Victoria's healthcare system is set to benefit from technology with the launch of a $15 million Health Market Validation Program today, which will encourage the growth of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) by providing grants for healthcare-related technology projects.
(Sicko image by Viktor Hertz, CC BY 2.0)
Victorian Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said that the three-stage program would result in better health outcomes, improved healthcare service delivery and economic benefits in Victoria.
The first stage of the program will identify requirements for healthcare, with health-focused public sector agencies specifying their needs, and the expected benefits in a Technology Requirement Specification (TRS).
In the second stage of the program, SMBs will be invited to submit proposals on how they can deliver on a TRS specified in the first stage.
In the last stage, the successful SMBs from the second stage will be awarded funding of up to $100,000 to investigate the viability of their proposal, undertaking feasibility studies for up to four months. Further funding of up to $1.5 million will be made available after this point to develop any resultant projects over a two-year period. The funding will go towards project research and development, as well as clinical trials.
Rich-Phillips said that the model attempts to bring technologies to market that might otherwise have stalled at an early stage.
"The Health [Market Validation Program] will support [SMBs] to overcome barriers in the process between the development of medical technologies, targeting products, processes and services that are likely to be investment ready at the end of the funding period," he said.
"The benefits will be multi-faceted; as well as encouraging innovation in Victorian [SMBs], the Victorian community will benefit from improved public sector healthcare and early access to new and innovative technologies, with the capacity to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians."