Digital health: focus on interoperability, collaboration bolstered with national strategy

Friday, 23 February, 2024

Digital health: focus on interoperability, collaboration bolstered with national strategy

The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched the National Digital Health Strategy 2023–2028 and the accompanying Strategy Delivery Roadmap that set out a vision and pathway for the country’s digital health future.

The five-year strategy plan is aimed at achieving four key outcomes for digital health: digitally enabled — health services are connected, safe, secure and sustainable; person-centred — Australians are empowered to look after their health and wellbeing, with the right information and tools; inclusive — equitable access to health services, when and where they are needed; data-driven — readily available data informs decision-making at the individual, community and national level, contributing to a sustainable health system.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole PSM said the Strategy and Delivery Roadmap were the result of a productive collaboration between federal, state and territory governments and shaped through extensive consultations with consumers, carers, healthcare providers, research organisations and technology innovators.

“In an age of precision medicine, characterised by healthcare innovations like wearable technology and AI-driven genomic research, we are witnessing a paradigm shift towards personalised and preventative health care. The National Digital Health Strategy is essential to support this shift while fostering a connected, secure, inclusive and ethical healthcare system, backed by robust legislation,” Cattermole said.

“The Strategy captures areas of reform that require a nationally co-coordinated effort across all jurisdictions to drive transformation in digital health. The powerful partnerships behind this Strategy and Roadmap will ensure that no matter what corner of the country they call home, Australians can reap the benefits of digital health care that is tailored to their unique circumstances.”

Agency Chief Clinical Advisor Dr Steve Hambleton said advances in technology are already improving health outcomes and reducing waste. Clinical benefit and consumer engagement can only get better as programs such as sharing diagnostic tests to My Health Record by default roll out.

“Immediate access to critical diagnostic information wherever requested is a quantum leap forward in supporting clinicians to make the best decisions for the patient.

“Digital tools will never replace doctors but doctors who use digital tools will likely replace doctors who don’t,” Hambleton said. 

The roadmap initiatives are based on some key principles to guide partners and collaboration:

  • Digital health solutions support a person-centred health and wellbeing system.
  • Digital health is integral to care delivery and complements in-person care.
  • Solutions are co-designed to reduce rather than create access barriers and to be fit for purpose and accessible.
  • Solutions are developed to make information discoverable and accessible.
  • Digital solutions are interoperable, reusable, coordinated, efficient and supported by the use of national healthcare identifiers.
  • Governance, use and management of data is respectful, culturally responsive, meaningful and appropriate.
  • Data and information are shared in accordance with jurisdiction and partnership actions under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
  • Initiatives are developed and implemented with respect to consumer rights on access, safety, respect, partnership, information, privacy and feedback.

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