Clare Morgan joined DHCRC in early 2022 as Research Director. As a PhD-qualified research scientist, Clare brings a mix of research knowledge with commercial acumen. Underlying her broad experience is a desire to work with smart, passionate people who are looking to make a real difference.

Tell us about your background and experience?

I joined DHCRC after 12 years at WEHI (The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute) where I worked firstly as a lab-based scientist before more recently moving to focus on business development and driving commercialisation of early-stage academic research. My undergraduate degree way back when was actually a BA-Journalism degree and I started my career as a cadet journalist at The West Australian newspaper in Perth. I then worked for the WA Fire and Emergency Services Authority taking 000 calls and on radio dispatch while I completed my Bachelor of Science degree. So always, the one constant in all my jobs, has been communication and the need and opportunity to engage with diverse stakeholders.

What is your role at DHCRC?

My role essentially is to develop and implement the DHCRC’s research strategy, oversee our R&D portfolio and create long and enduring partnerships with our participants. This in in turn helps the CRC support and drive projects that deliver tangible value. I firmly believe that data and technology can transform the healthcare system for the better. There are a lot of inefficiencies that can be addressed and improved through the effective use of data and the application of new technologies. But there are some fundamental challenges around data standards and making interoperable systems that we need to address to fully achieve the potential that data represents. An important part of my role, and the entire DHCRC, is to understand these challenges, opportunities and unmet needs where the CRC can create the biggest impact.

Why did you join the DHCRC?

The CRC model really aligns with my values of bringing people together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. DHCRC is here to facilitate collaborative research between our industry and university partners to address industry-identified challenges. It enables Australian companies to build and implement new technologies, healthcare organisations to advance their own processes and university researchers to translate their academic findings into real world impact.

What brings you joy from working at the DHCRC?

Every day involves something new. Every day I get to work with a lot of passionate and knowledgeable people who are leaders in their field and support them to make a difference. It is very stimulating to be exposed to new and exciting ideas on how data and digital technologies can improve the healthcare system in Australia.

What exciting project are you working on now?

A perk of my role is I get to see every project that comes into the DHCRC, so I get visibility of all the exciting work happening. A challenge, and an opportunity for the DHCRC, is that digital health is such a broad term so there are lots of opportunities to make a real difference. But if I had to pick one project that I am really excited about right now it is the Aged Care Data Compare (ACDC) project which is working to develop infrastructure to support benchmarking of quality of care indicators in residential aged care. A lack of standardised data is a major challenge in aged care – and across the healthcare sector. ACDC has demonstrated how data collected for assessment and care planning can be re-purposed if it is collected in a reliable and standard format, it’s all about “collecting once and using many times”. The first two phases of the project were recently completed, and we are close to finalising the next phases, which we are calling ACDC+, which will road test in a real-world residential aged care environment the data standards, interoperability solutions, and quality of care benchmarking capability developed in the original ACDC project.

We know from Aged Care Royal Commission that we need to improve the way we care for people as they age and ACDC demonstrates the importance of unlocking the full potential of routinely collected data on this journey of improvement.

Finally, any secret skills or hidden passions you can share?

I am an enthusiastic cyclist. I have moved on from road cycling to gravel biking. I try to get away to regional Victoria or the Dandenongs as often as I can so that’s where you’ll find me when not behind a desk (or on a Teams call).

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