Welcome to the New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Government's principal advisor on health and disability: improving, promoting and protecting the health of all New Zealanders

Clinicians’ Challenge - transform tomorrow!

Dr Hong Sheng Chiong, one of the 2015 winners.
Clinicians' Challenge 2015 winner Dr Hong Sheng Chiong examining a patient with his retinal device, which attaches to a smartphone.

The Clinicians’ Challenge 2017 seeks entries for innovative healthcare technology that will improve today and transform tomorrow. Find out more.


Featured work

New Zealand Health Symposium 2017

Symposium logoThe New Zealand Health Symposium brought together many people at the forefront of health and social services delivery to focus on how new technology and innovation will revolutionise the way healthcare is both delivered and experienced. Find out more.


Better public services results update

The Ministry of Health leads work on result 3 working closely with DHBs and the health sector to increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever.


Hauora Māori Scholarships 2017 – applications now open

Hauora Māori Scholarships provide financial assistance to students who are undertaking or completing a course or health care worker training in health and disability studies. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.


Taking the pulse of digital health care

Our Digital Advisory Board is helping to establish a framework and agenda for the adoption of existing and emerging digital health technologies.

Read more about the Digital Advisory Board.

Video title: Digital Advisory Board introduction

[Music plays, external shot of the Ministry of Health building. Ministry of Health logo appears]

[Mike Rillstone to camera]

I’m Mike Rillstone, and I’m chair of the Digital Advisory Board.

My vision for the Digital Advisory Board is to make the system work better – for the patients, for the people that work in it, for their families and for the citizens of New Zealand. I think you have to start broad because digitisation is not limited to one place. So this isn’t about just hospitals, this isn’t just about technology - this is about the whole system.

[Chai Chuah to camera]

I’m Chai Chuah, the Director General of Health, Chief Executive of Ministry of health.

What do I expect the digital advisory board to achieve? I expect them to one, help us lift the awareness of the digital agenda, particularly at a governance and chief executive level. Secondly I would expect the Digital Advisory Board to help us achieve a momentum and increasing pace around the adoption of the appropriate and digital technologies.

[Ann-Marie Cavanagh to camera]

I’m Ann-Marie Cavanagh and I’m the Chief Technology and Digital Services Officer for the Ministry of Health.

So the role of the Digital Advisory Board for me is fundamental and critical to the success of us really looking to bring innovation into the health sector. I see them and I see the Board as really providing strategic direction and advice and really help guide our decision-making around technologies and also strategies that we may want to implement within the sector, within New Zealand.

[Chai Chuah to camera]

We need to understand that the pace and the scale of change is very fast, very significant. And I think as health system we need to actually embrace the change and think about it particularly those in leadership positions and when I say leader position it’s not about us just understanding for ourselves but how do we create space in our respective organisation to allow the fast movers and innovators to actually be listened to and be encouraged to introduce those innovations? Because, whether we like or not, it will happen.

[Murray Milner, Digital Advisory Board to camera]

Innovation can be defined a number of ways. It’s quite useful to think about it from an analogy point of view and I saw a great one yesterday, which basically said that the invention of the light bulb would not have occurred through continuous development of the candle. I think that’s a perfect analogy for what innovation has to be. Basically it’s a matter of making sure that, first of all, that there is some unmet need that needs to be addressed. Secondly that there’s some technology that’s going to address that need in some way, shape or form. And thirdly, there has to be a value proposition that will enable the innovation to be developed. And if all three of those things are present, then innovation can occur.

[Marcel van dem Assem, Digital Advisory Board to camera]

Innovation is taking ideas to the point of where they deliver value. So it’s not just an idea, we got plenty of ideas but having the skill and the process to be able to deliver value and it could be health outcomes, it could be commercial returns, it could be customer related outcomes. But it’s taking ideas and delivering real value but not just value on a case-by-case basis but value that you can scale and replicate. So ideas, innovations can you scale to large numbers of potential customers and benefit large numbers of people.

[Mike Rillstone to camera]

The role of clinicians and health professionals in delivering innovation is critical. I think without understanding the key components of the system from the grassroots – what can change and what does good look like from their perspective – we’re running blind. I also think from a citizen and patient consumer perspective we have an equal challenge. I think the role of the digital advisory board is to bring these two elements together

[Ann-Marie Cavanagh to camera]

I think really the way that the agenda has been set up, the ambition to use new technologies and to bring them into the health sector is fairly visionary and it’s very exciting for New Zealanders to really look at how we improve the health through new technologies.

[Mike Rillstone to camera]

The Digital Advisory Board has a very important role in encouraging, leading and finding ways to incentivise the sector, to move forward with the digital agenda. Part of this is providing good information to support good decision-making, providing outside counsel looking in, and recognising when good things happen and adopting them.

We need to change the way we think. We need to accept that digitisation is moving quite fast and the health sector has an opportunity to adopt, engage and lift our performance on the basis of leveraging these technologies. But it’s not all about technology, it’s also about recognising that some business processes lend themselves to significant improvement through digitisation and some business processes would do well from actually being reinforced through digitisation.

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