THE team at Tūranga Health know they are making a difference – they see good results every day – but now they’re drilling deep to provide evidence that what they do works, and why.
Tūranga Health was this year one of six primary health providers from around the country chosen to be a part of the Health Quality and Safety Commission's best practice initiative, Whakakotahi.
The only iwi health provider in the bunch, Tūranga Health is using the opportunity to zoom in on its Tū Mahi programme, where on-the-job health checks are offered to workplaces to improve and prevent health issues.
“For us, Whakakotahi is not about introducing something new, it is about achieving quality assurance by really looking close and understanding the essence of what we are here to do,” says Tūranga Health chief executive Reweti Ropiha.
“What we're using is a powerful tool of discipline that not only ensures our clients are getting the best of the best, but also future-proofs Tūranga a Health as a high-quality provider of primary care.”
With support from Commission Advisor Jane Cullen, the Gisborne initiative has been driven by the Tūranga Health team and their Tūranga Mahi Workplace Wellness programme for the research phase of Whakakotahi.
The Tū Mahi Workplace Wellness programme offers a range of services including heart checks, flu vaccinations, smoking cessation and other wrap around services all year round to primary industry workers.
“What we saw, was that some whānau could be better served if we extended our consults into the home,” says team member Dallas Poi.
“So, during a workplace visit our team might identify employees, for example, with a potential heart problem. Following up by visiting the person at home means we can also offer wrap-around services they may not have had access to had we not taken that extra step.”
It might include services like a Healthy Homes assessment, or registration with a lifestyle programme or, if there are young ones in the home, support from the Tamariki Ora Well Child programme.
“What we have identified is that getting the whānau involved means there is a better chance of success in achieving a good health outcome,” says Dallas Poi.
As an integral part of the Whakakotahi project team, Ms Poi works closely with the nurses doing follow ups on each home visit to assess its effect and ensure that the kaupapa is applied and is based on robust evidence.
“But at this stage we are already optimistic that home visits will become standard, so we can improve on what is already a successful workplace programme,” she says.
The Health Quality and Safety Commission has invited Tūranga Health along as its co-presenter at next year's National Rural Health Conference.
And that dovetails nicely with Mr Ropiha's ambition to see Tūranga Health excel in providing services that can be adapted by health providers nationwide.
“Our aim is to make sure that there is real, evidence-based rigour to all of our programmes to ensure they are sustainable,” he says.
“We are in this for the long term, and that's why it was important for us to really zoom in and look closely at the what, the why and the how of everything we do.”
In te reo Maori the word “whakakotahi” literally means unity and under the initiative of that name Turanga Health has combined with the Health Quality and Safety Commission to ensure there is rigorous, evidence-based backing to all of its programmes.
Image caption: Tūranga Health’s Dwayne Tamatea and Dallas Poi, and Gisborne Fisheries chief executive Salve Zame discuss the potential of Whakakotahi to help improve and prevent health issues for staff at Gisborne Fisheries.
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