Reflections on HiNZ

November 30, 2023

I was thrilled to attend HiNZ Digital Health Week this year. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues and see some of the inspiring work that has been done over the previous year.

I was on stage on the Wednesday morning talking about the co-design approach that Spritely took when developing our unique way of telemonitoring. Speaking at HiNZ is a brief affair, only 10 minutes, but it is a great opportunity to showcase things that other people can learn from. Hopefully people who attended my talk got a sense for how important it is to involve older people in the design of new services that will affect them. RPM is just one example, I’m sure there are plenty more out there.

Remote Patient Monitoring was, once again, quite a big topic. Rooms 7 & 8 at the event centre hosted lots of great presentations about RPM including the relaunch of the updated NZ Guidelines for Aotearoa. This document was updated this year to include a lot of local examples that have been piloted since the first guidelines were released. People are quickly learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to using RPM and this guide is an invaluable tool for clinicians considering RPM for their patients next year.  

The printed Digital Connect Magazine is always a staple of HiNZ. This year the cover focused on AI in health, and I attended several thought-provoking presentations that talked about the god, the bad and the ugly. Despite obvious advantages that can be gained from using AI there is still a sense of caution. Robyn Whittaker made the point that it should be possible to fast track AI applications that are deemed low risk (such as note taking) and apply more scrutiny and caution to categories of AI that are considered riskier (such as diagnosis).

This idea to create different speed pathways for the implementation of innovative technologies based on their risk profile is an interesting one. For example, Spritely has already completed three RPM trials with Te Whatu Ora across three different specialties and two different hospitals. The technology and the services have been independently evaluated and determined to be fit for purpose by Te Whatu Ora. Work has been done estimating the economic savings and there have been interviews with patients and staff to determine the impact on them, which was overwhelmingly positive. This strikes me as a good example of an innovation with a particularly low risk. Te Whatu Ora might consider thinking about what can be done to create accelerated pathways for innovations with lower risk, especially if they lead to improved patient outcome and large gains in workforce efficiency.