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Health policy is defined as the decisions, plans, and actions undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within society. Our services include the development, monitoring and evaluation and reporting of health policies, plans and programmes. This includes providing evidence-based health and social policy advice to the Executive to inform planning, service delivery and decision making.

Health Information

Health information systems (HIS) refers to our systems for managing health data and translating it into information that can be used to inform decision making and educate our communities. Examples of HIS include patient information systems used to record information on patients including medical records, lab test results, appointments and payments and billing.

There are six components to a well-functioning HIS, that includes:

  • Resources – such as legislative frameworks underpinning the system, personnel, financing, logistics support, ICT and communications mechanisms.
  • Indicators – includes relevant targets, inputs, outputs and outcomes, including social determinants of health and health status indicators
  • Data sources – include population-based data (such as Census) and institutional-based data (such as medical records)
  • Data management – including collection and storage, quality assurance, compilation and analysis
  • Information products – data that has been translated into information that can analysed and presented to promote action
  • Dissemination and use – the process of making data available to decision makers and facilitating the use of that information

Medico-legal Risks

Medical negligence litigation is one of the highest risks to clinicians’ for their practice, career and reputation. There are long lead times to develop highly skilled and competent clinicians such as doctors and nurses to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care.

The top five medico-legal risks include:

  • Consent – obtaining consent is essential and failure to take consent properly can lead to medico-legal problems including complaints, claims and disciplinary proceedings.
  • Prescribing – it is important to have good knowledge of drug interactions, dosage, allergies and side effects to avoid transcription errors and incorrect prescribing
  • Confidentiality – central to maintaining trust between patients and other health professionals. Working in the health sector often means having access to sensitive information on patients but we have a legal and ethical duty to keep this information confidential, unless the patient consents, or disclosure is required by law or is necessary to the public
  • Documentation – good documentation on patients is essential for continuity of care, and provide best form of defence should there be any future litigation. Writing comprehensive notes is important.
  • Probity – documents written or signed must not be false or misleading and you must not deliberately leave out relevant information.

Communications & Public Relations

Our aims are to:

  • Improve engagement with the public
  • Raise awareness on preventable health issues to communicate positive behaviour change
  • Improve visibility with the public
  • Promote Te Marae Ora as the leading health authority and the ‘go-to’ source for health information

Communications is a tool for delivering Te Marae Ora’s mission of improving the health status of people living in the Cook Islands through the provision of information, advice and guidance to key audiences with the aim of protecting the health of individuals, families and their communities. Through public relations, we aim to build mutually beneficial relationships between Te Marae Ora, other health sector stakeholders and our communities. We aim to use our communication platforms to tell the health story and share information on how to change our lives for the better. We also aim to use our platform to mitigate misinformation that could damage Te Marae Ora’s image and reputation.