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PUBH7000 Public Health Research Methods

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PUBH7000 Public Health Research Methods Question: Task Identify a recent health reform of your choice, within the last five years or less. Students may analyse the recent Australian health reforms or select a reform from another country after discussion with and approval by the lecturer. Using report format interpret the objectives of the reform, critically evaluate the strategy and explore opportunities for further reform development. Answer: Introduction The Government of Australia has been undertaking various reforms in the health care sector for the last one decade. This has been fueled by the increased need to improve the quality of healthcare services in line with the goals and objectives of the government regarding health care. The reforms have also been undertaken with the aim of reducing the cost of healthcare which is increasing more than two times than the rise in the GDP of the country (National Health Informatics Conference, In Grain & Schaper, 2013). The government is also aiming at encouraging innovation and use of technology in health care to improve the quality of healthcare services in Australia. To achieve this objective, the federal government of Australia established the Australian Digital Health Agency. The mandate of the agency is to ensure the health system for both primary and private sector is technologically up to date. This report identifies implementation issues, problems and any adverse effects of the digital health reform. The cost of implementing the health care policy is also discussed in this report. The report also evaluates the strategy used in performing the change and how successful the procedures have been. In addition to this, the paper analyzes the potential opportunities for improving health reform. Objectives Of The Digital Health Reform The Australian Government is committed to the delivery of world-leading national digital health capability. The system will lead to improved efficiency, quality and delivery of healthcare to improve the health outcomes of all citizens. Due to this reason, the government developed the Australian Digital Health Agency which has the responsibility of strategically managing and governing the National Digital Health Strategy as well as designing and delivery of the national digital healthcare system. The following are the objectives of the digital health reforms strategy: lEnsuring that health information is available whenever and wherever needed To ensure that health information can be exchanged securely. To ensure that data of high quality with a common meaning is available to stakeholders and can be used with confidence. Improve availability and access to information regarding prescriptions and medicines. Develop digitally enabled models of care that improve accessibility, quality, safety and efficiency in health provision. Expand My Health Record by equipping the workforce with digital health technology skills which are critical in using digital health technology. Collaborate with software developers and other key stakeholders to ensure a thriving digital health industry that delivers world-class innovation. The Strategy Used To Implement The Reform The Australian Government has established strategies to ensure coordinated investment in health technology systems. These strategies set priority areas that will help in achieving the objective of the reform initiative and it involves both the public and the private sector. One of the strategies used by the Australian Government in implementing health reforms is supporting and empowering health consumers, health care providers, and industry players to co-produce digital health technology. The government through the Australian Digital Health Agency supports both consumers and healthcare providers in coming up with technological innovations that will improve the provision of health care services (Boxall, Gillespie & ProQuest (Firm), 2013). The government collaborates with software developers to develop software that will improve access to information for patients. The software should also make it possible for easy sharing of information among health providers and hence improve the quality of health services. Another strategy that is being used to implement the digital health strategy is ensuring that users are at the center of the reforms. Thorough research has been undertaken to identify patient needs and gaps that exist in the My Health Record program with the intention of filling these gaps.ADHA will ensure that by 2022 all Australians can easily access information every time they need it (Eggers, 2016). To achieve this, mobile phone applications will be developed to make it easy for all consumers to view their information any time they want. The agency will also ensure that health care providers make the information available to consumers on all those platforms.  In addition to this, the digital health reforms will ensure that the data on patient health is safeguarded and cannot be accessed by any third party. This will be achieved by putting stringent policies on sharing information on patient health. The government plans to regulate the sharing of medical information by health providers through passing laws that will further protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers(Agnola, 2018). The mobile applications will also be sourced from established developers and hence ensure that they cannot be hacked or altered in any way. Only data that is evidence-based and which arises from real medical history will be available on the digital health. The reform will ensure that information provided to the consumers is vetted before being made available to consumers. The agency will set standards for information shared among the patients and healthcare providers to ensure that the data has the same meaning to all users. All patients and healthcare providers will access to consolidated views of their medications through the My Health Record System. The reforms will ensure that more data on prescriptions will be available online and hence ensure that by the year 2022 patients will be able to request their medication online and hence increase convenience and safety of the health care system(McCall, 2018). The strategy will also help professionals to make informed decisions when attending to patients. Policies will be put in place in collaboration with the Department of health to enable the use of paper-free options for all prescriptions. Innovative models of health care will be developed to improve quality, safety, and efficiencies. The reform strategy will focus on management of chronic disease, end of life care and health of young children. General practitioners, pharmacists, and the public hospital emergency department to support the implementation of the digital health reforms. Specialty groups, allied health, and aged care providers will also be heavily engaged to ensure success in the implementation of digital health reforms. Private healthcare providers will also be engaged to adopt the system and hence ensure uniformity in the quality of information available across the entire sector. Conferences and seminars will be organized to create awareness among the industry players (Milcent, 2018). By doing this, within the year 2021, all practitioners in both the private and public hospitals will be capable of using digital technologies confidently. This will consequently contribute to improved health services for consumers. The other strategy that will be used to implement the reforms in cooperation with third parties to improve My Health Record. The