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Annual work plan priorities from the Corporate Plan 2020–21

The targets in the 2020-21 PBS and corporate plan covering all the critical activities within our digital health remit give a broad perspective of the Agency’s performance, but do not complete the performance story. The Agency is one of only a handful of Commonwealth entities with a statutory obligation to produce an annual work plan.1 The effect is to put that work plan at the centre of any performance discussion.

The work plan was an attachment to the Corporate Plan 2020-21 and this section of the performance report covers implementation and achievements in its delivery.

Agency annual work plan

The diagram below presents the Agency’s annual work plan priorities for the 2020-21 financial year. It consists of a series of seven programs aligned with the seven strategic priority outcomes of the current National Digital Health Strategy.

In support of measuring the Agency’s performance in 2020-21, each program is assessed in terms of its purpose (overview and 2020-21 work plan focus) and the results produced, followed by a synoptic analysis of factors contributing to results.

This approach shows how each priority area of work within the Agency furthers the overall purpose of delivering the benefits of digitally enabled health and care.

 mHealth; National Infrastructure Modernisation; NASH Improvements

My Health Record

The 2020-21 priority was threefold.

1. Create new connections

In 2020-21, registrations across all healthcare provider types increased as follows:

PROPORTION OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ORGANISATIONS REGISTERED Pharmacy 99% as at June 2021, 99% as at June 2020 Pathology Labs - Public 99% as at June 2021, 95% as at June 2020 General Practice 99% as at June 2021, 93% as at June 2020 Public Hospitals 97% as at June 2021, 95% as at June 2020 Pathology Labs - Private 81% as at June 2021, 77% as at June 2020 Diagnostic Imaging Sites - Public 79% as at June 2021, 79% as at June 2020 Diagnostic Imaging Sites - Private 74% as at June 2021, 70% as at June 2020 Private Hospitals - Inpatient 69% as at June 2021, 68% as at June 2020 Private Hospitals - Day Surgery 22% as at June 2021, 16% as at June 2020 Specialist 14% as at June 2021, 10% as at June 2020 Aged Care 11% as at June 2021, 3% as at June 2020 Allied Health 8% as at June 2021, 7% as at June 2020

2. Improve the system

Consolidated immunisation view

Australian healthcare providers have an improved and consolidated view of their patients’ immunisation details through My Health Record thanks to a new consolidated view of immunisation details from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), and the individual’s record. This makes it easier for healthcare providers to view their patients’ immunisation information and enables consumers to access their immunisation history statement from My Health Record to show proof of vaccinations.

Improved usability for healthcare providers

The Agency worked with software developers, particularly those working with specialist clinical information systems, to incorporate My Health Record into standard screens and workflows for healthcare providers. The changes remove the need for a healthcare provider to search for My Health Record data in separate areas within their software, improving both the user experience and quality of data readily available to clinicians.

3. Accelerate use

A range of factors contributed to increased use of My Health Record in 2020-21, including:

  • improved utility for both consumers and healthcare providers
  • ongoing promotion through partnerships with the wider healthcare landscape and consumer groups
  • a proactive public relations strategy, allowing timely responses to media and issues resulted in more than 7,000 media mentions
  • an effective advertising and communications program that resulted in increases for healthcare providers and consumers in intention to use the system and positive sentiment towards it.

The following infographics provide a synopsis of key use metrics as at June 2021.

PROPORTION OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER ORGANISATIONS USING Pathology Labs - Public 99% as at June 2021, 99% as at June 2020 Public Hospitals 95% as at June 2021, 91% as at June 2020 Pharmacy 95% as at June 2021, 81% as at June 2020 General Practice 90% as at June 2021, 82% as at June 2020 Diagnostic Imaging Sites - Public 79% as at June 2021, 78% as at June 2020 Pathology Labs - Private 67% as at June 2021, 67% as at June 2020 Private Hospitals - Inpatient 54% as at June 2021, 55% as at June 2020 Diagnostic Imaging Sites - Private 26% as at June 2021, 23% as at June 2020 Private Hospitals - Day Surgery 6% as at June 2021, 5% as at June 2020 Specialist 6% as at June 2021, 4% as at June 2020 Aged Care 3% as at June 2021, 1% as at June 2020 Allied Health 2% as at June 2021, 2% as at June 2020

MY HEALTH RECORD THE BIG PICTURE JUNE 2021 23M total My Health Records Records by state WA 2.4M NT 220K SA 1.6M QLD 4.8M NSW 7.2M ACT 390K VIC 5.7M TAS 490K More than 21M records have data in them PRE OPT OUT JAN 2019 5.39M JAN 2020 13.2M JAN 2021 20.27M JUNE 2021 21.02M

HOW ARE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS USING IT? Public hospitals are providing better continuity of care as they have viewed nearly 700K documents which were uploaded by other healthcare providers and uploaded nearly 630K which were viewed by other healthcare providers in the last year.

