Improving a Nation's Health - New Zealand Ministry
Client:New Zealand National Health Information Technology Board
- Managing patient records and medical histories on a nationwide basis
- Consumers in primary care have to repeat their medical histories again and again
- Hospital Patient Administration System
- MedChart, an electronic medication-management solution that eliminates paper-driven processes, reduces errors and improves coordination
- ePharmacy, an in-hospital dispensing system that helps manage pharmacy dispensing, inventory and cost-center accounting
- Systems being rolled out nationally
- Healthcare information being linked nationally
- Better patient care
Improving a nation’s health
In 2009, New Zealand’s federal cabinet replaced one of its advisory committees and formed a new organization, the National Health Information Technology Board. That may sound like a mere bureaucratic shuffle, but it actually accomplished a great deal more.
Today New Zealand’s National Health IT Board leads the implementation and use of IT systems across the country’s health and disability sector, which provides coverage for 4.5 million people and includes a range of hospitals, clinics and primary health services. The IT Board’s key activities include running the primary healthcare IT grants fund, making investment decisions, leading clinics and engaging consumers. A nationwide online patient portal is another of the IT Board’s projects; for this effort, it’s working with district health boards, primary health organizations and integrated family health centers.
Along the way, CSC has been a key technology partner. First, as a regional provider, but now, working with the National Health IT Board, stepping up to a relationship that is national. “We’ve found that CSC is prepared to be flexible and adapt to what we need as the national customer in New Zealand,” says Graeme Osborne, the National Health IT Board’s Director.
He adds: “It’s been quite a change over the last four years since the IT Board has been in place, and CSC has had to reconfigure the way it engages with us. One thing we like is that CSC is prepared to re-engage, to think about the national customer, and to bring propositions to us that work at a national level.”
CSC is now working on several main projects with New Zealand’s National Health IT Board, including the implementation of systems for managing both electronic medications and hospital-patient administration. In addition, the National Health IT Board utilizes several of CSC’s offerings.
These include CSC MedChart, an electronic medication-management solution that helps hospitals eliminate paper-driven medication processes, thereby reducing medication errors and improving coordination among clinical teams. Another solution being used by the New Zealand National Health IT Board is CSC ePharmacy. It’s an in-hospital dispensing system that helps healthcare providers track pharmacy dispensing, inventory and cost-center accounting.
CSC MedChart currently runs at three sites in New Zealand. Three more sites are being implemented now, with an eventual goal of 20 sites across the country, Osborne says. “We’re very pleased that CSC has proven products we can rely on,” he adds. “Our challenge is to link them up and get them working nationally and regionally, not just in individual parts of the health system. And that’s what CSC is partnering with us to do.”
"What citizens expect"
One long-term goal of these healthcare-systems upgrades is to make primary-care visits more pleasant for New Zealand consumers. Osborne says that when consumers visit different healthcare providers or offices today, they must repeat their medical histories again and again — no fun for anyone. That could be avoided if the electronic medical records of these patients could be shared with different healthcare providers. But currently, this kind of sharing is impossible. Ultimately, however, that kind of convenience is “what citizens expect and what clinicians want to see,” Osborne says.
Looking ahead, Osborne is optimistic and excited. “CSC is one of the top providers in the New Zealand market,” he says. “We’d be very happy for CSC to continue to innovate, to bring products to market, and to use New Zealand as a testing ground to further develop and get value out of their products.”