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Australian Digital Health Agency’s Telehealth Standards Consultation

Feb 16, 2021

Telehealth services have rapidly expanded in healthcare as a result of COVID-19. As such, there is growing interest in the development of appropriate standards frameworks for telehealth and broader virtual healthcare.

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) is currently consulting on a project which aims to provide recommendations on what technical standards might be appropriate for telehealth in Australia.

During the Stage 1 consultation phase in December 2020, the ADHA identified nine key themes for the project:

    1. Importance of language
    2. Avoiding duplication and using generic digital standards wherever possible
    3. Supporting consumer experience
    4. Supporting broad range of health professionals and health services
    5. Future proofing and flexibility
    6. Integration and interoperability
    7. Supporting multiparty telehealth consultations
    8. Need for complementary clinical standards across digital health
    9. Creating and maintaining a national standards governance framework for digital health

For the Stage 2 consultation phase, the ADHA is proposing the following five focus areas for the project:

    1. An initial focus for recommended technical IT telehealth standards for the following foundation categories:
        • Security
        • Privacy compliance
        • Interoperability
        • Integration
        • Audit trail
    1. Development of a future focus set of desirable capabilities and features with appropriate technical IT standards being sourced and/or developed.
    2. Consideration as to whether the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care should be commissioned to develop Australian Telehealth Clinical Standards in 2021-22 in consultation with stakeholders.
    3. Support for an ongoing program to strengthen consumer engagement, literacy, skills and use of telehealth.
    4. A proposal to the Australian Privacy Commissioner to develop guidance on compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles when using telehealth.

The ADHA is seeking feedback and comments on the project’s proposed nine key themes and five focus areas.  For further information on the nine key themes and five focus areas, please refer here.

For further information on the proposed foundation categories for telehealth standards (security, privacy compliance, interoperability, integration and audit trail), as well as future telehealth categories for consideration, please refer here.

Interested members are invited to provide comments and feedback on the ADHA’s project consultation on appropriate technical standards for telehealth to by 5pm, Wednesday 24 February 2021.

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