The New Zealand Ministry of Health has implemented a new software platform from IBM to support the personalised health records of all patients throughout New Zealand. Known as the Health Identity Programme, the platform aims to improve the quality and availability of accessible health information for providers, such as District Hospital Boards (DHBs), general practitioners (GPs) and pharmacists.
The Programme aims to provide a unified system that incorporates the National Health Index (NHI) and healthcare provider index to ensure consistency and accuracy. The software, which is built on IBM’s Infosphere Master Data Management, is intended to improve patient safety and reduce back-office costs, while laying the foundation for future, smarter initiatives such as sharing records between patients and providers,and improving care co-ordination.
National Health IT board director, Graeme Osborne said, “The Health Identity Programme is a major, sector-wide project to upgrade key technology underpinning health care delivery. This important infrastructure investment will enhance person-centred care, reduce the cost of maintaining a national identity service, and enable secure access to shared care records.”
The NHI assigns a unique number to every individual who receives health services in New Zealand ensuring their personal details are correctly associated with their patient record. The Ministry of Health estimates about 98% of the population has an NHI number. The Healthcare Provider Index accurately identifies physicians, facilities and organisations involved in each patient’s care.
Eran Horovitz, solutions architect, software group, IBM Australia and New Zealand said, “In the world of Big Data, accurate identification of each person receiving or providing healthcare services, as well as anyone accessing or using this information, is paramount for providing a smarter healthcare ecosystem. The Health Identity Programme provides the strategic infrastructure necessary to deliver this functionality and supports the goals of the National Health IT Plan to transform healthcare delivery for New Zealanders."
The new system uses industry standard HL7 interfaces and web services to minimise duplication of records between different healthcare providers and offer greater flexibility for integration with other healthcare systems.
Eliminating duplicate records and creating a single, trusted source of patient data is required for future innovations such as local population analysis, planning and targeting of services, or mapping disease incidence and other trends by geography.