High-level roundtable to explore Australia-China Partnerships in Healthcare

On 26 September, The George Institute for Global Health presented at the Australia-China Partnerships in Healthcare Roundtable, the first of its kind to explore health policy and practice in both countries and to encourage further collaboration and exchange between Chinese and Australian institutions in order to generate innovation in health care delivery benefitting both countries.

The Roundtable, hosted by the Australian Studies Centre at Peking University in collaboration with Peking University Health Science Centre - China’s foremost medical research body – was intended to provide a high-level forum where leading public health practitioners, policy makers, academics and business people from Australia and China could explore healthcare policy and practice to promote collaboration and create ground-breaking innovations.

The content for this Roundtable and the invited speakers were arranged by two of Australia’s leading academic health centres: The George Institute for Global Health and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Science, University of Melbourne.

Professor Zhi-Jie Zheng, Executive Director of The George Institute, China and Dean of the School of Public Health at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, delivered the keynote speech and gave an overview of China’s healthcare system to the audiences.

Professor Zheng said that although we were facing tremendous challenges such as the aging population, burdens from chronic diseases, and deficiencies in health care systems etc., there were still great opportunities to address these health problems. “The Roundtable is helpful to further develop areas of mutual interests and expertise in healthcare policy, system and technology, and service delivery,” said Professor Zheng.

The Roundtable also showcased and raised the profile of existing partnerships between Australia and China in the field of mental health systems and workforce development, general practice and community-based care, as well as mobile health (mHealth) and other novel approaches to chronic disease management.

Professor Clara Chow, Director of the Cardiovascular division of the George Institute, and Associate Professor Puhong Zhang, Head of Diabetes Research Program at The George Institute, China, and Acting Director of China Center for mHealth Innovation (CCmHI), were invited to participate in the mHealth session and presented the practices and best examples involving mobile technology and devices at The George Institute.

“mHealth has huge potential,” said Professor Chow, “but technology is developing faster than the evidence and we need to find ways to balance rapid evaluation with and enable quality health care.”

“On the other hand, the opportunity is huge,” Professor Zhang continued. “As the number of mobile phone users is booming and the Chinese government has shown strong support in this field, I’m very positive about the future of mHealth and am sure that by enacting more and closer international collaborations, mHealth will be a key component in the routine policy and practice for chronic disease management.”

Find out more about the Roundtable.