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UC working on health system to help patients in rural areas

UC working on health system to help patients in isolated rural areas

August 20, 2013

University of Canterbury (UC) academics have joined an international network that has developed and tested a model of user driven health care involving patients and health experts to help patients in isolated rural areas.

Researcher Dr Arin Basu will present their findings on this work at the first New Zealand Tertiary Engagement Summit on campus on August 30.

``We will showcase a model of student engagement with the community in the setting of professional education, specifically engaging trainee medical doctors.

``Patients in the community who are often remotely located make the first contact with physicians and narrate their health issues and symptoms to their primary caregivers who determine further needs.

``Their primary caregivers in these remote communities then, in turn, get in touch with medical students and other doctors with clinical signs and, where possible, digitised radiographs and other detailed results of investigations.

`` The student or intermediate caregivers then link up with experts across the world and engage in meaningful discussions around management of the patient. The records are then maintained and made available with the express consent of the patients and their caregivers in the form of narratives to other professional members.

``In this way, students play a crucial role in engaging with the community who are often remotely located in developing countries to disseminate evidence based high quality medical information but, at the same time, they learn valuable experience and expertise in patient care.

``This project is about international collaboration and the main work has been based in India, but the collaborators are located worldwide.’’

User driven healthcare in New Zealand could be initiated in training not only medical students and nurses but also other health services students who attend UC’s School of Health Sciences.

By becoming interfaces between patients and experts providers, students learn a lot and very rapidly gain experiences and develop great networks.

``New Zealand is a small country but it has an excellent health care system, and highly acclaimed and expert physicians, health policy professionals and mental health professionals.’’

As a UC academic Dr Basu has given a TEDx talk about the concept. See the video here:

Vincent Ilustre, executive director at Tulane University’s Centre for Public Service in New Orleans, will be the keynote speaker at the August 30 Summit at UC.

The summit is part of a drive by UC to engage closely with the community. Already more than 400 students have been involved in UC’s CHCH101 course, launched after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, to build on the Student Volunteer Army’s community engagement work.


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