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ADHA launches program to modernise national digital health capabilities

Following on from the Request for Information (RFI) inviting stakeholders to contribute to a conversation about the future of the national infrastructure in 2019, the Australian Digital Health Agency (Agency) has commenced a program of work to undertake activities to modernise the national digital health infrastructure to better connect Australia’s healthcare system and deliver significant improvements in the quality and efficiency of healthcare.

The CEO of the ADHA stated that 2020 has demonstrated the tangible benefits of a better-connected healthcare system. In addition to the benefits of telehealth and electronic prescriptions, healthcare providers are in increasing numbers using My Health Record as a safe and secure way to upload and access documents to support patient care. The modernisation of the national digital health infrastructure will provide the framework for future innovation.

The National Infrastructure Modernisation (NIM) program has been developed with feedback from stakeholders to consider what a digital health ecosystem could be over a 10-year horizon. It supports Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy and the connections between state and territory government services.

The Program will deliver three key outcomes for Australian healthcare providers and patients:

  • a secure and sustainable digital infrastructure with improved ability to innovate and expand future capabilities and services nationally​;
  • ensure that digital health needs for all users are further progressed through a modern, future-proofed seamless digital platform​; and
  • ensure that the benefits of digital health technologies and services supported by the national infrastructure are realised for consumers and clinicians, leading to improved health and wellbeing for all Australians.

The Agency’s Chief Information Officer noted that the tender announced recently is focussed on replacing the current gateway services for the national infrastructure, including the My Health Record system. This is the first step in the procurement to increase the opportunity to deliver contemporary digital services and enhance connections across the digital landscape. The importance of a connected health care system has never been more evident than in 2020.

The government looks forward to working with all its stakeholders to deliver the digital health products and services Australia needs while promoting a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that following the recent release of the national digital health skills and training plan, Australia’s largest healthcare workforce of more than 400,000 nurses and midwives can now assess their digital health knowledge and skills against a new professional development framework.

Developed by nurses and midwives, the National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework outlines the core digital health skills and knowledge required for professional practice in the digital era covering patient care, leadership, advocacy, education, and research.

As frontline healthcare professionals, nurses and midwives are playing a leading role in Australia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Every Australian has benefited from the commitment and leadership of nurses and midwives.

Nurses and midwives have long been using technology to care for their patients. The first of its kind in Australia, the framework highlights the specific skills and capabilities necessary to deliver contemporary care.

The framework focuses on digital professionalism; leadership and advocacy; data and information quality; information-enabled care; and technology. This announcement follows an announcement in September of the National Digital Health Workforce and Education Roadmap to help the Australian health workforce use technology and further drive the digital transformation of health services to meet community demand.

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