Connecting our healthcare system

The Interoperability Program aims to enable the exchange of high-quality data between healthcare providers and the systems they use.

What is interoperability?

Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy defines interoperability as:

At its simplest, it is the ability to move information easily between people, organisations and systems. It is imperative that when information is shared between people and systems, its meaning is preserved from one context to another so that information is interpreted in the same way.

Interoperability holds the potential to bring patients’ records together from a range of systems and to provide access to information from disparate sources, give consumers and providers greater visibility and enable research and innovation.

The opportunity of digital technology in the health sector

In almost every part of our lives, whether it’s banking, transport, travel or maintaining social or business connections, technology has changed the way we do things. Just as people expect technology to seamlessly support them in their everyday lives, both consumers and healthcare professionals expect digital technology to support the delivery of high-quality healthcare.  Common themes include:

  • information that follows people and is accessible, wherever they go
  • both providers and consumers of services, see the relevant information through consistent channels, in a way that works best for them
  • business or social interactions are an activity, not a place
  • professionals are supported by decision support systems that assist them to provide services based on the individual’s information and needs

Priority areas for the program include:

  • designing a way forward for connecting smart devices to current health infrastructure
  • making the health system safer for people with known allergies
  • supporting electronic referrals and requesting processes
  • making pathology tests and results more visible to consumers and clinicians

“Connecting our healthcare is essential if Australia's going to continue to provide world-leading service to our consumers. Given that our demand is vastly outstripping our available resources, we need to rethink the way we're providing healthcare.”

Dr Clair Sullivan, Chief Information Officer, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Queensland

Learn more - A national discussion and collaboration

Connecting for clinicians - the need for collaboration in solving the challenges of connecting digital health systems is vital