Establishing WA as a leader in Digital Health | CASE STUDY

Karyn Clements

WA is unique in that it has a world class health system with linked data capability, however the ability to exploit opportunities in data driven solutions for the benefit of the WA health care sector are constrained by the current talent pool and infrastructure.

The WA Data Science Innovation Hub (WADSIH) has been working closely with a range of industries across WA to develop a cohesive and collaborative strategy on how to establish WA as a leader in digital health and data driven health economics. WADSIH is closely supporting initiatives led by Professor Suzanne Robinson (Curtin University) and her team on how to foster collaboration and talent development in WA.

Professor Robinson and WADSIH’s Director, Dr Liz Dallimore, convened a roundtable in late 2019 to discuss a collaborative approach to health economics and data analytics in the WA health system. The roundtable was chaired by the Hub’s Director, Dr Liz Dallimore, and opened by the Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Mental Health, Hon. Roger Cook and Curtin University Vice Chancellor Deborah Terry, and was attended by leaders from the health and academic sector in WA.

“The ability to exploit opportunities in data driven solutions for the benefit of the WA health care sector are constrained.”

A focus of the roundtable was to discuss how WA attracts and retains talent in data analytics and health economics. The roundtable participants agreed to work together to develop solutions to address gaps in talent, in particular looking at programs to train PhD students collaboratively with Health Service Providers, leveraging federal grant programs. WADSIH continues to work closely with the roundtable participants to execute the outcomes, with a key outcome being the submission of an application to the ARC’s Industrial Transformation Training Centre Program to seek funding to set up a training centre in collaboration with WADSIH, Curtin, UWA, and various health service providers and industry.

In addition, WADSIH has been providing support to the development of a Digital Health program for WA. In collaboration with the Department of Health and Telethon Kids Institute, WADSIH ran a workshop in November 2019 to discuss ways to advance digital health in WA in a coordinated manner. The workshop was attended by a large number of organisations and outlined current initiatives underway, and where potential gaps may reside. Two proposals to address these gaps were delivered. WADSIH continues to support the DoH in progressing initiatives for building digital health capability and industry in WA, however progress on these initiative have been delayed by the Government’s urgent response to the COVID-19 pandemic. WADSIH will continue to work closely with industry and government to support a thriving digital health ecosystem in WA.