HISA elects new members to board, outlines priorities for coming year

The Health Informatics Society of Australia (HISA) has announced the results of its annual elections. Nominations were received from 17 candidates, with the HISA membership tasked with having to appoint just five of these people to the organisation’s board.

Votes were cast at the HISA AGM, which was held during the organisation’s Health Informatics Conference (HIC2010) in late August.

Katerina Andronis, Dr John Zelcer, Jon Hilton, Tam Shepherd and Prof Peter Croll were elected, joining continuing board members David Rowlands, Anthony Maeder and Joan Edgecumbe. Subsequently, these board members appointed David Rowlands as Chair, Katerina Andronis as Vice-Chair, and Joan Edgecumbe as Secretary.

Following the first meeting of the newly elected board, Philip Robinson was invited to join the board and takes up the executive position of Treasurer.

David Rowlands congratulated outgoing HISA Chair, Prof Michael Legg, for his six years of service in the position, citing the interest from candidates wishing to nominate for the board positions and participation at the AGM by members as an indication of the strength of the present organisation.

“During his time in the role, Michael guided HISA from a struggling organisation at that stage to one that is robust enough to attract 17 nominations for five positions.”

Outlining his vision for the future of the organisation, Mr Rowlands noted the underlying reforms that are currently occurring in the health sector.

“HISA wants to make sure we have a vibrant health informatics community in Australia. We have an amazing 24 months coming up. We have health reforms, the long awaited foundations of e-health beginning to roll-out, we have Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (PCEHR) on the agenda now, and continuing investment from states and territories and the private sector in health informatics.”

At a time when several large foundation pieces of e-health infrastructure are being prepared for deployment, Mr Rowlands stressed the importance of addressing the health informatics workforce shortages to increase the chances of these projects being undertaken successfully.

“Australia is really entering an interesting new phase, from design and architecture, to the implementation of national e-health initiatives, in the context of a changing health system. What HISA needs to do first and foremost is make sure it is using its wide constituency to ensure there is good advice and good direction going towards those projects, and to ensure the expertise that is around the health sector is being used. We will also need to ensure that we are advocating for improvements to the health informatics workforce.”

Mr Rowlands also expressed a desire for HISA to be involved in a review and contribute to any potential refresh of the National E-Health Strategy, which was endorsed by government in late 2008.

Citing some outcomes from last year’s HISA membership survey, Mr Rowlands flagged plans to respond to requests for additional learning and professional development opportunities.

“We’ll certainly be making efforts to improve and widen the learning and development opportunities, to not only HISA members, but the health informatics workforce more generally.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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