HL7 Australia to bring standards development back in-house

The local affiliate of eHealth interoperability organisation HL7 has decided to withdraw responsibility for HL7 standards development and publishing from Standards Australia following its decision to restructure the health informatics technical committee IT-014 last year.

HL7 Australia announced this week it had terminated its current agreement with Standards Australia for publishing and maintenance of localised HL7 standards. It has also announced the appointment of new staff to help implement the organisation's strategic plan.

The CEO of the Medical Software Industry Association, Bridget Kirkham, and health informatics consultant Paul Frosdick will work on a part-time basis with HL7 Australia's organising committee.

Ms Kirkham will assist with increasing HL7's profile, membership, third-party relationships and advocacy, while Mr Frosdick will be responsible for developing education and certification programs as well as helping to re-establish local HL7 standards development governance and processes.

The IT-014 committee has not met since last year, when its 2012-2014 work program ended and Standards Australia decided to restructure the committee. A Standards Australia spokesperson said at the time that this was not due to funding cuts, but Pulse+IT understands from several industry sources that specific funding provided by the Department of Health for standards development for the PCEHR and related national initiatives has been much reduced.

Any eHealth standards development will now go through Standards Australia's normal processes, the spokesperson said. It is understood that some standards were not finished when the IT-014 work program period ended, and that while some groups have been successful in resubmitting these through SA's normal proposal procedure, there are some that have failed.

HL7 Australia chair Trish Williams said that while IT-014 had been reconstituted and HL7 was invited to continue to be involved, the organisation had instead decided to bring responsibility for developing, publishing and maintaining HL7 standards back in-house.

“HL7 has been invited to participate in the reconstituted IT-014, but what we have decided to do is take back any development of HL7 standards,” Associate Professor Williams said.

“There was some discontent with the way that processes were being handled as they didn't necessarily reflect the processes of HL7 International and HL7 Australia.

“We originally had an agreement where Standards Australia were allowed to publish on our behalf, but they are no longer allowed to do that.”

HL7 Australia will be announcing the new arrangements for a localised standards publication and maintenance process in the near future. In the meantime, HL7 standards previously published by Standards Australia will continue to be available free of charge from www.e-health.standards.org.au.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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