The Health News Australia February 20 2018

  • The federal government has agreed to the fourteen recommendations made by the independent review of health providers’ access to Medicare card numbers, touting an individual’s privacy and card information security. One recommendation made by the review in October was having authentication for the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system moved “expeditiously” from Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to the more secure Provider Digital Access. Also agreed to by DHS was keeping the Medicare card as a valid form of identification in Australia, and as recommended by the review, it will aim to encourage further public awareness on the importance of protecting Medicare card information.
  • Melbourne researchers have revealed why flu vaccines work better in some people and not others. Australian scientists have discovered three specific white blood cells which play a key role in determining whether a person responds well to flu vaccines, a breakthrough that could lead to better protection against future deadly strains of the virus. Best-case vaccine effectiveness is around 60%, however efficacy was much lower during the 2017  flu season.
  • A record number of West Australians last month got so badly sunburnt they ended up in hospital emergency departments, despite Perth’s mildest summer in 25 years. In January, 118 people — an average of almost 4 people a day — sought emergency medical help at hospitals for sunburn-related injuries. Cancer Council WA estimates 261 thousand West Aussies suffer sunburn each year.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 20th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/government-agrees-to-up-medicare-card-privacy-and-security-controls/

The federal government has agreed to the fourteen recommendations made by the independent review of health providers’ access to Medicare card numbers, touting an individual’s privacy and card information security. One recommendation made by the review in October was having authentication for the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) system moved “expeditiously” from Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to the more secure Provider Digital Access.

In its response, published on Friday, the government said the Department of Human Services (DHS) has already commenced transitioning HPOS authentication from PKI to PRODA, and in response to this recommendation will accelerate the process. According to the government, the transition will be implemented in stages.
….
The first stage of transition will include revoking existing PKI certificates for deregistered health professionals, for health professionals with duplicate certificates, and for health professionals who hold a PRODA account, it was explained. DHS will then cease renewals for PKI individual certificates, then eventually revoke all existing PKI individual certificates and all existing PKI site certificates.
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DHS is aiming to transition eighty five percent of all PKI individual certificates within eighteen months, with the remaining PKI individual certificates and all PKI site certificates by December two thousand twenty.
….
Also agreed to by DHS was keeping the Medicare card as a valid form of identification in Australia, and as recommended by the review, it will aim to encourage further public awareness on the importance of protecting Medicare card information.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/immunology/31/news/aap/australian-scientists-discovered-a-new-hope-for-better-flu-vaccines/3181/

Melbourne researchers have revealed why flu vaccines work better in some people and not others. Australian scientists have discovered three specific white blood cells which play a key role in determining whether a person responds well to flu vaccines, a breakthrough that could lead to better protection against future deadly strains of the virus. Best-case vaccine effectiveness is around sixty percent, however efficacy was much lower during the two thousand seventeen flu season.

A study led by researchers at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute and University of Melbourne analysed blood samples taken from healthy people who got the flu shot in two thousand fourteen, two thousand fifteen and two thousand sixteen. It was found in the best responders to the flu vaccine there were three specific types of white blood cells recruited by the immune system to fight the virus. These were T follicular helper cells, antibody-secreting cells and memory B cells. The “exciting” discovery has raised hope of significantly more effective vaccines.
….
Last year’s flu season swept across Australia a month earlier than usual, and after the peak had claimed nearly six hundred mostly elderly lives. A fast-mutating and evolving strain of influenza A – HthreeNtwo – defied efforts to stop its spread and was blamed for the majority of deaths.

By December, there had been two hundred thirty four thousand eight hundred sixty nine laboratory-confirmed notifications of influenza in Australia for two thousand seventeen, more than two-and-a-half times the number compared with the previous season. The majority of deaths reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System were due to influenza A.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/health/perths-cool-summer-weather-hides-extreme-uv-ng-b88738107z

A record number of West Australians last month got so badly sunburnt they ended up in hospital emergency departments, despite Perth’s mildest summer in twenty five years. In January, one hundred eighteen people — an average of almost four people a day — sought emergency medical help at hospitals for sunburn-related injuries.

This included first, second and third-degree sunburns. It was by far the highest number of sunburn cases at emergency departments for any month in the past three-and-half years. By comparison, there were sixty nine sunburn presentations in January two thousand seventeen.
The figures are remarkable given it was Perth’s wettest January for eighteen years and the mean maximum temperature of thirty point eight Celsius was zero point four Celsius below the long-term average. Perth has not had a day above forty Celsius this summer and the last time the mercury was above thirty five Celsius was January fourteen, a record run of twenty seven days.

The number of West Aussies who attended EDs after they had scorched themselves in the sun has increased for each of the past four years. There were one hundred ninety eight presentations in two thousand fourteen and two thousand fifteen, two hundred fifty in two thousand fifteen and two thousand sixteen and three hundred forty in two thousand sixteen and two thousand seventeen. There has already been two hundred fifty one in the first seven months of two thousand seventeen and two thousand eighteen.

Cancer Council Western Australia estimates two hundred sixty one thousand West Aussies suffer sunburn each year.

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