Deakin University has unveiled a new institute for health transformation, bringing together more than 200 multi-disciplinary researchers and industry partners to address the complex healthcare challenges of today.
Speaking at the recent AFR Healthcare Summit, Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation Inaugural Director Professor Anna Peeters said the first of such an institute in Australia aims to integrate translational research in prevention and population health, health systems and services, health economics and financing, as well as data intelligence and digital health.
“We need to look into how we can design systems so that we can both improve population health and at the same time, improve patient experience and reduce healthcare costs per person,” she said.
“From a research perspective, we need more research into knowledge translation and implementation research. We know what makes people more well and what treats conditions, but know less well how to organise the systems to get the best patient experiences and patient outcomes in the most experienced ways.
“The Institute for Health Transformation was created to try and fill some of those gaps.”
The vision for the Institute for Health Transformation is to work together across different levels of partnerships – industry, governments and academia – to transform health and care.
“There is a need to place solutions in a more systemic context and this context is much broader than the healthcare industry alone. We need to integrate multiple, relevant partnerships to identify these potential solutions; we don’t do it well enough yet. And we need to do it using our available resources efficiently,” Peeters said.
According to Peeters, this results in a more integrated approach to research themes, as opposed to siloed and traditional perspectives.
“It’s not a traditional research model; it’s not a traditional health model, nor is it a traditional government model. This integrated approach brings about a capacity for agile partnerships,” she said.
“And putting the person at the centre of this is critical, whether it’s to optimise transitions in care, activate healthy populations and communities, improve health services delivery and design, or drive equity and impact.”
To do that, Peeters said the institute needs strong capabilities in data and digital health, health economics, systems approaches and knowledge translation research.
“To fulfill the needs of a healthcare ecosystem that we’re trying to develop, there needs to be a beneficial research ecosystem. The traditional ways of research just aren’t going to work for these issues or the modeling, commercialisation and scaling of these solutions,” she said.
“The Institute for Health Transformation is an agile manner to take the solutions identified further.”
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Peeters also said that the creation of this institute will result in the need for a newer research workforce.
“There will be a need for people who have skills across multiple sectors, multiple disciplines and those with a focus on capacity building and development. That’s not how people are currently trained.”
She also said that the clinical data that currently exists needs to become more easily available.
“The data isn’t easily liked, it’s not easily analysed. There are a lot of protection issues that exist and a lack of official systems around how we do data IP, data sharing, etc. So, how can we free that up and develop it in a comprehensive way?
“These are going to be quite critical in creating a proper framework and getting the most out of our research ecosystem.”