Month: September 2022

A wild reflection from digital health summit


With the Wild Health Summit in Melbourne 18 October 2022, we are inspired by the idea that digital health could improve the patient experience even while the services themselves are quite fragmented. We need to continue to champion consumer voices in this space – too often they can be an after-thought.

We asked one of our consumer representatives, Robert McCormack, if he has any key questions or reflections to bear in mind for this upcoming Wild Health Summit event, having recently attended as a HCC consumer representative at the Digital Health Institute Summit (Perth 2022) held in August at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Q: What were your highlights that might be of interest to health consumers?

A: I met a number of healthcare and IT professionals but did not see another health consumer.  However in conversations with these professionals, several times they relayed personal experiences as either patients or as carers.  Nonetheless, there is a case to have more consumers at the table.

Q: With no other consumers, do you have any comment on that – i.e. would it be of interest to consumers in future? Should we be advocating for more consumer places?

A: the need to engage widely with all stakeholders was emphasised by the keynote speaker, and I am of the view that the patient/carer/consumer needs to be seen as the principal stakeholder.

Q: any comment you might have on the value of you being there with a consumer lens?

(Mr McCormack was generous to provide us with a report on his experience at Digital Health Institute Summit (Perth 2022), which is summarised, below…)

Some Key Observations

The participation of over 200 delegates suggests there is substantial interest across the State in the potential benefits that could be delivered from the implementation of a solid digital health strategy.

The delegates comprised a good cross-section of health professionals including nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and general practitioners through to senior executives from WA Health, and IT professionals with only a few health consumers.

The opening address by Simon Millman, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health; Mental Health suggests the Western Australian Government has some commitment to digital health as also evident in its budget commitment to the first phase of developing a digital health record.

In conversation, most delegates acknowledged that while there has been some useful progress in rolling out aspects of digital health, considerable work needs to be done to achieve substantial potential benefits. One speaker described the current progress as additive rather than transformative.

Dr Helen Bevan, the keynote speaker, emphasised, with reference to her experience in the English National Health Service, the need to engage fully across the widest net possible of stakeholders to gain acceptance for proposed change, and this engagement needs to be done in the formative stages.

She particularly emphasised the need to identify and engage the key players, the “super-connectors”, in informal networks as well as dealing with the formal networks.

I note this approach contrasts with the experience of many health consumers in that they are too often ignored locally in the early developmental phases of most healthcare projects.

I am of the view that consumers as the clients of healthcare should be the primary stakeholders consulted in any proposed development of initiatives.

The fragmentation of responsibility for health across federal and state governments and the delivery of services across multiple providers presents particular challenges in assembling fragmented data.  While the My Health Record potentially brings data together from a number of providers, the record for each patient is mainly incomplete and may not have up-to-date information.

Hospitals use a myriad of systems that don’t automatically share data although some progress is being made as evident in a presentation by staff from Fiona Stanley Hospital.

The development of artificial intelligence tools is seeing the improved diagnosis and management of healthcare.

For example (of the above), as evident in the Health in a Virtual Environment (HIVE) project at Royal Perth Hospital and research undertaken by the CSIRO in diabetic foot ulcer diagnosis and management.

The need to think beyond the current paradigms in healthcare delivery was highlighted in a presentation on delivering chemotherapy in the home by Lorna Cook Company Director & Co-Founder, View Health Chemo@home.

In a similar vein, it should be noted that COVID has caused a rethink on service delivery models which has seen, for example, the development of telehealth options and electronic prescriptions.

Digital health innovation has the potential to improve the patient experience in booking appointments, such as the Health Engine system developed by Dr Marcus Tan.  In contrast, while the WA Health Department has invested in developing the Manage My Care app and is working on further enhancements to this app, this system is currently of limited use in that not all outpatient appointments are recorded on this system and patients have no opportunity to choose appointment times.

The trade stalls were mainly commercial IT companies who have had experience in developing and implementing systems across healthcare systems.  We can expect some of these companies will have opportunities to roll out digital systems across the WA health service providers.  It will be interesting to see the extent pre-existing systems will be adopted and the degree of customisation of these systems to meet our requirements versus bespoke development of new systems.

