HIC 2018: States agree to harmonise child health data to build rainbow baby book

The states and territories have agreed to harmonise the content of the jurisdictional baby books given to parents to record their baby's growth milestones, part of an initiative to develop a national digital solution that will in future be connected to the My Health Record.

Representatives from the National Children's Digital Health Collaborative told the Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2018) in Sydney yesterday that the agreement was a breakthrough in a long-standing problem in which each state and territory has its own paper book – in NSW it is the blue book, in Queensland the red book, in the NT it is yellow and so on – with different content.

eHealth NSW CEO Zoran Bolevich, who is leading the initiative in association with the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN), said the agreement was a major breakthrough.

“Inside the book the content is very similar, but ever so slightly different,” Dr Bolevich said. “That is not good news because you need consistency in order to have a compelling and effective digital solution.”

He said the by coming to an agreement on harmonising the data, there was now the foundation to digitise the solution more easily. “The harmonisation is a great step forward,” he said.

SCHN CEO Michael Brydon said the jurisdictions had agreed that the content didn't have to be 100 per cent the same, allowing clinicians in the Northern Territory to use different growth charts, for example.

What hasn't been agreed is a new colour for the book, although the rainbow book has been suggested.

The collaborative's program director, eHealth NSW's Steve Badham, said the next step was to turn the harmonisation into a digital specification, work that is being led by an HL7 Australia child health working group chaired by Semantic Consulting's Tim Blake.

“We are calling that a business information specification,” Mr Badham said. “We are doing a lot of socialising of those specs and that defines all of the data elements, the data items, the values and how do we link those data items to SNOMED codes and at the back of that are FHIR resources.”

He said the child health working group would work with the software vendors to develop interoperability specifications for each stage of the project.

The collaborative is also running projects to develop a digital pregnancy record, led by Queensland and South Australia, and is being funded by the Australian Digital Health Agency.

ADHA COO Bettina McMahon said a child health hub would be developed as a repository for the data, which would then be attached to the national infrastructure, either as a conformant portal or part of the My Health Record itself.

Ms McMahon said the My Health Record was being considered not as a separate system but as an environment of systems that interoperate using healthcare identifiers and standards to transfer information.

Posted in Australian eHealth

Tags: National Children’s Digital Health Collaborative, HIC 2018

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