Digital health: creating a new growth industry for Australia

Strengths, opportunities, constraints and barriers to the commercialisation of evidence based digital health technologies in Australia

10 Dec 2018

The rapid changes driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) that are transforming many industries including healthcare presents both valuable opportunities and complex challenges for Australia.

The delivery of healthcare is inherently complex. In Australia our healthcare systems involves a matrix of public and private sector entities, and a highly regulated, risk-aware environment, all focused on delivering world class care at every point in the healthcare journey.

Such a complex system slows the uptake of new technologies and innovation and their transfer to the front lines of healthcare. These challenges are not unique to Australia, however with maintenance of our world-class healthcare system becoming increasingly expensive , embracing new types of digital healthcare management and treatment tools will be key in the future wellbeing of our population.

Australia is considered a global leader in health and medical research, our citizens are early adopters of new technology, and we have an abundance of innovative ideas, yet we must continue to ensure that we have the optimal environment required to create, build and nurture commercially viable and resilient fast-growth companies in emerging sectors.

There has been significant investment to date by all levels of government in developing core components of the national health and health technology infrastructure, including supply chain interoperability, terminology standards, health identifiers and data repositories, such as the My Health Record system. In addition to fit for purpose regulation, reimbursement and procurement practices and supportive public policies, this infrastructure will contribute to a viable platform for digital health technology commercialisation and implementation.

Thus, Australia now has the opportunity to develop an internationally competitive digital health industry sector, which would complement and leverage our traditionally strong biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors.

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