Australian workers waste one third of their time at work, costing their employees an estimated loss of about $109 billion according to Ernst & Young’s Productivity Pulse survey.


According to the survey, which canvassed almost 2,500 employees, only fifty-eight per cent of the working day contributes any “real value” to their employer.


24 per cent of the day is spent on networking, personal development and other ‘organisational curricular activities’ that are important to both employer and employee.


However, the survey concluded that 18 per cent of the day is spent on work that wastes time and effort.


"Workers that feel insecure about their roles or are unsatisfied with their workplace have fallen further down the productivity scale as a result of the current slowdown," Ernst and Young Oceania Advisory leader Neil Plumridge said.


However, the dichotomy between the productive and the feckless goes beyond the workplace, with members of the more efficient worker group taking, on average, 43 minutes less time in getting to work.


"This means that the top group has more opportunity for their personal life and activities such as helping kids with their homework, going to the gym, or even cooking the evening meal," Mr Plumridge said.


The survey found that people management issues were the biggest single impact (54 per cent) on productivity, while organisational structure accounted for 23 per cent of the lost productivity. Innovation was identified as a factor, accounting for 15 per cent of the lost productivity. 

Published on: HRCareer

The Federal Government has announced it will establish a community advisory committee to assist in protecting the Ningaloo reef.


Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced the formation of the committee while attending the one-year anniversary of the listing of the Ningaloo Coast’s World Heritage Listing.


“The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Advisory committee will allow community members, including traditional owners, to play a role in the protection and stewardship of the Ningaloo Coast,” Mr Burke said.


“With the support of a World Heritage project officer, the advisory committee will play a pivotal role in protecting the outstanding universal value of the Ningaloo Coast that led to its inscription on the World Heritage List.”



In addition to funding for the advisory committee, a further $496,000 has been allocated towards feral animal control at Ningaloo to reduce threats posed to threatened species and habitats.


Published on: GreenCareer

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has released changes to its Basin Plan to ministers as part of the Authority’s process of developing the finalised plan.


The MDBA also released a report detailing the changes that have been made to the draft based on submissions received during the consultation period.


"Over the past 12 months we have been consulting communities and representative groups on the development of a Basin Plan," said MDBA Chair Craig Knowles.


"Since the release of the draft in November, we have continued to consider and test ideas and information to revise the draft plan that we are now presenting to Basin governments."


This version of the plan, titled the 'Proposed Basin Plan – A Revised Draft', now enters its ministerial and parliamentary process. It goes to all Basin water ministers for consideration for a maximum of six weeks, as stipulated by the Water Act. Following this, the Basin Plan will be given to the Federal Water Minister.


The MDBA has stood by the planned 2,750 GL/y as a long term average for its environmental flow.


The revised plan has proven expectedly unpopular with the respective Murray-Darling State Governments, with Victorian Water Minister saying the plan is a ‘death warrant’ for the agricultural sector in the state.


“"The socio-economic report outlines the industries that will be severely impacted upon: northern Victoria's dairy farmers, Sunraysia and Riverland horticulturalists, cotton growers in the Lower Ballonee and Murrumbidgee and New South Wales Murray rice growers,” Mr Walsh said.


Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps echoed Mr Walsh’s concerns, saying none of Queensland’s concerns were addressed in the revision.


“The Queensland Government raised a number of significant and legitimate concerns in its submission to the original draft and unfortunately none of those appear to have been addressed in this revised Plan,” Mr Cripps said. 


South Australian Premier, Jay Weathrill, described the revised plan as ‘unacceptable’, and that it does not provide enough for environmental flows.


“The result is a revised plan which officially sanctions the over-allocation of water that has been going on for more than 40 years, damaging the Murray and threatening to destroy it,” Mr Weatherill said in a statement. 


More information can be found here



Published on: GreenCareer

The Senate Standing Committees on Economics is to conduct an inquiry into the Clean Energy Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 and related bills.


