The government bears ultimate responsibility for the coverage of health care costs, even when it is provided through private institutions (Bramhall, 2003). Along with the government, there are private insurance in New Zealand but the government funding is still the main source of funding of the national health care system, while residents of New Zealand use their private insurance only when they cannot wait in queues and need to be diagnosed or to receive health care services faster in private clinics. However, even in such a case, they may count on the government subsidies or coverage of their health care expenses.
At the same time, there are always serious cases, when patients have special needs. In this regard, the Ministry of Health sets aside $6.5 million a year for special high cost treatments. In fact, this funds are used in exceptional cases, when the treatment of patients is essential and needs substantial financial resources, such as kidney transplantation for instance. In fact, these funds are used for exceptional cases mainly.
The funding of the national health care system occurs in the following way. First, money is redistributed from the state budget to District Health Boards (currently 21). The government defines services District Health Boards have to provide for patients (Bramhall, 2003). Then, District Health Boards purchase these services from a wide range of providers, including public hospitals, non-profit health agencies, iwi groups or private organizations (Bramhall, 2003). Therefore, when patients visit GPs and pay for them, GPs refer them to specialists, and the further diagnosing and treatment is covered by District Health Boards.
6.2 Development of health information management in New Zealand
A Factors driving the development of health information in New Zealand
One of the major factors contributing to the development and wide implementation of information technologies in the national health care system of New Zealand is the emergence of new information technologies. In fact, technological progress leads to their wider implementation in all spheres of life, including health care. As a result, new technologies are introduced in the health care system of New Zealand.
However, they are not introduced spontaneously just because they have appeared but they are introduced to improve the quality of health care services. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that high standards of health care services and larger opportunities to improve them due to high technologies are important factors that stimulate the introduction of new technologies. What is meant here is the fact that new technologies increase the quality of health care services and patients can benefit from new information technologies being introduced in health care practices.
The higher efficiency of health care services due to the use of information technologies is beneficial not only for patients but also for health care professionals as well because they can work more effectively. For instance, information technologies can save time of health care professionals and provide them with an opportunity to increase the accuracy of their diagnosis as well as other improvements.
In addition, the better management of health care services and patient care due to the use of information technologies is another important factor that contributes to the wider introduction of information technologies in the national health care system of New Zealand. In actuality, contemporary information technologies facilitate sharing information. Therefore, they can optimize and improve the management of health care system. In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the effective management of the national health care system affects consistently the quality of health care services being delivered to patients.