01 / What is Via Innovations?
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The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) recognises that innovation is a fundamental process that is at the heart of improving healthcare.

The CDHB wishes to continue to be a vigorous supporter of innovation that has the potential to improve the health of its regional community and beyond.

The CDHB also recognises that innovation within the Canterbury Health System can take many forms. It may involve adopting new techniques, lean management systems, better efficiencies, technologies to improve information flows, licensing technologies and new ventures based on protectable intellectual property.

VIA INNOVATIONS has been established to:

  • Accelerate innovation within the Canterbury Health System (CHS) that is focussed on improving health outcomes;
  • Connect ideas to enterprise, health to commerce and innovators to investors;
  • Enhance connections between CHS and the wider Canterbury Regional Innovation System (CRIS).

02 / Who will I be working with?
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Executive Leader - Health Innovation

James leads the Information Services Group (ISG) for Canterbury and West Coast DHBs. In his role as Chief Digital Officer James also holds the Executive Portfolio for Innovation. Born and bred on Auckland’s North Shore, James whakapapas to Northland (Ngapuhi, Karetu).


Innovation Director - Via Innovations

Anya oversees and coordinates Via Innovations' activities. Anya has a background in tech startups, commercialising emerging technologies from universities and managing innovation funding processes.


Clinical Innovation Director

Dr Helen Lunt provides a link between clinical staff and Via Innovations. In addition to her role with Via Innovations, Dr Lunt continues to undertake clinical, teaching and research activities in diabetes. She also has multiple mentoring roles and is a University of Otago (Christchurch) Clinical Associate Professor.


e-clinical Health Lead

Saxon Connor provides a link between e-health innovators and Via Innovations. In addition to his role at Via Innovations Saxon is an HPB Surgeon at Canterbury DHB and e-tutor for a UK-based HPB ChM programme.

01 / What is Via Innovations?
03 / Who have you worked with?
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Connecting Innovators to Investors

Hartwell Simulation

  • Founded by CDHB's anaesthetist Dr Daniel Hartwell and Medical Physics and Bioengineering engineer Michael Sheedy
  • A low cost medical simulator which helps medical professionals improve safety and quality of care provided to patients
  • Supported by Via Innovations since 2014 and collaboratively developed and market validated with Australasian biomedical distributor Domo Technica
  • Commercialisation expertise and access to pre-seed co-funding received through the New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (NZHIH)

 Simple CPD

  • Founded by CDHB anaesthetist Dr Christian Brett
  • Smart phone app and associated website to enable simple and efficient management and reporting of continuing medical education (CME) requirements for medical college professional accreditation
  • Via Innovations has supported the development and piloting of Simple CPD at the CDHB and the sponsorship of SimpleCPD to the New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (NZHIH)
  • Pre-seed co-funding has been awarded through NZHIH to carry out market validation and business model development.

Connecting Health to Enterprise

Medsalv - medical waste reprocessing

  • Medsalv is a local business that was developed specifically to reduce waste and stretch the health dollar further.
  • Via Innovations supported Medsalv to validate its concept through a pilot project hosted by Burwood Hospital.
  • After proving the concept and delivering savings and reduced waste as promised, Medsalv has secured a long-term contract with the Canterbury DHB.

 Blue Mirror – virtual PPE donning and doffing buddy

  • As the Covid pandemic unfolded Blue Mirror turned their skills to developing a virtual mirror app designed to improve the competence and confidence of health professionals in donning and doffing personal protective equipment.
  • Canterbury DHB, through Via Innovations and the Manawa Simulation Centre, are sponsoring a validation trial to evaluate Blue Mirror's innovative virtual PPE donning and doffing buddy in a training environment.

 Wayfind-Smudge clinical decision support tool

  • Wayfind is a next-gen decision support tool leveraging nearly decade of chest pain pathway research by CDHB clinicians and university researchers, led by Director of Emergency Medicine Research Dr Martin Than.
  • Wayfind has been developed by the CDHB with IT expertise from Smudge.
  • Via Innovations has been supporting Wayfind since 2019, including assisting with a successful application for participation in the 2020 Spark Health Digital Innovation Programme, and providing pre-commercialisation services.
04 / How do
we start?
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The best way to start is with an initial meeting with one of our team to hear about your idea. We will send you out some information ahead of time with an idea of the sorts of questions we will ask and things we consider when providing advice. Don't worry if this process is new to you - we are here to guide you through it.

Please email us with a brief summary of your idea and we will be in touch shortly to set up a time to meet.