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EXCLUSIVE - OpenGov Canberra Recognition of Excellence Awards 2018

This year, in conjunction with the Canberra OpenGov Leadership Forum, 7 government agencies were recognised for using technology to improve citizen engagement and public service delivery. 

Recipients of this year’s Recognition of Excellence awards were:

(1) Australian Digital Health Agency

‍Mr Mark Kinsela, Chief of Staff

OpenGov recognised the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) for driving the nationwide rollout of My Health Record across Australia to provide potentially lifesaving access to clinical reports of medications, allergies, laboratory tests, and chronic conditions.  

The Australian government allocated A$374.2 million in its 2017-18 Budget to be invested over two years, for the nationwide rollout of an opt-out model of My Health Record and to ensure every Australian is a part of it, unless they choose not to be. Since then significant progress has been made towards achieving this vision.

In June 2017, the Agency released a Request for Tender (RFT) to develop a Strategic Interoperability Framework for Australia, with the objective of contributing to the deployment of a seamless digital health eco-system. The Agency is working with clinical information systems (CIS) vendors to develop nationally-scalable, secure electronic messaging between healthcare providers.

The Agency has also initiated a pilot project for the use of My Health Record in hospital emergency departments, in partnership with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC).

In August 2017, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council approved Australia’s National Digital Health strategy (2018-2022). The delivery of a My Health Record for every Australian underpin several of the priorities in the Strategy.

In March 2018, the Agency released drafted a Framework for Action to support the strategy’s implementation. The Framework for Action sets out priority activities for co-development for the period 2018-2022 and defines the roles of participants, including healthcare consumers, healthcare providers, the industry and technology sector, peak organisations, the Agency, the Commonwealth Government and the State and territory governments. 

As part of the Action Plan, My Health Record will be continuously improved, with scoping, building, testing and executing system releases planned over the life of the Strategy to provide additional functionality and health information. 

The usability of clinical information systems will be improved to ensure the My Health Record integrates more intuitively, based on the development of an evidence-based design research framework. Another priority action in the area is to establish a framework to govern the safe and secure use of My Health Record system data.

(2) Data61 and (3) Defence Science and Technology Group

Dr Zhu Liming, Research Director, Software and Computational Systems, Data61

OpenGov recognised Data61 and the Defence Science and Technology Group for the Cross-Domain Desktop Compositor (CDDC) which gives users access to multiple computer networks through a single interface, streamlining workflow without compromising security or usability.

Mr Mark Beaumont, A/Group Leader Active Security Technologies, Defence Science and Technology Group

Currently, government and defence staff use multiple segregated computer networks to maintain and protect classified data. Complications arise as staff need to access multiple networks concurrently to view and transfer data between systems. Market solutions usually provide a trade-off between security and usability. Those that favour usability over security are generally vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In contrast, those that favour security over usability prohibit simultaneous access to data from multiple domains on the same screen.

Powered by Data61’s seL4 microkernel operating system and DSTG’s hardware security innovation, the CDDC provides a seamless, fully integrated, secure system to fulfil the needs of usability and security and allows for additional functionality like controlled data transfer and copy-and-paste using intuitive design. It will also be interoperable with existing desktop infrastructure, and cheaper than traditional low- to medium assurance products.

While defence is the first focus market for the CDDC, it has broad applications across government and enterprise, as well critical infrastructure, banking, health and autonomous systems.

(4) Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

‍Ms Naomi Perdomo, A/g Assistant Secretary Data and Digital

OpenGov recognised the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet for the National Cities Performance Framework Dashboard.

Since late 2017, the National Cities Performance Framework supports the Australian Government's Smart Cities Plan by providing a snapshot of the productivity and progress of Australia’s largest 21 cities plus Western Sydney, by key indicators like Jobs and Skills; Infrastructure and Investment; Liveability and Sustainability; Innovation and Digital Opportunities; Governance, Planning and Regulation; and Housing.

It is the first official framework of its kind in Australia and brings together critical data on Australian cities in an easily accessible online format. The Performance Framework also assists all levels of government, industry and the community to better target, monitor and evaluate cities policy and investments, including through City Deals.

This Framework is in line with the Australian Government’s commitment to open and accessible data sharing. The Performance Framework is a living resource to be improved over time through annual updates and three yearly reviews. This will ensure it continues to reflect best available information and provides a strong evidence base to guide new investments and reforms in Australian cities."

(5) National Blood Authority

‍Mr Simon Spencer, Chief Information Officer

OpenGov recognised the National Blood Authority (NBA) for the transformation of its digital platform for ordering and receiving blood and blood products.

The NBA manages the ordering of blood and blood products around Australia. It operates a 24-hour service to ensure that essential life-saving blood and blood products get to where they’re needed. Approximately 28,000 litres of blood are ordered and tracked through its platform each month.

An online system for ordering and tracking blood products called ORBS (Ordering, Receipting Blood System) was developed by the Queensland Department of Health first developed in 2009. This was proposed to the NBA as a national system in 2010. A bespoke application called BloodNet was developed. 

The BloodNet version 5 was developed to not only upgrade the technology and platforms, but also create a new look user interface. The NBA relied on the DTA’s Digital Service Standard to ensure its services are simple, clear, and in line with user’s needs. During the development process, it brought a multi-disciplinary team in-house and upskilled internal staff. The team adapted to agile principles, tools and techniques, and held fortnightly sprints, daily stand-ups, regular walk-throughs and responded to feedback. A total of 187 hours of user research was conducted during the discovery and alpha stages, which included visiting 138 people across 39 hospitals/laboratories in 9 different cities.

Through this process, the team designed a simpler platform that makes it faster and easier for hospitals to order and receive life-saving blood products. It became the first agency — that is required to use the Digital Service Standard — to pass its alpha assessment independently. The product is in Beta and the team is working on ensuring the system is built for longevity and ease of maintenance; setting up release process and transition plans for users; identifying appropriate metrics and KPIs for the performance dashboard; and continuing user research and testing to make sure we are on the right track.

(6) National Library of Australia

‍Mr Terence Ingram, Director, IT Operations

OpenGov recognised the National Library of Australia (the Library) for its Digital Library Infrastructure Replacement (DLIR) Program.

The Program which concluded in July 2017, laid strong foundations for the Library to deal with the requirements of a digital era. The Library simplified and streamlined the way it collects, manages, preserves and delivers its collections as part of the transformation.

An increasing number of publishers today are producing content electronically, either producing just electronic copy or both print and electronic. Now the Library provides a system for them to deposit content in electronic format, easily and automatically as they are published. The system also provides batch deposit functionality, allowing publishers to deposit multiple items at once. The new system saves time for everyone and leads to easier preservation and management.

DLIR also exceeded expectations in workflow efficiency improvement through automation and systems integration. In some cases, the Library has achieved 100 times increase in productivity. The time it takes between receiving an item from a journal or a creator to when is actually published by the Library, has been reduced from weeks or months to hours in some cases.

Now the Library to looking to build on this foundation. The Library is also exploring emerging technologies such as machine learning for content description and improving accessibility. It is also looking to improve the Library’s online presence by making services easier to use and more attractive.

(7) National Transport Commission

‍Mr Paul Retter, Chief Executive Officer

OpenGov recognised the National Transport Commission (NTC) for reforming the regulatory environment to promote the testing and development of automated vehicles in Australia.

In late 2016, Australian transport ministers agreed to a phased reform program at the federal level to allow conditionally automated vehicles to operate safely and legally on roads before 2020, and highly and fully automated vehicles from 2020. Since then, the NTC is delivering this roadmap of reform through a phased approach.

Last year, in May, NTC has developed national guidelines governing conditions for trials of automated vehicles. In November 2017, national enforcement guidelines were developed to clarify regulatory concepts of control and proper control for different levels of driving automation.

This year, NTC is supporting jurisdictions in reviewing injury insurance schemes to identify any eligibility barriers for occupants of an automated vehicle, or those involved in a crash with an automated vehicle. It aims to develop legislative reform options to clarify the application of current driver and driving laws to automated vehicles, and to establish legal obligations for automated driving system (ADS) entities. NTC will design and develop a safety assurance regime for automated road vehicles by November 2018.

NTC will also work with jurisdictions to review current exemption powers to ensure legislation can support on-road trials, so that all Australian jurisdictions are able to support automated vehicle trials. Such efforts by the NTC is expected to encourage national and international industry leaders to develop this emerging technology in Victoria – which means more jobs and opportunities for Australians.

Feature image: JJ Harrison / CC BY-SA 3.0

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