CSIRO is excited to present a Cutting Edge Science and Engineering Symposium on Advances in personalised healthcare and wellbeing support technologies. We have planned this Symposium as a way to communicate our research directly to the Australian digital health research and industry network to enable and facilitate collaboration in making Australia a healthier nation. We are aiming to bring about greater awareness of consumer engagement in digital health and create a collaborative Australian network in this space by focusing on Australian digital health innovations.

The Symposium organisers are pleased to invite key leaders in Digital and Precision Health to attend and participate in the Symposium. This two-day symposium will bring together an interdisciplinary stakeholder group to collaboratively deliberate the way forward for Australia's next-generation of intelligent and efficient personalised healthcare and wellbeing support services. The Symposium targets the Australian healthcare and wellbeing ecosystem, including all partners and stakeholders within the Australian digital health and wellbeing space, as well as CSIRO staff associated with the Precision Health Future Science Platform. Targeted attendees include PhD students and Early Career Researchers, researchers, academics and industry partners who are stakeholders in the promotion of positive lifestyle changes through digital health. Together, we aim to achieve a better understanding of consumer use, adoption and concerns regarding precision health and wellbeing management.

Event date: 19Nov 2020

Thursday 19 - Friday 20 Nov 2020

Online virtual event

  • Day 1: 1.30pm to 5.35pm (AEDT). Day 2: 9.30am to 2.35pm (AEDT)

Links will be provided to registrants

More information


All times displayed are in AEDT. To calculate the time in your own timezone, please use https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meetingtime.html.
Time Activity
Day 1 - 19 November 2020 (Thursday)
13:30 - 13:35 Dr Marthie Grobler (CSIRO's Data61)
Opening and welcome
13:35 - 13:45 Opening address
13:45 - 14:05 Dr Jill Freyne (Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO)
Activate TKR – A virtual care case study in orthopaedics
14:05 - 14:25 Prof Leila Alem (University of Technology Sydney, Australia)
Unlocking digital health using emerging technologies
14:40 - 15:00 Dr Nathan O'Callaghan (Director: Future Science Platform – Precision Health)
The Future of Health: CSIRO's Future Science Platform (FSP) – Precision Health (PH)
15:00 - 16:00 Panel discussion: Facilitator: Dr Marthie Grobler (CSIRO's Data61)
The future of digital health for the promotion of positive lifestyle changes
  • Jennifer Wilson (The Project Factory)
  • Dr Sankalp Khanna (Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO)
  • Dr Hamza Sellak (CSIRO's Data61)
  • Dr Chandra Thapa (CSIRO's Data61)
  • Dr Maciek Rybinski (CSIRO's Data61)
  • Dr Chelsea Mauch (CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity)
16:30 - 17:30 Prof Christoph Trattner (University of Bergen, Norway)
Keynote: Online food recommendations: A complex problem?
17:30 - 17:35 Dr Hamza Sellak (CSIRO's Data61)
Closing Day 1
Day 2 - 20 November 2020 (Friday)
9:30 - 9:35 Dr Jillian Ryan (CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity)
Opening and welcome
9:35 - 10:35 Prof Nick Allen (University of Oregon, United States)
Keynote: Digital mental health
11:00 - 11:20 Dr Dana Bradford (Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO)
Detecting psychological deterioration in chat agent interactions: Insights from the syntax and semantics of suicide notes
11:20 - 11:40 Dr Simon D'Alfonso (University of Melbourne, Australia)
Making the most of smartphone opportunities for mental health
11:40 - 12:00 Dr Silvia Pfeiffer (Coviu)
Innovative digital service delivery platforms: Health and wellbeing interventions
13:30 - 14:30 Panel discussion: Facilitator: Dr David Cox (CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity)
Co-creation of digital health solutions that works for consumers
  • Dr David Silvera (CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity)
  • Prof Ian Gwilt (University of South Australia)
  • Dr Rachel Laws (Deakin University)
  • Dr Jillian Ryan (CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity)
14:30 - 14:35 Dr Jill Freyne (Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO)
Closing Day 2

Speaker Bios

  Dr Jill Freyne

Presenter: Dr Jill Freyne

Deputy Director – Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO

Bio - Dr Jill Freyne is the Deputy Research Director of the Australian eHealth Research Centre at CSIRO. Jill has significant research experience in the development and validation of digital health services, lifestyle interventions, and recommender systems. Jill works with Australian and International industry partners to devise engaging and sustainable health technology solutions, aimed specifically at encouraging individuals to change the way that they engage with their health. Through clinical trials the technologies are evaluated to understand and quantify their impact on individuals, care teams and carers, thus contributing to the body of evidence required to see large scale adoption and innovation in digital health service delivery.

