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nHIP delayed due to Covid-19

Monday, 8 June 2020  
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Return to home page editor Rebecca McBeth


The return of the national Health Information Platform business case to Cabinet has been delayed due to Covid-19, with no new date set.


The high-level business case for the nHIP was approved last September, with a detailed case due to go back to Cabinet at the end of March 2020.


However, the Ministry of Health says this was delayed due to Covid-19 and it does not have a new date for when it will be considered again.


The nHIP is founded on the notion of interoperability and replaces the idea of developing a single Electronic Health Record.


“It 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,” Ministry group manager digital strategy and investment Darren Douglass previously told


Chief executive of industry body NZ Health IT Scott Arrol says now is the time to fund “keyboard-ready projects” such as the nHIP. 


“Now more than ever is the time to drive hard on creating a standards-driven, fully interoperable health IT infrastructure that enables data to securely flow to where its most needed to enable the health workforce to provide the best care possible,” he said in a recent column for

The Ministry spokesperson says that the importance of a wide variety of technology platforms has been reinforced during the Covid-19 response, which has been a catalyst for the Ministry to move ahead on some areas, such as identity management and data sharing.


At a media stand up last month, director general of health Ashley Bloomfield spoke about the Ministry working to capture and amplify the digital changes that have occurred in the health system due to Covid-19, especially the use of virtual appointments.

“Not everything can be done over the phone or virtually but many appointments can and we are very interested in this and we are putting effort into capturing these (changes) and locking them in and broadening their use so they are part of what the future health system looks like,” he said. 


When asked what specific work the Ministry is doing in this area, a spokesperson said the Ministry is encouraging and supporting all sector organisations to consider how digital services have been used as part of their Covid-19 response and where they can continue to add value to the health and disability system and patients moving forward.  


“The Ministry is working closely with sector organisations and the Telehealth Leadership Group to share learnings, identify barriers and make changes sustainable,” the spokesperson said. 

In the May budget announcement, no money was specifically allocated for data and digital services within Vote Health.

However, the Ministry says it has distributed some funding to sector organisations to support the use of digital services as part of the Covid-19 response and “will continue to work with sector organisations to identify how Vote Health funding can best support the use of digital services and to remove barriers to the ongoing use of those services”. 


Following a pilot of sponsored data last year with the Health Promotion Agency and WellSouth PHO, the Ministry has also been working with telecommunication companies to offer sponsored data on a range of websites and applications that support the Covid-19 response, including the rapid shift to virtual health delivery.  


The Covid-19 information website is already data-free for the public and understands there are plans to include the MoH website, Health Navigator and patient portals such as ManageMyHealth and ConnectedMed, in the very near future.

The cost of sponsored data for these sites is funded by the Ministry of Health.


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


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