Embracing Digital Health

Digital Health - Heart on Apple watch

Now is a pivotal time for Digital Health in Australia. The introduction of the Australian Government’s My Health Record and the myriad of wearables and other personal health apps give consumers the perfect opportunity to really get connected with their health digitally.

Service providers, like Wanngi, have the opportunity, even the responsibility, to make these digital connections more meaningful and consumer centric than ever before.

In the lead up to the opt-out period for My Health Record (and in our case the launch of Wanngi), industry is focussing on the needs and wants of consumers. In the associated report detailed below we see alignment with Wanngi’s advocacy for people’s needs for digital heath. This comes in the form of Co-design, Enhanced Digital Health Literacy, and Reduced Complexity and Increased Flexibility.

Transforming Australia’s Health System through Digital Health

On the 28th of March 2018, the George Institute for Global Health and the Consumer’s Health Forum co-hosted a roundtable discussion with around 40 consumers, clinicians, academics, government and industry. The four focus areas for discussion were; chronic care, residential aged care, emergency care, and end of life care. These discussions were in the context of digital health: where it is now, what consumers want from it, and how to move forward to achieve the best outcomes in the future.

“The time is now ripe to leverage this maturing digital health capacity in ways that are meaningful to both consumers and providers.  If done well, it has potential to be transformative for Australia’s health system bringing about rapid enhancements in quality, safety, accessibility and efficiency,” said Leanne Wells, CEO of the Consumers Health Forum.

What Consumers Want and Need from Digital Health

Different needs and recommendations were identified in the Going Digital to deliver a healthier Australia report (produced as an outcome of the roundtable discussions) for each of the four focus areas. However, there were three principles found to be applicable to all four previously mentioned focus areas.

1. Co-design

Consumers want to be involved as active participants in their health care. This is no different for Digital Health. It is important when embracing digital health that the consumers, and potential users, are involved with the planning, creation, and delivery of solutions. This is imperative to ensure that the wants, needs, and expectations of users are met so they can fully embrace their digital health in the final outcome.

2. Enhanced Digital Health Literacy

Although a majority of Australian’s already use technology on a daily basis for everything from entertainment to more mundane uses such as banking, truly embracing digital health to its full advantage is yet to happen. “Digital disruption is not coming in health care – it is already here. For too long health has been lagging behind other sectors,” said Wells.

This is partly at the fault of the healthcare system for not having the digital health resources available, and for not confidently knowing how best to use them.

The slow uptake on digital health can also be attributed to a trust and quality factor. Consumers need to know that the digital health resources they are using are built to a high standard. They also need to be accessible in an everyday context, in the form of apps or similar with a clear use and added value to the user’s health care.

As uptake of digital health services are collaboratively supported confidently by both health professionals and consumers, digital health will shift to be more accepted and embraced.

3. Reduced Complexity and Increased Flexibility

It is important that consumers are listened to. When there is feedback, it needs to be carefully considered and appropriately acted on. After all, the consumer as an end user has the power to make or break the success of digital health being positively embraced.

Healthcare is already a complex area; digital healthcare doesn’t need to be made more so with rigid ideas that don’t have the end user at the core of its development. Flexibility to continually improve is a must to ensure uptake and continued use of digital health services.

Collaboration is Key

Consumers and Health Professionals alike can take tips from this report. It is only by working together to create a positive digital health experience that we can fully embrace a future of digital health to meet the needs of all Australians.

Wanngi is all about connecting you to your health. We aim to provide you with a single place to view your My Health Record and keep track of your health data from your favourite health apps and wearables.

The Wanngi team look forward to collaborating with consumers and partnerships to build trust and meet their digital health needs.

If you have stories you would like us to know about send an email to userstories@wanngi.com. We would love to hear from you!