Connecting Australia to a healthier future

Communities of Excellence

The Communities of Excellence program is a national initiative led by the Agency. Its aim is to embed digital health capabilities across targeted communities and use the learnings from these fully connected communities to create a toolkit that will enable scalable replication across the country.

The program will deliver five core workstreams:

  • connect healthcare providers within designated communities to the national My Health Record system
  • support the expansion of telehealth capabilities across the care continuum 
  • drive greater use of secure messaging to exchange clinical information across different care settings
  • enable the use of electronic prescriptions in general practices and community pharmacies;
  • build digital health literacy and participation of healthcare practitioners, patients and their families.

Current Communities of Excellence

Emerald in Queensland and Hedland in WA have been part of this initiative since late 2019. Their population size, strong local clinical and digital leadership as well as community support make these communities ideal for this initiative.

East Arnhem in NT has recently been selected as an additional community, based on a number of factors. These include the distance and remoteness of the community and the impact of severe weather and other factors on patients’ access to health services, including those to treat and manage chronic disease.

Emerald, Queensland Hedland, Western Australia East Arnhem, Northern Territory


My Health Record connections

A key focus for Communities of Excellence is connecting healthcare providers to the national My Health Record system and helping consumers make the best use of it, including understanding the control they have over the security and privacy of their information.

For healthcare providers, the project will develop local clinical case studies that demonstrate how My Health Record delivers the most value to the communities. This might be supporting telehealth consultations, supporting transition of care, or providing timely and accurate information for local care providers for non-residents.

As a consumer, My Health Record lets you control your health information securely, in one place. This means your important health information is available when and where it’s needed, including in an emergency. You can control access to your record and decide what information is added and which healthcare providers can access it.

Healthcare providers like doctors, pathologists, and pharmacists can add a wide range of documents about your health and care to your record. These are known as clinical documents.

Find out more about My Health Record


A strategy for all Australia 

Communities of Excellence is part of the digitally enhanced models of care priority in Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy, which was agreed by all states and territories in 2017.

The program is a collaboration between communities, governments, organisations and healthcare providers to ensure that learnings are achieved before national roll out, where applicable. 

The Framework for Action is the implementation plan for the National Digital Health Strategy and details how all those in the digital health ecosystem are working together to help empower people, and those who care for them, with modern digital services and products