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Vic lays out eHealth priorities

by Tajna Biscevic •
Free resource

ICT priorities for Victoria’s health sector include: improved data management capabilities, telehealth expansion, adoption of patient monitoring devices, and an $11.9 million “clinical technology refresh to protect against cyber-attacks and improve network connectivity”.

These priority areas are detailed in the state’s Statewide Design, Service and Infrastructure Plan for Victoria's Health System 2017-2037, which will guide investments in health for the next 20 years.

The transformation is driven by the increasing pressure on Victoria’s health sector due to unprecedented population growth, remoteness of communities, the rise of chronic diseases, and Australia’s ageing population.

$669.12 million* was allocated towards health-related ICT needs in the Victorian Government’s 2017-18 budget, according to Intermedium’s Budget IT tool, with $101.41 allocated specifically to new eHealth projects and initiatives.

The Bigger Picture

Several jurisdictions are currently focusing on eHealth. $1.1 billion was allocated to new health-related ICT initiatives in the 2017-18 budgets, which was more than double the amount of the previous year. Victoria’s funding for new health-related ICT projects went from $47 million in 2016-17 to $101 million in 2017-18.

The total allocation for Health in this budget year boasts a year-on-year growth rate of 122.7 per cent. The Federal and Queensland governments also recently released strategies to guide their health agencies though the digital transformation process.

The Federal Digital Health Strategy, released in August, and the Digital Health Strategic Vision for Queensland 2026, released in March this year, both highlight improved data sharing as a priority area.

Both strategic plans also flagged telehealth as a way to more effectively provide Australia’s remotely dispersed populace with healthcare services.

Project Specifics

The Victorian Department of Health & Human Services’s infrastructure strategy points to improved data capabilities as key to “future health system [that] will be predictive and proactive.” In the future, data from multiple sources will be integrated, and will be used to encourage patients to take up active participation in their medical treatment, as well as help identify the most efficient way to manage staff and resources.

The state government is also investing in the medical technologies industry by providing $6 million to “accelerate the creation and commercialisation of medical technology through the medtech collaboration initiative.” This will bring together the research and industry sectors to drive innovation.

This follows the announcement of a new trade office in Israel, wherein Israel’s business community will help commercialise medical technologies developed in Victoria.

* This figure is based on an estimated percentage of the expenses for each agency (as provided in the budget papers). The percentage used by Intermedium varies by agency and is based on the function of the agency.

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