FHIR accelerator to deliver national interoperability standards in next two years

2 minute read

Community groups featuring health professionals and experts across the digital health spectrum will drive the development and implementation of Australia’s first national FHIR standards and datasets.

Australia is set to have its own set of national, community-led FHIR standards within the next two years with the launch of the first FHIR accelerator program.

Officials from the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Digital Health branch announced the release of the accelerator at HL7’s Australia Connectathon recently.

Sparkedaims to develop and implement community-led, national FHIR standards for use across Australia over the next two years, with funding provided through the 2023-24 federal budget.

Assistant Secretary for Digital Health Simon Cleverley told Connectathon attendees that the development of national FHIR standards would lead to significant improvements across the whole health system, not just in the realm of digital health. 

“Investing in the development and implementation of national core health information sharing standards is a huge step forward for Australia’s healthcare system,” Mr Cleverley said.

“With the funding provided in the 2023-24 federal Budget, we will be able to build the core standards needed to create a more seamless and connected healthcare system that can meet the expectations of Australian patients who want safe and secure access to their important health information.”

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A consortium of leaders from across the digital health spectrum has been convened to oversee the program’s implementation, including DoHAC officials and members of the CSIRO’s eHealth research centre, the ADHA and HL7.

According to FHIR founder Grahame Grieve, key to the program’s success will be the adoption of Australian FHIR Community Process during the development process to encourage open participation from all interested parties.

“FHIR accelerators, such as the Argonaut Accelerator in the USA, have been successful in increasing the exchange of information to support patient care. The key to its success was the iterative and open nature of the development process, anybody could participate, not just the vendors,” he said.

Applications are open to join the design groups leading the development and validation of the FHIR standards for any FHIR developer or implementer, software vendor, clinician or domain expert.

Participants can register their interest for the clinical design, core technical design or requesting technical design groups through the CSIRO’s website.

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