Digital Health Space Blogs

Digital Health Blogs

Welcome to the Digital Health Space — a place to catch up across Australian health and care blog posts. We want to hear from you — send us your feedback and comments on the posts below by emailing [email protected]! Follow us @AuDigitalHealth

Interoperability: a personal view

By Bettina McMahon, Chief Operating Officer and Executive General Manager for Government and Industry Collaboration and Adoption.

Northcott is a not-for-profit organisation that provides services and innovation for people living with disability. Today Northcott is one of the largest not-for-profit disability service organisations in Australia and provides empowering, personalised services to over 13,500 people with disability, their families and carers each year.

Read more: Interoperability: a personal view

My Health Record: what you can do!

Andrew Daniels shares his thoughts on how My Health Record can help pharmacies build digital health capabilities, as published in Post Script Australia on Monday 6 November 2017.

Read more: My Health Record: what you can do!

Big data in healthcare: the US experience and potential for Australia

By Chief Medical Adviser, Meredith Makeham.

In this technologically advanced age, we are able to draw knowledge from many interesting sources which were not previously available to us.

As they are increasingly integrated into healthcare, electronic and digital technologies enable the collection of increasing amounts of data. Data which we are able to translate into knowledge, to help us make more informed decisions, and to improve the quality of services.

Professor Atul Butte, of the Stanford School of Medicine reminded us that within “mounds of data is knowledge that could change the life of a patient, or change the world.”

Read more: Big data in healthcare: the US experience and potential for Australia

Meredith Makeham: Digital health transforming healthcare with benefits for Australians through My Health Record

Chief Medical Adviser Meredith Makeham recently shared her thoughts with Healthcare IT News Australia on how digital health is transforming healthcare with benefits for Australians through My Health Record.

Read more: Meredith Makeham: Digital health transforming healthcare with benefits for Australians through My Health Record

My Health Record and the Medicines Safety Program

By Steve Renouf. In 1993, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and it turned out that my four sons have it too, so we all have ongoing treatment for it. Eventually I got involved with Diabetes Australia and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as their ambassador, which led to advocacy work with the diabetic community. For the last six years, I’ve worked for the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, which is based in the South East Corner. We started off with four Aboriginal Medical Services and have grown to 18 services. At first I wasn’t sure if I was a good fit, because it’s a Commonwealth Advisory Committee and I don’t have a medical background; I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. But I soon realised it’s important for someone to represent consumers, ensure their best interests are on the table. I see myself as a bridge between them and the medicos.

Read more: My Health Record and the Medicines Safety Program

Innovation is a team sport

Words like "disruption" and "transformation" get bandied about a lot these days, along with their more prosaic cousins "change" and "innovation". With Australians now spending more time in front of a screen each day than they do sleeping, we are seeing the shift as consumers choose "digital first" to manage both their personal and professional lives.

Organisations have seen the writing on the wall and are seeking new ways to adapt to this changing environment in pursuit of ever-greater efficiencies and operational effectiveness.

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Health in an age of information

"Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl"[1]

You know these lyrics. Madonna's single "Material Girl" and its accompanying video were huge hits in 1985, and went on to define much of her career. But was she right? Is she really a material girl? And are we living in a material world? More than 30 years after she sang this song, we find that the world we live in is becoming less and less about material things, and more and more about information.

From the perspective of the national and global economy, information technology is a vast and growing sector that is displacing manufacturing in value and influence. A similar trend is apparent in the economy of our daily lives: financial transactions are routinely conducted electronically, and reliance on the physical tokens of notes and coins starts to seem quaint.

Read more: Health in an age of information

My Health Record in General Practice

Dr Steve Hambleton, MBBS FAMA FRACGP (Hon) GAICD

Follow Dr Steve on Twitter @SteveJHambleton

Amongst my other roles, I've been a GP at the Kedron Park 7-Day Medical Centre in Brisbane for the past 29 years. Many of my patients have been in my care for a long time and I know them very well but I cannot be there for them every day. Like a lot of GPs who have been in the same practice for a long time, I mainly treat people with chronic and complex disease.

Dr Steve Hambleton

Pictured: Dr Steve Hambleton

I believe one of the responsibilities of General Practitioners is to facilitate patients’ interactions with the health system as a whole, and it’s particularly important for those with chronic ailments. For this reason, I am an early adopter of My Health Record – the secure, online digital summary of a patient’s pertinent medical information, including diagnosis, outcomes, medications, reactions and allergies.

Read more: My Health Record in General Practice

Bringing Digital Health to Central Australia — introducing Dr Sam Goodwin

Australia's digital health system is currently developing and evolving to best serve the community's needs, and arguably, people living in the most remote areas of the continent stand to benefit the most. Recently, Tim Kelsey, CEO, Prof Meredith Makeham, Chief Medical Advisor and I travelled to the Northern Territory to meet with a number of stakeholders, among them, Dr Sam Goodwin, the Executive Director of Medical and Clinical Services with the Central Australian Health Service. Having lived and worked in the area for 11 years, Dr Goodwin gives first-hand insights into the challenges faced by remote communities and how digital services can make a significant, positive difference.

