Researchers receive Brilliant Women in Digital Health Awards

The awards celebrate contributions to digital health and technology across Australia

Two researchers from the University of Wollongong (UOW), Tara Alexander and Ping Yu, have been honored at the 2022 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Awards presented by Telstra Health to celebrate women who find breakthrough digital solutions in the industry.

Tara Alexander is Data Manager and Statistician for the Australasian Rehabilitation Outcomes Center (AROC), headquartered at UOW. She was instrumental in the creation of AROC and created a purpose-built computer system which is used across Australia and New Zealand to track and improve patient outcomes.

Ms. Alexander said: “I am proud of my vision to design and build an online system that enables real-time data collection and uploading and provides live analysis as well as the ability to download analysis reports. comprehensive national comparative. These data can be used to further research on medical rehabilitation and, when used in data linkages, can lead to policy change and advocacy for rehabilitation services.

Professor Ping Yu is the Director of the UOW Digital Transformation Center in the School of Computing and Information Technology. She also leads the Digital Health and Digital Aged Care Group in the UOW Smart Infrastructure Facility.

One of Professor Yu’s contributions to the digital transformation of health and elderly care was a federally approved research report. It served as a springboard for the implementation and improvement of IT systems in care for the elderly.

His work has focused on co-designing, developing and implementing digital health solutions with practitioners and using health informatics education to develop the workforce. of digital health. She has completed over 30 projects working with managers and clinicians, including a mobile application used by the World Health Organization to collect disease surveillance data in Fiji.

Professor Yu said: “In 2002, when I started at the University of Wollongong, I immediately joined the eHealth Initiative. I approached local aged care organizations looking for practice-based projects. »

She remembers the students delivering a fantastic software application for an elderly care organization, but nothing happened after that. The manager regretted that the organization lacks resources and infrastructure to implement our product. This setback motivated Professor Yu to investigate the ability and willingness of aged care workers to use IT to manage care information and to pursue research to promote digital transformation of healthcare and services. elderly care.

“With the widespread use of digital health data capture, my team quickly shifted its focus from the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, for example, machine learning, knowledge graph, and processing from natural language, to secondary analysis of electronic health records. We are co-designing innovative and safe AI tools with practitioners for the improvement of healthcare and elderly care delivery systems and practices,” said Professor Yu.

The 2022 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Awards are designed to raise awareness of the opportunities in the digital health sector and inspire others to follow the example of the winners.

The winners were recognized for their contributions to mentorship, medical research, technology development, improving health outcomes through digital health, and introducing new digital processes to healthcare delivery and care for the elderly.

In Australia, women are significantly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), making up 28% of the workforce in 2021, while the sector’s workforce healthcare in Australia is overwhelmingly female. The digital health sector can pave the way for greater gender diversity in STEM.

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