NZ announces plan for single national e-health record

The New Zealand government has announced plans to build a single, national electronic health record (EHR) able to be accessed via portals and apps running on a variety of devices.

Minister of Health Dr Jonathan Coleman said a report on the benefits of an electronic health records had been commissioned from consulting firm Deloitte which found that there is growing international support for adopting a “Hybrid/Best of Suite strategy for Electronic Health Records, where a ‘single’ EHR is introduced to join up information held in a smaller number of Electronic Medical Record systems.”

The Deloitte report will be published shortly on the Ministry of Health website

In a speech to the Health Informatics New Zealand Conference held in Christchurch this week, Coleman said “As I travelled around meeting clinical leaders, patients and IT providers it became clear that our eHealth system was complicated, fragmented and not as user friendly as it could be.

“As I walk around hospitals I kept seeing examples of where individual clinicians have designed a stand-alone information system or programmes to use in their own unit – we end up with 20 different systems.

“In my view it intuitively makes sense to have a more uniform It environment with fewer systems, fewer vendors more standardisation and greater functionality.”

The EHR is expected to enable clinicians to view comprehensive patient information in one place. It will include a person’s allergies and alerts, medications and diagnostics, and will have clinical decision support tools.

It will also incorporate data from all the current population screening programmes and accommodate any new screening requirements.