The way information about our health care is shared is improving. By the end of 2014 the Government’s aim is for all New Zealanders and the health professionals caring for them to have electronic access to their health information.
The Ministry of Health’s National Health IT Board (NHITB) has held a number of public seminars to discuss these changes and gather feedback.
There was widespread support at the seminars for the concept of electronic sharing of health information, as well as discussion on a number of issues related to information security and access.
A document summarising discussion, questions, concerns and major themes during the seminars is available:
For more details on these seminars:
What happens now?
You are often cared for by a number of health professionals, who collect information about your medical history, the medications you are on, and your treatment.
This information is not always available for sharing between the different health professionals, and decisions about your treatment can be made without everyone knowing the ‘big picture’.
For example, a specialist might prescribe a certain medication for you, without knowing that your GP has prescribed another sort of medication, and the two medications might not work well together or could even be harmful when taken together.
What will happen in the future?
In the future, with your consent, all health professionals involved in your health care will be able to access and share your health information. Your information will be held securely and you will be able to see who has accessed your electronic health information.
Your information will be stored electronically and will be available to those involved in your care – including your GP, hospital doctor, nurse, specialist and pharmacist.
Health professionals will have access to the most accurate and complete information possible when treating you.
This sharing of information will also mean you won’t have to repeat your medical history every time you see a new health professional, or have unnecessary tests done.
What are the benefits for me?
- You will be able to log on to a computer and see the relevant medical information entered by health professionals about your health care.
- You will be able to have more input into your own health care. For example, if your goal is to lose five kilos, that can be noted on your record. If there is a certain type of treatment you do not wish to have, that can be noted also.
- You won’t have to repeat your medical history every time you see someone new, or have tests repeated unnecessarily.
- The professionals caring for you can make better decisions because they will have a fuller picture of your medical history and the other care you are receiving.