Friday, August 04, 2017

Health Ministers Have Approved The National Digital Health Strategy and The Agency Workplan 2018-2022

Here is a press release:

Health Ministers approve Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy

Digital information is the bedrock of high quality healthcare. The benefits for patients are significant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better informed treatment decisions. Digital health can help save and improve lives.

To support the uptake of digital health services, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council today approved Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy (2018-2022).
In a communique issued after their council meeting in Brisbane today, the Health Ministers noted:
“The Strategy has identified the priority areas that form the basis of Australia’s vision for digital health. It will build on Australia’s existing leadership in digital health care and support consumers and clinicians to put the consumer at the centre of their health care and provide choice, control, and transparency.”
Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) CEO Tim Kelsey welcomed COAG approval for the new Strategy.
“Australians are right to be proud of their health services - they are among the best, most accessible, and efficient in the world. Today we face new health challenges and rapidly rising demand for services. It is imperative that we work together to harness the power of technology and foster innovation to support high quality, sustainable health and care for all, today and into the future,” he said.
The 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.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) President Dr Michael Gannon has welcomed the Strategy’s focus on safe and secure exchange of clinical information, as it will empower doctors to deliver improved patient care.
“Doctors need access to secure digital records. Having to wade through paperwork and chase individuals and organisations for information is archaic. The AMA has worked closely with the ADHA on the development of the new strategy and looks forward to close collaboration on its implementation,” Dr Gannon said.
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) President Dr Bastian Seidel said that the RACGP is working closely and collaboratively with the ADHA and other stakeholders to ensure that patients, GPs, and other health professionals have access to the best possible data.
“The Strategy will help facilitate the sharing of high-quality commonly understood information which can be used with confidence by GPs and other health professionals. It will also help ensure this patient information remains confidential and secure and is available whenever and wherever it is needed,” Dr Seidel said.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia National President George Tambassis said that technology would increasingly play an important role in supporting sustainable healthcare delivery.
“The Guild is committed to helping build the digital health capabilities of community pharmacies and advance the efficiency, quality, and delivery of healthcare to improve health outcomes for all Australians.
“We are working with the ADHA to ensure that community pharmacy dispensing and medicine-related services are fully integrated into the My Health Record – and are committed to supporting implementation of the National Digital Health Strategy as a whole,” George Tambassis said.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) President Dr Shane Jackson said that the Strategy would support more effective medication management, which would improve outcomes for patients and improve the efficiency of health services.
“There is significant potential for pharmacists to use digital health records as a tool to communicate with other health professionals, particularly during transitions of care,” Dr Jackson said.
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.
Consumers Health Forum (CHF) Leanne Wells CEO said that the Strategy recognises the importance of empowering Australians to be makers and shapers of the health system rather than just the users and choosers.
“We know that when consumers are activated and supported to better self-manage and coordinate their health and care, we get better patient experience, quality care, and better health outcomes.
“Digital health developments, including My Health Record, are ways in which we can support that to happen. It’s why patients should also be encouraged to take greater control of their health information,” Leanne Wells said.
Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) President Emma Hossack said that the Strategy distils seven key themes that set expectations at a national level.“The strategy recognises the vital role industry plays in providing the smarts and innovation on top of government infrastructure. This means improved outcomes, research, and productivity. Industry is excited to work with the ADHA to develop the detailed actions to achieve the vision which could lead to Australia benefitting from one of the strongest health software industries in the world,” Emma Hossack said.
Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) CEO Dr Louise Schaper welcomed the Strategy’s focus on workforce development.
“If our complex health system is to realise the benefits from information and technology, and become more sustainable, we need clinical leaders with a sound understanding of digital health,” Dr Schaper said.
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 ADHA, which has responsibility for co-ordinating implementation of the Strategy, will now be consulting with partners across the community to develop a Framework for Action. The framework will be published later this year and will detail implementation plans for the Strategy.
The National Digital Health Strategy Safe, seamless and secure: evolving health and care to meet the needs of modern Australia is available on https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/australias-national-digital-health-strategy
Notes for Editors
Media contact and requests for interview
David Cooper, Senior Media Manager Mobile: 0428 772 421 Email: media@digitalhealth.gov.au

Here is the link:

https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/news-and-events/news/health-ministers-approve-australia-s-national-digital-health-strategy

You can download the Strategy from this link:

https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/australias-national-digital-health-strategy

Comments encouraged!

