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In this ground-breaking white paper, David Rowlands, one of Australia’s leading health informaticians, calls for further conversation as a precursor to the development of Australia’s next digital health strategy.

Health organisations all over the world are developing and implementing digital health strategies, and companies from start-ups to long-established players are spruiking digital health.

But are we all talking about the same thing? This paper presents the view that digital health is in fact something quite new – an evolutionary step in the 70-year journey of the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the health sector, but a step that transcends technology.

David Rowlands says national conversations are required about:

  • The nature of digital health, and the distinction between digital health and digital health technologies – the ’what’ versus the how’. This conversation should aim at broad agreement on a common lexicon that enables a clear digital health vision for Australia to emerge.
  • The nature of system changes required to facilitate digital health. This should aim at broad agreement on a work program that better aligns technology and infrastructure development with policy, regulation, funding and culture change programs.
  • The nature of changes required from health and professional workforces. This should aim at enhancing education, training and career pathways supporting digital health capability building across the health workforce.
  • The nature of leadership required in the health sector to build and sustain momentum for change. This should aim to enhance health leadership development.

The paper is jointly published by the Digital Health Workforce Academy and the Australasian Institute of Digital Health.

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