An excellent new report is out now on the use of digital technologies in health systems covering all the key areas of application. A digitally-enabled health system studies the Australian health system and how it is to be improved by the use of various digital technologies.
Published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, this is a well researched and written report with the underlying analysis applicable to most countries, not just Australia. With contributions from eight experts, and presented in clear language, this is well worth a read. A free download of the report and links to infographics are available on the CSIRO report page.
Australia, in common with many other countries, faces pressures on its health system: “Treasury estimates suggest that at current rates of growth, and without significant change, health expenditure will exceed the entire state and local government tax base by 2043, and require almost half of all government taxation revenue” says Sarah Dods in the introduction to the report. CSIRO suggests several developments to meet this challenge – no surprises here, but nevertheless useful to remind ourselves of these: reduce reliance on hospitals, better manage hospital resources, make in-home patient monitoring (telehealth) the norm and introduce rigorous data security and privacy.
On hospital admissions there is a discussion on managing Emergency Departments and re-routing ambulances to hospitals with shorter queues, a practice that is already taking place in some parts of the country. There is a section on the use of RFID tags to manage both equipment and continuity of care in hospitals. Another section looks at telehealth and self-monitoring. Other sections look at video conferencing (“tele-presence”) and remote diagnosis.