Microsoft's Dr Nic Woods is the keynote speaker at this year's Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium

How tech can help us solve big healthcare problems

June 2019

Microsoft's Dr Nic Woods is the keynote speaker at this year's Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium

Microsoft's Dr Nic Woods is the keynote speaker at this year's Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium

From big data to artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots, emerging technologies are opening the door to new opportunities to save lives and improve patient care.

Dr Nic Woods, Microsoft Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, is the keynote speaker at this year’s Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium. He will be talking about how these new technologies are already being used to help solve some of our toughest health challenges, and how they could be deployed in future.

While Symposium attendees are likely to be familiar with some of the health challenges Dr Woods will talk about, they might be surprised to hear that he thinks technology alone isn’t enough to drive change in healthcare.

“If these problems were easy to crack, we would have done it already,” he says. “Tech providers are only going to crack these sticky challenges through partnering with health services.”

Dr Woods will share real-world examples of projects the Microsoft Health team and their partners are working on with NSW Health and across Australia. He will also share some of the work Microsoft’s global research team are doing in health now and in the near future.

These include the creation of a watch that helps dampen tremor in patients with Parkinson’s disease, Microsoft’s partnership with a biotech company to get earlier diagnostic markers through T cell genomic markers, and using large amounts of anonymised data to advance research in the rapidly evolving field of paediatric genomics.

Shaping the future of healthcare

Virtual assistants, or chatbots, are already being used by some health providers, but there’s potential for much wider adoption of AI-powered technologies in healthcare.

“Chatbots offer an easy user interface between clinicians and patients,” says Dr Woods. “They can be used by clinicians to find information quickly and guide consumers in their choice of care. They also give us a glimpse of where technology is heading.”

And, of course, there’s the HoloLens, which Microsoft will be showcasing at the Symposium.

Mixed reality is being embraced by early adopters for a variety of uses, including to support research, procedures and surgery and manage complex equipment, says Dr Woods.

This year, Innovation Week runs from 24-30 June. The Symposium, on Friday 28 June, is the flagship event of Innovation Week, bringing together staff, clinicians, researchers, experts and partner organisations to share ideas and the latest research and developments in healthcare.

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Page Last Updated: 20 June, 2019