What documents did people view the most? Pathology reports were viewed the most in June with 759K views

Monthly stats on documents viewed which were uploaded by other organisations July 2020 General Practice 40,233; Public Hospitals 34,100; Pharmacy 5,194; Private Hospitals 1,018; Specialist 672 Aug 2020 General Practice 54,553; Public Hospitals 58,048; Pharmacy 6,952; Private Hospitals 1,348; Specialist 761; Sep 2020 General Practice 46,943; Public Hospitals 52,902; Pharmacy 6,002; Private Hospitals 972; Specialist 873; Oct 2020 General Practice 46,260; Public Hospitals 41,945; Pharmacy 6,248; Private Hospitals 912; Specialist 835; Nov 2020 General Practice 63,479; Public Hospitals 61,528; Pharmacy 7,897; Private Hospitals 1,133; Specialist 968; Dec 2020 General Practice 48,214; Public Hospitals 50,146; Pharmacy 6,033; Private Hospitals 555; Specialist 721; Jan 2021 General Practice 65,982; Public Hospitals 58,444; Pharmacy 7,765; Private Hospitals 713; Specialist 755; Feb 2021 General Practice 70,405; Public Hospitals 52,354; Pharmacy 7,402; Private Hospitals 642; Specialist 1,011; Mar 2021 General Practice 68,261; Public Hospitals 54,776; Pharmacy 7,702; Private Hospitals 754; Specialist 976; April General Practice 68,261; Public Hospitals 54,776; Pharmacy 7,702; Private Hospitals 754; Specialist 976; May 2021 General Practice 83,338; Public Hospitals 83,179; Pharmacy 10,776; Private Hospitals 1,428; Specialist 1,662; June 2021 General Practice 69,414; Public Hospitals 69,108; Pharmacy 9,463; Private Hospitals 1,717; Specialist 1,511;

Monthly stats on documents uploaded which were viewed by others in public hospitals, general practice, pharmacy, path and DI, private hospitals

Analysis of factors contributing to results

My Health Record: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • Response to COVID-19 continued to accelerate innovation and remove barriers to the adoption of My Health Record and other digital health tools, as well as the development and implementation of meaningful resources and initiatives to ensure continuity of healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Agility to release changes to the My Health Record system, in line with the changing and emerging requirements of the COVID-19 response.
  • Strong partnerships with healthcare providers and key stakeholders, including Jurisdictions, PHNs, and Clinical Peaks, enabled deeper collaboration, coordination and co-design for adoption, and deeper meaningful use of the My Health Record and other digital health tools.
  • Strong collaboration with other government Agencies including Department of Health, Healthdirect, Services Australia, Department of Home Affairs, and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade enabled the end-to-end user experience of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout and availability of immunisation details through the My Health Record system.
  • Both the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards, specifically Actions 1.17 and 1.18 (addressing quality of healthcare records), and an increased focus on compliance following previous My Health Record audits, have accelerated private hospitals’ and day surgeries’ plans to connect or improve existing connections to the My Health Record system.
  • A benefit of the fast-tracked rollout of electronic prescribing across community pharmacies was an increase in the number of registrations and NASH certificate renewals, as well as set-up and access to PRODA, across the community pharmacy sector.
  • Positive shift in sentiment across consumers and an increase in consumer use of the My Health Record system, including viewing of diagnostic reports and immunisation information.

  • Prioritisation of and demands on resources across the health sector to respond to COVID-19 impacted the timely delivery of some My Health Record projects and activities.
  • The range of restrictions on travel, social interaction and border control introduced at varying times to respond to COVID-19 impacted both the ability and ways to engage with key stakeholders, healthcare providers and consumers. This included limited opportunities for face-to-face, on-the-ground interaction, and engagement through events and national conferences.
  • Healthcare providers at different stages of My Health Record adoption, including their access to conformant software, limits uptake. This is particularly pertinent in the diagnostic imaging, aged care and allied health sectors.
  • Usability of conformant software – particularly those developed some time ago – is a barrier to adoption by healthcare providers and increased meaningful use of the My Health Record system.
  • A large volume of NASH certificate expirations (especially among pharmacies who were not PRODA-registered) meant that maintaining existing connections required significant effort.

