Strategic Response

Guiding Principles

Investment in ACT public health system’s future digital health environment will be guided by a set of architectural principles to ensure a consistent and structured approach to the delivery of digital health capabilities.

Principle Meaning
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People first
Puts people receiving healthcare first in terms of maximising the quality and safety of care they receive from an organisation and its partners.
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Use integrated solution suites
Makes maximum use of integrated solution suites to ensure the delivery of integrated clinical, operational and business systems that avoid the siloing of information that exists today. Best of breed solutions will only be considered where a compelling case can be made for their implementation—with consideration of the integration impacts along with the more obvious functional, technical, cost and risk considerations.
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Single source of truth for critical information
Delivers a single digital source of truth for critical clinical information such as medications, conditions, allergies, and alerts. This information is used to support clinical decision making across various care settings, drive electronic decision support and other automated care delivery tools, and enable high impact research through integrated data sets. A single source of truth should be available to all members of the care team, whether they are employed by or students with ACT Government publicly funded health service organisations or are community based clinicians such as GPs, nurses and allied health professionals, to support the quality and safety of healthcare delivery.
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Shared enterprise services
Minimises the diversity of solutions, medical technologies, supporting platforms and technologies across the organisation by adopting an enterprise approach to their delivery and usage. This will provide access to higher economies of scale as well as reducing operational spend through enabling shared support resourcing and making staff transfers easier.
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Leverage existing investments
Leverages existing solutions where the solution:
  • aligns with and contributes towards realising the future vision for the digital health environment
  • does not present risk for the organisation, from either a functional or technical perspective
  • will not introduce additional unsustainable integration complexity.
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Support integrated workflows
Integrates clinical workflows to minimise the number of separate solutions that staff are required to use to support integrated clinical workflows in order to diminish clinical safety risks and workforce inefficiencies. This will also streamline on-boarding of new staff and training effort.
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Support a mobile workforce
Supports staff in accessing clinical information and clinical services when and where it is needed to support care delivery.
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Contemporary integration approaches
Promotes contemporary approaches to integration in order to minimise point-to-point interfaces , deliver greater agility and reusability, facilitate faster and more efficient auditing, and improve the ability to maintain systems integration.
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National Digital Health integration
Implements national Digital Health standards with a particular focus on interoperability and integration with the national My Health Record system and other national Digital Health services to support the sharing of information with patients and other providers across the continuum of care.
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Ensure security and privacy
Ensures the security and privacy of information in accordance with ACT Government privacy and security policies and legislation.

Priority Areas for Investment

Achieving the future state outlined in this strategy will require significant investment in technology. Four priority areas for investment are outlined below.

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Digital Clinical Systems

Canberra Health Services currently operates on a hybrid model, with both paper and electronic record keeping systems in place. Of the electronic systems there are a number that perform medical record functions. These include Emergency Medicine (EDIS), ICU (Metavision), radiation oncology (ARIA), cancer (CHARM), Renal (Cv5), Mental Health (MAJICeR), Cardiology Systems (Cardiobase, Synapse, and a number of other systems). This environment makes it challenging to deliver a seamless experience for patients and staff. Providing the right care, at the right time, hinges on ensuring that complete and timely information can be accessed by care-givers when and where required to inform clinical decision making.

Investment will provide a single, comprehensive, contemporary, trusted, real-time person-centred clinical record that can be accessed by all members of the treating team regardless of physical location. This single record will capture all clinical interactions, performed in one central repository, which will provide a consistent and accurate information based on which to deliver improved clinical decision support with advanced tools and a more complete view of patient information.

Investment will also allow improved patient scheduling and administration as well as building the foundations for patient self-service. An integrated Digital Health Record will also provide a platform to support future directions in person-centred care such as the use of genomics in precise and personalised medicine as well as providing an information base from which to drive a focus on population and preventative healthcare.

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Health services enabled by contemporary technology
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Research, discovery and collaboration


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Diagnostic and medication services

Pathology plays a critical role in the diagnosis of patient conditions and informing clinical treatment design and decision-making. The computer systems that support the pathology service play a significant role in tracking pathology requests, recording and managing pathology test specimens and test results and providing test results to clinicians.

Investment in a new laboratory information system (LIS) has now been made a priority with funding provided in the 2018-19 ACT Government Budget. The ability to now provide a contemporary digital platform for pathology will provide clinicians with timely and efficient access to patient test results.

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Health services enabled by contemporary technology
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Research, discovery and collaboration


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Digital corporate and operational systems

The Purchasing and Inventory Control System (PICS) is part of the critical infrastructure that supports the operations of Canberra Health Services. PICS is the IT system used by over 3,000 staff to order the clinical and non-clinical goods and services that support operations and the delivery of healthcare services. The system processes all purchase orders and supply chain activities. Surgery relies heavily on PICS for the surgeon preference cards that are used to set up an operating room for each procedure that will be performed. PICS is also the main system across hospitals for clinical goods.