David

 

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seems to be in the ADHA website - https://www.digitalhealth.gov.au/australias-national-digital-health-strategy

Anonymous said...

Presumably Tim Kelsey will tell us all about the National Strategy and the Workplan at HIC-17 in Brisbane on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Happy it has arrived, I feel the same as when the curtains fall after sitting through a really bad jazz band

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

173 references.

I must be going blind, maybe someone could help me. I can't see any that discuss the problems and difficulties of implementing digital health; any references to submissions that were critical of previous strategies; links to papers that discuss the downside of eHealth and eHealth Records, specifically how to maintain an accurate, up-to-date, reliable and trusted health record.

If there aren't any such references, how has the strategy learned the lessons of previous failures and of warnings of dangers and potential difficulties?

It's specifically missing any mention to a problem identified in the AFR article "Five years, one rebrand and $1 billion later, doctors remain unconvinced that it has any clinical value."

It might have been useful to ask "why do GPs not see value in the system?" and then discuss how to deliver value that GPs would appreciate.

IMHO, it's déjà vu all over again.

Andrew McIntyre said...

It is deju vu and the document could have been written 20 years ago, and probably was by "healthconnect". It lauds state governments who have been laggards wrt standards compliance and innovation. Its big on rhetoric but short on details or actual plans although everything will come together in 2022, presumably that is after some peoples contracts expire?

We have had 2 decades of governments pushing vendor every which way, but never in he direction of base level software quality and standards compliance. They think their tower of babel will be built by 2022 when everything will be seamless. They are yet to work out that the workers don't speak the same language or agree on units of measurement, but the artists impressions look great, except perhaps the need of more disabled ramps?

We need solid building blocks such as a high quality comprehensive medication terminology, but after many years that remains a pipe dream. I think HealthConnect/NETHA/ADHA must have been the inspiration for Utopia?

Anonymous said...

Anyone know where the supposed costing and benefits supplements are? And no " framework for action"? Not off to exactly a delivery on time start. I to find it a heavy read, wonder if the Health Minister read it and even will actually use it as a constraint in their own implementation strategies. Up against the Jurisdictions similar works this falls short.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, going on current Agency construct it will be years of confusion and conflicting directions, there are many competing silos formed and the organisational processes and workplan are a mish mash of confusion and seemingly a do whatever approach depending on what someone thinks is right regardless of any sort of alignment to a greater good. It has to be the most unstructured workplace I have had to work in, many of us are looking elsewhere and quickly. From a technical leadership perspective there is none, I struggle understanding how this Strategy will be translated into anything of value.

Tim is a nice enough chap but he and a large proportion of his executives are just not business operators and do not belong in the technology design and operate space. It is sad I had such professional aspiration when I joined.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:40 AM. That does not sound good, for all there faults NEHTA and the eHealth branch had an operating structures that would have been simple enough to build on, noting there would be some disconnects that would need some ironing out. But in reality it is an enterprisebthe consists of usual corporate structures and some product life cycles and development lifecycles. A year on and they seem to be struggling with 300 people, something tells me they are not ready or not the right organisation to be rolling out such a bold strategy and the MyHR. Perhaps now the strategy has been delivered the Board will make some strategic changes for Australia

Bernard Robertson-Dunn said...

Anon 8:58am "supposed costing and benefits supplements"

What costing and benefits supplements? There is no mention of supplements.

There's no estimate of the cost of implementing the strategy, there are no justifications for the supposed cost savings.

Not only are there no costings, there's no discussion of options; no decisions and their justifications; neither is there any indication of who is going to do what.

But wait, there's more - there's no robust (or even trivial) risk analysis of the strategy or its initiatives. The two biggest ((and obvious) risks are that the Australian population will react badly and that GPs won't use the system. I can't see any reference to either or how these risks will be addressed. I suspect the authors of the strategy have adopted the usual project management trick of including a step "then a miracle happens". But there's nothing that looks like a plan so we can't tell.

IMHO the biggest failing of the whole approach is the lack of skin in the game for the states. As long at the Federal government wants to waste money doing mostly useless things but not reducing the funding to the states, they'll agree to anything. If the states were made to pay for it then a totally different outcome would have resulted.

Anonymous said...

Bernard, that was why I asked, from memory there was suppose to be coatings, benefits etc... where are they? Has ADHA not fulfilled the contract or are the tax payers being taken for mugs by the current government yet again? One or both need a complete change.