Increasing document volume in My Health Record

The number of documents in My Health Record increased by nearly 50% in 2020-21 and now totals almost three billion.

Clinical documents uploaded by healthcare providers presented the greatest change (+119%) driven by significant increases to pathology (+143%), diagnostic imaging (+92%), dispensing documents (+86%) and specialist letters (+141%) following the adoption of clinical software that supported new document types and increased participation of healthcare organisations contributing these documents to the system.

Similarly, new functionality paved the way for a more than 440% growth in the availability of a new clinical document called the Pharmacist Shared Medicines List (PSML) – a current, consolidated list of medicines that can be used to assist in the medication reconciliation process in a hospital or primary care setting. Increasing use of PSML in 2020–21 to create a more detailed source of medicines information (at a point in time) – in addition to existing prescribed and dispensed medicine data – is aimed at reducing medication errors, especially at transitions between episodes of care when the risk of error is increased.

These developments have been supported by the practice incentive requirements for general practice organisations and My Health Record engagement activities, including partnering with PHNs and clinical peak organisations.

The following table shows the number of documents uploaded to My Health Record (by category) during 2020-21 and change relative to 2019-20.

My Health Record document volumes 2020–21

Document category/name

At 30 June 2020

At 30 June 2021


Clinical documents




Shared Health Summary




Discharge Summary




Event Summary




Specialist Letter




eReferral Note




Pathology Report




Diagnostic Imaging Report




Pharmacist Shared Medicines List




Prescription and Dispense Record












Consumer documents




Consumer Entered Health Summary




Consumer Entered Notes




Advance Care Directive Custodian Report




Advance Care Planning Document




Goals of Care




Medicare documents




Australian Immunisation Register




Australian Organ Donor Register




Medicare/DVA Benefits Report




Pharmaceutical Benefits Report




Child My Health Record documents




Personal Health Observation




Personal Health Achievement




Child Parent Questionnaire




Total active documents in My Health Record




WHAT IS INSIDE? There are nearly 408M documents in the system that have been uploaded by consumers or healthcare providers. From medical histories to the latest blood tests, from pathology reports to advanced care plans, more vital health information is now securely stored and available when needed. CLINICAL DOCUMENTS More than 152M uploaded by a healthcare provider like hospitals, pathologists and radiologists. MEDICINE DOCUMENTS More than 255M uploaded by healthcare providers like pharmacists and GPs. CONSUMER DOCUMENTS 372K uploaded by people.

HEALTHCARE PROVIDER UPLOADS Volume of clinical documents uploaded June 2020 75M June 2021 152M 102% increase Volume of medicine documents uploaded June 2020 142M June 2021 255M 79% increase Volume of pathology reports uploaded June 2020 53M June 2021 117M 120% increase Volume of dispense records uploaded June 2020 82M June 2021 149M 81% increase Volume of discharge summary reports uploaded June 2020 7M June 2021 11M 54% increase Volume of diagnostic imaging reports uploaded June 2020 8M June 2021 15M 8¬2% increase

Secure messaging

The need for healthcare providers to connect to each other safely and securely is greater than ever.

Secure messaging is a foundational capability to enable interoperability and safe, seamless, secure, and confidential information sharing across all healthcare providers.

The priority in 2020–21 was twofold.

1. Provider Connect Australia

  • The business case to mobilise a nationally scaled Provider Connect Australia service (formerly Service Registration Assistant or SRA) solution was approved by the Agency Board in February 2021. The Agency established a project team to deliver this initiative, progressed the requirements and design of the solution, and started development in June 2021.

2. Industry participation and adoption

  • 86% of participants in the secure messaging industry offer delivered enhanced secure messaging capability into their production systems, despite the impact of COVID-19 on their resources.
  • A successful pilot ‘go-live’ of the South Australia (SA) Health state-wide interoperable secure messaging project, with the start of outbound discharge summaries from SA Health hospitals to general practices across the state.
  • Successful completion, publication and promotion of the Safety and Quality Benefits of Secure messaging research report by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Secure messaging: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • Additional support and encouragement by the Agency Secure Messaging Industry Offer (SMIO) team resulted in a positive outcome with a great number of vendors (86%) completing the SMIO despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on vendor resourcing.
  • Ongoing collaboration between SA, the Agency and their secure messaging vendor (Healthlink) resulted in the positive outcome with the production commencement of state-wide secure messaging.

