The Australasian Institute of Digital Health, Australia’s largest network of digital health professionals, has unveiled its four-year strategic plan focusing on workforce reform. AIDH said in a statement that "generational change" in healthcare can be made through an empowered health workforce today.

WHY IT MATTERS

AIDH aspires to maintain the progress made in digital health, especially telehealth and virtual care advancement which came to the forefront during COVID-19.

"Rolling back on telehealth, which leapt to public attention during the pandemic, is a mistake and there is a risk public confidence and momentum in digital health delivery will be lost," AIDH CEO Dr. Schaper warned.

She added that AIDH's members are already pursuing accreditation and training for their employees, including programmes starting from the basics of digital health to advanced courses on building capabilities across the sector. Senior board officials and executives are also being equipped with knowledge on digital health transformation.

"[The] nursing and midwifery workforce has started to upskill by assessing capability in public and private sectors and fixing a starting point to build programmes for education and training," Schaper added.

Past research has noted the dramatic increase in telehealth early in the pandemic and its positive reception from patients. Those who are slow to seize such momentum in digital health delivery risk being left behind as the industry pivots to value-based healthcare.

"It’s time to take this to all of the health professions on a larger scale," Schaper said.

THE LARGER TREND

Workforce reform with a focus on digitalisation is happening as there is growing interest in digital care delivery from consumers.

Digital health experts predicted that we will see round-the-clock virtual care this year. Patients were also predicted to have increasing expectations of digital health solutions, which will become more personalised and tailored toward their specific needs.

Meanwhile, clinician burnout is happening across the industry, and one way to tackle this is through IT. "The need at hand is to build on these [technological] advances, and truly leverage capabilities such as artificial intelligence, voice recognition and natural language processing to truly enhance our workflows and the value to the system," said Dr. Rasu Shrestha, chief strategist at North Carolina-based health system Atrium Health.

ON THE RECORD

"The Institute’s new strategy embeds collaboration and cross-partnerships to take digital health out to every healthcare professional, whatever level of knowledge they have as a starting point," Schaper said.

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