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Tamai Makaurau – The revamp of the public health service is an opportunity for Aotearoa industry to create and implement digital tools that will help the health system and reduce inequity for all Kiwis, NZ Health IT (NZHIT) chair Kate Reid says.

The major health system refit is the beginning of a new era and a golden opportunity to transform delivery of health services in Aotearoa by adopting digital technology, she says.

“Digital tech will enable the system, specialists, surgeons, consultants, doctors and nurses to get closer to patients.

“Government understands we need an immediate uptake of virtual healthcare services to a new national health system.

“Unprecedented  measures must be taken as New Zealand is sailing into substantial health changes in a fast-changing tech world.

“We want to define the direction for health tech for at least the next five years so there’s a unified approach to contributing towards achieving full tech enablement.

“NZHIT wants to assess the economic benefits of the digital health sector and global opportunities for export growth.

“The health and wellbeing of New Zealanders is essential, and we understand their needs first and foremost, how tech can support people’s health.

“The covid pandemic has shown us just how important digital tech is to our health, wellbeing and economy. Digital health now influences positive and negative health outcomes.

“NZHIT is working with the government to build a world class health, disability and social system for the benefit of everyone living in Aotearoa.”

Reid says it is encouraging to see government placing urgency around improving access to digital healthcare services for consumers and health staff.

“Digital health technology is reshaping all of our lives. In 10 years’ time, people won’t believe you had to ring to make an appointment then sit in a waiting room for 45 minutes with all the associated risks this entails.

“Virtual healthcare can include triaging and consults over the phone, by email or video and all three must be deployed by GPs to be effective.

“Our health system reinforces Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and obligations, with rangatiratanga shaping care design for Māori, so Māori models of care flourish.

“Everyone can access a wider range of support to stay well in the community, with more services designed around people’s needs and which better support self-care.”

For further information contact Make Lemonade NZ news director Kip Brook on 0275 030188