ADHA begins process to define Australia’s next national digital health strategy

The Australian Digital Health Agency has launched a nationwide online survey as part of a wider process to define a new national strategy around digital health.

The current national digital health strategy, whose implementation began in 2017, is set to end next year when a new strategy is targeted for enforcement.


According to the website, feedback from the nationwide survey – which will run until October this year – will be used to develop the draft strategy implementation plan on digital health for governments, healthcare providers, consumers, innovators the technology industry.

ADHA CEO Amanda Cattermole said the 2022-2027 national digital health strategy will “lay the foundations for next-generation healthcare” in the country.


The present digital health strategy aims to meet seven strategic priority outcomes, namely:

  • Health information that is available whenever wherever it is needed;

  • Health information that can be exchanged securely;

  • High-quality data with a commonly understood meaning that can be used with confidence;

  • Better availability access to prescriptions medicines information;

  • Digitally-enabled models of care that drive improved accessibility, quality, safety efficiency;

  • A workforce confidently using digital health technologies to deliver health care; and

  • A thriving digital health industry delivering world-class innovation.

These outcomes are expected to be delivered by next year.

While the ADHA has yet to make a full progress report on the implementation of the strategy, it claims that the Australian people are now experiencing a “better-connected” healthcare system through digital health. 

Over the past two years, Cattermole notes, there has been an “unprecedented acceleration in the development introduction of digital health innovation delivered to Australians at a time when we needed it most”.

For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were over 70 million teleconsultations 15 million e-prescriptions made. 

My Health Record, a digital health record platform operated by the ADHA, has now around 23 million registered people who are given access to their vaccination statuses, prescriptions, information on allergies pathology, diagnostic COVID-19 test results. 


“​​It’s a journey that began in 2017 with the first national digital health strategy will continue with the 2022-27 national digital health strategy. We will build on the success achievements of the current model – which delivered the expansion of My Health Record, telehealth, electronic prescribing, workforce education an extensive community engagement program to empower consumers to manage their health information,” Cattermole stated.

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The Philippines to issue digital vaccination certs for overseas workers from September

The Philippines is set to issue digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates from September.

In a statement, the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) said that the mobile web-based platform – VaxCertPH – is already “up running” is “ready to go live nationwide” after local government operators complete their training. 

According to a news report, overseas Filipino workers in Metro Manila, the nation’s capital region, will be first issued with the certificates next month. The government eyes full implementation nationwide by October. 


Developed by the DICT for the Philippine Health Department, the VaxCertPH is an online portal for the issuance of vaccination certificates, which are said to be compliant with the technical specifications set by the World Health Organization for vaccination certificates. 

The system relies on data submitted by local governments through the Vaccine Information Management System (VIMS). Local governments are now submitting their respective lists of vaccinated individuals through the Vaccine Administration System of the DICT (D-VAS) ahead of the formal launch of the digital certificates. The D-VAS is part of the VIMS that enables automated computerised processing of vaccination administration. It also contains the directories of vaccine recipients.

The said list is regarded as the “official primary record of vaccination events” in the Philippines the “primary authoritative source of information” for the national vaccine passport or certificate. 

The DICT is also training operators of the system from various local governments on proper data entry to reduce instances of data-related errors. 


At present, local governments in the Philippines are issuing physical cards to their vaccinated citizens. In early August, the Foreign Affairs Department announced that Hong Kong will not recognise vaccination cards issued to overseas Filipino workers as these do not come from a single source. The country is home to many domestic helpers employed in Hong Kong. 

To allow the entry of overseas workers, Hong Kong will accept those bearers of the WHO international certificate of vaccination or the “yellow card” issued by the Philippines’ Bureau of Quarantine. 


“Our goal is to simplify everything by using digital technologies – easier vaccination procedures, even simpler certification of fully vaccinated individuals,” DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

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Amazon looks to bring telehealth, in-person care to 20 more cities

Amazon is reportedly looking to launch its app-based home visits in 20 major U.S. cities through 2022.  

According to Insider‘s Blake Dodge, Amazon Care will bring the “full package” of telehealth in-person services to Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas Boston in 2021, with 16 more to follow the next year.  

Amazon representatives told Healthcare IT News after publication that the company does not comment on rumors or speculation.


Amazon Care has grown rapidly since it was first offered exclusively to the tech giant’s Seattle-based employees in 2019.   

This past September, Amazon announced it would allow employees to access the app-based care throughout Washington state. It then made services available to other employers in the state before officially expanding its telehealth option to employers in all 50 states this summer.  

But its in-person services, which include follow-up blood draws exams, have been limited so far to users in D.C. Baltimore, as well as in Washington state.  

Now, reports Dodge, Amazon plans to offer in-person options in Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Jose St. Louis in 2022.  

That would bring the total number of cities up to 22, in addition to the entirety of Washington state.  

Dodge also notes that Amazon has been attempting to make inroads at health plans, which would open up the service to insured people in addition to employer clients.  


