HiNZ 2015: Does health IT do any good?

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and National Health IT Board director Graeme Osborne will certainly hope so as they are scheduled to present on the NZ Health Strategy and the next five-year national health IT plan at the Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) conference in Christchurch in October.

HiNZ has released a full program for the conference, which will feature University of Leeds chair in eHealth research Jeremy Wyatt asking the questions of whether health IT does any good and whether we can judge eHealth as we do pharmaceuticals and other interventions.

Professor Wyatt, who trained as a hospital doctor before taking up medical informatics and helping to found the Cochrane Collaboration in 1992, will present on the topic of 'where is the science in health informatics' in his keynote speech on Wednesday, October 21.

Other international speakers included Katherine Rowell, principal of HealthDataViz in the US; John Poole of the Open Visual Communications Consortium, also in the US, who will discuss telehealth in association with NZ Telehealth Forum chair John Garrett; and Melbourne Health CEO Gareth Goodier, who will discuss transforming healthcare through information.

On the Tuesday, Dr Coleman will provide an overview of the 15-year-old NZ Health Strategy, which is currently undergoing a review in association with a review of health system funding and a capability and capacity review, recently the subject of some controversy.

Mr Osborne will then provide an overview of the new five-year National Health IT Plan, which he told the HiNZ conference last year he had hoped would be in place by June.

Many of the foundations envisioned in the original 2010 plan have rolled out or are in the process. Some have taken longer than expected, such as the roll-out of electronic medications management, which is currently live in five DHBs with Auckland to come later this year.

Mr Osborne said the new plan would have a greater focus on telehealth, patient portals and care pathways.

The HiNZ conference will be preceded by the National Nursing Informatics Conference (NNIC) on Monday, October 19, along with a health information standards workshop and a seminar on clinical coding.

It will be followed on Thursday, October 22 by a telehealth workshop, an allied health workshop and a site visit to the Canterbury DHB design lab. See www.hinz.org.nz for more information.

Posted in New Zealand eHealth

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