A session at APAC Forum gave renowned Far North GP Lance O’Sullivan a great idea.
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The 2014 New Zealander of the year was inspired at the first APAC Forum in 2012, when he heard a fellow presenter discuss a telemedicine project being delivered in Alaska.
Dr O’Sullivan decided to adapt something similar for marginalised communities within New Zealand.
The result is iMOKO, a diagnostic tool that enables him to treat children from hundreds of kilometres away.
Under the iMOKO initiative trained volunteers go out to and use an iPad app to send a photograph of children with skin infections to Dr O’Sullivan’s clinic in Kaitaia.
Dr O’Sullivan and colleagues then diagnose the condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Some 3000 patients are managed through the scheme with up to 300 treated each month.
He says APAC Forum is a great platform to develop innovative approaches to healthcare delivery, such as iMOKO.
“[APAC Forum] exposes you to thinkers and innovators and people that are asking questions and coming up with solutions to problems in an environment where it is permissible to try something and fail and learn. That resonates with me.”
Dr O’Sullivan says attendance at APAC Forum means accessing like-minded people.
“You realise that ‘actually there are people that think like me – people are making change by being bold.”