Initiatives such as national personal health records (My Health Record),secondary use of data and the Digital Hospitals Handbook are driving digital health reform, putting Australia at the forefront of standardisation.

In addition, Australia is committed to a national interoperable infrastructure that allows innovators to create new digital health products and services. Digital health companies can focus on developing products and services that are not only safe and effective, meet user needs and improve current solutions, but do so in a market that provides a clear framework to validate and commercialise new products nationally and internationally.

Australia’s strict policy and regulatory framework also gives investors confidence that their path to market is streamlined and reliable.

Australia’s National Health Infrastructure

Australia is focussed on developing a world-leading national digital health capability. There has been a multi-billion dollar spend on national health infrastructure and an ongoing commitment to developing and managing it. [18] This includes supply chain, health identifiers, authentication services and the national electronic patient record, My Health Record, rolled out across Australia in 2018. By 2022, the first regions in Australia will showcase comprehensive interoperability across health service provision. [19]


Figure 1: The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) manages the design, delivery and operations of the national digital healthcare system including the My Health Record system. [20]

My Health Record

Over 90 per cent of Australia’s population will have a national personal health record, My Health Record, from February 2019 [21] . This means that health and care providers can implement safe and efficient digitally enabled clinical workflows on the basis that most of their patients will have their own shared digital health record. The My Health Record system will become a key element of Australia’s digital health infrastructure, as well as providing a platform for additional innovations into the future.

My Health Record provides significant opportunities for business to integrate with the solution, such as building mobile apps for patients. This developer program is open to international companies.

A secondary use of data framework has also been developed to manage the use of My Health Record data, with patient consent, for purposes such as research. This is overseen by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Regulatory and Standards Leadership

Australia’s health sector is a world leader in regulatory development. For example, Standards Australia’s 2017 Digital Hospital Handbook is a world-first. A handbook for private and public health systems, it applies a contemporary digital lens over the model of care and design of hospitals. As the first of its kind in the world, it showcases Australia’s competitiveness and capacity for innovation.

Another example is the Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Group classification system (AR-DRG) for diseases, used worldwide.

Skills in FHIR and Healthdata interoperability

Australia’s health sector is an early adopter of interoperability standards. For example, Graham Grieve, the founder of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), is Australian.

The Australian Digital Health Agency’s National Terminology Server provides FHIR-based access to monthly releases of Australian SNOMED Clinical Terms (CT-AU). CSIRO also enables the private and public health sectors in Australia to access Ontoserver to support the use of clinical terminology.

[18] May 2018 Budget statements
[19] Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy, page 5
[20] Australian Digital Health Agency Entity Resources and Planned Performance
[21] Australian Digital Health Agency
Navigating digital health – where we’ve been, and where we’re going