Connecting care Australia's Digital Health Blueprint

Connecting care: Australia’s Digital Health Blueprint

The healthcare sector is witnessing an unprecedented technological revolution, fundamentally reshaping patient experience and healthcare delivery. Central to this transformation is the use of digital and data, as underscored in the recently released Australian Government Digital Health Blueprint and Action Plan 2023–2033.

The plan outlines a ten-year vision leveraging innovative technological solutions to improve how health services are accessed, used and delivered to help Australians live healthier lives. Recognising the federal government’s comprehensive role in healthcare, the Digital Health Blueprint and the accompanying Action Plan focus on unifying and prioritising significant, long-term investment in digital health. The initiative seeks to provide all Australians a more personalised and connected health and well-being experience. It encompasses various sectors, including primary care, mental health, hospitals, preventive health, medical research and aged care. The goal is to deliver improved health outcomes and create a more efficient health ecosystem across the board.

An essential aspect of this initiative is the emphasis on developing a connected, multidisciplinary network facilitated by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, wearable devices and software-driven digital care models. The integration of health technology in Australia aligns with several key global trends, including:

  • Digital health records: Real-time, patient-centred electronic records accessible to authorised healthcare providers and, through My Health Record, to patients. They include critical information like medications, treatment plans, immunisations and test results, enhancing patient engagement and healthcare connectivity.
  • Telehealth services: Telemedicine has revolutionised patient-provider interactions, especially in remote or underserved areas. It allows for real-time communication, remote monitoring and virtual consultations, increasing access to healthcare services.
  • Wearable technology and mobile health apps: Wearables like fitness trackers and health apps enable patients to monitor their health metrics continuously. These tools empower patients to take control of their health by providing real-time data and personalised insights.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning: AI-driven tools can analyse vast amounts of data to provide personalised health recommendations, predict health risks and assist in diagnostic processes.

Overall, these developments highlight the growing importance of technology in creating a more efficient, patient-centred healthcare system, emphasising patient engagement and patient activation. Patient activation, which refers to a patient’s knowledge, skills, ability and willingness to manage their own health and care, aims to empower patients to take a more active role in their healthcare journey. As healthcare systems globally grapple with aging populations and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases, patient activation has emerged as a foundation for effective health management. An activated patient is a crucial ally in the mission to enhance the efficacy of healthcare delivery. Activated patients are more likely to engage in positive health behaviours, have better clinical outcomes and report higher levels of satisfaction with their care. Technology plays a pivotal role in this process by providing tools that empower patients, enhance communication and facilitate better management of health conditions.

A 2022 study, Mobile App to Enhance Patient Activation and Patient-Provider Communication in Major Depressive Disorder Management, presents a compelling example. The research found that an app-enabled clinical care pathway could significantly enhance patient activation and benefit the management of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Using a mobile application, patients with MDD could communicate more effectively with their healthcare providers, track their symptoms, and access personalised resources. This technology fosters better communication between patients and providers and allows for continuous monitoring and management of the patient’s condition, leading to more tailored and effective treatment plans.

Check our latest infographic, Healthcare tech and patient activation below to understand the opportunities for digital health technologies to foster a more informed, engaged and proactive approach to health and well-being.

Healthcare technology plays a vital role in activating patients to take charge of their health. Mobile health applications, wearable devices, patient portals, telehealth services, electronic health records (EHR), electronic medical records (EMR), online health education platforms, AI-powered health assistants, online support groups, and gamification features empower patients by providing access to real-time health data, facilitating communication with healthcare providers, offering educational resources, delivering personalised health advice, and fostering peer support.

Read more about Patient Activation here >


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