A new project will help Queensland’s health workers understand the current technology used in various health care settings in the state, so they can build a data-driven roadmap towards digital transformation.

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is supporting this collaboration between Queensland Health, the University of Queensland and not-for-profit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

“COVID-19 has shown us that digital healthcare is the future, but the challenge is – how do we get there in a way that’s effective and delivers value for money?” said Associate Professor Clair Sullivan from the Centre for Health Services Research at the University of Queensland.

“This project is about centring our digital transformation around the consumer by understanding their journeys across the care continuum, recognising what health outcomes are important, and learning how digital technology can help us achieve these better outcomes for our consumers,” she said.

“As we learn, we can develop a digital health roadmap to deliver consumers with better care.”

The project will run in Hospitals and Health Services and some example Primary Health Networks across Queensland’s cities, regions and remote areas.

“The HIMSS program gives us the chance to assess our digital health and continuity of care maturity in an Australian context, and to measure our progress towards a digital health ecosystem,” said Professor Keith McNeil, who is Queensland Health’s Chief Clinical Information Officer and Acting Deputy Director-General Prevention Division.

He said the project will map a baseline to show the current levels of digital health.

“This project will show our ability to ‘connect the dots’ for patients in different sectors – and it will show those services that need investment and support, so we can develop a plan that allocates resources where they will have the strongest impacts,” said Professor McNeil.

He said the project will also identify ‘rapid response’ opportunities for investment to boost services fast.The project will form part of a global series of tests for the new HIMSS Digital Health Indicator.

“Many jurisdictions and health services around the world want to know the level of their digital capability. The new Digital Health Indicator provides actionable insights which can support improved clinical and economic outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted these knowledge gaps,” said Tim Kelsey, who is Senior Vice President, HIMSS Analytics International.

He said that HIMSS has developed an assessment process that they will conduct virtually, reducing the burden on the Hospitals and Health Services and Queensland Health team.

“By better understanding our national digital health footprints we can identify ‘maturity’ leading and lagging indicators, so our support is directed at identifying and improving our digital health maturity,” said Dr Michael Costello, CEO (interim) of the Digital Health CRC.

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