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Talking HealthTech

Talking HealthTech

Discussions with doctors, developers and decision-makers in Australian HealthTech

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41 – Aussie HealthTech helping Doctors during COVID-19

It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that we were praying for Telehealth to be implemented in GP clinics over the coming years.  We pictured a gradual roll out, drip fed slowly by types of service, or locations.  It was the type of thing that could only be implemented in baby steps.  There was simply no other way to disrupt the GP workflow to bring Telehealth front of mind.

Then the day before recording this episode, the baby just not only took some steps, it did a triple backwards summersault while running a marathon in under 2 hours - as in, it was announced that we now have universal Telehealth available in Australia.  As Greg Hunt our health minister said - it is a decades worth of work in a matter of days.  It seems pretty apt that the only way to implement a disruptive solution like Telehealth was to have a disruptive problem like COVID-19.  

Many of the tools that GPs need to enable all of this, are created by healthtech providers.  It goes beyond the obvious things though, which is just giving a doctor a phone or zoom log in and say go nuts, there is a fair bit more infrastructure that goes around making the COVID-19 screening process and tele-consult actually work.

Healthtech providers around Australia have been working day and night to fasttrack new features and modify their existing products due to COVID-19.  And the leaders of 4 of those well known companies are here on this live panel discussion today.  

What’s really cool as well, is all of these panelists have previously appeared on the Talking HealthTech podcast - so they will join this elite club that I just made up for people who have appeared not just once, but twice, on the show.  

This episode was recorded during a livestream video panel interview, where attendees engaged with the panelists, asked questions, completed polls and networked amongst their peers. It was super cool to have the direction of the show be heavily influenced by where the attendees wanted to take it. 

In this episode, hear from the leaders of some of Australia’s biggest healthtech companies on how they are supporting GPS and clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about the practicalities of implementing Telehealth in a clinic, the nuances of the new billing rules announced by the government and recommendations for some of the best tools to run a productive practice during social distancing restrictions. 

April 6, 2020

40 – Joel Friedlaender, Cliniko

Joel Friedleander is the founder of Cliniko, which is practice management software used by more than 30,000 people in over 70 countries. 

Joel has a software development background, and started Cliniko with his wife who is an osteopath back in 2010.

As many organisations around the world grapple with the concepts of adapting to remote work due to social distancing, Cliniko has been doing it for over 10 years - with an entirely remote team spanned across the globe. 

This is no ordinary podcast episode, this was the first Talking HealthTech Livestream Webinar recorded to an audience who not only listened to what Joel had to say, but also engaged with polls, chat, and even a few came ‘on stage’ and spoke with Joel directly about some important topics.  

In this episode you will learn about the history of Cliniko, the company culture, and how they break some of the corporate norms you might see in other organisations.

Pete and Joel also delve into the challenges of social isolation due to COVID-19, and how Cliniko has adapted to the environment. Joel gives some useful tips for working from home, teleconsulting and other productivity hacks to be your best during these challenging times.

March 30, 2020

39 – MSIA Members Forum, Medical Software Industry Association

In this episode are interviews with some of the biggest names in Australian health policy influence and clinical leadership.

Earlier this month, at Baker Mackenzie in Melbourne, Australia, the Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) hosted its March Forum for members.  If you didn’t know, the members of MSIA are providers of technology to the healthcare industry in Australia.  When the MSIA puts on an event, they get the very best of the best in key opinion leaders and experts into the room to provide some really meaningful and actionable insights foe members.  They also do a bunch more outside of events like essentially being the voice for every software vendor to raise important issues right up through government to influence policy decisions, which ultimately link back to how technology is adopted in the healthcare ecosystem here in Australia.

And in this current climate of COVID-19, which is essentially a rapidly evolving crisis situation that is relying heavily on health technology to address a global catastrophe, the need has never been more obvious to have a single voice, a consistent message and some clear direction. 

So, at this MSIA Forum earlier in the month, much like last time, Pete was able to catch a lot of the presenters after they spoke for a few minutes debrief - essentially this episode of the Talking HealthTech podcast is the TLDR of the MSIA March Forum.  

If you want to check out the slides from these presenters and see the full program of who presented, get in touch with the MSIA and learn about becoming a member, as these presentations are filled with amazing insights that aren’t for public release.  It’s simply a non-negotiable in our opinion for all healthtech vendors in Australia to be a member of the MSIA.  


Interviews in this episode include:

George Tambassis, National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

He has been a community pharmacist for over 25 years and is a partner in 5 community pharmacies in and around the city of Melbourne.  As president of the guild, he is essentially the voice of the 5,700 pharmacists in Australia

George has a keen interest in enabling community pharmacies in Australia to work to their full scope of practice to maximise benefits for patients and the health system

At the MSIA Forum in Melbourne, George participated on a health policy panel session called “Sharing the health burden and pushing the boundaries, Health leaders stake their claims”.  It was fascinating to watch George debate some important topics with the President of the AMA - who essentially represented every doctor in the country, to see what they definitely agreed on, kind of agreed on, and definitely did not agree on.

In a chat with me after the panel, George shared some of his key takeaways from the session.


