Digital Health by 2022 – The ADHA Strategies and how they affect you.

Nathan |

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) was established in July 2016 and tasked with improving health outcomes for Australians through nation-wide digital health systems and services.

 

Two years following its launch – in July 2018 – ADHA launched Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy that includes seven strategic priorities to achieve by 2022. That is only 3 years.

 

Digital Health by 2022

The message from the Australian Digital Health Agency is strong.

“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 .”

Health Care providers are equally clear:

“They want secure digital services that will provide instant access to a patient’s information – especially in an emergency, support earlier diagnosis and better management of disease, and the development of new medicines and treatments. They want technology to reduce their administrative burden so that they can spend more time with .”

The digitisation of health care is a juggernaut that won’t be stopped, so the question becomes how do organisations best navigate the challenges and opportunities it brings?

In this blog we will quickly look at a few of these strategies to break down what they may mean to your business.

Health information that is available whenever and wherever it is needed

The first of these strategies suggested all Australians would have a MyHealth record (unless they choose not to) by the end of 2018.  This has been extended, to an opt out period of 31 Jan 2019, and has also been amended to suggest that anyone can request to have their records permanently deleted any time following.  The success in uptake and confidence in this system is paramount to the success of the longevity and efficiency of a national system.

Health information that can be exchanged securely

This second strategy (to be implemented by 2022) is where the questions for providers really start to open up.  Leaving aside the security debate for a second and focussing on operational matters – for the delivery of records / communication with providers and patients, ALL health organisations will need to be digitally ready.

  • Is your physical infrastructure ready for this transformation?
  • Is your infrastructure secured away from external threats?
  • Is your internet delivery satisfactory to support a service that will need 100% uptime during hours of service?
  • Are your internal policies ready for the change management required?
  • Do you have an overarching systems roadmap that integrates with the expected timing of the implementation?
  • Are your other systems digitally ready, or will you need to rely on double handling and manual intervention?

 

The NBN still hasn’t rolled out everywhere, and even then, most major providers plans are not business grade services with Service Level Agreements, and may not be able to provide the reliability required for this kind of service.  For organisations to be ready (cost effectively), it’s likely you are going to have to start taking advantage of other technologies such as SD-WAN or automated failover services.

Our experience in working with several Aged Care organisations, is that the journey has only just begun.  With budgets often split across different business units, it means systems and processes are regularly double handled – resulting in information being stored across disconnected systems.  Budgeting for an increase in IT investment over the next few years is crucial to the successful preparation of a digital health care network.  Creating a uniform roadmap to connect the organisation to single points of truth, with interoperability between required systems, is a critical success factor.  The change management strategy required to supports this digital transformation cannot be understated.  Staff inclusion, careful planning, staged rollout and ongoing training is required along the journey.  The sooner your organisation is able to work with digital assets and communication, the smoother your transition to a centralised system will be.

A workforce confidently using digital health technologies to deliver health and care

The perils of change management of this scale are probably not a surprise to you.  McKinsey research estimated over 70% of change programs failed to meet their goals, largely due to employee resistance.  The training, re-training, change management and hiring practises of organisations need to adapt to the changing landscape.

  • Is your workforce ready to adopt digital transformation?
  • How are you tackling the wall of resistance?
  • How does your workforce best learn and adapt to change?
  • Does your workforce have the hardware, software and digital literacy it needs to thrive in the next generation of health care?

And the questions when you look externally:

  • What does your clients landscape look like?
  • Are your clients receiving the information and training they need to be ready for this transformation?
  • What are the services that you can be providing to them to enable their success in the digital age of healthcare?

 

Digitally-enabled models of care that drive improved accessibility, quality, safety and efficiency.

It’s not all doom and gloom though!  Organisations that are well prepared in advance will be the best to take advantage of the opportunities that digital healthcare brings.  Efficient in-home care through the use of telehealth, along with wearable technology and IOT (Internet of Things) devices, will allow for remote health monitoring – opening up business opportunities and models of health care to support clients outside of your four walls.  The efficiency and cost savings of supporting individuals that don’t require bed care from all locations is indisputable.  The improved metrics and foresight into warning signs and proactive health solutions can only change the face of health today.  Don’t be caught trying to implement digital solutions at the last minute, as your clients will have already moved.

In terms of digital technology and health, most (77%) Australians would like their doctor to suggest health information websites and 73% have already used the internet to research a health issue. However, only a small proportion of the population (6%) manage to find an online health source that they trust.  Of all Australian Google searches, one in 20 are health related.

So the opportunity is ripe for organisations to create strategy, content and services to meet the demand of the changing population utilising digital healthcare.

The IT Department provides IT services and independent consulting focussed on understanding your business, processes and people to help drive system adoption in digital transformation.  We help align IT and system strategies with business goals to improve client outcomes and profitabilit