The global pandemic has jumpstarted the advancement of telehealth in Australia. Technology that only two years ago was seen as secondary, is now a necessary and embedded form of healthcare delivery across the entire continent.

COVID-19 not only necessitated the elimination of regulatory barriers to telehealth, but it also helped consumers better understand the technology. This increased uptake is enabling researchers across a variety of fields to explore the vast potentials of telehealth. Associate Professor Rashina Hoda, lead researcher on the Digital Health CRC project, Enhanced telehealth capabilities for improved patient and clinician experiences, is doing exactly that.

Deputy Head of the Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity in the Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University and Deputy Director of the HumaniSE lab, Rashina is passionate about human-centred software engineering. Working on the DHCRC project that commenced late in 2021, Rashina says she is applying her skills to what is essentially an interdisciplinary IT project with a focus on improving healthcare, initially in Victoria.

“We’re focusing on developing user-centred software that improves the telehealth experience for consumers and clinicians, which has now been made a permanent feature of the services delivered through the Victoria Department of Health. My experience in human-centered software engineering will help ensure that we don’t jump straight into a solution mode, but rather, understand the problem first and then follow a ‘technology-pull’ approach.”

Beyond IT and Software Development, Rashina comes to the project with world renowned knowledge of agile project management theory. Skills that will prove highly relevant while managing a cross disciplinary team including researchers from Monash, the University of Melbourne, Victoria Department of Health, Healthdirect Australia, Monash Health and Melbourne Health (Northwestern & Mental Health).

Applying her knowledge of agile project management in creative ways has seen the previously Auckland based researcher further her reputation well beyond the world of IT. Following her appearance at TEDxAuckland in 2019, Rashina has become known to the broader public for her talk, Agile Nations.

Deeply emotive and highly personal, Agile Nations examined the New Zealand Government’s, as well as the broader New Zealand community’s, response to the tragic Christchurch Mosque shootings of March 15, 2019. This idea applies agile techniques to nation building in the most thoughtful and inspiring of ways.

“The TEDxAuckland talk received a lot of love. People have told me they find it inspiring, and a source of positivity. This feedback has been so great to hear. I think my idea of expanding the canvas of where agile values can apply is appealing to many, especially in the agile industry circles including Dr Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, and international agile gurus like Shane Hastie and Sanjiv Augustine.”

Not one to shy away from a national or global challenge, Rashina’s blend of IT expertise and project management acumen makes her just the researcher to lead this vital work. The project will help pave the way for an improved telehealth experience for all; one that focuses on the user and ensures that the technology in question is being driven by the needs of patients, carers, and medical practitioners.

Find out more about the project

The Enhanced telehealth capabilities… project led by Rashina Hoda is a DHCRC project focused on enhancing telehealth delivery and user-experience for palliative care and mental health services. Find out more…

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