HIMSS Australia Digital Health Summit breakout track in focus: Data track

With the explosion in the amount of healthcare data being collected, one of the key challenges lie in the quality of data, as well as making the right decisions to use the appropriate data to measure specific health outcomes or predictions.
By Dean Koh
01:20 AM

One of the three breakout tracks at the upcoming HIMSS Australia Digital Health Summit (ADHS) happening from 20-21 November 2019 in Sydney, Australia is the data track. This article will look at the broader context of how healthcare data is being used and applied in Australia, as well as the steps taken towards enhancing the interoperability framework of healthcare in the country. 

Better quality data, better health outcomes and predictions?

With the explosion in the amount of healthcare data being collected, one of the key challenges lie in the quality of data being collected, as well as making the right decisions to use the appropriate data to measure specific health outcomes or predictions. One such example in Australia is the recent announcement of a joint project to develop clinical decision support software employing predictive analytics by the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, Melboune's RMIT University and Telstra Health.

The aim is to better understand reliable signs of patient deterioration, thereby keep more aged care residents out of the emergency room, as well as detect end-of-life indicators earlier on. Through the A$1 million partnership, the newly-developed algorithms will first be tested using historical data, then applied to fresh data in a trial setting, before they are integrated into Telstra's clinical and care management software.

Ben Ferrier, Director, Products and Solutions of Melbourne-based Future Information Management, will be sharing on the company’s healthcare application called QC Health, a cloud-based audit, compliance and risk application with modules for clinical and non-clinical audit, patient experience and feedback during the session (sponsored by Hyland), Technology and solutions to improve patient safety through digital approach to audit, risk and governance at the ADHS event. 

Interoperability of data

One of the top priorities of the Australia Digital Health Agency (ADHA), who maintains and operates the My Health Record (MHR), Australia's national eHealth record system, is to create an interoperability framework for Australia's healthcare environment that would link up all systems in order to better share health data. In April this year, ADHA opened an online consultation for all Australians to have a say on the development of a more modern, digitally connected health system. 

The online consultation, part of a nationwide series of discussions used to co-design the National Health Interoperability Roadmap, allows clinicians, healthcare organisations, consumers and the technology sector to converse about standards and priorities required for an interoperable health system.

There has also been steps towards facilitating interoperability within the MHR - in July, ADHA partnered with nine specialist software vendors and provided them with A$40,000 each to complete designs that seamlessly and securely integrate the MHR into their current systems. Subsequently in September, the Agency partnered with 42 organisations to ensure they are able to easily share information when using different secure messaging platforms across 56 separate software products.

Data security

According to an article on the analysis of the MHR by Baker McKenzie, a public concern with the MHR is the security around consumer health information. Although the Government states that patient information will be safe, numerous security and IT professionals have warned that no online system is completely secure, especially given that the MHR data will be accessible by many healthcare providers, who may have weak cybersecurity.

At the ADHS event, Chief Security Strategist of CYLERA, Richard Staynings will address some of the cybersecurity concerns not just pertaining to hospital IT systems, but also on the increasing use of a multitude of different Healthcare Internet of Things (HIoT) devices that are used to improve patient outcomes at his session, Cybersecurity: Patient safety in the era of wearables and healthcare IoT.

Registration for the ADHS event is open and more details can be found here.