Australia’s First Attempt at digitizing Health Records off to a Poor Start

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 18th, 2012

Week in Review

For a glimpse into the world of Obamacare consider the digitizing of health records in Australia (see Cool response to online health record scheme by Fran Molloy posted 8/14/2012 on The Sydney Morning Herald).

Despite more than 15,000 patients having consented to a shared e-health record in one Brisbane test area alone, only 5000 people have registered with the federal government’s eHealth scheme nationally…

The Queensland initiative was one of three national wave sites trialling the new health record system since February 2011.

Australians attempting to register online have met with a cumbersome process, which requires several clicks and a redirection to the Australia.gov.au website before the registration process can begin…

Sydney IT worker Garry Stevens last week detailed his experience in a letter to the Health Minister, in which he called the registration site a masterpiece of incompetence with interface issues including browser incompatibility, punctuation problems and irritating time-outs.

How many times did the Obama administration say that digital medical records would solve most of the problems in the health care industry?  I don’t have the exact number but it was somewhere around a lot.  And it’s a big part of Obamacare.  There is only one problem.  The organization trying to bring the health care industry into the modern era is the same organization that has left it in the old era.  Somehow trusting the people who have done such a poor job of maintaining records to modernize these same records doesn’t fill one with a whole lot of confidence.  Which is why a lot of Australians are not signing up for this program.

And then there’s the matter of security.  I mean, how many people are going to trust these people with putting their most private and sensitive information on line when they can’t get the little things right?  Like punctuation?  Or browser compatibility?  You just know that there is some kid out there that will be able to easily hack their system.  Or some political operative trying to dig up some dirt on a political opponent.  Worse, they’ll probably not even know if they were hacked.  Well, a politician will know when his or her sexually transmitted disease becomes public.  Should they have one.

And what do we gain from this?  Not much.  Other than a more impersonalized health care system.  Where doctors will spend less time with their patients.  As they use their computer systems to process more patients per hour.  To improve efficiency.  And cut costs.  Because time is money.  And talking to patients just wastes time.

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The Australians raise Electric Bills to pay for Solar Panels and to Punish Carbon Sinners

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 16th, 2012

Week in Review

The ‘dangerous rise’ in global temperatures roughly corresponds to our actions to lower global temperatures.  In particular our attack on coal.  First we put scrubbers on our coal-fired power plants.  Then we turned to shutting them down in favor of renewable energy.  Which may have been a mistake.  For those coal-fired power plant emissions actually cooled the planet.  Thanks to the soot, ash and sulfur they threw into the atmosphere.  Like a bunch of tiny volcanoes.  Which have been blamed for some cooling spells that have led to famines.  Because all of that soot, ash and sulfur in the atmosphere kept the sun from heating the planet.  And shortened growing seasons.  But this knowledge hasn’t changed anything.  Because the attack on coal is good for government coffers (see Renewables blowout as wind, solar hit harder than tax by Sid Maher and Michael Owen posted 6/16/2012 on The Australian).

SUBSIDIES for rooftop solar panels will cost consumers about $2.3 billion over the next year as the combination of a federal government solar subsidy program and state government feed-in tariffs add about $140 a year to household power bills.

The figures emerged as the South Australian government’s electricity regulator yesterday announced an 18 per cent rise in electricity prices for the state’s households, with the cost of the state’s solar feed-in tariff scheme outstripping that of the carbon tax. State and federal governments are facing calls for reform of the schemes as they are driving electricity prices higher, in addition to the increases associated with the carbon tax.

That’s billion with a ‘b’.  That’s a lot of money to spend.  And governments just love spending money.  So what if it raises our electricity prices?  As far as they are concerned burning coal is as bad as smoking a cigarette.  And this is just a sin tax for everyone.  For the sin of being human.  And taking control of our environment to create the modern world.  Which the environmentalists disapprove of.  We belong in caves.  Hunting and gathering like our ancestors.  Well, gathering, at least.  For the environmentalists would rather we coexist with our fellow animals.  Share our pristine environment.  And not eat them.  Of course, that wouldn’t stop them from trying to eat us.  But that would be okay.  For they could take control of their environment.  As long as they don’t burn coal.  Or are overly flatulent.  Because too much methane released into the atmosphere could raise global temperatures, too.

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The Australian Government avoids using ‘Carbon Tax’ in Television Ads

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 27th, 2012

Week in Review

You know a tax is unpopular when you buy advertising to sell the subsidies you can get to avoid paying that tax.  Without mentioning that tax by name (see Tax focus groups don’t test the c-word by AAP posted 5/28/2012 on The Australian).

THE Gillard government did not test the term carbon tax in focus groups for a television advertisement promoting its household assistance package.

The government is spending $36 million over two years on print, radio and television ads to sell the package, which aims to cushion the financial impacts of the carbon tax.

Assistance payments already have begun to land in bank accounts even though the tax does not begin to operate until July 1…

The department’s deputy secretary, Felicity Hand, said the government decided the campaign should primarily focus on the payments.

“There had been a lot of public relations activity previously that had linked household assistance package to clean energy future and carbon pricing,” she said.

Contextual information about the carbon tax was available at a website and if people phoned the hotline number.

Focus group testing.  Imagine that.  The carbon tax is so toxic and unpopular that the government is desperately trying to cushion the financial impact of it.  With some pretty commercials.  I guess to make you feel like you’re making a difference while you’re sitting at home with less of your earnings to spend because of that new carbon tax.  But they dare not mention the c-word.  Because, apparently, the people don’t want anything to do with that environmental BS.  The Australians are a hearty breed.  And more than a few got their ass kicked by the outback.  And yet that environment is so fragile that watching television at night might kill it.  Unless they pay a carbon tax on their electric bill. 

Amazing how all of government’s solutions come down to this.  Taking away our earnings for our own good.  And, of course, lying to us.  For the focus group testing tells them that telling us the truth will make us reject them and their silly policies.

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