Researchers explore how to build capacity in digital health
Health systems struggling to cope with the pandemic and budget and staff shortages have an opportunity to make service and operating improvements with health informatics and digital health applications.
While pressure mounts to maintain "business as usual" operations, researchers from Flinders University, James Cook University and Hong Kong's Tung Wah Colllege have highlighted the benefits of expanding health management's use of these key areas to improve productivity and meet increasing resource challenges to provide safe, quality care.
"These two rapidly growing disciplines are becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of health service provision, as was highlighted through the COVID-19 pandemic," says Flinders University senior lecturer Mark Brommeyer, who has worked in health care consulting, training and change management in 11 countries for the past 30 years.
"To ensure the sustainability of the health care system in such challenging times, the adoption of innovative ways to meet the increasing demand for clinical, management and other health care services is required and, in particular, a workforce that has the competence to lead and manage change in a digital health context."
"We have seen digital technologies used to improve health by supporting remote monitoring of health care, enabling communication among various health care practitioners and patients, and better managing health care data to improve the quality, safety and sustainability of the services we provide," says Mr. Brommeyer.
"We have also witnessed various levels of success in implementing large-scale digital health transformations across Australia and internationally, with competent managers with the capacity to lead and manage the implementation and transformation of the system, both strategically and operationally, while still needing to manage 'business as usual.'"
Mr. Brommeyer, who started his career as a registered nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, says there is a growing need for health service managers to tackle the challenges of unprecedented growth in digital health literacy and to be proficient in planning and managing the digital tools and technologies across this rapidly changing tech landscape.
"These technologies improve workforce capabilities and system-wide efficiencies and we have found a need for national collaboration to draw up coordinated, consistent and coherent policy guidelines for educational and professional training in digital health across all health care sectors," he says.
Related research is published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
More information: Mark Brommeyer et al, Building health service management workforce capacity in the era of health informatics and digital health—A scoping review, International Journal of Medical Informatics (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2022.104909
Mark Brommeyer et al, A Systematic Approach in Developing Management Workforce Readiness for Digital Health Transformation in Healthcare, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2022). DOI: 10.3390/ijerph192113843