A broad consortium of organizations, including the University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Murdoch University, have partnered to help develop the WA's first digital health-specific program.

The program will launch in Western Australia after being awarded an X-TEND WA grant from the state government. The pilot of the Digital Health Accelerator will leverage existing programs and locally based expertise, as well as deliver programs currently operating outside WA.

The partnership, which aims to support education programs in digital health commercialization, also includes the Linear Clinical Research, Perron Institute, Lions Eye Institute, Ear Science Institute Australia and Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

The accelerator will include two training programs from digital health commercialisation specialist ANDHealth – Bright Ideate and Bright Innovate – as well as US-based Stanford University's Biodesign innovation process, which will run as a partnership between Perth Biodesign and digital health technology company Curve Tomorrow.

Other training programs include business solutions utilising entrepreneurs of neurodiversity through Apps People and commercialising digital health solutions through Telethon Kids Institute.

"The project will enable a team of innovators to observe unmet clinical needs firsthand here in WA and work up potential digital health solutions," UWA Professor Kevin Pfleger, director of the WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, said in a statement. "The benefit for the community will be improving healthcare for WA patients as well as developing critical skills to support the growing needs of the sector."

Digital healthcare was cited as an area where investment was needed, and a rich source of opportunity to improve the health system and patient outcomes, according to a recent sustainable health review launched by the WA Department of Health.

"By fostering entrepreneurial talent through the Digital Health Accelerator Program, we hope to see more research innovations transformed into commercial technology making a difference to patients throughout our health sector," Murdoch University deputy vice chancellor of research and innovation Professor David Morrison said in a statement.

The announcement comes as health systems across Australia are making investments to improve connectivity and service as part of a larger digital transformation.

In April, networking services specialist NEC Australia announced it would upgrade more than 500 health sites by 2020 for the Western Australia Department of Health, as part of their HealthNext ICT transformation program.

The company had previously been selected to help WA Health transition its wide area network services in metropolitan and regional areas to the GovNet unified communication network.

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