The bills propose to amend the Clean Energy Act 2011 and the Fuel Tax Act 2006 to reflect changes in coverage arrangements for gaseous fuels. The bills also propose to make a number of minor and technical amendments relating to the Carbon Farming Initiative and the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units, and to enable information sharing between relevant agencies and the proposed Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Submissions should be received by 5 June 2012. The reporting date is 18 June 2012.


More information is here.



Published on: EnergyCareer

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation for an agreement between NBN Co and SingTel Optus for the migration of Optus’ HFC subscribers to the NBN and the decommissioning of parts of Optus’ HFC network.


Broadly, under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the ACCC may authorise arrangements where it is satisfied that public benefits outweigh any public detriment likely to result from the arrangements.


“The ACCC acknowledges that this draft determination represents a finely balanced decision, drawing on public information and submissions and a large amount of confidential information provided by NBN Co and Optus,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.


“A wide range of arguments were put to the ACCC by Optus and NBN Co, but in essence our decision was based on weighing carefully two clear public benefits arising from the HFC Agreement against a potentially large but less clear detriment,” Mr Sims said.


The main public benefits of the agreement are, in the ACCC’s view, clear and quantifiable. The HFC Agreement will:

  • avoid the cost of operating the Optus HFC network to provide a service the NBN is also able to provide; and
  • deliver a lower cost HFC subscriber migration to the NBN.


Balanced against this, the HFC Agreement removes a potentially significant fixed line competitor to the NBN in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Competitive pressure from the Optus HFC network may have resulted in positive outcomes notably prompting NBN Co to improve its performance.


“The ACCC has examined these issues carefully and in great detail and a number of unique factors have reduced the detriments below that which would normally be expected,” Mr Sims said.


These factors included:

  • for a range of reasons unrelated to the HFC Agreement the footprint of the Optus HFC network is unlikely to be extended beyond the current 1.4 million homes, limiting the potential for its subscriber base to grow beyond its current level of around 400, 000 broadband subscribers.
  • the ACCC accepts that Optus is unlikely to undertake the large investment required to allow Optus to offer significantly faster products on the HFC network than those currently available. The Optus HFC network will, therefore, only provide a close substitute to the NBN for customers seeking broadband services that will be at the lower end of the range of services that the NBN will support.
  • over time, HFC customers demanding higher speed services are likely to be migrated by Optus to the NBN.  There are a range of views on how quickly Optus’ current HFC customers will want such higher speeds. While the ACCC did not form a view on the future need for high speed broadband, it did accept that the Optus HFC network would be uneconomic to operate once a critical mass of customers were lost.

“The ACCC also considers that some of the usually expected gains from competition in the performance of the NBN are, on closer examination, reduced,” Mr Sims said.


“For example, the regulatory approach which will ultimately apply to the NBN is intended to provide strong incentives for NBN Co to promote utilisation of the NBN and to be responsive to customer needs concerning speeds and other aspects of service quality.”


Given the above points, after practical assessment, the ACCC proposes to grant authorisation. Under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, the ACCC is required to prepare a draft determination in relation to an application for authorisation before it makes a final determination. The purpose of this draft determination is to test the ACCC’s views with the applicant and interested parties.

Published on: ICTCareer

The Western Australian Government has officially opened Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG) new iron ore berth in Port Hedland.


Berth AP3 is the first of two new berths being constructed at the town’s Herb Elliot Port, which will have a combined 120 million tonne export capacity by 2013.


State Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore said iron ore accounted for record sales of $62.8billion in 2011, a 29 per cent increase on the previous year, representing 59 per cent of WA’s total resources sales in 2011.



Published on: LogisticsCareer

The Western Australian Government has announced $5.2 million over four years to build the state’s international profile in science through the support of WA’s Nobel Laureates and the attraction of new research fellows.


Science and Innovation Minister John Day said the government was focused on building the state’s research profile internationally and building a strong knowledge economy.


