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AI Healthcare Assistant wins Health Informatics award

Third year Bachelor of Health Sciences degree student, Monica Judge, is this year’s winner of the Sysmex Award for Health Informatics. Her winning business case recommended the use of AI to surmount the obstacles faced by the deaf community in seeking healthcare. The Signing AI Healthcare Assistant proposed by Monica would help guide a deaf patient through their journey in the health system and overcome the language barriers and communication difficulties commonly experienced by the deaf community.

Now in its ninth year, the Sysmex Award for Health Informatics was established to inspire innovative thinking and excellence in health informatics education. The award is open to third year Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) students at the University of Auckland. Sysmex New Zealand and the University of Auckland work together to determine the assignment, select finalists and, ultimately, the winner of the award based on three criteria: innovation, use of technology and feasibility. This year students were asked “How can AI improve the quality of clinical care?” and a wide variety of business cases from across the full spectrum of healthcare were submitted.

“Receiving entries that covered a broad range of areas within the healthcare system made judging challenging,” commented Sysmex New Zealand Marketing Communications Manager, Rose Harding, “But, in the end it came down to the belief that Monica’s ideas showed a great deal of understanding of the difficulties experienced by the deaf community and provided a clear direction for how they could be solved. Her business case not only showed how the quality of care and patient outcomes could be improved for deaf patients, but also how it could reduce the workload for already overworked clinical staff. It is also something that could be applied to other industries that struggle with similar communication issues.”

As the award winner, Monica received a cash prize and entry to the Innovation in Digital Health conference to be held in Wellington next year. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore my passion with improving health in the deaf community and receiving this award has really inspired me to continue towards my goal of a healthier New Zealand,” said Monica. “I am honoured to receive this award and plan to use it to further my studies into health informatics and exploring how we can use technology to create equity in health. The conference is an amazing opportunity for me to get an inside view into my future and to widen my horizons to the possibilities in tech improvements in healthcare that can be possible in my lifetime. I’m looking forward to hearing about the work currently being done and the opportunity to meet the amazing researchers responsible for it.”

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