Kate Munnings is a registered nurse, qualified lawyer and a passionate advocate for digital health. She was appointed Chair of DHCRC in February 2022.
Tell us about your background and experience?
I actually started my career as a registered nurse, so I bring that frontline experience to all my roles which I think is an important perspective to have.
Outside of DHCRC, I am currently CEO of a global network of assisted reproductive technology services, Virtus Health. Having started my career in healthcare, like many others I left it to experience different jobs and industries. This included commercial legal practice as a partner at Corrs Chamber Westgarth and BakerMcKenzie, leading legal, risk and corporate governance functions at industrial services company Transfield Services and leading a business that managed complex government contracts across Australia, NZ and Melanesia, also at Transfield Services. After 25 years working outside of healthcare, I returned as COO of Ramsay Health Care and I also spent four years on the Board of South East Sydney LHD. I believe that diversity of experience benefits the healthcare industry and I hope to bring that to my current roles!
What is your role at DHCRC?
As Chair of DHCRC I have the privilege of working with the executive leadership team to ensure we are best positioned to meet our Commonwealth requirements. It is quite a rewarding position as I get to work with super smart people and see some of the most cutting-edge projects currently happening in the digital health space.
What brings you joy from working in digital health?
Firstly, I really hope one day “digital health” becomes simply known as health. It should all just be one and the same. Technology has become so intertwined with the delivery of healthcare that it is hard to talk about the two separately. That is probably what I really enjoy most about working in this space, it is that the technology and innovation is changing so rapidly, and this presents significant opportunities, and challenges. The projects we are working on at DHCRC present such opportunity for clinicians, patients and the health system more broadly. But we need to harness the power of the technology and build the capability of the workforce to be able to really see it through to its full potential.
What are you most excited about looking ahead for the DHCRC?
That we are only halfway through our funding period. What an opportunity we have now as we emerge from the global pandemic that stretched the health system and healthcare workers more than ever before. But, as with many industries, it also showed the power of technology in revamping how we approach care. At the DHCRC we often talk about reimagining the health system and that is not about digitising current paper-based processes but rather it is about redesigning operating models and creating new processes that bring together our knowledge and experience with the power of new technology and innovation to revamp the clinician and patient experience. The DHCRC has a critical role to play: in bringing the right parties together to build and implement the right technologies that solve real-world pain points; in empowering the healthcare workforce to embrace new ways of delivering care; and in finding ways to scale and expand these opportunities to the benefit of all Australians.
Finally, any secret skills or hidden passions you can share?
I have a not so hidden passion for Elton John. I love his music, his unorthodox style and importantly, the impact that the Elton John AIDS Foundation has had in improving the lives of those living with AIDS globally. When I was a nurse in 1980’s I worked in Australia’s first AIDS ward so I saw first-hand how devastating that disease could be and no one has done more to improve outcomes than Elton.