The news this week that ACIVA, the group representing IT vendors servicing the aged care industry, has agreed to merge with the more established group covering medical software vendors, the MSIA, was welcome for a number of reasons, not just because there will now be a unified voice representing the makers and marketers of digital health solutions for all sectors of the healthcare industry.
It also hopefully means that the reality of what 'aged care' actually is and the IT support it needs will be better understood as it gets a larger seat at the eHealth table. While for many the concept of aged care centres around older people living in nursing homes, aged care has long been and will increasingly be delivered in the community, with the numbers of elderly people remaining at home continuing to grow and residential aged care restricted to the very old, the very frail and the very cognitively impaired.
The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) was back in the news this last fortnight as the large round of consultations it has been doing – or what we like to call Tim Kelsey's magical mystery tour – comes to an end and work on a new national eHealth strategy starts in earnest.
There has been a flurry of activity, with tenders issued for secure messaging proof of concept trials and pharmacy software vendors incentivised to hook up to the My Health Record. Just this week the members of some of the agency's advisory committees were revealed, some of them extremely worthy. And on Friday, we found out a few details about the next release of the MyHR and what spiffing new features to expect, the most important from a clinical perspective being a unified view of medications and better searchability of pathology and diagnostic imaging reports.