Maternity Care for women in NZ is largely community based for pregnancy and postnatal care, with a short period of time in Secondary/Tertiary settings around the time of labour and birth.
The Maternity Record has traditionally been paper based, but with advances in IT, more midwives are using an Electronic Practice Management System which include electronic records.
These records however are the midwives own records, and are different from the DHB Clinical Records used during the labour and birth, and the midwife has to duplicate records for both her own and the DHB system.
Each DHB also has a different system of maternity records, and it is not uncommon for women needing to transfer between DHBs when complications in pregnancy and labour occur.
There is a need to be able to transfer information electronically between maternity providers in the community and DHBs, and also to GPs and Well Child providers, and a Standardised Electronic Maternity Information System would enable this to happen.
The NZ Health IT Board has developed a project - the Shared Maternity Record of Care - which is being trialled at 2 DHBs this year (2012), will eventually rolled out nationally, and finally be incorporated in to a National Personal Healthcare Record at some stage in the future.
Clinicians (GPs, midwives, DHBs) will be able to access the Record through a Clinical portal,women would be able to access their own records through a personal health portal.
There would be links to clinical data, such as scan and lab results, best practice information, Consultation and referral guidelines, Maternity Standards, and prompts for key information sharing requirements.
Links for women could also be included - key website, general and specific pregnancy related information.
I see this as a vital and much needed improvement in Maternity care for women in NZ and for those involved in providing that care.
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