Topic: Activate TKR – A virtual care case study in orthopaedics - Total knee replacement procedures in Australia have risen by 77 per cent between 2003 and 2014 alone. Studies have shown that rehabilitation exercises following surgery can lead to faster recovery times, however many patients fail to implement an effective preparation or rehabilitation plan. The Activate TKR app, designed with patients and clinicians, provides patients with practical information including physiotherapy demonstration videos, pre-surgery checklists, reminders and supportive information in text, video and audio format. The technology also includes a wearable activity tracker to encourage basic exercise, track sleep and self-monitor progress. This will link to a website where clinicians can configure individual physiotherapy programs and monitor patient progress remotely. In this talk I will discuss the technology and a recent multi-site RCT looking at clinical outcomes and patient and clinician experiences. I will also discuss the challenges of introducing a supplementary support into the health system and running the trial.

  Assoc Prof Christoph Trattner

Presenter Keynote: Assoc Prof Christoph Trattner

University of Bergen

Bio - Christoph Trattner is an Associate Professor at the University of Bergen in the Information Science & Media Studies Department. Previously, he was an Asst. Prof. at MODUL University Vienna in the New Media Technology Department. He also founded and led the Social Computing department at the Know-Center, Austria’s research competence for data-driven business and big data analytics. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Graz University of Technology (Austria). Christoph’s research background includes Applied Machine Learning, Predictive Modeling, Recommender Systems, Social Networks Analysis, Human Computer Interaction and Data Science in particular. Currently, among other projects, he is leading an international research effort that tries to understand, predict and change online food preferences to tackle health-related food issues such as diabetes or obesity. Since 2010, he published over 100 scientific articles in top conferences and journals including, e.g., NATURE Sustainability, EPJ Data Science, WWW or SIGIR. He holds several Best Paper/Poster Awards and Nominations, including, the Best Paper Award Honourable Mention in 2017 at the prestigious WWW conference series.

Topic: Online food recommendations: A complex problem? - The problem of recommending food to people has recently become an active field of research. While there is a growing body of work investigating how online food recommender systems could potentially be designed to better meet the users’ preferences, to date less research has tried to understand the nature of online food choices and their complexity. How do people make their food choices online? To what extent can we model and predict this behaviour, and can we actually change it through recommender technology?

Why might we want to change behaviour? According to the World Health Organization around 80% of cases of heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes could be avoided if people would implement a healthier diet. Health-aware food recommender technologies have been touted as a valuable asset in achieving the ambitious goal of developing systems, which positively impact on the food choices people make. For example, they may help people to implement a healthier diet by suggesting healthier versions of a similar meal they typically like. In this talk, I will present our latest research on the online food recommender problem. I will reveal the complex nature of online food choices and how this knowledge can be used to build novel food recommender systems. To conclude, I will present some preliminary work aiming to nudge people towards healthier food choices.

  Dr Leila Alem

Presenter: Dr Leila Alem

Adjunct Professor in Human Computer Interaction, UTS

Bio - Dr Leila Alem has 25+ years of experience in helping businesses transform for the Digital Future. Her expertise includes designing awards winning digital products and new customer experiences leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, Wearables, AR/ VR and MR and using Design Thinking, Lean Start-up and Agile methodologies. Her clients include Boeing, Rio Tinto, Thomson, 3M and many more , as well as Government Departments at both state and federal level. She won the 2013 NSW State innovation Award in R&D for her work with Boeing and was finalist of The Women Infotech outstanding Career Achievements Award in 2015. Leila has 10 years of experience in entrepreneurship, building new innovation programs and practices to drive client engagement. Her corporate entrepreneurship experience include government and consulting sector. Currently Leila is the co-founder of ArcSense, a wearable tech start-up in health and wellbeing. She teaches Product Design, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in MBAs in Australia and France and mentors tech start-ups and social enterprises. Leila is an Adjunct Professor in Human Computer Interaction at UTS and holds a PhD in AI. She was Principal consultant at Thoughtworks, a global innovation consulting firm, for 2 years and Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO for 23 years. She is a sought after keynote at international conferences on emerging technologies and innovation. Leila has 100+ publications and is the editor of books & international journals in the next frontiers of Human Computer Interaction.

