Commonwealth Establishes Australian Digital Health Agency to Complement My Health Record

Asha McLean | ZD Net | July 26, 2016

The federal government has established an Australian Digital Health Agency, which will work with the public and private sectors in a bid to foster digital health innovation.

The federal government has announced the establishment of the Australian Digital Health Agency and an advisory board comprised of doctors, informatics specialists, digital experts, and customer service executives tasked with ensuring the nation's health system is technologically up to date. Speaking at the Health Informatics Conference 2016 in Melbourne on Monday, Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the new agency will set the national agenda for technical and data standards, promote clear principles for interoperability, and open source development within the health system.

"I want the central role of the agency to foster digital health innovation and importantly, when we see new innovative technologies emerge with a strong benefit to clinicians and patients, the agency will be able to invest to deliver national outcomes," she said. "Today we are embracing mobile technology, apps, and trackers. Tomorrow it could be artificial intelligence, individual precision medicines, tailored and personalised technologies as well as implantables."

The agency will become the system operator for My Health Record, the Australian government's e-health record system. Originally switched on in 2012, the system was given a further AU$485 million in funding during the 2015-16 Budget. At the same time, it was rebranded from the "personally controlled e-health record system" (PCEHR) to My Health Record. Ley said last year that a properly functioning national e-health system could save taxpayers up to AU$2.5 billion per year within a decade's time, with another AU$1.6 billion per year savings for the states...