The eHealth readiness of Australia's medical specialists - Final Report

Summary of overall approach

Page last updated: 30 May 2011

In forming our perspectives on the eHealth readiness of the Medical Specialist sector, we focused on both quantitative and qualitative primary research sources. This was supplemented by secondary research as appropriate. By way of overview, our approach consisted of a four step process:

  • Step One: Define macro segmentation.
    To allow for ease of stakeholder identification, we adopted a profession-focused segmentation for the purposes of conducting our primary research. We captured the full range of licensed medical specialists in eight different segments–anaesthesia, diagnostics (radiology and pathology), internal medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology (including neonatology), psychiatry, surgery, and other (dermatologists and ophthalmologists). All categories of specialists included in the Health Insurance Regulations 1975 were included in the research. Some specialties (e.g. pathologists and radiologists, emergency medicine and intensive care) were analysed as a single segment due to their small size and similar characteristics. Further definition of our rationale for selecting these segments is provided in Exhibit 23.



  • Step Two: Develop hypotheses and survey.
    An effective survey requires both a clear understanding of hypotheses, as well as a set of questions that address – and can prove - these hypotheses. To inform our ingoing hypotheses, we conducted an extensive scan of international examples of eHealth initiatives and stakeholder challenges encountered. We then built issue trees to ensure we had a complete landscape of potential areas to test, and enable us to then focus on those we felt were of critical importance. Further detail on these issue trees is contained in Exhibits 24–26.







These initial hypotheses were then translated into survey questions, and tested in ~15 medical specialist interviews. These interviews served the dual purpose of both refining the initial hypotheses and ensuring the survey questions could be understood by the intended audience.

  • Step Three: Finalise and conduct survey.
    To conduct the survey, we used a combination of approaches to ensure sample biases were avoided, and the results for each profession type would be representative of each segment. Further detail on our statistical approach is found in the Conducting the Medical Specialist Survey section below.
  • Step Four: Analyse results and test conclusions.
    The insights and recommendations were developed from analysis of the raw survey data, and enriched with an additional ~20 deep-structured interviews with medical specialists once the survey closed. The analysis and interpretation of the research results were syndicated and refined via engagement of key stakeholders (including DoHA and NeHTA decision makers with a direct interest in the survey results), which allowed us to probe and refine initial conclusions, and define and test potential engagement strategy options given those conclusions. Finally, a literature search of available secondary data was used to support or challenge hypotheses and assumptions arising from the research.

Below is a more detailed description of the statistical methodology used in conducting the survey.