Topic: Unlocking digital health using emerging technologies

  Dr Nathan O'Callaghan

Presenter: Dr Nathan O'Callaghan

Director - Precision Health Future Science Platform, CSIRO

Bio - Since obtaining my PhD in Medical Science from the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU in 2007 I have developed broad experience in nutrition and health science. A keen focus throughout my career has been developing cutting edge and robust molecular based assays for assessing (metabolic) health and dietary exposure to better target and personalise delivery of health advice. Since 2012, I have held various senior R&D Management Roles within CSIROs Health Portfolio. I have had the opportunity to lead the Diet, Lifestyle and Health Substantiation group which aims to deliver innovative nutritional solutions for improved metabolic health and well-being. This included oversight of the Nutrition and Health Research Clinic, located at SAHMRI, which undertakes industry-funded clinical substantiation trials for the health effects of foods, diets and lifestyle programs. In January 2018, following a 6-mth, sabbatical at Nestle, Switzerland, I was appointed to Research Director for CSIRO's Nutrition and Health Program. A key aspect of this role is driving the research strategy and industry engagement for this large research program with over 60FTEs and an annual budget of over $11M. My scientific excellence has been recognised by a JM Kinney publication award (2015) and a Julius Professional Development award (2016-9).In August 2018 I was appointed Director of CSIRO's Precision Health Future Science Platform.

  Prof Nick Allen

Presenter: Prof Nick Allen

Director of Clinical Training, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon

Bio - Nick Allen is the Ann Swindells Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oregon, where he Director of Clinical Training. He is a leading researcher in the area of adolescent mental health, known especially for his work on adolescent onset depression. His work aims to understand the interactions between multiple risk factors for adolescent emergent mental health disorders, including stress, family processes, brain development, autonomic physiology, genetic risk, immunology, and sleep. More recently, his work has focused on translating risk factors identified in his prospective longitudinal studies into innovative preventative approaches to adolescent mental health. For example, he has completed randomized controlled trials of a sleep improvement interventions that aims to prevent the onset of mental disorders during adolescence, and is also exploring other innovative preventative approaches (e.g., parenting, outdoor wilderness activities), aimed at early to mid-adolescence as a key inflection point in life for health trajectories. He is the Director of the Center for Digital Mental Health (https://www.c4dmh.net/), where his work focusses on the use of mobile and wearable technology to monitor risk for poor mental health, and his group has developed software tools that combine active and passive sensing methods to provide intensive longitudinal assessment of behavior with minimal participant burden. The ultimate aim of developing these technologies is to facilitate the development of a new generation of “just-in-time” behavioral interventions for early intervention and prevention of adolescent health problems.

Topic: Using mobile sensing to assess mental health and functioning - Despite the fact that assessing client progress is fundamental to evidence-based treatment, many clinicians only use unstructured clinical assessment methods to assess progress. Mobile and wearable computing now allows new assessment methods that are ecological, continuous, and objective. For example, studies have shown that symptoms often vary markedly within individuals across time, and understanding this pattern of variation is critical to assessment of client status and treatment planning. Also, most current methods of assessment used in mental health treatment rely primarily in self report methods, and research has found that objective and self-report methods often show low correlation (e.g., such as in studies of sleep, contraceptive use, or substance use), suggesting the self-report data can only provide part of the clinical picture. Self-report methods are also burdensome for clients to complete (especially if they are required to do so regularly), so objective measures that can be captured without participant burden (e.g., by monitoring sensors that detect the client’s naturalistic patterns of use of the personal smart phones) may be a particularly compelling approach. In sum, an effective technology-assisted approach to routine clinical assessment that increases client compliance and provides dynamic assessment of both subjective and objective indices of mental health should improve both clinical processes and client outcomes. Moreover, such methods can be used to design just-in time interventions. In this presentation I will describe potential and pitfalls associated with these mobile and ubiquitous assessment methods, including issues of reliability, validity and ethical concerns, using the detection of suicide risk as a salient use case to demonstrate these issues.

  Dr Silvia Pfeiffer

Presenter: Dr Silvia Pfeiffer

CEO & Director of Coviu Global Pty Ltd

Bio - Silvia is a repeat entrepreneur, previously having founded a Web video analytics company and now Coviu, a telehealth turnkey solution for private practice. Coviu is the innovator in telehealth and it does so by providing medical tools in a video visit that give clinicians superpowers. Silvia has more than 15 years of experience with Web video businesses having worked in technology innovation for Google, Mozilla, NICTA, and CSIRO/Data61. She co-edited the standards that made video a prime citizen of the Web and underpin not just the likes of Netflix and YouTube, but also her startup Coviu. Silvia has a PhD in computer science, a masters in business management, has published two books on HTML5 video and most recently one for healthcare businesses to help them set up video consultations sustainably.

