The report, Formalised Informality: An action plan to spread proven health innovations, was prepared for the Ministry of Health by Dr Jonathan Lomas.
Dr Lomas was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation; an award-winning organisation founded in 1997 to support evidence-informed decision-making in the health sector, and was invited to New Zealand in 2007 to undertake an evaluation of the current environment for the spread of innovation in New Zealand’s health system.
This report discusses innovation spread and the challenges associated with achieving the right balance in attitudes, processes, structures and culture of innovation. In some areas New Zealand’s health sector leads the world in health innovations such as priority-setting to manage wait times for publicly funded elective services and interventions to reduce health inequalities for indigenous peoples. He suggests in this report that there is currently an absence of a national or regional vehicle dedicated to sharing innovation across the health sector. This report provides a proposed action plan for addressing the barriers to improved spread of innovation.
In July 2007, the Ministry of Health established the Sector Capability and Innovation (SCI) Directorate to have a national role in supporting the spread and adoption of effective innovations and improvements that lead to improved system performance in the priority areas. Dr Lomas suggested Health Target areas as being a useful starting point for emphasis. There is also much opportunity to join up existing hubs of innovation and improvement activity both at local and regional levels.
This report provides a valuable contribution for SCI as the Ministry meets with health sector leaders to define our role and future work programme. It is a conversation starter between the Ministry and the health sector.
Early in 2008 the Ministry will meet with DHB and other health sector leaders to identify and discuss their priorities that will ultimately feed into SCI’s work plan. The goal is to have a comprehensive work plan for SCI working with others published by June 2008.