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Technology improves health care in remote areas

Published: 6:54PM Saturday March 23, 2013 Source: ONE News

New iPad health technology is helping overcome the tyranny of distance in one of New Zealand's most remote provinces.

For the first time doctors in a major city hospital can see and diagnose patients on the west coast of the South Island - anywhere, any time.

Christchurch paediatrician John Garrett has found the service invaluable.

"Paediatrics is a very visual specialty so when we're trying to decide if a child is sick or not a lot of that decision comes down they actually look," said Dr Garrett.

Garrett is one of a new breed of consultant doctors called a rufus, a rurally-focussed urban-based specialist who is shared fifty-fifty between two health boards - Canterbury and West Coast.

The system gives him access to big city hospital support and collegiality while ensuring coasters get the best care.

Garrett travels to the coast five days a month but the portable iPad means he can see his coast patients at any other time - even at home.

The system saves time and money and brings peace of mind to all concerned.