  • Impact of COVID-19 delayed the ability of a number of software providers to deliver enhancements into production, within initially scoped time
  • Ongoing demand on the conformance team to support the e-Prescribing work delayed progress on the secure messaging conformance framework.

Interoperability and data quality

Today, most healthcare providers securely store patient information in computer-based clinical information systems.

Better connected healthcare is about supporting the exchange of high-quality data between healthcare providers and the systems they use.

By bringing patient information from multiple, trusted sources together, healthcare providers and patients will have greater visibility of accurate information that leads to better decisions, and in turn, better outcomes.

Interoperability lays the foundations for better connected health services by defining system and product standards to maintain and enhance Australia’s reputation for world-class healthcare.

In 2020–21, the Agency continued to take significant foundational steps in making interoperability a reality. Noteworthy achievements included:

  • National Health Chief Information Officers’ Roundtable agreed to the governance and timetable for the Interoperability Implementation Plan.
  • The Interoperability Plan was drafted and reviewed by Steering Committee members ahead of consultation and approval in 2021-22.

Work commenced on several actions to support interoperability including a cost–benefit assessment for the wider use of healthcare provider identifiers, a survey to understand what types and information sources clinicians would like to discover digitally, and a review of current approaches to support patients identifying care network members.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Interoperability and data quality: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


Jurisdictional engagement on the development of the draft National Health Interoperability Plan via the National Interoperability Steering Committee.

The impact of COVID-19 related priorities delayed the establishment of formal governance arrangements and the timeframe for finalisation of the Interoperability plan.

Medicines safety

In November 2019, federal, state and territory health ministers declared medicines safety the 10th National Health Priority Area for Australia. This recognises the urgent need to ensure medicines improve the health of Australians and not put them at risk of harm.

Some 250,000 Australians are hospitalised each year and another 400,000 present to emergency departments as a result of medication errors, inappropriate use, misadventure and interactions. The annual cost of medication-related problems in Australia is nearly $1.4 billion.2

The Agency’s Medicines Safety Program uses digital interventions that enhance access to information about medicines, allergies and adverse reactions, and support safe and efficient medicines use and reduce adverse events. Further, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medicines Safety Program accelerated the implementation of electronic prescribing for Australia.

The priority for 2020–21 was threefold.

1. Electronic prescribing

  • The significant acceleration and rollout of electronic prescribing was made possible by an outstanding collaboration between state and territory jurisdictions, the Commonwealth, clinical peak bodies, clinical software developers and the Agency. It set in place a new standard for working together to deliver digitally enabled healthcare reforms for the future. The Agency and Department of Health were recognised for their collaboration with industry through the electronic prescribing project, by winning an Australian Government Digital Award in the category of excellence in government-industry partnership.
  • Electronic prescribing is providing a safer, faster and more efficient supply of prescriptions to Australians – in person via their doctor or via a telehealth consultation – sent straight to their mobile phone or by email. Combined with new virtual models of care such as telehealth, electronic prescriptions improve accessibility of healthcare. The viability of telehealth consulting has been constrained previously by the limitations of a paper prescription as the only legal form by which medicines could be supplied. But now, even beyond COVID-19, it will be a great advantage for Australians living in rural, regional and remote areas to have a telehealth consult with a doctor (e.g. a specialist) in a metropolitan city and receive their prescription electronically.
  • Three electronic prescribing industry offers were managed by the Agency. Their purpose was to incentivise delivery to market of prescribing software, dispensing software and mobile applications that allow healthcare professionals and consumers to use electronic prescriptions. These industry offers have significantly accelerated the availability of electronic prescriptions to Australians.
  • Contracts executed under the industry offers are enabling a variety of software products to deliver features to market across prescribing systems for GPs and specialists, dispensing systems for community and hospital pharmacies, electronic medication charts in hospitals, residential aged care facilities, mobile applications and mobile intermediaries. These enhanced products have seen clinical benefits enabled for healthcare professionals providing services to patients in acute and primary settings, and also to patients who choose to use mobile applications and emerging innovative solutions which leverage the Active Script List (ASL) to better manage their electronic prescription tokens.
  • In February 2021, the ASL service went live via a test phase in a small number of community pharmacies. ASL is an electronic prescription token management solution. ASL is now scaling nationally through pharmacy dispense products with products listed on the Agency’s electronic prescribing conformance register. As well as consumer medication management apps, ASL provides enhanced convenience and functionality for Australians using electronic prescriptions. At 30 June 2021, 12,702 patients had established their own ASL.
  • On 16 April 2021, Electronic Prescribing Conformance Profile v3.0 (CPv3.0) was published by the Agency. CPv3.0 identifies conformance requirements for software to achieve ‘full’ electronic prescribing functionality as per the original solution architecture. This includes chart-based prescribing capability for aged care and hospital electronic prescribing and enhanced consumer options for the ASL through medication management apps. Software will transition to CPv3.0 conformance by end of April 2022. As part of the stakeholder consultation in developing CPv3.0, 600 items of feedback were addressed by the Agency’s Conformance and Assurance Unit.

