The future of healthcare: From connected care to biofabrication

By HISA Director for Advocacy and Leadership, Dr Josie Di Donato

In a State as geographically dispersed as Queensland, it’s not surprising that connected care was the theme that featured in HISA Queensland’s first event for 2017.

Connected care is broad and all-encompassing. It ranges from having connected smart homes through to connected people.

Gone are the days of video cameras planted in your home watching your every move. Today, off-the-shelf environmental sensors (e.g. motion sensors) can be used to give us information about the health and well-being of older persons living in their own home so that they can continue to live there as long as possible. Even wearable sensors are passé.

Supporting people ‘wherever they are” and with whatever technology they prefer to purchase and use was the call to action.  In order to truly achieve connected care for individuals, homes and organisations, technology platforms need to be standards based.

Where standards have not been formulated or in progress, there needs to be a willingness by product developers to partner.  When product compatibility is no longer a barrier then we will achieve the bigger picture goal of person-centred care. Without this we are just talking about it and not really doing it.

Smart Homes event attendees included: Hugo Leroux (QLD committee), Dr Qing Zhang (speaker Senior Research Scientist, The Australian E-Health Research Centre, CSIRO), Mark Brommeyer (chair QLD committee), Lisa Capamagian (speaker, Corporate Development Manager, Tunstall Healthcare), Dr Sean Powell (speaker, BioFabrication Institute, Queensland University of Technology.)

Turning to the pointy end of healthcare – our hospitals. What will they look like in the future when biofabrication becomes mainstream? Yes—this is a term you may not have heard before but you will hear more about it once it begins to disrupt and transform clinical practice and surgical technique in a significant way.

Biofabrication is the use of 3D printing to combine cells, gels and fibres to produce tissues and organs that can replace a diseased or injured tissue.  So why is this so exciting? Healthcare is very personalised and because of this it is high cost and labour intensive. Those not keen on technology in healthcare argue that technology is not a good fit with the human interactive component of healthcare because automation is not personalised.

Technologies such as biofabrication promises to chip away at this argument, showing how technology can be a superb enabler for better healthcare. Watch this space!

Entrepreneurs and forward thinking over breakfast

Following the State Branch event, we had the Queensland breakfast series “moving into 2017”. HISA’s resident entrepreneur Dr Martin Seneviratne made the following three predictions: technology-enabled self-care (a nice segue from the discussion the evening beforehand); artificial intelligence that informs both individual and the care of populations and data convergence. The CIO of Children’s Health Services, Alastair Sharman, added to this list, clinical leadership and  person-centred care (another segue).

Our efforts moving forward in 2017 and beyond needs to be about truly changing our fixed mindset to a “growth and change” mindset.

Find out more about Queensland branch HERE.

The next Queensland branch event is a Strategy session with HISA CEO Dr Louise Schaper on Monday 27 March. REGISTER here.