A New Zealand health IT company has teamed up with Queensland health authorities to begin a $28.1 million project, funded by the Queensland state government, to wage a four-year war on chronic diseases.
Auckland-based software business SHI Global is contracted to Queensland Health for Life project that will operate on the ground in local communities, tackling obesity and other risk factors that cost the state economy $A11.6 billion in hospital expenses and lost productivity a year.
Terms of the deal will see SHI Global be involved in the project over the four years, with more than 300,000 people set to be engaged with a programme to receive information on the risk of chronic disease and how to reduce that risk or delay the onset of a condition.
SHI Global co-founder Susan Binks says the Kiwi health IT software company was invited to be part of the Queensland consortia that bid for the project on the back of work they did in recent years with Brisbane South PHN.
“We helped create their online programme so it could be delivered to their clients using our platform for prevention of chronic disease and were familiar with the similar Victorian diabetes life programme having built the online version for them over 18 months ago,” Binks says.
“Health For Life has just been confirmed and is to run over four years over which time SHI Global will be developing the online portion of the programme.
“The overall Health For Life project begins with face to face intervention and support on the ground in Wide Bay, Cairns and Caboolture/Redcliffe and the wider online programme will be introduced and expanded state-wide during 2017.
"It is anticipated that more than 180,000 people will access the online platform with 10,000 people completing a programme.”
Binks says the platform was chosen above others because it is a purpose built, consumer-facing platform rather than a modification of an existing system.
“Our platform is designed to strengthen engagement and provide personalised time-lined programmes to participants using many different interactive tools,” she adds.
“The software offers ease of access to a structured programme and support which is incredibly important to people in remote areas, limited access to services or busy lifestyles where they want to choose the timing and pace of following a programme.”
Currently, health technologies are a key enabler of improved healthcare services and with the technology industry now New Zealand’s third largest exporter, the industry is seeing huge growth potential for NZ health IT companies to help meet international demands.
Binks says the substantial Queensland health project gives credibility to SHI Global and to New Zealand health IT and could be a springboard to other projects and business opportunities.
“It helps put NZ's health IT on the global stage as a reliable source of targeted solutions and demonstrates that health IT solutions don't always need to be sourced from large corporates,” she adds.