Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Australian Health IT Blogosphere Is Really Taking Off With Some High Quality Voices.

Somehow the following from Montaigne seems to fit this blog post.

"I have gathered together a posy of other men's flowers, and naught but the thread that binds them is my own."

What I am taking from this development is that others are seeing that the ‘sponsored’ blog or website is rather less likely to explore some more important issues than those done for reasons of passion, altruism or simple old fashioned hope for a ‘better world’!

This is an unambiguously good thing and can only be positive in the long term!

First cab off the rank we have the following from Grahame Grieve:

HL7 Fresh Look Task Force

Posted on April 30, 2011 by Grahame

The HL7 board has authorized a new “Fresh Look” Task Force to examine the best ways we can create interoperability solutions, with no pre-conditions on what those solutions might be.

The idea is that, knowing what we now know from what has already been created within HL7 and by other groups outside of HL7, what would be our best approach to interoperability solutions?

I have accepted an invitation to be a member of this task force. It’s my belief that this is a real fresh look; none of the sacred cows are off the table for re-examination.

What’s the task force going to focus on?

I worry that the fresh look will get distracted into arguing about information modeling methodology. HL7 folks are real good at that (I am too). We do need to do that, but to my way of thinking, that’s not our problem, and we can’t get distracted by that.

Instead, I believe that we should devote time to considering how we assess “success” in a fresh look. What do we are we trying to do? What do our customers want? What exchanges are we trying to serve? Are we doing syntax or semantics? Does the market even want semantics? HL7 has two quite different stakeholders in vendors and large programs – can they agree on what they want?

Side Note: Vendors want “Drive by Interoperability”, large programs want something rather different. I think I’ll write a whole post about that (coming soon).

Note that this is an outgrowth of the v2/v3/cda taskforce – so it’s not about choosing between them. Which is why I don’t want it to be (just) about information modeling.

More here - along with a more recent entry.

Second we have another notable contribution from Eric Browne.

Surfing the PCEHR Waves

2011-April-26 | 12:36 By: eric

Well, it’s just a little over 14 months till the launch of Australia’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). And we have already seen two ‘waves’ of grant funded ‘implementations’ announced by Health Minister Nicola Roxon. The PCEHR draft ‘Concept of Operations‘ was released publicly on the 12th of April and organisations and individuals have until 31st May to provide feedback. There is scant information available about any of the Wave 1 or Wave 2 e-health lead sites, but the wave 2 sites are required to submit detailed plans, also by 31st May. The eHealth sites program is being managed overall by NEHTA, under contract to the federal Department of Health and Ageing. $75.6 million has been allocated to establish and operate the eHealth sites.

In the absence of readily available and well collated information about the PCEHR implementation projects, HealthBase Australia has set up a one stop shop to help participating organisations and other interested parties – just visit .

More here:

Now, without trying to draw a ‘very long bow’ what I think I am seeing here is the beginnings of some real discussion and exposure of e-Health matters that go beyond the simplistic ‘e-Health is good and the Government is always right’ mantra and try to address things that actually might make a difference while at the same time being prepared to speak up and say that on this or that matter the emperor is looking a little less than well dressed!

If what we can have develop is a debate among professionals - rather than commentators - about what is needed and how to move forward then this can only be to the good of all.

There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and the sooner the work is started to sooner we can make a difference.

I have to say it will be interesting to see just what this new HL7 review comes up with and just how much transparency and openness we get from the various PCEHR partners. We live in very interesting times indeed!

On a related matter, responses on the NEHTA Draft Concept of Operations document are due by the end of the month. If you have a view you have a little less than a month to express it!

Submissions can be made via this address:



Eric Browne said...

Thanks again David.

I find it really hard to garner any interest from the community in actually addressing real issues, whilst most of the Australian e-health community is:-

a. swept up in the DoHA / NEHTA PCEHR hype,


b. busy fighting over scraps of the e-health money,


c. turned off in disgust or despair

Most of the interest I have seen in my HL7 message tester, for instance, has come from overseas. Most Australian organisations either don't seem to care about standards, or don't seem to see a rational business case for their adoption and are therefore unwilling to be distracted from 'business as usual'.

There are so many small steps that need to be taken, and could be taken with just a little of the right leadership. But, alas...

Anonymous said...

Dont forget a further important category

d) Quietly getting on with it, and engaging when there is a chance your efforts might be listened to or make a difference.

Anonymous said...

90% of the community would be throughly disgusted.