It’s Up To Us To Make This Happen

Posted on: Sunday, 25 August 2019 at 9:49:48 PM

Article from the AICC(WA)’s AICC(WA)’s Innovations in Healthcare Annual Event 2019 featuring Minister for Health Roger Cook MLA, speaking on the topic “New Horizons for Health Research and Innovation in Western Australia” and featuring Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken AC.

This event was held at the Duxton, Perth on 22 August 2019.

From L to R - Professor Paul Watt, Director, Research Services & Innovation, Telethon Kids Institute, Ms Rebecca Tomkinson, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service - Western Operations, Mr John Cluer Chief Executive, Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA), Dr David Russell-Weisz, Director General, Department of Health, Professor Peter Klinken AC, Chief Scientist of Western Australia and Professor Gary Geelhoed Executive Director, Western Australian Health Translation Network

 

A large and cohesive Health and Medical Innovation AICC(WA) trade delegation to Israel was hosted in May 2019, led by Deputy Premier and Minister for Heath and Mental Health, Hon Roger Cook MLA.

Minister Cook alongside delegation participants shared their experiences and learnings, with a focus on further health research and innovation sector development for Western Australia. 

In addition to outlining government policy, including a digital health strategy to support health research and innovation, Minister Cook outlined the economic benefits associated with commercialisation.  The Minister has also established a Precision Health Council to provide advice to government regarding new and emerging technologies to enhance disease prevention and more effectively treat conditions. 

Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Minister for Health; Mental Health, Member for Kwinana, Government of Western Australia

 

Describing his Israel experience as “inspiring and insightful”, Minister Cook expressed an appreciation of what could be achieved, noting the power of human capital in Israel.  He spoke in awe of examples inclusive of the Rambam Healthcare campus subterranean carpark that could be rapidly converted into a 2,000 bed hospital in the event of a mass casualty incident.  He described the facility as “an amazing piece of infrastructure”.   

Translating the Israel experience into a local context, the Minister noted the closeness and willingness of the health research and innovation sector in Israel to work together.  Some of the observations made were;

  • A “no fear of failure” culture can be adopted. The delegation observed the Israeli concept of “flearning”, which equates to failing and learning, prior to trying it again.  Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken later drew an analogy between this culture and the Australian virtue of “having a go”.
  • The courage and freedom to take risks should not be stifled by funding models and requirements. The Israel example showcased models where the decision making risks were not tied to the terms of funding.
  • The continual development of health research and innovation hubs in Western Australia can be modelled on the Israel experience.

The role of data is a critical element.  Minister Cook noted that accumulated data from across two decades of EMR (Electronic Medical Record) activity was the basis of driving new research and innovations in Israel.  One area of collaboration that will be further developed from the delegation will be the ability of the WA health system to learn from Israel’s EMR and digital health landscape.  In return, Israel will be given insights into the cost and pricing models and structures that are used in Western Australia’s health system. 

To rapturous applause, Minister Cook challenged industry across all sectors in Western Australia to shake the tag of geographic isolation.  Israel develops its industry with a global approach from the outset.  The Minister noted that Western Australia is a gateway to Asia, the most densely populated region of the world, within our same timezone.  He also noted we are a front door for Australia to emerging African markets.   “Now is the time to develop our wares and present our capabilities to the world.” 

Whilst governance is important, it is what sits underneath that makes the difference.  Minister Cook said “It is the eco-system itself that has to produce the innovation.  Israel does not wait around for others to do it. Through necessity they do it themselves.  WA is the same.  We are no more than a six hour flight to 1.2 billion people.  It is up to us to make this happen.”

Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Minister for Health; Mental Health, Member for Kwinana, Government of Western Australia and Professor Peter Klinken AC, Chief Scientist of Western Australia

Professor Paul Watt, Director, Research Services & Innovation, Telethon Kids Institute, Ms Rebecca Tomkinson, Chief Executive Officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service - Western Operations, Professor Gary Geelhoed Executive Director, Western Australian Health Translation Network and Professor Peter Klinken AC, Chief Scientist of Western Australia

 

Professor Gary Geelhoed, Executive Director WAHTN, and Professor Peter Klinken AC, WA’s Chief Scientist shared dialogue and were later joined by Paul Watt, Director of Research Services and Innovation, Telethon Kids Institute and Rebecca Tomkinson, CEO at the Royal Flying Doctor Service WA.  They shared further delegation experiences and open dialogue.

Professor Klinken discussed the role of Government in Israel, and specifically how his Chief Scientist counterpart in Israel funds innovation alongside assuming a share of risk.  He observed open source innovation across multiple industry sectors, the removal of Government imposed Intellectual Property barriers, and the placement of multiple chief scientists across government agencies and departments.  “Entrepreneurship is a natural extension of innovation for Israeli researchers, and data is the new gold.”  

There is no doubt that the delegation returned with what Professor Geelhoed described as “a great sense of self-belief and a shared goal to continue to work together”.  Under the Minister’s leadership and with collaboration from across the delegation alumni, Western Australian health research and innovation will develop new capabilities and opportunities.

 

 

 

 Dr David Russell-Weisz, Director General, Department of Health

 

Professor Gary Geelhoed Executive Director, Western Australian Health Translation Network and Hon Roger Cook MLA, Deputy Premier of Western Australia, Minister for Health; Mental Health, Member for Kwinana, Government of Western Australia

 

Back to Search Results