Topic: Coviu - Coviu is a software solution for healthcare businesses. We enable clinicians to hold high-quality video consultations online with their patients. Our customers are across the spectrum of healthcare businesses, including private allied health, GP and specialist practices, non-government organisations, as well as hospitals. We enable them to run in-person consultations as well as video consultations through a white label product.

We focus on integrating video into the workflow of the businesses with minimal disruption while taking care of online appointment bookings and payments. But our vision goes far beyond this: since we have digitised the conversation between the clinician and the patient, we can now also add artificial intelligence functionality to the call the gives the clinician superpowers.

For example, by analysing the patient's camera, we could suggest a diagnosis of skin cancer, or determine whether a rehab physiotherapy is making progress (https://medium.com/@coviu/artificial-intelligence-for-physiotherapy-1f22fb4ac5f), or analyse the severity of a speech impediment and record progress over time. We are developing some of the artificial intelligence functionality ourselves, but we have actually built a plugin system that will allow other companies to plug their algorithms into live Coviu calls, thus creating an ecosystem of health app developers around Coviu.

  Dr Simon D'Alfonso

Presenter: Dr Simon D'Alfonso

Lecturer in Digital Health, University of Melbourne School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) (2) Head of Computing, Orygen Digital

Bio - Dr Simon D'Alfonso works in the areas of digital mental health and wellbeing, ubiquitous computing, and AI. He leads the Digital Technology and Artificial Intelligence for Mental Health research project in CIS. Since 2013 Dr D'Alfonso has been involved as lead developer in the Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) project, which has pioneered the use of online social media and networking in digital mental health interventions. He is also spearheading development of a new 'pocket therapist' app, which will deliver personalised real-time therapy recommendations informed by smartphone sensing.

Topic - Modern smartphones come equipped with an array of interesting sensors, and the data from these sensors can be collected to obtain contextual and behavioural information about the phone user. Digital phenotyping is a newly emerging idea that the data collected from smartphone usage and sensors can be indicators of certain psychological states or conditions. In terms of psychiatry or clinical psychology, such information could be used to predict or determine the presence of mental ill-health. In this talk I provide an overview of work in this field and go over some of my own work in bringing digital therapy modules into a mobile system that delivers personalised real-time therapy recommendations based on such smartphone sensing information.

  Dr Marthie Grobler

Panel Moderator: Dr Marthie Grobler

Deputy Director – Software and Computational Systems, CSIRO's Data61

Bio - Dr Marthie Grobler is passionate about making cyber security more accessible for people in the pathway of the fourth industrial revolution. Her research, management and consulting experience span multiple continents, national and state government departments, and a variety of domains linked with the digital domain. Marthie is Deputy Research Director for CSIRO's Data61's Software and Computational Systems' program and is leading the group's work on human centric security.

  Dr Dana Bradford

Presenter: Dr Dana Bradford

Senior Research Scientist, Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO

Bio - Dr Dana Kai Bradford is a senior research scientist in the CSIRO's Australian eHealth Research Centre, leading the Neurodevelopment and Plasticity team. Her project work with CSIRO has predominantly centred on digital services for equitable healthcare. She has been involved in the development of phone based programs to manage chronic illness and mental health for Indigenous and other Australians, the use of technology to assist men in their prostate cancer journey, and tablet based apps to translate key assessment questions for non-English speaking hospital patients. She was involved in the first Australian pilot of the Smarter Safer Homes platform – a sensor based monitoring system designed to allow the elderly to live independently for longer. Dana is also involved in projects to facilitate the integration of genomic medicine into every day care, technology for young adults on the autism spectrum and currently manages AEHRC's cerebral palsy projects. Dana is also an adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the Queensland Brain Institute where she contributes to research on the mechanisms through which adult vitamin D deficiency impacts the brain.

Topic: Detecting psychological deterioration in chat agent interactions: Insights from the syntax and semantics of suicide notes. - Conversation agents (chat-bots) are now common in everyday life, including in digital applications for physical and mental health and wellbeing. This means chat-bot developers are facing the challenge of dealing with statements related to mental ill-health and depression. With the increasing suicide rate in Australia, ubiquity of chatbots and propensity of youth to use devices – it is critical that our software adheres to the highest duty of care. Advancements in natural language processing could allow accurate detection of suicidal discourse. Using suicide notes, we identified consistent linguistic syntax and semantic patterns used by individuals in mental health distress. Warning: this talk contains distressing content.

