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Hira could transform how we experience healthcare - NZHIT

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Health Information Technology (NZHIT) ( chief executive Ryl Jensen says the new Hira programme for health information has the potential to transform people’s experience of healthcare. Details about Hira were shared today in webinars held by the Ministry of Health in partnership with NZHIT, Health Informatics NZ (HiNZ) and the Medical Technology Association of NZ (MTANZ).

Ryl Jensen says currently, information about our health - like our history, the medicines we are on, and our test results - are often stored on different medical databases and IT systems.

"This means health professionals sometimes have to make decisions about a person’s healthcare or treatment without having all the information. There is a proliferation of platforms, 20 siloed district health boards, and a raft of different systems which can contribute to the postcode lottery of our healthcare system.

"Hira will support people’s health information to be brought together into one place, in a way that is secure and confidential. In time, this will include information such as a person’s medicines, laboratory test results, allergies, and vaccinations; as well as demographic information like their name, gender, ethnicity, and date of birth."

The Hira programme is being co-ordinated by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with consumers, the health and disability sector, and technology providers. The Ministry says Hira will enable access to a virtual electronic health record by drawing together a person’s latest health data from trusted sources. When it is in place, consumers will have better access to and control over their health information, and providers will have secure, easy access to patient information, in the right context and at the right time.

Ryl Jensen says Aotearoa New Zealand was once seen as a leader in digital health innovation and could be again.

"Major projects like Hira are a critical building block towards a world-leading health and disability system, enabled by digital health. Digital health has the potential to reduce or eliminate inequities in access to healthcare and improve the health and wellbeing of different populations.

"In Aotearoa New Zealand, we need to aggressively invest in data and digital infrastructure and new ways of working."

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