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Medtech-iQ Aotearoa Update - Oct 2023

Medtech-iQ Aotearoa is gaining momentum with each of the four hubs now partnered with local organisations to initiate a working group for this early-stage development and identify focus areas to progress in the next few years.

Medtech-iQ Tāmaki Makaurau

Working group: AUT, University of Auckland, Callaghan Innovation, Te Whatu Ora Te Toka Tumai and Waitematā, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, Whānau Tahi, and Moana Connect.

Medtech-iQ Tāmaki Makaurau will focus on developing a medical device prototyping centre which will be hosted by the University of Auckland at its Newmarket Innovation Precinct. A Clinical Ideas Generator is also in planning and will be hosted by Te Whatu Ora.

The University of Auckland has committed funding for the hub for the next five years to establish Medtech-iQ Tāmaki Makaurau operations at Auckland Bioengineering Institute. This will anchor the University as a major contributor and lead party in establishing the Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland regional hub, a vital step towards initiating the national connected hub model enabled by Medtech-iQ Aotearoa.

Medtech-iQ Pōneke

Working group: Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University, University of Otago and Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast and Hutt Valley.

Medtech-iQ Pōneke will focus on developing and expanding the shared Simulation and Skills Centre facilities at Wellington Regional Hospital. Opened in 1997, the Centre is a purpose-designed facility suitable for the simulation needs of a wide range of healthcare professionals and researchers, with the ability to provide point of care simulation and training. It aims to improve patient safety through simulation-based education and research. The Centre is key to the Medtech space as it allows for the testing and teaching of new technology in a simulated clinical situation, without the need to compromise patient safety. By upgrading and modernising the centre, it is ensuring its usefulness as research and teaching facility and availability to all Medtech-iQ Pōneke partners and the national ecosystem.

Medtech-iQ Ōtautahi

Working Group: Te Papa Hauora Health Precinct, ChristchurchNZ, Christchurch Health Technology Centre.

The Medtech-iQ Ōtautahi working group have begun developing the foundational elements of their hub – the vision, mission and strategic objectives. The first vision workshop in September brought together stakeholders from tertiary, health and industry. The next step is engaging with Canterbury’s wider health innovation community for further input. There is strong commitment to advancing the sector to ensure we have a well-integrated hub for supporting new ideas and research from concept through to commercialisation and improving health outcomes.

Te Papa Hauora Chair Peter Townsend says the need to better coordinate health tech regionally and nationally is compelling. “Canterbury has proven that working across the health system, and interfacing with key stakeholders and the wider community can make a real difference. There are opportunities to be realised by continuing to facilitate and coordinate health tech innovation locally”.

Medtech-iQ Ōtepoti

Working group: University of Otago, Enterprise Dunedin, Centre of Digital Excellence.

Medtech-iQ Ōtepoti will focus on digital interactive health platforms bringing the gaming sector into HealthTech innovation.

Work has continued on developing digital interactive health (DIH) in Ōtepoti Dunedin. A working group including mana whenua, senior officials, clinicians, researchers and entrepreneurs has been established to support the development of the business case and activities.

“Built on the aspirations of the Dunedin City Council and its partners, including the University of Otago, Te Pūkenga and runaka, the development of digital interactive health combines the strengths of these institutions in education, research, health and entrepreneurship. Along with New Zealand’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) these partnerships will enable an ecosystem which can deliver social and economic benefits locally, nationally and globally”, says Enterprise Dunedin Economic Development Manager Fraser Liggett.

Chair of CODE and the DIH working group Murray Strong says the strength of the DIH working group is in its breadth which has set the foundation for a rapid investment and execution, including from government and commercial operators.

“The involvement of New Zealand’s leading game developers will create a modern, patient-centric experience which will result in benefits to national health outcomes, advances in research and clinical practice as well as commercial and economic growth. The success of which will produce long-lasting legacy benefits for Aotearoa.”

Dr Carthika Luxmanan from the University of Otago’s Research and Enterprise says: “Dunedin is an excellent location to develop a flourishing Medtech-iQ hub given the proximity of key stakeholder organisations; the close working relationships between CODE, the University and Enterprise Dunedin, plus the new digital hospital build, give us a strategic advantage to expand on the DIH space”.

Medtech-iQ Aotearoa was launched early in 2023 to take advantage of the significant growth in medtech in New Zealand over the last 12 years and build on the successful foundations of the Consortium for Medical Devices and Technology (CMDT) partnership.

“Medtech-iQ Aotearoa will build on this momentum, acting as the umbrella entity providing direction, influencing policy, coordinating activities and running programmes that everyone across the country can access,” says Dr Diana Siew, co-lead of the CMDT from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland.

“Medtech-iQ Aotearoa creates a national backbone of linked regional hubs with both physical and virtual places for multi-disciplinary and cross-industry collaboration to develop and deliver new health technology,” says Siew.

Within each regional hub, partners and community work together to coordinate and provide specific expertise into the national ecosystem. They provide a physical and virtual place for multi-disciplinary and cross-industry collaboration to develop and deliver new health technologies.

Digital health coupled with new medical technologies offers a significant opportunity to transition Aotearoa New Zealand’s healthcare from medical facilities such as hospitals, testing laboratories and clinics into the home.

“Medtech-iQ will help manage the growing demand for healthcare, much of it driven by the after-effects of Covid-19. Healthcare users will have more power over their treatment, and inequities and barriers will be lowered for Māori, Pacific, and other marginalised people.

“A patient managing their diabetes from home in Kaitaia or Bluff will be in control. They are less likely to need emergency care or hospitalisation. Their medical costs – to the system and to themselves – will reduce. Social and cultural barriers will be lowered,” says Siew.

Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute is also co-chair of the CMDT with Siew. “This is the time when we must invest in growing our local talent and innovation ecosystem. We have strong centres of research and commercialisation activity with established clinical partnerships across the four main centres. Medtech-iQ Aotearoa brings together those partnerships, capabilities, and infrastructure into one prominent platform to showcase the entire sector to the world.”

Siew and Hunter are confident Medtech-iQ Aotearoa will help attract new partners and funding, foster startups, and create a more diversified MedTech ecosystem.


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