The integration of NSW Health’s eBlue Book into the My Health Record is one of the projects on the table following workshops in Sydney this week to identify digital projects to improve children’s healthcare nationally.

Lead by eHealth NSW in partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, the National Collaborative Network for Child Health Informatics brought together experts to scope innovations for possible investment by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

“By identifying child-centred and clinician-friendly digital health projects, we are confident we can make measurable differences to the health and wellbeing of children and their families right across Australia,” NCNCHI program manager Steve Badham said.

Projects will work towards the sharing of real-time information about a child's health status, immunisations and interaction across the health system to engage children and their families and lead to improved access to care, better-coordinated care and enhanced quality of care.

Experts from state, territory and Commonwealth governments, primary health networks, universities, not-for-profits, ICT industry partners and peak clinical bodies came together to workshop which digital health projects could help kids Australia-wide, which Badham described as an “exciting collaborative network”.

“NSW's role is to act as a point of coordination and project management for what is a truly national initiative involving colleagues from across Australia,” Badham said.

NSW Health has been investing in ways to enhance health services through the use of digital technologies and Badham said partnering with ADHA could allow its capabilities to be rolled out beyond state borders.

“A good example of this is the 'Electronic Blue Book' for children, which NSW Health piloted several years ago and which could in the future be delivered through a national platform such as My Health Record,” Badham said.

The eBlue Book, which was piloted in Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains local health districts in 2012, is an electronic medical record containing a child's health information, replacing the paper Blue Book folder.

Parents can access the eBlue Book Consumer Portal via a free mobile app, while midwives, paediatricians, GPs, early childhood nurses can all add to the records.

Badham said it was one of number of “exciting and innovative ideas”, but research into patient and carer needs was required.

“A theme throughout the workshops is the need to do focused research with consumers to understand what different consumer cohorts need from digital technology, and to understand where the value is in the digital solutions for them. We are hearing that we need to build digital healthcare services with value and meaning for consumers for them to be adopted and used.”

ICT experts this week workshopped whether the projects put forward were technically feasible, adequately costed, value for money, consistent with national strategy and priorities, possible within timeframes and able to leverage existing infrastructure.

A special advisory group, including the Health Informatics Society of Australia, Medical Software Industry Association and Australian Information Industry Association, will meet to review the initiatives on 24 July before the top four or five initiatives are submitted to the Australian Digital Health Agency by the end of August.

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