2017 Clinicians’ Challenge finalists announced

The finalists in the 2017 Clinicians’ Challenge, chosen from 41 entries, focus on mental health, immunisation, online image recognition for diagnosing skin diseases and green prescriptions.

News article

29 August 2017
2015 Clinians' Challenge winner Dr Hong Sheng Chiong is
using mobile technology to make ophthalmic care more
accessible globally.

Associate Professor Amanda Oakley and daughter Emily, finalists in the ‘active project/development’ category, are looking to develop a website tool which could transform dermatological diagnosis. They are proposing to add a search-and-reference tool to the DermNet NZ website of which Amanda is founder and Emily the development manager.

The tool would receive images of skin conditions from clinicians, compare them to skin disease images in the site’s vast library and instantly return a summary of the diagnoses associated with similar images. This would lead to quicker, easier and more accurate diagnosing of skin diseases which are very common worldwide (it’s estimated that one in six visits to a doctor are for skin complaints and many communities have very limited access to dermatologists). The aim is to partner with technology companies that could train artificial intelligence software to recognise the most popular and dangerous skin diseases in images through pattern recognition.

The tool would be available to physicians and other healthcare providers, free or at very low cost, in remote and urban locations globally. Access would be via any device that has internet connection – desktop or mobile.

The second finalists in the ‘active project/development’ category are registered nurse Dion Howard from Capital & Coast DHB and development team Jaymesh Master, Michael Smith and Rosie Parry who have created an app that supports mental health professionals to deliver safer, more effective crisis coaching to young adults and teenagers (rangatahi).

The app creates a log of crisis responses with rangatahi including summaries of phone and text conversations, the time calls/text messaging occurred and the amount of time spent working with a client. Having these details recorded supports analysis, earlier intervention, deciding on what therapeutic model to use and handover for ongoing crisis support.

Clinicians’ workload is also reduced where texting is used to interact with clients, as they don’t need to take screenshots of text messages for files or copy text logs into notes. Currently the app can be accessed via mobile devices with plans to host it to cloud which would enable desktop access.

In the ‘new idea’ category, finalists Jillian Boniface and Leanne Liggett from the Southern District Health Board are proposing to investigate the feasibility of building an online immunisation schedule catch-up calculator for New Zealand.

Where immigrant or refugee children have been vaccinated according to a different country’s schedule, a catch-up plan is required to bring these children in line with New Zealand’s national immunisation schedule. The work involved is currently carried out manually by immunisation coordinators, before being passed back to practice nurses to complete the required immunisations.

An online immunisation calculator would simplify data collection, improve workflow efficiencies and support accurate clinical delivery in the shortest possible timeframe.

Dunedin clinician Adrian Laurence is the other finalist in this category with an idea to develop a secure online web and mobile application, called GreenHub, for Green Prescription providers to streamline consumer enrolment, management and communication.

A green prescription is written advice from a health professional to an individual about how they can be more active and improve their diet to improve their overall health. GreenHub would combine multiple communication methods including secure video chat, messaging and notifications to increase people’s adherence to their activity and diet plans. It would also automate administrative tasks, so clinicians had more time to support people in behaviour change to improve their health.

In addition, GreenHub would aggregate the data it recorded for providers to monitor the progress of their patients. Goals and aims could be agreed upon and tracked, as well as custom triggers set to notify the provider when patients needed extra support.

The finalists will present their cases at the 2017 Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) conference in Rotorua in November, with the winners announced at the awards lunch on the last day.

The winner in each category will receive a grant of $8000 and the runner up in each category a $2000 grant. All finalists will receive free registration to the conference, valued at more than $1300 each.

The Clinicians’ Challenge, which the Ministry of Health runs in partnership with HiNZ, has been encouraging clinicians to come up with innovative ideas that can make a real difference to the way health care is delivered since 2011.

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