Over the past decade, the digital health landscape has evolved significantly, bringing about improved outcomes for healthcare users, providers as well as the overall healthcare system. Through its very nature, the benefits of digital health come largely from the enablement of the right information being available at the right time, serving to better connect healthcare provider and user.
Improved access to health care such as telehealth consultations (overcoming physical or distance barriers), better monitoring of symptoms and vital signs through wearable devices and health applications, electronic prescribing, the ease of communication of healthcare advice to individuals or groups and the ability to leverage data for more informed decision making are all examples of how digital health has helped to empower us when it comes to managing our health. For our health system, technology plays a role in improving communications and relationships between various parts of the health system environment, which can lead to improved response to emergencies and improved insights around healthcare needs.
With over 9 million terabytes of data downloaded by Australians in December 2020* and over three quarters of Australians stating they’ve used the internet to research a health issue, it is clear that digital health will become an area of increasing importance in the future.
Chamonix is privileged to have had a long history working in digital health. Throughout the course of our 12 year journey, we’ve gained a wealth of insights into the unique needs of healthcare organisations in providing solutions to provider and user whilst accommodating a complex landscape of stakeholders and legacy information. From our work with a federal government department back in 2011 in developing middleware to connect to the national My Health Record, to working with numerous state health departments on COVID-19 and other response solutions and assisting healthcare organisations in their move to the cloud, we have worked with people responsible for some of the most critical outcomes in existence.
The approach to managing healthcare projects requires a very different approach to other industries. Whilst factors such as time, cost and scope are universal constraints across all projects, when it comes to healthcare specifically, these are not necessarily the main drivers and a clinical perspective needs to be taken. When considering processes, it is paramount that they are clear and intuitive in a clinical situation and that they meet clinical safety aspects. Gaining invaluable clinical perspective is something that we need access to so as to be able to work more closely with the clinicians – not an easy feat, particularly in the current climate. Our focus here is therefore on smarter and more intuitive ways of communicating requirements with the underlying question, does it meet clinical objectives?
One such example is our approach to simplifying and streamlining standards and processes to improve consistency and reduce inefficiency. Our technical teams have historically moved from a heavyweight upfront design documentation and review process (requiring the collation and management of feedback in spreadsheets) to a more lightweight and ongoing design process that integrates stakeholders as part of the process rather than purely as a deliverable review authority.
We’ve also rationalised systems we use to do our work by using Azure DevOps Boards as a single work management system instead of having requests and defects spread across both Azure DevOps, other application management tools, spreadsheets and the like, we can streamline the development process by providing all team members with appropriate access, using wikis to capture technical knowledge and using DevOps Pipelines for build and deployment automation to promote efficiencies and reduce waste.
By far one of the most valuable aspects we’ve identified is the importance of focusing on our team values, relationship, and how we work when engaging in digital health projects. Approaching such projects with a focus on continuous improvement and with an eye for providing value to the customer wherever possible has allowed us to work on some of the most exciting and rewarding initiatives within digital health.
As the uptake of digital technologies by Australians continues to grow and with the continuous evolution of tools at our disposal, the future scope to create better health outcomes through technology looks very bright.
*Internet Activity Report” for 2020, ACCC
**Australian Digital Health Agency