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Australia’s digital health pipeline in 10 years

In the coming decade, Australia is expected to carry out several digital health initiatives that it outlined in its recently published blueprint. 

An accompanying Action Plan to the 2023-2033 Digital Health Blueprint explains each initiative and how target outcomes are going to be met in short, medium, and long-term horizons.

Many of those initiatives, such as electronic prescribing, the Health Delivery Modernisation Program, and several digital population health tools, are ongoing. Meanwhile, a couple of initiatives outlined are in the pipeline, including:

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  • continued modernisation of My Health Record and making sharing of other key health information by default to My Health Record;

  • connecting Allied Health to My Health Record;

  • supporting preliminary work to develop a national legislative framework on health information sharing in states and territories;

  • establishing Genomics Australia, which will guide the responsible collection, storage, use and management of genomic data;

  • Dollars Going to Care, which will publish standardised and benchmarked financial information of residential aged care providers, promoting financial transparency and accountability;

  • Government Provider Management System, which will allow aged care providers to self-manage, view, and maintain their records with the government

WHY IT MATTERS

The modernisation of Australia’s digital health record system is a major focus of the Department of Health and Aged Care in the coming years. It is working to fulfil some of the recommendations provided by the Strengthening Medicare Task Force last year, including overhauling the “clunky” My Health Record and establishing robust national governance and legislative frameworks to better connect health data across the health system.

“Planning for the modernisation of the My Health Record system to meet [national health information] sharing requirements for consumers and healthcare providers is underway, with future phases to be considered by [the] government,” it said. 

Last year, the government also invested A$5.8 million ($3.8 million) to help allied health software vendors connect to My Health Record. Funding was also set aside for initial legislative policy and analysis work by states and territories to establish a national legislative framework for national health information sharing across settings and borders.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Australia’s Digital Health Blueprint envisions a “trusted, timely and accessible use of digital and data underpins a personalised and connected health and wellbeing experience for all Australians.”

It has identified four key outcomes which revolve around digitally empowering consumers and the health workforce, safe data and information sharing, and building modern digital foundations of a standard-based health system. 

The blueprint was created to meet growing expectations and demand from consumers to have more control over their health through digital means. It consolidates the federal government’s long-term investment in digital health, as well as complements the National Digital Health Strategy, which is currently being redefined.

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