Tuesday, 14 November 2017 21:39

Digital Health Agency says tech is transforming disease management Featured


The Australian Digital Health Agency, established last year by the federal government, says technology is already transforming Australia’s ability to predict, diagnose, and treat disease, but more needs to be done.

Agency chair Jim Birch says while the agency is tasked with improving health outcomes for all Australians through the use of digital health technologies, there is much more it can do to realise its full potential – “giving consumers more control of their health and care, connecting and empowering healthcare providers and promoting Australia’s global leadership in digital health and innovation”.

Birch made his comments as the Digital Health Agency’s first annual report was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, highlighting what the report said was “a new partnership between governments, clinical and consumer leaders, industry and the research community to put real momentum behind bringing the benefits of digital health services to all Australians”.

Significant progress has been made in the last year, the report says, noting that Australia has a new National Digital Health Strategy endorsed by all health ministers, My Health Record is on track for national expansion in 2018, and new initiatives to enable secure paperless communications between clinicians have been launched.

The report also notes that, in its first year, the agency has built a new organisation, connected hospitals and health services to My Health Record, improved the user experience for the 5.3 million registered Australians, and grown the volume of clinical document sharing with 14 million prescription and dispense records now uploaded.

Agency chief executive Tim Kelsey said: “The Agency is here to serve the patients and citizens of this country and would like to thank all our partners in the community — leaders in patient and consumer services, in clinical practice, industry and research, as well as the governments of Australia — for their continuing commitment and collaboration to ensure that everybody has access to the benefits of digitally empowered health services.

“Digital information is the bedrock of high quality healthcare and our shared goal is to ensure that all Australians benefit from the increasing number of digital health services."

To access the Digital Health Agency annual report click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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