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Virtual theatre takes innovation prize

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A virtual obstetric theatre that ensures a theatre is always free for emergency c-sections has seen a Palmerston North Hospital anaesthetist take the top prize at MidCentral DHB’s 2016 Cutting Edge innovation awards.

​Dr David Sapsford spends a lot of time working in theatres as clinical director of anaesthesia, meaning he knows more than most about the urgency involved in emergency c-sections.

A category-1 emergency c-section needs to be carried out very quickly. Under the current system, this means shuffling theatres around to create free space. Using Dr Sapsford’s innovation, a complex mathematical model will arrange theatre bookings to ensure that there is always one theatre free for emergency obstetric operations, essentially creating a virtual obstetric theatre.

Dr Sapsford won $4500 to go toward a trip to an innovation event of his choice, and MDHB’s innovation partners, BCC, will support him in bringing his innovation to life. 

The runner up was Marianne Lill, with her CANDID app, that will create a digital record of a patient’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and follow-up plans. 

The prize of a Fitbit for the best pitch to the judges, donated by Orion Health, was won by Paula Spargo and Diane Hirst.

The BCC will continue to work with many of this year’s entrants to further develop their ideas. The innovation programme is in its third year, with many promising innovations currently finished or in the development stage. The launch of the Babble app for the Neonatal Unit in May was the first innovation to reach consumers, after it received a ‘highly commended’ award in last year’s competition.

MDHB’s General Manager, Clinical Services and Transformation, Mike Grant says, “We just keep going from strength to strength with our innovation programme, and our drive to be the face of innovation in health. The DHB employs some of the best and brightest in their fields, and it is fantastic to see them using their expert knowledge to improve the patient experience in new and exciting ways.

“Dr Sapsford has a passion for patient safety, and that has really shown through in the work he has done to create this innovation and take the top prize.”

BCC’s Innovation Manager Jane Donaldson has been with the competition since it began. She says, “Each year we have seen stiffer competition, and we are excited about working with these entrants to develop their ideas further. We’re passionate about driving local innovation, and we can’t wait to see how far this year’s entrants will go with their ideas.”

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