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Government-funded study assessing iMOKO

An independent study funded by the Ministry of Health and ACC is evaluating the use of virtual health service iMOKO for efficiency and efficacy.

Developed by clinician Lance O’Sullivan, iMOKO enables trained teachers at participating kohanga, day-care centres and schools to securely send health information about students with common conditions such as head lice and strep throat to a digital health team working in Auckland.

These digital health assessors respond with a diagnosis and a treatment plan and prescriptions are sent to the parents of caregivers via the iMOKO app.

Around 15,000 children are live on the service, with another 5000 consented and ready to load.

iMOKO chief executive Jodi Mitchell says iMOKO is hoping to secure government funding for the service as a consistent funding stream is needed to make it sustainable.

She says iMOKO fits closely with the government’s goals around improving Maori and child health and 86 percent of the children registered with the service are Maori and Pacific and are often from impoverished areas around the country.

The independent study is being conducted by Dovetail Consulting. It began in June 2018 and runs until December 2019 and a preliminary findings report was submitted to ACC and the Ministry of Health at the end of last year.

Mitchell says the strong Kaupapa Maori approach came through in preliminary results as a positive aspect of the service.

Dovetail director Adrian Field says the study is being done by a multi-disciplinary team and the first phase of work looked at, “to what extent are the foundations in place for iMOKO to deliver on its intentions”?

This includes the organisation’s infrastructure, reach of the programme to target populations and recruitment of digital health workers.

Also, the extent to which clinical governance has been established, data is being collected and risks and unintended consequences are being monitored, he says.

The second phase is looking at outcomes, asking “to what extent is iMOKO making a difference and how?”

This includes the impact of the programme on participating children and communities and the value to schools and the workforce involved.

Field says the team is specifically looking at how the programme is benefitting Maori and Pasifika populations and improving access to healthcare and ACC-funded services.

Also, assessing learnings to inform future implementations, scaling and development.

Read more about the expansion of the iMOKO service in the feature article.


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