New Zealand health organisations have welcomed the Ministry of Health’s official acceptance of Microsoft’s Trusted Public Cloud services for advancing the country’s electronic health service capabilities.
The announcement confirms that Microsoft’s core cloud services Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online, have met the Ministry’s requirements for storage of personal health information.
Microsoft Managing Director, Barrie Sheers, says the Ministry of Health’s decision to accept the use of Microsoft’s public cloud will be transformative for the eHealth agenda in New Zealand.
“New Zealand’s health tech industry is today worth $1.3 billion to the local economy, and our country significantly punches above its weight on the international stage with health tech innovation,” he says.
“With leading exporters like Orion Health, and more than a hundred other smaller independent software vendors, the health tech sector in New Zealand is one that continues to grow and provide burgeoning opportunity for export to the fast growing global health market.”
As the peak body for the health sector in the country, New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT) CEO, Scott Arrol, says his organisation is fully supportive of the Ministry of Health’s decision to accept Microsoft’s cloud services.
“The Microsoft cloud will provide another important platform with which to operate their business models, develop and deploy innovative solutions for the local and international markets and advance this country’s ability to be a leader in the delivery of high quality, responsive and personalised health outcomes,” he says.
“This is an exciting period for the sector as we look towards the next five years and being able to work with Microsoft within a wider partnership that will see increased export growth built on a strong local market that is highly focussed on supporting the development of new models of care and enabling health service delivery.”
Orion Health CEO, Ian McCrae, also backed the government’s decision, saying it shows the Ministry of Health is progressive and leading the way on eHealth internationally.
“Orion Health is at the forefront of precision medicine, which will require the capture, storage, analysis and delivery of terabytes of data about an individual’s health record, including genomic, device, microbiomic and environmental information,” he adds.
“The advances in trusted cloud infrastructure and the work by progressive government agencies like our Ministry of Health are essential to enabling the practice of precision medicine globally.
“I am also very impressed with the huge investment being made by Microsoft to provide the necessary infrastructure to store patient health records electronically, not just in this region but around the world.”
Other New Zealand health providers currently using Microsoft’s cloud services include Ryman Healthcare, St John’s Ambulance Service and Plunket.
In addition, the services are also used by IT solution providers for the health sector, including Datacom, Stratos, Volpara, McKesson and Intergen.
Microsoft Senior Director of Health and Social Services Asia, Gabe Rijpma, says that with the advent of personalised medicine, genomics, intelligent sensors, advanced diagnostics and laboratory tests, data usage by health organisations will increase as the sector builds ever more advanced models of the human body.
“Being able to process all this data, store it, analyse it and make intelligent predictions on the results will usher in a new era of healthcare that will radically transform the way care is both diagnosed and delivered,” says Rijpma, who is based out of Microsoft New Zealand’s Christchurch office.
“The Ministry of Health’s decision to accept the use of Microsoft’s public cloud for storage of personal health records will help transform the eHealth agenda in New Zealand. It comes at exactly the right time, as globally we are at an inflexion point of all of this innovation in the sector.
“The local health tech sector has already been rapidly adopting the public cloud to develop futuristic solutions, but until the announcements this week have only been able to sell those solutions in international markets.”
For Rijpma, now the local health tech sector will be able to use New Zealand as a fertile ground for new innovation.