Five minutes with Associate Professor Simon Poon

Home/Blog/Five minutes with Associate Professor Simon Poon

Five minutes with Associate Professor Simon Poon

This month we spent five minutes with Associate Professor Simon Poon. Simon is an Associate Professor in the School of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and IT; Program Director, Master of Health Technology Innovation, Master of Data Science (Acting); Co-Chair, Health & Wellbeing Research Cluster, China Studies Centre.

Can you please tell us about a day in your life?
A typical weekday starts with me getting up early, having a quick breakfast, making my take-away coffee, and sending my eldest daughter to school sports training by 7am. I then have a long 30km drive to university and typically listen to ABC news or catch-up with American politics by podcast.  Once at work, I spend my day answering emails, following up on projects, meeting my PhD and Honours students, attending meetings, preparing class material, teaching and administrative duties. I also allocate time to plan for, and progress in my research. I am currently Associate Professor at the school of Computer Science (formerly School of Information Technologies from 2001, and before that Department of Computer Science where I completed my undergraduate education). I am also the Director of a multi-disciplinary program called Master of Health Technology Innovation. I became a Digital Health enthusiast in 2008 when I took my first sabbatical at Boston University; I was encouraged by a professor suggesting I spend a bit of time learning something different to my own discipline in Information Technology. I took the opportunity to enrol as an external student to study advanced biostatistics and epidemiology at Boston Medical School every Tuesday over several months. I later completed the remaining credits at the University of Sydney and was awarded a Master of Public Health in 2009. In the past 2 years, I have devoted my time to teaching health technology evaluation and studying the impacts of electronic medication systems in hospitals, therefore I also spend time visiting hospitals to meet with research students as well as to collect data. 

How do you define digital health?
Based on what I have read from the FDA, the broad scope of digital health technology includes categories such as mobile health (mHealth), health information technology (IT), wearable devices, telehealth and telemedicine, and personalized medicine. For me, I would like to focus on the study of how digital health technologies is being used and applied to enable us to achieve better health outcomes. The enabling potential of digital health influence on our health and wellbeing at a personal, social, organisational, industrial and economy levels.

What do you think will enable digital health projects and innovations to succeed?
Being a Director of a multi-disciplinary program, I think success in digital health projects are strongly linked  with:

  • multi-disciplinary skillsets beyond medical and technical knowledge
  • learning culture of experimentation and integration of know-how
  • open-mindedness to share successes as well as mistakes
  • an environment of recognising the diversities of views and solutions
  • strong commitment to evaluation and change
  • willingness to take risks and to innovate

Have you come across any surprises or challenges along the way?
Having the opportunity to supervise (and co-supervise) students from a variety of disciplines,  I have been surprised at how different we formulate our ideas and measure progress due to our disciplinary knowledge and experiences, and how eager we are to diversify our research footprints.

Do you have any interesting resources or helpful networks people should know about?
I currently serve on the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) NSW executive committee. Members in HISA are diverse including health informaticians, clinicians, researchers, technologists and healthcare business practitioners, with a number of special health informatics interest groups like cybersecurity, clinical informatics, nursing informatics, health UX, digital hospitals and precision medicine.  I also find some state branch seminars and webinars are quite useful.

Simon is co-convening the Research Open Day: Digital Health Research and Multidisciplinary Collaboration on Monday 10th December, 2018.

A very big thank you to Simon for being or November feature! 

By | 2018-11-28T09:26:46+00:00 November 26th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment

Skip to toolbar