The National Child Health Information Programme (NCHIP), led by Midlands Health Network, has contracted New Zealand-owned global health software company Orion Health and BPac (Best Practice Advocacy Centre), a non-profit organisation, with the overall aim of ensuring that no child falls between the cracks of the health system.
After a review of child health services by a wide range of child health experts under the business case, it was identified that the biggest game changer for children needed to focus on creating greater transparency between providers around children to ensure better outcomes.
"With NCHIP doctors and other health providers will be able to use their patient management system systems or log on to a password-protected website to see a shared view of a child's progress towards the 29 health milestones such as immunisations, well child checks, hearing and vision checks, and B4school checks," says Health Minister Tony Ryall, who has welcomed the initiative.
"They will also be able to see which other providers are delivering these health services to a particular child. If they're unable to contact or find a child who is due for a health check, they can phone or send a secure message to a coordination service that will be able to launch a wider search for that child."
The pilot programme will run in the Waikato region from August 2014 to March 2015, when an evaluation will identify areas for improvement ahead of roll out to the Lakes, Tairawhiti and Taranaki DHB areas in the Midland region. It will then be available for national roll out.
"This important new programme is expected to result in more Waikato children being enrolled with GPs, well child-tamariki ora providers and oral health services, more children having their immunisations and health checks in a timely manner, and more children receiving treatment for health problems when they need it. It should also help to locate vulnerable children who might otherwise have dropped off the radar," adds Ryall.
Midlands Health Network, the Ministry of Health, the National Health IT Board and four district health boards -- Lakes, Tairawhiti, Taranaki and Waikato -- joined forces to develop the programme, which will track children's health milestones from birth until the age of six.
John Macaskill-Smith, CEO of Midlands says, "NCHIP is another important component to supporting the development of a primary health care home. People live in the community and access the majority of their health care outside of hospitals and other large health institutions, so it's important to see investment and broader development of services closer to home."
Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae says the NCHIP is one of a series of ground-breaking programmes his company is working on with New Zealand District Health Boards. Others included strategic partnerships with Canterbury District Health Board and Waitemata DHB, along with the deployment of a clinical information system across six central region DHBs, among others.