Flinders joins Finland’s Digital Health Revolution

Flinders University's Associate Professor Niranjan Bidargaddi (right) with Digital with Health Revolution Initiative of Finland's Dr Miikka Ermes.
Flinders University’s Associate Professor Niranjan Bidargaddi (right) with Digital Health Revolution Initiative of Finland’s Dr Miikka Ermes.

Have you ever wondered how much information about your health is being collected by doctors, pharmacies, laboratories, and even grocery stores?

Understanding the best way to relay personal health information back to the public to improve their health and wellbeing is an emerging research trend which Flinders University, together with Finnish researchers, is currently exploring.

Flinders researchers have joined forces with the Digital Health Revolution of Finland Initiative – a €6 million (AU$8 million) strategic investment by the Finnish Government for industries and researchers to collaborate and identify ways to coordinate future health services by promoting the central role of consumers in managing their own health.

Flinders University e-Health expert, Associate Professor Niranjan Bidargaddi, said Flinders and the Digital Health Revolution Initiative will jointly develop mobile apps and web services over the next few years that “visualise consumers’ health data”, thereby allowing them to gain better understanding of their health.

Associate Professor Bidargaddi said Australia has invested significantly on a national personal health record system that allows individuals to control and make use of their health data, with SA leading the way.

He said the University is currently developing methods to communicate the complex health information contained in Australia’s personal health record system to consumers in a simplified way.

“Health data is typically expressed in a form that is intended to be understood and interpreted by trained healthcare professionals,” Associate Professor Bidargaddi, whose position is co-funded by Country Health SA, said.

“At Flinders, we are designing applications that present complex health data back to individuals in a manner that is not only easier to interpret but could also help them to adopt healthier lifestyles and improve their wellbeing,” he said.

Digital Health Revolution Initiative of Finland representative Dr Miikka Ermes, who visited Flinders in August, said Finland was undergoing a transition from an information and communication technologies manufacturing past to a service-based economy, which “calls for new ways to organise society”.

Director of the Digital Health Revolution Initiative of Finland, Maritta Perälä-Heape, said the Finnish researchers were “excited” to partner with Flinders: “South Australia is a unique place to demonstrate significant the impact of citizen-centric ICT based services can have on personal health and wellbeing.”

Flinders University Professor Michael Kidd, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Flinders embraces new innovations in population health, primary care and prevention of diseases. Collaboration with the Digital Health Revolution Initiative of Finland is a great way to get insights into this area.”

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