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New tool to improve men's health

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

To coincide with the launch of Men's Health Week 2012, Comprehensive Care Ltd in association with Waitemata PHO and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ, have signed a contract to develop a new electronic decision support tool for men.

This is a New Zealand first and a major step forward in improving men's health in New Zealand.

The main aim of the tool is to empower both doctors and patients to confidently address a diverse range of men's health issues, with a particular focus on prostate diseases, both benign and cancerous. It will also lead to important age-related IT supported screening tests such as diabetes checks and heart risk analysis.

The prototype was developed by Comprehensive Care General Practitioner, Dr Prakash Appanna, whose practice is based in Birkenhead, Auckland.

"I was concerned about the confusion being created with messages to the public and GPs about PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) testing and prostate cancer screening and its effect on our doctors, especially the newer entrants into our profession. The debate about PSA screening was clouding the key issues we should be addressing."

"I therefore set about developing a tool that would put the focus where it should be, on men's health and quality of life."

"Urological problems are an important part that is often ignored. Lack of sleep from prostatism is very rarely addressed, and is accepted by patients as being 'normal' as you get older, yet treating Benign Prostate Hyperplasia is easy using a user-friendly decision aid," says Dr Appanna.

Dr Lannes Johnson, Clinical Director of Waitemata PHO, and a long-standing advocate for male health, is leading the project.

"The new tool will provide a more evidence-based guideline approach that could be built into the practice management systems of every New Zealand practice. It will

reduce unnecessary and possibly harmful investigations or treatment and provide early diagnosis of prostate conditions."

"It will also help doctors and their patients to make the right decisions, at the right time, in regards to testing procedures, as well as provide immediate personalised information for the patient that can be given to them, instead of a generic leaflet about their condition." says Dr Johnson

Dr Johnson thanks the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand in taking an active role in bringing this new tool into fruition.

He anticipates beta testing the tool later this year and offering it to New Zealand practices in 2013.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand CEO, Keith Beck, says the project is being funded through its annual research grant fund.

"PCFNZ sees the Comprehensive Care software project as a major step forward in the dissemination of up to date prostatic information to both doctors and patients and a project PCFNZ had to be involved in," says Mr. Beck.

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