Michael Hosking Guest Blog

Associate member Michael Hosking tells us about his role in informatics in New Zealand

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Michael works as a Digital Health Consultant in New Zealand. Starting his career as an Occupational Therapist in Australia, he now specialises in digital health. His speciality areas include data and interoperability standards, AI, product design and user experience, strategy, policy, research, and workforce development. Most recently advising on the New Zealand Health and Disability System Review, he is currently leading the national digital solution supporting the NZ border and Managed Isolation Facilities.

He holds several voluntary positions including Board member of Health Informatics New Zealand, Co-chair of the Clinical Informatics Community of Practice with the Australasian Institute of Digital Health and Exam Committee member of the Certified Health Informatician Australasia.

Does anyone plan on getting into digital health? I certainly didn't expect to be working in this field. I didn't even know it existed. I had no idea about the opportunities that would present themselves.

Beginning my career as an OT, I will admit - I was pretty disappointed. Poor user experience, wasted time and effort, inefficient systems and interoperability issues were getting in the way of patient outcomes. These challenges provided inspiration to assist the change toward more effective healthcare system design.  

My clinical experience opened the door into a digital role, working at a regional tertiary hospital supporting the design, development, and implementation of a clinical system in a large regional hospital in Victoria, Australia. It was that first job in health informatics that opened my eyes to the impactful change I desired.

Interoperability standards piqued my curiosity and seemed to be a significant issue. I studied FHIR and SNOMED CT which was a pivotal point in building my confidence and understanding of some of the key barriers to safe and effective care.

An opportunity presented itself in New Zealand and I joined the global product management team at Orion Health. Here, I was lucky to have the flexibility to pick and choose my portfolio. It included product research and development, user experience design, clinical decision support and interoperability standards. In parallel, I worked with a team as part of the Precision Driven Health partnership on innovative, applicable research projects applying Natural Language Processing tools solving real-world clinical problems.

Following my time at Orion Health, the NZ Government commenced the Health and Disability System Review. I was offered a lead advisory role on the Digital and Data component of the review. This included a broad scope of procurement and policy, standards and innovation, workforce, funding, access and equity, emerging technologies, regulation and ethics, along with modern ways of working. Our research explored local and international approaches, including great learnings from the UK’s approach to digital with the NHS (a big thank you to those of you I spoke with who provided great insights). Having had the opportunity to influence a nation’s direction for digital health has been one of the most humbling experiences of my career. I am looking forward to seeing it progress.

More recently, as part of the New Zealand COVID-19 response, a digital solution is required to support the border and managed isolation quarantine facilities. I’ve joined the national team to support its design, development and national rollout.

We’re living in an interesting time and I believe that data and digital technologies are critical enablers for healthcare. They support new ways of working and improve access and equity to achieve better patient outcomes. I’m motivated to face healthcare challenges as opportunities for collaboration to explore new and alternative approaches with consumers and healthcare providers.

I look forward to a future where healthcare delivery and people’s experiences of managing their own health is enabled by digital technology in a way that becomes invisible.

I’m honoured to be welcomed into the Faculty of Clinical Informatics community and look forward to becoming more involved in the important cause of enhancing the digital capability of our health and care workforce.

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