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Health Innovation Award Winners Announced

Health Innovation Award Winners Announced

Auckland District Health Board and community healthcare provider ProCare's streamlined treatment plan for stomach problems has scooped the Supreme Award in the New Zealand Health Innovation Awards.

The improved treatment procedure for dyspepsia and heartburn has already reduced waiting lists at Auckland DHB and is producing savings of $1.5 million a year. Auckland DHB and ProCare also won the Organisation Award at tonight?s presentation at Te Papa in Wellington.

The improvements were made following an examination of the treatment given by 158 central Auckland general practitioners. It found a quarter of GP referrals were unnecessary and just as many patients were going without treatment when they needed it.

New Zealand?s premier health and rehabilitation awards were introduced last year to promote and encourage health innovation and the sharing of innovative products, services and processes that can benefit more New Zealanders.

The awards were initiated jointly by the Ministry of Health and ACC. Telecom New Zealand has recently stepped on-board as the awards? major sponsor.

The Ministry of Health's Deputy-Director General of Clinical Services, Dr Colin Feek, said the awards were a wonderful way of celebrating the creativity and innovation shown in our health system.

?I congratulate all tonight's finalists for their willingness to share their good ideas so they can benefit many more New Zealanders."

ACC's General Manager of Healthwise, Dr David Rankin, said cost savings resulting from innovation in the health sector would enable more people to get the treatment they needed more quickly.

"In the case of Auckland DHB's partnership with ProCare, we've seen this more than amply demonstrated, with people getting better and more timely treatment, and $1.5 million in savings to boot."

Selected from 126 initial entries, the winners are health providers and practitioners from around New Zealand, representing main centres and smaller towns.

The winner of each category (individual, group and organisation) received a certificate and cash prize of $8000. The Supreme Award winner received $15,000 and a Popular Choice award of $5000 was also presented.

The 25 finalists at tonight?s ceremony presented their ideas through multimedia seminars and trade fair style displays during the day at Te Papa.

A team of evaluators and panel of judges, independent from the Ministry of Health and ACC, assessed the applications and made site visits to scrutinise entries.

The award winners are:

Supreme Award: Auckland District Health Board and ProCare - Improved primary health care management of dyspepsia.

Individual Award: Winner: Electrodiagnostic Unit, led by Dr Rudy Hidajat, the Ophthalmology Department, Canterbury District Health Board - Hue colour vision test. *The judges made special note of this entry, the use of a barcode scanner in a colour vision test at Christchurch hospital that has cut the time it takes to produce reports from an hour to four minutes. The team that developed the test was led by Rudy Hidajat who was assisted with the innovation by his 16-year-old son Ray, a mathematics prodigy who passed his first university paper Comp 101 with an A+ at the age of 11. Ray hopes to complete his Bachelor of Commerce and Management Degree in October.

Highly Commended: Gore Health - Community wellness and education programme.

Group Award: Winner: Cytogenetics Lab LabPlus - Therapy for advanced breast cancer.

Highly Commended: Elizabeth Brookbanks and Avril Lee - Care of patients on anticoagulant drugs. The judges noted that this is a key innovation for the health sector and fits well with the national drive for the safe use of medicines.

Organisation Award: Winner: Auckland District Health Board and ProCare - Improved primary health care management of dyspepsia.

Highly Commended: Hutt Valley District Health Board ? Nurse-led respiratory clinics.

Popular Choice Award: Kura Whanau GP Clinic, Wairarapa

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