This study highlights the application of digital health tools or interventions and how they can improve Australia's health outcomes. In order to represent the application of digital tools in the healthcare sector, two digital tools have been chosen. Calm Harm and Health Tap tools have been chosen to discuss and analyse the effect of these digital tools.
HealthTap is the tool that conveys healthy tips and trustworthy answers which are gathered from multidisciplinary health experts from different corners of the world. It can help people to safely guide in any kind of therapy by tracking the experiments of behaviour. People can get a wide range of health information even a person can save image documents privately. Calm Harm gives activities that support people to manage or prevent the urge of sudden self-harm. People also can add their tasks which are secured with passwords and privately.
In this modern era, digital technologies have an impact on all sectors. The Healthcare sector is not an exception as it has transformed from a traditional treatment system to a digital treatment system. Digital health involves the applications of mobile health, records of electronic health, telemedicine and telehealth. These digital healthcare tools support the nurses and health experts to assess, monitor or diagnose the patients in detail. It eliminates the errors from diagnosis and treatment procedures in Australia (Benjamens, Dhunnoo & Meskó, 2020). These tools enhance digital wellness practices for better health outcomes for common people. Digital technologies make it easier to access health services from clinics or health experts through the internet. The legal frameworks and environment of Australia have supported digital health interventions (Chén & Roberts, 2021). In recent times how people get benefit from using digital health, interventions are needed for the health experts and IT sectors to innovate and take actions in future. For this instance, this study has shed light on this topic.
The primary objective of this study is to critically analyse two chosen digital health tools named Calm Harm and Health Tap.
Secondary objectives of this paper are -
- To present the impact of digital health interventions or tools on public health in the context of Australia.
- To compare the global guidelines and frameworks of digital health implication in Australia.
- To investigate the challenges of implementation of digital health intervention or tools
Figure 1: Calm Harm
(Source: au.reachout.com, n.d)
Calm Harm is made by Stem4, a mental health charity situated in London. Dr Nihara Krause is a consultant clinical psychologist using the standards or principles of evidence-based therapy. This application intends to achieve balance, embrace the issues and manage anxiety. At first, choosing location then choosing of activity which feels them better. It is an emergency response tool that is easy to use and suggests different ways to eliminate the stress level. It is featured in the library of NHS Apps. It has managed the urge of self-harm by adding tasks which is completely private and secured by passwords.
In the context of the Australian environment, the healthcare agencies and government offer the resources to assist the healthcare professionals in increasing the security practices. Even Australia has generated national digital health strategies. The agency of Australian digital health highlights putting technology and data securely to work for the consumers, patients and healthcare experts (austlii.edu.au, 2021). They also have funded medicare and telehealth initiatives. The initiatives, government and technology infrastructure support the usage of Calm Harm in Australia. However, there are several issues such as the investment climate of Australia as the COVID 19 has a comprehensive effect on the economy of healthcare. The key issue in the digital health industry of Australia is funding and access to the capital to drive innovations. Due diligence is another issue addressed in the digital health industry in Australia. Therefore, Calm Harm has faced the issue of developing its business in Australia. It is the only respective environmental barrier that can make challenges for Calm Harm to
Figure 2: Health Tap
AWS is the infrastructure provider of Health Tap. There is a need to open a profile to access the service. Health Tap is providing 24 hours global healthcare service via accessing the knowledge of doctors through text, video and voice. Health Tap Company and its product designers developers are the developer of this application. Cloud is the one kind of development platform that allows health developers to form applications potentially. It is powered by the health operating system that can connect the whole continuum of care to record personal health
The application of Health Tap in Australia has suffered from different hurdles in Australia in past years, but the state governments are mainly looking for removing the issues around infrastructure and funding. However, rural or remote areas of Australia have issues with internet connectivity absence of the policies for affordable access to telehealth. These are vital issues for remote Australians to get telehealthcare (Ahpra.gov.au, 2021). These are some infrastructure obstacles or barriers that the Health Tap application can face.
Rapid technology innovation has driven vital changes to software function and its adoption. Software involving mobile applications in the definition of medical devices according to Goods Act of Therapeutic in 1989. The software-based devices or applications are regulated in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (tga.gov.au, 2021). There are many mobile applications are present which are sources of information but TGA has not regulated the health and lifestyle applications or any kind of software that could not meet the definition of the medical device (Cummins & Schuller, 2020). In this situation, Health Tap can face difficulty establishing its business in Australia. However, Health Tap may be rated at 8 scale and Calm Harm at 6. Health Tap experts have followed all guidelines of the Medical Board of Australia and Digital Health Agency (Digitalhealth.gov.au, 2020). Two laws such as the Competition and Consumer Act of 2010, make sure the responsibility that these interventions owe to the clients during the implementation of the interventions (Consumerlaw.gov.au, 2022). The rules regulations of Data privacy and protection can make sure the data which have been shared are protected and saved. As per Ahpra and National Boards, telehealth application in practice would be subject to additional needs (Ahpra.gov.au, 2021). The WHO promotes mental health applications, but it is associated with ethical issues such as loss of privacy, risk of harm, and consumer safety from the under treatment. Many cases of false diagnosis or overdiagnosis have been detected (Digitalhealth.gov.au, 2021). All of these issues are related to ethical issues.
