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Health tech research lab to digitise hospitals

Health & Medical

A research lab to help Australian hospitals adopt and up-skill with new and existing digital health technology has opened in Adelaide.

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The Digital Health Design Lab at Flinders University is dedicated to research and development on improving the integration of digital infrastructure, cyber security and medical devices into hospital workflows.

The lab, based at Flinders University’s Tonsley campus in Adelaide, South Australia, will also be used to prototype and test new healthcare technology to assess ways they can be implemented.

Launched yesterday, the new facility has been established by Flinders in collaboration with Cisco who both funded the site and is part of the Digital Health Research Centre.

The centre is a multidisciplinary research entity designed to explore digital-based solutions in healthcare for social and workplace settings and was formed after Flinders was named a member of the Australian Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre to support the creation of new software and mental health diagnostic tools alongside tech companies and Australian universities in 2018.

Professor Trish Williams, Cisco Chair & Professor of Digital Health Systems at Flinders University said the healthcare industry is largely under digitalised and required new solutions to better utilise current and emerging technology to improve medical outcomes.

Professor Williams said a focus was determining if an organisation has the maturity to adopt a solution to its problems in terms of its organisational skills, technology capability and its resources.

“Most organisations lack insight on how information technology impacts their people and processes, therefore, the integration of that into their normal workflow is really important,” Professor Williams said.

“We can give them insights into how they can generate capabilities and understand how that helps them with their processes and ultimately the experience for patients and clinicians.”

One of the main research initiatives at the lab will examine digital infrastructure in hospitals using Cisco’s infrastructure maturity assessment software.

Professor Williams said findings from the assessment will then be used to develop an infrastructure information experience framework for hospitals to roadmap how they can apply digital products and systems.

The lab’s other key focus areas include a safe hospital wi-fi project which will analyse ways to enhance cyber security on wireless networks and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, while the university campus mental health IoT framework project will measure and aim to improve various factors that shape the wellness of students within the campus environment.

“Of all of those factors that comprise mental wellness, we’re looking at how can you measure and intervene on some of the ones where you’re not necessarily looking at the individual, it’s about how do you make a much broader perspective of student wellness,” Professor Williams said.

“We talk about it particularly from the campus because it’s a huge issue for every university these days from the student population.”

Flinders University is currently working with the University of Western Australia and the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth on its mental health framework and digital infrastructure assessment initiatives.

Flinders’ Digital Health Design Lab has also partnered with the RMIT University’s Health Transformation Lab in Melbourne, which focuses on cybernetics, to collaborate on digital health research.

Both labs were partially financed by Cisco as part of the company’s broader investment program into Australia’s digital health industry.

“What’s different for us is we’re taking a more systems perspective into how you solve these problems rather than looking at single problems,” Professor Williams said.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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