Equal access to healthcare

15 March 2018

The Health Quality and Safety Commission hosted Let’s Talk: Our Communities, Our Health on 8 and 9 March at Te Papa in Wellington. The second event Change is here… Health & Technology; a day of input, inspiration and connection took place on 13 March and was jointly hosted by the Health & Disability NGO Council and Ministry of Health.

Health Minister Dr David Clark gave the opening address at both these events, speaking eloquently about his passion to create a fairer society in which all New Zealanders have equal access to healthcare with no barriers. He emphasised his desire to keep listening to the voice of all people using health services to maintain diversity of representation and ensure holistic decisions were made leading to balanced policies for government.

Minister Clark encouraged communities to lift their sights and not just accept things the way they were and that he is committed to having ongoing conversation, even if there was disagreement, to gain the end result of lasting positive change. His priority is to strengthen the New Zealand public health service and strive for a world class health system. His question was to ask: what matters to people accessing healthcare?

Another powerful speaker at both events was Dr Lance O’Sullivan, a GP who is now a digital health entrepreneur and community leader. He explained his vision for digital health with rapid and convenient access to healthcare via an App called iMoko. This uses innovative tools to provide medical information for interpretation by a telehealth team supported by smart software and sent to a remote GP for accurate and quick diagnosis. The tools that can be used to inform the diagnosis include video, photos, digital stethoscope and even the potential of a heart monitor. This technology has the potential of reducing the inconvenience of traveling to and waiting to see a GP, along with related cost. This software would be used in community based virtual health services and managed by the communities themselves, with training in NZQA standards on the cards. The information is directed to a telehealth team and approved by a telehealth clinician, with the treatment in form of medical prescriptions sent back to the parents and caregivers by way of the App.