September 19, 2019

Reasons Why You Should Look to Australia for Digital Health

Sophie Madden

In July 2019, we gathered at The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne with a hand-selected group of the HealthXL community to discuss why the rest of the world should be looking at Australia for digital health.

Partnerships in Implementation 

Group lead: Phoebe McLeod, Head of Legal and Licensing (digital health) at MCRI

The session began by identifying the three key challenges around building effective partnerships in Digital Health, which were then discussed and explored by all members at the roundtable. 

Attendees in the group:

Key takeaways from the discussion are:

1. Forming the partnership

When approaching partnerships, the offer must be individual and nuanced. It is important to be able to speak the same ‘language’ as the person you’re trying to partner with. Equally as important is being able to understand the key drivers and strategic goals of the company. Partnerships in digital health differ to that of other sectors as they require a new type of ‘partnership model’, rather than simply ‘business as usual’.

2. Sustainable/continual partnerships

In order to build sustainable, long term partnerships that continue to deliver, the parties involved in the partnership need to have common goals. These partnerships require a lot of time and effort to ensure their sustainability and continuity. Additionally, the partnership needs to offer into mutually beneficial outcomes. Partnering early offers a unique advantage as both partners are able to co-develop and co-create. This can result in long-term, committed and successful partnerships.

3. How do you socialize an idea across a big organisation? Is the answer an internal champion?

From the formative stages of a partnership to building and sustaining continual partnerships, there are many challenges that arise. This includes working with both large and small partners and understanding their unique needs. Ultimately, there is no right one way to partner – However, both entities need to be aware of potential partnership challenges and work collaboratively to mitigate these. 

“The event highlighted the diverse and collaborative group of professionals tackling digital health innovation and commercialisation in Australia.  In particular, there was strong representation from private health insurers and big pharma – 2 big players needed to make digital health in Australia reach its full potential.” 

  - Phoebe McLeod, MCRI

The Actionable Health Information Challenge

Group lead: Alex Brassert, Health System Policy & Development Manager, BUPA

The session began with Group lead, Alex Brassert, providing background on Bupa’s current initiatives and pilots, and outlining the topics of discussion, which were then discussed and explored by all members at the roundtable. 

Attendees in the group:

Key takeaways from the discussion are:

In line with the topic of discussion, definitions on actionable insights were provided by BUPA:

1. Consumer Data Collection

Roundtable participants identified several challenges of data collection and consumers’ sharing of data. These challenges include privacy - the more private the data being collected from consumers, the less likely they are willing to share it. Timing of data collection, including before, during and after the point of care, was felt to be particularly important. The type of data collected was also considered a key factor, with the example of limited utility of claims data. Providing early and observable benefits to consumers with data collection was also considered to be important by roundtable participants. The group also shared their guidance on what not to do, like sending long questionnaires or not being transparent about the benefits of data sharing to the consumer.

2. User Centric Design and Empathy

The group  considered design thinking and end-user empathy to be beneficial for delivering actionable insights. Creating personas, via passive and active (e.g. asking questions) activities, was cited as possible ways to achieve this and examples of aged care and mood, along with dental visits and fear were provided by the roundtable participants. But the validation of assumptions was felt to be critical. Some participants highlighted that most consumers/ patients have altruistic motives (e.g. to live or longer, better quality of life, or spending more time with grandkids) for engaging in the health system. Consequently, shifting from a reactive to a proactive model of healthcare is inherently challenging. Awarding prizes for engagement was given as an example of incentives that work on some but not all people and that can wear off quickly.

3. Co-Designing

The benefits of co-design and delivering different insights to different users was discussed. The example of HeadCheck, co-designed by MCRI and the Australian Football League whilst providing different insights to parents and local football clubs, was provided. Participants agreed that insights must factor value to nuisance and consider the desired end outcome when determining the data to collect. 

“My favourite part of the session was how the discussion around empathy and co-design led to a throw away idea from one of the participants only to find out someone else had been working on a similar prototype. It is so exciting to see how bringing everyone together around a concept can make these connections possible and bring about potential future collaborations.” 

- Alex Brassert, Bupa

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