In June, an Amazon exec said it had signed several companies to the company’s telehealth service.  

At the time, VP Babak Parviz said the company is planning to make the “hybrid” virtual/in-person service available in additional regions “as fast as we can.”  

Amazon also made waves in July with news of its at-home COVID-19 testing kit, which can be purchased for $39.99.


“Healthcare is in the very early stages of a transformation to an entirely new model of care,” wrote healthcare digital strategist Paddy Padmanabhan in a column for Healthcare IT News this spring. “If Amazon is the one to deliver the big breakthrough we have been waiting for, so be it. Someone has to do something.”


Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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EU Digital COVID Certificate under fire for ‘inequalities in access’

The African Union (AU) has criticised the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) for creating “inequalities in access” by not recognising the Covishield vaccine.  

Covishield is the Indian counterpart of AstraZeneca-Oxford developed Vaxzervria is identical to the one made in Europe. It has been widely distributed in many low middle-income countries through the EU-supported COVAX programme.

However the vaccine has not been included on the EUDCC because it is not approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).  

In a joint statement, the African Union (AU) the Africa Centres for Disease Control Prevention urged the European Commission “to consider increasing mandatory access to those vaccines deemed suitable for global rollout through the EU-supported COVAX facility.”

Some EU countries including Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Slovenia Spain have chosen to independently recognise the Covishield vaccination.


The EUDCC, which came into force on 1 July, allows unrestricted travel for EU citizens third country nationals legally staying or resident in the EU, who have had Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.

According to the AU, excluding people who have received the Covishield vaccine from the scheme could cause “considerable administrative financial implications.” 


In the UK, fears were raised that five million citizens would face EU travel restrictions, because they had received a version of Oxford/AstraZeneca jab manufactured in India. However a British government spokesperson confirmed that all AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK would appear on the NHS Covid Pass as Vaxzevria they were “confident travel will not be affected.”

Meanwhile, the airline industry has raised concerns about “fragmented” implementation of the EUDCC scheme in EU countries. In a joint letter, four airline associations called on EU heads of state to harmonise verification standards protocols for the certificates.


The AU the Africa Centres for Disease Control Prevention, said: “The availability of such a certificate [the EUDCC], with its potential to significantly facilitate free safe movement across all EU member states certain associated countries, is a significant step forward. 

“However, the current applicability guidelines put at risk the equitable treatment of persons having received their vaccines in countries profiting from the EU-supported COVAX Facility, including the majority of the AU member states.”

In a joint letter to EU heads of states, four airline industry associations, said: “With the peak summer travel season upon us, the EU thankfully now has a number of tools measures available to enable support the restarting of air connectivity, alongside travel tourism. 

“We need member states to urgently implement these tools in a harmonised effective manner. We view these as essential prerequisites to travel, to avoid long passenger queues waiting times which would create new health hazards inevitably result in operational issues for airports airlines.”

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Amazon at-home COVID-19 test kit now available

Amazon announced this week that its at-home COVID-19 test kit is now available to U.S. customers.  

The U.S. Food Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization to the Amazon COVID-19 Test Collection Kit DTC earlier this year, paving the way for its broader use.   

“Even as COVID-19 vaccinations continue, widespread access to reliable affordable COVID-19 testing remains a critical tool in the fight against the spread of the virus,” said Amazon Vice President Cem Sibay in a statement.  


The direct-to-consumer kit can be purchased on for $39.99, with no-cost Amazon Prime delivery. It is authorized for use by adults with or without COVID-19 symptoms.   

The kit requires a sample collection using a lower nasal swab registration of the test. Although it is not covered by insurance, the collection kit is FSA HSA eligible, includes prepaid next-day return delivery to Amazon’s Kentucky-based diagnostics laboratory. The kits are processed using RT-PCR, generally considered more accurate than antigen testing.  

Customers will receive results within 24 hours, available via   

As of Wednesday, customers with ZIP codes in major metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Boston, Dallas or Sacramento could order the kit to be delivered by Friday.

ZIP codes in other major cities, such as in Atlanta or New Orleans, were estimating delivery times of Sunday or Monday.   

Some ZIP codes in Louisville, Kentucky – about a 90-minute drive from the Amazon testing facility – were facing estimated delivery times of six days as of Wednesday.  

Meanwhile, some ZIP codes in Portland, Maine, could take up to a week to receive the test.   


Amazon’s multipronged approach to healthcare has ramped up in 2021.   

In addition to its at-home COVID-19 testing kits, which it hinted at in May, it has also signaled a potential move into other diagnostics, including sexually transmitted infections.

Meanwhile, it has begun to roll out its as-promised telehealth initiative nationwide, reportedly signing multiple clients to its app-based primary urgent care service.   


“The Amazon collection kit offers customers the convenience they’ve come to expect from by providing access to COVID-19 testing whenever wherever they need it,” said Sibay in a statement. 

“The test collection kit provides highly accurate timely results, helping customers feel more confident as they safely return to travel, work, college daily life,” he added.


Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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