The Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report packs a punch, despite only being a dozen pages. It is certainly pleasing to see top billing being given to digital and data in the future of healthcare.

The paper rightly points out that advances in adoption of technology during COVID-19 must not be lost. It says critical patient health information remains siloed and cannot be shared easily. That is exactly what we have experienced first-hand across many our research projects.

The report also squarely puts consumer outcomes at the heart of any proposed changes. This is the vision we described in our paper with Deloitte titled Australia’s Health Reimagined. Here we mapped three horizons on how the health system must evolve over the next 10 years, envisaging a system where we move from connected consumers through to empowered consumers and ultimately the confident consumer where people take an active role in their health and wellbeing supported by robust data interoperability and digital tools.

Finally, the report highlights the need for better collection of population-level clinical information. This is one of the main barriers facing researchers today and one of the issues often overlooked. By having consistent and accessible population-level data, researchers will be better placed to deliver solutions that benefit all Australians.

We welcome the report and its recommendations, specifically around digital and data and we look forward to working with our university, health and industry participants and partners to keep developing solutions to this complex, but critically important, challenge.

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