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Online calculator to help refugees with immunisation

Thursday 9 November 2017

Online calculator to help refugee children ‘catch up’ on immunisation

The proposal for an online immunisation catch-up calculator for immigrant or refugee children to bring them in line with the New Zealand schedule has seen Southern DHB’s Jillian Boniface and Leanne Liggett win a national innovation award and $8000 grant.

The 2017 Clinician’s Challenge is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Health and Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) and includes two categories – ‘New Idea’ and ‘Active Project or Development’.

Southern DHB Programme Leader for Vaccine Preventable Disease Jillian Boniface and Public Health Analyst Dr Leanne Liggett entered into the ‘New Idea’ category, meeting the criteria for an innovative digital system that would deliver health services in new ways to enhance patient outcomes.

“Primary Care Focus Groups undertaken as part of the Refugee Strategy Evaluation identified the increasing demand for support for immunisation catch ups for the Resettlement Cohort arriving every six weeks from Mangere,” says Ms Boniface. “Refugees invariably arrive from countries with disruptions to their health schedules.

“Planning immunisation catch ups is a complex, time consuming and manual process for busy practice nurses. An online calculator would simplify data collection, improve workflow efficiencies, support timely clinical delivery and ensure the National Immunisation Register is updated.”

Ms Boniface and Dr Liggett are working in partnership with WellSouth to develop and pilot the concept, with the intent to roll it out nationally in the future. “We know the Government of South Australia has already adopted the immunisation calculator model with success, so we will look at their platform and how we can adapt it for our health system,” says Dr Liggett.

“We have already had engagement with the Ministry of Health Immunisation Team and Immunisation Advisory Centre, who are in full support of this initiative and have encouraged us to pursue the concept.”

Southern DHB Executive Director People, Culture and Technology, Mike Collins says the potential to improve national health outcomes through this innovation is completely supported by the organisation. “It demonstrates the calibre of staff we have – they are passionate about progressive healthcare and will go to great lengths to make a difference.”


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