Student innovation for managing abnormal test results wins this year’s Sysmex Award.

SysmexAwardHealthInformaticsMay Lin Tye, a third year Bachelor of Health Sciences degree student, has won the Sysmex Award for Innovation in Health Informatics for her business case essay on the development of a solution, to better manage the follow-up of abnormal laboratory test results in primary care settings.

Deborah Steele, Product Manager at Sysmex says, “May Lin identified a critically important area of healthcare – it is not an area we hear a lot about, but the published statistics around delayed abnormal test result follow-up as a cause of medical error are too high. Her idea to enhance existing health IT systems to assist with timely management of abnormal lab test result and actively keep the patient informed has the potential to improve this process, which would improve patient safety and quality of care.”

May Lin named the innovation proposal LOOP in reference to the idea of ‘closing the loop’ on test results.

Sysmex and Auckland University work together to determine the innovation question and the overall judging and winning student. The judging panel take into account innovation, use of technology and feasibility when selecting the winning paper. Karen Day, Senior Lecturer in Health Informatics at Auckland University, said, “The assignment topic this year ‘How can we use information technologies to improve the quality of care? ‘, challenged students to demonstrate their understanding of healthcare drivers and challenges and produce a health informatics response.”

With over half the Health Informatics class submitting essays in the competition, it proved to be a challenge for the panel to narrow down the entries to a shortlist of six and to then select a winner. The innovations offered covered a diverse range of topics as shown in the six shortlisted essays, with business cases presented for an app to assist in the management of asthma in Maori children in a primary care setting; a medication management app for palliative care patients; a telemedicine solution for low socioeconomic patients; an app that looked to increase medication adherence through the use of a smart medication bottle cap; and a calendar scheduling tool to assist with networking and support for the elderly.

Now in its fifth year, the Sysmex Award was created to encourage excellence in health informatics education by helping to foster innovative thinking and is presented each year to a student enrolled in the third year Health Informatics course at the University of Auckland. As the award winner, May Lin received a cash prize and entry to last week’s 2015 HINZ Conference where the award was presented during the gala dinner event.

“Learning about health informatics has shown me what an extremely important and exciting field it is, with endless opportunities for improving healthcare through innovation. Writing the business case for this competition was a valuable experience, and I enjoyed the opportunity for creativity.” says May Lin who plans on going into postgraduate study next year, “I believe in the right for patients to be informed of all test results, whatever the result. With today’s technology, I feel that completing follow up is a very achievable action that also has potential to make a huge difference to quality and safety in healthcare. I am honoured to have won this award, and inspired to possibly pursue future studies or a career in this field.”

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