Digital health in a decade, says NSW eHealth chief

NSW eHealth CEO and CIO outlines his vision digital transformation of NSW’s health system

The CEO and CIO of NSW eHealth, Dr Zoran Bolevich, has outline the goal of the state having a fully integrated digital health service within a decade.

Bolevich is charged with the complete digital transformation of NSW Health. He heads a health IT agency with a team of about 1000 people responsible for planning, implementing and supporting the largest digital health program in Australia.

In a Q&A session with Oracle SVP and CIO Mark Sunday at Oracle Cloudworld in Sydney, Bolevich said NSW had set a goal that, within the next eight to 10 years “we will become a fully digitally enabled and integrated healthcare system that places patients and their carers and families at the centre.”

Bolevich asked the audience to “Imagine a future where perhaps one quarter of all healthcare services are delivered online rather than face-to-face, where patients have control over their personal health records and can choose whether they would like to have service provided by video consultation or by some other service supported by telemetry. Or go to their nearest community health centre.”

He added: “Imagine a health system that is able to proactively target groups of patients with comprehensive health services that prevent ill health and the deterioration of chronic illnesses like diabetes and that therefore prevents unnecessary hospitalisations.

“And when a patient does need to go to an emergency room they can start the process themselves with their smartphone so that when they arrive the care team is ready for them; already educated about the patient and their needs and can start diagnosis and treatment immediately.

Bolevich envisages “a future where cancer treatments are supported by genomics and artificial intelligence so that clinicians can put together the best treatment protocols that will yield the best outcomes for each patient based on their unique characteristics.”

NSW is the largest health service in Australia with an annual budget of $21.7 billion, 228 hospitals and 135,000 staff and Bolevich said its size and complexity would make achievement of the vision challenging, as would “the number of stakeholders and funders we need to get on board and take on this journey with us.”

Another challenge, he said, would be interoperability. “Because of the way health informatics has evolved a lot of our systems are not able to exchange even basic information. It is a big challenge.”

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Tags healthNSW GovernmentehealthNew South Wales (NSW)

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