool that helps remote health practitioners sharpen their skills without ever leaving home, has been launched.

The CRANAplus eRemote online learning program will empower health professionals by delivering learning modules that are engaging, interactive and relevant to rural and remote practice. The program offers specialised educational opportunities for nurses, doctors, paramedics and Aboriginal health workers.

Health professionals working in remote regions struggle for access to continuing education opportunities, particularly ones with relevance to the remote environment. "Travel cost and time away from work and family are major inhibitors, and that's only if relief staff is available to take over their duties for a few days," says CRANAplus President Christopher Cliffe. "The nature of remote work means that many practitioners work in professional as well as geographic isolation. Having a way to sharpen skills without traveling halfway around Australia is a great benefit to remote practitioners and the people who they serve.

The content of the program is based on the information provided in the CRANAplus First Line Emergency Care (FLEC) courses, the online survey results and the competencies that are deemed essential for safe practice. The programs areflexible in their delivery modes and self-paced to allow the individual health professional to complete in their own time frame.

The modules will encourage health professionals to make context specific decisions with directional feedback that encourages them to reflect upon their decisions and develop their critical thinking skills in the remote clinical setting.

In order to meet the challenge of overcoming traditional barriers to continuing education CRANAplus has recognised the need for health professionals to access innovative educational delivery methods.

The courses available cover a wide range of topics including Remote Emergency Care, Advance Life Support , Basic Life Support, Maternity Emergency Care, Clinical skills for the bush, First aid for aboriginal health workers and many others. Users may subscribe to a whole course, or enrol in individual modules

Road Map II: A strategic framework for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has released Road Map II: A strategic framework for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research.

Road Map II identifies priority areas for health and medical research which contribute to a positive impact upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Road Map II outlines seven action areas for researchinvestment by the NHMRC :

* improving the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in NHMRC programs

* capacity exchange

* promotion of the NHMRC's role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

* Close the Gap

* evaluation research

* intervention research

* priority-driven research.

Insights into Care: Patients Perspectives on NSW Public Hospitals

Insights into Care: Patients' Perspectives on NSW Public Hospitals,the first report published by the Bureau of Health Information, is now available. Insights into Care is based on analysis of the NSW Health Patient Survey 2009 and provides information about patient experiences with hospital care in NSW. Separate reports are also available for each Area Health Service.

Emergency Care Information Gateway

The Gateway, produced by the National Institute for Clinical Studies, aims to provide access nationally to evidence-based health care resources for clinicians and others working in the emergency care sector. A selection of useful emergency care assessment tools, is supplemented by a library of emergency care papers, and a discussion forum foe emergency care topics. Access is free.

State of our public hospitals June 2010

The seventh in an annual series, this report on public hospital performance in 2008-09 includes information on private hospital performance and has chapters on hospital use by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and on hospital maternity services. The report also presents an overview of how the public hospital system performed in the years covered by the seven reports, through the life of the Australian Health Care Agreements.

The 2010 report also has chapters outlining the changes that have been introduced by the Australian government since 2007, such as the National Healthcare Agreement and the Elective Surgery Waiting List Reduction Plan, and describes the National Health and Hospitals Network reform plan, that was agreed in April 2010.

Snapshot of Australian primary health care research 2010

PHC RIS has launched Snapshot of Australian primary health care research 2010. This collection highlights the work of some of the people receiving funds through the many components of previous phases of the PHCRED Strategy, and is relevant to the key directions of primary health care reform in Australia. The studies focus on people and their families, prevention, chronic disease, multidisciplinary teams, quality improvement, workforce, and Indigenous and rural disadvantage.

International Profiles of Health Care Systems: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States

This publication by the Commonwealth Fund presents overviews of the health care systems of 13 countries. A summary table presents information on population, health care spending, number of physicians, hospital spending and utilization, use of health information technology, and number of potentially avoidable deaths. Each country summary provides information on insurance coverage and benefits, health system financing, delivery system organization, quality assurance mechanisms, efforts to improve efficiency and control costs, and recent innovations and reforms.