Let’s start by making sure that every one of us is focussed on why it is we work in the health sector – it’s about people needing healthcare at a time of their lives when they are highly vulnerable. This means they have to trust everyone who has been involved along the value chain to deliver the care they need at that specific point in time. Nobody in the health sector can work in isolation otherwise that level of trust is put at risk and people become more vulnerable as a result.
When it comes to technology in healthcare, interoperability and collaboration are the two catch words that are going to guide the health IT sector over the coming years. No one entity, public or private can any longer expect to operate in a silo or as an island, and NZHIT is providing leadership to say we have got to collaborate. That means you need to understand your own strategy and way of doing business and then identifying partners you can collaborate with. You may even need to change your business model in order to collaborate with others otherwise any competitive edge you may have enjoyed till now will be lost.
It’s collaboration to achieve the same outcomes that everyone has agreed they want to achieve together and this can be achieved in a bigger and better way than if they tried to do it by themselves individually. Connected networks such as NZHIT’s are now proving their worth in terms of providing communities of common interest from which powerful solutions can be produced. This also demands that politics and personalities have to take a back seat as these have no place when it comes to delivering on the trust that New Zealanders put in us to deliver the best healthcare services possible.
Where that’s leading to is interoperability so if we’re talking about the Digital Health Strategy and Electronic Health Record project we are already seeing in draft strategies that interoperability now holds quite an important spot.
However, there needs to be a piece of work done to identify what is meant by interoperability and how we are going to achieve it for New Zealand. Again, it needs leadership and it can’t be done by one entity alone as interoperability means everyone working together to achieve a common goal.
Industry wants this to happen and NZHIT has already developed a New Zealand Vision and Charter for Interoperability.
We all know there’s been a massive under investment in IT infrastructure in health in New Zealand for a very long time. It’s less than 2% of the health budget and we need to double or triple that to bring the infrastructure up to a place where we can start to do some of the ‘cool innovative stuff’ we are now talking about. Even the limited amount of money already being spent has to be targeted to make sure it’s being spent on the right things, in the right way and delivering on the right results.
We have an IT infrastructure that can’t cope with what it’s currently doing so trying to put more on top of that will just make it collapse.
Our members have said we accept that interoperability is the way to go and here’s leadership we are willing to provide to do our part to make that happen.
The public sector is grasping this message as well and beginning to say ‘we agree with what you have done – how do we work together to make that happen?’
We have all got to learn to engage with each other in a way that generates a positive relationship and addresses the problems in a way that people feel they can solve them together, rather than apart.
After all, we’ve all taken on a big responsibility when deciding to be involved in the delivery of healthcare and we therefore all have to focus on the part we play when it comes to enabling trusted services that enhance the care and wellbeing of all Kiwis.