Dr David More MB PhD FACHI said...

Because the Plan lacks a subsequent to be developed work plan - there is no costing for implementation of the plan.

The last para of Page 15 says it all:

"The Agency will operate as a leader and facilitator, supporting and empowering health consumers, healthcare providers and industry. Given the Agency’s ongoing commitment to co-production, the next step in implementation is to co-design a Framework for Action with the broader health and care sector to agree an implementation plan. This co- design is imperative to ensure that the national priorities of this Strategy complement existing investment in digital health initiatives by industry and state and territory health departments and the broader health sector"

The Framework for Action is to be laid out and costed I understand. Presumably there will also be evaluation criteria, benefits etc.

David.

Anonymous said...

So, it's not really a strategy, it's a plan for a plan. Or maybe they are just planning to plan to create a plan. Lots of work for everyone, just no outcomes.
Bureaucracy gone mad.

Anonymous said...

Technically a strategy is different to a plan and a process, I would say the consultants have been careful to seperate these concerns. So when ready, one should ask- does this work articulate why and what? The implementation plans will filter down over time. I agree there is more missing than said. You really get the sense this could have been more succinct if the Kelsey homage to his ego writing style was omitted, the boy sure can waffle.

Anonymous said...

Strategically the focus on the MyHR concept and design will become an Achilles Heal, I foresee it dragging innovation down, widening our equality issue, and probably reducing our word leading administrative prowess.

I do agree with a previous commenter it is now time for a change in the leadership ranks at ADHA, the period of selling a dream for funding has done its job, we now need technical and business leadership if this to ever work, sorry but the current is not that breed.

Anonymous said...

Wonder where on the agenda this Kelsey play was, the Health Minster has bigger battles going on like the plan to restrict the use of health insurance in public hospitals. Against what else is going on Lelsey must be a footnote of irrelevance

Anonymous said...

The proof in this pudding does not lay in an agreement but COAG or the trumpets and drums of those directly involved in championing or otherwise the merits of so called digital health, but in its ability to ignite support and enthusiasm in those outside the immediate sphere and hold that enthusiasm.

Anonymous said...

8:14 AM. If you mean, will GPs use this system, other than to press a button in their medical software to upload trivial summary information to earn themselves ePIP dollars, then no.

Anonymous said...

9:38 AM, I was thinking more the citizens of Australia or general public for which this is now targeted at, I do now include you point, however the current rhetoric seems to dilute the GP's importance to a secondary sub-servant role to the patient. Quite cunning, not exactly unique, bound to back fire as we are not the stupid heard Tim and others like to think we are.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of the people now running MyHR remember or even know about the reaction to the Australia Card and the Human Service Access Card. A surprise in store.

Anonymous said...

Emma Hossack, speaking on behalf of health software vendors, has given the strategy bullish thumbs up. Surely David you and your readers can’t complain about that.! Emma is not alone in being excited she says the whole industry is excited. What more could one want. The ADHA must be thrilled to bits with the MSIA. I wonder when she read the strategy document?

Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) President Emma Hossack said that the Strategy distils seven key themes that set expectations at a national level. “The strategy recognises the vital role industry plays in providing the smarts and innovation on top of government infrastructure. This means improved outcomes, research, and productivity. Industry is excited to work with the ADHA to develop the detailed actions to achieve the vision which could lead to Australia benefitting from one of the strongest health software industries in the world,” Emma Hossack said.

Anonymous said...

We don't want to rush in with a plan. I mean have we had the preliminary pre-meeting meeting as yet? I don't think so

Dilbert Works for ADHA

Anonymous said...

8:14 AM, that is not a bad measure, I have not noticed anything in mainstream press, not even close to the infamous PCEHR soft launch. Maybe it is just not important and everyone is off doing stuff anyway. Reminds me of someone at NEHTA explaining the then eHealth branches methodology - build-plan-runaway

Anonymous said...

The last comment below the Dilbert cartoon is quite appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I thought the MyHR was a Dilbert Cartoon, or possibly xkcd.com It has to be one or the other.

Or maybe it's just ADHA
http://dilbert.com/strip/1998-12-27

Anonymous said...

8:14 AM most likely see it trickle through this week, it was late Friday so I am sure there will be media packs waiting for the news desks come Monday. That said it is hardy a running story and I agree the measure or at least one will be if the ADHA can inform and energise people of all cohorts to stay aware or even care.