Partnership provides new course

Lance O'sullivan
Lance O'sullivan
Otago Polytechnic is partnering with  Lance O’Sullivan to develop digital health qualifications for the iMoko app - allowing teachers and child care workers to upskill in order to better make long-distance diagnoses.

The digital health courses are "microcredentials" known as EduBits, developed by Otago Polytechnic specifically for Dr O’Sullivan’s Navilluso Medical Ltd organisation, which has developed the app.

Introduced about two years ago in a bid to "democratise" healthcare, the iMoko app first reached the South Island in 2017.

An individual such as a teacher or nurse could make an electronic record of a child’s condition, submit it to clinicians,  and receive a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

EduBits were short courses entailing assessments of students’ skills, experience and knowledge in very specific areas.

"The qualifications are designed to complement the training that some health professionals already have," Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker said.

He was "thrilled" at Dr O’Sullivan’s interest in the programme and said the  first step would be to assess the skills of the people who already used iMoko.

Actual training to gain the digital health microcredentials would not begin until September, and the course would be online, Mr Ker said.

In a statement, Dr O’Sullivan - known for his work among disadvantaged populations in Northland - said Navilluso was excited to be partnering with the polytechnic.

"This method of qualifying enables people to pivot from what they are doing today to what they could be doing, say, next month."

Mr Ker said Edubits courses could last anywhere from a day to weeks, depending on the complexity of what was being taught.

Other EduBits programmes included one teaching Maori in the workplace, and the polytechnic was discussing a potential horticultural EduBits programme to run from its Central Otago campus.

Mr Ker said the cost of taking an EduBits course varied, and could depend on the organisation’s available funding.

Another organisation to take advantage of the EduBits programme recently was Dunedin Fire Brigade, which enrolled personnel in a "first responder" programme to help them deal with electric car fires.

City station officer Howard Weir said EduBits provided a combination of theoretical and practical skills.

"We got to develop a bit of an understanding about the technology that is under the surface."

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