The Digital Health Association welcomes the continuing focus on investment in health system data and digital infrastructure and capacity set out in today’s budget.
Chief executive Ryl Jensen says the Association is excited to see an investment of over $600 million, including digital capability uplift, funding for tranche 2 of the Hira programme, capitalising on COVID-19 initiatives, a digitally connected Southern health care system and investment in the new Dunedin hospital, and investment in population health surveillance.
“This funding continues from the significant investment last year; acknowledging that digital health is a critical key enabler for the new health system structure.”
She says our health and disability system increasingly relies on digital technologies and data for healthcare to be delivered.
“Digital health can literally be the difference between life and death. We are seeing that the day-to-day effectiveness of our health and disability system is due as much to our use of data and digital technologies, as to medical technologies, drugs and laboratory tests.
“However, to enable this, we desperately need investment in digital health, and we welcome the funding commitment made by Government today.”
She says it is very pleasing to see further investment in a connected digital health system, in initiatives such as the next phase of the Hira programme, and data and digital foundations.
“The current health ecosystem has limited ability to share data and information. We have a number of systems across health that cannot talk to each other, and this is exacerbated by aging infrastructure. This means people’s complete health data is often not able to be accessed or shared.
“Addressing this is critical if we are to provide people with easier access to a greater choice of services, and reduce inequity. Connecting health data is the focus of the Hira programme, which in time will enable New Zealanders to have a ‘virtual’ electronic health record.”
She says while the Digital Health Association is pleased with the continuing focus on data and digital infrastructure, this type of investment must continue.
“We are playing catch up due to the disparate way digital health systems have developed, and the antiquated legacy systems we have. Strong investment must continue if we are to have an Aotearoa New Zealand with a world-leading health and disability system, enabled by digital health.”