The Tasmanian Government has allocated $150 million over four years to upgrade its digital health infrastructure, with a push to create what it has dubbed Australia’s first “fully integrated healthcare system”.
The investment – which falls under a 2022-23 State Budget commitment – is part of the Government’s overarching Digital Health Strategy, which will see the state invest $475 million over the next decade to advance digital health initiatives.
In July 2021, Tasmania’s Department of Health announced it would develop its Strategy to guide the transformation of the state’s digital health services. The Government selected KPMG for the task, enlisting the consultancy for the sum of $1.5 million to outline key digital health goals and pinpoint the state’s unique challenges in this space.
Among the priorities of the $150 million investment include the launch of an integrated care platform, designed to reinforce communication and information-sharing between hospitals and health specialist providers – a critical data artery between public and private healthcare services.
The Government also plans to use the investment to procure and trial a new centralised Electronic Medical Record system, as well as launch a state-wide patient record viewer aimed at connecting all public and private health providers.
The money will also go towards upgrading existing virtual care technologies, including telehealth, to offer more at-home care options for patients and, for health care practitioners, provide enhanced decision-making through access to advanced data and analytics, the Government said.
“In today’s rapidly changing health environment, we recognise that modern digital health infrastructure is just as important as bricks and mortar, particularly as Tasmania’s ageing population and increased rates of chronic disease are projected to drive increased demand for hospital care in the years ahead,” the Government said in the statement.
The move, the Government added, is also expected to represent “a major step towards becoming the first Australian State with a fully integrated healthcare system”.
“By linking public and private health services in one digitally connected network, we will transform [the] patient experience, improve patient care, and ensure greater equity in health outcomes across Tasmania’s dispersed population.”