Government seeks input on digital health strategy

The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched a public consultation to help guide the creation of a national digital health strategy.

“Early consultation with key health, government, and technology industry stakeholders has guided the Agency towards facilitating a comprehensive and inclusive community engagement process in the development of the National Digital Health Strategy for Australia,” a discussion paper released today by the ADHA states.

“The community and stakeholder engagement process will provide the opportunity for all members of the public, including patients, their families and carers, healthcare providers, scientists and researchers, entrepreneurs and technology innovators, and state and territory health service providers and funders, to participate in co-producing the National Digital Health Strategy.”

The agency has launched an online portal and survey as part of the consultation.

“We want to work with all areas of the community — including patients and the public, carers, healthcare providers, scientists and researchers, entrepreneurs and technology innovators — to ensure that what we do is always shaped around their needs, wants and aspirations,” ADHA executive general manager for clinical and consumer engagement, Dr Monica Trujillo, said in a statement.

“Putting data and technology safely to work for patients, consumers and the healthcare professionals who look after them can help Australians live healthier, happier and more productive lives,” ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey said.

Health minister Sussan Ley earlier this year announced that Kelsey would lead the ADHA.

Kelsey was previously Telstra Health’s commercial and strategy director and a former NHS England national director for patients and information (a role that included CTO and CIO functions).

ADHA began operations in July, with the organisation the designated successor to the National E-Health Transition Authority (NeHTA). The organisation operates the national eHealth record — the My Health Record, which was formerly named the Personally Controlled eHealth Record (PCEHR).

In early August the government said that 4 million people had signed up for e-health records. The government is considering shifting the My Health Record to an opt-out system to boost participation.

Earlier this year ADHA launched and then suspended a consultation on establishing framework for the secondary use of data in the e-health system, with an eye to potentially using the data for research and other activities.

“There are a number of other consultations occurring at this time, for example on the National Digital Health Strategy, that will compete for the attention of health care providers and the broader community,” ADHA said after suspending the consultation. “In addition it is possible that the outcome of these consultations could further inform a discussion paper on secondary use of My Health Record data.”

In September, the Department of Health was at the centre of a privacy misstep after it released improperly de-identified data-sets.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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