26 Feb 2014 | Health Quality Intelligence
A new online tool produced by the Health Quality & Safety Commission gives New Zealanders a clearer overview of how early childhood health services work for children and their families.
Using data supplied by the Ministry of Health, the Commission has developed a Well Child/Tamariki Ora domain for its Atlas of Healthcare Variation.
The Atlas features easy-to-use maps, graphs and tables highlighting the variation between health care received by people in different geographical areas. It is designed to prompt debate among medical professionals, patients and providers, and to stimulate improvements in our health services.
The Well Child/Tamariki Ora programme is a series of free health assessments and support services for children aged from birth to five years. It includes health promotion activities and is an important gateway for families to access health care, education and social services.
In 2013, the Ministry of Health developed Well Child/Tamariki Ora quality indicators to bring together data on how well the programme is working in different parts of New Zealand.
The 27 indicators focus on areas such as whether babies are breastfed, whether children are at a healthy weight at the age of four, and whether children have had their before school check. Targets have been set for each indicator, such as 90 percent of children living in smokefree homes by December 2014.
The Well Child/Tamariki Ora Atlas pulls together all the data to make it easy to see how services are performing across the country, and to identify where improvements in health services are needed to better support children and their families.
Key findings from the Atlas show that 12 out of the 27 targets the Ministry of Health has asked district health boards (DHBs) to achieve by December 2014 are already being met everywhere in New Zealand, although some population groups fall below some of the targets.
For three indicators, the national average is significantly below the target. For five indicators, there was wide variation between DHBs.
The Ministry of Health has asked each DHB to choose three indicators and focus on making improvements in those areas.
While the Well Child/Tamariki Ora data has already been presented in other formats, the Commission and the Ministry of Health believe the new Atlas will help DHBs and other interested groups to review performance, share quality improvement ideas and monitor progress on meeting targets.