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Health Minister sees digitisation as improving the quality of healthcare

Wednesday, 14 March 2018   (0 Comments)
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eHealthNews editor Rebecca McBeth


PICTURE: Health Minister David Clark


The Government is developing a Digital Health Strategy to support new and improved models of care and is considering the viability of a national Electronic Health Record.


Digitisation will improve care and quality in New Zealand’s public health service, says New Zealand’s Minister of Health, Dr David Clark.


The Minister says that a strong digital health system can help people to access healthcare when, how and where they need it.


“It can also make it easier for them to make informed choices about their own health and well-being,” he tells


“I believe that digitisation will improve care and quality in our public health service.”


However, Clark acknowledges that while digital technologies can play a significant role in supporting new and improved models of care, “investment is often required upfront to achieve long-term gains”.


“All IT projects, like other projects, require solid business cases so that the Government can assess and prioritise them alongside other investment demands,” he says.


The Government is currently considering the indicative business case for a national Electronic Health Record. Cabinet has requested additional details on the costs, benefits and risks of the EHR project before making its decision.


Ministry of Health chief technology and digital services officer Ann-Marie Cavanagh says the Ministry has now completed the work to update and provide an indicative business case for a decision on the next stages of the project.


“It is currently going through the required Government consultation process and upon completion is scheduled to be discussed at Cabinet," she tells eHealthNews


Clark says the Ministry of Health is also developing a digital health strategy “to outline how the Government can best support the digital health system in New Zealand, ensure people can access information and support an integrated health system”.


Clark says it is important that people feel confident that their digital health information is kept safe and secure, and that it is accurate.


“This information can help health workers to better understand a person’s health needs, which improves health outcomes by ensuring healthcare is more appropriate, timely and accessible,” he says.


He also believes that digital technology will help to ensure more accessible and equitable health services. 


The Minister attended the Digital Government Showcase and the D5 Ministerial Summit at the Beehive in February, which had using big data for health as one of its four key themes.


“I’m excited and impressed by the digital innovations that the health sector has developed to date,” Clark says.


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