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This content is draft for consultation

Digital Health Procurement Guidelines

About the Guidelines 

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The Digital Health Procurement Guidelines (the Guidelines) enable a systematic and coordinated approach to the procurement of technology in the Australian healthcare sector. Consequently, they support a transformation in the market, where interoperability becomes inherent in healthcare technology. The Guidelines provide a framework of standards, terminology and other requirements to help Australian healthcare organisations adopt and implement the interoperability of data, systems and technology. Interoperability and Digital Health Standards feature heavily within the Guidelines as these are critical to ensuring connected care across Australia, and were also highlighted as critical enablers within the National Healthcare Interoperability Plan. 

Embedding standards in technology procurement boosts digital capability and ensures better access to accurate, timely data within Australian health systems, thereby benefiting clinicians, consumers, patients and their carers.

The Guidelines illustrate practical steps for buyers to ensure relevant digital health standards are incorporated into procuring processes.

The Guidelines are being developed by the Australian Digital Health Agency (the Agency) in a phased approach in collaboration with the Australian healthcare sector. The requirements included in the Guidelines were defined in collaboration with the Australian healthcare sector. 

Release plan 

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The Agency will release the Guidelines using a phased approach with more content and functionality added over time.  This initial version you are viewing is intended as a consultation draft to gain valuable feedback from stakeholders and encourage wider expert participation in the development process.

First release: a focus on interoperability standards

The first release of the Guidelines will focus on core national interoperability standards. This is important because enhancing the interoperability of data-sharing and systems within and between health organisations and services in Australia requires a paradigm shift. This begins with changing procurement processes. Healthcare organisations are encouraged to incorporate standards and interoperability into their procuring practices and consider how to engage with technology providers to ensure they align with this new way of working. The first release will prioritise the essential and recommended interoperability standards for priority hospital systems.

Subsequent releases

Post-launch releases will include more systems and technologies over the coming months and incorporate feedback received via consultations with stakeholders and users of the Guidelines.

Who should use the Guidelines?

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The Guidelines support buyers in the Australian healthcare industry to adopt a consistent approach to procurement. This includes the requirements for supporting international, national, and relevant jurisdiction standards and specific requirements when procuring digital health technology. 

The Guidelines will be designed to allow buyers to easily locate standards and requirements relevant to digital health purchase/s. This will help buyers to incorporate them into procurement processes and work with vendors in the development of contracts. Buyers in public or private healthcare can reference the Guidelines in the development of tender documents to ensure interoperability requirements are considered in advance. While procurement decisions are usually made by leaders responsible for buying equipment, ICT systems and architecture, and related services, the Guidelines will also help technology providers/vendors in the design and development of solutions.

Other people in an organisation’s ICT projects may include clinicians, health service planners, healthcare managers, health informaticians, ICT strategy and architecture subject matter experts. 

Why are the Guidelines important? 

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The Guidelines will support a coordinated sector-wide approach and alignment to international best practices. The goal is to ensure safer and more connected healthcare for all Australians while helping ensure both a seamless flow of data across healthcare and semantic data consistency to support patients, consumers and clinicians. 

Defining a clear set of standards and requirements (agreed to by the sector, for use across the sector) helps Australian healthcare organisations achieve enhanced levels of consistency and capability for technology solutions. This should result in the delivery of enhanced outcomes for patients, consumers, and clinicians by ensuring more timely and complete data availability across the entire ecosystem.

Availability of consistent, accurate data when needed is one of the key elements to improving the care that the Australian healthcare sector provides. Technology companies will also benefit from clear direction of standards and requirements to include in the design and delivery of digital health solutions.

National Digital Health Standards Catalogue 

Many of the standards referenced within the Guidelines are available to the Australian healthcare sector via the National Digital Health Standards Catalogue.

Procurement planning considerations

Recommended phases for digital health procurement.

  • the organisation’s business objectives help guide requirements 
  • consultation with stakeholders and subject matter experts inform business, technical and clinical requirements as required.
  • vendors are invited to respond to requirements provided in the tender.
  • a committee evaluates vendor responses to assess their experience and ability to deliver the requirements
  • a scaled weightage system is key to avoid unnecessary biases.
  • the organisation requests commercial best fit and final offer from short-listed vendors.
  • contract is exchanged to ensure delivery as per requirements
  • the contract should be developed to ensure scalability and protection from non-obsolescence.

Other considerations when planning procurement

Procurement of new technology or solutions is a complex process, involving a large number of stakeholders. As each organisation has some variability, these guidelines cannot cover all matters, we have however included some topics below that should always be considered. 

Legal requirements

Buyers should consider all relevant national and state legislations and frameworks and seek legal advice to ensure compliance. 


Security requirements

Buyers should also receive appropriate ICT security advice to safeguard data for both care and research purposes. 


Local content stakeholders

Appropriate subject matter experts both internal or external to your organisation should be consulted to understand local contexts and requirements.


General procurement guidance

Get started 

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This content is draft for consultation.

The Procurement Guidelines are focussed on helping to achieve consistency in the procurement process by providing guidance to procuring and contracting authorities across Australian healthcare.  

The guidelines set out to provide some guiding principles and practical guidance, including statements related to the digital health standards that should be considered as part of the sourcing process for technology solutions.  


Contact us 

This content is draft for consultation. To learn more about the Guidelines, the phased publication approach, or if you are interested in being part of future reference groups, please contact us via the form below.