(2003), "New Zealand. Health innovation awards", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 16 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2003.06216fab.014Download as .RIS
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New Zealand. Health innovation awards
Health innovation awardsKeywords: Ministry of Health in New Zealand, Awards, ACC, Eye clinics, Newborn care
In May Health Minister Annette King and ACC Minister Ruth Dyson presented the first awards for innovation in health care, sponsored by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and the Ministry of Health.
Finalists presented their ideas through multimedia seminars and trade fair-style displays, as a key aim of the awards was promoting the sharing of innovative products, services and processes.
Wellington Independent Practitioners' Association retinal screening programme won the supreme award, the group award, and the popular choice award. This new screening programme screened 4000 people in its first year after being developed by the Wellington Independent Practitioners Association (WIPA) and with the New Zealand Association of Optometrists. In a New Zealand first, optometrists provide screening in the Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards' areas. All people known to have diabetes are referred for screening in which an optometrist takes a photograph of the person's eyes. Within minutes they can sit at a computer with the optometrist and be shown a photograph of the back of their eye and can discuss the condition of their eye and what needs to be done to maintain their sight. Many people have been referred on to hospital eye clinics for treatment, with others placed on a recall system to ensure they are screened again in time to pick up any deteriorationin their retina. Blindness in people with diabetes can occursuddenly with no warning. Diabetic changes can be well advanced before vision is affected, and treatment is often not an option at this stage. This simple test can preventirreversible damage and loss of sight.
The organisation award was won by Midcentral DHB hospital at home programme for patients with acute or chronic illness. Since March 2000, 450 patients have received specialist-level medical care in the privacy and comfort of their own homes under MidCentral DHB's Hospital in the Home (HITH) project. The majority of patients have required intravenous antibiotic therapy for some form of infection, or intravenous fluids for complications during pregnancy. In addition, some patients who are extremely susceptible to infection can opt for this type of care, including people who have had chemotherapy treatment for leukaemia.
Overall, the response from patients and health professionals has been resoundingly positive. One patient treated at home summed up the care as "just great, the whole thing is awesome." The patients are considered external inpatients. They remain under the supervision of a specialist and can be fast-tracked back into hospital if necessary. The DHB's District Nursing Service and a range of allied health care services provide care.
The individual award went to Malcolm Battin of the Auckland National Women's Hospital and Liggins Institute for a cooling cap to protect infants from brain damage. Brain injury through lack of oxygen during birth can cause death or long-term disability. Studies suggest brain damage develops over several days, rather than as a single event.
The cooling cap is a simple system that may protect the infant brain from evolving injury during the days after birth. The team performed animal studies and safety studies in newborn infants before undertaking a large multicentre clinical trial. Before this innovation, care for this group of infants was limited to cardio-respiratory treatment and seizure management. The cooling cap system offers, for the first time, the possibility of long-term improvements. It will benefit children in New Zealand and overseas.
A team of evaluators and panel of judges independent of the Ministry of Health and ACC assessed the final detailed application forms from the finalists and made site visits to scrutinise the entries.
The ACC and the Ministry of Health will build on this year's inaugural awards by renewing their sponsorship in 2004. ACC chief executive Garry Wilson said he believed the innovations would have a cumulative impact on the health sector. Each successful innovation generates further innovations, improving the health service and, ultimately, reducing costs to ACC. Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General of Clinical Services Colin Feek said: "It's very fitting that ACC and the Ministry are partners in sponsoring the awards as we both believe in quality. These awards reflect the creativity and innovation shown in the health system and this year's 192 entrants produced ideas and solutions that can be transferred to health providers around the country and, even, internationally."
Further information: for more information see: www.healthinnovationawards.co.nz