- Get Started with Digital Health
- Using the My Health Record system
- For Implementers
- News and Events
About the Agency
- Tenders and Offers
- Digital Health Space Blogs
- Australian Digital Health Agency Board
- Australian Digital Health Agency Executive Team
- Freedom of Information (FOI)
- Board Advisory Committees
- Photo Gallery
- Contact Us
- Help Centre
- Useful Links
- Website Accessibility
- Senate Order Reporting
- Corporate Plan
- Digital Health Cyber Security Centre
- Reporting fraud
- Public Interest Disclosure
- Agency Clinical Reference Leads
News and Events
- Events Calendar
- #Share: Issue 1, April 2019
- #Share: December 2018
- #Share: October/November 2018
- #Share: September 2018
- #Share: August 2018
- #Share: July 2018
- #Share: June 2018
- #Share: May 2018
- #Share: April 2018
- #Share: March 2018
- #Share: February 2018
- #Share: January 2018
- #Share: December 2017
- #Share: November 2017
Collaborating with industry to achieve interoperability
Interoperability. In-ter-op-er-ah-bil-it-tee. Now say it again, faster. It’s a bit of a tongue twister. But saying it is the easy part!
Achieving full interoperability of health information is arguably the distinctive challenge of digital health. The world of finance, for instance, digitised long ago. Numbers and associated concepts are consistent and standardised in a way that health information is not.
This problem of interoperability recurs in multiple guises at every level of implementation. Clinicians of different backgrounds and specialties express clinical concepts in different ways. Large sites such as hospitals frequently employ a number of disparate clinical information systems that do not share information seamlessly. Different jurisdictions and healthcare providers likewise employ disparate, incompatible information systems that may be well suited to the specific purposes of that organisation, but are unable to share information in a safe and predictable manner.
We have been meeting with stakeholders representing industry, clinicians, consumers and jurisdictions to discuss these issues. Here’s what they’ve been telling us:
- We won’t achieve interoperability by just making information available. Where it actively comes to people as part of their normal work practice, it will be used. People will not go searching for information.
- In the first instance, we need to focus on just getting the information in front of the people who need it, and letting them interpret it. We can then incrementally improve terminology consistency to achieve machine-level interoperability. This should be prioritised on a risk/clinical outcomes basis.
- We need to examine some of the fundamentals of the information sharing architecture in Australia, including moving away from an exclusive reliance on a document upload-download paradigm and considering how My Health Record might act as a trust and consent broker, facilitating access and exchange of information between clinical systems, without storing the data within the My Health Record.
- Some of our core infrastructure needs to be more scalable to meet the expectations and demands that a real-time service supporting clinical software is expected to deliver. More focus needs to placed on transparent performance reporting and quality improvement cycles that actively engage jurisdictional and industry stakeholders.
A consultation and issues paper is currently being prepared with a view to undertaking a second round of consultation to explore these issues further with our stakeholders.