New system to track dental work and immunisations for Taranaki children

A new digital system will make it easier to track children's health milestones.
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A new digital system will make it easier to track children's health milestones.

A new system which found 6000 children missing dental care in the Waikato is about to be implemented in Taranaki. 

In March 2016 the region will have access to a system which tracks all health milestones a child should receive before the age of six, a system which was introduced to Waikato in 2014.

The National Child Health Information Platform (NCHIP) is a software system which draws information from all public health services such as oral health, immunisations as well as hearing and vision checks into one system.

NCHIP allows health professionals to see what services children from zero to six are receiving and more importantly what they're missing out on. 

Midlands Health Network, which encompasses Taranaki, Taupo, Gisborne,Waikato and Bay of Plenty, proposed the idea in 2010 after concerns were raised that health professionals had little idea about what care a child was receiving outside their own field of expertise. 

Executive lead for NCHIP Chad Paraone said it was about building a comprehensive picture across all public health services. 

"With NCHIP we can pool all these services and see where they are at in terms of their overall health," he said. 

Midlands Health Network put forward $400,000 which was matched by all of the DHBs excluding Bay of Plenty, in order to fund the initial software and its implementation in Waikato. 

The Ministry of Health also contributed nearly $1 million toward the initial startup. 

Paraone said NCHIP could identify "holes" in Taranaki's healthcare network which would previously be very hard to find. 

"If a child is receiving oral healthcare but hasn't been immunised for example, the system will flag that and we can get in contact and find out why," he said. 

General manager for Taranaki District Health Board Becky Jenkins said the first step in having children enrolled in NCHIP would be to start enrolling new borns. 

"The intention is to also extend the NCHIP 'safety net' to the current population of under six year olds," she said. 

"However data regarding past milestones prior to NCHIP enrolment will not be recorded."

Jenkins said only a child's milestone provider and the co-ordination service would be able to access the information and there would be scope in the plan to extend tracking to children up to 18 years-old. 

The system will not be compulsory but midwives would be encouraged to give brochures to expectant mothers and children not in the system would be slowly integrated with their parents permission.

 - Stuff

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