By 2060, 23% of the population in Australia is projected to be 65 years and older, up from 16% in 2019. In New Zealand, up to 26% of the population is expected to be aged 65 and older by 2048, up from 16% in 2020. The challenges of managing the healthcare needs of our growing ageing population is one of the biggest faced by our society.

As populations age across Australia and New Zealand, the incidence of chronic disease and complex medical conditions, will rise and drive the need for healthcare that is affordable, accessible, and equitable. In Australia, to help address the challenges of an ageing population, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care has embarked on a digital transformation initiative for the aged care sector to create a better-connected aged care sector that is sustainable. As highlighted in the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa, the New Zealand government Office for Seniors is working with partners in the Digital Inclusion Action Group for Older People supporting older adults to be digitally included to help enable them to live a good quality life as they age. The report acknowledges that digital inclusion for older people will also help government agencies and businesses realise their investments in technology, online platforms and services as more people will be able to use their services online.

Today, AWS is excited to announce the launch of an AWS Healthcare Accelerator Aged Care and Digital Health cohort in Australia and New Zealand to drive innovation that improves the delivery of aged care for citizens, and improve the service by care providers. The accelerator is a program for startups running on the cloud, which will be delivered in collaboration with ANDHealth, who bring experience in delivering accelerator programs in the Australian healthcare space, and IRT Group, a large aged care provider in Australia, who will lead the curation and qualification of clear problem statements in the aged care sector.

Driving innovation in aged care and digital health

The AWS Healthcare Accelerator will seek startups with Australian and/or New Zealand based operations who are focusing on the following areas of aged care and digital health:

  • Equitable access: Technologies that improve access and equity to health and social care services. We are looking for solutions, which simplify and accelerate the ability to navigate services across care settings; and other person-centric innovations that promote equity of access and support ageing in the home. 
  • Provider solutions: Technologies that support aged care and health services providers to deliver higher quality care. These solutions should increase digital interoperability within the healthcare sector, and leverage data to improve the quality and delivery of care, including through delivering actionable insights to drive improved clinical and health outcomes.
  • Workforce improvements: Technologies that promote new, better, and more productive ways of delivering healthcare and aged care services. These may include digital training solutions that make use of the full range of people’s skills, and solutions that improve the digital literacy and skill level of the health and aged care workforce.

The four-week program will be delivered both virtually and in-person in 2023. Startups in the cohort will receive technical and business mentorship from AWS and ANDHealth experts, up to USD$25,000 in AWS credits, and collaboration opportunities with AWS healthcare customers, industry leaders, and members of the AWS Partner Network (APN). The program begins with an individual deep-dive assessment of each startup, who will then be immersed in a custom-designed curriculum with hands-on technical training and a cloud architecture review.

Through the accelerator, startups will experiment with AWS technologies and accelerate their growth with foundational knowledge of cloud architecture, operations, and data. Startups will also have the benefit of the collaboration with many AWS healthcare customers and partners, who will provide valuable industry expertise and insights. The culmination of the program will be the AWS Healthcare Accelerator demo day, where startups will showcase their technology to industry experts and investors.

“Leveraging digital health technologies to improve services for our residents and make a positive difference to their care and well-being is a key priority for IRT Group,” said Patrick Reid, CEO of IRT Group. “We look forward to collaborating with AWS to accelerate innovation in the aged care and health sector.”

Applications open today, and will be accepted through to 11 December, 2022. Applications will be evaluated on several factors including: innovation of the solution, product-market fit, team experience, and aged care impact.

Growing local technology capabilities

The new aged care and digital health cohort of the AWS Healthcare Accelerator is part of AWS’s deep commitment to local technology solutions providers to help them innovate for our customers and grow their business. This accelerator provides a commercialisation pathway for local technology providers to gain greater product opportunities, and scale their growth with AWS.

In collaboration with our AWS Partners, we are helping healthcare organisations to leverage our technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, and data lakes, to drive innovation to improve access and healthcare outcomes for the communities they serve. For example, nonprofit Healthdirect Australia leveraged the technology platform of Coviu, an AWS Partner, to run a telehealth software platform on AWS to help clinicians meet with patients on video and determine the appropriate treatment. During the pandemic, Healthdirect Australia and Coviu worked together to scale up to meet demand, facilitating up to 6,000 video consultations a day, up from an average of 150 per day prior to the pandemic.

“AWS is committed to enabling the healthcare industry to drive technology-enabled solutions to help the people of Australia and New Zealand age in good health and with dignity,” said Iain Rouse, AWS Country Director for Public Sector in Australia and New Zealand. “We are pleased to collaborate with ANDHealth and IRT Group, whose deep expertise in healthcare in Australia, together with AWS’s breadth and depth of cloud services, can help drive change and innovation to address the critical challenge of an ageing population. With the support of our thriving community of local technology providers on the AWS Partner Network, this new healthcare accelerator cohort presents a great opportunity for the healthcare industry to leverage technology to help citizens more easily access health and care services.”

This announcement is part of AWS’s ongoing collaboration with our partners in Australia and New Zealand to drive transformative innovation on the cloud for the public sector. In 2022, AWS signed three cloud services procurement agreements to boost digitisation with the Digital Transformation Agency in Australia, the Victorian Government, and the Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, supporting the Australian and New Zealand governments with our network of local partners as they move to the cloud to accelerate innovation.

Building a better, healthier future for citizens

AWS believes that individual health outcomes should not depend on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or neighbourhood, which is why AWS launched the AWS Health Equity Initiative in September 2021. One year since the initiative’s launch, AWS has disbursed US$14 million in AWS credits and technical expertise to nearly 90 organisations globally.

The new aged care and digital health cohort of the AWS Healthcare Accelerator in Australia and New Zealand is part of AWS’s ongoing support for its healthcare customers, and is a continuation of previous AWS Healthcare Accelerator cohorts, such as the recently completed U.S.-based Health Equity focused Healthcare Accelerator, the UK-based Healthcare Accelerator, and our first U.S.-based Healthcare Accelerator.

While the challenges presented by an ageing population are complex, AWS believes there is potential for cloud computing technologies to make an impact and address the challenges that come with our ageing population. We are deeply committed to making investments and collaborating with our vast network of local technology providers to identify innovative solutions to support people to stay at home longer, provide access to supportive technologies, and enhance the quality of aged care.

Learn more about how to apply to the AWS Healthcare Accelerator.