Informatics analyses value in digital health technologies

Behind the development of new digital health technologies are experts such as Prof Kathleen Gray who investigate whether these products and services are providing the benefits they promise.

Prof Gray leads a research team specialising in health informatics at the University of Melbourne’s Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre. She and her team create evaluation frameworks to determine how digital health technologies add value, with criteria ranging from better patient experiences and improved health outcomes to more effective use of health professionals’ skills and time.

We need to be smarter about identifying what does and doesn’t work and how to evolve technology to better suit all users; clients, clinicians, carers, health organisations and public health officials.

Kathleen Gray

Collaborating with Precedence Health Care, Prof Gray developed an evaluation framework for the National Broadband Network-enabled Integrated Home Telehealth project. The evaluation component was an integral part of Precedence Health Care’s successful bid for the $3.3 million commonwealth-funded pilot project, in conjunction with the Royal District Nursing Society (RDNS) and other partners.

The Telehealth program provides health services over high capacity broadband networks, using technology including iPad apps, home monitoring devices and Precedence Health Care’s cdmNet software system. The software integrates health records from multiple members of a care team to remotely manage aspects of care for home-based elderly patients.

The evaluation framework combines qualitative interviews and quantitative data, to assess the technology’s performance along side analysis of the project’s effectiveness in terms of clinical care, patient and carer experience and value for money.

Using recognised measures for evaluating health IT in relation to health system performance is vital, Prof Gray says.The stakes are high. If we don’t apply technology properly to organise travel, someone might be stranded in an airport. But if we don’t apply technology properly to organise health care, someone might be stranded in an emergency department, with far more dire consequences.

More information

Prof Kathleen Gray

Telephone: +61 3 8344 8936