JOIN HINZ   |   Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In News Articles

Digital health leaders focus on sustaining change post-crisis

Monday, 11 May 2020  
Share |


Return to home page


Picture: Director of innovation at Boots UK and former HiNZ Conference speaker Richard Corbridge editor Rebecca McBeth


Sustaining the digital transformation that has occurred in the health system due to Covid-19 is top of mind for leaders in data and digital health across New Zealand and internationally.


The first two eHealthNews Live webinars attracted around 500 attendees and both tackled the issue of sustainability as part of a wider look at digital transformation in the era of Covid-19.


Of 69 viewers on 7 May who answered the poll question ‘I would like to continue with the digital changes in my workplace that have occurred due to the impact of Covid-19’, 68 strongly agreed or agreed.


Around three quarters of respondents also agreed or strongly agreed that they felt supported during the shift to increased digital health provision by their organisation.


Karen Blake, head of clinical informatics, healthAlliance, said the effort put in by data and digital teams to make the necessary digital transformation happen had been huge.


“The pace of change we all experienced in the first few weeks was incredibly exciting and we achieved an enormous amount of things as a system,” she said.


“But that pace is not sustainable, and we need to look after our people as well as the system.


“Now we need to consider the new ways of working we implemented quickly that we want to take forward and how do we do this sustainably?”


Alex Forsyth, director of allied health, scientific and technical at Whanganui DHB, said some patients have been empowered by their experience of telehealth and the question going forward is how to resource and support what has been working well.


“Things we said or believed weren’t possible six weeks ago we have done via telehealth, so what does that open up for the future and do we want to go back?” she asked.


Richard Medlicott, GP and former medical director of the Royal NZ College of GPs, said key to the rapid switch to virtual services in primary care has been strong leadership both nationally and locally and that will need to continue going forward.


All panelists agreed that while it is important to embed the digital gains made during Covid-19, there must also be a focus on equity, so no one is left behind due to lack of access to, or understanding of how to use, a digital device or the internet.


“We need to address that digital divide: that’s really critical,” said chair of the National Telehealth Leadership Group Ruth Large.


Director of innovation at Boots UK and former HiNZ Conference speaker Richard Corbridge told attendees at the second webinar on 14 May that Covid-19 has proven to the health system what can be done using digital technologies.



“Being at home and being able to talk to colleagues, build relationships and discuss patients, it’s all doable,” he says.


“Bringing people together virtually to share each other’s experiences, to collaborate and deliver this new normal for healthcare is a really big and important part of where we go next,” he told attendees.


“No matter how many policy and funding levers we put into the system to try and make people change, it’s when people can see the patient need and truly recognise there isn’t any other way of doing it, that’s when people change,” Corbridge said.


Corbridge is confident that the digital transformations due to Covid-19 will make health systems more efficient.


For example, when more care is delivered virtually, hospitals need fewer carparks and patients do not have to spend hours in waiting rooms, he said.


Patient satisfaction has also shown to be higher for some services when delivered virtually, such as mental and sexual health.


However, he agreed with the New Zealand panelists that, “inequity is the wicked problem we need to next look at.”


“This crisis has empowered leaders to come together and fix problems and if we can try to maintain that collaboration as colleagues then huge benefit will come from that,” Corbridge said.


Blake, Medlicott and Forsyth will be joined by child and adolescent psychiatrist Yariv Doron for the next webinar ‘Digital Transformation in the era of Covid-19 Part 2’ on 14 May 2020.


Register for this free eHealthNews Live webinar and others in the upcoming series here.


Watch the first two webinars online. (You must be registered to attend the webinar series in order to view)



Read more news:

Southern’s Digital Blueprint features full digital health record

eHealth IT All Stars – Round one

Return to home page

HiNZ, PO Box 300125, Albany, Auckland 0752, New Zealand.

Membership Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal