The flagship University event was held at the Charles Perkins Centre on 11 February, showcasing the work of Sydney's eHealth innovators, alongside an inspiring international keynote and plenary talks from global leaders in digital health.
Now in its second year, the conference nearly doubled its registrations from last year, drawing a diverse crowd of clinicians, researchers and Local Health District (LHD) representatives.
In the opening address, Professor Robyn Ward, Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Medicine and Health set the tone for Sydney's future as leaders in digital health, announcing the establishment of a new Discipline of Bioinformatics and Digital Health and the appointment of Associate Professor Adam Dunn as the Head of Discipline.
We’re really pleased that Adam is joining us here. We see this as something that will improve the way we train our health students.
"Four to five years from now we're going to see people graduating who are as equally skilled in identifying various parts of the body in an MRI scan as they are at engaging in eHealth", she said.
She drew attention to the amazing potential for eHealth innovation to reduce inequities and deliver personalised care, but also acknowledged some of the key challenges we face in applying digital innovation to the routine healthcare system.
“It’s going to take a long time, but I think every year we see more progress. At the end of the day we're seeing movement in eHealth, which is really beginning to show transformations in healthcare and that’s what we want to see,” she said.
Acknowledgement of human behaviour and the unwillingness to accept new technologies and new ways of working was a common theme for discussion throughout the event, but both Professor Robyn Ward and Professor Heiko Spallek, Academic Lead in Digital Health and Health Service Informatics for the Faculty of Medicine and Health, were optimistic about Sydney's role in shaping the future healthcare workforce.
"Tomorrow's clinicians not only need to be prepared to use data and informatics, I think they must also be prepared to develop and shape the technology of the future, and this connects quite well with the strategy of the Faculty of Medicine and Health."
We want to teach data science and digital health on par with anatomy and physiology for all of our pre-license students and up-skill the existing workforce to meet the challenges ahead.
And to that end, Professor Robyn Ward pledged the newly formed faculty's commitment to taking the necessary steps to achieve that.
For early registration information please join the Digital Health and Informatics Network on their website.