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Australian Digital Health Agency calls for digital test bed proposals

As announced recently, the Australian Digital Health Agency is calling for proposals for innovative test beds that can be rigorously reviewed and then scaled nationally.

According to the announcement, the Digital Health Agency is seeking expressions of interest that build on areas of high level of digital maturity, with evidence of integrated governance arrangements between the participants. Test beds should involve new approaches to addressing a health challenge rather than pilots that have no plan or capacity to scale across a population.

The test bed proposals will require collaborative model of delivery and are intended to be partnerships between industry, government and other organisations. They will be co-produced by consumers, governments, healthcare providers, and entrepreneurs and will test evidence-based digital empowerment of key health priorities. Projects can run for up to four years depending on the test bed however, baseline measures will be required by October 2018, and interim results at 12 to 18 months. Up to A$600,000 is available per test bed.

CEO of the Digital Health Agency Mr Tim Kelsey said digitally enabled models of care are an important priority in Australia's National Digital Health Strategy and the test beds demonstrate the Agency’s commitment to work collaboratively with stakeholders.

“During my time as CEO, I have witnessed some incredible innovations that involve consumers, providers, and healthcare organisations tackling critical priorities such as managing chronic disease in completely new ways. The Agency wants to support these types of initiatives, to assist in their evaluation, and to develop an evidence base of sustainable, scalable initiatives to support further investment,” said Mr Kelsey.

Mr Kelsey also stated that Australia is increasingly recognised to be in a unique position to test and trial digital health solutions that can be implemented in a diverse and sometimes fragmented system and have the ability to scale nationally.

“These projects will require exemplar regions and sectors with a strong existing capability to deliver outcomes. It is essential to demonstrate feasibility and efficacy for a potential test bed to proceed,” he said.

President of the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) Ms Emma Hossack welcomed the Agency’s approach to market. She believed that Australia’s health software industry has remarkable capability.

“These test beds will give our (MSIA) members the ability to showcase this capacity in worthwhile settings. Prerequisites of maturity and scalability together with transparent evaluation mean these exemplars will have real value for Australian healthcare,” she said.

The Agency has also responded to industry calls to minimise the regulatory burden for respondents and is requesting submissions of no more than 5 pages. The tender, available on AusTender, closes at 2pm on 6 June 2018.

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