Florey News

Digital health: on the road and in the clinic

We’re often told that we spend way too much time with our heads buried in our devices – smartphones, tablets and computers.

But one Florey researcher, neurologist Professor Chris Bladin, believes our tech can be a force for good.

Chris co-leads the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine program, a ground-breaking technology that has enabled over 90 per cent of Victorians receive treatment within one hour of a suspected stroke. The program has been so successful that it is set to be rolled out nationwide.

Chris is also working with Ambulance Victoria and regional hospitals to trial a new phone-based tool called Pulsara. Pulsara seamlessly connects paramedics attending a stroke call-out with the hospital’s emergency department and associated radiological, neurological or cardiac experts.

By the time the patient arrives at emergency, everyone has seen the patient’s vital stats in advance so the emergency staff are ready to start treatment, shaving over 30 minutes off the time it takes for a patient to receive life-saving treatment. Preliminary results also show that the ambulance crew is back out on the road, on average, 10 minutes earlier.

The importance of this work can’t be underestimated as this sort of technological leap has the potential to improve health care around the world, saving countless lives.

Chris says it’s all about diagnosis, development and distribution. “With the Florey’s clinical expertise an extensive partnerships with tertiary hospitals in Melbourne and around Australia, we aim to develop technologies that will improve the speed and accuracy of diagnoses for all the major brain and mind diseases.

“To do this we will partner with organisations that are experts in developing tools, applications and devices, and ultimately build our in-house capacity.

“Finally, we aim to become a distribution hub for healthcare technologies, becoming the commercial partner that disseminates new technologies, and their applications, through the clinical environment as well as into the community, as we have done with Pulsara.”

Although in its infancy, the team is in discussions with some of the major names in healthcare tech, government and other medical research institutes to develop partnering opportunities.

By the glow of a smartphone’s screen, the future does, in fact, look healthier.