Foundational APIs leveraged by National Enrolment Service

Digital Health Story - Foundation Services

Nearly 100% of practices are now connected to the National Enrolment Service (NES), giving them real-time access to patient enrolment information.

New Zealand's primary health sector began implementing the NES in July 2016 as a single source of truth for all national enrolment data and just over 98% of practices are now using the service.

Strong foundations

The foundational APIs implemented by the Ministry of Health allow practices to access patient identity information (NHI) in real time, validate health provider identity (HPI), and access type-ahead address information and validation (eSAM).

By combining these foundational services with new enrolment and notification services developed for NES, a patient’s identity can be more easily found and validated, their information updated and kept in sync with the NHI, and their enrolment status viewed and updated interactively on the national register.

All of the major primary care Practice Management System (PMS) vendors have integrated their products with the NES services and foundational identity APIs.

The roll-out of NES to practices was facilitated by the Primary Health Organisations. Each PHO nominated a NES ‘champion’, who worked with the Ministry to help practices go-live with the NES.

City GPs practice manager Sonya Ball tests the NES integration with receptionist  Pauline Whittle City GPs practice manager Sonya Ball using the NES integration with receptionist Pauline Whittle.


City GPs see results

Assistant practice manager at City GPs Ltd in Wellington, Sonya Ball, says integration with the NES saves practice staff a lot of time and frustration.

“Previously, we would rely on the patient because there was no way for us to access a patient’s previous provider’s details and we would be spending up to 15-20 minutes at the front desk trying to locate their previous GP records,” she says.

A new patient’s previous enrolment information is now available “at the click of a button” and their medical notes can also be requested from the correct provider and received via the GP2GP record transfer system.

This improves patient safety by ensuring that their medical notes are following them wherever they go, and clinicians have access to the most up-do-date information, says Ms Ball.

One million messages

Practices are now sending around 1 million messages to the NES APIs every day. This includes all interactions such as; NHI searches; viewing patients; updating patient info; finding addresses; enrolling; and viewing and updating enrolments.

Nationally, up to 22,000 patient changes occur between practices each month, as well as patients enrolling for the first time.

Previously, enrolment information would need to be sent quarterly and practices might not know for months if one of their patients enrolled with a GP elsewhere. Now they get an instant notification and NHI information is automatically updated if changed elsewhere.

The move to integrated PMS systems has also reduced the amount of time practices spend calling the Ministry’s contact centre – with about 7000 new NHIs created via the PMS systems that previously would have required a call to the Ministry to create.

With more health services connected to the NES and NHI, data quality available from these foundational systems is expected to improve further, which is a prerequisite for a highly connected digital health sector. 


Published on 9 May 2018