In September 2004 the Ministry of Health prepared a discussion document to review the availability, quality, role and use of information at all levels within the mental health sector. The summary of submissions was used to develop the structure and key objectives and activities in the National Mental Health Information Strategy.
The National Mental Health Information Strategy outlines priorities that will guide the development of national mental health information from 2005 to 2010 and signals a shift in emphasis from information collection to local and national use of mental health information.
The key objectives of the strategy, the Ministry of Health’s first overarching information strategy for mental health services, are to ensure information-gathering across the sector is carried out in the most effective way to improve health outcomes for mental health consumers and to increase accountability for expenditure on mental health services.
The five-year strategy provides a strategic framework for mental health information and outlines priority areas to support current and future requirements for mental health information. The priority areas are:
- Shift the focus from information collection to information use.
- Minimise the cost of collecting information.
- Increase opportunities for consumer input into clinical records.
- Extend the coverage of mental health data to primary health care.
- Support Māori goals for whānau ora.
- Support information sharing amongst providers.
- Use information as a quality improvement tool.
- Use information for research and development.
- Fill data gaps and improve quality data.