“A strong foundation of knowledge and expertise is paramount to the continued growth and development of the State’s economy,” he said.


“This funding will be used to attract distinguished researchers to carry out research of strategic importance to the State through the WA Research Fellowships Program.


“The applicants will join high achievers such as Professor Shaun Collin, who was awarded a Fellowship in 2009 and moved to Perth from Queensland. Since his arrival, Professor Collin has enhanced the State’s research profile internationally in the areas of neuroscience, marine biology, ecology, deep-sea biology and sensory neurobiology.”


The Minister said the funding would also support the activities of WA’s Nobel Laureates, Dr Robin Warren and Professor Barry Marshall, to promote the State’s existing world-class research and innovation capabilities.


Published on: ResearchCareer

The Queensland Government has invited the plumbing industry to provide feedback on the proposed regulation amendments to reduce red tape in the industry.


State  Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg said the proposed changes to the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 would increase the scope of ‘notifiable works’ that can be undertaken without Council approval.


“Following the passage of amendments through Parliament in February, Building Codes Queensland has now released the draft tables outlining the proposed notifiable, minor and unregulated categories of work for consultation,” Dr Flegg said.


“Notifiable work will apply to most work on existing buildings, including extensions and additions.


“For Queenslanders, this means everyday plumbing work can be self-certified by the plumber, eliminating the need for local government permits which can be costly and cause delays.


“Work by plumbers and drainers will still be audited by the Plumbing Industry Council and local governments to ensure compliance and health and safety standards remain high.”


Dr Flegg said the proposed changes would create a more efficient process, saving time and money for local governments.


“By reducing the amount of routine work that must receive approval before commencement, these reforms will allow local governments to more precisely target their inspection programs towards high-risk areas and may lead to faster processing of applications.”


The industry has until Friday 22 June 2012 to make submissions.


The draft tables outlining the proposed notifiable, minor and unregulated categories of work can be viewed at:


Questions and comments on the draft schedules can be submitted by:

·Post to PO Box 15009 City East QLD 4002

·By email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

·Online through the Get Involved website at


For further questions about notifiable work, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1800 264 585.



Published on: TradesCareer

The HIA-Commonwealth Bank Housing Affordability Index has recorded the fifth straight quarter of improvement in its March 2012 report. The Index improved by 6.4 per cent in the March quarter, finishing 11.0 per cent higher over the year.


In the March quarter we observed a modest increase in earnings, a modest decline in lending rates and a softening in the median dwelling price, so all factors moved in a direction which improved housing affordability,” said HIA’s Senior Economist, Andrew Harvey.


“Cuts to the RBA cash rate totalling 50 basis points in late 2011  should have provided a much larger boost to affordability in the quarter but the impact was eroded as lenders widened the margin between mortgage rates and the cash rate. After accounting for the wider margins, the average mortgage rate during the March quarter was only 13 basis points lower than in the December quarter.”


The cut to the official cash rate in May is expected to see further improvement in housing affordability.


Sydney and Perth both recorded deteriorating affordability in the March quarter of 2012 with their indices falling by 1.0 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively. Affordability improved in the remainder of Australia’s capital cities with Melbourne up by 7.3 per cent, Brisbane up by 6.3 per cent, Adelaide up by 7.3 per cent, Hobart up by 3.0 per cent and Canberra up by 7.1 per cent.


Outside of the capital cities, affordability improved in all states with the exception of Victoria which was unchanged. Affordability in non-metropolitan New South Wales was up by 2.4 per cent, Queensland was up by 4.5 per cent, South Australia was up by 6.4 per cent, Western Australia was up by 8.7 per cent and Tasmania was up by 0.4 per cent.

Published on: TradesCareer

Federal Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten has convened the 114th meeting of the National Workplace Relations Consultative Council (NWRCC).


