Virtual health meetings the way of the future

Monday July 16, 2018 Written by Published in Health
New Zealand’s Mobile Health director and urologist Stuart Gowland. 18071313 New Zealand’s Mobile Health director and urologist Stuart Gowland. 18071313

The time is right for the Cook Islands to start thinking about the next level of communication in knowledge exchange, says New Zealand’s Mobile Health director Stuart Gowland.


And he says advanced “virtual” communication via video could be the easiest way of achieving it.

In isolated countries such as the Cook Islands, Dr Gowland believes video communication will help ensure local medical practitioners and nurses have access to vital health information.

“Knowledge exchange helps improve the way we deal with health issues. Knowledge exchange is best done face-to-face, but nowadays, it’s getting better and better,” Dr Gowland, a participant in the 20th Annual Cook Islands Health Conference 2018, said.

“We can have knowledge transfer across the world and in between countries via video communication.”

While when it was initially introduced video conferencing was a highly accepted form of virtual communication, health experts now had access to much more complex technologies,” he said.

“The software programmes have got much better than video conferencing. It’s all about making you imagine you are there, when you are not really there.

“For instance, if you have a meeting in New York and you want to really go to that meeting - and I’m thinking that nurses are a big group that benefit from these sorts of things, then you could register at a cheaper rate and you wouldn’t have to fly and stay in New York to be a part of the meeting.

“You can feel part of it through video communication, and now there are options where you can even select which part of the meeting you are interested in attending

“It has gone to the next level now where you can imagine you are at the venue and are a part of it. You can ask questions from your (computer) monitor, you can hear questions and answers and it could even prove to be better than being at the actual meeting.”

Dr Gowland also said video communication technologies were getting cheaper compared to in the past where they had to spend a lot to have access to higher quality links.

A urologist, Dr Gowland is also known for establishment of a mobile surgical unit and a mobile kidney stone machine in New Zealand.

While he said these projects would not be viable for the Cook Islands, they had greatly helped the delivery of health services in New Zealand.

Dr Gowland said the annual Cook Islands health conference was ideal for exchanging health-related ideas and knowledge between participants, especially the local medical experts.

“The difficulty is they (local medical experts) are not often confident enough to say it, but they have got lots of good ideas about the way they solve problems.”

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