The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the Draft National Healthcare Interoperability Plan.
The Alliance recognises the benefits of interoperability for health systems, health professionals and health consumers. According to a nationwide survey conducted in 2016, one in six people saw three or more health professionals for the same condition. Among those, 12 per cent reported that there were issues caused by a lack of communication between the health professionals.
Increased interoperability has the potential to improve the scope for high value care, reduce duplication and errors, facilitate multidisciplinary team care and continuity of care, provide better data and information to inform resourcing and investment decisions, promote more efficient and cost-effective use of funding, and inform population health and research.
Improving interoperability has been identified as a key priority for healthcare, including in the context of the draft Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan. The Consultation Draft of Australian’s Primary Health Care 10 Year Plan 2022 – 2032, includes a priority action area which seeks to improve quality and value through data-driven insights and digital integration. This includes supporting and scaling up data development and linkage projects and considering additional regulatory approaches to support privacy and consent, data security, software interoperability and clinical decision support tools.