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The Department of Health has struck a $ 45 million a year data deal to help protect hospitals from cyber attacks.

A sign at the Waikato District Health Board after a cyber attack in May.
Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

At the same time, it launched a strategy to improve the collection, management and sharing of health data.

District health boards have struggled for years to update their besieged computer systems, culminating in the ransomware attack on Waikato in May.

The ministry said the three-year deal with Microsoft saved $ 27 million.

This should lead to an increased deployment of cybersecurity technology in healthcare agencies “which will improve protection and resilience to cyber attacks”.

The deal for the first time draws the ministry, incoming national health agencies and DHBs under a single national contract.

“Technology is a key catalyst for reforms and these agreements give Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority the tools they need from the start,” the ministry said.

Integration is also the objective of health data strategy and two-year action plan.

It comes as IT health experts grow increasingly frustrated with a fractured system where some hospitals still rely on faxes and cannot easily share patient records.

The plan outlines the work “that needs to be done over the next two years to make New Zealanders clear about what happens to the information they share with healthcare providers and others,” said Data and Digital Assistant General Manager Shayne Hunter in a statement. declaration.

the the five priorities of the plan include obtaining technology that incorporates this, creating the means for people to authorize others such as whānau to access their health information, and putting in place tighter controls through governance that covers local people and Maori.