Key Board appointments for new Health Innovation Hub
The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub has appointed Dr Murray Horn as its inaugural chairman and Sir Ray Avery as deputy chair.
The announcement was made this afternoon at the New Zealand Healthcare Congress in Auckland.
The Hub has been created to help grow New Zealand's health technology industry and support the commercial success and widespread adoption of leading innovations developed within the public health sector.
Dr Horn, who is also chair of the National Health Board, said the best creative ideas often come from the frontline. "We want to unleash the talent of New Zealand's clinicians, and develop stronger relationships with industry to support innovation, and importantly, facilitate clinical trials of products, devices and systems developed in New Zealand.
"Health system transformation demands innovation and better value for money. With ever-increasing demand and costs, pumping more money into health isn't the answer. We need to do things differently to get better results.
"Improving health and changing lives through innovation is one of our goals. Our aim is to change the world - one step at a time," Murray Horn said.
The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub is unique in the sense that for the first time, it brings together the substance of the public health system and the entrepreneurial spirit of innovators and industry.
"The Hub is a mobile, virtual organisation which will make the most of technology to deliver excellent customer service. Systems are in place and expert advisors available to support innovators and fast-track ideas with the potential to improve health outcomes and be sold worldwide.
"People who work in health are full of great ideas about how things could be done differently and better to improve the lives of their patients. They're also highly motivated to make a difference. It hasn't always been easy for them to get the advice, guidance and support to see their ideas to fruition or to help them engage with industry, and that's where the Hub will be able to help," Dr Horn said.
Dr Horn said he was delighted to announce he would be joined on the board by Sir Ray Avery who has been appointed deputy chair. "Sir Ray is one of New Zealand's best known innovators and is held in high regard both nationally and internationally.
"As a scientist Ray had a substantial career in pharmaceuticals. As an innovator, he designed intraocular lenses for use in Nepal that cost $5.00 to produce instead of $360. Other low-cost solutions to improve health in Third World countries include inventing a baby incubator - the Liferaft which costs $1,500 to produce (instead of $25,000) and a protein supplement to prevent sick children dying from malnutrition. Sir Ray has also founded a global charity, Medicine Mondiale. I know he will make a valuable contribution as both an innovator and a pragmatic scientist," Dr Horn said.
Sir Ray said he was very excited to be part of NZ's Health Innovation Hub. "I'm here to help make a difference. I am very keen to see 'what's in the cupboard' in terms of ideas for innovations that are yet to be fully developed. It may be that some existing ideas need to be adapted to progress to a finished product. Sometimes you can be 'too close to the mirror' and need to step back to get a broader perspective," he said.
"With innovation, one of the key questions is 'What is the need or the problem we're trying to solve?' Once that's clear and you know whether a solution is going to help a handful of patients or millions of people worldwide, you get some perspective on the scope and potential impact of the work to be done.
"I don't think there's any point putting time or energy into systems or products where there is no significant and measurable benefit for patients. That's where the Innovation Hub's linkages with people who care for patients every day will be invaluable.
"The benefits of 'growing our own' in New Zealand include improved health outcomes for Kiwis as a result of innovative new products, and on a bigger scale, benefits to patients worldwide. The New Zealand economy also stands to benefit from innovations that have an international market," Sir Ray Avery said.
The Hub will be a national entity, with two regional delivery arms in Christchurch and Auckland.
The New Zealand Health Innovation Hub is a partnership between four of New Zealand's biggest DHBs: Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitemata and Canterbury. It is expected that other DHBs will become partners as the Hub develops. The Hub also has the backing of the Ministry of Economic Development, Auckland Tourism Events Economic Development and the Canterbury Development Corporation.
Further information can be found at www.innovation.health.nz