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Digital Health Festival  – Melbourne

I was one of 6000+ attendees at the Digital Health Festival in Melbourne this month. The event was the perfect opportunity to network and learn from industry experts on the future of digital technology in healthcare and how it is transforming the way medical professionals work.

There were a few key standout points:

  1. The Australian federal government and the Australian Digital Health Agency are driving digital health initiatives by investing in a National Digital Health Strategy. The strategy is a 5-year plan (2023-2028) to achieve four key outcomes for Australia’s health system: digitally enabled, person-centred, inclusive, and data-driven. Read the full details here.
  2. Interoperability between healthcare systems/platforms is a significant challenge and focus area. Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy contains a National Interoperability Plan, which includes making the My Health Record usable.
  3. Data standardization and clean data are critical for effectively using electronic medical records (EMRs).
  4. Security and privacy concerns around digital health records need to be addressed.
  5. The number of people with AI skills in Australia falls far short of the required number, with an estimated 161,000 new specialist AI workers needed by 2030.
  6. The South Korean hospital Samsung Medical Center showcases the future potential of integrated digital health systems.
  7. Australia is quite a few years behind other countries with the innovation and implementation of AI technology in our hospitals.
  8. Startups abound. Many very impressive businesses addressing gaps in the delivery of healthcare have been established, many of those by former and current clinicians.


Data standards and electronic medical records

The Australian Digital Health Agency was established to lead the National Digital Strategy, which is a roadmap for Australia’s digital health future. However, it was noted that the existing My Health Record (MHR) system faces adoption and integration challenges and needs to be addressed. The community’s uptake and use of MHR are inconsistent and lacking, which means data is unreliable or missing.

Enabling different healthcare IT systems and platforms to work together seamlessly is a crucial goal, as Australia’s digital health landscape currently lacks sufficient integration. The National Digital Health Strategy plans to address this as well.

We need consistent data standards for EMRs to work effectively.


Security and privacy

Cybersecurity is a major concern for digital health records, especially as cybercrime (hacking) is on the increase.

There are privacy questions about who can access records and patient consent. The government is looking at measures like age verification for accessing certain technologies.


Samsung Medical Center – Leader in healthcare solutions

Samsung Medical Center’s integrated digital health system, with mobile EMRs, AI clinical monitoring and patient engagement, exemplifies the future vision of technology in healthcare.

Since its opening in 1994, Samsung Medical Center has strived to be a high-tech, intelligent hospital. This has created an environment that allows medical personnel to spend less time on logistics tasks and more time on patient care. By the year 2030, Samsung Medical Centre plans to be a cutting-edge medical campus.


Digital technology in Australian healthcare

One of the speakers discussed how there will be segmentation on the tasks that AI can’t or shouldn’t do, tasks that AI can assist with, and tasks that AI can perform independently. These must be clearly defined for each role to ensure a smooth transition.

We will see a reduction in manual processes, instead using digital signage, mobile digital devices for care providers to access patient data on-the-go, barcodes for point of care (BPOC), to name a few.

To achieve this, we will need more investment in the healthcare sector, including addressing security concerns around the National Digital Health Strategy. Due to a lack of investment, Australia is 10+ years behind other countries like South Korea with AI innovation in healthcare.


Prepare for changes

Digital technology is here to stay, and much research and innovation is underway globally. AI solutions can help medical professionals become more productive and efficient by taking on mundane tasks.

It’s worth taking the time to understand which technology changes may impact your role and what you can do now to prepare.


If you would like to know more about factoring digital technology skills into your career plan, contact me on (+61) 437 527 597 or via email.

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