New Zealand has been given Number 1 ranking in the level of cross-sector health information exchange by The Commonwealth Fund in its 2012 survey of eleven countries. Previous Commonwealth Fund studies have given New Zealand high rankings in various surveys but this is the first one that has focused directly on the level of Health Information Exchange (HIE).
It is interesting to note that countries such as the US, Canada and even Australia are still well behind New Zealand in terms of HIE. Twenty years of concerted effort has placed us narrowly ahead of Sweden, The Netherlands and Switzerland. You can access the charts from The Commonwealth Fund's 2012 survey here.
What this survey did not reveal is the extent of information exchange taking place. Not only can New Zealand’s practices exchange information with a few other parties (as now happens in most other countries), they can exchange information with almost anyone they choose. Currently the average New Zealand general practice exchanges information with over 70 other parties in any given month (see graph below).
Most of this communication uses the messaging systems that HealthLink has now had in place for many years but increasingly practices are beginning to use online referrals, eLab and similar online services which have now been installed in approximately 50% of New Zealand’s general practices over the past two years.
If you would like to know more about what HealthLink is doing with its new range of online services or about ways in which electronic messaging can be utilised to streamline healthcare delivery, please feel free to contact me.
Author: Tom Bowden
Date Published: 17.12.2012