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Digital health strategy gets green light

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 07 August, 2017

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The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council has approved a new national digital health strategy.

The new strategy identifies seven strategic priorities for digital health in Australia, including providing a My Health Record digital health record for every Australian not explicitly opting out by 2018.

In line with the project by the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), Telstra and HealthLink to develop interoperable secure electronic messaging capabilities for healthcare providers, the strategy also involves the development of paper-free secure messaging capabilities for all clinicians and new standards to allow real-time sharing of patient information between hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Other priorities including ensuring available digital health data is of high quality and has a commonly understood meaning; improving availability of prescriptions and medicine information; and developing digitally enabled models of care that improve accessibility, quality, safety and efficiency.

To enable secure sharing of confidential information, the ADHA has established a dedicated Cyber Security Centre. The agency will take responsibility for coordinating implementation of the strategy and consulting with partners to develop a framework for action.

“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,” ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said.

“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.”

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