Dr Tony Bartone, President of the Australian Medical Association,

Tony shared his thoughts on what needs to change in healthcare in light of bushfires and corona virus, and what all parts of the ecosystem should be focusing on to enable better patient care and a more sustainable healthcare system

Toby Hall, Group CEO of St Vincent’s Health Australia.

Toby presented to the forum a session called “A brave new idea for health funding and opportunities for industry”

Contrary to what you think the leader of one of Australia’s largest provider of hospitals would say, Toby talks about how the future is not delivered in acute hospital, and how we should stop investing in hospital beds.  Listen in more to his debrief to learn more about his approach.


Professor Trish Williams, Cisco Chair, and Professor of Digital Health Systems at Flinders University.  

Trish knows health technology - she essentially launched the first ever practice management system for general practitioners in Australia.  

Trish spoke at the forum about user experience design, and the important aspects of designing good software, especially when it comes to the healthcare arena.  

Trish gave some insights for software developers on how to create solutions with greater chance of adoption by clinicians, and also some tips on how to work in some of these user centric approaches to the otherwise super rigorous tender submission process that you would encounter when applying for a government tender process.  

Professor Michael Kidd, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of Canada.  

Michael’s presentation to the group was titled “Taking Stock of Digital Health - Australia, Canada and Utopia”. 

Michael brought home the Forum by talking about developments he has seen outside of Australia, like in Canada and Asia, and how patients are using technology to interact with providers.  Michael also shared how Australia stacks up compared to other companies in the use of technology in primary care. He also gave us a look into some of the cool big data initiatives that are underway as well.

March 23, 2020

38 – Dr Bertalan Mesko, The Medical Futurist

Dr. Bertalan Mesko, is The Medical Futurist, looking at how science fiction technologies can become reality in medicine and healthcare. He is a geek physician with a PhD in genomics, and an Amazon Top 100 author.

He is one of the top voices globally on digital health technology and the future of healthcare.

Bertalan has delivered hundreds and hundreds of keynotes for governments and organizations including Harvard, Stanford, Yale Universities and NASA.  

He’s been featured by dozens of top publications, including CNN, the World Health Organization, National Geographic, Forbes, TIME magazine, BBC, and the New York Times. And now of course, Talking HealthTech

His website The Medical Futurist has had more than 5 million readers, and he is one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Healthcare.

He is a member of Mensa International and has been selected by the Huffington Post as one of the 30 biotech thinkers with the biggest global impact. 

Tune in to hear all about Bertalan’s perspective on Artificial Intelligence in healthcare, what to do with all this patient data, as well as his perspective on the European and global healthtech scene.  Bertalan also shares some very handy tips for any Doctors currently going through medical school about how to prepare for the future of medicine.

March 16, 2020

37 – Hub Live Panel with HealthMatch, SleepFit, Hosportal and Coviu

For those familiar with the format of theTalking HealthTech Podcast, you would know that normally its a 1:1 conversation between me and someone else in the healthtech scene.  

Recently we upped our game, and thanks to the support of Hub Australia, we hosted our first ever Talking HealthTech live panel event.

This was an opportunity for an audience of around 50-60 people to hear first hand from a panel of 4 healthtech leaders, moderated by Peter Birch, talking about all the important topics in the world of digital health.  

This panel discussion was hugely insightful, and highlighted the massive dividends that pay off when companies embrace collaboration to solve big problems - a tool particularly helpful to Aussie healthtech firms who are looking to solve some of the countries biggest challenges using modern and emerging technologies.

Enjoy the following panel discussion featuring:

March 9, 2020

36 – Dr James Somauroo, HS. Ventures

Dr James Somauroo is Co-Founder at HS. Ventures, a UK-based accelerator and VC that builds, scales and invests in the best healthtech startups. 

James hosts the HS. Health-Tech Podcast, featuring 2 episodes a week with listeners in over 80 countries, interviewing inspiring entrepreneurs in this space.  He is also is a contributor to Forbes in the UK.

He is an anaesthetics and ICU doctor by training, and held roles in leadership at the NHS, Health Education England and the British Medical Journal and he previously directed an accelerator that provided startups with market access to the NHS. 

He also has degrees in biomedical sciences and education, and a guest lecturer on healthtech innovation and entrepreneurship at University College London.

In this episode, James talks all about HS. Ventures and why it exists.  He explains what an accelerator and navigator does, and their importance in the health ecosystem.  

Listen in for valuable insights from James about what to do and what not to do when you’re trying to raise money as a healthtech start up. (This guy has seen many pitch decks in his time!)

Learn about the healthtech space in the UK, and whether or not it’s worth having a go at cracking the NHS if you’re from Australia or anywhere else in the world.

He also talks about how his own healthtech podcast came about, and some of the amazing guests he has had in his time, including Talking HealthTech’s very own Peter Birch later this week!  Swapcast time!

February 29, 2020

Talking HealthTech

Conversations with Doctors, Developers and Decision Makers to promote innovation and collaboration for better healthcare enabled by technology. Because collaboration begins with conversation.
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Peter Birch

Peter Birch

Peter Birch has worked in management roles in healthcare organisations for over 15 years; big ones and small ones, innovative start ups and slow moving beasts, he’s seen all different kinds. Pete has experienced first hand the exciting developments and the frustrating stagnation's of all the ups and downs in health, as well as the impact to businesses, investors, doctors, and patients.

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