The Gold Coast is emerging as a hub for AI in health – setting the scene for disrupting healthcare globally by enabling preventative medicine and personalising treatment, while significantly lowering costs.
As Griffith University and Precinct-based data-driven technology company Datarwe sign a major new partnership that will securely utilise valuable data to help some of the sickest patients while driving healthcare transformation, we catch up with Datarwe CEO Steve Woodyatt to explore the future possibilities.
The exciting partnership between Griffith and Datarwe will see the university appoint a new Chair in Digital Health and offer five PhD research scholarships to support potentially life-saving research as part of a five-year collaboration, which is supported through a $1.5m Advance Queensland grant to Datarwe.
And it’s just the beginning, according to Steve Woodyatt.
“The cost of healthcare is becoming unsustainable – there needs to be a major change in how we deliver and resource it,” Mr Woodyatt says.
We see an AI-inspired healthcare revolution.”
Research under the partnership will seek to help patients recover from severe injuries and infectious diseases and better manage treatments such as the use of antibiotics, as well as helping hospitals to optimise care through anticipating the right resources at the right time and implementing digital health solutions to personalise patient care.
The collaboration aims to build a world-leading Clinical Data Nexus (CDN), using de-identified patient data from intensive care units (ICU’s), and applying AI and machine learning to help researchers develop critical new predictive and diagnostic tools.
The Datarwe CEO says the partnership will deliver health and commercial benefits, with the goal of translating research into innovative digital health products that can be deployed in healthcare in Australia and overseas.
“What we have is a wealth of data – millions of data points from intensive monitoring of thousands of patients in acute care which requires expert ‘cleaning’ and ‘enriching’ by our team of data scientists so that it is ready to be used for research and development,” Mr Woodyatt says.
“We are not about replacing clinicians but assisting them to make informed decisions at the patient’s bedside. These data-enabled innovations will build upon the talent and expertise in our hospitals giving patients more personalised medical care.
Griffith University Pro Vice Chancellor Sciences, Professor Andrew Smith, says specialist data scientists at the University and Datarwe will come together with Griffith health researchers and clinicians, to maximise the value of the real-world data.
“This data is a rich resource that we can apply in many beneficial ways,” Professor Smith says.
“Our PhD research projects will be targeted to a range of outcomes; from improving recovery for patients with traumatic brain injuries, to better managing ICU resources in infectious diseases outbreaks, helping to predict risks of bacterial infection, and empowering clinical decision-making using medical data processing.
“Our broad research, under the direction of a new Chair in Digital Health, who will be an industry-focused academic and leader in the field, will cover the development of acute, community and population digital health systems that embrace genomics and also aim to personalise care through safe and reliable medical devices and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Important issues of governance, policy, privacy, security and ethics will also be explored.”
The collaboration cements existing ties between Griffith and Datarwe, with the data lab already employing three PhD graduates, including Partnerships Manager Dr Stephanie Chaousis, who also runs health-focused programs for the Queensland AI Hub, and data scientist Dr Tina Nguyen, who has a PhD in Machine Learning.
“There are many current and increasing job opportunities in Data Science and at the same time there are so many resources out there for us to improve our data science skills,” Dr Nguyen says.
“This is one of the main reasons I chose this career and the incredible path it offers, and I love the Gold Coast and appreciate all the new opportunities that this health and innovation hub brings.”
With Griffith University recently ranked No 17 in the world AI Research Index, the highest ranking for a Queensland university, the new partnership is expected to strengthen the appeal of popular courses in the rapidly-growing field.
Globally, the digital health market is predicted to reach more than $660 billion in 2025.
Steve Woodyatt says the goal is harnessing the value of data hospitals already have to both improve patient outcomes and save costs.
“It costs $6,000 per day to have a patient in acute care, with a lot of data collected to directly guide their care – we need to leverage this retrospective data for secondary uses, from decision support tools to precise therapies,” he says.
“There is an ethical imperative to maximise health outcomes.
Through this partnership, and our close links with the Gold Coast University Hospital and other AI companies also locating into the GCHKP, we are well on our way to becoming a world-class hub for digital health.”
Datarwe is established as a public-private partnership with members including Amazon Web Services, KJR, and TechConnect, in partnership with the Queensland Government and Queensland Health.