10 Apr 2012

Cooks telemedicine link seen as moneysaver

6:41 am on 10 April 2012

The New Zealand aid programme says the installation of video-conferencing equipment in Cook Islands hospitals connecting them with New Zealand specialists will be money well spent.

NZAID's Programme Manager in Rarotonga, Johnathan Rowe, says the Health Specialist Project will provide 1.2 million US dollars over the next three years.

Mr Rowe says the video conferencing network will both train health workers and provide consultation services for their patients.

"I think it's very cost effective when you consider the cost of travel providing services medivacs down to New Zealand. If you can address or reduce the number of one referral down to New Zealand just by having telemedicine then I think the whole thing just about pays for itself."

The Cook Islands Ministry of Health says the network is to be extended to outer island hospitals over the next few years so all Cook Islanders will have access to assistance from New Zealand-based health specialists via live video link.