Te Whatu Ora – New Zealand Health Partnerships
Te Whata Ora – New Zealand NZ Health Partnerships, is part of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and delivers the Health Finance, Procurement and Information Management System (FPIM).
FPIM supports the New Zealand health system’s day-to-day finance, procurement and supply chain operations, managing how goods and services are sourced, ordered, delivered, stored, used and paid for.
As part of this work, the organisation has developed a Health System Catalogue. This delivers a single national procurement catalogue, national data standards, a central data repository of actual spend on medical devices, known as the Spend Data Repository (SDR), and a framework for procurement compliance.
Moving from Data Analytics to Insights
When Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand was created in July 2022, NZ Health Partnerships was tasked with taking a national view of health spend data. This information was held in nine different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems used across the country’s 20 hospital districts.
At the time, half of these districts used the national FPIM solution, while the rest used a range of ERPs to manage their day-to-day operations.
Erik Salzmann, Te Whatu Ora – NZ Health Partnerships Solutions Architect, explains that the organisation needed to pull that data together to provide a national view.
It went live in 2021 with an analytics tool and a data platform and rapidly stood up the data pipelines to all ERP systems. The challenge then becomes harmonising and standardising the data.
“The hard part is pulling all of that together and making sense out of it, and that is where we are using visualisation tools to assist us,” Salzmann says.
The analytics tool is used to do data validation and verification, as well as the visualisation, analytics and forecasting for the Spend Data Repository.
Procurement teams within districts have access to the data relevant to their districts to view what is happening locally and whether staff are buying catalogued items off national contracts. If not, they can have the conversation about ‘why not’?
Jakkie van Wyk, Head, FPIM Implementation and Data, says the organisation created a four year business plan for 2021-2024, which focused on moving from data to analytics to insights.
“We thought it would take us four years to get there, but we have been able to move much faster than expected and are already doing a lot of work on insights,” she says.
Jakkie van Wyk, NZ
Agile and Flexible Financial Forecasting
The SDR was originally created to collate spend reporting for District Health Boards (DHBs). In July 2022, the DHBs were disestablished and the new national organisation, TeWhatu Ora – Health New Zealand, was created.
vanWyk says NZ Health Partnerships’ ability to access spend data at a national level meant it was asked to produce regular national reports.
The organisation developed the Financial Forecasting and Reporting solution for Te Whatu Ora consolidating the budgets of all former DHBs.
vanWyk describes that as a minimum viable product that Te Whatu Ora – NZ Health Partnerships is now looking to productionise.
“We are very proud that our application was used to help Te Whatu Ora do the budget and we have seen the real value in that application,” she says.
The analytics tool means that if finance and reporting hierarchies change, they can build the new hierarchy and remap the existing cost centres, without touching the ERP system themselves, which would be a hugely costly and lengthy process.
“It means we can be really agile and flexible and respond quickly to requests, without touching the integrity of our data sitting underneath,” vanWyk explains.
There are huge efficiency gains to be made by being able to see data at a national level, such as replenishing from central warehouses and viewing where stock is sitting and where demand is.
“Analytics helps us draw the data out and consolidate those views because they need that high level data at a national level,” she says.
TeWhatu Ora – NZ Health Partnerships has completed a sharing exercise with HealthSource, the organisation which does procurement for the four Northern Region Districts.
HealthSource uses the visualisation tool and the same data solution, so once data sharing agreement were legally in place, the technical sharing of data was done “in the blink of an eye”, Salzmann says.
“By linking data sources together, HealthSource have been able to retain a single source of truth by keeping data in the area where it is recorded, rather than duplicating it into another database.
“We just shared accounts and suddenly they had access to run reports across our data and we have access to run reports across their data.”
NZ Health Partnerships can look at spend for the Northern region over a period of time, without copying any information into their own environment. The organisation wants to enable this for all the districts to do their reporting.
“They can continue to run their business and we can continue to do our work without duplicating any of that effort, by linking databases together,” vanWyk explains.
“We want to be contributors into the sector by ensuring the data is accurate and reliable, so other people can draw on and get benefits from it,” she says.
A custodian approach means if a user wanted to overlay financial inventory information with patient information or ward occupancy, in order to do comparisons or planning, they could be given self-service access to this data without having to build major pipelines between systems.
Salzmann says, “the potential is vast as the data is out there, but currently it’s sitting in isolated silos.We aim to pull it together to give people access so they can run their own reports.”
Erik Salzmann, NZ
Enabling the Future
The Spend Data Repository is initially focused on medical devices, of which there an estimated 250,000 in the sector.
vanWyk says this build provides the foundation to expand the scope to other areas, and they are already inputting all spend data from the districts.
Work has moved so rapidly that NZHP is already looking to assess what additional categories will be added to the Health System Catalogue.
“The ability to share data without having to build data pipelines makes the solution really beneficial as we aim to become a ‘one stop shop’ for any financial procurement or inventory information to the sector.”
Enabling Self Service
TeWhatu Ora – New Zealand Health Partnerships sees itself as the custodians of health data related to finance procurement, inventory and supply chain.
Salzmann says by providing secure and reliable data, the organisation can enable users to innovate across the sector.
The organisation is also embarking on a proof of concept around machine learning.
One of the challenges facing the sector is demand forecasting for medical devices or medical equipment on the hospital wards, which currently requires physical counting of what is on the shelves.
The proof of concept will use key pieces of information – such as ward occupancy, patient turnaround or staffing levels – to determine what inventory levels are needed.
Salzmann says this could potentially apply to around half of all devices and equipment.
“You can predict the requirements of a ward based on historical data based on machine learning,” he says.
“This means you no longer have to cycle count every day, but may just once a month, which releases resource to do other work.
“And that’s just the beginning as from that point onwards, the world’s your oyster in terms of what you can do with the data.
vanWyk says, “it is incremental wins and gains that actually make a huge difference.
“Whatever we do, we always aim to make life easier for users and to help improve patient experiences – enabling better decision making through data insights.”
*case study completed in 2022 when NZHP was an ‘entity’ of Te Whatu Ora, it has since become part of the national organisation.