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National rheumatic fever registry business case wins this year’s Sysmex Award for Health Informatics

Sunday, 3 December 2017  
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David Leong, a third year Bachelor of Health Sciences degree student, has won the 2017 Sysmex Award for Health Informatics for his business case recommending the implementation of a National Rheumatic Fever Registry. David’s proposed national registry expands the Ministry of Health’s current Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme and has three objectives: to increase the quality of statistical data through standardisation; to improve rheumatic fever patient management between DHBs; and to assist with compliance of long-term treatment plans preventing recurrence of the disease.


Now in its seventh year, the Sysmex Award for Health Informatics was established with the objective of encouraging innovation and excellence in health informatics education and is open to third year Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) students at The University of Auckland. This year the question proposed to students was ‘how can we use information technologies to provide smart healthcare services’ which inspired a wide range of innovative and interesting ideas.


Entries went before a judging panel comprised of Sysmex and Auckland University representatives, and were shortlisted based on their innovation, use of technology and feasibility. Rose Harding, Marketing Communications Manager at Sysmex New Zealand said, “Choosing a winner was extremely difficult due to the high standard of business cases this year. But, David’s proposed national rheumatic fever registry was selected because he demonstrated a good understanding of obstacles faced by current rheumatic fever patients and because we believe it would be highly feasible to implement the registry in the existing NZ healthcare framework.”


A new feature to this year’s competition was the creation of the Sysmex Award finalist showcase videos where the three finalists, David, Salome Lennon and Kirstin Lloyd, presented their business cases. Each of the finalists were interviewed by Karen Day (Senior Lecturer, Health Informatics, Auckland University), providing them the opportunity to further expand on their business case and how they see their innovation providing smarter healthcare services. The finalists’ videos are now available online and can be watched here.


As the award winner, David received a cash prize and entry to the 2017 HINZ Conference, held in Rotorua last week.


"The health system is constantly changing and technology is at the forefront of this change. I applied for the Sysmex prize to learn more about how we can exploit technology to improve overall population health, but it also encouraged me to think about how health systems and technology can make access to healthcare easier for patients,” said David following the award presentation, “Winning this award was a surprise and an honour and it showed me that health informatics isn't a far-removed idea filled with fanciful gizmos and gadgets, but another way to address the gaps in the health system. As I look towards my own future in the healthcare system, I hope to be an implementer of this change as I enter the workforce following the completion of this semester."


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