Digital Health Chair plans new wave of innovation for SA

Anthony Maeder
Professor Anthony Maeder is one of Australia’s leading experts on digital health technologies.

Australia’s first Chair in Digital Health Systems says he will make South Australia a world leader in healthcare innovation by spearheading Flinders University research into a mind boggling array of smart and interactive technologies.

And with the recent signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on Digital Health, which establishes ongoing financial support for the Australian Digital Health Agency, Professor Anthony Maeder has joined Flinders at an opportune time.

Professor Maeder, whose position is supported by a South Australian Government Premier’s Research and Industry Fund is the brains behind the Western Sydney University’s TeleHealth Research and Innovation Laboratory (THRIL).

He plans on taking ‘machine learning’ concepts developed at THRIL to the next level at Flinders by making use of advanced devices to monitor the health of the aged at home, alongside interactive assistive systems including avatars and chat bots.

“At Flinders, we will initially focus on the ‘smart home for health’ and ‘online healthcare’ areas, striving to achieve a greater degree of integration and interoperation of complex sets of systems components,” said Professor Maeder.

“This technology has the potential to transform the healthcare environment of some of our most vulnerable citizens and will put Flinders University and South Australia at the centre of an innovation storm in digital health systems.”

Through its Medical Device Research Institute and Medical Device Partnering Program, Flinders’ internationally recognised expertise in health technologies will be the perfect foil for Professor Maeder to do exactly as he promises.

“This is an incredibly exciting time to join other world class researchers at Flinders, who are already making exciting breakthroughs in healthcare innovation supported by some of the best computing and engineering resources in Australia,” he said.

“Digital health is an area where the interface between human and computers is broadening and it’s an extraordinary time to be working in this field.”

Professor John Coveney, Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Flinders, said Professor Maeder would bring innovation in digital health research to a level not seen before in South Australia.

“Aged care in particular is an area that he will be able to work collaboratively with our industry partners, government and internal stakeholders to lead the way in South Australia and indeed Australia,” said Professor Coveney.

Medical Device Research Institute Director, Professor Karen Reynolds, said Professor Maeder’s internationally acknowledged expertise in health informatics and background in software engineering would be a tremendous addition to Flinders’ existing programs and activities.

Professor Maeder’s work will form part of a new Flinders Centre for Digital Health Technologies, which is supported by funding from the South Australian Government and from the international technology company, Cisco Systems.

About Professor Anthony Maeder

Professor Maeder joins Flinders from Western Sydney University, and was previously Research Director of the CSIRO eHealth Research Centre in Brisbane from 2004-2008. Before that, he was Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Ballarat and subsequently at Queensland University of Technology’s School of Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering. His earlier appointments were at Monash University in the Department of Computer Science, where he undertook his PhD in Software Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society.  He is currently a member of the Standards Australia IT-14 Health Informatics Committee. He was a Board Member of the Health Informatics Society of Australia and their representative on IMIA WG1 (Education) until 2010. Professor Maeder was president of the Australasian Telehealth Society in the period 2010-2012, and joined the Governing Board of the International Society for Telemedicine and eHealth in 2013. He holds appointments as Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Information Systems at Rhodes University, and Honorary Professor in the School of Nursing and Public Health at University of KwaZulu-Natal. In 2015 he was appointed as the Fulbright Distinguished Professor in Life Sciences and Agriculture at Kansas State University. His numerous research areas related to eHealth and Telehealth include health software, web and mobile computing, data mining, digital image analysis, sensors and wireless systems, human factors and human-computer interaction. He is currently leader of the eHealth Research Group at Western Sydney University, where he founded the Telehealth Research and Innovation Laboratory (THRIL) in 2010.





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