Concluding Remarks

While there have been several useful developments in the digital health space,

to realise the substantial benefits of a comprehensive integrated digital health strategy will require wider engagement of the broadest possible group of stakeholders at the earliest stages of the project with a particular focus on consumers/patients as the primary stakeholders together with the substantial investment of resources and talent over a prolonged period.

The Health Consumers Council can potentially play a key role in shaping the digital future of healthcare delivery by providing a broad range of consumer insights required for the critical success of the digital health strategy.

(This article/report is courtesy of Robert McCormack, HCC consumer representative.)

What the HCC Engagement team have been up to in Djilba (August-September) 2022

It’s been a busy few weeks for our team – here’s a selection of some of the meetings and events we’ve been part of…

  • Meeting with the WA Council of Social Services to discuss work happening on partnership in relation to the WA Sustainable Health Review (SHR)
  • Meeting with Helping Minds to discuss shared interests
  • Promoting consumer perspectives as part of the East Metropolitan Health Service Obesity Prevention Strategy Implementation Committee
  • Meeting with East Metropolitan Health Service to discuss ways of getting consumer input to inform plans for a weight management clinic
  • Promoting consumer perspectives as part of the East Metropolitan Health Service Weight Management Clinic model of care project reference group
  • Hosting a community conversation about the WA consultation on Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Acts to inform HCC’s submission on this topic
  • Meeting with the consumer organisations in other states and territories to discuss how we can have more of a state consumer voice on national issues – such as primary care reform
  • Meeting with the Department of Health to discuss our new contract arrangements (which will kick in from 1 January 2023)
  • Meeting with the Department of Health to understand the state position on Long COVID
  • Attending the launch of the Consumers of Mental Health WA launch of their new individual advocacy service for people with psycho-social disability
  • Call with Cancer Council WA about running consumer focus groups
  • Taking part in cultural responsiveness training
  • Hosting two consumer forums – funded by the WA Department of Health – on the experience of multicultural men and multicultural people living regionally in relation to cancer care and information
  • Taking part in the Care Opinion national advisory group
  • Meeting with the team at the National Justice Project about the next steps with the Aboriginal Patient Advocacy Training
  • Promoting consumer perspectives at the Emergency Access Reform Program Control Group
  • Delivering our first fully virtual consumer representative training workshop
  • Meeting with the Department of Health to discuss the work on SHR Recommendation 23 in relation to clinical and consumer leadership
  • Meeting with the WA Primary Health Alliance to support consumer involvement in the development of a model of care for chronic heart failure
  • Meeting with the WA Country Health Service to help them access consumer-facing materials about engaging with health services
  • Meeting with the Department of Health about sexual health and blood borne viruses
  • Meeting with Consumer and Community Involvement Program (CCIP) and a consumer leader to discuss opportunities to connect consumers, carers and community members with lived experience of cancer – planning a community conversation in October
  • Meeting with the Department of Health to discuss communities of practice
  • Taking part in an online forum on COVID Antivirals
  • Attending the launch of the refreshed Live Lighter campaign
  • Promoting consumer perspectives in a meeting with the WA Enrolled Nurses Cooperative hosted by Community Skills WA
  • Hosting a community conversation about the reality of “living with COVID” with Professor Grant Waterer
  • Meeting with the Department of Health about their plans to involve consumers in the development of a WA Safety and Quality strategy.
  • Meeting with Community Legal WA and the WA Financial Counsellors Association to discuss shared interests and possible collaboration opportunities
  • Meeting with People With disability WA to discuss the Empowering Health Consumers With Disability training we are running together
  • Attending Clinical Services Redesign Methodology training with other people involved in the Emergency Access Reform program across WA Health
  • Meeting with Asthma Australia to discuss shared interests
  • Hosting a cultural sensitivity training with a private hospital
  • Hosting an online workshop on Acknowledging Country (find out more about these workshops and sign up at
  • Presenting – alongside two consumers – on the lived experience of overweight and obesity to 3rd year medical students at Curtin University
  • Meeting with the Department of Health and the WA Primary Health Alliance about the work on the WELL Collaborative (WELL = Weight Education and Lifestyle Leadership)
  • Talking on the ABC Perth morning show about the implications for consumers of the one-off public holidays on 22 September

This is only part of the work HCC does. At the same time, our Advocacy team have been responding to individual consumer enquiries every day providing both “in the moment” support, and also longer term support and advice to consumers who’s enquiries require involvement over a longer period of time.


