The Health News Australia December 19 2017

  • Researchers say they can identify individuals in government healthcare data that was supposed to be anonymous, potentially exposing the private information of people receiving mental health treatment or HIV medication. Published by the federal Department of Health in August 2016 as part of a move towards open data, the historical information included the medical and pharmaceutical bills of about 10% of Australians. It was pulled offline last year after experts from the University of Melbourne were able to decrypt or decode a number of doctor ID numbers.
  • An Australia-wide survey of nurses has found workplace incivility and bullying to be a common problem, but less so in hospitals where line managers demonstrate ‘authentic leadership’ behaviours. Overall, 59% of 230 nurses surveyed recounted witnessing bullying in their workplace, while 48% reported being a target. Of these, 39% experienced bullying now and then, while 12% went through the ordeal several times a week.
  • A national survey led by The University of Western Australia has painted a bleak picture of the effect of mental disorders on Australia’s school students with the results revealing poorer academic outcomes, more absences from school and more likelihood of self-harm. The survey found mental disorders affected 1 in 7 students in the previous 12 months and students with mental disorders scored lower on average than students without mental disorders in every test domain and year level. Students with a mental disorder in Year 3 were, on average,7 to 11 months behind students with no mental disorder but by Year 9 they were an average 1.5 to 2.8 years behind.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-12-18/anonymous-medicare-data-can-identify-patients-researchers-say/9267684

Researchers say they can identify individuals in government healthcare data that was supposed to be anonymous, exposing the private information of people receiving mental health treatment or HIV medication. Published by the federal Department of Health in August two thousand sixteen as part of a move towards open data, the historical information included the medical and pharmaceutical bills of about ten percent of Australians. It was pulled offline last year after experts from the University of Melbourne were able to decrypt or decode a number of doctor ID numbers.

In a new report, the Melbourne team describe how they were able to use information easily available on the internet to possibly identify seven famous Australians within the same dataset, without figuring out their patient ID numbers. The report’s co-author Doctor Vanessa Teague said being able to expose this kind of patient data could be significant for those with stigmatising or chronic illness.
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A Department of Health spokesperson said the matter had already been referred to the Privacy Commissioner, who is investigating, and the department had taken steps to improve its processes. Even though the Department of Health removed names and took other steps to ensure the dataset was anonymous, the researchers were able to identify individual patients using the type of information people might share on Facebook: gender, birth year, state and health events.
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Instances of cybercrime are on the rise and experts are warning Australia could be left unprotected due to a widespread IT security skills shortage.

https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/leadership/35/news/nc1/study-finds-high-rates-of-nurse-bullying-but-managers-make-a-difference/3089/

An Australia-wide survey of nurses has found workplace incivility and bullying to be a common problem, but less so in hospitals where line managers demonstrate ‘authentic leadership’ behaviours. Overall, fifty nine percent of two hundred thirty nurses surveyed recounted witnessing bullying in their workplace, while forty eight percent reported being a target.
Of these, thirty nine percent experienced bullying now and then with twelve per cent went through the ordeal several times a week.

Professor Stephen Teo from Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Work and Organisational Performance said these numbers partly reflect the nature of the sector. Professor Teo said: “In healthcare, those in charge usually make promotion choices based on a person’s technical skills – related to treating patients – while soft skills such as managing people and relationships are secondary.”
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Professor Teo said the research considered the impact of incivility, which encompasses behaviours more subtle than workplace bullying. These include rudeness, creating feelings of exclusion, unfair work distribution and negative body language or tone. Nurses who witnessed or experienced incivility were fifty two percent more likely to report psychological stress, which has been linked to increased health problems, turnover and decreased efficiency.
However, in workplaces where line managers demonstrated authentic leadership, nurses’ perception of incivility was thirty seven point five percent lower, which in turn reduced stress.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-links-mental-health-poor-school.html

A national survey led by The University of Western Australia has painted a bleak picture of the effect of mental disorders on Australia’s school students with the results revealing poorer academic outcomes, more absences from school and more likelihood of self-harm. The survey, conducted at the Telethon Kids Institute by Doctor David Lawrence from UWA’s Graduate School of Education, analysed educational outcomes from Young Minds Matter: the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Doctor Lawrence said the survey looked at the impact of mental health problems on attendance, engagement and performance at school. He added: “It is based on the Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, for which we interviewed over six thousand families from across the country to see how their kids were doing.”

The survey found mental disorders affected one in seven students in the previous twelve months and students with mental disorders scored lower on average than students without mental disorders in every test domain and year level. Students with a mental disorder in Year three were, on average, seven to eleven months behind students with no mental disorders but by Year nine they were an average one point five to two point eight years behind. Doctor Lawrence said students in Years one to six with a mental disorder missed an average twelve days per year compared with eight days per year for students without a mental disorder. In Years seven to twelve students with a mental disorder missed an average twenty four days per year compared with eleven days per year for those without mental disorders.
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Doctor Lawrence said the results of the survey highlighted the need for specific measures to better support the academic performance of students with mental disorders.

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