The adoption of e-health by state and territory governments, as well as the Commonwealth, is an important focus of Standards Australia as the broader health sector adapts to a digital future. To address this, there are a number of projects underway at Standards Australia that has the potential to add value to the rollout of strategic e-health initiatives by governments across Australia.
Digital Hospitals Handbook
In a previous contribution to CIO Advisor, the development of a Digital Hospitals Handbook was outlined. That article outlined the opportunity for this Handbook to have a central place in the e-health transition. Indeed, the ongoing discussion around interconnectivity across health systems is a timely reminder of the need for such a document.
Technical Committee IT-039 facilitated the development of the Digital Hospitals Handbook (SA HB: 163: 2017). The Handbook can be considered a guide containing principles and recommendations to support the development of hospitals of the future, especially in a digital future.
The handbook focuses on the ICT architecture and a benefits realisation framework that support a pivot from volume to value in healthcare services. These are services that are data-informed, timely and personalised, as well as delivering more cost-effective outcomes.
As more examples of cutting-edge digital innovations in health in Australia take hold, there will be opportunities to expand the focus of the Digital Hospitals Handbook by sharing best-practice for broader benefit.
Submission to Digital Health Framework
The Australian Government, through the Australian Digital Health Agency, has recently called for submissions into the Framework for action.
This framework will guide the implementation of a broader strategy developed by the Federal Government. Australia’s ‘National Digital Health Strategy—Safe, Seamless and Secure’ outlines a vision for 2022 focussed on an evidence base of benefits prioritising national-level digital health activity.
Standards Australia made a submission addressing the key areas within the framework including commentary on some of the priority activities. In particular, the focus on standards-based secure messaging capability was highlighted because of the need for interconnectivity while at the same time noting the importance of security features. Australian Standards have the potential to play a significant role in addressing security issues and also addressing common messaging capability, something that will give healthcare providers and healthcare consumers better systems and processes.
The priorities outlined in the framework have the potential to radically alter the way healthcare is delivered in the future. The role of standards in this future age of digital will be critical.
Volume to Value-Based Healthcare
As noted above, an outcome of a digital health future will be a shift from volume to value-based healthcare.
A change from volume to value-based healthcare ultimately means delivering services that are increasingly personalised and, when scaled, can realise important efficiencies.
As this transition to the digital healthcare continues to unfold, standards will be a key instrument in ensuring processes are scaled and rolled-out nationally and that the systems in place are able to deliver the same level of personalised care.
Standards of the Future
As Australia comes to expect more for less from its healthcare system, standards will be increasingly called upon to deliver the scaling of systems and processes, while ensuring security and patient care are not lost in the process.