FHIR storm still smoulders as connectathon looms

The FHIR standard was back in the spotlight this week with the ongoing fall-out from the recent publication of a super duper report into vulnerabilities that may eventuate from poor implementations of the standard by third parties.

Last week, HL7 International took what is a very unusual step in releasing a statement emphasising that the vulnerabilities are at the implementation end and certainly not at the standard itself, and touting that the author had changed the title of her report to reflect this.

Spin doctors would normally say that this sort of statement would make matters worse, and we tend to agree, but in this case it may be justified considering the sensitivity of healthcare information. FHIR continues on its merry way nonetheless, with HL7 New Zealand and HLZ Australia holding a joint virtual connectathon later this month that will cover some of these issues, along with a trial of SMART Health Cards, led by creator Grahame Grieve. Sign up here.

Meanwhile, Pulse+IT has been talking to healthcare organisations dead-set on implementing FHIR, including those using InterSystems’ FHIR-based innovation toolkit, and next week we’ll have a story on the first health service in Australia connecting to Cerner’s FHIR platform. Interesting times indeed.

The brawl between Orion Health’s Ian McCrae and the NZ Ministry of Health over the latter’s procurement of infrastructure for the national screening solution for bowel, breast and cervical cancer is ongoing. The infrastructure has been repurposed to build NZ’s COVID immunisation register (CIR) and will be used for the eventual National Immunisation Solution, which is replacing the one built by Orion back in 2005. Mr McCrae is furious about the lack of transparency over the procurement and referred it to Auditor General John Ryan, but he has not got the outcome he must have hoped for. Nonetheless, we don’t think Mr McCrae will go quietly.

In Australia, Healthdirect’s industry offer for its Vaccine Clinic Finder (VCF) has seen eight vendors join up join up to implement the API to provide real-time availability. We’ve questioned in the past whether this was really necessary as by the time it is all rolled out, the majority of people will be vaccinated. Turns out, some states in Australia are aiming at a 95 per cent vaccination rate and NZ might very well achieve the same, which is an extraordinary good result, and with booster shots now being recommended, the API may very well come in handy.

With the vendors now getting into action for real time availability, we thought we’d check in with the Department of Health to check the numbers on its much-lauded National Booking Solution, which Greg Hunt was very keen on promoting. This solution would give those healthcare organisations that don’t use an online booking system access to a national one, provided by HealthEngine for free. We asked for a breakdown by provider, whether general practice, pharmacy or other, but they couldn’t tell us.

But what they could tell us was that the Australian government’s online booking platform “is available to all clinics to take online bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations, if they don’t already have an online booking system. It is currently in operation at 332 COVID-19 vaccine provider clinics. Over half of these are State Government clinics.”

Our most popular story for the week was about Mr Hunt’s $180 million package for the primary care sector to support people with and recovering from COVID-19 at home. It’s still the case that this is not yet running on all cylinders, so is an area where a lot more resources need to be allocated. Just today, a young person in NSW died at home, and in NZ, one died yesterday amid revelations that many people who are being monitored at home are being contacted by email rather than a phone call, video call or medical device.

There’s lots of technology out there very much available that could overcome old fashioned contact measures like email and surely there are far more sophisticated real-time monitoring modalities available that governments could have a look at.

Victoria has also been in the spotlight this week with a few stories on its digital health strategy making the news. Unfortunately, the usual suspects from the Australian Privacy Foundation have had a bit of a go. They seem to believe that GP records will be shanghaied into the state-government run system, which seems implausible at best. However, you may beg to differ so let us know your thoughts.

That brings us to our poll question for this week:

Is the uptake of the national booking solution (332 healthcare organisations) a good result?

Vote here or leave your comments below.

Last week we asked: Is Victoria’s digital health roadmap a good one? Yes, most people said. It got top marks from 85 per cent of respondents. Here are your comments.

Comments  

0 # Kate McDonald 2021-11-12 15:04
Last week we asked: Is the uptake of the national booking solution (332 healthcare organisations) a good result? Most weren't convinced: 73 per cent said no versus 27 per cent who said yes.

Here’s a few comments on what you thought could have been done better.

- It should have been done a lot earlier. But that's typical of this government - leading from the back.

- Efforts from Canberra would be more successful if they
a) recognize we have a very devolved and mixed public private health system, and states are more experienced than they are when it comes to health service delivery
b) build on existing mobile app booking systems and focus on setting the standards and providing incentives

- Not with 1000s of pharmacies and GP practices offering vaccine bookings. It shows the national system is too late & not integrated into workplace systems.

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