Australian launch of digital health ecosystem

12th November 2019

The first Australian Ecosystem for the ECHAlliance was launched on Wednesday 13 November in Melbourne. Facilitated by RMIT, the event was held at the Health Transformation Lab.

The event was officially opened by Prof. Calum Drummond, AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation.

Clare Russell, Director of Research Partnerships and Initiatives, hosted a fireside chat with esteemed panel members Bettina McMahon, Chief Operating Officer of Australian Digital Health Agency, Neville Board, Chief Digital Health Officer of Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, and Matiu Bush, Deputy Director of Health Transformation Lab.

It was a fitting time for Melbourne to launch the ecosystem, having been voted Australia’s most innovative city in Australia, and 11th in the world only days before by 2thinknow Innovation Cities Global Index. When asked why Melbourne was he was so enthused about Melbourne’s health ecosystem, Matiu Bush responded:

“Melbourne, at its core, is a city of design and is home to some of the best designers and thinkers in the world. There is an outstanding environment of medical and health facilities and services sprinkled between the innovation and creative precincts. With that comes enormous opportunity and a culture of collaboration”

The interactive panel session engaged audience members and covered such topics as Australia’s paperless prescription initiative, part of the National Digital Health Strategy, combatting loneliness in cities and regional areas, the role of the private sector in working with government agencies, the importance of patient centred and led design. Attendees heard stories and lived experiences from patients and carers, further validating the need for collaborative action.

The launch was attended by over 50 representatives across industry, community, government, clinical and patient representatives, start-ups and researchers, many of whom will be members of the working group to implement the plan for the Melbourne Ecosystem themed “Data and design for better health”

Since the launch and following news stories and social media publicity in Australia, host Clare Russell of RMIT University has said that over 25 additional groups have expressed interest in being a part of the Ecosystem.

Clare Russell said:

“Australia’s commitment to enabling healthy communities over the last 6 years in particularly can be seen through initiatives such as the investment in to the Medical Research Futures Fund, National Disability Insurance Scheme, the establishment of the Digital Health CRC, implementation of the My Health Record and the National Digital Health Strategy. The Ecosystem provides an incredible opportunity for stakeholders in Melbourne and across the country to leverage was is already happening and create even more value for our communities.

Wednesday evening was the start of something really special, and vitally important. We’ve started creating spaces where patients are at the centre of every action, and every stakeholder is heard and represented”


The next event for the Ecosystem will be in February 2020. Enquiries can be directed to clare.russell@rmit.edu.au

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