Figure 3: Policies of data privacy of mental health application
(Source: Gerke et al., 2020)
Health Tap and Calm Harm, both of these tools, have to access the personal health information of the consumer including diagnosis, symptoms and implication of therapeutic services. For this reason, all developers of the health applications are bounded by the Privacy Act 1988. In Australian legislation, sharing and collecting sensitive information about consumers for the functioning of a mental health app are not allowed (Gerke et al., 2020). This type of consumer policy and privacy Act in Australia makes it difficult to make business or implement health intervention. Calm Harm is a behavioural tracking app that needs to access the consumer health information for examining the status. Even HealthTap needs the information of the profile which is created by the consumer and need to create an account.
Figure 4: Review of Calm Harm
(Source: au.reachout.com, n.d)
After analysing the reviews, it can be concluded that it has the best function snd design that people like. Consumers are happy with the activities and skills provided by this intervention or tool.
Calm Harm is mostly used by teenagers or their parents to handle their stress levels and reduce the self-harm thinking process. Calm Harm has not collected the data about personal identification and does not need an account to be created for using this Application. Even the IP addresses are addressed and cookies are not used.
Figure 4: Review of Health Tap
This review has presented that customers are satisfied with this tool, and it has affected people's mental health. It has guided people for CBT and provides relevant information. It will be more beneficial to people if used in conjunction with a visit to the doctor. After analysing the reviews, it can be said that this intervention is helpful for younger and adult people. Many people use health Tap, but it has charged huge cost money, which is low $30 each with the subscription plan (Cresswell, Williams, & Sheikh, 2021). It may be a deterrent to the Health Tap tool. The privacy statement of HealthTap describes how people gather, apply and share data from or about the individuals who are using their services. Medical condition, health objective, location and other types of information are required which have been explained in the privacy statement (Gunasekeran et al., 2021).
However, both health interventions can be applied to all cultural people. The local or indigenous people also can use the QnA part in Health Tap. Consumers can ask questions with 150 characters answered by doctors from the overall U.S. Almost 10 million people are active users and using it free;y with no advertisements. However, the indigenous people have not adopted them due to taboos and cultural issues in Australia. People in Australia have demanded an alternative of doctors which is referred to the HealthTap. There is no doubt that it can be applied in the Australian context. From a scale view, Health Tap is ranked in 6th position and Calm Harm in 5th position as Calm Harm is not accessible by the Aboriginal or indigenous people of Australia.
From a social perspective, it can be said that the younger generation may be attracted to these digital tools for being cool. It is one of the concerns of Australian society (Medicalboard.gov.au, 2022). People get more dependent on technology rather than a human, which results in less interaction in society. These are some ethical and social challenges are raised with the implementation of these tools in the Australian context.
eMoods Bipolar Mood Tracker and I are Sober are the comparative solutions of Health Tap and Calm Harm. eMoods Bipolar Mood is another behavioural tracker tool that can assess mood swings behavioural changes in people. There are many comparative solutions present in the Australian market that can help people to improve their mental health (Offner et al., 2020).
- It can be recommended that the service users need to give feedback or reviews in more detail.
- The HealthTap and Calm Harm need to promote their services in the remote areas
- They have to campaign about the benefits of using it mostly for the indigenous people
- Calm Harm needs to include some activities that can motivate older adults as they also suffer from stress and self-harm.
- Health Tap needs to offer some free subscriptions for the indigenous people or remote areas to expand their business in those areas where it is not so popular.
- These applications need to make a strong cybersecurity structure to eliminate the data breaching issues (Unnithan et al., 2019)
- These tools can use different local languages where the local people can connect with their language.
- These interventions need to strengthen their fund by building relationships with ventures, partners and sponsors.
- Education on using these interventions are required for the indigenous people in Australia.
Funding for the infrastructure of the solutions is a major issue in Australia which needs to be strong by monitoring other countries and strategies. The digital health strategy of Australia needs to be reformed and make changes as per the needs of the people. The above recommendations make these two interventions strong and more effective.
It can be concluded that both of the applications Health Tap and Calm Harm, have a comprehensive impact on public health. It has consumed less time and effort to get treatment. This process makes it easier to access health care for the older people who could not go to the hospitals. It means that it has given the scope to take healthcare from a long distance.
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