Australian Government Digital Awards
This article highlights two winners from the 2020 Australian Government Digital Awards for the leading work that they are doing in challenging the status quo. The Department of Health were awarded for their work on Electronic Prescribing and the eSafety Commissioner stood out for their efforts in Helping older Australians get online. Both agencies should be considered Australian Public Service craft champions in their approach to engagement and partnership building.
Commonwealth Department of Health - Excellence in government/industry partnership
The case study
Partnership across governments, industry, peak bodies and the medical software sector have been central to the success of electronic prescribing. It has required changes to regulatory frameworks across all Commonwealth, state and territory governments. Supporting technical frameworks have been co-designed with clinical peak bodies and software vendors. The Commonwealth Department of Health (Health) have worked with the sector – including pharmacies and general practices – to update prescribing and dispensing software systems, and the PBS claiming system.
Electronic Prescribing uses a distributed network of more than 50 health systems that support delivery of medicines. It is underpinned by technical architecture that supports around 300 million prescriptions per year. Prescribing also has complex, nuanced rules across each jurisdiction, and requires a nationally consistent approach. An iterative rollout helps to ensure the products meet user needs.
A better outcome produced by the partnership
Co-design of electronic prescribing started in 2017. Since May 2020 it has been rolled out iteratively, with over 50,000 prescriptions now issued. The partnership is applauded by industry.
Electronic Prescribing serves many users – health consumers, pharmacists, and prescribers – and is enabled by many others. Aligning their needs would not have been possible without working together. The partnership included representatives of all these different user groups from early in the design,.
The partnership is delivering practical solutions for patients and clinicians prescribing, dispensing and receiving medicines. The partnership also allowed co-design of a technical framework between clinicians and software providers that provides stronger safety, privacy and convenience while meeting regulatory needs.
A partnership resulting in tangible benefits for users
In 2020, the Department fast tracked the implementation of electronic prescribing to support telehealth arrangements. Combined with telehealth and home delivered medicine measures, the use of electronic prescriptions allows a patient to receive their prescription and prescription medicines without leaving home. This assists in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and increases patient safety for at risk, vulnerable and self-isolating members of the community. Electronic prescribing also reduces the administrative burden on health care professionals in managing vulnerable members of the community and is a convenient way for consumers to manage their medicines.
eSafety Commissioner - Excellence in multi-agency partnership
The case study
Be Connected is an Australian Government 2016 election commitment aimed at increasing the digital confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians aged over 50. A partnership formed by the Department of Social Services, eSafety Commissioner and charity Good Things Foundation Australia has established an online learning platform and network of over 3,000 community organisations. Through this partnership, more than 750,000 people have been engaged in the program. 12,000 digital mentors were recruited to provide on-the-ground support, and more than 150 online learning modules and 350 learning activities were created. $15 million in small grant funding was awarded to build capacity in community organisations.
Working together on user outreach and delivering outcomes
By pooling expert knowledge and capacity, the partnership has been able to help a technologically hard-to-reach demographic who are spread across the country. eSafety Commissioner’s online learning platform provides world-leading learning content, research and resources while the Department for Social Services (DSS) have funded Good Things Foundation to establish a diverse network of 3,000 community organisations to deliver training and capacity building on the ground. DSS have been vital in their oversight role by ensuring partnership coordination to achieve the strategic goals of the program.
The partnership between the eSafety Commissioner, DSS and The Good Things Foundation leverages the individual expertise in online safety, online learning, program coordination, digital inclusion, the community sector and grants program management, to ensure quality outcomes for people aged over 50. Many older Australians with limited or no digital skills face significant barriers to getting started online.
The partnership enables a blend of online and community centred service delivery. Combined, Be Connected ensures more people in the community can access the support that builds trust and meets their needs, particularly for those that need more tailored support to get online.
Delivering user benefits and satisfaction
DSS appointed Good Things Foundation as the National Network Manager to build, manage and support the network of community organisations (including administration of grants). The eSafety Commissioner designed, implemented and delivers the online safety resources and online learning portal. The partners integrated a national network with online learning tools and resources to deliver Be Connected to the target cohort.
As a result, Be Connected has successfully engaged over 750,000 learners.
Satisfaction rates and feedback are consistently monitored:
- 91% were satisfied with the content on the Learning Portal
- 92% were satisfied with the Network with Good Things Foundation over the duration of the program
- 85% reported increased digital skills and confidence using the internet
- 77% increased their social connections.
The development of over 3,000 Network Partners can be attributed to the successful delivery of grants and investment in learner and network resources, with 87% very satisfied with the support they received from a local Network Partner. This support has meant that thousands of older Australians have been better able to stay connected with friends, family and services in the digital world.