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6.11 Digital health

In 2018–19, the department continued to work with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and the Digital Transformation Agency to progress the national digital health agenda.

The national digital health agenda aims to provide better health services for all Australians through secure digital health services and technologies.

The department delivers digital health services on behalf of ADHA. The digital health services are:

  • the Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service
  • components of the My Health Record system
  • the National Authentication Service for Health (NASH).

In 2018–19, the department delivered parts of the government’s 2017–18 Budget measure My Health Record—Continuation and Expansion. The measure supports the continued and improved operation of the My Health Record system.

The department also introduced an online function that allows health care provider organisations to register in the HI Service instead of registering via a paper‑based process.

Healthcare Identifiers Service

The HI Service is a national system for uniquely identifying individuals and health care providers and organisations. As part of the HI Service, every person with a Medicare enrolment or DVA registration has an Individual Healthcare Identifier. Healthcare Identifiers are also allocated to health care providers and health care organisations. Identifiers help to ensure that health care providers and their patients can have confidence that the right information is assigned to the right patient at the point of care.

The department is the HI Service Operator, as defined in the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010. As such, it assigns, collects, stores and maintains Healthcare Identifiers.

In 2018–19, there was a continued pattern of growth, with the daily average number of transactions delivered by the HI Service exceeding 1,015,000, up from 605,000 in 2017–18.

The increase in the number of Healthcare Identifiers assigned to health care organisations continued during 2018–19 and is attributed to the expansion of the My Health Record system. This is because health care providers and health care organisations participating in the My Health Record system must be registered with the HI Service.

Table 39: Healthcare Identifiers

2016–17

2017–18

2018–19

Assigned to individuals

597,008

565,416

568,896

Collected or assigned to health care providers

37,527

37,723

61,525

Assigned to health care organisations

943

2,500

3,586

Full details of HI Service operations can be found in the HI Service Annual Report.

National Authentication Service for Health

The NASH delivers authentication services to health care providers and supporting organisations by providing Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates and associated services.

Health care providers and supporting organisations can use NASH PKI certificates to access the My Health Record system and send messages securely to other health care provider organisations.

My Health Record

My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual’s health information. It allows an individual to access their important health information in one place and to control who can access information in their record.

The department delivers My Health Record services on behalf of ADHA under the authority of the My Health Records Act 2012, providing technical and administrative support for the My Health Record system.

The 2017–18 Budget measure My Health Record—Continuation and Expansion paved the way for the My Health Record system to move to an ‘opt‑out’ consumer participation model during 2018–19.

To support ADHA in its delivery of this Budget measure, the department built an online function that enabled people to opt out of having a My Health Record if they chose not to have one.