eHealth News: Nineteen providers get digital enablement funding

NEWS - editor Rebecca McBeth

Nineteen primary and community care providers have received support from the Ministry of Health’s Digital Enablement Programme to test ways of accessing care services digitally.

DIGIFALE harnesses the skills of Pacific young people, who help teach their elders how to use digital technology like mobile phones, in a church setting

A Registration of Interest for the Digital Enablement Programme was released in December 2020, saying the Ministry was looking to fund proofs of concept, prototypes, pilots or innovative projects, with a maximum level of funding of $150,000 each (plus GST).

Digital enablement of primary and community care services is one of the Ministry’s priority focus areas and includes the use of telehealth, teleworking and digital inclusion.

Deputy director-general data and digital Shayne Hunter says there are huge opportunities in supporting providers to modernise aspects of their care by using digital tools.

“During the initial response to Covid-19, many providers quickly introduced digital ways of communicating with people and providing health care,” he says.

“The Digital Enablement programme helps capture and enhance the innovation shown. We want to encourage the availability and use of services like telehealth and build people’s confidence in using online services.”

One of the initiatives is a pilot artificial limb service by Peke Waihanga. Previously, someone needing a prosthetic would have to visit a centre several times to be measured and fitted with the artificial limb. Now, using 3D scanning and printing, part of the service can be taken to them.

Another is the development of a digital health hub in Waitara. Tatai Ora aims to improve connectivity and provide accessible health care for Waitara-based Māori and vulnerable people

Nurse Maude is trialling a remote health support and monitoring service – Hauora Tūhono – that aims to reduce isolation for older people living in Canterbury and St John is trialling an easy-to-use, home-based digital telehealth and monitoring service for people with uncontrolled hypertension.

ProCare Health is trialling an online service that will enable high-needs patients to easily find another GP if theirs is unavailable and three young innovators are trialling a way to make it easier for people to enrol in general practice.

More details about the projects are at Digital enablement stories.



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