Highlights from HiNZ, Successes and Failures in Telehealth, and the Global Telehealth Conference Day 1

We’re Tweeting live from #HiNZ2016 in Auckland this week. Follow us on Twitter @themedstartup and @journalmtm, the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine. We’re also on Instagram @themedicalstartup.
Virtual tickets with HiNZ membership are still available at hinz.org.nz. 

What were some of today’s highlights?

1.Experiencing the Maori welcome ceremony. It was incredible seeing the haka and other traditional ceremonies performed to commence the event. Kia Ora!

Welcome ceremony at HiNZ2016. Pic: The Medical Startup
Pic: The Medical Startup

2.Learning about New Zealand’s healthcare system. New Zealand’s DHBs (District Health Boards) manage the various hospital regions in the country of two islands, supported by the national Ministry of Health (MoH). With a large rural and regional population, their DHBs have managed to put together various digital health solutions to overcome the geographical, cultural and at times, linguistic barriers that occur. (We’ve written about what Australians are doing with telehealth here, and Dr Gregory Sam’s telepsychiatry service here.)

3. Discovering what sensor wearables can do for the elderly.
Professor Marjorie Skubic of the University of Missouri’s Computer and Electrical Engineering Department, has carried out extensive research into sensor wearables, inspired by her own journey to help her parents feel safe yet independent while living a considerable distance away from her. Gait analysis using Microsoft Kinect depth cameras; sensor mats in beds that measure respiration and heart rate; and other sensors embedded in the home environment are all part of her research, giving hope for the elderly to feel supported and independent while their children can continue work.

Prof Marjorie Skubic discusses Eldertech at HiNZ2016. Pic: The Medical Startup
Prof Marjorie Skubic discusses Eldertech at HiNZ2016. Pic: The Medical Startup

4. Experts acknowledging that technology is a means to a human-centred solution for healthcare. As Lord Nigel Crisp of the United Kingdom said below during his address:

Additionally, Homecare Medical, who won the tender for New Zealand’s National Telehealth Service, understand that citizens don’t expect healthcare to be limited by geographical boundary anymore.

This leads into the topic of Precision Medicine Personalised Medicine. As technology evolves, patients will feel more empowered to take control of their healthcare (as they already do by Googling symptoms and performing other forms of accessible research), and clinicians will have to evolve to understand their patients’ perspectives better. Patients will expect medicine doses and timing to be tailored; their leaflets or apps about their conditions will  be personalised; and more forms of personalisation to enable better living.

5. Learning what Clinicians think of Big Data. Big data is important, but what good is it if it’s of no use to you in future? With big data comes big responsibility, and collecting unnecessary data wastes valuable time and resources.

– above quote from Prof Chris Bladin when presenting his journey as a neurologist with the Victorian Telestroke program, which has successfully treated rural and remote patients throughout the state. They’re now looking to expand to other States.

6. Watching the Finalists of the Clinicians’ Challenge, supported by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health. It strikes a chord with us that a national government supports and empowers their clinical staff as innovators, being the ones at the coalface of medicine. Finalists include an Anaesthetic Fellow; a Pharmacist undertaking doctoral studies; a Public Health doctor; and a Junior Doctor working in Dunedin. Stay tuned for further details, as well as updates on last year’s Ophthalmology and Surgical winners.

For more information on HiNZ, visit hinz.org.nz.

 

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