Researchers from the University of Canterbury, one a PhD student, have taken out the top awards at the 2021 HealthTech Awards for Best Research.
The next 18 months will be very interesting for the New Zealand medtech industry due to the government’s extensive health reforms, says Cushla Currie, who has taken over as Chief Executive Officer at Medical Technology Association of NZ (MTANZ). “But it was the dramatic system changes being proposed through the health reforms that attracted me to the role,” says Currie.
Every research project or clinical trial (CT) needs infrastructure – from people, funding and IT through to roadmaps, analysis and access to expertise. The better that infrastructure, the better the results. Two critical projects are looking at how we improve infrastructure and results – the Ministry of Health / Health Research Council (MoH/HRC) National Clinical Trials Infrastructure, and the Human Health Research Services Platform at the Liggins Institute.
Neuroscience company Exsurgo is accelerating its development plans after a recent UK trial confirmed the exciting potential of its breakthrough treatment for chronic pain management. Exsurgo’s ‘Axon’ system uses EEG (electroencephalography) neurofeedback to train chronic pain sufferers to manage their pain, so they can avoid or reduce the use of pharmaceutical drugs that bring risks of addiction or side-effects. Axon monitors brain activity and uses that data to help the patient ‘retrain’ their brain responses to nerve signals from the body.
Justin Kennedy-Good and his team at Ara Manawa at Auckland City Hospital are re-imagining how healthcare is delivered. “We want patients, whānau and clinicians to have a better experience and we’re doing that by re-imagining the spaces, systems, stuff and activity of staff involved in delivering health care,” he says. Justin is the Director of Ara Manawa, an in-house interdisciplinary design team. He came to Ara Manawa after holding a range of portfolios at the hospital, including the set-up of a production planning team, supporting lean and design in ward refurbishments, and co-directing the Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab venture with AUT.
A plane leaves Heathrow for New York. The engines are monitored constantly, from the high stress of take-off to the high stress of landing. On arrival in New York, the engineers know exactly how the engines are performing and what needs attention. They also get an early warning of what might need attention in the future. Do you know how your body is performing and what might need attention? Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI) might be able to tell you, a few years from now. He’s leading a global project to combine engineering, physics and physiology in the interpretation of the human biological system. In the simplest of terms – personalised monitoring and healthcare.
John needs a cardiologist appointment. He’s classed as low to intermediate risk but should still be checked. He’s referred by his GP. A 2 to 4-month wait for his appointment. Appointment day. Off to the hospital. John has an appointment with the doctor and gets an ECG, and other routine investigations. A paper report of his ECG is printed out. The clinician assesses the printout. John goes home. Several months later, John has another appointment. Consultant cardiologist Patrick Gladding at the Waitākere DHB thinks there’s a better way.
The answer to chronic pain management could be to retrain your brain. A Kiwi company has designed a way to do just that by playing simple games using just your brain in the comfort of your own home.
Mass contactless screening for viral infections, including COVID-19, is a viable first line of defence for New Zealand whether at the border or in the community. Fever Screen Technologies (FST) has introduced proven screening technology to New Zealand that could increase confidence at the border and expand into new areas.
In the movies, this would be a “bromance” – think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys (but without the guns and explosions). Engineer Geoff Chase and clinician Geoff Shaw contradict and interrupt one another, they joke, and they don’t always finish their sentences. However, they’re profoundly serious about finding answers to difficult questions when it comes to healthcare, and intensive care (ICU) in particular.