Updated on 7 August 2013
Mr Graeme Osbourne, director, National Health IT Board, New Zealand
Mr Graeme Osbourne led to the establishment of the National Health IT Board of New Zealand as its executive chair. He supervised the development and introduction of National Health IT Plan and is presently director of the National Health IT Board, New Zealand. Mr Osbourne speaks to BioSpectrum about the new healthcare system in New Zealand, which is being executed and delivered under his leadership. Excerpts from the interview:
What is the need of a connected healthcare plan? How will it benefit patients?
Our objective is to work towards a future where health professionals will be able to access and share health information online. This indicates that patients would receive better and safer care because their healthcare providers would have complete access to their medical history, enabling the physicians to take better treatment decisions.
Also, through this network, even the individuals will have access to their complete health information. We also guide district health boards in the process of choosing IT vendors for the project. With the new system, we aim to bring consistent healthcare support for four million people in New Zealand.
What are the challenges in implementing IT solutions at district level?
The biggest challenge is that clinicians do not have any interactions amongst themselves and are not willing to share information with each other, so it becomes a challenge to instigate new ideas, thoughts or plans consistently. We are spending a lot of time in finding hospitals that can partner with us and communicate further with clinics and hospitals boards to implement the solution.
Another challenge is lack of appropriate funding, and hence we are working with lot of domestic as well as international ICT companies in New Zealand. We are insisting on software solutions to bring solutions that can be easily implemented at district level. And the third challenge is ensuring a system that is easy enough to get implemented across the hospitals and clinics.