Digitally enabled models of care that improve accessibility, quality, safety and efficiency
WHAT WILL BE DELIVERED BY 2022
- A number of pioneering initiatives – co-produced between consumers, governments, providers and entrepreneurs – to test evidencebased digital empowerment of key health priorities and then, where appropriate, to promote them nationally.
- Priority health reform areas such as Health Care Homes chronic disease management, telehealth, babies’ and children’s health, residential aged care, end of life care, and emergency care will be a focus. The test beds will run for two years to inform the national roll-out of innovations across Australia, ensuring that all Australians can benefit.
- By 2022, six test bed projects will have been launched, each of two years’ duration. Four of these test bed projects will have been evaluated and the learning from two test bed projects will have been rolled out across Australia.
The National Digital Health Strategy is more than a plan for digital technology. It is about how technology can work for us in the real world. This means rigorously testing and proving how technology supports clinical care, and then scaling up what works to the whole of the Australian health system.
Six test beds will be developed over the period of the National Digital Health Strategy, with each having a formal evaluation, examining the degree to which target benefits have been achieved and lessons learnt from implementation and roll-out.
The clinical priority areas for the test beds have been identified by state and territory health systems as key health priority reform areas, and include:
- supporting integrated management of chronic illness
- development of new digital services to support the health of babies and young children
- improvement of digital services for advance care planning
- improvement of information sharing for the aged care sector and urgent and emergency care, and
- widening access to telehealth services, especially in rural and remote Australia.
The benefits for Australians and the Australian healthcare system are:
- Chronic disease management (Health Care Homes) will deliver reduced MBS, PBS and hospital expenditure due to reduced complications and hospital admissions.
- Telehealth will lead to a reduction in hospitalisations, reduced patient transport costs, and shorter waiting lists.
- Residential aged care will have fewer adverse drug events.
- End of life care will lead to reduced avoidable hospitalisations and shorter stays in hospitals.
- Child health records will lead to improved vaccination rates.
- Emergency care will provide improved quality and handover.
Roles of participants in order to achieve benefits
|Healthcare consumers||Participate in partnership with their healthcare providers in respect to their health and care. Expect that governments and health care providers are delivering health services using evidence based solutions.|
|Healthcare providers||Participate in partnerships between industry, government and other organisations to test new digitally enabled models of care, and contribute to evaluating and helping to refine care models. Be digitally enabled to provide consumers with ongoing coordination, management and support of their healthcare needs.|
|Industry & technology sector||Support ongoing development of interoperable products to enable enhanced ability for healthcare providers and organisations to improve safe, effective health care delivery. An essential partner in developing implementable solutions that enable digitally enabled models of care.|
|Peak organisations||Coordinate the co-design and development of the test bed framework, manage the prioritisation process for projects and manage central funding to support test bed projects. The Agency will also lead the evaluation process and the scale-up and roll-out of initiatives across jurisdictions.|
|Australian Digital Health Agency||Coordinate the co-design and development of the test bed framework, manage the prioritisation process for projects and manage central funding to support test bed projects. The Agency will also lead the evaluation process and the scale-up and roll-out of initiatives across jurisdictions.|
|Commonwealth Government||Identify key health priority areas for future test bed projects. May provide a role in supporting the scaling up of digitally enabled models of care if test beds are found to be successful following an independent evaluation.|
|State and territory governments||Identify key health priority reform areas based on clinical need for future test bed project and contribute to evaluating and helping to refine digitally enabled health care models. Lead or participate in partnerships between industry, healthcare providers and other organisations to test new digitally enabled models of care.|
Priority actions for co-development 2018 - 2022
5.1 Test bed and scaling up environments
Establish an environment for the adoption and roll-out of evidence-based, enhanced models of care through digital technology, which are co-designed between governments, consumers, clinicians and industry
5.1.1. Digital health test bed framework
Co-design and implement a digital health test bed framework
Test beds are projects assessing new digitally enabled models of care that are instigated and delivered through sustainable and viable partnerships between industry, government and other organisations. Their purpose is to promote innovation to address Australia’s highest priority health challenges, generating evidence of how the new approaches improve health outcomes, are worthy of securing ongoing investment, provide further business opportunities for partners and can be translated for usage more broadly across the health system. A test bed framework will be co-developed to manage the prioritisation process for projects, and to guide how government, industry, universities and healthcare providers can work together to implement and evaluate the use of digital health technologies. The test bed framework will also establish the policy, regulatory and governance parameters for assessing, prioritising, evaluating and maximising the test beds.
5.1.2. Embedding telehealth
Harmonising telehealth models across
Australia Telehealth is the delivery of accessible, patient centric health care services, at a distance, using information and telecommunications technologies. While it is used across the health system, offering significant opportunities to improve healthcare access, safety, quality and efficiency, the national consultation heard that there is a desire for it to be used more widely and consistently. With an aim to further embed telehealth into clinical practice, a testbed project will focus on ways to improve access to health services for rural populations, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to offer greater convenience for consumers and deliver improved healthcare outcomes.
5.1.3. End of Life Care
Harmonisation of End of Life Care
Advance care planning helps people think about their future medical treatment and health care needs, and advance care planning documents can be included in the My Health Record system to provide increased accessibility to a consumer’s advance care planning information nationwide. The end of life care test bed will explore how end of life care can be embedded into existing clinical workflows, with the purpose of ensuring individuals have their wishes communicated and respected.
5.1.4. Chronic disease management
Supporting coordinated care for people with chronic and complex diseases
The number of patients with chronic and complex conditions is rising, but patients often experience a lack of coordination of their care. Digital health solutions have been developed which could better support patients and the healthcare professionals that care for them. This test bed will investigate how chronic disease management and care coordination can be digitally enabled and scaled up across Australia in ways that maximises improvements to health outcomes, prevents complications from chronic disease and reduces admissions to hospital.
5.1.5. Residential Aged Care
Supporting the Residential Aged Care sector
Digital health technologies can improve outcomes for Australians in residential aged care facilities by closing the information gap between aged care and other healthcare professionals. This improvement will enable treating clinicians across health sectors to be confident of the accuracy and timeliness of information they can access when required, with the aim of reducing the number of transfers to hospital, and improving health outcomes for Australians in residential aged care facilities.
5.1.6. Children’s Health Record
Harmonisation of the Children’s Health Record
This test bed will explore how every child in Australia can have the option of a comprehensive digital health record from the time they are conceived, through those critical first years and adolescence; readily accessible by parents and healthcare providers and ultimately for that individual throughout their life. The Australian Digital Health Agency is partnering with eHealth NSW and the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) to establish the National Children’s Digital Health Collaborative. The partnership will co-design and test a way for parents and healthcare providers to easily access standardised information on a child’s health and development, testing how information can be captured through a child’s interaction with the health system through services such as school immunisation programs, and also through their mother’s relevant interactions during her pregnancy.
5.1.7. Emergency Care
Better supporting management of health and care emergencies
The use of electronic health records within the emergency department setting can depend on the usability of clinical information systems, its display and access to relevant content. Poor functionality and lack of integration with existing clinical workflows can impede adoption of electronic health records, particularly during busy times. This test bed will consider how health and care information can be shared across health and care practitioners in real-time, to better support management of health and care emergencies. Australians who require emergency care will know that their information is securely available to their treating clinicians, whether they are at home, in hospital, or anywhere else.