Dr Sam Goodwin of the Central Australia Health Service

Dr Sam Goodwin Executive Director of Medical and Clinical Services with Central Australian Health Service

Read more: Bringing Digital Health to Central Australia — introducing Dr Sam Goodwin

Child Immunisation and Digital Health

The week before Christmas 2016, with temperatures peaking at 43 degrees, I travelled with our CEO, Tim Kelsey and Chief Medical Adviser, Clinical Professor Meredith Makeham to Perth, Bunbury and Busselton in Western Australia.

Read more: Child Immunisation and Digital Health

Starting the conversation on digital health

Dr Monica Trujillo, Chief Clinical Information Officer for the Australian Digital Health Agency, talks about how 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 li...

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Automating faxes was just the start: Inala Primary Care and Digital Health

Driving through the streets of Inala, a south-west Brisbane suburb, is always memorable. The 1950s style brick-and-stucco housing is clear evidence of Inala’s origins as a post-war social housing experiment. Through the decades, disadvantage has continued to dominate the area, populated by the elderly and predominantly African, Middle Eastern and Asian communities – in particular Vietnamese, who were among Australia’s first wave of ‘Boat People’ and made Inala their home. Indigenous art work in the local parks reflect one of Queensland’s largest agglomerations of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Pacific Island peoples.

Read more: Automating faxes was just the start: Inala Primary Care and Digital Health

Mobile enablement meeting consumer demands

In September 2016, I was invited to speak at HISA Queensland’s workshop for Health Data Interoperability, held at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital.  As the title suggests, the workshop brought together clinicians, technologists and other health informaticians to discuss various approaches to making interoperability within digital health services a reality. Such interoperability is universally recognised as a key component for an effective, user-friendly service.

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Why I’m behind digital health

Watch the National Digital Health Consultation: Findings so far to hear what Australian communities are saying about the future of health and care.

“Can you give me a call when you’re free, love mum.”

The message flashed up on my phone and my heart dropped. I knew something was up. My mum’s attempts at ‘text speak’ usually end up with half a screen of rambled shortcuts that I need to look up urban dictionary to decipher. This, on the other hand, was too short for comfort.

Read more: Why I’m behind digital health

Australian Migrant Resource Centre – Hearing Their Stories

In light of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s commitment to delivering the best possible digital health services to Australia, we recognise the importance of going out and talking to people, hearing their individual health issues and concerns. It’s been one of the most interesting aspects of my job in the Agency’s Communications team.

Read more: Australian Migrant Resource Centre – Hearing Their Stories

The power of data to make healthcare safer

I am in the school of pharmacy and medical sciences at the University of South Australia in Adelaide looking at the ceiling of Professor Libby Roughead’s office. ‘It used to be lower,’ she says. ‘We had to take out the overhead partition because somebody could have crawled through it’. This is one of the most secure offices in South Australia, perhaps the country. It is where data on the health of Australia’s 250,000 veterans is analysed. When a veteran receives their Gold card they are invited to consent to their medical information being reviewed to ensure they get the best possible care.

Read more: The power of data to make healthcare safer

Privacy – enabling trust and confidence in digital health

What's the collective noun for a group of healthcare providers? A horde? A congregation? Certainly not a gaggle. I think it should be an orchestra – just as an orchestra is made up of distinctive yet harmonious sections, so too is the healthcare industry.

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How to harness the power of the modern information revolution: reflections from Perth

Nine years ago, Fiona’s husband Peter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was benign and they were told that it wouldn’t kill him, but would be ‘a bit of a nuisance’. Peter, who worked as a business consultant in Western Australia, went into hospital for surgery – and then their world was shattered. There was a complication after his second operation and Peter, vulnerable to infection, contracted meningitis. He suffered brain damage and has required around-the-clock care ever since. What initially seemed like something Peter and Fiona could live with, now consumes their whole lives.

Read more: How to harness the power of the modern information revolution: reflections from Perth

Unleashing the power of people - How digital services can transform healthcare

Here is our first blog post from the Agency CEO Mr Tim Kelsey.

Tim Kelsey, CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency

Everybody in Darwin is hoping for rain: it is heating up and a humid summer is coming. We drive along the foreshore towards Palmerston, past the mangroves that mantle the ocean. I have been invited by Dr Sam Heard to come and listen to patients and staff in his practice, the Palmerston GP Super Clinic. It is a great innovation – a joint venture between Charles Darwin and Flinders universities to give local people access to comprehensive primary care services in one setting, from medical and pharmacy through to podiatry.

Read more: Unleashing the power of people - How digital services can transform healthcare