SYDNEY, April 13 (Xinhua) -- A Digital Health Cooperative Research Center (CRC) at a cost of 50 million Australian dollars (156 million U.S. dollars) was launched in Sydney on Friday to streamline data and improve healthcare services across the country.
Partnered with 50-member organizations and 16 universities, the initiative is part of a government program that promises to match funding of an organization that is able to gather a collective of industry and universities together to focus on a specific industry problem.
"In our case, we will focus heavily on applied research and development to improve healthcare," Digital Health CRC chief executive officer David Jonas told Xinhua.
"We are focused on the use of technology, data and science to improve wellness and preventive healthcare, as well as aged care and disability services."
Australia's aging population is at much greater risk of developing chronic and degenerative diseases which are difficult and expensive to treat.
Obesity along with Type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically and some experts fear the health system may not be able to keep up.
Representing 10 percent of GDP, Australia already spends around 170 billion Australian dollars (132 billion U.S. dollars) in its healthcare budget every year and Jonas is concerned that the figure will continue to increase rapidly if nothing is done.
"The system is splitting at the seams and it's too complex for patients and their families, for health professionals, for industry, and for government," he said.
"Healthcare data is a really important part of that but it's also about using technology and innovation at a consumer level through computer and mobile applications."
By streamlining the system and creating new companies and products for global markets, Digital Health CRC believes they can save the Australian healthcare system around 1.8 billion Australian dollars (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) per year and add over 1,000 new jobs in the sector.