Dean,Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne
Good evening, everyone. My name is Shitij Kapur. I'm the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and it is my distinct pleasure to welcome all of you here today. In an ideal world I would much rather we all be in person, but obviously we live in a less than ideal world, so I am delighted that you're with us.
Let me begin by acknowledging the land on which we are. Now, the beauty of a digital world is that you could be in many places in our great country. You might even be across the water somewhere. But wherever you are, it's likely that you're on the land of the indigenous people. So we acknowledge the stewardship of this land. We pay our respects to their elders: past, present, and we look forward to our shared future together.
It is in that spirit that I think we open the Centre for Digital Transformation for Health, and it is a distinct pleasure to have reached this day. I started here as a dean, I think four years and some ago, and at that point in time I felt the need to bring together the various, I would say, peaks and islands of excellence we had in the area of digital health together. So I'm delighted that we're at that point today. I'm delighted that we have a team that has helped bring all of us together, and I'm delighted that that team has very widely consulted with many of you and that we are at this point in time.
Now, I have to say I personally find this combination of webinars and panels rather hard, because I'm used to seeing people when one speaks. This almost seems like speaking into an abyss. But nonetheless, I think it is a great moment. And it's particularly great because I think health needs digital, and if there was any proof of that, I think COVID is the proof of it. It is a proof of it in various ways. First, a lot of healthcare has pivoted to digital. Almost the entire response has been driven by data and modeling, and more importantly, it has affected not only COVID response but everything else in health. So I think if there was a proof one needed, or a trigger one needed to change one's ways, nature has provided us that.
The challenge, of course, is how to respond. And in many ways the Centre for Digital Transformation of Health is our response to that challenge. You shall hear a number of keynote speeches today which will exemplify in different ways the role of digital wealth in our future. So I won't take much of your time, because actually I'm excited about the talks that are yet to come and are ahead of us. So let me, with those words, actually welcome Professor Uwe Aickelin, because this is a joint collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and the Melbourne School of Engineering and its School of Computing and Information Systems. It's in many ways the marriage of digital and health.
So with that spirit, let me hand over to Professor Uwe Aickelin.
Head of School, School of Computing and Information Systems, The University of Melbourne
Well, thank you, Shitij, for these kind words. I'm not sure you can see me, but I'm sure you can hear me. I'm Professor Uwe Aickelin. I'm the head of School of Computing and Information Systems and it is really my pleasure to be here. I'm really happy, actually, that we have got this Centre off the ground. You can see the big smile on my face.
I've been working in this area myself as it happens. I work in artificial intelligence for medicine and I've been doing this for about 20 years. I know from my own experience the work only has impact if the engineers and the IT people work together with the clinicians and the medics, and I think this Centre will allow for that to happen. It's been a massive investment from across the university. I think we're going to get some really results out of this new Centre.
Really, I don't want to say much more other than introducing Wendy. Sorry, I should say Professor Wendy Chapman, who is the director of the Centre, who I am also really delighted that we managed to get aboard for this, because I'm convinced she will do a fantastic job. She is the associate dean of informatics and digital health in the faculty of medicine, and she also happens to be a specialist in quite informatics related things, like AI and LT. So I think actually she understands both sides really well.
Director, Centre for Digital Transformation of Health
Thank you, Shitij and Uwe. It's a pleasure to be here and we welcome everybody this afternoon. I'd like to offer a special thanks to the attendees of the Melbourne program of the Digital Health Institute Summit, which starts tomorrow, the Melbourne program does, and we're very grateful for the institute's support of our launch.
So now to the proceedings. A reminder, this webinar's being recorded. We'll have presentations from each of our speakers, and then we'll go into a panel discussion and have question and answers following that. You can contribute your questions at any time using the Q&A tab. In fact, put them in early so that we can look through them as we go through the talks and sort through them and pick. You can also up-vote on those that you like so that we get the most compelling questions at the top of the queue.
Due to an urgent personal matter, Mary Foley, the keynote speaker that we had planned on hearing from tonight, is unable to make it. We wish her all the best and we are really grateful to have in her place the Telstra Health CMO, Chief Medical Officer, Vincent McCauley. But before I introduce him, I'd like to take you through the vision of the Centre.
[plays Centre video]
So I'm walking across the Oval to pick up my daughter from school, and it's the first week back, she's very excited to be there. And I realize, as I'm walking across the Oval, that I've got shortness of breath. I'm wheezing, my chest feels tight, and I can't breathe. And I know that that's the start of an asthma attack for me. Last time I started to feel this way it dragged on for a few weeks and I was quite sick. So what I do is go home and call my GP.
Dr Shiv Shanthikumar, Respiratory Physician:
By the time she gets to me it's weeks later. And she talked to her GP at the time, but I don't have access to that information.
I'm just trying to remember. I don't think that I actually took my preventer that morning.
I need to know, was the weather bad that day? Was the pollen count really high? Did she go to a new place?
I know some of my triggers, but it's sort of hard to know what was going on with the weather completely that day. It could've been something in the air, but it could've been something else.
