Industry and Clinician Insights into Digital Enablement for our Healthcare Workforce

December 16, 2022

On 3 February 2022, Olinqua’s Chief Nursing Information Officer – Sarah Hughes – participated in Talking Health Tech’s Summer Summit 2022 to talk about the challenges faced by the healthcare workforce today and how digital tools can best be implemented to support healthcare staff.

Moderated by Simon Terry, of InLoop Sarah joined a panel of digital health industry experts including Dr Louise Schaper from the Australasian Institute of Digital Health and Berne Gibbons from Infomedix, to explore:

  • What are the current challenges for digital enablement?
  • What can leaders, organisations and technology providers do to alleviate the challenges?
  • What long term considerations need to be actioned to ensure that our future generation of healthcare workers are equipped for an increasingly digital world?


A key learning from the panel was around how organisations need to educate and collaborate with healthcare workers to provide the appropriate digital systems and education that support them to deliver quality and safe healthcare services for the long term.

What is digital enablement for the healthcare workforce?

As outlined by Peter Birch – Talking Health Tech Founder – this panel session explored “how organisations and systems can best use digital tools to support the workforce to continue to deliver quality and safe healthcare services”.

It’s an industry discussion, led by various stakeholders and experts on how to digitally empower the workforce to provide efficient and quality patient care.


What are the key digital health issues facing the healthcare workforce today?

Through insights from the Australian Healthcare Week Industry Report and the panellists’ experiences, Covid-19 has brought forward the need for digitisation for our healthcare facilities – in the form of quality data – whilst also revealing gaps in the support network available for our healthcare workers.

On the digital health front, our panellists identified the following key issue:

  • Nurses are not able to access paper based medical records due to quarantine constraints in Covid-19 hospitals and there were limited digital record alternatives. This of course can lead to not being able to treat patients in a timely and informed manner.


Our CNIO, Sarah Hughes, further added that the state of data access – virtual or in paper format – is not the same across all Australian hospital systems. This makes it even more difficult to ensure there is standardisation when it comes to electronic data sharing or integration across all healthcare facilities. Clinical inefficiency then becomes a challenge for everyone within the healthcare ecosystem.

“I’m in Northern Queensland and 10 kilometres down the other side of the road we are completely paper based. There is a massive issue in transitioning digitally with small demographics to digitised hospitals – it’s either digitised or paper-based, there is no in between”.

These key issues have existed prior to Covid-19 but are exacerbated by the pandemic’s need for increased virtual care and access to health data. This has accelerated the need for the healthcare workforce to quickly learn and successfully utilise the technology to ensure the continued delivery of care against a pandemic and an increasingly digital future.


What key elements are going to drive digital enablement in the workforce?

The panel moved to discuss the crux of the conversation: what they think are the key drivers for digital enablement in the workforce.

Each time, the panel members came back to three decisive factors of collaboration, education and evidence.



The panellists all agreed that the most overlooked aspect in digitally enabling your workforce is training staff to appropriately implement digital tools in their clinical environment.

They offered insights on some ways to address this point:

  • Support clinicians through their health-tech journey to ensure that they understand the tech’s functional capacity and utilise it to its full potential.
  • Involve healthcare workers on the journey of “why” the technology is needed for the “how” to be effective. When clinicians know why they must do something and understand its value, new tech adoption will be more successful and patient care will become more efficient as a result.


On the importance of education and training, our CNIO also commented that, “With [digital] implementations like this where they [clinicians] know what they are using and how the tools they are using can help them, that’s powerful. It is extremely important to push education in this space for true workforce empowerment”.



The panellists all recognised that when you include clinicians in the tech development process, it optimises practical utility, enabling them to provide quality patient care.

A method they suggested to implement is co-design:

  • Consult end-user healthcare workers and IT executives early in the iterative process to ensure workflow consistency across the whole design process. This ensures that the technology is made for clinicians, by clinicians.


Sarah added further advice to this approach: “It would be great to see more healthcare organisations going top-down and bottom-up when deciding digital health solutions and not just going to the end user, saying ‘now we are going to train you on the new system’”.

“It’s really important that we talk about clinical communications across all members of the healthcare team and how we make sure we can engage all clinicians to medical updates when they happen.”

An example on how organisations can do this is for instance, establish and consult with a “Clinical Advisory Board”. This is something we pride ourselves in doing, at Olinqua. We engage with subject matter experts to keep our technology aligned with current healthcare practices and needs.



Evidence for digital solution capabilities is important to gather to demonstrate value to healthcare workers and hospital executives. Gathered and analysed evidence improves digital health uptake and accelerates the digital implementation process across Australia.

Some ways to use evidence as suggested by the panel:

  • Show clinicians how to recognise when or where patient data can be collected that can be used to facilitate a more personalised patient treatment experience. This gives healthcare workers firsthand evidence of the value of digital health tech.
  • Share, communicate and celebrate firsthand evidence of digital health capabilities. Healthcare workers are more likely to adopt the technology and become empowered.


On a macro level, collecting evidence of efficiencies due to health technology reinforces the value of digital transformation on a systemic level. Hospital executives can see its value and further push the digital agenda to empower our healthcare workforce into the future.


More On Digital Enablement:

The full panel session recording for this is available through membership to Talking HealthTech you can sign up to access the recording here.

To learn more about Olinqua’s services to assist successful adoption of digital solutions for healthcare workforce, check out our Training page or get in touch to chat to Sarah or another one of our digital health consultants.