Innovative, integrated and patient-centred health system is the future

Column Articles
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

There’s no doubt New Zealand’s health system faces some challenges.

That’s why the National-led Government has just launched its updated Health Strategy – placing an emphasis on delivering more services in the community, a stronger push on prevention, early intervention, and new, innovative ways of reaching our most vulnerable.

The strategy will help address issues facing our health system such as the growing burden of long-term conditions, an increasing number of older people who are living longer, and the need to keep up with new technologies and expensive drugs.

It’s a key part of ensuring our health system is more efficient and sustainable but also, because it requires closer collaboration with the wider health team, it means a better experience for patients.

Taking advantage of changes in technology is another priority of this new strategy. Increasing the number of Kiwis who can access their own health information, expanding telehealth services so patients in remote areas can access the services they need, and a new National Enrolment service to provide faster, more accurate information on patient enrolment are all examples of how we’ve used technology to improve public health services for New Zealanders.

The strategy brings health in line with the Government’s programme of developing integrated social services which better meet the needs of those most at risk. It’s part of getting the best results from the Government’s social spending, sitting alongside the introduction of national standards in schools, national health targets, the investment approach in welfare, Better Public Services targets, and more recently the social housing reform programme.

By integrating social services we can use the data and expertise from across Government departments to better understand people with complex needs and build services around them, rather than dictate what they will receive.

This new strategy does just that. It will lead the transformation to a more innovative, integrated and patient-centred approach to healthcare in New Zealand which ultimately means better services for you and your family.