The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) on Friday opened an online consultation on the nation's health system, seeking feedback on how it could improve communication between healthcare professionals and their patients via secure digital channels.
The consultation is part of a nationwide series of discussions to help co-design the National Health Interoperability Roadmap, which will contain the standards and priorities used to implement Australia's "more modern" health system, and is a key priority of the agency's National Digital Health Strategy published in July last year.
The National Digital Health Strategy was created to improve how healthcare providers communicate with other professionals and their patients via secure digital channels so that the "best health and care decisions" can be made.
The ADHA also said on Friday it would facilitate over 50 digital health community conversations over the next few months with members of the healthcare and health tech sectors to collaborate on how digital technology can improve the health care system.
In its announcement of the consultation, ADHA pushed for patients' records from digital health systems in separate healthcare locations to be shared among healthcare professionals. An interoperable health system, the ADHA said, would allow information collected about a patient from a hospital or GP practice to be made available to others involved in a patient's care.
The push for an interoperable health system however, such as the rollout of My Health Record, has not been without its issues. My Health Record experienced 42 data breaches in 2017-18. It was also reported in November that its then-director of privacy resigned over privacy concerns. As of February, 2.5 million Australian citizens have opted out of My Health Record.
In addition, the latest quarterly report on Australia's Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme said that private health providers accounted for 21% of breaches, making it the most breached sector.
The agency is seeking consultations for its roadmap until 14 June, 2019.