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Public Health Informatics: Healthdirect

STAT6001: Public Health Informatics

Assessment Assessment 4: Report - Future of Public Health Informatics

This assessment addresses the following learning outcome: 8. Assess the role of healthcare information and communication technology (ICT) firms

Instructions: Increasingly, the development of ICTs and continued failures in health ICT initiatives are leading to outsourcing of information provision to commercial companies. This also leads to big data being shared with these organisations outside of the Australian boundaries

Consider Healthdirect: Australia (2015), located in Week 2’s Learning Resources. Evaluate its role in Australia in terms of population health. What are the implications of this provider (and potential commercial providers online) in terms of public health management within Australia? Evaluate this organisation with a focus on public health information provision, and make suggestions for best strategies for Australia to follow in the future. Support your evaluation with rationale.

Assignment Criteria: Submit a 500-word report that: 

 Assesses the role of Healthdirect and similar organisations and demonstrates an understanding of the issues surrounding the use of Healthdirect in Australia. (25%) 

 Critiques the benefits and pitfalls in using Healthdirect from a public health perspective, taking into account the ethical issues discussed throughout the course. (25%) 

 Analysis and application with synthesis of new knowledge. (30%) 

 Uses academic conventions including appropriate resources and referencing


Answer


Health

Today, with advent of new technologies, it is found that the healthcare organizations are implementing different healthcare solutions to improve the quality of healthcare services in a given work environment. The purpose of such institutions is to achieve better health outcomes for the people of a given community (Gerberding, 2010). 

Healthdirect is one such institution that is helping people connect with the right type of healthcare services in a given environment. It takes non-emergency calls of the people, refers people to visit the doctors, health services, and even the pharmacist in a given situation (Gerberding, 2010). It provides General Services helpline to assist people in their different healthcare services and needs. 

The key objective of Healthdirect is to provide people with access to health information and advice through different channels. Further, they are also aiming at improving health literacy of the people so that even they can take basic steps toward healthcare to achieve better outcomes. The purpose is to empower people with better health outcomes and thereby ensure that people can get recovered from the present situation (Gerberding, 2010). 

The major benefits of this organization includes - providing supporting care services across all people of Australia, provides care services at different stages of life to all people on equality basis, implementing digital health solutions to save time, efforts, and overall costs, focusing on improving health literacy in a given environment, responding to different emergencies in a given challenging environment, supporting ageing population, and also focusing more on the patients suffering from mental health (Sunyaev, 2014). 

The organization is working on a collaborative approach by partnering with different healthcare organizations and thereby providing necessary care services to the people. However, in the recent times, it is found that there are challenges associated with the digital platforms used by these healthcare organizations. Healthdirect collects data with prior informed consent with an aim to provide better services to the people (Romanow, Cho, & Straub, 2012). 

However, as per the researchers, the challenges of cyber-crime have increased a lot. Also, the privacy and confidentiality issues related to data pose further problems for the organization. It is thereby recommended to the organization to first ensure protecting of private data of the patients. Second, they also need to ensure that the data is not breached and used by third-party entities for personal purpose. It will lead to severe negative impacts on the organization. 

The role of the government and other authorities in such cases is thereby important as they need to tackle with these challenges and thereby ensure protecting of the data of the patient. The organization can implement cyber-security solutions to overcome this issue and subsequently ensure protecting of the data in a given challenging environment (Romanow, Cho, & Straub, 2012). It will thereby help them achieve desired healthcare outcomes for the people of Australia in a given environment.

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