Australian clinicians will be professionally recognised as digital health experts in a career-boosting Fellowship program announced today by the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH) and Digital Health CRC (DHCRC).

As part of a DHCRC project, AIDH will collaborate with Queensland Health, the University of Queensland (UQ), and a range of health and medical colleges to develop the curriculum for the new Clinical Fellowship in Digital Health.

AIDH CEO Dr Louise Schaper said applications for candidacy from healthcare professionals would open later this year.

“The Institute has been working for many years to develop professional career pathways for digital health which will significantly build health workforce capacity,” Dr Schaper said.

“The next decade will demand even more from our clinical workforce as healthcare continues to change and evolve in a digital society. We need more qualified clinicians who are upskilled, confident and enabled to deliver care in a digital world.”

“However, right now there is no agreed national curriculum, recognised career pathways or recognition program for clinicians who are keen to become practitioners in digital health, in roles such as Chief Clinical Information Officer and Chief Digital Health Officer,” she said.

“The Clinical Fellowship in Digital Health is designed to be jointly recognised by AIDH and the relevant professional body, giving clinicians credentials and professional standing similar to other clinical specialties.

“Many of our members and clinicians in the wider community are digital health leaders and experts, but there is still very limited formal training, and much of it is knowledge rather than skills based.

“The Fellowship will address that through an innovative curriculum, cross-health sector engagement, and a truly national approach to recognition of the importance of digital health and clinical informatics,” she said.

University of Queensland Head of Digital Health Research Network A/Prof Clair Sullivan said the clinical fellowship would be based upon an evidence-based program being pioneered at the University.

“Healthcare delivery is changing rapidly. The use of technology and data is accelerating and we need to ensure our clinical workforce has the skills to effectively and safely lead this transformation,” A/Prof Sullivan said.

“The clinical leaders of the future need confidence and skills to deliver quality healthcare at scale with new technology, while maintaining the care of consumers at the heart of every interaction,” she said.

Digital Health CRC CEO Annette Schmiede said: “We’re proud to work with the AIDH and partners to put digitisation of our healthcare sector at the heart of building workforce capability amongst current and future clinicians.”

“The collaborative and consultative nature of the program development will ensure this Fellowship has been created to service the educational needs for individuals to progress into and succeed in vital roles such as Chief Digital Health Officers.”

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