Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My passion for digital health first began with digital marketing efforts in the start-up space, eventually growing into a health education AI product launch and management role at Fraser’s Medical. Working in a fast-paced, small business environment allowed me to quickly learn a wide variety of skills ranging from coding to people management and business development.
After a number of years in this space, I wanted to deepen my understanding of digital health through the lens of academia, and began working as a Research Assistant in Human Factors for Professor Melissa Baysari at The University of Sydney. Over the last two years I have worked on a wide variety of projects with NSW Health, Sydney Local Health District, and The Brain and Mind Centre—all of which have furthered my appreciation of the complexities of digital health. Excitingly, I will now begin generative AI research and development with Professor Adam Dunn.
In a few month’s time, I will finish the Doctor of Medicine program and am eager to see how my digital health pathway evolves as I begin working as a medical officer at St. George hospital in the new year.
How do you define digital health?
My personal definition of digital health is continually evolving as I keep growing and maturing within this field. With my experience so far, I would like to view digital health as a separate arm from the rest of healthcare, which allows me to define it as:
‘The syntheses or advancements of health technologies in the fields of innovation, improvement or implementation, up until the point where the outcomes of the work embeds itself within the usual practices of healthcare.’
After efforts are made to develop the technologies, I no longer view it as digital health once we begin to shift our focus to using the technology within the field. This transition represents a respectful delineation between digital health and ‘general health,’ both of which intersect in areas of research, innovation, and patient care by bringing together different areas of expertise. In an era where technology is ubiquitous, I believe that merging the definitions of digital health with general healthcare strips away the essence of what makes each one so special.
What do you think will enable digital health projects and innovations to succeed?
Firmly understanding where a product fits, both within its specific market as well particular section of healthcare, is crucial for innovations to succeed.
Within the Australian landscape, I feel that we often view upcoming and exciting innovations as the panacea to all healthcare challenges—although this may not always be the case. While we are understandably excited about our work, being able to objectively appraise all aspects of the product will allow us to communicate more effectively with our stakeholders – whether that be our team members, collaborating bodies, or the market we are trying to target.
Additionally, when we appreciate how our innovation fits within the wider scope of healthcare, we enhance our ability to remain receptive to the ever-changing landscape. The acceptance that what we create today will be improved upon by the advancements of tomorrow ensures we remain aware of our surroundings and take advantage of healthcare’s evolution.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing digital health at the moment?
With the above in mind, I believe that one of the biggest current challenges facing digital health is the delayed understanding of rapidly evolving technology within fields that may perceive it to be irrelevant to them.
A fantastic case, of course, is Artificial Intelligence. Some sectors of digital health may not see themselves as directly benefiting from AI technology. However, even if AI doesn’t directly infiltrate their work, the landscape of sectors around them begin to shift, which has an impact on the entire health ecosystem. This may not leave those fields with adequate time to gain appropriate appreciation of the technology, which consequently impacts their optimal functioning.
While AI is obviously just an example, I did wish to labour the point that finding too much comfort in only the immediately relevant technologies is a threat to the early uptake and intelligent innovation paradigms that digital health builds upon.
Do you have any interesting resources or helpful networks people should know about?
Chipping away at my infinite unconscious incompetence is something I strive to do as a way of deepening my breadth of knowledge. Currently, I’m a big consumer of Emily Casey’s ‘What the Health?!’ articles, Peter Birch’s ‘Talking HealthTech’ and the RACGP’s ‘The Good GP’ podcasts, current local information from ‘Pulse+IT’, my curated algorithm from ‘Medium,’ and engaging in communities such as the ‘Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science & Deep Learning’ group on LinkedIn. Looking forward, I am excited to see the rich collaborations that spur from the recent birth of RPA hospital’s Institute of Academic Medicine, as well as discussions surrounding healthcare’s natural evolution with technologies such as Google’s ongoing efforts with Med-PaLM.