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National Contact Tracing Solution expanded to support border

Sunday, 5 July 2020  
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eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth

 

The National Contact Tracing Solution (NCTS) has been expanded to support the Covid-19 border process with National Health Index numbers now being matched or assigned to all new arrivals.

 

Deputy director-general data and digital Shayne Hunter says the solution being rolled out to managed isolation and quarantine facilities also captures facility and room registration, day 3 and day 12 test requirements, daily health checks and the day 14 final release decision. 

 

The Ministry’s databases for storing information about people in isolation facilities came under scrutiny last month when director general of health Ashley Bloomfield was unable to say how many people had left managed isolation without receiving a Covid-19 test. This was despite it being policy for a negative test to be returned before they were allowed to leave.

 

Bloomfield revealed at a media stand-up that the problem was there had been two databases operating, one for people in managed isolation facilities and quarantine and the other for medical information such as test results.

 

“One of the challenges we have is previously we didn’t need to collect the NHI number of the people in the facilities so now we have to match the date of birth and names on to the NHI database, which means we can link up with the testing,” he told reporters.

 

eHealthNews.nz asked the Ministry about the two databases and was told it is now matching existing NHIs, or assigning new ones to all arrivals in New Zealand entering quarantine or isolation. 

 

Hunter says the scope of the NCTS has been expanded to include supporting the Covid-19 Health Border Process in order to “keep the processes tightly integrated”.

 

“Working with our District Health Board colleagues, an initial solution has been developed and we have now started to roll it out to managed isolation and quarantine facilities,” he explained.

 

“Ongoing development of this system will continue based on feedback from users on the ground at the airport and at the isolation and quarantine facilities.” 

 

Bloomfield said at the media stand-up that a single national database “will be very helpful”.

 

Integration experts on social media had expressed surprise that the Ministry was not able to use its NHI web services to pull through people’s NHIs using basic demographic information such as name and date of birth.

 

A number of community systems query for the NHI on a regular basis as many people do not know their NHI number when they do things like change GP practice.

 

The NCTS is built on Salesforce technology, repurposed from the National Screening Solution platform, which was due to start rolling out to DHBs early this year.

 

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

 

Read more news:

National Contact Tracing Solution gets development funding

MercyAscot deploys TrakCare in lockdown


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