Digital Health

Australian-first council to boost digital health research collaboration


The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) has announced the establishment of an Australian first, national, cross-university network to advocate for and advance digital health through collaboration and evidence-based research.

The Australian Council of Senior Academic Leaders in Digital Health will harness the combined academic power of leaders from across the 36 founding member universities to advance the application of digital technology, informatics and data science to health in Australia.

DHCRC CEO Annette Schmiede said the Council would be a unique forum to identify priority areas and opportunities for collective action and advocacy from across the higher education sector.

“The future of Australia’s health sector depends on the ability to build and scale digital health knowledge, innovation, commercialisation and research translation,” Ms Schmiede said. “This requires an industry-informed, academically powered, research agenda to inform investment in infrastructure support, and most importantly a collaborative and collective approach.”

“Creating opportunities for collaboration is why the DHCRC was established, and the formation of this Council is a milestone that will help fast track the integration of digital health research into practice.”

The Council will initially focus on four priority areas:

  • Provide strategic leadership in the higher education and health sectors related to digital health scholarship
  • Strengthen the quality and value of academic education and scholarly research activities in digital health
  • Advocate for effective investment in digital health education and research
  • Represent, engage and reflect higher education institutions’ needs and perspectives to enhance their impact.

Council names inaugural Chair

Leading clinician and academic informatician, Professor Clair Sullivan, Director of the Queensland Digital Health Research Centre at The University of Queensland, has been named inaugural chair of the Council. She will be supported by an executive committee of senior academic leaders, Professor James Boyd (La Trobe University), Professor Kathleen Gray OAM (University of Melbourne), Professor Kerryn Butler-Henderson (Charles Sturt University), Professor Russell Gruen (Australian National University) and Associate Professor Stephen Guinea (Australian Catholic University), and independent advisor Emeritus Professor Christine Bennett AO.

“Universities have a key role in supporting industry and governments to solve digital health and transformation challenges,” Professor Sullivan said. “The Council will provide an opportunity for the digital health research sector to engage with advocates from across health, technology and business.”

“This will help us promote best practice standards, education and training that fuels innovation, drives health system efficiency and sustainability, so contributing to better health outcomes for all Australians.”

“The Council will look to address issues around the broader adoption and application of digital in healthcare as well as challenges in upskilling current and future workforce to embrace the opportunities presented by digital advancements.”

“The health sector is in a state of perpetual reform to meet increasing demand, increasing costs and increasing community expectations in a complex, fragmented and resource constrained ecosystem,” Professor Sullivan said.

The council will initially be under the auspices of the DHCRC, though as a collaborative network has invited participation from all Australian universities.

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