By: Mikaela Collins

Desiree Horne, 12, uses a bluetooth thermometer to check Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s temperature. Photo/Tania Whyte

Kaitaia doctor Lance O’Sullivan, the founder of iMOKO – technology which makes healthcare more accessible – told this to the community and children of Otangarei as iMOKO was launched at Te Kura o Otangarei on Wednesday.

Dr O’Sullivan, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, said schools were provided with digital clinical hardware and software and trained to conduct health assessments.

“Virtual care has the opportunity to do a better job. Do you have to be in the same place as your patient to affect good health outcomes, my argument is no.

“Virtual healthcare, in my humble opinion, is a great game changer for Maori health.”

The technology has been made available for Te Kura o Otangarei through a collaboration between the school, Te Hau Awhiowhio o Otangarei Trust, and the Northland Social Well Being Governance Group.

Dr Lance O’Sullivan speaks about iMOKO at Te Kura o Otangarei. Photo/Tania Whyte

Dr O’Sullivan told a story about how a daycare centre manager, who was trained to use iMOKO equipment and an app, did an assessment on a 3-year old boy who had a sore leg.

She took his temperature, repeated it in 15minutes, and took photos through the system as well as a video of how the child walked.

“In a normal situation if this was Otangarei, it would have been assessed by someone here, it would go to the cloud and then someone like Kody who sits in Kaitaia and looks at these cases and then decides what the treatment is.

“She’ll send the suggested treatment to me, or one of the doctors. In this particular case I’m on a plane from Auckland to Kaitaia.

“That child’s case came to me 10 minutes after the child had been assessed,” he said.

He also mentioned how he was able to receive cases from children in New Zealand while watching rugby in Chicago.

“iMOKO is about democratising healthcare. Putting healthcare into our communities and taking it out of the hands of clinicians, nurses and doctors. Taking it out of hospitals and clinics and putting it into schools and marae and homes.”

Dr O’Sullivan showed the children how the technology – like a bluetooth digital thermometer and stethoscope – worked.

Myles Ferris, principal of Te Kura o Otangarei, said iMOKO was another innovative programme in the school.

“None of this stuff is because we feel we’re deprived. We as a school pride ourselves in being at the front of education and iMOKO is a part of the innovative programmes we have running at the school.”

Source: Northern Advocate

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