Clinicians reimagine healthcare in new innovation program


Does waiting at the ER have to be unbearable? Is there a way to destigmatise bowel cancer testing? Can medicine be digital?

To answer these questions, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne has partnered with Swinburne’s Medical Technology Victoria Hub (MedTechVic) and Monash Health to establish a first-of-its-kind Clinical Innovation Fellows Program.

The eight-week program sees a hand-picked group of diverse clinicians, from physiotherapists to gastroenterologists, develop comprehensive proposals to help improve lives. Using design thinking principles, the participants aim to create a tech-enabled solution to a real-life problem in their field of practice.

Innovative new solutions

St Vincent’s Emergency Physician, Dr Hamed Akhlaghi, has drawn on his experience in the emergency department to help inform his project. Through the program he’s looked at developing an information system to help reduce anxiety for patients waiting in ED.

Gastroenterologist, A/Prof John Ding, looked at how to save lives by creating user-centred kits to destigmatise the bowel cancer testing process.

Both doctors are now working towards the next steps to apply their insights.

New innovations to emerge 

The program was designed to take clinicians through the innovation lifecycle, providing them with the skills required to be mentors and advisors within product and process development in industry. Working with industry experts, they explore the best ways to give a clinical perspective and have developed new connections across design, business, manufacturing and engineering.

The graduates have now formed a network of professionals that industry can draw on to craft meaningful, user-centred solutions. This allows them to move beyond solving a single issue to identifying challenges and solutions across the sector.

Demand for the program has already seen an increase in the size of the second cohort. The second group commenced in April with an equally diverse group of clinicians, including a pharmacist, podiatrist and plastic surgeon.