Networking, Collaboration, and Community: Key Messages from Devices & Diagnostics Lab

Date Posted: 28 March 2019

This BioMelbourne Network event recap was written by Dr Krupesh Patel, PhD Graduate – Department of Pharmacology, Monash University.

The 7th annual BioMelbourne annual Devices + Diagnostics Lab, held on 19th of March, attracted over 150 industry professionals to hear from speakers on the theme “Patient-Centric Medical Technology”

Andrew Wear, the Director of Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals for the Victorian Government, set the scene in his opening remarks on our State’s strengths. With total revenues hitting approximately $21.4 billion in the 2016-2017 financial year, Australia’s biotechnology industry is rapidly growing. However, it will take 3 key elements to maintain such growth – Networking, Collaboration, and Community.

For decades, the health system has functioned relatively unchanged. When a patient is presented with an illness, it is treated in the in most cost effective way possible. This is often at the expense of the patients well being. However, all the presenters believe that this needs to change NOW. We should no longer be focusing on treating a patient’s illness, but rather restore their well being. As Danushi Peiris from CSIRO Futures put it, we need to focus on the value of the treatment, and not the volume it is able to treat. This is beautifully implemented by Dr Rebecca Segrave, and her team at BrainPark. Typically the treatment for addiction is problem focused. But at BrainPark, neuroscientists join with exercise physiologist to adopt a patient-centric approach and treat addiction by changing the addicts lifestyle to improve brain function. Cameron van den Dungen, Chief Executive Officer of Sleeptite, referenced Donald Rumsfeld in saying “we don’t know what we don’t know” reinforcing the importance of networking and finding the “right” collaborations between industry and researchers/clinicians to aid in the success of any idea. In his 5-person team, they are planning to revolutionize mattress technology with a focus on the aged-care market. This would not only be able to help reduce the number of falls in aged care facilities but it would allow for the monitoring of patients in a far less intrusive manner, and also restore the dignity of the aged patients.

In the face of a rapidly growing industry, it is clear that we need to take action now to ensure that we foster this industry growth in a way that is better for patients. This includes focusing on treatment value vs. volume, adopting a more patient-centric approach and treating well being vs. illness, and to find a treatment strategy that restores and empowers the patient.



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