Like much of 2019, it has been an action packed end to the year for all of us at the Digital Health CRC!

In November, we held our Annual General Meeting. We were very pleased with the strong attendance from our Members as well as other Participants, and it was an excellent opportunity for me to outline some of the highlights from our first year of operation, as well as discuss our priorities for the year ahead.

Before I go through some of these priorities, I want to report that our Members also voted in a substantially new Board. You will see a number of articles in our December newsletter and on our website relating to this, including an interview with our new Board Chair – Michael Walsh.

It has been great to hear Michael’s thoughts on the importance of digital health, how this aligns with the mission of the Digital Health CRC and where he believes we will have deep impact.

I encourage you to read the article on our new Board and our interview with Michael, and please also feel free to contact any of our Board members if you wish to speak with them.

Just one more tidbit before we come to talking about our priorities ahead…

On the same day as our AGM, I wrote to all our Participants with details of how to log in to the new Participant Only portal of our website. This is Stage 1 of the portal, and we have significant plans to further develop this to drive greater collaboration between our Participants – making connections between them and providing a bridge to all things digital health for those who are part of our CRC. We encourage all our Participants to make the most of this resource.

Now to our key priorities for 2020!

The top priority for us will continue to be commencing more project activities with all of our Participants. As of today, we have 12 projects in delivery mode, and another 40 under development, involving over 55 Participants in our CRC. But we need to work faster to push these and other projects through our pipeline and into delivery mode.

Our $230 million investment into digital health in Australia – which comprises contributions from both the Federal Government and our Participants – will result in a step-change in the adoption of digital health technologies in our health system. However, we must move quickly to invest these funds (while obviously maintaining the due diligence and evidence-based approach we have taken to-date in commissioning projects).

At the AGM, I requested assistance from all our Participants to this end – to work with us to progress projects under each of our Flagship Programs. I know it takes time to pull together concepts, develop relationships and progress plans and agreements, but we need to prioritise this over the coming 12 months. Please always feel free to let us know if we can be doing things better at our end!

Our other priorities in 2020 will be:

  • implementing our strategy and plan for building workforce capacity in digital health
  • bringing our Participant network to life (by further linking Participants and leveraging the incredible network that our CRC is building)
  • finalising our approach to technology development and commercialisation (both to support our projects and innovation/entrepreneurship within the sector as a whole)
  • deciding how we engage with start-ups and SMEs within the digital health sector (ie. being an effective bridge for them in accessing the resources they need to grow)
  • revising our milestones with the Commonwealth (now that we have started rolling out our projects, we have a better idea of where we are going and therefore what outputs we will achieve – these will be deeper and richer than first thought)
  • continuing to build our Flagship Programs (I want to build even larger projects under our Flagships, with more Participants involved and far greater impacts)

As you can see, next year will continue to be busy for us!

As Michael alludes to in his interview, people tend to be so focused on providing immediate care from day to day that it is hard for them to look ahead at how we might improve the system in the longer-term. Sometimes things can appear to be so far off that they don’t seem to be worth working on now, and consequently they are pushed down the list.

But my take home message is this – we must take the steps today if we are to deliver the full benefits of a digital health ‘utopia’ of tomorrow! Our CRC is here to work through these steps with you, and we look forward to engaging further with you in what promises to be an exciting year ahead.

On behalf of everyone at the Digital Health CRC, have a wonderful holiday season – and, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Dr Victor Pantano
CEO, Digital Health CRC
[email protected]