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Abstract

Background: The value of digital health technologies and their contribution to high-quality and safe clinical care and enhanced health patient experience and outcomes is well established. Digital health technologies are increasingly being used by Victorian allied health professionals (AHPs) in routine service delivery, the uptake of which has been significantly accelerated by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Objectives: This case study outlines the development of a capability framework to support Victorian AHPs, health services, other employers, and university training partners to measure and expand digital health capability at individual practitioner and workforce levels. Methods: A mixed-methods approach to the development of digital health and clinical informatics capabilities and the resultant framework is described, consisting of five phases: (i) a literature/scoping review to identify existing frameworks (ii) expert panel interviews, (iii) thematic analysis of interview themes, (iv) user testing and feedback and, (v) revision based on feedback. Results: This approach proved successful in managing key challenges that emerged during the project, as well as identifying potential barriers and enablers to longer term framework adoption, implementation, and maintenance. Conclusion: This study describes a mixed-methods approach to the development of an Australian-first, Allied health digital health capability framework to address knowledge and skills development at individual practitioner and workforce levels. This case study highlights the need for targeted education and training resources to support the health workforce to build capability in the application and use of digital health technologies. In developing a digital capability framework specific to the allied health workforce, the importance of stakeholder consultation in the early identification of barriers and enablers to potential uptake and implementation is also reinforced.

Author Bio(s)

  1. Nikki Littlewood, BSc (Hons), MSc (Physiotherapy) - Project Lead, Austin Health, Victoria, Australia (nikki.littlewood@wh.org.au)
  2. Sharon Downie, B.OT, MPH - Manager, Health Workforce Policy, Department of Health, Victoria Australia (sharon.downie@health.vic.gov.au)
  3. Abbey Sawyer, BPhysio, PhD - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Health Science (Department of Physiotherapy), University of Melbourne, Victoria & Research Fellow, Institute for Breathing and Sleep, Austin Health (abbey.sawyer@unimelb.edu.au)
  4. Kath Feely, BPhysio, MPH (Public Heath), Grad Cert Health Informatics and Digital Health, Prof Cert Health Systems Management, Post Grad Cert Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy - Chief Allied Health Information Officer, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria Australia (kath.feely@mh.org.au)
  5. Dhruv Govil, BSc, BPhysio - Project Lead, Better at Home Project, South Gippsland Coast Partnership, Victoria, Australia (dhruv.govil@basscoasthealth.org.au)
  6. Brit Gordon, BPhysio, MBA- Chief Allied Health Officer, Austin Health, Victoria, Australia (brit.gordon@austin.org.au)

Acknowledgements

This project was fully funded by the Department of Health, Victoria, Australia.

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