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As an entrepreneur and technology specialist, I have spent the last two decades convincing government departments and health bodies that they need new ways to manage and share their information: in a citizen-centric way. In health, this means patient centered care.

From moving the Federal Government onto the internet in the 1990s with the Australian Government Homepage to putting two Prime Ministers online, building a virtual tallyroom for the Australian Electoral Commission, putting the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare online and, recently, building a Chronic Disease Management register for ACT Health: I’ve experienced great personal reward in creating innovation systems that improve our lives.

Now, in the age of smartphones and clouds, we have health practitioners who are also in business as innovators. They’re developing health improvements through apps, devices, pathways or treatment approaches, and taking them to market. Globally, 30% of new startups are in the health sector. Health and healthcare innovation is booming.

Sitting on a health commercialization board for seven years, I became very frustrated with the difficulty in getting good technology and breakthrough research translated. According to the World Bank, only around 20% of innovations in health make it to translation and adoption. This is because, outside of the pharmaceutical industry, there’s no clear path for either commercialization or collaboration.

In 2013, my co-founder and I suspected the answer was to take a “top down” and data based view: using data mining and machine learning techniques to research the health innovation market, and classify it. In doing so, our team assembled the world’s largest database of health innovations.

This database is the foundation of the website, an online marketplace that lets you showcase your innovation, collaborate, find investors, or seek interest in progressing the innovation to market.

Just like Uber owns no cars, and Facebook creates no content, Health Horizon owns no innovations. It’s an online platform which was built on two core assets: the largest global data collection of health innovations, and a novel taxonomy which bridges everyday, natural language and medical terminologies, like SNOMED and ICD10.

We have identified over 30 categories of innovations, with many novel types in the mix. For example, if you have done a review of the best apps for managing heart disease, we will include that as an innovation. We’ve also included pathways, treatment plans, quality systems and health promotion campaigns. Hospitals, researchers, investors, consumers and anyone with an interest in health can search Health Horizon by the type of innovation, by disease group or by purpose, and also by the stage an innovation has reached on its commercialization journey: idea, proof of concept, trials, seeking investment, ready for market and so on.

For the first time, people will be able to like or follow an innovation and keep up with its progress as it moves from an idea, to the laboratory, to the point where it is improving lives.

Simply put: If you have an innovation in health and you want to progress its development, find an investor, seek collaborators or find early adopters, list it on Health Horizon and you have an immediate world-wide audience. Students and practitioners will be able to keep across the latest innovations in their field in a new way.

While we will offer news and a daily digest to those who want it, our model is built less as a linear stream and more on building blocks of quality information, an evidence rating, and on two-way collaboration.

The global consumer community has also matured in their desire for authoritative health information online. This is most evident in the emergence of mHealth (mobile) and pHealth (personalised) innovations, or apps and wearables. We will be an evidence based resource where the broader community can find emerging innovations and follow breakthroughs in medical, health and wellbeing science. This will bring the public into the health innovation ecosystem in positive and constructive way. After all, the public is the reason health innovations exist.

This article is adapted from an article written 2015 by our CEO Marcus Dawe published this article in The Health Advocate, the magazine of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association.

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