E-health for consumers project

2004 - 2008

CHF has made a major contribution to the understanding of e-health for consumer networks and promoted informed debate on key e-health issues through its 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2006-08 e-health projects.

From CHF work to date, it is clear that consumers value opportunities to use e-health initiatives for improved access to their own health information, to clinical knowledge resources and individual tools to optimise their personal health outcomes.

Although consumers have not had a strong say in the design and delivery of e-health solutions to meet their own information needs, they have been influential in convincing health care providers and other stakeholders of the need to adopt appropriate information technology and information management solutions to achieve improvements in health outcomes.

A key emphasis of the 2006-08 Project will be to involve and encourage consumers to participate in creating a demand for e-health initiatives that enable them as active partners in their own health.

Aim

To inform and influence government investment in the e-health agenda by encouraging appropriate demand from consumers for various e-health initiatives to enable them as active partners in their own health.

Objectives

Key project objectives are to:

  • Encourage consumer demand nationally for various e-health initiatives that enable them as active partners in their own health.
  • Empower consumers to lobby healthcare providers, professional health service organisations and statutory bodies, to adopt e-health initiatives that improve consumer outcomes.
  • Inform consumers about e-health opportunities for consumers through workshops, the CHF website, newsletters, publications and other media opportunities as they arise.
  • Liaise with the Australian Government Department of Heath and Ageing (the Department) to inform consumers nationally of e-health initiatives in their state or region.
  • Continue to support consumer representatives on national e-health committees, and provide informed consumer representation that is well-linked to health consumer organisations and networks.
  • Maintain CHF activities that provide consumers with an opportunity to give input on and be kept informed about e-health developments across Australia.

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes for the project are:

  • Consumer impact assessments of a sample of e-health tools and systems.
  • Publicised consumer criteria to increase consumer understanding and knowledge of e-health tools that enable individual consumers to optimise their personal health outcomes.
  • Effective consumer advocacy on national e-health committees.
  • Key stakeholders engage with CHF on effective implementation of e-health initiatives.
  • Links between CHF, consumer representatives on national e-health committees, state-based consumer representatives and organisations involved with e-health committees and initiatives are maintained or improved.
  • Consumer perspectives are incorporated into key e-health implementation programs and other initiatives.
  • Consumer needs and requirements of e-health tools determine their suitability and inform their use, with a focus on better health outcomes for consumers.
  • Consumer networks are informed about e-health tools available to them and criteria for assessment.
  • Improved understanding for consumers, particularly those with a chronic condition, about the use of e-health tools to deliver consumer benefits.
  • Increased consumer awareness of the use of electronic medication records and other electronic tools by health care providers, such as general practitioners, to strengthen partnerships between health care providers and consumers.

Guidance for the project

A Reference Group provides guidance for the Project, including the development and implementation of consumer consultation strategies on e-health developments.

The membership of the E-health Project Reference Group chaired by a member of the Governing Committee, includes a maximum of five consumer representatives to cover the following criteria:

  • a state or territory implementing e-health initiatives,
  • an area with significant privacy concerns,
  • people with chronic conditions,
  • understanding of or experience in health information technology (IT) or e-health systems,
  • a national e-health committee or working group,
  • rural and remote health consumers.

A Department Liaison Officer participates as an observer on the Reference Group and facilitates two-way communication between the Department and CHF.

Funding

The CHF  E-health Project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The project was funded in two year blocks, and enabled a longer term vision for CHF e-health project work and consumer input to e-health initiatives.