Health round-up: Sugary Australian soft drinks, improving digital health and MBS consultations

Peter Terlato 8 June 2017 NEWS

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A weekly round-up of Australia's latest healthcare news.

Australian soft drinks more sugary than in the States

A recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reveals many Australian soft drinks contain significantly higher levels of glucose than those sold in the United States.

Glucose can rapidly elevate insulin levels and these increases are linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Several Aussie soft drinks had a mean total glucose concentration 22% higher than US brands. However, the concentration of total sugars was similar for both Australian and US soft drinks.

The Australian Health Survey reports 39% of males and 29% of females regularly consume sugar-sweetened beverages, the largest sources of sugar in the Australian diet.

Sharing information is better for our health

After consulting with the healthcare community, the Australian Digital Health Agency released a Request for Tender to develop a Strategic Interoperability Framework for Australia.

From more than 1,000 survey responses and written submissions, the Agency found more than 65% of respondents believe Australia's healthcare system is difficult to navigate.

"People want to know the cost, quality, and availability of services, and experience a more integrated service experience," the Agency said.

The tender suggested a better sharing of patient information would provide a seamless service experience, assist in managing potential risks and ensure Australians can access health information where and when they need it.

If the project goes ahead, the Agency anticipates a 5-10 year completion time-frame.

More MBS consultations open for review

The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce released more reports for public consultation.

The MBS Review Taskforce, consisting of doctors across both the public and private health sector, must consider how more than 5,700 items can be better aligned with contemporary clinical evidence and practice in order to improve health outcomes for patients.

These consultations provide the public and healthcare practitioners the opportunity to have their say on draft recommendations.

More information on the Review's consultation process is available on the Department of Health website.


What else is happening?

The most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, joined the board of Australian mental health company Medibio. Following prior personal struggles with depression and substance abuse, the American hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues, The Australia Business Review reports.

Each week our round-up offers a summary of the latest developments impacting Australian healthcare and most importantly, you, the consumer. Check in every Thursday to find out what's happening in health.

Picture: Shutterstock

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