A new web-based monitoring tool seeks to speed up Maori health gains by increasing access to health performance information.

The Maori Health Plan Monitoring Tool, which will be launched on Thursday, is the brainchild of Bay of Plenty District Health Board doctor George Gray, said Riki Nia Nia, chairman of the national Maori General Managers Group Tumu Whakarae.

"All DHBs must now have a mandatory Maori Health Plan," said Dr Gray. "Those plans indicate what each DHB is going to do to progress performance against a set of 16 health indicators relating to Maori. Until now DHBs have had a number of mechanisms, of varying quality, which checked ongoing performance against those indicators. Standardising the DHBs approach to monitoring is a gap that this tool fits.

"There are multiple examples of Maori having poorer health system experiences and that flows on to poorer outcomes and poorer life expectancy. To change that requires ongoing performance improvement."

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The monitoring tool works on a similar basis to the Ministry of Health's quarterly Health Targets, which give greater visibility and accountability to how a DHB is performing.

Similarly, Maori health information on all 20 DHBs will include performance trends, rankings against other DHBs, disparities between Maori and non-Maori, as well as links to seminars on 'best practice' by the nation's top performers.

Graphs are colour-coded to show how a DHB is performing against each of the 16 health indicators. The tool is updated every 24 hours with the latest available Ministry of Health data.

"We've tried to keep it as simple and visual as possible," said Dr Gray. "Anyone can access this information at any time and it's a user-friendly, intuitive interface. The aim is to encourage change and improved performance by increasing the availability of health information.

"There is the human aspect to this of course but you can also make the economic argument. It's very inefficient for our society to have a high proportion of people who are unwell for whatever reason, be it education, income, poor living conditions. That's a huge drain on our society. If we can improve that it's a win-win for everyone,

"None of these are intractable problems; they are all responsive to changes in service delivery models, along with the social determinants of health."

Access to the Maori Health Plan Monitoring Tool will be available at www.trendly.co.nz following the launch.

"This tool will give transparency to performance. DHBs can see whether the initiatives they are using against a certain indicator are working and if not they can try others," added Dr Gray.

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"To assist in the sharing of ideas we have been assessing some of the country's top performers against these indicators and facilitating web-based Maori health excellence seminars including compiling a best practice video archive. All DHBs will have access to this."

Mr Nia Nia said the development of the monitoring tool, in conjunction with the web-based Maori health excellence seminars, would assist in accelerating Maori health improvement.

The development of the Maori Health Plan Monitoring Tool has been sponsored by Tumu Whakarae and funded by the Bay of Plenty, Capital & Coast, Hawke's Bay and Waitemata DHBs.