Standards Australia: Health Informatics IT-014

Standards Australia

Standards Australia is recognised by the Government as Australia’s peak Standards body. It coordinates standardisation activities, develops internationally aligned Australian Standards of public benefit and national interest, and facilitates the accreditation of other Standards Development Organisations. Standards Australia is a not for profit organization

Over the past few decades, as trade liberalisation has brought down tariffs in many parts of the world, Standards have been applied in international trade with growing intensity. Standards Australia, as the nation’s official representative at the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), plays an important role in developing these new International Standards and in ensuring our interests are heard.

IT-014 Health Informatics Technical Committee

Standards Australia’s IT-014 Health Informatics Technical Committee, supported by ten subject area sub-committees / working groups, develops Australian Standards and related materials that will support the national goal of interoperability across the health sector, and align with and influence international e-health developments. The integration of the IT-014 program of work into the national e-health agenda has been supported by acceleration funding from the Australian Government since 1999.

Standards Australia has, through the leadership of IT-014, now published over sixty standards, technical specifications and related documents in e-health to enable sharing and communication of clinical and administrative information between health care providers, and to contribute to health service improvement and patient safety.

The Standards Australia e-health website provides quick access to published standards and guidelines, information about IT-014, its work program and documents for comment, and links to organizations and activities in e-health. The site gives direct access to current Australian e-health publications for free download via the SAI Global Webshop.

E-health focuses on the use of information and communication technologies to improve the delivery of health services, and its uptake is growing rapidly. Most developed nations now have substantial e-health programs. Australian interests at key international health informatics standardization meetings are represented through targeted participation of Australian delegates to progress the national priorities for international e-health standardization.

Global Health Informatics Standardization

Because of the globalisation of trade, and healthcare, as well as the pervasiveness of information and communication technologies, International Standards are in demand more than ever. Increasingly, the use and referencing of International Standards, based on stakeholders consensus, form part of good regulatory practice and good public governance around the world.

International Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), their respective technical committees and their stakeholders for health informatics standardization have collectively identified a need and opportunity to collaborate, coordinate and co-operate in delivering global, implementable standards. CEN/TC 251, ISO TC 215 and HL7 have agreed to collaborate in the spirit of mutual appreciation, respect and openness to seek pragmatic solutions to obtain unification of their set of standards for healthcare communication and to make the results globally available to ISO.

The Joint Initiative on SDO Global Health Informatics Standardization has been formed to enable common, timely health informatics standards by addressing and resolving issues of gaps, overlaps, and counterproductive standardization efforts. Standardization is the only real solution to semantic interoperability in health informatics and by working together, SDOs will increasingly achieve interoperability on a global scale.

Elizabeth Hanley

Posted in Australian eHealth

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