Key messages

  • Digital Health facilitates and leads the development of the digital health strategy - Digitising Health.
  • Digital Health provides whole of health sector-wide leadership in digital health enablement.
  • Digital Health functions have a strong emphasis on transformational change, with implementation of new health systems and workflow processes.

Who are we?

The Digital Health Branch is led by the Chief Digital Health Officer and reports to the Deputy Secretary of the Health and Wellbeing Division. 

The Health and Wellbeing Division has a focus on providing engagement, standards, policy advice, planning and assurance functions across areas of digital health in the health sector. The division collaborates closely with a wide range of stakeholders across the department, sector agencies and other jurisdictions, and is responsible for the system management required to operationalise health sector reform.

Our strategy

Digital Health facilitates and leads the development of the digital health strategy - Digitising Health - to enable the health reform agenda and support Victorian public health services in their delivery of digital health solutions. The strategy is overarching, providing design advice, sector assurance and technology solutions to the health sector. The strategy is updated annually and is supported by an annual business plan and operational plans. 

What do we do?

Digital Health provides whole of health sector leadership in digital health enablement, as well as commissioning of digital health functions and information and communications technology (ICT) for Victorian public health services. Digital Health has an outward facing role with a primary focus on digital health leadership for the health sector. It has close working relationships with the Health and Wellbeing Division, Safer Care Victoria, and the Victorian Agency for Health Information. 

Digital Health functions have a strong emphasis on transformational change, with implementation of new health systems and workflow processes.

Our four areas of focus are:

  • Digital Health strategy, policy and architecture standards for the Victorian health sector.
  • Commissioning of digital health functions within Victorian public health services.
  • Sponsoring digital health programs to implement sector-wide health information sharing platforms.
  • Health service data collections and management of selected health systems on behalf of specific health services.

Our teams

Digital Health

Digital Health, a business unit within the Health & Wellbeing Division provides whole-of-health sector-wide leadership to inform the health reform agenda and support the Victorian public health services in their delivery of digital health solutions. This includes mobilisation of new programs of work, technology planning and assurance and helping the sector translate data into useful information supporting the advanced use of health care data to facilitate early intervention and improved outcomes for all Victorians.

The commissioning of whole-of-sector digital health projects, such as the implementation of the state-wide clinical grade network is via the Health Systems Solutions Unit (HSSU), part of BTIM in the Corporate Services Division.

It also has a symbiotic relationship with Health Technology Solutions (HTS), a unit within the Customer Support Branch, Corporate Services Division. HTS is an operational unit, providing business applications, underpinning technical infrastructure, integration services, secure network services and service management to the Victorian public health sector.

The branch has an outward facing role, with the primary focus being digital health leadership in the health sector. It has a close working relationship with Safer Care Victoria (SCV) and the Victorian Agency for Health Information (VAHI).

Digital Health is organised into five teams:

  • Directorate
  • Research and Innovation
  • Health Sector Assurance
  • Health Sector Planning, and
  • Health Sector Standards and Advisory

Directorate

The Directorate is responsible for providing high level and expert advice and support to the Chief Digital Health Officer and Digital Health management team on a broad range of issues and projects. The unit plays a key enabling role to ensure the branch is equipped to deliver on its strategic priorities.

The unit’s key stakeholders include Corporate Services, external vendors, the Office of the Deputy Secretary Health and Wellbeing, the Secretary and the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services.

The unit administers effective and efficient business processes to ensure timely advice in response to corporate reporting and advisory requests. The unit also has key responsibilities for quality assurance of briefing material for the Chief Digital Health Officer. The unit has overall responsibility and accountability of the Digital Health budget, human resources, accommodation and procurement activities.

Research and Innovation

The Research and Innovation team works in partnership with academia and industry to identify and implement health informatics and digital-enabled solutions for greater efficiency, productivity and quality and safety outcomes.

This includes partnership with the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre, CSIRO’s Australian eHealth Research Centre and Safer Care Victoria’s Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund. The team oversees the electronic medical records (EMR) benefit realisation portfolio and the advanced use of healthcare data supports early intervention, system management and better patient outcomes.

Health Sector Assurance

  • Leads the delivery of the health assurance function for the branch, ensuring that Victoria’s digital health investment projects deliver quality outcomes in line with agreed approved business cases.
  • Ensures that health sector assurance responsibilities are met.
  • Analyses, compiles and reports on activities and trends within the health sector assurance arena, including the relevance and suitability to Victoria’s digital health environment.
  • With the Chief Digital Health Officer, provides leadership to Health Sector Assurance staff in the delivery of quality services that promotes improved health outcomes and fosters a productive and collaborative work environment.
  • Promotes the development and maintenance of relationships and program integration of health sector assurance with the department and Victoria’s public health sector that improve services to the Victorian community.
  • Provides expert advice to the Minister, DHHS Board and executive on all policy and program matters relating to health sector assurance.  
  • Oversees and supports the implementation of legislative, policy and statutory health sector assurance requirements. 
  • Leads the implementation of new policy, state-wide and national reform and innovations that impact on health sector assurance and cybersecurity standards to ensure a culture of continuous quality improvement and responsiveness to the changing needs of the client population and workforce.

Health Sector Planning

Health Sector Planning manages health sector relationships, leverages sector success and facilitates sector communication. It is the central and first point of contact for Victoria’s health services and the department on digital health matters.

It works closely with all stakeholders to define digital health requirements, assisting with the development of robust business cases at the local level and to Government for sector-wide initiatives. It takes the lead in identifying and seeking avenues to source funding of approved and supported digital health initiatives. Health Sector Planning provides secretariat services to the monthly meetings of the Victorian Health Chief Information Officers and the Rural ICT Alliance Leaders Forum.

Health Sector Standards and Advisory (HSSA)

HSSA supports the Victorian public health sector by providing designs, standards, guides and advisory on digital health. Primary responsibilities include: 

  • Advises, sets and guides the implementation of national, digital health initiatives in Victoria. This includes work with states, territories and the Commonwealth to set and expand the connection to and meaningful use of My Health Record and other associated national digital health programs such as the National Child Health Record project, Real Time Prescription Monitoring, electronic medications strategies and secure message delivery. 
  • Guide health ICT solution implementation through development and publishing of architecture, standards and guides to support flow of clinical information across the sector. This include initiatives such as Electronic Medical Record, Patient Administration System, Medications management etc.
  • Guides the implementation and adoption of state-wide initiatives such as Unique Patient Identification (UPI) in Victorian health services.
  • Progresses the legislative amendment required to enable secure clinical information sharing between health services for the purposes of patient care.
  • Reviews ICT investment proposals in the Health & Wellbeing Division to ensure they meet standards and are a good return on digital investment before being submitted to executive review.
  • Advises the Chief Digital Health Officer on emerging digital health trends and their applicability to new or existing Victorian digital health projects.
  • Progresses and leads Victoria’s secure transfer of care programs, ensuring health services are supported to implement industry wide, accreditation state and national standards, i.e. electronic referrals and discharge summaries.
  • Leads expert working groups to develop specifications and business cases for state-wide investment to enhance patient safety through secure sharing of clinical information between health services.
  • Manages the department’s relationship and contract with Health Direct Australia (HDA) with regards to the National Health Service Provider Directory.