Health minister Greg Hunt has released a 'national digital health skills and training roadmap' designed to enhance the use of and further drive the digital transformation of health services.
Mr Hunt said the adoption of technology is critical for the healthcare system and that the plan sets out how the Australian health workforce of more than 750,000 registered healthcare providers can be transformed over the next decade.
"The Roadmap is a key element of the National Digital Health Strategy and was developed following a summit late last year attended by healthcare educators, professional bodies and employers," he said.
The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital health platforms, including telehealth, My Health Record and electronic prescribing.
"A dramatic expansion in the use of telehealth has been a key element of the fight against COVID-19," said Mr Hunt. "Between 13 March and 9 September, 29.6 million Medicare-eligible telehealth services were delivered to 10.4 million patients, resulting in $1.52 billion paid in Medicare benefits."
Mr Hunt said the government has also fast-tracked the start of electronic prescribing.
"This gives prescribers and patients the option to use an electronic prescription, sent by text message or email, as a legal alternative to a paper prescription," he said.
The e-prescription contains an electronic token and other instructions which can be shown to or forwarded to the dispensing pharmacist. The pharmacist scans the token to reveal the prescribed medicine.
"I thank the Australian Digital Health Agency and all of the individuals and organisations who contributed to development of the Roadmap," added Mr Hunt.