One of the keynote speakers for the International Carers Conference, CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), Tim Kelsey, has underlined the importance of carers as beneficiaries of digital technology, something ADHA will emphasise in its forthcoming national strategy.

Having recently completed a three-month national public consultation on the new National Digital Health Strategy, which is due out later this year, Mr Kelsey underlined the importance of supporting Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid carers.

“One of the most important things I am hoping to develop in this strategy is some meaningful ways to use digital technology to enable and empower carers so they are able to work, care and access digital services at no cost,” he said.

Despite being a fundamental part of health service delivery, Mr Kelsey noted carers were often overlooked in discussions about how to empower the medical community.

Carers Australia has made many submissions to Government stressing the importance of carer inclusion in any consultations on policies which affect them, among them digital technology and its uses.

With continued advances in the numbers and effectiveness of digital healthcare services, there is plenty of potential for a positive shift in their delivery. As integral members of the care team, it is vital that unpaid carers are considered in future policy so as to be adequately supported in the provision of unpaid care and to enhance their value as partners in the care team.