//hwd.health.gov.au/resources/data/gp-primarycare.html# 57% assumes majority of prescribers are GPs (given that software is predominantly rolled out in primary care). >98% Percentage of Australian community pharmacies supplying medicines from an electronic prescription Based on 5822 community pharmacies approved to supply PBS medicines as at 30 June 2021. 6,175,388 Original electronic prescriptions generated by prescribers 4,861,253 Electronic prescription repeats generated by pharmacies 21,181 Individual prescribers generating electronic prescriptions 12,702 Active Script List Registrations

Over 11 million electronic prescriptions generated since 1 July 2020 As at Jun-21 11,055,641 Total issued 6,175,388 Original issued by prescribers 4,861,253 Repeat issued by pharmacy

Number of prescribers and community pharmacies issuing and dispensing electronic prescriptions As at 30 June 2021 Number of prescribers issuing 21,181 Number of community pharmacies dispensing > 5700

2. Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services (RAAHS) S100 PBS medicines viewing project

Under the S100 PBS RAAHS Program, clients of approved Aboriginal Health Services are able to receive medicines at the point of consultation without the need for a normal PBS prescription and without charge. Often these medicines are not supplied as a prescribe or dispense activity using My Health Record conformant software and therefore medicines information is not being uploaded into My Health Record. The project improves the inter-provider visibility of medicines provided under the S100 RAAHS provisions using the My Health Record system as a vehicle. The project will also improve the IHI (Individual Healthcare Identifier) matching rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The (RAAHS) S100 PBS Medicines Viewing project continues into 2021-22.

3. Medicines safety data analytics scoping and feasibility project

Completed in 2020-21, this study demonstrated that an internationally developed framework for assessing clinical data quality can be applied successfully to the assessment of My Health Record data. The quality of data applicable to medicines safety has been assessed to a level of detail that has enabled specific recommendations for improving medicines safety to be made. The proof-of-concept data analytics application trialled during the project demonstrated that it is possible to develop software applications using the structured clinical data in the My Health Record system to assist clinicians with patient care.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Medicines safety results: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • The Australian Government’s National Health Plan for COVID-19 that supported accelerated electronic prescribing, focused the efforts and attention of the Department of Health, the Agency, industry and health professionals via clinical peak bodies to successfully deliver electronic prescriptions for Australia
  • Industry offers and initial modifications to electronic prescribing conformance profiles eased the software development burden on software providers and enabled more rapid release to market of conformant software
  • Communications, published resources and health professional education events built awareness and understanding of electronic prescribing and electronic prescriptions.

  • COVID-19 restrictions also limited face-to-face provider education and adoption activities.
  • Interim electronic prescribing conformance profiles meant ongoing and progressive development work to add new functionality into software.

Enhanced models of care

The Enhanced Models of Care Program’s focus is on enabling digitally enhanced models of care across identified priority health reform areas. In 2020–21, the program focus was on four areas.

1. Digital reform driven by COVID-19

  • The Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) was developed to provide clinics without existing compatible software with a technology solution to enable upload of COVID-19 vaccine administration details to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and thereby meet mandatory reporting requirements.

Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform 446,470 Number of vaccines administered 179 Clinics using CVIP 1,611 Number of providers using CVIP Numbers as at 27 June 2021. The Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) was launched Feb 2021. Clinics by type Covid-19 Vaccination Hub 73 Flu Clinic 6 General Hospital 12 GP Clinic 13 Pharmacy 10 Private Clinic 3 Private Hospital 4 Respiratory Clinic 53 Other 5

Note: As at 29 August 2021, the number of vaccines administered was 1,193,277

  • My Health Record system changes to increase the immunisation views for consumers and healthcare providers through:
    • Allowing COVID-19 pathology reports to be available to consumers 24 hours after they are uploaded by the pathology service (previously seven days).
    • Simplifying access controls and improving access to immunisation information (including COVID-19 vaccination records) via a new consolidated immunisation view:
      • This view includes information contained within the AIR as well as My Health Record information such as pathology reports and immunisation records.
      • This view is accessible to consumers and health providers through My Health Record portals, conformant clinical information systems and conformant consumer mobile applications (Healthi and HealthNow).

2. Goals of care and advance care planning

  • The National Goals of Care Collaborative endorsed the National Guideline for advance care planning and My Health Record.
  • The National Guideline for advance care planning and My Health Record was launched in partnership with Advance Care Planning Australia with support from clinical and consumer peak bodies.
  • WA Health completed a rollout of the upload of Goals of Care documents to My Health Record to 24 sites across the state.

3. Children’s digital health

The Agency delivered the business case for the National Pregnancy and Children’s Digital Health Record and managed the contract for the National Children’s Digital Health Collaborative, which delivered:

  • national harmonisation of the state and territory baby books
  • national harmonisation of state and territory antenatal records
  • development of 51% of the digital clinical information for the Harmonised Baby Book
  • digitisation within a test environment of antenatal visit health interactions
  • 130 children and 96 mothers registered (March 2021) for the child record (0-4) proof of concept.

4. Test beds

In June 2021, the Agency closed out the last of the test bed program initiatives established in 2018 with demonstrated use cases for progressing thinking on digital interventions and the role they can play in improving delivery of healthcare. The results achieved included:

  • identifying key impact and evaluation findings
  • identifying recommendations for future digital health R&D projects
  • identifying barriers and facilitators to inform future digital health R&D projects
  • identifying the opportunity for an innovative research hub and the subsequent establishment of the Digital Health Experience Centre at the Agency
  • Informing priority digital health initiatives including:
    • Australian Primary Care reform
    • Digital Health Specialist Toolkit
    • COVID-19 response
    • Commonwealth Digital Health Blueprint.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Enhanced models of care: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • Strong collaboration between the Australian Digital Health Agency, Department of Health, Services Australia, Healthdirect Australia and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to support the COVID-19 vaccine rollout
  • Broad-based engagement and governance to support the National Children’s Digital Health Collaborative, including:
    • All state and territory jurisdictions, and the Australian Government involvement.
    • Over 1500 clinicians, consumers and Industry specialists involved to date.
    • Peak bodies and colleges and researchers represented on Governance Committees.
    • Consumers heavily involved in the program governance.
  • The urgency created by COVID-19 helped drive accelerated adoption of digital health technologies in the Communities of Excellence.
  • Test beds consisted of a small ‘core’ project team that was able to pivot swiftly. Crucially, they were supported by larger entities (e.g. universities for research support, not-for-profits for data custodianship support and senior health sector leadership to champion them). These factors enabled them to maintain strong project momentum for successful delivery against their targeted aims.

  • There was inadequate technology infrastructure, data connectivity and system interoperability to fully support first-rate virtual care in the Communities of Excellence.
  • The pandemic-related reprioritisation of resources by industry and jurisdictional partners significantly impacted delivery timeframes for some non-COVID-19-related initiatives.

Workforce and education

Confident and efficient use of health technologies by all workers in the Australian health sector is critical for a skilled, digitally capable workforce. In 2020–21, the program focus was threefold.

1. Upgrade of online training environments

The Agency’s Adoption and Clinical Education team produced and delivered eLearning modules, webinars, podcasts, train the trainer sessions, virtual classrooms and pre-recorded videos reaching more than 50,500 healthcare professionals and consumers. Learning focused on My Health Record, electronic prescribing, secure messaging, COVID-19 vaccinations, cybersecurity, and telehealth.

2. National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework

After its publication in 2020, the National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework received international interest and recognition for its content and approach. Most notably, it has been used as the basis to inform the development of the All-Ireland National Nursing and Midwifery Digital Health Capability Framework. The All-Ireland framework is a joint initiative between Health Service Executive (HSE) Ireland Office of Nursing and Midwifery and Northern Ireland Practice and Education for Nursing and Midwifery, due for release in 2021.

