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Hauora Direct: a digital solution enabling comprehensive Māori health assessment

Te Whatu Ora Nelson Marlborough is delivering a digitally enabled 360-degree assessment, intervention and referral program for Māori health and vulnerable populations called Hauora Direct.

Hauora Direct links all of the health priority areas for Māori - such as GP enrolment, immunisation, cervical and breast screening, and smoking cessation - and puts them into one program.

The Hauora Direct clinical team perform assessments and on the spot interventions against all these priority areas in any location including people’s homes, pop-up community events, workplaces, or health clinics.

Over 90 percent of health issues uncovered are addressed on the spot with the person and their whānau. For those that cannot be immediately addressed, referrals are automatically generated and sent electronically to other services for follow up.

Hauora Direct is supported by a web-based solution, which has been developed collaboratively between Te Waka Hauora, the Te Whatu Ora Nelson Marlborough digital team and an external software development vendor.

“This program can be delivered anywhere and everywhere, that’s the power of it: every door is the right door,” says Ditre Tamatea, general manager for Māori Health and Vulnerable Populations, at Te Whatu Ora Nelson Marlborough.

“This program can be delivered anywhere and everywhere, that’s the power of it: every door is the right door.”

“It follows a Māori approach because as Māori we don’t tend to look at health issues in silos and this program also covers the wider determinants of ‘health’ like employment and housing,” he says.

Tamatea says the Māori health priority areas were being monitored via a solution called Trendly and Te Whatu Ora Nelson Marlborough, like all other districts across the country, was failing to meet virtually any of their indicators.

“Hauora Direct is about taking health services to the people, and it benefits non-Māori as well, as we target very high needs populations of any ethnicity, such as the homeless,” he explains.

Hauora Direct was previously heavily paper-based and labour intensive, with assessment forms for tamariki (children) rangatahi (youth) and pakeke (adults) and kaumatua.

Under the Hauora Direct digital program, a proof of concept, web-based solution was developed and piloted on 50 tamariki (children) in November 2019. By September 2020, the solution was further developed to include pakeke (adults). It soon became clear that rangatahi (youth) should have a separate assessment.

“The assessments are now structured so that there is a holistic approach for the whole whānau: pēpē-tamariki (infants and children), rangatahi (youth) and pakeke-kaumātua (adults and elders) and covers not only the health priority areas but also the social aspects of care,” Tamatea says.

“Each assessment contains a cohort of questions which is automatically tailored to the client’s age and gender.”

The entire assessment is collated and electronically sent to the whānau’s GP for their reference.

There is a follow-up function and process the practitioner follows to ascertain the uptake of referrals by whānau, which is also summarised and sent to the GP.

Hauora Direct was originally designed to engage with whānau in the community but there has been some success in its use within secondary care.

Following feedback from users and ongoing review, a new tranche of enhancements is currently underway, and the new functionality is expected to be released in November 2022.

Hauora Direct is led by Te Waka Hauora the Māori Health and Vulnerable Populations team for Te Whatu Ora in the Nelson Marlborough District. The program is also supported by clinical staff from other community providers including the local Māori Health provider within Nelson Marlborough.


This article was originally published on HiNZ.