Monday, 8 July 2019

A consortium of partners across the WA medical research sector including The University of Western Australia will develop and deliver the State’s first digital health-specific program designed to support education programs in digital health commercialisation.

The program will launch in Western Australia after being awarded a State Government X-TEND WA grant.

The pilot of the Digital Health Accelerator Program will build capacity in digital health entrepreneurs and provide a pathway to commercialisation by leveraging existing programs and locally-based expertise, and delivering programs currently operating outside WA.

The programs are unique as they combine industry-led expertise with proven frameworks for teaching innovation to provide tailored advice and models specifically for digital health entrepreneurs.

These include two leading commercialisation and entrepreneurship training programs - national digital health commercialisation specialist ANDHealth’s BRIGHT IDEATE and BRIGHT INNOVATE programs, leveraging leading health technology firm Planet Innovation’s proven BRIGHT framework, and Stanford’s globally recognised Biodesign innovation process, which will run as a partnership between Perth Biodesign and leading digital health technology company, Curve Tomorrow.

UWA Professor Kevin Pfleger, Director of the WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub said it would be important for improving health outcomes in Western Australia.

“The project will enable a team of innovators to observe unmet clinical needs firsthand here in WA and work up potential digital health solutions,” Professor Pfleger said.

“The benefit for the community will be improving healthcare for WA patients as well as developing critical skills to support the growing needs of the sector.”

Digital health broadly includes mobile health, health information technology, wearable devices, telehealth/telemedicine, and personalised medicine. The use of digital technologies in health-care aims to reduce inefficiencies, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalised for patients. Digital health products have different commercialisation pathways to pharmaceuticals and medical devices, requiring novel and flexible commercial models.

The Sustainable Health Review recently launched by the WA Department of Health highlights digital healthcare as an area where investment was needed and a rich source of opportunity to improve the health system and patient outcomes.

UWA will work in partnership on the project with Telethon Kids Institute, Linear Clinical Research, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Perron Institute, Lions Eye Institute, Ear Science Institute Australia, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, ANDHealth and Curve Tomorrow.

The X-TEND WA Program is a competitive grants program - funded under the New Industries Fund and run by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation - which is designed to build capability and capacity within the WA innovation community.

Image of Kevin Pfleger in this article courtesy of Diabetes Research WA

Media references

Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Advisor) 08 6488 6876


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Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences