A $15 million world-leading tablet application to collate
real-time diagnostics of children's development is being
supported in Otago by Queenstown businessman Sir Eion Edgar.
Sir Eion hosted Plunket chief executive Jenny Prince, of
Auckland, and Sir Ray Avery, of Wellington, in the resort
recently to promote and raise funds for ''PlunketPlus''.
Sir Ray said PlunketPlus was one of the most significant
neonatal care systems to be introduced in the past 50 years.
The networked system logs and shares such data as an infant's
weight, height, nutrition and the developments of speech,
hearing and motor control - everything nurses assess to make
sure babies are growing at a normal healthy rate.
Ms Prince said Plunket had developed a prototype clinical
application over the past four to five years.
A group of 10 Plunket nurses in Auckland started using the
app on their tablet devices in March last year.
The aim was to make it available to 800 postgraduate
qualified Plunket nurses over the next 12 to 18 months.
Plunket was working closely with the National Health IT Board
to make sure client data remained private and encrypted.
Only staff could download the app directly from Plunket.
''Having information in client records sitting in a filing
cabinet is all very well, but if you can't look and use that
information in an aggregated way to support the development
of services going forward, then actually we're not achieving
a lot,'' Ms Prince said.
''PlunketPlus is an iPhone or iPad-based system where the
nurses can not only put in the birth weight for that baby,
but also push a button and see how they are going against
their peers in real time,'' Sir Ray said.
''It's phenomenally important in terms of getting that big
data which can help with diagnostic medicine.''
Ms Prince said Plunket saw 91% of all babies born in New
Zealand and recorded their information.
The initiative would use technology to get the best clinical
outcomes for children.
Sir Ray said PlunketPlus would extend in the future so
information such as heart rate, body motion and temperature,
collected from a baby's ankle strap, could be transmitted to
a parent's smartphone.
''You can't do any of this until you roll out PlunketPlus and
that's the game plan, to get the whole New Zealand public to
buy into PlunketPlus and see the power of all of us sharing
Sir Eion said PlunketPlus was a modern Plunket book, ''but
this has so much more''.
Distributing the software around the 20-odd nurses around
Otago would cost about $500,000 of the $15 million national
Plunket volunteers in the region have raised $230,000 towards
the deployment in Otago.
''We'd love to see Otago find the other $270,000, and the
same with Southland.
Theirs costs about $400,000 and they've got about $200,000 to
go,'' Sir Eion said.'