MedTech Bites July 2019 – edited by Jeanette Donnelly
NZ Healthtech Week is the time when all stakeholders in the medtech space come together for a week of events that cover different aspects of the NZ medtech ecosystem. The fifth annual Healthtech Week drew 700 participants from NZ and overseas. Here are some of my impressions of the week.
The Health Translation and Clinical Trials Workshop discussed the expertise and initiatives supporting clinical research in NZ. A highlight was the mini tour through some of NZ’s District Health Boards (DHBs) to understand how each is contributing to health innovation. In the south, the new hospital being built in Dunedin provides the opportunity to implement IT infrastructure that effectively supports digital technology use in healthcare. Dunedin also hosts a regional development initiative to create a Centre of Digital Excellence around the use of serious games in healthcare. Further north, Waikato DHB’s gerontology specialist, Prof Matthew Parsons, spoke on the use of AI in predicting the outcome of health events such as stroke, or even a patient’s last 1,000 days of life. Such knowledge provides more effective care to patients while helping healthcare systems with better cost predictions and operational management. Finally, in Auckland, Waitematā DHB’s innovation arm, I3, is starting an “AI Centre” to collaborate with partners on data analytics and machine learning.
The Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence’s annual get-together (MedTech CoRE Day) focused on translating research into clinical use and commercialisation. The panel discussions on the importance of design and end-users in medtech, and perspectives on future healthcare, are featured as this month’s articles. The real value for me was having our partners from the sector share their knowledge and experiences. The opportunity to learn from “war stories” and gain different perspectives from the ecosystem cannot be underestimated. A big thank you goes to our stakeholders who contributed to the day’s success – Uri-Go, Surgical Design Studio, SHI Global, JunoFem, FlexiMap, Mars BioImaging, Clinical Solutions, Precision Driven Health, Well Revolution, Healthvision NZ, and Emerging Health Technologies Group – Ministry of Health.
The 2019 Healthtech Award for Best Translational Research Project went to MARS Bioimaging, a spinout of the Universities of Otago and Canterbury. In partnership with CERN, MARS Bioimaging is developing colour x-ray technology, which opens new avenues in medical diagnostics. It was only a year ago that the first human colour x-rays were collected. This award is part of a competition on MedTech CoRE Day for projects associated with the CoRE, and includes a prize package of travel, regulatory and legal advice, market research, pitching support and industry association memberships to help the winner accelerate their translational journey. Our sponsors this year are Beyond Capital Ltd, NZTE, Anthony Harper, NLY Consulting, MTANZ, HINZ, NZHIT and CMDT. In parallel, the 2019 Healthtech Award for Best StartUp went to JunoFem, which also happens to be one of our newer MedTech CoRE spinouts. The StartUp Award is part of the Innovation & Investment Workshop sponsored by Callaghan Innovation. This workshop is a platform to showcase NZ emerging medtech companies seeking capital and partnerships in the ecosystem.
Women in HealthTech held a breakfast meeting as part of HealthTech Week. Themed Succeed & Thrive, it was a conversation with Dr Sasha Kljakovic (Co-founder, Well Revolution), Dr Juliet Rumball-Smith (Clinical Chief Advisor, Office of the Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health), and Hon. Louise Upston (Member of Parliament for Taupō) around the opportunities and challenges each has experienced in their careers, barriers to diversity and what their organisations are striving for in terms of success for women in the technology, health and wellness sectors.
Dr Diana Siew
CMDT Co-Chair and Associate Director of MedTech CoRE