Digital tools set to improve child health
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Digital tools set to improve child health

New South Wales and Victoria are leading a new national collaboration to leverage ehealth digital tools to capture child health and developmental information electronically, as part of a new child digital health record scheme.

Led by the National Collaborative for Child Health Informatics, the initiative is set to look at the potential of offering a digital health record for every child in Australia from conception through to adolescence. Both parents and healthcare professionals will be able to access the records.

Traditionally, child health and development data has been recorded in baby books ‘coloured’ for each jurisdiction. NSW, which piloted an electronic version of its Blue Book during in 2012, will lead the digital baby book project.

The digital rollout forms part of four initiatives that aim to build a ‘longitudinal’ child health record for all Australian children moving forward. The other three initiatives, set to launch in 2019, will involve moves to see how to upload school immunisation records digitally to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), led by the ACT in association with Tasmania; a new national Digital Pregnancy Health Record, led by Queensland in association with South Australia; and digitising child health checks so the information can be shared electronically, led by the NT with the help of Western Australia.

The National Collaborative Network for Child Health Informatics was formed last year by eHealth NSW in partnership with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network with support from the Australian Digital Health Agency.

The aim of the Network is to bring together Australia’s leading experts in children’s health to identify nationally focused, child-centred and clinician-friendly digital health projects to positively impact the health and social outcomes of Australia’s children and their families.

“This is a unique opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to the health and wellbeing of the children – and indeed the future – of Australia,” eHealth NSW’s Chief Executive, Dr Zoran Bolevich, said. “NSW Health has a significant program of work underway to enhance our health services through effective use of digital technologies.”