  Dr David Cox

Panel Moderator: Dr David Cox

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO's Health and Biosecurity

Bio - David Cox is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, Adelaide, Australia. Since obtaining a PhD in the Faculty of Medicine (Human Nutrition) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, University of London, he has focused upon food choice and acceptance (Behavioural Nutrition). As a Post-Doc at the Institute of Food Research, UK he focused upon psycho-social and sensory predictors of food choices. He joined CSIRO in 1998 continuing work in the sensory and psychological drivers of food choice and on consumers' acceptance of novel food technologies. Other work has included motivations to consume functional foods and a particular interest in increasing vegetable consumption through a long relationship with the horticulture industry. He is a project leader of Consumer Behaviour in CSIRO's Precision Health Future Science Platform. He has published more 80 papers in peer reviewed journals and three book chapters.

  Dr Sankalp Khanna

Panel Member: Dr Sankalp Khanna

Senior Research Scientist, Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO

Bio - Sankalp is a Senior Research Scientist and leads the Health Intelligence team at the CSIRO's Australian e-Health Research Centre. His research is focussed on applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to model, analyse, predict, simulate and optimise patient flow through Australian public hospitals. He has a strong interest in the use of Explainable Machine Learning for delivering Decision Support algorithms that clinicians can interpret and trust. Solutions developed by Sankalp have helped reshape workflow and policy in hospitals in Australia and overseas. He led the team that developed the algorithm used in the Health Care Homes trial to identify eligible patients in GP clinics based on their risk of future hospitalisation. He is also the Secretary of the Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Steering Committee and an active member of the Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA).

  Dr Hamza Sellak

Panel Member: Dr Hamza Sellak

Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO's Data61

Bio - A determined and enthusiastic researcher, Hamza is interested in revolutionising classical decision-making processes towards enabling a next-generation of intelligent, expert-based and privacy-aware decision support systems. He is passionate about developing new intelligent techniques to model and solve decision-making situations from (individual) day-to-day activities (e.g., recommend healthy lifestyle choices and preventative health measures) to (group) short and long-term strategic planning (e.g., support investments decisions and project planning). He received his Master of Science in Information Systems, Decision Science, Networks and Multimedia in 2014 from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez (Morocco) and his PhD in Computer Science in 2018, from Moulay Ismail University, Meknes (Morocco).

  Dr Chandra Thapa

Panel Member: Dr Chandra Thapa

Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO's Data61

Bio - Chandra is a post-doctoral fellow within CSIRO's Data61. His research interests are in the field of privacy-preserving computation, distributed systems security, and network information theory. His current work includes data security and the application of privacy-preserving approaches to machine learning in the health domain.

  Dr Maciek Rybinski

Panel Member: Dr Maciek Rybinski

Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO's Data61

Bio - Maciek Rybinski is a Postdoctoral Fellow at CSIRO Data61. He received his PhD in Computer Science from University of Malaga (Spain). His professional interests include biomedical NLP and biomedical informatics in general. His work with Data61 is focused on the field of medical information retrieval in the context of precision medicine.

  Dr David Silvera

Panel Member: Dr David Silvera

Senior Research Scientist, Australian eHealth Research Centre, CSIRO

Bio - David is a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO's Australian e-Health Research Centre. He is a mechatronics (robotics) researcher working in the fields of digital health, human-computer interaction and human-robot interaction. He is expert in socially-assistive robotic. His ongoing work focus is on the design, delivery, implementation and evaluation of digital health services. David collaborates with academics and industry leaders from design, computer science, psychology, speech pathology, occupational therapy, and education; diverse areas all relevant to his work, which is characterized by strong engagement with clinicians and educators on research problems that are user-driven and that have positive outcomes for society.

Panel Member: Prof Ian Gwilt

Professor of Design, University University of South Australia (UniSA)

Bio - Prof Gwilt has a keen interest for communication and knowledge mobilisation in the healthcare environment. He was a key member of the Lab4living design research in healthcare group at Sheffield Hallam University and founded the Design Clinic: Design Research in Health and Wellbeing in the School of Art Architecture and Design at UniSA, Adelaide. He has worked on a number of health-related research projects with healthcare providers both in the UK and Australia and is an advocate of user-centred, participatory co-design methodologies. Projects he has worked on include the development of data visualisation strategies for young adults suffering with chronic pain, the design of an app to help with postnatal depression, and co-designing a better dining experience in aged care. He was also involved in designing thinking workshops for spinal injuries survivors to help with their rehabilitation processes, and the development of a toolkit to help ward staff understand and respond to patient feedback data in more effective ways. Current work includes research into the impact of working with robots in the healthcare workplace and the use of co-design to help aged care service provision. Gwilt is on the editorial board of the Design for Health journal.

Science areas: Information technology and Health

Event type: Conference or seminar