Don't forget allied health and specialists in digital health agenda: AAPM
Specialist and allied health practices need to be supported in taking part in digital health initiatives such as the My Health Record if the full benefits are to be realised, the Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM) says, with resources made available to ensure that practice managers across all settings are thoroughly informed about in digital health at the practice level.
In a position paper on digital health released last week, AAPM says there are significant potential benefits that can be achieved through digital health, including better access to care and better health outcomes; improved co-ordination and communication between providers; greater use of data to improve healthcare and influence health behaviours; and economic benefits from system efficiencies.
However, to achieve these benefits, AAPM says several current risks and concerns need to be addressed, including data security through secure messaging; system interoperability across providers and sectors; and reliable high speed internet access across all parts of Australia, including rural and remote areas.
It also says there is a need to achieve high levels of uptake of digital health by patients to succeed, estimating that at least 50 per cent of patients will need to be registered for My Health Record before health professionals will see the real benefits.
“The opt-out model should help to achieve this critical mass, and AAPM is heartened that following successful trials, the COAG Health Council in March 2017 agreed to adopt the opt-out model on a national scale in the future,” it says.
There is also a need to ensure inclusiveness of all sectors, including specialist and allied health practices, it argues.
“The allied health sector has noted that the federal government’s focus and investment in digital health to date has been largely concentrated on general practice,” the statement says.
“It is recognised that this support has been vital and it is welcomed; however, it is important that other providers are also supported to participate in digital health. The allied health community plays a crucial role and would benefit enormously from full access to digital health technology, and should be supported to engage with digital health.
“Similarly, it is important to ensure that medical specialists and their practices are supported to engage with digital health. Specialist practices may have specific issues in relation to patient data management and secure transmission; and it will be important to ensure that the digital system is compatible with all medical practice software systems, and that the digital health agenda takes into account that manual systems are still used by some specialist practices.”
AAPM recommends that resources be made available to ensure that practice managers across Australia, whether in general practice, specialist practice, or allied health settings, can be comprehensively informed, educated and equipped in digital health at practice level.
It also recommends that practice managers be represented in all key committees and policy processes in relation to the further development of Australia’s digital health agenda, and that all practice managers actively embrace the digital health agenda, ensure they are fully educated and informed of developments, and offer leadership at practice level to embed digital health into Australia’s health system.
The position paper is available here (PDF):
Posted in Australian eHealth