Report on the Success and Failures of Telehealth (SFT-14) 2014 Conference

Held at the Hilton Hotel Adelaide 17th and 18th November 2014

(I have close connections to the Australasian Telehealth Society as I am on the Board of the Society, meeting up every two months by video link. I have also been a member of the scientific committee for the last two conferences along with other members from Canada, Australia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Norway, Malaysia and Japan. I have been reelected to the board for 2015. The night prior to the commencement of the conference, Pat Kerr and I, as members of the Board were taken out to dinner by the Australian members of the Board).

The Successes and Failures in Telehealth 2014 conference (SFT-14) was held in Adelaide Australia 17th and 18th November 2014. It was stimulating and polished. The 150 attendees both national and international, were certainly provided with a very packed program. The venue was also very comfortable and easy to move from room to room which added to the enjoyment of the event.

Education, research, management of programs, innovative approaches to practice and new directions for practice were topics all offered by the speakers.

The first keynote speaker was Professor Gordon Peterkin, is the former Director of the Scottish Telehealth Centre. His presentation was entitled “Aligning the Arrows” This presentation told the importance of examining the variables at a personal, organizational, cultural, clinical and political level to ensure that project became practice and not just a hobby or a research project. A very articulate and entertaining presenter. Unfortunately he has resigned from his role at the Scottish telehealth Centre otherwise he would have been a great addition to the HINZ conference next year.

The second keynote speaker was Professor Peter Soyer, a dermatologist based at the University of Queensland, utilizing telehealth for providing dermatological services. His paper revisited the questions that are now starting to arise around using telehealth. His presentation explored issues such as cost effectiveness, security and legal aspects of teledermatology. All topics considered over the years but listening to them being revisited by this experienced professional was of value. He spoke from a clinician’s point of view so included case studies to illustrate his theory. Quite a thought provoking presentation and makes one stop and think rather than seeing telehealth as a panacea for everything.

The conference delivered:

  • 50 oral presentations
  • 20 poster presentations
  • Best paper awards
  • 15 exhibitors

The plenary sessions were of a wide variety of issues relating to telehealth.


What I found of great value were the networking opportunities.

Dr Victoria Wade of Queensland University has written an ebook ” How to make Telehealth work. Defining telehealth processes and procedures.” which I have downloaded. I believe it would be a good reference to have on HINZ website when it is developed. Because of its value, I forwarded this document to some of my DHB colleagues. Their reports came back that while there was no pediatrics or acute care, mental health was absolutely leading the way.

Lisa Deeth again of Queensland spoke on how she had found “ensuring the business of telehealth is right” had been an interesting process. How to meet the required governance structures and navigate the rules and regulations, understand telehealth terminologies, counting rules and billing practices. From this knowledge she then created a streamlined educational process and work instructions to ensure a consistent message was being taught about what makes up the business of telehealth. To achieve this, she offers education in the form of seminars, to both health professionals and also consumers. This education centers on professional issues such as medico-legal, communication, duty of care, Code of conduct and informed consent to more simple things such as how to use the technology, organizing a phone number if things go wrong and how to prepare patients and how patients can prepare themselves for a telehealth session. It is vital that everyone understands their role and how to action it. She has offered me the curriculum for these seminars.

Gwendoline McDonald, who is also on the Board with me has also just written a booklet on “Critical Factors to Successful Telehealth” and again has offered a copy when published. Being able to tap into projects already underway or indeed completed, is so valuable. Having colleagues like this that you are able to make contact with and chat to, is invaluable.

There were other meetings, not as valuable as this but about opening up relationships or consolidating old ones. I was able to fly the flag for HINZ. While attending the AGM, I was able to mention the 2015 HINZ conference.

As a member of the Board, I spent two hours on the membership stand. I had my name badge on with HINZ and of course there were queries about what this stood for.

There were eleven attendees from New Zealand from a variety of areas. Some are already HINZ members but others maybe could be put on the mailing list. They were:

Pat Kerr

Principal Consultant

New Zealand Telehealth Forum

Roy Davidson

Telehealth Programe Manager.

Northland DHB

Ruth Large.

Clinical Director

Waikato DHB

Stephen Murray

General Manager NZ and Asia Business Development Manager

Tunstall Healthcare

Simon Hayden

G.M. Commercial Business

Vivid Solutions

Stephen Coetzee

G.M. Business Development

Vivid Solutions

Frances Kasmi

Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Northland DHB

Stephen Jennison

Head of Department Medicine

Northland DHB

Paula Snowdon

Chief Executive

Quitline NZ

Rhonda Steele

Project Manager

Family Planning NZ

Denise Irvine

Board Member


I look forward to sharing my knowledge on 19th December. Thank you to HINZ for your financial support.

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