A focus on precision medicine: Australia redefines National Digital Health Strategy


Australia has set new priorities for digital health in the medium term as its health system aligns with the increasing demand for precision medicine.

The federal government recently announced the updated National Digital Health Strategy 2023-2028, which is aiding the health system’s pivot towards personalised and preventative healthcare. 


The five-year strategy, which builds on the foundations set by the first strategy implemented between 2018-2022, now envisions “an inclusive, sustainable and healthier future for all Australians through a connected and digitally enabled health system.”

It identifies four so-called “change enablers” that will support the delivery of four targeted health system outcomes.

Change enablers:

• Policy and regulatory settings that cultivate digital health adoption, use, and innovation 

• Secure, fit-for-purpose, and connected digital solutions 

• Digitally ready and enabled health and wellbeing workforce 

• Informed, confident consumers and carers with strong digital health literacy


Digitally enabled: Health and wellbeing services are connected, safe, secure and sustainable 

Person-centred: Citizens are empowered to take care of their health and wellbeing, equipped with the right information and tools 

Inclusive: Citizens have equitable access to health services, anytime, anywhere 

Data-driven: Data is readily available and informs decision-making at the individual, community and national level

The strategy also comes with a roadmap which features the scope, approach, governance, key inputs, partners and priority actions to meet its vision. 

The following have been identified as priority areas in reaching the strategy’s intended outcomes:

Digitally enabled


  • Support strong consumer digital health literacy 

  • Increase availability of health information 

  • Enhance consent management and flexible health information exchange 


  • Improve and expand virtual care 

  • Integrate personal devices 

  • Support equitable health access


  • Use health information for research and public health purposes  

  • Plan for emerging data sources and technology such as artificial intelligence, spatial data, genomics 

  • Monitor and evaluate outcomes and progress

The ADHA will be leveraging the Quintuple Aim for Healthcare Improvement framework to measure the strategy’s success in five areas: health outcomes, sustainability, patient experience, provider wellbeing, and experience and equity. A baseline report is expected by the end of the first year of implementation.


The updated National Digital Health Strategy is being complemented by the Department of Health and Aged Care’s 10-year Digital Health Blueprint and its accompanying action plan, which were released before the new year. 

The government is determined to deliver enhancements to digital health as Australians’ demand for data and technology-driven care grows over the years, exacerbated further by recent events such as the global pandemic, floods, and bushfires. Telehealth use during the pandemic, for example, grew exponentially with 118 million services delivered to 18 million patients and more than 95,000 practitioners using telehealth services. The government emphasises that in the next phase of the health system’s digital transformation, Australians should not have to retell their health story, but rather their health information should be able to follow them wherever they go.

Evidence of the government’s tight commitment to improving digital health is the almost a billion Australian dollars invested over the past two years.


“Key reforms will be needed to ensure policy and regulatory settings support digital health adoption, use and innovation. The healthcare workforce must be supported to be digitally ready. We must embrace the opportunities offered by digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, genomics, and other emerging technologies, to better use data to improve health outcomes and create a healthcare system that is more equitable and person-centred. The ability to discover and share information across care settings through a near real-time data exchange will facilitate multi-disciplinary team-based care, ease pressure on the workforce and improve sustainability by reducing fragmentation and duplication,” Health Minister Mark Butler said in the foreword of the 2023-2028 National Digital Health Strategy. 

“In an age of precision medicine, characterised by healthcare innovations like wearable technology and AI-driven genomic research, we are witnessing a paradigm shift towards personalised and preventative healthcare. The National Digital Health Strategy is essential to support this shift while fostering a connected, secure, inclusive and ethical healthcare system, backed by robust legislation,” Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Amanda Cattermole commented in a media release.


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