Bringing digital excellence to clinical excellence: Leading digital excellence in Queensland Health

Flagship Program: Enabling information discovery and application

“Academia and industry combining forces to create digital solutions for the healthcare sector.”

Project Description

The Department (Qld) is partnering with the University of Queensland (UQ) and the Digital Health CRC (DHCRC) to support the emergence of a new breed of interdisciplinary leader who can use evidence and thought-leadership to help shape the digital transformation of healthcare in Queensland and become respected leaders in Australia and globally.

This work will offer a coordinated set of scholarships for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows (and include the support of clinical fellows and a project officer) to deliver a set of subprojects on topics that address the priorities of Queensland Health, including those of the Queensland Clinical Networks Executive (QCNE) and the Office of the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO). Some subprojects will be transferrable (i.e. focussing on one statewide network, with insights then being transferred to other networks) while others will be overarching (i.e. focussing on the concerns of the Queensland Health system as a whole).

The Project has five working principles that set it apart from other opportunities:

  1. Interdisciplinary: The Project is designed to support a new breed of interdisciplinary leader, who deeply understands clinical realities, data and technology, and business transformation. Accordingly, each student will be guaranteed supervisors from across at least three disciplines (clinical, business/economics, and data/digital) as well as the industry sponsor.
  2. Well-governed: The Project will link into existing governance structures to ensure a pathway to impact. The Clinical Excellence Division at the Department (Qld) has created a new virtual unit (the Health Intelligence Unit—HSIU) to facilitate this governance. The subprojects will be run through the HSIU and supported by the Department (Qld), including the QCNE, Office of the CCIO and eHealth Queensland.
  3. Cohort effects: Doctoral students and postdoctoral and clinical fellows will be admitted as part of a cohort and will have regular opportunities to meet with each other, with supervisors, and with the project sponsors. The aim is to support the growing ecosystem of digital health.
  4. Resourced: Students will be eligible to receive attractive top-ups over and above normal scholarship levels.
  5. Impactful: The subprojects will be chosen in consultation with Queensland Health to ensure they are addressing priority areas for Queensland and Australia, and that they can make a meaningful impact.

Project Objectives

Specific objectives:

  • To attract three outstanding PhD students and one postdoctoral researcher to produce new research on digital health topics of central importance to Queensland Health and nationally.
  • To support these students and the postdoctoral fellow through an interdisciplinary and cohort-based experience that is well-governed by UQ, the Department (Qld), and the DHCRC. Candidates will also be able to access components of the DHCRC Higher Degree by Research Program as part of their candidature.
  • A project officer will assist with the coordination of the Project to ensure it operates successfully and that the students and researchers involved are supported.
  • To create a new fellowship program (based on the Topol program in the UK) to support the graduation of new digital health fellows who can become change-agents in their health services across the state.

Long-term objectives:

  • To support the digital transformation of healthcare in Queensland by building intellectual leadership and by growing a rich ecosystem of students, supervisors, fellows, and university-industry collaborations that can maintain and advance momentum over time.
  • To link this Project with broader initiatives being supported by the DHCRC nationally so that the leaders in individual states across Australia can become national (and ideally international) leaders who can together make significant improvements to the health system.





Industry Participant

Queensland Health
– Professor Keith McNeil, Acting Deputy Director-General and Chief Clinical Information Office, Clinical Excellence Queensland
– Mr Damian Green, Chief Executive Officer, eHealth Queensland
– Associate Professor Robyn Littlewood, Health and Wellbeing Queensland
– Professor Liz Kenny, Queensland Clinical Networks Executive

Research Participant

The University of Queensland
– Professor Andrew Burton-Jones, UQ Business School

Project Value: