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Valid, transparent and fair decision-making processes for access to elective health care

Innovation Award 2006

posted by Stacey Day on 2010-06-29 15:30:29.573

Deciding who gets publicly-funded heart surgery is difficult but the use of world-class internet based software is providing a fairer system for patients.

Prioritising patients through waiting lists or a booking system is a challenge faced by all health services internationally.

New Zealand has developed a points system that includes criteria for prioritising access to elective services. This provides a standardised decision making system.

Criteria for prioritising access to coronary artery bypass surgery were drafted by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and then pre-tested and refined using the Point Wizard software.

Clinicians’ preferences with respect to acceptable trade-offs between the criteria were then incorporated in the points system.

The initiative is a collaboration between Point Wizard, a developer of software for decision making and prioritisation, the New Zealand region of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Ministry of Health’s elective services prioritisation team.

The software has shown there is a wide variety in the decisions made by individual doctors. The new system ensures fairness to patients by improving consistency and reliability..

Work on new or revised points systems for hip and knee replacements, vascular surgery, gynaecological and infertility treatments is well underway.

The goal is to develop fully integrated prioritisation processes supported by information technology.

Contact: Franz Ombler 04 934 5737