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This paper presents a case study analysis of innovation in one part of the New Zealand (NZ) healthcare system. We focus on the NZ Health Care Home (HCH) initiative and investigate the impact of its implementation (in a large primary health organisation in NZ - Compass Health) on a wide array of health events.

HCH in NZ is adapted from a health care innovation model developed by a Seattle (USA)- based non-profit healthcare organisation, Group Health Cooperative (GHC). In 2007, GHC implemented a pilot “medical home” model of primary health care services. Their approach was multidisciplinary in nature, patient-centred, and used electronic health information and data to apply a proactive philosophy to primary healthcare delivery (McCarthy, Mueller, & Tillman, 2009; Reid et al. 2010). Pinnacle Midlands Health Network1 was the first health care organisation in NZ to learn from GHC’s innovations in this space. They established the first HCH practices in NZ in 2011 (Pinnacle Midlands Health Network, n.d.; Middleton, Dunn, O’Loughlin, & Cumming, 2018). Since then, the HCH model has been rolled out across 128 health practices in the country (Health Care Home Collaborative, 2017). In addition, 12 NZ health practices from four primary health organisations (Northland District Health Board, Pinnacle, Compass Health, and ProCare) were officially certified as HCH for the first time in early 2018.

The HCH model is based on four international trends in primary health care. Hefford (2017) indicates these are: (i) an upsurge of interest in primary healthcare; (ii) undertaking ‘lean’ quality improvement theory in the health sector; (iii) increasing adoption of technology to improve the service to the patient; and (iv) co-ordinated care for individuals who have complex needs.

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