Digital health: not just for the ‘good at tech’

3 minute read

Leading cardiologist Clara Chow says diversity presents opportunity for tech and digital health provider.

Digital health provides a key opportunity to improve equity and cultural safety across healthcare services, according to Professor Clara Chow, cardiologist, and academic director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre in western Sydney. 

Speaking on the Talking HealthTech podcast with host Peter Birch, Professor Chow said the diversity of western Sydney’s population created challenges for clinicians but also presented opportunities to use technology to bridge equity and accessibility gaps for underserved populations. 

“Working in western Sydney challenges us as clinicians when we’re delivering services to quite a diverse patient population,” she said. 

“Over half of the people living here have other languages as their first language as opposed to English and a lot of people are from diverse backgrounds where money is not easy. 

 “We want to ensure that we’re not just supporting those that are really good at tech. We also have a lot of older people who struggle with not only language but also with all of this new technology. 

“We’ve been very conscious of equity in developing our solutions. We’re constantly consumer testing across a very diverse population to provide all of our programs in multiple languages, customised to the health literacy of individuals.” 

One such solution is Digicuris, a research-driven platform using AI and machine learning to provide personalised, customised health management programs for more than 160,000 patients nationwide across 15 different areas of disease. 

According to Professor Chow, the platform, on track to be released some time this year, incorporated learnings from across years of research, including a more complex AI algorithm evolving from numerous algorithms developed and tested by WARC in the last several years.   

“We’re very excited that we’re able to launch Digicuris this year,” she said. 

“It’s research driven and brings in learnings from all [the] way back to our text message-based, simple and scalable ethos and learnings we’ve got from the multiple different algorithms we’ve developed over time,” she said. 

“From a technology sense, it’ll be strong enough to deliver these complex and personalised programs to loads of people with lots of different health conditions simultaneously across Australia.” 

Professor Chow said WARC researchers were looking to partner with an industry stakeholder to assist with the platform’s implementation. 

“We’re really excited to be able to start building real product from all of our research and that’s how we hope to actually create impact for our patients,” she said. 

“We’re [also] keen to find an industry-level partner that is in the business of delivering things at scale and is aligned with our ethos of supporting many patients with high-quality, evidence-based healthcare. 

“Our solution is integratable to a lot of different platforms out there. We don’t prescribe one way or the highway.” 

The full podcast is available here

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