Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, May 05, 2008

NEHTA Needs to Follow This Example – Or Something Like It!

Canadian Infoway released this a few days ago.

Industry leaders form task force to align on electronic health record standards

May 1, 2008 - Focused on the acceleration of electronic health records, industry leaders from Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), Canadian Healthcare Information Technology Trade Association (CHITTA, the Health Division of Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)), and the Association of Health Technology Industry (AITS) announced today they have formed a task force to accelerate and promote the transition to a new set of pan-Canadian health information technology standards.

The task force will collaboratively work to promote the adoption of pan-Canadian standards, especially with point of service systems, by engaging clinicians, health care providers and vendors. Involving these stakeholders will support the planning required to ensure the interoperable electronic health record (iEHR) is leveraged and the adoption of pan-Canadian standards is accelerated.

"Time and again, we have seen the success of industries like the financial and consumer sectors drive faster end-user adoption through the implementation of standards," said Dennis Giokas, Chief Technology Officer, Canada Health Infoway. "With the aligned direction of our industry partners we can now work collaboratively to accelerate the deployment and use of these interoperability standards for the benefit of Canadians and the Canadian health care system."

Common standards are an integral element of, and a key requirement for, the establishment of a pan-Canadian interoperable electronic health record. Significant cost savings and quality improvements are achieved when custom integration is eliminated. Patients, clinicians and health service delivery organizations all benefit when data can be reliably shared across health care systems.

"We have been building health care systems using industry standards for over 20 years. Achieving full adoption of the pan-Canadian standards, and realizing the benefit of Canada's health infrastructure investments, is a multi-year journey until new products emerge and legacy systems are retired," said Brendan Seaton, President, CHITTA, the Health Division of Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC). "Health information systems tend to be stable, so we will see a period where both existing and new standards are supported. We look forward to collaborating with health providers and Canada Health Infoway on developing solutions for this transition."

To enable the successful deployment of interoperable electronic health record solutions, the organizations support the use of: HL7 and DICOM for messaging, LOINC® and SNOMED CT® for terminologies, HL7's Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) for documents, HL7's Clinical Context Object Workgroup (CCOW) specification for clinical context management, as well as the pan-Canadian interoperability profiles.

"The transition to common, pan-Canadian standards allows us to achieve the highest quality in an interoperable electronic health record system. As an industry we are starting to see market demand for these new standards, and our members are making commitments to meet that demand. Success will come when we work together on this very complex challenge," said Daniel Laplante, Executive Director, AITS.

Canada is a strong contributor to the global acceleration of EHR standards through its unique collaboration model. Launched in 2006, the Standards Collaborative provides coordination, implementation, support, education, conformance and maintenance of electronic health record standards in Canada. One third of its members are representatives from health information technology companies.

About Infoway

Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the Federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.


CHITTA, the Canadian Health Information Technology Trade Association, is the Health Division of ITAC, the Information Technology Association of Canada. CHITTA represents more than 120 companies across Canada that provide information and communications technology (ICT) products and services to the health sector. CHITTA represents the Industry to governments and health care decision-makers for the purposes of building a strong and sustainable health ICT industry in Canada, promoting investment in health ICT, and ensuring the interoperability of health ICT systems.

About AITS

Created in 1987 and representing over 100 members, the Association of health technologies industry's (AITS) mission is to stimulate the development of the health technologies industry and to promote its economic and social value. AITS is a meeting place for exchanges between partners on domestic and foreign markets.

The press release is found here.


While being more than prepared to admit getting together the various actors in the Canadian e-Health space might be a bit on the late side the same is certainly true in Australia.

With the departure of the old NEHTA CEO there is a space where an initiative of this sort – involving the various relevant actors would make a huge practical difference.

From all I am hearing the new Acting CEO is likely to see the sense in taking steps to seriously re-engage and to re-build. We can all do without a repeat of the ‘old NEHTA’ style of engagement (and the associated angst) It would good make sense that a new initiative would involve different people to lead the engagement process, from the NEHTA side, to make it clear change – as was identified as being needed by the BCG report – as actually on foot.

What might be a good idea is a mini 2020 style summit where all the actors get together and consider the papers produced by HISA, the Coalition for e-Health (CeH), AHHA and so on to devise a pragmatic, practical way forward.

The membership of the CeH is very broad and so it would form an ideal engagement conduit.

Members include:

Consumers & Patients

Cancer Voices

Choice - Australian Consumers Association

Consumers' Health Forum of Australia

Leukaemia Foundation of Australia

NSW Cancer Council

Health Colleges, Societies & Associations

AAPP - Australian Association of Pathology Practices

AACB - Australian Association of Clinical Biochemists

ACHI - Australian College of Health Informatics

ACHSE - Australian College of Health Service Executives

ACRRM - Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

ADIA - Australian Diagnostic Industry Association

AGPN - Australian General Practice Network

AHHA - Australian Healthcare and Hospital Association

AMA - Australian Medical Association

ASM - Australian Society of Microbiology

APS - Australian Psychology Society

HIMAA - Health Information Managers Association Australia

NCOPP - National Coalition of Public Pathology

RACGP - Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

RACMA - Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators

RANZCR - Royal Australian New Zealand College of Radiology

RCNA - Royal College of Nursing Australia

RCPA - Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia

Informatics Societies, Associations & Research Units

ACS - Australian Computer Society

AEEMA - The Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association

AIIA -Australian Information Industry Association

ANCC EH - Australian National Consultative Committee on e-Health


Engineers Australia

HISA - Health Informatics Society of Australia

HIPS - Health Information Privacy & Security

MSIA - Medical Software Industry Association

Melbourne University

Monash University

NIA - Nursing Informatics Australia

Sydney University

University of NSW

Standards Development & Testing Organisations

AHML - Australian Healthcare Messaging Laboratory

ACHS - Australian Council on Healthcare Standards

HL7 Australia

IHE - Integrating the Health Enterprise


Standards Australia

National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council

For all our sakes we need effective engagement between the Standards providers and the Standards users that means each gets what is needed out of the work the other does to the benefit of all.

A no brainer really – and way too long coming. The time is now right and I believe the stars are aligned!



Anonymous said...

There are others also with submissions waiting for someone to receive them. AGPN and AARNEt are two others I know have completed submissions and are looking for the consultant for the national e-health tender to recive them. We hear Deloittes was selected ( a month behind the original schedule), and so far they have not called for engagement. Perhaps the national e-health strategy tender for NEHIPC neeeds to be more closely aligned to the NEHTA reform process.

Anonymous said...

It is fantastic that deloitte - with all their private heathcare cover for their staff and partners - are doing the national strategy. Totally clueless. Don't hold your breath for anything more than a bit of cut paste and bill. their work in Vic speaks volumes for their credentials of lack their of.... another wasted opportunity