April 17, 2019

Digital Health Futures @ Northern Health

Northern Health is looking at innovative ways of creating a sustainable future in healthcare, with digital being a key component. We know our catchment’s population will almost double by 2030 and already has a social and ethnic diversity which produces significant challenges in healthcare delivery.

This week Northern Health hosted the Inaugural Digital Health Futures Summit at the Northern Centre for Health Education and Research (NCHER).

Attendees included Frank McGuire, Parliamentary Secretary for Medical Research and Parliamentary Secretary of Crime Prevention – and Member for Broadmeadows, presenters from University of Melbourne School of Computing and Information Systems and the School of Population and Global Health, representatives from Tata Consultancy Services, Northern Health Board Director Peter McWilliam and Research Lead Professor Peter Brooks.

“We increasingly depend on technology in aspects of our daily lives – communicating with friends, making appointments, purchasing things from entertainment to clothes and banking, and now it is time to see how technology can enable health care” Professor Peter Brooks said.

“We realise for a health service to be sustainable in the future, we need to do things differently,” said Northern Health Chief Executive Siva Sivarajah.

“Whilst looking at innovative ways of creating additional acute capacity, we need to look at other ways to help our patients stay well and improve patient satisfaction.”

“There are great opportunities to create a sustainable health system using new models of care and the right technology,” Siva said.

“Digital will help put clinicians and patients on more of an equal footing.”

The two day conference worked to identify further solutions to some of the important clinical issues that Northern Health faces every day and develop solutions by looking at new approaches to models of care, different funding models and partnerships with the community – and many of these solutions will involve technology.

“The major challenge for Northern Health is thinking creatively about how we provide high quality care, and ensure that we can support people in their homes when we discharge them. This is the basis of the High Reliability Organisation (HRO) and the ‘Staying Well’ programs – the major projects adopted by Northern Health,Professor Brooks said.

Bernie Maher, Head of Business Development at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and one of the attendees, found the conference very insightful – “Today, I am hoping to increase our collaboration with Northern Health, University of Melbourne, Department of Health and TCS.”

Left to right: Professor Peter Brooks, Peter McWilliam, Shalini Mathur, Frank McGuire, Siva Sivarajah, Bernie Maher