How To Deliver Real Value To The Health System

Published: Mon 4 Dec 2023 12:43 PM
New Zealand must embrace all the advantages of existing, new, and emerging digital health technologies to deliver real value to its ailing health system.
That’s the view of the Digital Health Association, which wants the new Government to establish a Digital Health Agency.
Releasing its briefing to incoming Ministers, the Association says an independent and standalone Digital Health Agency will drive the uptake of health technologies that will greatly improve healthcare outcomes, significantly reduce sector-wide costs and help address workforce issues.
“New Zealand faces major challenges to the sustainability of our health services and the equity of their delivery,” says Digital Health Association chief executive, Ryl Jensen.
“Prioritising digital health technologies will be a game changer.”
Jensen says digital health providers, platforms and solutions have the potential to revolutionise healthcare by increasing accessibility, improving health outcomes, reducing costs, creating efficient workflows for the health workforce, and empowering consumers to actively manage their health.
But New Zealand needs a government entity to properly drive the uptake of these technologies.
Jensen says a separate entity is needed because, currently, digital health is treated as ‘a vertical’ within the health sector structure, whereas it is ‘a horizontal’ that touches every corner of the health system.
“Due to its complex and technical nature, digital health requires experts to govern and lead it. Without this type of governance for digital health, the criticality of it can be underestimated.”
She says this agency will provide appropriate expert digital health governance, creating the ecosystem that will ensure digital health technologies can thrive in New Zealand and can be delivered quickly.
This will result in consumers finally being able to access all of their health records, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes for New Zealanders.
It would also be responsible for:
Establishing a national digital health innovation network or hub.
Creating a digital health academy for the health workforce.
Creating a digital mental health hub to ease workforce pressures and service mental health needs.
“Properly funded and implemented, a Government digital health agency would deliver real value to every part of the health system,” Jensen said.

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