International collaboration in digital health workshop

11 January 2024
The future of digital health
A Digital Health Workshop hosted by the University of Sydney School of Pharmacy, brought together 20 globally-renowned academia and industry experts from the field of digital health.

The conference held on the 24 November 2023 was a collaborative initiative between the Institute of Clinical Pharmacy at Heinrich-Heine University (HHU) Düsseldorf, Germany, the University of Sydney (USYD), and the Lee Kong Chian School (LKC) of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore. 

This one-of-a-kind event, funded by the German Research Agency (DFG), aimed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in Digital Health between Germany, Australia and Singapore.

Faculty and industry experts from Germany, Singapore, and Australia converged to discuss and explore research opportunities in digital health, which would enhance patient-centred care and address healthcare challenges in underserved areas. Participants, representing pharmacy, medicine, and allied health disciplines, engaged in discussions with an aim to elaborate a joint research project and a joint teaching curriculum in digital health.

Key highlights

Professor Parisa Aslani, School of Pharmacy, USYD, co-organised and hosted the workshop. Joined by Professor Andrew McLachlan, they emphasized the vital role of digital health in pharmacy practice and the importance of international and interprofessional collaboration in health care.

The workshop organizers from Germany Dr Emina Obarcanin (HHU Duesseldorf, LKC Medicine, Singapore), Professor Stephanie Läer (HHU) presented a successful integration of eHealth and digital health tools in clinical pharmacy teaching. They showcased a collaborative project with the German Development Agency (GIZ) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, digitally connecting young diabetes type 1 patients in remote areas to the main pediatric diabetology clinic.

Professor Andy Ho, Dr Iva Bojic and Dr Qi Chwen Ong (LKC Medicine, NTU Singapore) presented digital health projects from Singapore, including AI Symbiosis in Digital Health Coaching Study (CADENCE) and Lifestyle Change for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Melissa Baysari, Faculty of Medicine and Health, highlighted the University of Sydney's commitment to digital health education, adopting a faculty-wide approach to integrating digital health content into health professional degrees. Dr Adeola Bamgboie-Ayodele (USYD) presented a new project “Optimizing Virtual Care Technologies between General Practice and Residential Aged Care: a Human Factors Approach.”

Cutting-edge technology: Professor Heiko Spallek, Academic Lead in Digital Health and Health Service Informatics for the Faculty of Medicine and Health showcased groundbreaking devices and technology, Dentroid, which uses miniature robotics and advanced lasers for dental procedures.

Professor Spallek led an expert panel with Dr Katja Beitat, Cicadia Innovation, Ms Alison Choy Flannigan, Legal Expert, and Ms Ira Betz, Industry Consultant, who discussed how to conduct research projects and translate the results into sustainable commercial applications.

Academic exchange and funding opportunities by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) were presented by Associate Professor Ronald Clarke, Mr Nishant Shandilya, Euraxess Australia and New Zealand, presented Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation, emphasising the importance of collaboration of Australia and Singapore with European Union.

This joint international workshop offered a unique platform to exchange ideas, to benchmark, network and create innovative digital health project and curriculum ideas.

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