Australia’s first digital health ecosystem has just launched in Melbourne as part of a global effort to break down silos and drive innovation across the health and social care sectors.
Hosted by RMIT University, the Melbourne Ecosystem will form part of the European Connection Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) - a global network operating in 78 countries.
The ECHAlliance is made up of over 16,500 health experts from across government, healthcare providers, researchers, insurers, patient groups, investment groups and start-ups, making it part lobby group and part think tank.
RMIT became involved in the initiative through its Barcelona hub, RMIT Europe, following a joint symposium last year with ECHAlliance on how healthcare providers can leverage digital technologies to provide for an ageing population.
This year, the two delivered a forum on blockchain and health as part of Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress.
Director of researcher partnerships and initiatives at RMIT, Clare Russell, said the new Melbourne Ecosystem extends the university’s existing relationship with ECHAlliance while also providing significant international collaboration opportunities to RMIT’s current partners and networks.
“Our research and innovation priorities in health innovation will support the growth of the Melbourne Ecosystem – bringing together the right people for true transformation in the sector,” Russell said.
"The Melbourne Ecosystem will engage with ecosystems across the world, further providing knowledge exchange opportunities for Australian researchers, health providers and community groups.”
Russell added that the university is well positioned to host the ecosystem based on its history focusing on design-led solutions for health and social care.
"This is evidenced through the Health Transformation Lab, RMIT’s membership to the Digital Health CRC and ANDHealth, the Future Social Services Institute and our participation in the Aitkenhead Centre for Medical Discovery – all facilitating innovative, patient-centred design," she said.
ECHAlliance’s director of ecosystems and memberships, Andy Bleaden, said the Melbourne Ecosystem comes at a time of significant growth in digital health systems internationally.
"We already have 34 thriving ecosystems in Europe and beyond – developing and driving healthcare transformations and breaking down silos as well as providing new economic opportunities," he said.
"As our global ecosystem network grows, so do the connections for our members.
"We very much welcome the launch of the Melbourne Ecosystem, which is kindly hosted by our partner RMIT University."