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Digital & Innovation

Capacity in digital health critical in meeting healthcare workforce challenges

Health Industry Hub | December 15, 2022 |

Digital & Innovation: Health systems struggling to cope with the pandemic, budgets and staff shortages have an opportunity to make service and operating improvements with health informatics and digital health applications.

In fact, more than 100 healthcare management leaders, researchers and students came together for a special ‘think tank’ at Deakin University, Melbourne in November to discuss the healthcare workforce challenges and potential solutions.

While pressures mount to maintain “business as usual” operations, researchers from Flinders University, James Cook University and Hong Kong’s Tung Wah Colllege have highlighted the benefits of expanding health management’s use of health informatics and digital health applications to improve productivity and meet increasing resource challenges to provide safe, quality care.

“These two rapidly growing disciplines are becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of health service provision, as was highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Flinders University senior lecturer Mark Brommeyer, who has worked in healthcare consulting, training and change management around the world for the past 30 years.

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“To ensure the sustainability of the healthcare system in such challenging times, the adoption of innovative ways to meet the increasing demand for clinical, management and other healthcare services is required and, in particular, a workforce that has the competence to lead and manage change in a digital health context.”

“We have seen digital technologies used to improve health by supporting remote monitoring of healthcare, enabling communication among various healthcare practitioners and patients, and better managing healthcare data to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of the services we provide,” said Mr Brommeyer.

He added “We have also witnessed various levels of success in implementing large-scale digital health transformations across Australia and internationally, with competent managers with the capacity to lead and manage the implementation and transformation of the system, both strategically and operationally, while still needing to manage ‘business as usual’.”

Mr Brommeyer, who started his career as a registered nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, said there is a growing need for health service managers to tackle the challenges of unprecedented growth in digital health literacy and to be proficient in planning and managing the digital tools and technologies across this rapidly changing tech landscape.

“These technologies improve workforce capabilities and system-wide efficiencies and we have found a need for national collaboration to draw up coordinated, consistent and coherent policy guidelines for educational and professional training in digital health across all healthcare sectors,” he stated.

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