The council was asked by Mr Shorten to consider a range of proposals to amened the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 to improve financial accountability and transparency in registered organisations and to increase penalties to improve Fair Work Australia’s (FWA) investigation process.


The council considered the following suggestions made by Mr Shorten:

  • provide a greater degree of disclosure of remuneration, expenditure and pecuniary interests of officials;
  • enhance the capacity of Fair Work Australia to make inquiries and investigate suspected breaches of the Act;
  • increase a range of civil penalties currently imposed under the Act; and
  • increase awareness of financial governance and accounting obligations.

 The Council has given in principle support to the proposals put forward by Minister Shorten and supports the passage of amendments reflecting these proposals in the Parliament, subject to consultation on the final detail over coming days.


Published on: HRCareer

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten have announced the Federal Government will conduct a review into bullying in the workplace.


The review will aim to investigate the nature, causes and extent of workplace bullying in the country while considering proposals to prevent bullying cultures developing in the workplace while helping those that have been the victim of workplace bullying.


The announcement comes after the Productivity Commission estimated that workplace bullying sheared off between $6 billion and $36 billion from the economy.


The terms of reference of the review are the following:

  • the prevalence of workplace bullying in Australia and the experience of victims of workplace bullying;
  • the role of workplace cultures in preventing and responding to bullying and the capacity for workplace-based policies and procedures to influence the incidence and seriousness of workplace bullying;
  • the adequacy of existing education and support services to prevent and respond to workplace bullying and whether there are further opportunities to raise awareness of workplace bullying such as community forums;
  • whether the scope to improve coordination between governments, regulators, health service providers and other stakeholders to address and prevent workplace bullying;
  • whether there are regulatory, administrative or cross-jurisdictional and international legal and policy gaps that should be addressed in the interests of enhancing protection against and providing an early response to workplace bullying, including through appropriate complaint mechanisms;
  • whether the existing regulatory frameworks provide a sufficient deterrent against workplace bullying;
  • the most appropriate ways of ensuring bullying culture or behaviours are not transferred from one workplace to another; and
  • possible improvements to the national evidence base on workplace bullying.


The Review will be undertaken by the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment, comprising members from both major parties. It will consult extensively with the community and will report by 30 November 2012.




Engineering services company Hastie Group has announced the appointment of Voluntary Administrators after it was revealed last week that the company had found accounting irregularities to the value of an estimated $20 million. The impending collapse of the company casts doubt over the 2,000 people employed in Victoria and New South Wales.


A syndicate of banks led by the ANZ and including the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Westpac, Bank of Scotland, Ulster Bank, HSBC Australia and HSBC Middle East, is owed $500 million, thought to be split equally between debt and equity.


The company announced irregularities in its Services Group – Northern Region Business, and is expected to shave $20 million off the company’s final profits. After preliminary investigations, the company found the irregularities date from the 2009 financial year and are the result of deliberate actions of a current employee.


The irregularities have compounded existing issues with debt with the company’s banks, raising concerns that the company’s $540 million debt could be forced to be written down in the event of the company’s collapse.


The company has referred the matter to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


The Directors of Hastie Group have appointed Ian Carson, David McEvoy and Craig Crosbie of PB Advisory as administrators of the company and its 44 subsidiaries.


Hastie has operations in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, and the Middle East, employing around 7000 people in total.





Published on: EngineeringCareer

The International Square Kilometre Array Organisation has announced a dual site solution for the construction of the Square Kilometre Array telescope, with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa sharing the construction of the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope.


The SKA Organisation found that both sites were well suited for the construction of the array, but South Africa was the preferred site.


South Africa will host the majority of SKA dishes in Phase 1, combined with the MeerKAT dishes. Further SKA dishes will be added to the ASKAP array in Australia, while mid frequency dishes in Phase II will be constructed in South Africa and New Zealand.


The South African project is located in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, while the Australian - New Zealand joint site spreads from the Murchison Shire in Western Australia's mid-west to the top of New Zealand's South Island.


