A medical company established by Dr Lance O’Sullivan and his wife Tracy O’Sullivan has been announced as a finalist in two categories at the NZ Hi-Tech Awards 2017.
The Hi-Tech Awards recognise high achievers of the NZ Hi-Tech industry as well as Māori innovation.
Dr O'Sullivan's company, Navilluso Medical, is a finalist in two categories – Callaghan Innovation Māori Innovation Award and Kiwibank Hi-Tech Innovative Services Award.
Both nominations are due in large part to iMOKO, a software program which utilises technology to deliver high quality basic health services.
iMOKO was developed by Navilluso Medical to target communities with high needs and vulnerable children.
Dr Lance O'Sullivan says, "iMOKO is a digital health platform where we are actually wanting to democratize health care by putting simple technologies in to the hands of whanau to achieve better health outcomes."
The iMOKO programme provides schools, daycares or Kohanga Reo with iMOKO software and trains approved people to conduct health assessments of common child health problems.
These checks help prevent the complications caused by untreated health problems such as:
- Skin infections
- Dental infections
- Strep throat infections
- Head lice
Dr O'Sullivan says, "A child in Gisborne could have an assessment done by a kaiako with an app on an IPad that goes to a digital health team in Kaitaia and they actually determine the treatment that is required for that child in terms of antibiotics or anything else and that’s sent off to a doctor, who could be anywhere in the world quite frankly, to approve and then the treatment for that child’s health issue can be sent back to the child’s pharmacy, say 250m from that child’s kōhanga, and that will take 8 minutes. "
He believes the relationships already established between kaiawhina and tamariki is beneficial when assessing the health of vulnerable children.
“The human contact will be more appropriate and more relevant to those who are accessing care, in this case it will be a kaiāwhina who knows the tamariki far better than a doctor in a clinic in Gisborne who may not know the whānau or the patient. So from a “kanohi ki te kanohi” point of view, its actually about optimizing whos the best person to be the face of health care.
Historically we have always believed that the best person to deliver health care are doctors and nurses, we need to revisit that."
Dr O'Sullivan says the app will provide a service that is efficient and more responsive to Māori health care needs than mainstream health care models.
"We’re the only people in NZ doing this in this way. We are doing this because there is a need to address the health issues that weren’t being serviced by mainstream analogue model of health care, so it is quite revolutionary. We have to look at different models of health care because Māori have not been served well by the health system for decades. Those who work in the health work force have failed our people. And I’m over talking to people within the work health force and saying you need to be more responsive to the needs of my people."
Around 6000 children across 110 sites from all over the country are in the iMOKO database to date. Dr O'Sullivan says this is only the beginning and his ultimate goal is to have 400,000 children accessing health care through iMOKO.