On Thursday 30 January 2020, Telstra Health and Research Australia co-hosted an event highlighting the vital role of digital technology in Australia’s changing health system. Research Australia members and Telstra Health partners from across the entire health and medical research pipeline convened to network and share their thoughts on this important subject over a drink to see in the new year.
Telstra Health’s Managing Director and Research Australia Board Director, Professor Mary Foley AM and Nadia Levin, Research Australia’s CEO and Managing Director, both spoke at the event sharing their views on the developing role of information technology in all aspects of health and health and medical research.
Professor Foley provided her insights on Telstra Health’s role supporting governments, health system managers, and healthcare providers to deliver high quality, equitable, and accessible care in an increasingly complex and specialised health system.
Nadia Levin highlighted the growing need for Australia’s health sector to utilise the many revolutionary benefits current and future digital information technologies can provide. Nadia gave examples from Research Australia’s members making ground-breaking progress in digital technology and later took a moment away from space medicine to focus on the patient, who is at the core of all health and medical research. Focusing on current health outcomes, Nadia acknowledged how something as simple as a digital sensor in an incontinence pad can positively impact a patient in aged care.
The evening included a Q&A session with an interactive audience wanting further discussion on the importance of addressing Australia’s health data privacy concerns. The Frontiers Health and Medical Research funding initiative was also a hot topic of discussion with attendees highlighting the need for greater acknowledgement of the innovative and research-based nature of digital information technology.
The Biomedical Translation Fund will fund three medical breakthroughs, as announced jointly by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Health and Sports Minister and Senator The Hon Arthur Sinodinos, Minister for Industry, Innovation ad Science.
The investments are being made for the BTF by one of its three fund managers, BioScience Managers:
$5 million in Rex Bionics to develop a hands-free robotic device to help people with severe
disability to walk, exercise and rehabilitate;
$3.3 million to Saluda Medical for neuromodulation technologies for people suffering from
chronic back pain and other debilitating conditions;
$5 million to CHARM Informatics for data aggregation and commercialisation services for
makers of ‘smart’ medical devices.
A joint venture between the Australian Government and private sector investors, further investments are yet to be made, with a total of $500 million available.
Research Australia has responded to the Victorian Governments’ discussion paper on the Victorian medical technologies and pharmaceuticals sectors, proposing the Victoria capitalise on its existing expertise in health and medical research and significant infrastructure to take advantage of future growth in this sector. There is significant scope of the Victorian Government to complement and take advantage of the Australian Government’s focus on the sector as a priority area for investment.