ANDHealth today welcomed comments made by Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, presenting at the HLTH conference early this morning.

HLTH KEYNOTE DEBRIEF | The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, Commonwealth of Australia | Federal Government Leadership in Healthcare Innovation & Public Health

October 16, 2020: ANDHealth today welcomed comments made by Minister for Health, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, presenting at the HLTH conference early this morning.

Australia is open for digital health investment and the government wants to stand as co-investor, said the Minister.

“There are major investments in digital technology to be opened up shortly, and these are opportunities for co-investment between government and the private sector, not just in research but in commercialisation and translation.”

HLTH is the world’s fastest growing health technology conference and attracts over 5,000 senior leaders from across the global health ecosystem. This year’s event has been delivered virtually with speakers including the CEO of Phillips, the President of Walgreen and the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.

The Federal Government is already backing health investment with the $500m Biomedical Translation Fund and the Medical Research Future Fund, which reached $20bn in market investment in May.

ANDHealth Founder & CEO Bronwyn Le Grice noted, “The leadership of the Australian Government, and Minister Hunt in particular, in transforming the healthcare landscape in Australia in response to COVID, but also in creating a legacy of lasting change in the way we deliver care, has been exceptional. We now stand as one of the leading COVID-safe nations in which companies from around the globe can undertake digital health research, development and commercialisation.”

Hunt says one of the principle areas for the MRFF is translation, for which $1.5bn has been set aside and $300m of that is directly related to commercialisation; $45m of that is for BioMedTech Horizons program, administered by MTPConnect.

Le Grice commented “The Minister’s keynote outlined key strengths of the Australian health and medical research, development and commercialisation ecosystem. The reference to future funding for translation and commercialisation for the digital health sector will provide a much needed boost to this emerging growth sector for Australia and will accelerate the ability of Australian digital health companies to deliver technologies to patients in Australia and across the world.”

The Minister encouraged investors outside Australia to take a look at the country’s companies and ideas. He says R&D tax changes, alongside government funding and a national telehealth system, creates opportunities for services delivery and maintains Australia as a market into which investment can and should flow.

“This is the moment when the promise, the potential has become the reality and indeed the expected means of delivery in Australia,” Hunt said at HLTH.

He says universal telehealth “is here to stay” with services rising from 300,000 a year before the pandemic to 33m delivered today, thanks to regulatory and funding changes made over 10 days in March.

Australia is now a world leader in the provision of digital health, driven by organisations such as the Digital Health Agency, Hunt says.

‘The promise of digital health has been manifested in a transformative reality,” he said.