The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s history goes back to 1830, with the fledgling Australian colony’s sick, crammed into a humble cottage.
After public outcry for better health resources, funds were slowly collected, by public and private donations. In 1846 the first stone of the new Hospital was laid and quickly began to fill hospital beds. By 1856 the Royal Melbourne Hospital had 300 beds.
The hospitals began training medical students from 1864, nurses from 1890 and later allied health services. In 1885 the first speciality department was established. In 1889 the first Florence Nightingale trained nurse was appointed, and in 1892 the first students from the nurses school graduated. The Royal Melbourne Hospital was on it’s way to into Australian history, linking research, caring for the sick and educating generations of health professionals.
Fast forward to a rainy evening on the 24th of November, 2016. The old Intensive Care Unit of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, that had seen many sick people fight for their lives, including the brave police woman Angela Taylor had moved to more modern quarters, leaving the second floor hospital space bare.
A new Health Startup Lab had quickly taken advantage of the empty space and proximity to medical research and hands-on patient care. A group called Startup61, founded by Chris Kommatas is running a series of pitch events, encouraging fledgling companies to gain confidence and grow their network.
Groups of doctors, technology experts and allied health staff are talking excitedly over empty hospital beds, explaining how new technologies can help reform the 21st Centuries costly and mismanaged health system. Apps that can replace antiquated paging systems with secure and accurate communications. Data specialists who have developed platforms to track
and monitor research projects on brain injuries. Low cost 3D printing companies that are eyeing off the exploding health market place. Smart shirts that can monitor poor back posture. The tired Intensive Care Ward was lit up with excitement and bright ideas.
Would the founders of Victorian health reform have approved? Absolutely.
Despite a veneer of respectability and conservatism, the history of hospitals is build on controversy over research, medical trials and reform, versus traditional practices and covering up errors.
Rather, ten times, die in the surf, heralding the way to a new world, than stand idly on the shore. – Florence Nightingale.
The vision of Startup61 is to drive identification of ‘actionable health challenges’, provide robust clinical validation, and speed time to market. The group has partnered up with the CSIRO, the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the Business Development section of Melbourne Health, the body that now runs the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The November event was run in conjunction with the Convergence Science Network. This group engages with the community about developments in science, and inspires business and governments to take advantage of the opportunities new technology is bringing.
So here are the pitches.
Cardiohab – Cardiac rehab on the go, an easy-to-use app where you can record your blood pressure, weight, symptoms. It links to a wide range of blue tooth enabled devices. This information is sent Doctors who review the data and call patients to discuss their progress. This was developed to overcome the high numbers of people failing to complete cardiac rehab after major surgery like Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts. The technology used is SaaS. Cardihab came out of research developed at the Commonwealth Science & industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Medtasker – is an integrated care coordination platform for doctors and nurses in hospitals. It was created by two Doctors, to overcome substantial problems with the current use of pagers in hospitals. Most doctors are currently using the popular but not government approved ‘WhatsApp’ to share vital patient information. Medtasker allows clinicians to assign themselves to a role, contact other staff, acknowledge tasks and log with they are completed.
Broodly – is a pregnancy communication system for couples, still in development.
Backup – is a smart shirt concept designed to give feedback on good posture for people at risk of back problems.
Niesm – is a non invasive epilepsy monitoring system, based on a wrist wearable device, linking to cloud-records, alerts for medical staff and an algorithm to help predict future events. It has a large management team from both the USA and Australia.
Pronto – is a dental practice platform
RedUnyen is a platform to automate and increase the efficiency of research projects. It can be used for sports programs and medical research.
SkinView – Provides instant, accurate analysis of any skin spot, anywhere, anytime and for free, with optional second opinion confirmation for a small fee. Co founder James Freeman, founder of GP2U, doctor, serial entrepreneur.
VirtualHealthcare – a pre and post surgical communication system.
Zoetic Smart – a mirror for aged care
Better Caring – Started in 2014 in Sydney, the platform links people looking for quality carers, and carers looking for work.
Ultimaker – a Dutch 3D printer company which was founded in 2011 by Martijn Elserman, Erik de Bruijn, and Siert Wijnia. They sell a range of products including a fully hackable DIY 3D printing kit. The company is looking into the medical space.
It was a great night. Health reform need inspired and committed people. It also needs to be kept in touch with the reality of caring for very sick people. Creating up a Health Startup Lab in an Intensive Care ward of Melbourne’s oldest hospital, is a wonderful way to bring the latest in technology and daily life in the hospital together.
© Wikihospitals 24th November, 2016.