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New National Health Index system improves patient safety

Health Minister Tony Ryall has welcomed the success of an information technology system that helps health care providers find the right patient quickly and easily.

“In May 2013, the new National Health Index (NHI) system went live on a modern technology platform, replacing a 20-year-old system,” says Mr Ryall.

“Since the new system was introduced duplicate NHI numbers have been dropping. For the first time they have fallen below 1 per cent.

“Everyone who uses our health services is assigned a unique NHI number to ensure their personal details are correctly associated with their patient record. Doctors, pharmacists and other health care providers are able to check the national system if they can’t find a patient in their own systems.

“These excellent results are due to the new system’s improved search capacity, which makes it easier for health providers to create or amend NHI numbers to find the right patient quickly.

“There’s less chance of an error because health care providers have more certainty that they are reading the appropriate alerts, health history and other health information for the patient they are treating.

“Having a single trusted source of patient identifiers makes New Zealand’s health system safer and more reliable.”

Mr Ryall said the improved results also reflected the work district health boards and other health providers had put into training staff to use the new system, which was introduced by the National Health IT Board.

ENDS

Media contact: Jannel Carter 027 589 8884 or Lyle Skipsey 021 993 701

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