eHealth News: Hira clinical reference group created editor Rebecca McBeth

A clinical reference group has been created to advise on the Hira programme at the Ministry of Health.

The business case for Hira tranche one has been submitted to Cabinet for approval and an announcement on Cabinet’s decision is due soon.

Becky George, interim clinical director for the Hira programme, says the new reference group has 12 members and will ensure there is a strong clinical voice in the development of the ecosystem of data and digital health systems, called Hira.

She says in a new podcast episode of eHealthTalk NZ that hers is the first clinical role within the data and digital directorate and “reflects a new emphasis that we're putting on clinicians and providers”.

The clinical reference group includes clinicians from across medical, nursing and allied health professions and provides a range of viewpoints from communities throughout New Zealand.

“One of my key priorities is to make sure that the clinical workforce is supported to adopt Hira so it can reach its full potential,” explains George.

She says the current situation, where health information is stored across a range of separate systems, makes it difficult for clinicians to get a complete view of a patient and can cause delays in care as clinicians search for information.

“Hira is going to allow the health information stored on all these existing systems to be brought together to create a virtual electronic health record,” George explains.

“This is going to ensure that clinicians have access to complete patient information in the right context at the right time, wherever they may be.”

The five year program will be delivered in three tranches and will put in place foundational services like data standards, interoperability and digital identity.

Tranche one of Hira is due to start soon and will be delivered over 2.5 years.

This will give New Zealanders and their trusted clinicians access to important health information including demographics, prescribed and dispensed medicines, and Covid-19 vaccination status. People will also be able to update their information held in the National Health Index.

The services and deliverables in tranche two and three will evolve in response to tranche one and feedback from stakeholders, but will include giving consumers and clinicians access to a wider range of health data and shared care plans. Also, where information is held and who has access to it.

“The onus on the clinical reference group is that we will ensure that the membership remains consistently relevant to what it is that we're working on, so it may well be a more fluid membership rather than a static advisory group,” George says.

Members of the Hira clinical reference group are; Steve Earnshaw, Richard Medlicott, Emily Gill, Tamzin Brott, Mark Shirley, Aimee Dackers, Emma Collins, Deb Boyd, Lucy Westbrooke, Emerald Muriwai, Lorraine Hetaraka, and Timoti Pahi.



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Liam McLeavey

Operations Manager

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