7. Driving Innovation

A thriving digital health industry delivering world-class innovation

WHAT WILL BE DELIVERED BY 2022

  • Australians will have better and more informed access to safe, quality health applications, tools and content, through a digital services endorsement framework that will be co-produced with clinical, design and innovation leaders.
  • A new health innovation exchange will be established, where clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs use data to identify opportunities to work collaboratively on designing digital health solutions.
  • The Agency will work with industry to evolve the developer support program to reduce barriers to innovation and enable opportunities for better integration with the My Health Record system and other digital services.
  • The Agency will consult with the community on development of a comprehensive approach to digital inclusion, to ensure new innovations do not leave anyone behind.

The National Digital Health Strategy outlines the vision for fostering an environment that supports innovation to improve the experiences of consumers and clinicians and enhance our ability to improve health outcomes of Australians through safer, more efficient and effective healthcare delivery.

Accelerating innovation in the healthcare system means facilitating meaningful partnerships, working together to remove barriers, and learning from successful products and projects, both locally and internationally.

Software and technology companies, researchers, entrepreneurs and innovating clinicians and consumers will drive digital health innovation, supported by an open and collaborative approach that creates the conditions necessary to design and develop new offerings that meet the needs of health consumers and the healthcare professionals who care for them.

The benefits for Australians and the Australian healthcare system are:

  • There will be greater availability of well-designed and developed digital health solutions, leading to improved patient and clinician choice and experience.
  • There will be increased rates of industry developing and scaling innovative digital health and care services.
  • More people will have the opportunity to improve their digital skills and participate in the digital economy.
  • Digital health solutions will contribute to building a strong and entrepreneurial economy.
  • Australia will be acknowledged globally as a leader in digital health and have an open system that supports industry to develop innovative digital health solutions that deliver improved health outcomes.

Roles of participants in order to achieve benefits

DI roles of participants

 

Healthcare consumers Engage with digital products and online communities that promote better health and well being. If not confident in using digital tools, participate in usability panels to allow networking between industry and the consumer community.
Healthcare providers Encourage consumers to use digital products and solutions which promote better health and wellbeing, but ensure consumers are provided the support options they need to use digital solutions confidently. Participate in usability panels to allow networking between industry and the clinical community.
Industry & technology sector Design innovative products and digital solutions which are intuitive and easy to use, to ensure that all consumers are able to access their benefits. Actively engage with the wider health sector, researchers and panels of clinicians and consumers to collaborate on innovation concepts that allow targeted research and development of priority problems.
Peak organisations Build support for the design approaches within specific communities of interest and encourage their members to engage with the technology sector. Provide expert advice on behalf of their members on how best to compile a list of safe, evidence-based digital health services and content that have beneficial health outcomes
Australian Digital Health Agency Coordinate the innovative and technical aspects of the digital health program, focused on open innovation, specifications, and standards, and product development. Provide overall design integration for all of the services developed to ensure that the national digital health systems and services provide the best user experience and deliver measurable improvements that are derived from evidence of user needs and deliver tangible benefits across the health ecosystem.
Commonwealth Government Engage with Australian businesses to provide advice on connecting and partnering with the digital health industry, and promoting Australia’s digital health capacity to overseas markets. Engage with research organisations, and continue building evidence on the barriers to digital literacy (through the Australian Bureau of Statistics). Ensure all Australians have access to communications services to benefit from digital health.
State and territory governments Lead local strategies and implement programs that support digital health innovation. Promote innovation showcases such as expos, awards, hackathons to support local innovators. Partner with the Agency to coordinate efforts and provide learnings to other states and territories. Driving Innovation

Priority actions for co-development 2018 - 2022

7.1 Promote inclusiveness and equality of experience

Support people experiencing digital disadvantage to have the opportunity to improve their digital skills to both access technology, and be able to use it effectively

7.1.1. Address the barriers to digital inclusion

Deliver programs which improve digital literacy and ensure inclusiveness

Timeline to Deliver programs which improve digital literacy and ensure inclusiveness

In Australia there is not yet equal opportunity for all to participate in benefitting from the digital innovation that is transforming many aspects of our lives, particularly those people who make the greatest use of health services. To ensure new innovations in healthcare don’t leave anyone behind, and to better inform health consumers about how digital tools like the My Health Record can benefit them, innovation and digital inclusion will be promoted through thought leadership, conference presentations and industry engagement. A network of local community partners, including non-government organisations and public libraries, who run digital literacy programs will be developed for consumers that improve digital literacy and ensure inclusiveness, equity and cultural safety for target populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations, people living with a disability, carers, and older Australians.