Australia will construct a total of 60 dishes, all equipped with Australia’s phased array feed technology.


“This hugely important step for the project allows us to progress the design and prepare for the construction phase of the telescope. The SKA will transform our view of the Universe; with it we will see back to the moments after the Big Bang and discover previously unexplored parts of the cosmos.”  Dr Michiel van Haarlem, Interim Director General of the SKA Organisation said.


The SKA will enable astronomers to glimpse the universe in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang, with hopes of further investigating the nature of gravity and possibly discovering life beyond Earth.


Factors taken into account during the site selection process included levels of radio frequency interference, the long term sustainability of a radio quiet zone, the physical characteristics of the site, long distance data network connectivity, the operating and infrastructure costs as well as the political and working environment.


The agreement was reached by the Members of the SKA Organisation who did not bid to host the SKA (Canada, China, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). The Office of the SKA Organisation will now lead a detailed definition period to clarify the implementation.


Minister for Innovation Senator Chris Evans welcomed the decision to share the $1.9 billion telescope, saying the project will benefit from pre-existing infrastructure and technology.


“A significant amount of funding has already been invested into developing first class research facilities like the CSIRO Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) in Western Australia,” Senator Evans said.


“Sharing the project means researchers will get the best possible results by capitalising on the respective infrastructure and strengths of both sites.”


The $2 billion project, comprising 3000 dishes, will be funded by a consortium of 20 nations. Concerns have been expressed, however, about the availability of long-term funding for the project in the light of the current economic turbulence.


SKA South Africa has set aside R1.4-billion for the first phase of the project which will see the completion of South Africa's MeerKAT radiotelescope, while Australia has spent A$220 million on its national telescope project.


Published on: ICTCareer

The Federal Government has approved the first Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA), granting permission to the new iron ore mining Roy Hill to seek skilled overseas labour.


Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen said the EMA would allow Roy Hill to sponsor up to 1,715 workers for the three-year construction phase through the 457 visa program, where they cannot find Australians to fill the positions.


"With more than 8,000 workers required during the construction phase of the Roy Hill project, there simply aren't enough people in the local workforce to get the job done,” Mr Bowen said.


Mr Bowen said the agreement would also allow for future employment of Australian locals.


"As part of the EMA, Roy Hill will provide up to 2,000 training places for Australians. This includes places for more than 200 Australian apprentices and trainees, as well as preparing over 100 Indigenous Australians to work in the construction industry," Mr Bowen said.


The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) slammed the decision, saying it panders to business interests while compromising on job security.


“Apart from the impact on local workers, the CFMEU is also very concerned that these workers owe their temporary visas to their employer, and are under constant threat of deportation if they stand up for their rights or complain about dangerous conditions,” CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan.



Published on: TradesCareer

The Western Australian Government has announced a $57.14 million funding injection for Karratha’s new health campus.


State Health Minister Kim Hames said the injection now made the campus the largest investment in a single piece of health infrastructure in the state.


“The additional funds will allow the development of a ‘one stop shop’ for health care, bringing together in the one place services such as acute care, population health and community mental health and drug services on to a new site that will have capacity to support potential partnerships with other private and non-government health providers; human service agencies and retail providers,” Mr Hames said.


Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said growth in the Pilbara triggered a review of services planning and the new health campus would be developed as an integrated district health service and support the smaller health services such as Roebourne, Wickham, Tom Price, Onslow and Paraburdoo.


“The intended design of the Karratha Health Campus will facilitate the delivery of seamless health care for the West Pilbara community through better integration and co-location of services and improved information technology,” Mr Grylls said.


Published on: HealthCareer

The Western Australian Government has announced a $8.9 million funding package for regional airports across the state.


The funding is comprised of $6.9 million from the State Government’s Royalties for Regions scheme, with the remaining $2 million coming through the department of Transport’s Regional Airports Development Scheme.


