Strengths, Opportunities, Constraints and Barriers to the Commercialisation of Evidence Based Digital Health Technologies in Australia

January 23, 2019

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ANDHealth is a not-for-profit company that was established in 2017 by a consortium of industry partners.The goal of ANDHealth is to develop a more effective ecosystem to support Australian digital health companies as they navigate the commercialisation pathway to institutional investment and international market entry.


The formation of the organisation was catalysed by the incorporation of and first funding rounds of the Federal Government’s Industry Growth Centres program, specifically MTPConnect.


The organisation’s vision is to leverage Australia’s existing strengths in health and medical research, medical technology and healthcare delivery into the creation of a world-leading, national, integrated ecosystem for the development, commercialisation and implementation of evidence-based digital health technologies in Australia.




The rapid changes driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution(Industry 4.0)1 that are transforming many industries including healthcare presents both valuable opportunities and complex challenges for Australia.


The delivery of healthcare is inherently complex. In Australia our healthcare systems involves a matrix of public and private sector entities, and a highly regulated, risk-aware environment, all focused on delivering world class care at every point in the healthcare journey.


Such a complex system slows the uptake of new technologies and innovation and their transfer to the front lines of healthcare. These challenges are not unique to Australia, however with maintenance of our world-class healthcare system becoming increasingly expensive2, embracing new types of digital healthcare management and treatment tools will be key in the future wellbeing of our population.


Australia is considered a global leader in health and medical research, our citizens are early adopters of new technology, and we have an abundance of innovative ideas, yet we must continue to ensure that we have the optimal environment required to create, build and nurture commercially viable and resilient fast-growth companies in emerging sectors.


There has been significant investment to date by all levels of government in developing core components of the national health and health technology infrastructure, including supply chain interoperability, terminology standards, health identifiers and data repositories, such as the My Health Record system. In addition to fit for purposeregulation, reimbursement and procurement practices and supportive public policies, this infrastructure will contribute to a viable platform for digital health technology commercialisation and implementation.


Thus, Australia now has the opportunity to develop an internationally competitive digital health industry sector, which would complement and leverage our traditionally strong biopharmaceutical and medical device sectors.


However, in order to succeed, there needs to be widespread understanding that the digital health sector goes beyond health information technology and infrastructure, and that digital health is not a subset of the medicaldevices sector. Evidence-based digital health products face a significantly different commercialisation pathway, an evolving regulatory landscape and limited reimbursement potential. In addition, these digital health products require novel commercial models to penetrate risk-averse and budget constrained procurement systems.


In order to fully realise our potential as a global digital health leader we need to build an integrated ecosystem that supports the growth and establishment of this nascent industry. We have experience and capability in doing this as proven by our biopharmaceutical and medical devices industries.



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Globally, digital health is an attractive market for developing new products and services, with the digitalhealth market anticipated to rise at a CAGR of 13.4% between 2017 and 2025, reaching $536.6 billion by the end of 2025.


Organisations and innovators across a number of sectors are contributing to the growth of this industry – including information technology, medical software, informatics, records and practice management, medical devices, life sciences, biotechnology, consumer technology, and increasingly from frontline healthcare service delivery.


This convergence of activity from different sectors acrossthe economy can be difficult for innovators to navigate.


Digital health products need to demonstrate clinicalefficacy, meet stringent quality and regulatory standards and, in addition, need a consumer-tech-like focus on UX/UI and end-user engagement. Beyond the development of the product, digital health companies also need commercial evidence, that can point to real-world validation that the product enhances both clinical outcomes for end-users, but also meets key economic requirements to support a long-term procurement engagement (which differs substantially across jurisdictions). No other sector faces such a complex array of requirements to become a truly global, scalable solution.



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