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Innovation leadership award for Waikato DHB chief

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Waikato DHB interim chief executive Derek Wright has been awarded the 2018 Leadership in eHealth NZ award.

The annual award recognises forward-thinking management, innovation and implementation in New Zealand’s eHealth arena. Candidates were nominated by industry based on their outstanding contribution to eHealth - the use of information and communications technologies in healthcare.

The nominations said: "Derek has been prepared to support a range of different technological advances within Waikato mental health with e-Health tools in the areas of alcohol and other drugs, self-management, the empowerment of those suffering chronic schizophrenia, self-management of anxiety and depression and self-help for those suffering alcohol and other drug addictions.

"The DHB’s current development of the 10 year Health Service Plan is a testament to Derek’s commitment to ensuring Waikato DHB is focusing on new and innovative approaches to healthcare delivery so the communities across the Waikato region receive the services they need."

Director of the AUT Centre for eHealth, Associate Professor Duncan Babbage, said: "Derek Wright is highly worthy of this award. Our referees told us of Derek’s strong sense of social justice and that he is always looking for, and open to, new and innovative ways to deliver health care to those in need.

"Those referees also shared how honesty, integrity, and loyalty are core to Derek as a person. He is fair and does not ever ask anyone do anything that he would not do himself. He has a good mix of strategic and operational strengths, has an inclusive leadership style and he leads by example. In presenting this award to Derek, we join his referees in congratulating him whole-heartedly."

The award was presented at the eMental Health Expert Forum, at Auckland University of Technology, where Waikato DHB mental health and addictions service director Cara Thomas was sharing patient success stories about Recovery in Hand.

Waikato DHB has been trialling Recovery in Hand, a smartphone app that provides support to people recovering from alcohol and other drug issues, for the last year.

The app connects service users to their clinical team, recovery community, peers and other resources 24/7. Over 60 people are using the app as part of the trial and it’s already proving successful. The app provides resources and information, a chat space, GPS detection to alert them if they enter a high risk location and a beacon button for emergency support.

Anecdotal feedback is that Recovery in Hand is improving patient care and outcomes. The trial is a collaboration between the DHB, e-mental health and addictions and consulting company Health TRx and CHESS Mobile Health.

Derek Wright said: "It was a real honour to receive this award. However this was a team effort and I accept the award on behalf of all the mental health and addictions staff who were involved in the development of Recovery in Hand."

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