Budget 2021 a big win for digital health
NZHIT welcomes the news that more than $500m has been appropriated toward capital infrastructure in the health sector with most of that going towards a new health IT system to link patient records.
“The digital health sector has been working toward the goal of joined up digital health records across New Zealand’s DHBs for quite some time” says new NZHIT Chief Executive Trent Lash. Lash has replaced Scott Arrol who took up the top position for Dementia New Zealand earlier this year.
With more than $385m of the $516m going towards the national Health Information Platform (nHIP), to provide a seamless health IT platform across the country is welcome news to the sector.
“We are delighted with the level of investment and funding the Government is putting into healthcare transformation. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health, and Deputy Director General of Data and Digital Shayne Hunter on behalf of our members to make nHIP a reality across the Health and Disability System” says Lash.
Recently NZHIT’s more than 165 members commissioned and released a report Hauora, Mauri Ora, advocating for better systems in procurement and greater support of innovation in digital health. Released in April by Health Minister Andrew Little, the report aligns with the Minister’s objectives for the Health and Disability System reforms.
“We believe that with the Budget 2021 announcement it means the national Health Information Platform can begin in earnest and innovation in digital health will have the potential to be showcased.
The nHIP ecosystem opens a door to innovative digital health solutions and is a foundation from where ideas can grow. It will also potentially be a key enabler for a different approach to procurement as the programme for linking health IT records begins” says Lash.
Ongoing Government budget funding and the development of the nHIP also supports another of NZHIT’s report recommendations to empower consumers to take control of their health and wellbeing by enabling access to their own health data.
The nHIP is described as an overarching standards-based digital platform that will enable access to an individual’s health data through digital means. The programme does not involve building a central repository, but “will have the ability to assemble a virtual electronic record on an ‘as required’ basis from multiple trusted sources and provide access to data and services” says Shayne Hunter.
“As we look to recover from COVID-19, a joined-up health system via electronic means will be pivotal to both consumers and healthcare providers creating a health ecosystem we can all share in across Aotearoa. NZHIT and its members who provide digital health solutions across New Zealand fully support the Ministry of Health’s vision for this national, standards-based, interoperable digital health foundation.”
The first tranche of nHIP is planned to begin in July this year, taking two and half years to complete.