Research Australia has responded to an invitation from the Australian Digital Health Agency to provide input to the Agency’s planning for the next digital health strategy, due to commence in 2022.
Reflecting on the current Digital Health Strategy, Research Australia has suggested the existing seven pillars are still relevant, and proposed consultation on the new strategy be accompanied by an update on progress on the 2018 Framework for Action. We have also suggested there are some lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic about the role digital technologies play in health and the capacity for greater advances when the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments share data and cooperate. An example from the pandemic is national vaccine certificates able to be loaded on State government check in apps.
Research Australia’s submission is available here.
On Thursday 30 January 2020, Telstra Health and Research Australia co-hosted an event highlighting the vital role of digital technology in Australia’s changing health system. Research Australia members and Telstra Health partners from across the entire health and medical research pipeline convened to network and share their thoughts on this important subject over a drink to see in the new year.
Telstra Health’s Managing Director and Research Australia Board Director, Professor Mary Foley AM and Nadia Levin, Research Australia’s CEO and Managing Director, both spoke at the event sharing their views on the developing role of information technology in all aspects of health and health and medical research.
Professor Foley provided her insights on Telstra Health’s role supporting governments, health system managers, and healthcare providers to deliver high quality, equitable, and accessible care in an increasingly complex and specialised health system.
Nadia Levin highlighted the growing need for Australia’s health sector to utilise the many revolutionary benefits current and future digital information technologies can provide. Nadia gave examples from Research Australia’s members making ground-breaking progress in digital technology and later took a moment away from space medicine to focus on the patient, who is at the core of all health and medical research. Focusing on current health outcomes, Nadia acknowledged how something as simple as a digital sensor in an incontinence pad can positively impact a patient in aged care.
The evening included a Q&A session with an interactive audience wanting further discussion on the importance of addressing Australia’s health data privacy concerns. The Frontiers Health and Medical Research funding initiative was also a hot topic of discussion with attendees highlighting the need for greater acknowledgement of the innovative and research-based nature of digital information technology.
Research Australia’s submission to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s consultation on a Digital Economy Strategy has emphasised the importance of digital innovation in the heath sector to Australia’s economy, national wellbeing and future prosperity.
It highlights a number of current initiatives in the health sector that are relevant to digital innovation and makes twelve recommendations to improve the adoption of digital technologies in health; increase innovation in healthcare delivery; and make better use of health data.