Engagement Officer, L4 – full-time

Can you help us build a social movement in health?

At Health Consumers’ Council, we believe in people power. Through our engagement and partnerships work, we are building a social movement in health – where the people who use health and healthcare services, and the people who work in them, can work together to identify priorities for improvement and make positive and lasting change.

We’re looking for a can-do person to join our team and help us extend our reach to more people in the community who use health and social care services, as well as reaching more of the people who work in them.

Health Consumers’ Council WA

The Health Consumers’ Council of WA (HCC) is an independent community-based organisation which was established in 1994, representing the consumer’s voice in health policy, planning, research, and service delivery. We stand for equitable, person-centred, quality healthcare for all West Australians.

Three people sitting at a desk looking towards the front of the room. In the background is an Aboriginal flag and a Torres Strait Islander Flag, and a whiteboard with post-it notes

About the Role

This role is based in the Engagement team and is for an initial period of up to 2 years with the possibility of extension. As well as managing your own projects and activities, you will also provide support to other members of the Engagement team including the Aboriginal Engagement Coordinator, the Cultural Diversity Engagement Coordinator, the Marketing and Communications Coordinator and the Deputy Director.

This is a full-time role based between our offices in Mount Lawley and your home. For the right person, we may consider part-time options, but ideally we’re looking for someone who can be available to work 5 days/week.

What We Offer

  •  A friendly and supportive team that’s making a tangible difference in the community
  • A competitive not-for-profit annual base salary – Level 4 Social Community Home care and Disability Award ($39.26/hour + super)
  • Salary sacrifices up to $15,900 per annum
  • An engaging and flexible working environment
  • The opportunity to work on a wide range of projects and to learn practical skills on the job.

What you’ll be doing

This is a mixed role with lots of variety so you’ll get the chance to work on a range of projects and activities within the Engagement team’s portfolio including:

  • Delivering training and presentations to a range of groups including consumers, carers, community members, people with lived experience and staff working in government, health care and social care
  • Planning, organising and delivering events and workshops – including virtual, face-to-face and hybrid (both virtual and face-to-face)
  • Analysing feedback from events and workshops and creating reports to share this information with a range of stakeholders
  • General engagement project coordination including
  • preparing, monitoring and reporting on project plans
  • liaising with project stakeholders to ensure tasks and deliverables are achieved in line with project plans
  • monitoring and reporting on project budgets
  • responding to enquiries from a wide range of stakeholders about engagement and partnership practices and programs, including providing advice
  • creating and distributing engaging content for a range of platforms including social media, website, email, MS Teams and publications
  • helping to recruit and support volunteers to support HCC’s activities.

What you’ll need to succeed in this role:

  • Excellent literacy and writing skills and strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Experience in a people-facing role such as customer service or stakeholder engagement and a love of connecting with people
  • Experience in organising meetings, workshops or events
  • Collaborative working style with an ability and willingness to muck in with other team activities as required
  • Be able to work autonomously and within deadlines, including managing a number of projects at the same time
  • Proactive, reliable and flexible attitude and comfortable working in a fast-paced adaptive environment
  • Highly proficient general office IT skills for day to day office activities including the ability to quickly learn to become very comfortable using MS Word, MS Teams and MS Powerpoint – and using MS Excel for organising and sorting data – and comfortable learning new IT skills quickly and with minimal input as required

If you’ve had experience of stakeholder engagement or working with volunteers that would be great. And if you have other skills and experience that you think makes you a great fit for this role, please tell about those too!

Diversity and inclusion

At Health Consumers’ Council we know that strength comes from diverse perspectives being at the table. If you require any adjustments to submit your application, we invite you to get in touch with Clare Mullen via email or call reception on 08 9221 3422.

Please read the attached position description for more details – please refer to the criteria in your application.

To apply for this role, please send us an email (to and a copy of your resume and tell us:

  • What is it about your professional or life experience that makes you a good fit for this role? (Please make it clear how these relate to the tasks and criteria in the position description in your response.)
  • Why do you want this position?
  • How do you see yourself helping Health Consumers’ Council to deliver on our plans?
  • What do you look for in a working environment that can help you thrive?

Next Steps

To be considered for this opportunity please email applications to by no later than 9am on Tuesday 27 September 2022.