The New Zealand Health Strategy highlights the importance of digital solutions to support better health care for all. One of the Ministry’s key projects in this area is to investigate the viability of a national electronic health record which would give consumers, health care providers, and policy and service planners' better access to health information.
Ministry Closes Request for Information Process
The Request for information (RFI) process for the National Electronic Health record business case project closed on 22 September 2017. This RFI had been issued to receive advice and information from market participants on how they would assist in solving the key information gaps in relation to the implementation of a National Electronic Health Record.
Chief Technology and Digital Services Officer Ann-Marie Cavanagh said: "We are really pleased with the response from the health IT technology community, with 53 responses coming from New Zealand and abroad. We are appreciative of the quality of the responses and our team will now work on clarifying any further information as the business case is developed."
The Ministry project team now intends working through the responses and providing feedback via a summary information report, respecting the commercial in-confidence nature of some of the responses received. The summary information report is scheduled to be provided in November 2017.
Update - Indicative Business Case developed
The electronic health record (EHR) project team has developed an Indicative Business Case (IBC) following broad engagement with the sector and consumers. It makes the case for change and looks at the options, requirements and deliverables of an EHR.
The Cabinet Committee on State Sector Reform and Expenditure Control met on 5 July 2017 and have requested an addendum to the IBC, comprising further analysis of the costs and benefits of an EHR.
In December 2017, the IBC and addendum will go back to Cabinet for approval. If approved, the next step in the project would be the finalisation of a Detailed Business Case.
An electronic health record would mean:
- patients wouldn’t need to repeat their ‘health story’ whenever they saw a new clinician or risk missing out important medical details when being consulted
- healthcare providers would have access to information from other health professionals their patients were seeing to give them a broader picture with which to make clinical decisions, diagnose and provide treatment
- policy and service planners would be able to use data and information to make investment decisions, target public health initiatives and monitor the effectiveness of programmes.
From November 2016 to May 2017, broad engagement with the health sector and consumers was carried out in a series of workshops across the country to discuss the issues involved with an electronic health record, explore the options and develop the Indicative Business Case.
A Sector Advisory Group made up of more than 30 people - representatives from DHBs, PHOs, allied and Māori health providers, as well as clinicians, consumers, health IT specialists and privacy experts - has provided input into the development of the business case.
Extensive engagement with the health sector and consumers will continue through the next stages of the project.
All major publicly funded projects have to follow a set of requirements called the Better Business Case (BBC) Model. This involves producing a strategic assessment, an indicative business case, a detailed business case and, finally, an implementation business case.
The business case approach is summarised in The Treasury's publication: Better Business Cases - Introduction.