Australia HIC Conference

Are Neighbors the New Caregivers? | Matiu Bush, RMIT University & One Good Street

By JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

A few weeks ago, WTF Health took the show on the road to Australia’s digital health conference, HIC 2019. We captured more than 30 interviews (!) from the conference, which is run by the Health Informatics Society of Australia (hence the HISA Studio branding) and I had the opportunity to chat with most of the Australian Digital Health Agency’s leadership, many administrators from the country’s largest health systems, and a number of health informaticians, clinicians, and patients. I’ll be spotlighting a few of my favorites here in a four-part series to give you a flavor of what’s happening in health innovation ‘Down Under.’ For much more, check out all the videos on the playlist here.  

One of my favorite stories coming out of Australia is this one about One Good Street, an ad-hoc organization that is working to bring neighbors together to meet up with seniors to provide low-cost caregiving and combat loneliness. 

With a focus on connection and mitigating future hospitalization through neighborly acts of kindness, One Good Street offers neighbors the opportunity to help aging adults living on their block. 

Founder Matiu Bush explains how he started the platform, how it can save thousands of dollars in healthcare costs including unnecessary trips to the emergency room, and how he addresses concerns from the formal healthcare community who worry about “the risk” involved in neighbor-initiated care. 

Bonus! Matiu teaches us a new buzzword: “cybernetics” and talks about how he’s using that in a project with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to build out models that detect loneliness and isolation in seniors.

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