It is so pleasing to see healthcare reform at the forefront of a national debate and discussion. The need to overhaul primary care, revamp Medicare to be fit for purpose and ensure we build a resilient and well-resourced health workforce is more critical than ever as we face a population that is aging and with ever more complex health challenges.

The global pandemic presented unparalleled demands on the healthcare sector but it also demonstrated the unprecedented opportunity that we have to use technological advances to transform how healthcare is delivered. If we get this right I believe it will enable us to establish a healthcare system to meet the needs of generations to come.

The recent Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report presented digital and data as one of four primary areas of focus in improving Australia’s health system. Under the banner of modernising primary care, the report authors made a series of digital health recommendations, including the need to better connect health data across all parts of the health system, underpinned by robust national governance and legislative frameworks, regulation of clinical software and improved technology.

We could not agree with this more fully. Today, the DHCRC releases a paper calling for a way forward in building a collective approach to creating a national framework for the governance of data and information. For too long the lack of a national information and governance has impeded Australian researchers. This paper, featured in this newsletter below, uses case studies from a number of recent DHCRC projects to demonstrate practical examples where our participants have been directly impacted by these barriers. We also present a series of short- and long-term suggestions as a way forward. We hope this provokes discussion and we welcome your feedback and views on this important topic.

Also in this newsletter, we share a couple of recent projects that we announced at the end of last year and early this year. The first is an Australian-first research initiative into the emergence and prevalence of Long COVID in primary care, and how this can be best managed in general practice who are at the frontline of diagnosis and treatment. The second is a projected aiming to co-design, develop, implement and review the effectiveness of a care navigation platform – the Local Mental Health Care Operational Navigation Chart (MChart) – to better facilitate the navigation of mental health care services by all stakeholders.

Finally, we’re pleased to feature two of our students in this edition of our newsletter. This year we plan to more regularly shine a light on our student cohort that is making a real contribution to the future of digital health.

Warm regards,

Annette Schmiede
CEO, Digital Health CRC


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