Telstra Health has announced the successful recipients of the inaugural 2021 Brilliant Women in Digital Health awards, which recognise and celebrate women in digital health for their outstanding achievements, while raising awareness about opportunities in the sector and inspiring others to follow their lead.
The 25 award recipients, plus the recipients of a team award, have been recognised for their contributions to mentoring, medical research, technology development, improving health outcomes using digital health, and introducing new digital processes for the delivery of health and aged care.
One of the award recipients is Associate Professor Sarah Everitt, the CEO and Co-Founder of MediStays. This is a website that provides patients and carers with suitable accommodation when needing to travel for medical care, especially for rural and regional patients and people with disability.
A team award was the First Nations Dermatology Service – Telehealth at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, which is a new digital process for the delivery of health care to First Nations peoples and improved health outcomes for populations with reduced access to care.
The First Nations Dermatology Service – Telehealth was funded via a non-conditional grant from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, delivered to the Service through The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation. With no other service like this in Australia, it’s creating positive change to the health outcomes of First Nations peoples by providing access to specialist dermatology services regardless of their location in Australia.
The Service provides culturally sensitive and safe care, and actively removes barriers to receiving care, by seeing patients at home or in their local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, with telehealth consultations for dermatologic conditions provided by Dr Crystal Williams from Darwin.
Professor Mary Foley AM, Managing Director of Telstra Health, said, ‘These awards recognise the outstanding impact these women have made in contributing to the digital health sector in Australia.
‘Digital solutions have an important role to play in addressing the many challenges that health systems are facing – issues of affordability, access, productivity, quality and safety. For patients, digital technologies offer empowerment and practical support, and can enhance earlier intervention, prevention and care coordination to improve health outcomes for individuals and communities.’
Following a six-week nomination window, which launched in June 2021, more than 140 nominations for the award were submitted, and the submissions were deliberated by five leaders in digital health, health care and technology: Professor Christine Bennett AO, Telstra Health Board Director, and University of Notre Dame Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of the School of Medicine, Sydney Campus; Professor Ngiare Brown, National Mental Health Commissioner and Founding Director, Ngaoara; Professor Jane Halton AO PSM, Chair, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Co-Chair, COVAX initiative; Dr Louise Schaper, CEO, Australasian Institute of Digital Health; and Michael Walsh PSM, Chair, Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre.
Professor Bennett said, ‘While it was incredibly challenging to come to a shortlist with so many deserving applicants from across Australia, it’s been wonderful to be part of this initiative to recognise women who have made and are making amazing contributions to digital health. More than that, these are women who actively inspire and enable opportunities for other women in their career journey. Ideally, in 10 years’ time or less, we won’t still be talking about gender but rather brilliant minds. I hope to see a digitally enabled health sector that is safe, high-quality, efficient, accessible and responsive to changing needs through innovation led by women and men. Congratulations not only to the final award recipients, but to all the extraordinary women nominated.’