NZ health sector learning to embrace the tech world

A leading digital health expert says the New Zealand health sector is still slow to embrace the tech world.

Dr Robyn Whittaker is a public health physician researcher at the National Institute for Health Innovation and a lead at Waitemata District Health Board’s Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

She says health sits behind other sectors and their approach to new technology.

Dr Whittaker will be a key speaker at the Health Informatics New Zealand annual conference in Rotorua on November 1 and 2.

“It’s interesting that NZ is in the stand out quadrant in a new global report, but I think health has been lagging behind some other industries in digitalisation,” she says.

“The biggest change that is already here is mobility. People expect to be able to access all the information they need via their mobile devices, as they can in other parts of their lives.

“Our work to enable mobility for our staff over the past couple of years is now coming to fruition with nurses on the wards using mini-tablet computers, doctors being able to access systems on their phones, and community workers using tablets.

“I believe we are in a bit of a catch-up phase in health. Some of the challenges are around having multiple systems, maintaining them, integrating the data to better support clinical and other decision making, and sharing information and careplans across organisations.

“Waitemata has introduced its Leapfrog programme which includes a fantastic team of clinical leaders, analysts, project managers and innovators. It has built considerable capacity to make the digital projects happen in shorter timeframes than was previously common.  It has a great deal of expertise to leverage across the programme and support a step by step progression towards a more digital and mobile future.

“There is a lot of movement internationally on people being able to access their own health information. This is an exciting area for enabling patient involvement in their own care, shared decision making, and improving the quality, quantity and use of data.”  

Dr Whittaker’s keynote speech at the HiNZ conference will be about the cutting-edge Leapfrog programme and plans for the future.

Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) is a national umbrella health group and its annual conference is the largest digital health event in New Zealand.

 

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