Wearable devices to help people with chronic illnesses is just one research area being funded by a joint project between Queensland Health, The University of Queensland and the Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

The project provides a coordinated set of scholarships for doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows over five years.

“Converting research learnings into successful real-life initiatives has traditionally been difficult as industry and academia tend to operate quite separately,” says Dr Melanie Haines, who is Education Manager for the Digital Health CRC.

“This project brings these two key players together to turn research into practice without unnecessary delays, and challenges both researchers and health professionals to explore the potential for digital health to change the way we care for ourselves.”

Researchers will be embedded in Queensland Health and its partner organisations where they will work on a set of priority subprojects that require specialised clinical knowledge and then identify ways to transfer insights across the health system.

Acting Deputy Director-General and Chief Medical Officer Prevention Division and Chief Clinical Information Officer Professor Keith McNeil said education and innovation are both important when it comes to digital health.

“COVID-19 has generated new digital opportunities. We plan on retaining these innovative ways of working and further build upon our expertise. This partnership with The University of Queensland and the Digital Health CRC, will mean we are investing in digital health experts who are part of our healthcare system now and for our future.”

Professor McNeil said the valuable research that the students undertake will have a long-lasting positive impact on the way we provide care to Queensland patients.

“We need to empower the entire clinical workforce, from front-line clinicians to health service executives, with the tools and information they need to further improve the health system.

Professor Andrew Burton-Jones from The University of Queensland Business School believes that healthcare services need to adapt significantly to serve patients better. He says digital capabilities are a fundamental part of that change.

“Healthcare services can only make this change if their staff are empowered with the right knowledge and skills. In order for healthcare services to evolve, we need to create new educational programs that enable new roles and new career pathways so that change can occur from within the system.”


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