Year in Review: Working in partnership to get better health outcomes

Eliminating inequities to already funded medicines requires collaboration across the whole health and disability system. In 2019/20, we did just that, working with the Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC).

We partnered with HQSC on their quality improvement programme Whakakotahi - which means 'to be as one'. This programme offered PHARMAC the opportunity to work alongside primary care teams on small-scale improvement projects.

The three projects we supported focused on improving medicine access equity for Tongan people with type 2 diabetes, working with Māori whānau with gout and for a high-need Māori community living in rural area Bay of Plenty.

Tongan Health Society - case study

Auckland's Tongan Health Society wanted to understand why several of its patients were reluctant to take insulin. We partnered with them and shared our expertise and insights on medicines access equity.

As a result of this partnership, the Tongan Health Society was able to identify that poor understanding of the need for insulin was the biggest barrier for their patients. Working with the Tongan community, they were able to get facts about insulin to patients, and have seen several patients start their insulin therapy.

The Tongan Health Society has also seen an increase in patient engagement with their overall health. As people built a rapport with their health professionals, they began to receive treatment for other previously undiagnosed health conditions.

These excellent patient outcomes contributed to the Tongan Health Society being awarded the Total Healthcare General Practice of the Year at the inaugural 2020 NZ Primary Healthcare Awards.

"We believe research and partnering with other agencies is absolutely critical to achieving great health outcomes. What we do brings with it high levels of responsibility and expectation. These are challenges that we meet through innovation, a far-reaching strategy and the ambition to do better and to do more for our people," says Tongan Health Society CEO and Medical Director Dr Glenn Doherty.

PHARMAC will continue to work closely with the Tongan Health Society as we move into stage two of our Pacific Responsiveness Strategy.

PHARMAC's Pacific Responsiveness Strategy is published on our website.