This project aims to identify elements of digitisation in health care that best improve the safety and quality of patient care, to drive safe and effective use of national digital health infrastructure into the future. This includes identifying existing approaches to self-assess, monitor and benchmark uptake of recommended digital health interventions. The Commission’s rolling three-year work plan features this project under deliverables for 2017– 18.
The review findings are focused on five digital health interventions:
- Electronic patient portals
- Electronic patient reminders (mobile technologies)
- Information-sharing at discharge (electronic discharge summary or EDS)
- Computerised provider order entry (CPOE) including electronic prescribing
- Clinical decision-support systems (CDSSs).
Introducing digital health initiatives into healthcare organisations can produce significant benefits to patients and healthcare providers. Improvements to quality, safety and efficiency of patient care are achievable via digital interventions. The literature indicates that a combination of digital interventions may yield greater benefit. However, the successes of these interventions are dependent on ensuring a rigorous implementation process.
There is limited published evidence regarding approaches to measuring digital health. The variation among implemented digital health interventions limits comparative data and knowledge-sharing. Measurements are typically focused on structural, process, or outcome metrics. There are exemplar measurement frameworks available. Customisation of such frameworks, however, will elicit specific data related to the intervention, which will enable greater attribution.
The Commission will continue to work with states and territories, the Australian Digital Health Agency, and other healthcare providers to identify best-value approaches to health IT initiatives which optimise patient safety and the quality of care.