The recently released government budget in New Zealand is promising a record $16.77 million in health spending from July this year, and the establishment of a Social Investment Agency to better understand the needs of vulnerable Kiwis.

Social investment is a shift in focus toward investing earlier and more effectively in the lives of those otherwise on-track for poor outcomes, aiming for better long-term outcomes at lower total cost. The Social Investment Agency will review how government initiatives affect someone across their whole life – not just in one specific area – through the increased use of data and evidence, and a focus on measuring outcomes. 

One such example of a population potentially at risk is kiwi children.  

There are a number of government programmes currently available to ensure children receive the care that they need – the Well Child programme provides health assessments and activities for children and their families from birth to five years; B4 School Checks offer free health and development checks for 4-year-olds; and other free hearing, dental and vision checks are available.

One of the key health targets that DHBs are measured against is Raising Healthy Kids. The Ministry of Health’s aim is that by December 2017, 95% of obese children identified in the B4 School Check programme will be offered a referral to a health professional for clinical assessment and family-based nutrition, activity and lifestyle interventions.

But even with all of these programmes available, there is still a risk that some children are missed. How can we track those that are falling through the gaps? How do we know if children have received all the checks they need? And how can we ensure regular communication between health care providers and a child’s family? 

The National Child Health Information Programme (NCHIP) has been developed in the Midland region, New Zealand to enable all children to be registered at birth and monitored against their health milestones. Children are registered with their nominated six key milestone providers from birth, and tracked against the universal schedule of child health milestones which include: Well Child checks, hearing and vision checks, and B4 School Checks.  

This solution helps to identify children at risk of falling through the gaps, and aids them in receiving their, often overdue, health milestones. It has streamlined and automated the registration process, enabled sharing of information across care providers, and most importantly allowed for the identification of children that were falling through the gaps. It’s an example of technology, data and evidence being used to improve the chances for those that otherwise may have been at risk.  

And the best part? The opportunity to turn this regional initiative, into a truly national programme that benefits children across all of New Zealand. 

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To learn more about NCHIP, download the case study now!