“This year, 36 regional airports will share up to $8.9million for infrastructure upgrades, maintenance programs and infrastructure planning studies to provide improved air transport access for communities, safer emergency evacuations and greater tourism opportunities,” State Transport Minister Troy Buswell said.


The largest grant for the 2012-13 funding round was awarded to Fitzroy Crossing Airport ($1.8 million) to reconstruct the runway. This project is co-funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Aerodrome Upgrade Grant program.


Merredin Airport was awarded the second largest grant of $1 million to re-surface the runway and taxiway. These improvements will allow regular passenger transport flights to operate safely at Fitzroy Crossing and pilot training to continue at Merredin Airport.



Published on: LogisticsCareer

Telstra’s new infrastructure-as-a-service cloud service platform has been independently certified as complaint to industry security standards.


The service is now ISO27001 certified, meaning the company’s dedicated cloud computing platforms, backup and recovery service, associated operation systems and tools have been assessed to the highest industry security standard.


Mark Pratley, Telstra General Manager of Cloud Computing, said the accreditation of Telstra’s  infrastructure-as-a-service platform is another part of the organisation’s ongoing investment in cloud.


“The cloud market, in particular infrastructure-as-a-service, represents a new approach to how IT is delivered for organisations and Telstra is very serious about making sure our cloud computing platform is not just secure but independently audited, giving our customers the confidence their data and applications are protected and safe,” Mr Pratley said.


“Receiving ISO27001 certification follows a strict independent audit of our infrastructure and security practices in connection with our infrastructure-as-a-service platform, which are in accordance with strict global standards,” Mr Pratley said,


Published on: ICTCareer

The New South Wales Government has given planning approval for the construction on the new 50-bed mental health unit as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the wagga Wagga Base Hospital Redevelopment.


State Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, said the new unit will considerably improve the region’s capacity to deal with community needs.


“The number of mental health beds will total 50, after an increase of 30 overall and will include a 20-bed sub-acute unit,” Mrs Skinner said.


“The unit will provide a modern environment for the care and treatment of 50 residential patients,” she said.


The Member for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, said the new facility will include a direct link into the new acute hospital and is expected to be operational by 2013.


“The new mental health unit is the first phase of the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital redevelopment, which will be built in progressive phases to allow the hospital to continue operation during construction,” Mr Maguire said.


“Phase 2, which includes new facilities for emergency services, operating theatre and inpatient unit, will start immediately after the occupation of the mental health building,” he said.


The project is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth governments.



Published on: HealthCareer

Bulk billing rates have reached a record high in the March quarter, with 81.2 of HP services being bulk billed.


“While bulk billing rates can fluctuate, the Government is pleased to see they have been trending up for some years and are now at record highs,” Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said.


Ms Plibersek said in the March quarter bulk billing records were also set for pathology (88%), diagnostic imaging (74.1%), and radiation therapy (54.8%).


Ms Plibersek said $4.3 billion was paid out in Medicare benefits in the quarter, up from $3.9 billion in the 2011 March quarter, an increase of 9.8%. This was in respect to 83.1 million services.



Published on: HealthCareer

A report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that Australian children’s oral health as ‘improved markedly’ over the last 30 years.


The Child Dental Health Survey Australia 2007: 30-year trends in child oral health report describes the overall oral health status of Australian children examined by school dental staff in 2007, compared with that in 1977.


‘The good news is that between 1977 and the mid-1990s, the average number of deciduous (baby) teeth affected by caries halved in children aged 6,’ said Professor Kaye Roberts‑Thomson of the AIHW’s Dental Statistics and Research Unit.


Caries in the permanent teeth of children aged 12 declined even more dramatically—in 1993, children aged 12 had less than one-quarter the number of teeth affected by caries than in 1977.


‘However, in both age groups, the average number of caries has increased slightly since the mid-1990s,’ Professor Roberts-Thomson said.


