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Health and Disability System Review focusing on data and digital

Tuesday, 9 July 2019  
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Picture: The Health and Disability System Review website. editor Rebecca McBeth


Data and digital is a specific workstream of the Health and Disability System Review and is being considered as part of the wider scope of the process, expert review panel member Lloyd McCann says.


Health Minister David Clark announced the wide-ranging review in May 2018. It is led by chair Heather Simpson and will provide an interim report by August 2019 and a final report by 31 March 2020.


McCann says there is a dual approach to data and digital within the review: it is being focused on within a specific workstream and considered as part of the wider scope of the panel’s work.


“The panel’s view is that data and digital are a critical enabler for the health system, but does not operate in isolation from the rest of the health system,” he says.


Some common themes have emerged from the engagement process with the sector to date.


“It’s very difficult to make an argument against data and digital being a critical enabler for the sector and we need to continue to enhance the capability within this area so the health system can deliver equitable outcomes for people,” McCann tells


There are some contentious issues including levels of investment in data and digital solutions as well as capacity and capability within the data and digital domain.


A key area being looked at is data and how it can be used to underpin clinical care and decision making.


“To enable data to flow you need to address issues like interoperability and standards. Providers, funders, industry partners have indicated that they have an appetite to get some outcomes in this area,” he says.


The interim report due out in August will signal the panel’s direction of travel, but no firm recommendations, which will come in phase two.


He says it is key to ensure that whatever recommendations are put forward and implemented within the data and digital domain do not drive further inequity in the system.


“We will be coming back to the sector to test what solutions look like to drive this area forward,” he says.


The review also presents an opportunity to look at adopting more ‘digital first’ services.


“One of the shifts people are saying will become increasingly important is the move from data and digital solutions operating as an enabler to becoming more prevalent as service delivery models in their own right,” he says.


McCann’s skills and expertise mean he is focusing on the data and digital workstream as well as contributing to all the others, as are his fellow panel members. The panel is supported by a review secretariat.


McCann says the review has had broad engagement with a range of health stakeholders and received submissions from many interested organisations and individuals. It has also engaged with industry partners via NZ Health IT.


“We are coming off the back of quite a number of reviews either specific to health or related to health, so it has been very pleasantly surprising that people have still engaged, and we’ve received a good number and wide variety of submissions to date,” he says.


If you would like to provide feedback on this news story please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.


Read more news:

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Cabinet to consider national Health Information Platform

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