The recently launched Connecting Australian Healthcare – National Healthcare Interoperability Plan 2023-2028 outlines a national vision to share consumer health information in a safe, secure and seamless manner and identifies 44 actions across five priority areas relating to identity, standards, information sharing, innovation and measuring benefits.
If you are new to or need a refresher in interoperability, the introduction includes an overview of what interoperability is, benefits to key stakeholders, risk and cost considerations, and what Australia has accomplished so far. The Plan describes 10 interoperability principles to accelerate the shift towards a more interoperable national healthcare system, and the challenges of achieving this.
FHIR – The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard is a set of rules and specifications for exchanging electronic health care data, as an alternative to existing data exchange protocols.
A consortium including the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and HL7 Australia has been established to deliver a core set of FHIR standards for use in Australian settings over the next two years. This work is called Sparked.
At the recent HL7 Australia Connectathon in Brisbane on 23 August 2023 to launch Sparked, Simon Cleverley, Assistant Secretary Digital Health Branch at DoHAC said “Investing in the development and implementation of national core health information sharing standards is a huge step forward for Australia’s healthcare system. 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.”
This YouTube FHIR: A Healthcare Data Standard Designed for the Future provides a short overview of what FHIR is, why it was designed, and how it might be used.
This is an emerging area of knowledge that Health Information Managers need to be aware of and involved in given the content of what is to be shared is health information.
For more information about Australia’s interoperability and FHIR plans visit: