ADHA to overhaul underlying infrastructure of Australia's health services

The government agency has its eyes on a future that includes AI, blockchain, and IoT.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), the My Health Record system operator, has turned to the market for help with shaping the future of its underlying national infrastructure for all of the services under its care.

The future, according to the ADHA, could include the likes of "bots" and robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, big data and analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and mobile applications to "facilitate access, data collection, management, and utilisation of data".

Where big data and analytics are concerned, the ADHA said it is keen to explore the use of high performance analytic systems that are capable of collecting, organising, and analysing large sets of data, in both structured and unstructured form from multiple sources to "discover patterns and trends to improve social health and shift to a 'push/pull' ecosystem".

For IoT, the agency wants to exploit the network of intelligent physical devices that enable the exchange of data.

Cloud is also on its radar, through use of open architecture technology models and computing to support system interoperability, scalability, analytics, and innovation, it said.

In a request for information (RFI) document, the ADHA said it wants to have a conversation about the future of the national infrastructure it currently operates, seeking information from industry about potential future options, themes, and considerations for products and services.

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Specifically, it said it wants to know how it can take advantage of new and emerging technology while maintaining the highest security and privacy standards.

Outside of what emerging technologies it should look into, the agency does not have a view of what it wants its future infrastructure to look like, saying there are no defined structures or requirements for the future.

As a result, it said it is seeking to understand what is seen as: Future design considerations, including how to cater for future expansion, scalability, and emerging technology areas; technology focus areas; capabilities that might be required in the future; and considerations that may influence further development of products such as its My Health Record.

"The agency does not have a fixed view on the future design or technologies, nor does the agency assume that the current model, technologies, operations are how the national infrastructure should operate into the future," the ADHA wrote.

"Instead, the agency intends to use information, from this RFI, to inform the development of future plans, including any requirements for capabilities, products, and services to inform future development."

In addition to the government's bungled My Health Record online medical file, the ADHA is responsible for the provision of national digital products and systems that support the provision of healthcare products and services.

"The agency is focused on putting data and technology safely to work for patients and consumers, and the healthcare professionals who look after them," the RFI says.

The agency said it utilises a collection of national digital health services and systems within its oversight, as well as those provided by others, including government organisations and third parties.

The national infrastructure is the underpinning technology associated with these services and systems.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, is responsible for the policy direction and legislation that supports the operation of the My Health Record system, including decisions on the use of the system; while the Department of Human Services (DHS) delivers My Health Record system functions, including IT infrastructure and provider registration and registration enquiry services.

Separately, the ADHA has a contract with Accenture Australia for the delivery of certain services that support the operation of components of the National Infrastructure.

Accenture is responsible for the My Health Record National Consumer Portal, National Provider Portal, and Admin portals. The sub-components include the children in care and portals as a product, ADHA said.

Other vendors currently contracted by the agency are: Adobe Systems, Converging Data, Oracle Australia, NTT COM ICT Solutions Australia, Datacom Systems, Chamonix IT Management Consulting, PWC, and Thinkplace Australia.

The RFI closes 3 December 2019.


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