Flinders University has this week launched a new $1.5 million digital health design lab, jointly funded through Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration program.
The lab will examine organisations, technologies and models of care to explore novel ways to leverage data to build better health processes that are safer, more efficient and produce higher quality patient outcomes.
One of the primary research programs will investigate cyber security and privacy measures in hospitals - an area that has at times lagged behind other industries despite the high sensitivity of patient data.
Healthcare consumers are still wary about how digital initiatives like the MyHealth Record and digital prescription services will safeguard data from hackers, insurers and other government departments or service providers.
Those concerns were vindicated last year when German security researchers found hundreds of millions of sensitive medical images being on unprotected, easily accessible servers, including around 2.6 million images in Australia.
In a similar vein, the Digital Health Design Lab will also probe safe wireless networks by developing a standards-driven framework for wireless design and implementation in a potential nod to the growing number of medical devices connected to the internet of things (IoT).
Further research is set to assess the maturity of infrastructure using an international benchmark for technological capabilities in required to support the increasing sophistication of healthcare delivery.
Opportunities to use digital health tools to support the mental health of patients and students will also be featured in the research.
“It will bring together academia, care providers and industry around the big systems challenges in the provision of healthcare,” professor of digital health systems at Flinders and Cisco chair, Trish Williams said.
It will provide insight and leadership on the role of information systems in truly transforming the care process and enabling a more resilient and patient centred healthcare environment.”
Williams, who leads the lab, added that it will be a place for demonstrating practical and scalable outcomes that “support people and process”.
This exciting venture will be driven by industry collaboration and ‘possibility thinking’”.