Minister gives five ticks to digital health opportunities report

A new report focused on making New Zealand a global exemplar in digital health technology has been given five ticks of approval by the Minister of Health.

Andrew Little said he was privileged to launch the report from New Zealand Health Information Technology (NZHIT) called Hauora, Mauri Ora: Enabling a Healthier Aotearoa New Zealand, in Parliament on April 7.

“Lifting our performance in health and health outcomes and access to health is going to be delivered, in part, on the back of much improved use of data and digital processes,” he told attendees.

The report makes five recommendations to “make New Zealand a world-class digital health technology exemplar”.

These are to create a national Digital Health Innovation Network; a more effective Supplier Engagement Framework; and a national Digital Health Academy. Also, to focus on engaging and empowering consumers and promotion of New Zealand’s digital health industry offshore.

Minister Little gave five ticks to the overarching objectives of the report, in particular, the need to promote digital initiatives that empower New Zealanders to take more control over their health and well-being, saying this is “totally aligned” with the government’s ambitions.

He spoke about the current procurement process for health IT and how that can lead to organisations choosing large international providers and “freezing out” local talent.

“There will be a real opportunity through better collaborative processes to harness the real talent that I know is in New Zealand in this space to do something really special for health services in New Zealand,” he said. “I'm very much looking forward to that”.

Deputy Director General Data and Digital at the Ministry of Health Shayne Hunter described investing in technologies as a key enabler for the health system to deliver care services differently and individually.

“Showing us where to improve through data and data insights is another significant opportunity because we are data rich, but insight poor in the health system,” he said.

“We need people to own their health and there's a lot that we can do through data and digital technologies to enable it.”

Hunter said innovation is fundamental to transformation of the health system and he was pleased to see enabling innovation as a key recommendation of the report.

“We need to embrace our technology partners and support their endeavors, both here and globally,” he said

“The Ministry of Health looks forward to working with NZHIT and its members, and the sector generally, to advance the recommendations in the report.”

Article written by Rebecca McBeth - eHealthNews

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