It's difficult for me to give her the care she deserves with all these pieces of information missing. Sadly, this story is not unique. It's one that's very common in our healthcare system, and it happens to patients with all different sorts of chronic healthcare issues.
James Kane, tech developer, Two Bulls:
Luckily we all carry smartphones and those devices can capture incredibly useful information. I can connect data from wearables and case histories to ensure everyone is looking at the same thing.
This would be possible without the need for the development of new technology, and it would mean that we go from our current disjointed system to a future where healthcare is connected.
With the right information I could go see my specialist to work out what's going on exactly with me at that point in time, rather than waiting till later on when things have settled down.
I could have access to her daily symptom scores, as well as environmental data.
We can bring together accurate patient data, research, best practice quality control, to ensure better health outcomes.
So imagine a healthcare system which keeps improving with the increased feedback. So not only do we improve care to her, but that information also drives improvement in the whole system.
It'd be really great to have the right data to work with my GP so that I can be as healthy as possible.
The potential for connected health is right in front of us.
All right, thank you. So that's the first time I've created, well asked somebody to help create, a movie for something I've done. Beautiful movie and I think it really helps you understand what's motivating the Centre that we are launching today.
So let me talk about the Centre and what we are going to focus on and our strategy.
The Centre for Digital Transformation of Health is an investment made by the University of Melbourne to bring together people from across the university, from Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, to engineering, computing, and information systems. And we all have shared goal of leveraging digital innovation to transform healthcare. We have a charge to not only do education and research, but also to work with patients, governments, industry, and health services to connect digital innovation to health. This is the academic leadership team who have crafted the vision and strategy that we're formally launching today.
So what do we mean by connecting digital innovation to health? Well, you saw with Caroline's story that there's this very fragmented system that we exist in. And there's a reason that healthcare hasn't been digitally transformed the way other industries have. It's a very complex system and to bring about that transformation we need all kinds of expertise and experience from diverse stakeholders to change not only the technological foundations of healthcare, but the culture and the processes before we can really change the outcomes.
The mission of our Centre is to bring together all the pieces in our corner of the world. And we think that we have something special in this corner of the world because of the connections that we're building. And so, we believe that at the end of the initial investment in the Centre, we'll be able to be a beacon and have leadership that's internationally reaching.
Our vision is connected health for people like Caroline. Using the learning health system as a model, we plan to collect and link clinical data so that we can learn from our experience. We'll analyse that data and develop new models of care that serve the needs of patients and fit within the workflow of clinicians, and then finally we'll measure the outcomes that really matter.
The University of Melbourne has invested in this space and brings to the partnership the ability to connect researchers from the University to health services to be able to bring broad expertise in all of these different areas so that we can work together towards this broad goal.
I think we all know the promise of digital innovation to transform health, because we see those transformations in our daily lives. But the reality is often that innovations are published in academic journals and don't go further than that. Innovative apps are never used or evaluated, and especially never evaluated in real health settings. So we want to help speed up the translation of digital innovation to health.
If you think about the pathway for drug development, it's a very clear pathway. It's been established for years. Everybody knows where they fit and what to do. But with digital innovation there's a big gap, and it makes that translation of innovation into healthcare slow.
We aren't the only innovators in this space, but we hope to do something unique; to build the capability to develop, validate, and evaluate digital health innovations so that we can speed up that translation. We are going to work on the data side of it to transform health data to be connected and research ready so that we can create a collaborative, streamlined research environment where data driven research can flourish. Because we already have a lot of great researchers in this space; a lot of people trying to leverage data, but the ecosystem is just not there yet for us to work on. And we want to help build up the workforce; address the needs that they have so that they can thrive in this new world and become the new innovators, and build innovative educational tools for experiential learning to teach informatics and digital health to our workforce.
We hope you will join us to help bring together the pieces in this grand journey so that we can achieve true collective impact. So I thank you all for joining us today, and if you'd like to stay connected to the Centre and follow our work and share your ideas, look out for our newsletter which we will mail to you. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll be sending a survey to query you about how you might like to get involved.
Okay. Well, without any further ado, I'd like to introduce our keynote speaker, Vincent McCauley. Vincent joined Telstra Health in July 2015 as Chief Medical Officer advising on areas such as eHealth, clinical governance, and pathology. He has vast clinical experience in respiratory and emergency medicine, and he's been a researcher, he started a company. He has very broad experience. And I was very pleased when he said he's involved in health standards and it reminded me that one of my colleagues in the U.S., Ken [Reuben 00:15:17], had said, "You must meet Vincent McCauley when you get there." And so, very happy to run across him in this way.
He's the Chair of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Australia, and a member of the IHE International Board. He's also a professor of digital health at Flinders University. He's driven by his goal to create a secure, highly connected and interoperable eHealth infrastructure underpinned by sustainable business models. Backstage at the digital health revolution is a messy place, and Vincent's had a ringside seat for the best part of two decades. So let's hear from him on the role of digital technology and innovation in health system transformation.