The National Digital Health Strategy – Safe, seamless, and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia – identifies seven key priorities for digital health in Australia including delivery of a My Health Record for every Australian by 2018 – unless they choose not to have one.
More than 5 million Australians already have a My Health Record, which provides potentially lifesaving access to clinical reports of medications, allergies, laboratory tests, and chronic conditions. Patients and consumers can access their My Health Record at any time online or on their mobile phone.
The Strategy will also enable paper-free secure messaging for all clinicians and will set new standards to allow real-time sharing of patient information between hospitals and other care professionals.
The Strategy will prioritise development of new digital services to support newborn children, the elderly, and people living with chronic disease. It will also support wider use of telehealth to improve access to services, especially in remote and rural Australia and set standards for better information sharing in medical emergencies – between the ambulance, the hospital, and the GP.
The Strategy was developed by all the governments of Australia in close partnership with patients, carers and the clinical professionals who serve them – together with leaders in industry and science.
The Strategy draws on evidence of clinical and economic benefit from many sources within Australia and overseas, and emphasises the priority of patient confidentiality as new digital services are implemented. The ADHA has established a Cyber Security Centre to ensure Australian healthcare is at the cutting edge of international data security.
The Australian Digital Health Agency, which has responsibility for co-ordinating implementation of the strategy, is now consulting with partners across the community to develop a series of Frameworks for Action. The Frameworks will start to be published later this year to inform implementation of the strategy.
Dr Kim Webber is the General Manager of Strategy at the Australian Digital Health Agency overseeing the development of the National Digital Health Strategy, policy, privacy, program delivery and benefits portfolios.
Kim brings a rural and remote perspective to the Agency’s work after a career focussing on rural and remote health policy.
Kim was previously CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance and CEO of Rural Health Workforce Australia. She was also a technical advisor to the World Health Organization on the rural health workforce review.