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About the Standard
Delivering digital mental health services requires consideration of both clinical and technical governance to ensure safe and high-quality service delivery and service user experience.
Clinical and technical governance should be integrated components of a service provider’s corporate governance. Good governance ensures that everyone – from the workforce to managers and members of governing bodies, such as boards – is accountable to service users, their support people and the community for assuring the delivery of digital mental health services that are safe, effective, integrated, high quality and continuously improving.
What is clinical governance?
Thorough research has identified the elements of an effective clinical governance system and the effect of good clinical governance on health service performance.4-6
Clinical governance is the set of relationships and responsibilities established by a health service provider between its governing body, executive, workforce, service users and their support people, and other stakeholders to ensure good clinical outcomes. It ensures that the service provider and service users and their support people can be confident that systems are in place to deliver safe and high-quality health care and continuously improve services.
Leaders have an important role in influencing the quality of care by setting priorities, shaping culture, supporting the workforce, engaging effective digital mental health services, and monitoring progress in their safety and quality performance. Managers and the workforce also play an important role in clinical governance, aligning clinical and technical priorities and supporting continuous quality improvement.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has developed the National Model Clinical Governance Framework7 to support the delivery of safe and high-quality care. Service providers should refer to the framework for more details on clinical governance, and the associated roles and responsibilities.
What is technical governance?
Technical governance is the system by which the use of digital information and communication technology is directed and controlled. It includes leadership, organisational structures, strategy, policies, and processes to ensure that the provider’s digital technology sustains and extends the organisation’s strategies and objectives. Service providers should take a systematic approach to the governance of information management and information and communication technology, which is incorporated within their corporate governance framework.
4. Mannion R, Freeman T, Millar R, et al. Effective board governance of safe care: a (theoretically underpinned) cross-sectioned examination of the breadth and depth of relationships through national quantitative surveys and in-depth qualitative case studies. Health Serv Deliv Res 2016; 4.
5. Bismark MM and Studdert DM. Governance of quality of care: a qualitative study of health service boards in Victoria, Australia. BMJ Qual Saf 2014; 23: 474-482. 2013/12/12. DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002193.
6. Taylor N, Clay-Williams R, Hogden E, et al. High performing hospitals: a qualitative systematic review of associated factors and practical strategies for improvement. BMC Health Services Research 2015; 15: 1-22. journal article. DOI: 10.1186/s12913-015-0879-z.
7. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. National Model Clinical Governance Framework. Sydney: ACSQHC, 2017.