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Mental health app wins Sysmex Award

An app focussing on youth mental health wins the 2018 Sysmex Award for Health Informatics

2018 Sysmex Award for Health Informatics winner Sabrina Tkatch with Colin McKenzie, Sales Director, Sysmex New Zealand

Sabrina Tkatch, a third year Bachelor of Health Sciences degree student, has won the 2018 Sysmex Award for Health Informatics for her business case outlining a feasible, proactive approach to the care and management of mental health for New Zealand youth. Sabrina proposed a free app, titled My Anonymous Link to Practitioners (MALP), that sought to bring the conversation about mental health to the younger population, rather than expecting young people experiencing mental health issues to seek clinical help. MALP would also contribute to wider health care improvements through the collection of reliable mental health data. This anonymous data could then be used to more accurately inform current and future health policy initiatives and programmes aimed at youth populations suffering crisis.

The Sysmex Award for Health Informatics was established in 2011 with the objective of encouraging innovation and excellence in health informatics education. It is open to third year Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) students at The University of Auckland. Sysmex New Zealand and the University of Auckland collaborate to determine the assignment question, the selection of finalists and, ultimately, the winner of the award based on three criteria: innovation, use of technology, and feasibility. Entries received this year offered a variety of approaches to the assignment topic “how can we use the big data generated by health services to create interventions that improve clinical care”; resulting in a wide range of creative and interesting ideas.

Rose Harding, Marketing Communications Manager at Sysmex New Zealand said, “Choosing a winner is always extremely difficult and this year was no exception. But, we believe Sabrina’s business case demonstrated excellent insight to the obstacles faced by young people accessing tangible help in a manner that is comfortable to them and because we believe it would be of great benefit to the current NZ health system.”

As the award winner, Sabrina received a cash prize and entry to the 2018 HINZ Conference, held in Wellington last week. "I am both honoured and surprised that my work was selected for this award. I am extremely excited to attend the conference and to have the opportunity to further my knowledge and passion on how informatics can be used to improve and benefit people within the healthcare system. It is my aim moving forward to use this experience to fuel my goal of implementing positive, innovative change within New Zealand's health sector."


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