A corollary of the nursing and midwifery framework project was the Agency’s development of a self-assessment tool to help nurses and midwives identify gaps in their development measured against the five domains outlined in the framework and to guide them to resources available to remediate these gaps.

3. Consumer digital literacy

The Agency engaged Good Things Foundation and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to raise awareness and educate consumers on digital health literacy and My Health Records functionality, benefits and how to best use it.

Good Things Foundation engaged 67 network partners to deliver the Health My Way program to their communities, with 164 digital health mentors trained nationally. A digital health mentor online resource and a digital health literacy handbook for consumers were developed through the program.

ALIA, working with public libraries, health libraries in all jurisdictions and Queensland Indigenous Knowledge Centres, delivered training to library staff on digital health literacy, including My Health Record, to become a trusted source of information and support for consumers. A total of 2,858 public library staff completed the online training program. Today, more than half of Australia’s public libraries have trained staff to support consumers raising awareness and understanding of My Health Record.

Libraries also act as information points by displaying posters and brochures and session information on in-library screens and websites supporting My Health Record.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Workforce and education: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • Stakeholder enthusiasm to work collaboratively to improve digital health capability development across Australia.
  • Strong desire to work with the Agency to implement vision within both the Roadmap and Nursing and Midwifery Framework.
  • Establishing partnerships with key representative bodies as a basis for ongoing future collaboration.
  • Opportunity to align with and complement other workforce and education initiatives led by government and industry.

  • Impacts from COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of the workforce to prioritise stakeholder engagement.
  • Stakeholder consultation fatigue.


Australians are choosing to use digital apps, tools and services as their preferred means to manage their personal and professional lives, and increasingly, they expect digital apps and services to support their health and care needs too.

Healthcare professionals want innovative tools that are not only safe and secure but also integrate with their workflow and improve efficiency. The innovation program is focused on supporting initiatives to enable industry and entrepreneurs to expand existing services and create new services that meet the changing needs of both patients and providers. The goal is for government to be a platform for industry and innovators to foster an agile and self-improving health system that is sustainable.

In addition to the innovation program outlined in the annual performance statements, in 2020-21 the program focus included these initiatives.

1. Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform

The Agency developed an integrated platform – the Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) – so vaccine providers who did not have conformant or integrated software could upload COVID-19 vaccination details to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and meet their reporting obligations.

Free to use and available online through a web browser or downloaded as an app, by July 2021, more than 1700 providers using CVIP had lodged more than 550,000 vaccination encounters with AIR.

2. Innovation Challenge

In 2020, and against the backdrop of COVID-19, the Agency hosted its first Innovation Challenge. It was a an opportunity for Australian industry and academia to share ideas to solve key healthcare challenges and put forward digital tools to help improve the quality of healthcare services for Australians. Nearly 400 applications were received with the winners:

  • CareMonitor
  • Fred IT
  • Allergy pal
  • Disease Tracker
  • Oculo

The winning entrants enabled delivery of care in new ways to improve health outcomes, strengthen responses to health emergencies and accelerate digital health into the future.

3. Experience Centre

Supporting the acceleration of innovation in digital health – particularly opportunities and behaviours arising from the COVID-19 pandemic – the Agency established an Experience Centre in 2021. This is a physical space in the Sydney office and a virtual space to facilitate ideation, participatory design, user testing and validation of the benefits that could be realised through adoption of new digital solutions in partnership with users and via simulated settings. Scheduled for launch in 2021-22, the centre will be used to identify validated solutions and applications prior to scaling, supported by data modelling and aligned to demonstrated benefits realisation. The Agency plans to partner with stakeholders sector-wide to collaborate and innovate.

Analysis of factors contributing to results

Innovation: positive factors and challenges

Positive factors


  • Industry was involved in our stakeholder engagement and the quality of feedback was high.
  • Able to make significant improvements to developer tools, allowing stakeholders to implement digital health products more easily.

  • COVID-19 and competing projects limited our ability to conduct some of our industry participation work.


  1. Under Section 70 of the Agency Rule, the Agency’s Board ‘must prepare a national digital health work program for each financial year’.
  2. See https://www.psa.org.au/advocacy/working-for-our-profession/medicine-safety/take-care/