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Managing tuberculosis with your smart phone

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Public health nurse Carolyn Pye is celebrating world TB day this Friday with two awards under her arm after her project team won accolades for using digital devices to manage the disease.

"By 2018, 90% of New Zealanders will own a smartphone. So it makes sense for health professionals to engage with patients on a digital platform to help them," says public health nurse Carolyn Pye from Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS).

This technology allows patients and nurses to have virtual consultations via a secure and confidential live feed on their laptops or digital devices. Patients can record themselves taking medication and upload the video to a secure portal for health staff to access.

The World Health Organisation recommends public health nurses observe people with TB swallowing each dose of their medication. Medication is administered daily for 6-12 months and if not taken correctly there is a risk of new drug-resistant TB strains developing and the disease spreading.

Previously it was a labour intensive exercise. Public health nurses were driving daily to the homes or workplaces of TB patients to watch them taking medication. Thanks to Teledot the nurses have more time to concentrate on other TB responsibilities. Teledot also represents a public health cost saving of 75% for each patient.

It has changed the lives of TB patients by giving them back their privacy and freedom to choose when and where they take their medication.

"Our patients love Teledot. It is much less intrusive than walking into their home, work or university to watch them take their medication," says Carolyn Pye.

"Teledot overcomes socio-economic barriers, because those who can’t afford their own technology are loaned the necessary equipment by ARPHS so no one misses out. Managing diseases like TB using digital devices is the future of health care, and we are proud to be part of that revolution," says Carolyn Pye.

The project team won a grant from the Ministry of Health in the Clinician’s Challenge Awards and then became the category winner for Excellence in Community Health and Wellbeing in the Auckland District Health Board, Health Excellence Awards.

To see Teledot in action watch the video - youtu.be/wE5cbw5TLjo

World TB Day is this Friday March 24th 2017

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