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Clinicians Challenge award to Waikato DHB ophthalmologist


A web-based process for managing cataract surgery has won Waikato Hospital senior registrar Dr James McKelvie the Clinicians’ Challenge 2015 New Idea Award.

The Clinicians’ Challenge is an annual joint initiative by the National Health IT Board and Health Informatics New Zealand. There are two categories – New Idea, and Active Project/Development.

The awards were presented on Tuesday (20 October) at the Health Informatics New Zealand conference in Christchurch.

In New Zealand more than 30,000 cataract operations are completed every year and the demand continues to grow with the countries aging populations.

Dr McKelvie’s idea is for a web-based, end-to-end application to replace the current paper-based system which is time consuming, involves multiple delays and fails to capture valuable patient data.

The electronic system will feature vastly enhanced functionalities such as instant online referrals, pre-operative surgical risk analysis and real-time audit of surgical results and case-load complexities.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has congratulated the winners.

“It’s great to see clinicians finding better use of information and technology to deliver more timely quality patient care which can enable clinicians to spend more time with patients and less on administration.

“We want to see more healthcare delivered in the community and people living healthier lives away from hospitals. Utilising technology has a key role to play in this.”

Dr Hong Sheng Chiong, Ophthalmology registrar, Gisborne Hospital, won the other Clinicians’ Challenge category for an active project/development for his oDocs Eye Care initiative which uses mobile technology to increase access to ophthalmic care.

There were 66 entries in this year’s Clinicians’ Challenge across the two categories.

The two runners-up are:

  • Dr Lance O’Sullivan, a GP in Kaitaia and 2014 New Zealander of the Year, who presented vMOKO, an initiative that uses mobile technology to remotely diagnose and treat skin conditions in schools in the Far North.
  • Rob Ticehurst, principal pharmacist, Auckland DHB, who proposed a joined up system to manage patient risks associated with medication allergies.
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