Investment for the replacement of PICS was provided in the ACT Government 2018-19 Budget and will ensure critical systems and infrastructure are replaced to support the continued effective delivery of services. The investment from the 2018-19 Budget will ensure delivery of a modern procurement and supply chain management solution which will deliver new capabilities to support the tracking and management of inventory. These new capabilities will deliver new benefits in the form of reductions in over ordering, better management of inventory-on-hand and reduced wastage of perishable supplies.

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Health services enabled by contemporary technology
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Research, discovery and collaboration


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Collaboration and communications

Switchboard and Paging systems serve as a critical messaging infrastructure for Canberra Health Services. These systems are responsible for communicating emergency situations within the hospitals such as Code Blue (Medical Emergency) and Code Black (Security Emergency such as bomb threats). Medical emergencies (Code Blue) that necessitate an urgent response from a Medical Emergency Team are presently communicated through the paging service. Investment was provided for a new communication solution and clinical devices in the ACT Government 2018-19 Budget.

This funding will replace Switchboard and Paging systems and enable significant improvement to messaging and communication across Canberra Health Service, including notifications when a message has been received and actioned, simpler integration with other systems, data to support monitoring to enable workflow improvements and allocation of resources. Another advantage is that the communication system will able to be implemented territory wide, contributing to the seamless care of patients regardless of location.

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Health services enabled by contemporary technology
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Research, discovery and collaboration

High-Level Roadmap

The following is a high-level roadmap that describes the logical sequencing of work to move towards the future environment.

Our vision
Enabling exemplary person-centred care through digital innovation.
Horizon 1
0-2 Years
Horizon 2
2-5 Years
Horizon 3
5-10 Years
Our patients, carers and families
Engaged and connected to the health services in achieving their health objectives.
Patients have consistent interactions that address their health and wellbeing. Patients experience, consistent, coordinated and integrated health services across all their care providers. All people are proactively engaged in the management of their care and early intervention outside the hospital environment to improve health and wellbeing.
Our people
Our people are provided with the information they need to make effective decisions in delivering and managing care.
Our people have access to accurate, trusted and complete information to improve clinical, operational and management decision-making Our people efficiently deliver care and manage our operations using data, systems and processes integrated across the care landscape. Our people use information and analytics to personalise the delivery of care, target early interventions and manage the delivery of services in an efficient and sustainable manner.
Our health system
Enabling exemplary person-centred care through digital innovation.
The organisation has access to consistent corporate and operational systems underpinned by robust infrastructure, governance, policies and standards. The organisation has access to integrated information across the care landscape to more effectively plan and manage service demand and delivery. The organisation has access to sophisticated information and analytics to manage citizen health and target early interventions.
Our partners
We share information with our partners to enable them to participate in integrated care delivery.
Information can be shared with key partners to improve system efficiency, patient safety and the delivery of coordinated care. First responders and emergency clinicians are able to share information in realtime. Digital health enables new integrated models of care, co-designed with appropriate stakeholders. We work seamlessly with care partners to provide integrated care to patients
Priority Areas for Investment
To realise Digital Health vision.
  • Clinical communications
  • Digital Patient Flow
  • Clinical Command Centre
  • Diagnostic imaging system
  • Data repository/analytics
  • Enhanced patient and community information and support
  • Consumer app
  • Integrated Digital Health Record including booking and scheduling and patient administration functions
  • Contemporary laboratory information system and robotics
  • Augmented reality
  • Machine learning

Realising the Digital Health Strategy

Realising the Digital Health Strategy for the ACT requires the ACT Government, including ACT Health and Digital Solutions Division (as part of the Directorate) to play key roles in the delivery of the Digital Health work program.

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ACT Government

Is responsible for funding and ensuring accountability.

Policy, funding and strategic oversight

The ACT Government is responsible for setting health policy, providing funding for the provision of health services as well as the delivery of policy outcomes.

The ACT Government will be responsible for funding the Digital Health work program and ensuring that the ACT Health Directorate is accountable for delivering digital health capabilities that support health policies and desired outcomes.


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ACT Health Directorate

Is responsible for oversight of the Digital Health Strategy and alignment with government health priorities.

Strategic direction and delivery of outcomes

The ACT Health Directorate is responsible for the stewardship of the health system in the ACT. It is responsible for ensuring that the Digital Health Strategy and related programs of work are aligned with the Directorate’s strategic objectives and outcomes. The Directorate is also responsible for the workforce development and change management necessary to ensure that staff are prepared for and have the necessary skills to use the Digital Health capabilities.


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Digital Solutions Division

Is responsible for the delivery of the Digital Health Strategy.

Digital Health Strategy definition and delivery

The Digital Solutions Division is responsible for the delivery of the Digital Health work program to deliver the required digital health capabilities. The Digital Solutions Division will ensure that there is strong clinical engagement in the delivery of the strategy and will appoint a Chief Medical Information Officer and Chief Nursing Information Officer to focus on this.

Page last updated on: 6 May 2019