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Indian and Australian experts come together to discuss the future of digital health in India

Recommendations from the round table will be placed in a bilateral senior official working group that will meet in June.

The National Health Policy 2017 has outlined the road map towards a National Digital Health Authority and with a view to supporting this vision, we partnered with the Australian High Commission in India on 30th May to organized a digital health and technology round table.

The purpose of the round table was to bring together experts from the Australian and Indian health industry, policymakers and thought leaders to share the implementation experiences, key lessons learned and discuss issues around digital technologies and medical technology with the aim to submit the key recommendations to the bilateral Senior Officials Working Group on Health and Medicine.

India has recently launched the National Health Policy 2017 which articulates the need for increasing access, improving quality and lowering the cost of healthcare delivery. Objective 2.4 of the National Health Policy 2017 outlines the steps towards strengthening the health systems and the pivotal role of Health Information Systems in achieving the same. The stated goals include the establishment of integrated health information architecture and National Health Information Network by 2025.

We have a proven history in designing, developing and rigorously testing technology enabled health delivery solutions and generating a body of evidence that supports India’s vision of the national digital health framework. 

At a high-level technical consultation held in December 2016, The George Institute presented the results of a scoping study on the mHealth interventions in India supporting the health systems building blocks. Based on the recommendations from the consultation, we engaged with key stakeholders in supporting evidence informed decision on Digital Health Initiatives.

Sharing the Australian experience, the Health Minister of the State of Victoria in Australia, The Hon. Jill Hennessy MP, said, "all State governments have a high-level vision and goals for digitizing health, which is supported by raising the levels of digital health maturity across the system. Victoria’s investment in digital health reflects the transition from provider-centred healthcare towards preventative health and person-centred care."

A key digital health investment in Victoria is the electronic referral (eReferral) program which has enabled secure messaging and exchange of clinical information amongst health professionals in four Victorian health services. “Over the next few years, one of the major focus areas nationally, and for Victoria, is finding the best ways to enable a range of different clinical and administrative systems to share data and information in relation to individual patients,” she said.

“Digital Health in India would radically transform health outcomes by leveraging Information which is at the core of information technology for informed decision making at all levels of health care delivery”, added Dr Oommen John, President Indian Association for Medical Informatics and Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health India