Te Whatu Ora – Health NZ has taken a significant step to connect the health system’s multiple data environments into one common national platform.
Accenture has been selected in partnership with Acumen BI, as implementation partner for the National Data Platform (NDP), which will unify information held by more than 28 entities under the previous health system.
Te Whatu Ora interim head of integration Stuart Bloomfield said the NDP would enable Te Whatu Ora, Te Aka Whai Ora and Manatū Hauora to access health datasets for analytics and reporting using modern, secure, automated technologies.
“This is a significant milestone for the reformed health system, as the NDP is a truly foundational project,” Bloomfield said.
The multi-year transition aims to connect Te Whatu Ora's many data environments into one nationally consistent information hub.
"The data will be secured and ready for analysis so we can track how the health system is performing and where we can improve," Bloomfield said.
The NDP will provide researchers and planners with access to a wide range of “analytics-ready” information they can’t currently view in one location because the previous health entities held data in different ways.
“The existing data environments all vary in degree of maturity, quality, and consistency, Bloomfield said. "That has significant deficiencies, as some data is either incomplete, can be difficult to find and access, or is not well-structured.
"That all adds cost to the system and is unsustainable.”
The NDP is not the only project that will be working to integrate national data. Platforms for enabling individuals, clinicians, and health providers to access patient information in a nationally consistent way to support personal health and wellbeing are also being developed.
In December 2021, the government announced it would invest up to $170 million in a programme to transform the way people interacted with health services. A further $87 million was earmarked to support the replacement of aging technology and to address digital capability deficits.
In March, 2022, that transformation received further funding through supplementary estimates.
Projects funded included a national cybersecurity uplift programme, the first tranche of the national Hira programme to provide easier access to health data for clinicians as well as individuals, and funding to address historic underinvestment and digital equity gaps.
"Budget 2022 also provided funding over the next four years to rollout the data and digital infrastructure for Dunedin Hospital and the southern region," Bloomfield wrote at the time.
"With this, we will ensure our new hospital is not a digital island – reusing best systems the health sector already owns, acquiring new technologies, and joining onto a common national data platform."