Progress stalled on electronic health record; business case still with ministry

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27 February 2018 Fiona Thomas - NZ Doctor

Progress on New Zealand’s electronic health record continues to stall, with a business case for the idea yet to be seen by politicians.

Cabinet last year requested information on the cost, benefits and risk of options for a national electronic record, to be detailed in an indicative business case prepared by the Ministry of Health.

It was expected that the Government would review the additional information in December to make a decision about whether the project would go ahead.

In a written response, the ministry’s chief technology and digital services officer, Ann Marie Cavanagh, says the ministry has completed the indicative business case but it has not been to Cabinet. Exactly why, New Zealand Doctor has not been told.

Ms Cavanagh says any further updates will be provided on the ministry’s website.

The Government’s plan to build a national electronic health record was announced in 2015 and was expected to take three to five years.

National’s health minister Jonathan Coleman announced the plan at that year’s Health Informatics New Zealand conference, following a Deloitte report indicating the international support for electronic health records.

At the time, the then Health IT board director Graeme Osborne said much of the ground work had been done in recent years by updating the National Health Index records, which the board was confident could be used as a base for the electronic health record.

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