Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to address HiNZ conference

New Zealand's new minister for health, Jonathan Coleman, will speak at the Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) conference in Auckland next week.

Dr Coleman, who has a medical degree and worked as a general practitioner for some time but is no longer registered, will provide a short presentation on Tuesday, November 11, necessitating a slight rearrangement of the afternoon schedule.

HiNZ CEO Kim Mundell said registrations for this year's conference had almost reached 500, a huge increase on the 350 who attended last year's conference.

HiNZ has undergone a restructure this year with the appointment of a full-time CEO in Ms Mundell in April. It is also looking to make some changes to its constitution to move it from a volunteer organisation into a more professional body.

Ten people from the sector have put up their hands for five roles on the HiNZ board, voting for which opens on Friday, November 7. The new board will be announced at the HiNZ annual general meeting on Wednesday, November 12.

Patient portals have been high on the NZ health IT agenda for some time, so the theme of the HiNZ great debate this year has been chosen to reflect the interest. The tongue-in-cheek theme of the debate is 'Will patient portals make us all hypochondriacs?'

Two teams will compete to win the debate. The case for the affirmative will be presented by Kate Baddock, chair of the NZMA GP Council, with assistance from David Russell, former CEO of the Consumers Institute, and comedian Michele A’Court.

Arguing the case for the negative will be National Health IT Board eHealth ambassador and general practitioner Andrew Miller, consumer advocate Jo Fitzpatrick and comedian Jeremy Elwood.

Audience participation via the online conference app will decide the winning team.

HINZ 2014 will kick off with five workshops on Monday, November 10, covering telehealth, usability, IT and health management, mobile access to health information, and sharing personal health information.

NHITB director Graeme Osborne will be joined by Dr Miller and Carolyn Gullery, general manager of planning, funding and decision support at the Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, to provide the keynote presentations on the opening day.

International speakers include leading eHealth safety and implementation experts Enrico Coiera of the University of NSW in Australia and Trisha Greenhalgh of Barts and the London School of Medicine, who will present via video conference.

The HiNZ Conference is being held at Skycity Auckland from November 10 to 12. For more information, see

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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