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Review Useful Guide for Further Work

21 March 2006

Review Useful Guide for Further Work

A high level review of progress made by the health sector in harnessing information technology provides a useful guide for further work in this area according to the Ministry of Health.

The review by the Office of the Auditor-General looked at progress made by the sector, including the Ministry of Health and DHBs, on a five year strategy completed in 2001. The Office of the Auditor-General review comes three and half years into that five year programme.

The Auditor General's report, Progress with Priorities for Health Information Management and Information Technology, acknowledges progress has been made and has already yielded benefits. It also acknowledges strategic steps the Ministry has taken with the sector, culminating in the revised Health Information Strategy for New Zealand published in August 2005, has positioned the sector well to now move ahead with greater momentum.

Ministry of Health Deputy Director-General Corporate and Information Debbie Chin says the Ministry and the sector have continued to invest in information technology, also identifies areas for further development.

One example being the revised 2005 Health Information Strategy for New Zealand which sets out agreed goals and priorities for development in the sector.

Other initiatives where significant progress has been made has been in upgrading the national health index, the single identifier used to ensure anonymity for individuals but ensuring that health providers are able to accurately identify individuals and match results from lab tests.

New Zealand benefits considerably from having the single identifier system and considerable work has gone into improving the quality of the database, removing duplicate identifiers and improving the reliability and speed of the system.

Another area where progress is more directly related to improving the quality of care is improving the capability of District Health Boards to produce electronic discharge summaries for patients to ensure better coordination of care between general practitioners and those providing hospital based care.


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