7.1.2. Reliable and affordable connectivity for all Australians

Ensure all Australians have access to communications services to benefit from digital health

Timeline to Ensure all Australians have access to communications services to benefit from digital health

The use of digital health products and services relies on affordable and reliable broadband infrastructure and mobile networks. The Australian Government has made a commitment to ensuring that, to meet Australia’s economic and social needs, all Australians have access to very fast broadband as soon as possible, at affordable prices, and at the least cost to taxpayers. This commitment is being delivered by the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). This will ensure all Australians have access to communications services and can rely on them to address their health needs, and be able to benefit from future innovative digital health services as they become available. As highlighted in the Productivity Commission’s report into Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation, further government intervention is likely to be required to address service availability for some user groups, including people with disability or life-threatening health conditions, people living in remote Indigenous communities, some older people with limited digital literacy, and people without a permanent fixed address.

7.2 Fuel and accelerate health and care innovation

Fueling and accelerating innovation in health and care by fostering the conditions needed for people and organisations to create new digital health solutions, and scaling up the innovations that work so they can be meaningfully adopted by the broader health and care community.

7.2.1. Innovation Showcase

Recognising excellence in digital health innovations

Timeline for Recognising excellence in digital health innovations

Innovators need support to scale up their technology and be provided with pathways for delivery. An Innovation Showcase leveraging the work of organisations like ANDHealth and MTPConnect, will recognise excellence in digital health innovations through awards and publishing case studies of the health and care innovations which are working.

7.2.2. Developer Partner Program

Guiding and supporting developers to bring new ideas to market

Timeline for Guiding and supporting developers to bring new ideas to market

To ensure innovators are supported in adopting standards, are provided a space for collaboration, and are provided guidance to help understand the digital health ecosystem, the Agency’s Developer Partner Program will be expanded. This will help to simplify, guide and support developers on how to bring new ideas to market, facilitate test environments, provide an open source hub of code sets, and provide support on how digital health national infrastructure services can support what developers are trying to achieve.

7.2.3. Digital health services endorsement framework

A user friendly list of evidence-based digital health apps, services and content

Timeline for A user friendly list of evidence-based digital health apps, services and content

Despite there being over 250 000 mobile health apps available to consumers, few have been independently tested for their efficacy. A sustainable digital health services endorsement framework will be co-designed to complement existing initiatives by both the public, private and non-government sector to compile a user friendly list of evidence-based digital health services and content that have beneficial health outcomes. Industry representatives, researchers, clinicians and consumers will collaborate to co-design this. The lessons learned from local and international attempts to accredit or endorse digital services (such as mobile apps) will be leveraged. As part of the framework, support for the technology sector should be provided to ensure companies can access information about the right type of clinical trials and clinical evidence gathering to support their health claims.

7.2.4. Health Innovation Exchange

A forum for clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs to work collaboratively

Timeline for A forum for clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs to work collaboratively

Leverage existing networks and programs to facilitate meaningful partnerships between industry, healthcare consumers and the research sector, focusing on addressing the health system’s highest priority challenges. A new Health Innovation Exchange will support the establishment of a forum where clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs, both local and international, can work collaboratively on digital health services which are focused on solving the highest priority health and care problems faced by consumers and clinicians, aligned to the priorities of healthcare providers.

7.2.5. Partnerships with Start-Up Accelerators and Incubators

Helping to transform ideas into competitive businesses

Timeline for Helping to transform ideas into competitive businesses

Building on the broad range of existing health focused accelerator programs which are leveraging Australian and international personnel with proven expertise to support the surfacing and development of early stage innovations, partner with organisations who support start-ups to transform their ideas into competitive businesses, providing resources, knowledge, procurement advice, seed funding, access to networks, provide assistance to companies on how to penetrate international markets, and share information on regulatory landscapes in Australia and overseas. The objective would be to facilitate regulatory sandpits, joint ventures and strategic partnerships to both support the creation of new digital health solutions, and scale up current digital health innovations.

7.2.6. Development of design principles

Ensuring digital health products and services meet usability needs

Timeline for Ensuring digital health products and services meet usability needs

Agency to lead the collaborative development of design principles and guidelines for digital health services and content, and investigating how these could be incorporated into a broader conformance framework that is focused on ensuring usability needs are met when developing digital health products and services. Ensure user design standards cater for deployment in regional, rural or remote areas and for people with disabilities. These principles would supplement the Digital Transformation Agency’s Digital Service Standard.

7.2.7. Support for app enablement

Fostering innovation of mobile, portal and desktop applications

Timeline for Fostering innovation of mobile, portal and desktop applications

Support innovation of mobile, portal and desktop applications by enabling connectivity to digital health systems separate to the My Health Record such as electronic prescribing, secure messaging, and other consumer provided sources (for example fitness devices). The Agency will work collaboratively with developers to leverage digital health foundations, the Fast Health Interoperable Resources standard (FHIR), and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for exchanging digital information.

View the Actions Across Australia Case Study – Driving Innovation