government plans international advocacy of Australia`s achievement in digital health. Australia will become a model of digital healthcare globally and lead in innovation on digital healthcare by the year 2022 (Finkel, 2012). The reforms will ensure that customers have a variety of digital apps through which they can access their medical records. In addition to this, professionals in the healthcare sector will achieve increased safety, integrated workflow and improve efficiency. The Australian healthcare systems are designed in a way that both the Federal and State Government play a huge role in ensuring patients get quality health care. Therefore, to implement the reforms on digital health care, the Australian Government will enter into Intergovernmental Agreement with all the states and territories (Eckermann, 2017). This will ensure that the two levels of government work together to achieve a world-class national digital health systems. Opportunities For Further Digital Health Reforms Despite the plan by the Government to reform digital health, there are various opportunities that can further lead to the improvement of digital health services. The following are some of the opportunities that can be exploited to achieve the objective of becoming a world leader in digital health innovation: The Australian Government should establish a common standard for secure messaging between health care providers. Currently, different health care providers use different methods of communicating medical information regarding patients (Bertalanffy, 2015). Some of these methods are unreliable and insecure, and hence data is at risk of getting into the wrong hands. The Department of Health should come up with a system that improves interoperability, integration, and security of messages passed through this system. There is also an opportunity to collaborate with other stakeholders in other sectors such as technology to improve efficiency in storage and sharing of medical information (Soar, Swindell,  Tsang & InfoSci-Books, 2010). The government should start training programs in colleges and other institutions of higher learning to equip learners with a set of skills that will help in technological innovation in this sector (Lindquist, Vincent & Wanna, 2011). To achieve reforms in digital health, it is essential that consumers, who are the main focus of the reforms are more involved. Currently, most health consumers do not understand how digital health systems work and how it could be important to them. Health consumers, therefore, need to be more involved in the design and development of these systems(Baum, Newman & Biedrzycki, 2012). Another opportunity of achieving improvement in digital health care is focusing digital delivery of care on hotspots in patient pathways(“Health Promotion International”, 2014). This helps in enhancing self-care  as well as promoting care in remote areas. The government has to identify special areas that need special attention in regard to digital health care. Despite many people in Australia having access to internet, there are certain communities with reduced ability to access and use e-participation methods(“Reviewers for DIGITAL HEALTH 2014-2015”, 2016). Therefore, the decision to reform healthcare services and make it more digital by the year 2022 may make it even more difficult for this communities to access healthcare. The government therefore has to focus on equipping all citizens with digital literacy skills as well as make it more easy for Australians to access digital healthcare (Skochelak, Hawkins,  Lawson, Starr, Borkan  & Gonzalo, 2016). Other issues that may present a challenge when implementing this plan is that there is lack of access to broadband internet and poor mobile network. This will ensure that there is equality in health care provision. There is an opportunity to use social media to promote digital healthcare in Australia. Social media is a very popular tool among people below the age of 45 years(Borg, Boulet, Smith & Bragge, 2018).Social media platforms should be utilized to promote digital healthcare with improvement of security measures in order to adhere to confidentiality laws. Conclusion  The Australian Government has been undertaking various reforms in the health sector with the goal of improving the quality of health care services. One of the reforms that the Government is currently undertaking is digital health reforms. The Australian Government formed the Australian Digital Health Agency in the year 2016 to implement changes in the use of digital technology in healthcare in Australia. Some of the objectives of the program include; Ensuring that health information is available whenever and wherever needed, ensuring that health information can be exchanged securely and ensuring that data of high quality with a common meaning is available to stakeholders and can be used with confidence. The report also critically discusses the strategies that are being used in implementing the plan. In addition to this, the report examines possible failures of the strategy and identifies the opportunities that can be utilized to improve digital health care in Australia. References Agnola, D. (2018). Transforming digital health services in Australia. Journal Of Pharmacy Practice And Research, 48(3), 283-286. doi: 10.1002/jppr.1428 Baum, F., Newman, L., & Biedrzycki, K. (2012). Vicious cycles: digital technologies and determinants of health in Australia. Health Promotion International, 29(2), 349-360. doi: 10.1093/heapro/das062 Bertalanffy, L. V. (2015). General system theory – foundations, development, applications. Borg, K., Boulet, M., Smith, L., & Bragge, P. (2018). Digital Inclusion & Health Communication: A Rapid Review of Literature. Health Communication, 1-9. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1485077 Boxall, A.-M., Gillespie, J. A., & ProQuest (Firm). (2013). Making Medicare: The politics of universal health care in Australia. Eckermann, S. (2017). Health economics from theory to practice: Optimally informing joint decisions of research, reimbursement, and regulation with health system budget constraints and community objectives.Sydney: Elsevier Australia. Eggers, W. D. (2016). Delivering on digital: The innovators and technologies that are transforming government.Sydney, N.S.W.: Read How You Want. Finkel, E. (2012). The genome generation. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press. Health Promotion International. (2014). Health Promotion International, 29(1), 195-197. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dat095 Lindquist, E. A., Vincent, S., & Wanna, J. (2011). Delivering policy reform: Anchoring significant reforms in turbulent times. Acton, A.C.T: ANU E Press. McCall, C. (2018). Opt-out digital health records cause debate in Australia. The Lancet, 392(10145), 372. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(18)31726-4 Milcent, C. (2018). Healthcare reform in China: From violence to digital healthcare.Acton, A.C.T: ANU E Press National Health Informatics Conference, In Grain, H., & In Schaper, L. K. (2013). Health informatics: Digital health service delivery, the future is now! : selected papers from the 21st Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2013). Reviewers for DIGITAL HEALTH 2014-2015. (2016). DIGITAL HEALTH, 2, 205520761662936. doi: 10.1177/2055207616629362 Skochelak, S. E., Hawkins, R. E., Lawson, L. E., Starr, S. R., Borkan, J., & Gonzalo, J. D. (2016). Health Systems Science E-Book. Soar, J., Swindell, R., Tsang, P., & InfoSci-Books. (2010). Intelligent technologies for bridging the grey digital divide.South Melbourne: Australian Centre for Health Research

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