Digital health strategy progress ‘significant’

Significant progress, state and territory support and a start on implementation are being claimed in the 2018-19 Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) annual report.

The report, tabled in federal parliament this week, outlines the agency’s outcomes and operations in the year to June 30, 2019.

ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said the report “shows the agency is making significant progress towards the key priorities set out in the National Digital Health Strategy, endorsed by all state and territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments Health Council”.

“Whereas in previous years our focus was on rebuilding momentum for digital health and on designing the way forward with our partners, in 2018-19 the agency successfully implemented key parts of the National Digital Health Strategy to support improved health outcomes for Australians.”

According to the report, in 2018–19 the agency:

  • Provided My Health Records for 90 per cent of Australians, equipping people and their care professionals with centralised, digital access to vital health information.
  • Improved access to clinical information in My Health Record, with more than one billion documents uploaded to the system and significant increases in the number of providers uploading information.
  • Developed a national framework, and new interoperability standards, to ensure health professionals can securely and quickly send patient information to one another without using a fax machine.
  • Released the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List document type to further improve medicines safety, piggybacking on the success of the Medicines View document and its aggregation of all relevant medicines and allergy data in a single, real-time view.
  • Facilitated consultations across every state and territory to lay the foundation for Australia’s next Interoperability Roadmap, which will set the direction for improving the ability of health systems to securely communicate with one another.
  • Supported a campaign to encourage community pharmacies to register for My Health Record with 85 per cent of community pharmacies registered as of June 2019.

“Today, My Health Record is a fundamental feature of Australia’s health infrastructure, with a total of 1.5 billion documents in the system, with 523 million of those uploaded since 22 February 2019,” Mr Kelsey said.

“We’ve made important strides in a range of other areas, too, such as supporting secure messaging and information exchange between healthcare providers.

“These types of accomplishments are improvements in themselves, but they also provide the foundations for future progress. We look forward to building on those foundations with all our partners in the community to support improvements in the health and wellbeing of all Australians.”

In her message, ADHA Chair Dr Elizabeth Deveny thanked “all staff and stakeholders who have supported the agency so far”, and made it clear ADHA welcomes new voices to “the ever-developing national conversation on digital health”.

Acknowledging there is a long way to go, Dr Deveny said: “We are still in the early days of transformation, but the broad outlines of an equitable, accessible and better future are coming into view.”

The Australian Digital Health Agency annual report 2018-19 is available here.

Check Also

Calling innovators as MS prize is launched

In partnership with WIRED Brand Lab and other collaborators, such as Shift.ms and Techstars, Novartis …