What can a national child health platform mean for New Zealand?

Even today, information sharing between child health care providers is primarily relationship-based. Health checks done by multiple specialty organisations are not connected and held in silos.

The early years of a child’s life are very important for their health and development. Children aged 0-6 years old are entitled to many universal health checks, which ensure that children have a healthy development.  

However, information sharing between child health care providers is primarily relationship-based and health checks done by multiple specialty organisations are not connected and held in silos. These silos make it impossible to identify patterns of those children who are unfortunately falling between the “system” cracks or produce system-level insights and reporting.  

No national system exists in order to share data in real-time. Families must repeatedly share their details; providers lose contact with families and children miss out on timely healthcare.  

Children are lost in the system and miss out on many universal health checks 

Unfortunately, some children miss out on these routine health checks, particularly those administered in the first 1000 days.  

Failure to track milestones can sometimes lead to severe episodes of ill health, leading to increased utilisation of emergency services and hospital admissions, and, for some, life-long harm and disability.  

What can we do at the national level to ensure no child is lost in the system and every child has access to the care they deserve? 

One national information platform for children

Orion Health’s National Child Health Information Platform (NCHIP) is a national child health information platform that tracks milestone achievement for children aged between 0-6 years old. The platform tracks and progresses through health milestones and collates siloed health information into a single integrated dataset.  

Ensuring every child receives universal health services

All children are automatically enrolled into the platform via the Maternity File or National Health Index feed. So, parents can rest assured their child is being tracked and monitored for healthy development. 

Children whose families move geographically in New Zealand, have their information follow them; helping child healthcare providers to identify children, track and monitor milestone progress. 

Benefits of adopting child milestone tracking at a national level 

Connecting all child healthcare providers 

By bringing siloed child health information into a single integrated dataset, NCHIP enables better coordination of patient care. It ensures the safe and appropriate sharing of information by enabling healthcare services to better track, monitor, and support at-risk or vulnerable groups in the community.  

As health information is readily available to front-line staff and clinicians, this helps improve efficiencies and effectiveness by reducing clinician time spent on hunting for information, freeing up more time to be spent on care delivery.  

Regional consistency for improved child healthcare delivery 

NCHIP is presently in use across Northland, Waitematā and Auckland District Health Boards, and has around 170,000 children currently enrolled with 4.9 million milestones being monitored.  

As a cloud-first platform, NCHIP is capable of handling data for all children in New Zealand, allowing inter-regional collaboration and regional consistency. 

Healthcare providers now have access to a service that provides far greater analytical insight, to inform continuous improvements in service delivery and the ability to determine future areas of focus.  

Want to know more about how NCHIP?

This blog is the third in our series on child milestone tracking. Our next blog will discuss the implications of gaps in child health data.

Read our previous blog on why tracking child health milestones is important.