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Early adopters work to standardise allied health data collection

Monday, 11 February 2019  
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Return to home page editor Rebecca McBeth


Three early adopter sites are working to implement the allied health data set standard for district health boards.


The standard was published by the Ministry of Health in March last year and defines the minimum data set to be captured by allied health staff in DHBs to record patient-related clinical activity.


The early adopter sites, Waitemata, Canterbury and Nelson Marlborough DHBs, are starting with a gap analysis to determine what information is not being collected and how much work and resourcing would be required to bridge that gap.


Chair of the working group that developed the standard, Rebecca George, says the biggest gaps usually lie within inpatient systems.


George, who is the clinical lead for allied health informatics at Canterbury DHB, says implementation will ensure that information about AH staff interventions in hospitals is properly recorded in the systems.


The aim is for the early adopter sites to provide a model of how this integration can be rolled out across DHBs and how this can be applied in other contexts.


“We have got some early adopting sites who have taken this on board and are actively integrating it into their systems and engaging in discussions about how to do that in the rest of the country,” she tells


The clinically driven nature of the standard means it is a learning curve for staff to take this on board and implement it in their sites, adds George.


“For allied health clinical leads, it supports the continued and deeper engagement with their information services and CIOs, which is good,” she says.


This year, the standard team will be working closely with the Health Information Standards Organisation, which she says is very supportive of the standard and the way it is being driven by clinical leadership and staff.


“We will be looking to work with HISO to continue supporting the implementation and review the work of the early adopters and progress made, and be engaging with professional groups that are keen to be included and haven’t so far been,” George says.


Five professions are included in the standard at this stage: occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work, speech and language therapy, and dietetics/nutrition.


The next review of the standard will involve an alteration to include more professional groups.


George says the new data standard was created because of inconsistencies in the data collected by AH professionals and lack of visibility of the data.


“We hope to soon have a working group meeting to discuss and explore the idea of a single repository for AH data collected nationally and the end goal is to make use of the analytics and outcomes,” she explains.

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