​It continues to be a time of considerable activity at Digital Health CRC (DHCRC), as we work with a significant number of our participants to generate projects across our Flagship research programs.

I am confident that many of the projects we will announce in coming months will bring immense insight and benefits in the digital health space, the health sector more widely, and – most importantly – for health consumers in Australia and indeed globally, into the future.

Dr Victor Pantano.

To our DHCRC participants, I greatly appreciate the engagement you have put into this work, and I encourage you to stay actively involved in driving your projects to get them up and running. It takes time to bring parties together, map out the work and put agreements in place, so let’s keep pushing forward!

I was very fortunate to travel to the United States last month to launch the involvement of our US partner, HMS, in our CRC (see photo at top – and caption below).

It was wonderful to see the interest shown in us by many organisations in the US.

Over 2000 people attended the HMS launch (both in-person and live online). I explained how DHCRC provides a unique platform for industry, government and academia to come together to solve complex challenges over long timeframes if required – hence supporting a longitudinal approach, which is a key part of health research.

It soon became apparent that the intense interest in our CRC was because similar platforms do not exist in the US, particularly where a large number of organisations come together, contribute funding, and work on issues of importance to industry partners. HMS has been impressed with the conversations it has had with our Australian partners, the commitment to collaboration and to exploring new ways to do things.

The Hon. Peter McGauran, Consul General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner at the Australian Embassy in the US, joined us for the launch. We all committed to pursuing discussions around how we could extend the CRC platform into the US given the level of interest, its suitability to health research, and HMS’s unique client base which could particularly benefit.

In addition to spending time with HMS, I also met with clinicians from Partners Healthcare and associated technology developers. It was great to hear some of their forward thinking, especially around the power of health data.

In one conversation, we discussed how the healthcare system will consolidate globally into probably a dozen major players, each possessing huge volumes of data, that would serve not only a predictive function at an individual level, but also streamline and reduce the costs and timelines associated with clinical trials.

Other service sectors have progressed down this path, with major global players using the power of their data to drive consolidation and growth. Companies such as Google and Walmart are well advanced in this space and touch millions of lives daily, collecting huge volumes of information.

It is interesting to think about what will happen to our health system and individuals’ wellbeing as data becomes more and more central to its operation. Australia has some challenges in this respect, particularly around issues such as governance, privacy, interoperability and the like.

I hope that DHCRC, through its Flagship and enabling foundation programs, will tackle some of these challenges – our government partners certainly are willing to do so. If the global health system does consolidate in the future, then we will want to ensure we are part of this consolidation…and that we will determine how and when we will participate.

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

Photo at top: (l-r) The Hon. Peter McGauran (Consul General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Australian Embassy, USA); Mr Bill Lucia (HMS Chairman and CEO); Dr Victor Pantano (CEO, Digital Health CRC) and Ms Eve Martin (Director – Commercial & Operations, Digital Health CRC) at the launch in May of HMS’s involvement in Digital Health CRC.