The report found that just under half (46 per cent) of children examined had a history of decay in their baby teeth. In contrast, one-tenth of children aged 6 with the most extensive history of tooth decay had almost 10 baby teeth affected—over 5 times the national average.


‘Among older children, 39% and 60% of children aged 12 and 15 respectively had some history of decay in their permanent teeth. The average number of teeth affected was one for 12 year olds and two for those aged 15. Again, the one-tenth of 12–15 year olds with the most extensive history of tooth decay had much higher numbers of teeth affected, with between 5.2 and 8.6 permanent teeth affected. This was more than 4 times the national average for those age groups,’ Professor Roberts-Thomson said.


The report can be found here



Published on: HealthCareer

A new Australian study has confirmed the accuracy of a modern non-invasive cardiac output monitor that can replace a 40-year-old standard in this field.

The collaborative paper by researchers at The University of Queensland School of Medicine, the Florey Neuroscience Institute and the University of Melbourne compared the current accepted method of measuring cardiac output with a non-invasive accurate ultrasound monitor called USCOM.

The current gold standard cardiac monitor is the Pulmonary Artery Catheter (PAC), which involves insertion of a catheter into a patient's neck or groin.

The catheter is then positioned in their arteries through the heart before heating or cooling the blood.

Alternatively, the newer USCOM method simply involves placing a small ultrasound probe on the chest.

Professor Malcolm West, a Professor of Medicine at The University of Queensland School of Medicine and a paper co-author said: “The USCOM device is a simple method for accurately and non-invasively measuring central circulation a goal of cardiology for many years.

“To be non-invasive is a great advantage over the PAC.

“To be non-invasive and more accurate, means the device has the potential to change the way we approach management of many cardiovascular diseases including sepsis, heart failure and hypertension.”

Lead author, UQ School of Medicine PhD student Rob Phillips said the new study added to the growing global body of independent evidence which demonstrated that the USCOM device offered critical care clinicians a new gold standard for cardiovascular monitoring which could replace costly and dangerous catheter-based technologies.

“It confirms that the growing worldwide USCOM user base has the very best tool available to guide lifesaving cardiovascular treatments and improve the management of critical and widespread diseases,” Mr Phillips said.

The peer-reviewed paper was published recently in the Critical Care Research and Practice journal.

The researchers surgically implanted accurate measurement devices onto the great cardiac arteries, and then monitored their cardiac output using USCOM and PAC at rest and as medications were introduced.

They found that USCOM had a 1 per cent error compared with the surgical device, while the PAC error was 17 per cent, and that USCOM was six to eight times more accurate than the PAC for detecting changes associated with the common drugs used in cardiovascular management.

USCOM's non-invasive system uses external ultrasound similar to that used in pregnancy.

The ultrasound signal bounces off the red blood cells as they flow across the cardiac valves, the site of true cardiac output, and producing a unique echo from which the device then counts the cell echoes with extremely high accuracy allowing high fidelity cardiac output measurement.

Because of its accuracy the USCOM monitor is most useful for diagnosing circulatory abnormalities and guiding the standard interventions of fluid inotropes and vaso-active therapies.

The USCOM monitor has many clinical applications ranging from paediatrics, critical care, anaesthesia and emergency medicine.

New USCOM research is now being focused on improved understanding the great global healthcare challenges of sepsis, heart failure and hypertension, and their treatment.

Watch how it works:

Download paper -

Published on: HealthCareer

Feature Story

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I am Tim Hall; a red-blooded, beer-drinking, Commodore-driving Australian male who has no interest in watching sports – at least, not the sports played by humans.

This week marked an astounding leap forward, scientifically speaking - taking a picture of something that cannot be seen.

Chiropractic is a surprisingly popular form of alternative medicine - so mainstream that it’s hardly ‘alternative’ and so non-scientific that it’s barely ‘medicine’.

Our cars are being programmed to kill us.

Blockchain is the programming that gives Bitcoin its value, but it could be much more than that. Blockchain could change the world.