A revolutionary way to get help from a doctor using iPads in schools was been introduced at five Tairāwhiti kohanga last week by 2014 New Zealander of the Year Dr Lance O’Sullivan.
The popular Kaitaia doctor was in Gisborne promoting a recently developed iPad application that can be used by trained adults in schools to assess a child's general health.
Known as iMOKO the assessments are sent via the internet to GPs in Kaitaia where they are reviewed and advice on any treatment needed is sent directly to whānau - saving them the cost of a trip to the doctor.
Like Uber, the world’s largest taxi firm that owns no cars, and Airbnb, the accommodation provider which owns no property, iMOKO is revolutionary. The technology enables existing infrastructure to be used more efficiently.
“We’re just using every day technology to put health care into the hands of the people,” Dr O’Sullivan told local health providers during presentations at Turanga Health on Thursday.
“Out of anger I have developed courage to change things and the vehicle is iMOKO.”
Dr O’Sullivan’s says his anger was directed at the inability of vulnerable whānau to access health care. As well as geographical isolation, cultural, social and financial isolation was preventing families in the Far North from getting help.
“Too many times the current system gets an F-grade. While this new way may meet some resistance from traditional health care providers the reality is, we are targeting unmet need. It’s disruptive innovation. It saves time, it saves money, and it’s enhancing primary care.”
As well as being used in schools and early education, Dr O’Sullivan says he’d helped introduce it into a Kaitaia gang pad, and will soon be doing the same in Hastings.
Turanga Health Chief Executive Reweti Ropiha applauds the notion of bringing technology to whānau so they have the ability to connect to health care and good decision making. And he’s pleased the iMOKO team is looking at ways to have GPs from around the country, including Tairāwhiti, involved. “It’s not just about bricks and mortar anymore”.
iMoko is funded by Māori health innovation fund Te Ao Auahatanga Hauora Māori, and is a Whānau Ora initiative.
Dr O’Sullivan was hosted by Midlands Health Network and Hauora Tairawhiti while in Gisborne.
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