On Tuesday it was announced that the New Zealand Telehealth Forum has been established to promote the use of telehealth in healthcare delivery and is timed to maximize the benefits of the Government’s broadband program.
The National Health IT Board has funded the establishment of the Forum. Members of board include practicing clinicians, senior DHB managers, researchers and consumer representatives. The CEOs of the Health IT Cluster and TUANZ (representing health ICT suppliers and telecommunications users) are also on the Forum Board.
According to New Zealand’s National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), the new Forum will focus on ensuring telehealth is on the agenda for public service national and regional strategies, as well as private sector services. Malcolm Pollock, Director of the NIHI, who is acting Chairperson of the Forum, says that ICT can and should be utilized as a disruptive force.
“Unlike most industries, to date ICT in health has largely been deployed to do more efficiently what has been done traditionally. However, increasingly it is being seen as an innovation enabler, changing existing practices and in due course helping transform the landscape of the sector,” said Pollock.
Sadhana Maraj, Manager of Health IT Engagement at the NHITB, says this is especially relevant in areas that experience greater workforce shortages and limited exposure to all specialty and subspecialty services.