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Bits & Bytes

Decision Assist website goes live with telehealth and app The first stage in the Decision Assist palliative care and advance care planning advisory service has gone live, with a website launched and a 24/7 telephone advice service on advanced care planning now available for GPs and aged care providers.

Monash students design app that takes a simple selfie to screen for anaemia Two Monash University medical students have won the Microsoft Imagine Cup for their Eyenaemia app, which is able to analyse the pallor of the conjunctiva of the eye and calculate the risk of anaemia.

Decision Assist is the collective name for the Specialist Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning Advisory Services, a consortium of seven healthcare organisations and research institutes that successfully won funding of $14.8 million over three years to establish a nationwide palliative care service under the Labor government’s Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.

Monash students Jarrel Seah and Jennifer Tang picked up $50,000 in prize money for the win. They also made it to the finals of the Health Informatics Society of Australia’s (HISA) App Challenge.

The new service aims to provide GPs and aged care providers with information on palliative care, advance care planning and advance care directives, including the legislation and processes in each state and territory. The national 1300 668 908 advisory phone service on advance care planning is now available, with a palliative care service due to launch in September. It is expected that the palliative care service will provide advice on topics such as symptom control and medication.

While the app – which measures conjunctival pallor by asking users to take a “selfie” of their eye along with a colour standard, and then calculates haemoglobin levels – can be used by anyone, including pregnant women and children, it has been designed to be simple to use and could easily be used as a screening tool in the developing world to

The service also plans to create web-based resources including tablet and smartphone access, apps, and to provide telehealth services to overcome geographic isolation. There are also CPD resources for telehealth and eHealth from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). Training workshops will be held in all states throughout the year, and an official promotional event to launch the full services is scheduled for October.

target conditions such as malarial anaemia. Each user has an account, stored in the cloud, so they can regularly monitor their haemoglobin levels. The user’s target haemoglobin levels are customised according to WHO guidelines for the diagnosis of anaemia. It has also been validated, the duo says, and can objectively evaluate the colour of the conjunctiva and return the same result every time. Mr Seah and Ms Tang went up against 125 students and 34 teams in the Imagine Cup world finals, which were held at Microsoft’s TechReady19 in Washington State in late July. The Eyenaemia app won the world citizenship category and then went up against two other teams: the winner of the games category,

Brainy Studio from Russia, and the innovation category, Estimeet from New Zealand. Monash University’s academic director for clinical programs Christopher Wright said Seah and Tang were exceptionally talented people. “Their win speaks to their technical capability, their communication skills and their vision for the role of technology in the delivery of health care, particularly to the developing world,” Associate Professor Wright said. “It’s very important we understand that the skills required to be a great medical student, and eventually a great doctor, are not incompatible with having a deep interesting in computer science, mathematics and physics.”

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