You may know me from my work in eHealth. I have been interested in discovery around ways for clinicians to control and develop the content specification for eHealth. It was a key role of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) in the days of paper to offer quality health records for use in general practice. Technology has offered a lot to our profession, particularly in managing work flow and the movement of documents. However at current levels of eHealth provision, we have lost the ability to store information in a recoverable (or query-enabled) form in a way that meets our clinical needs. This is not unexpected and many are content enough with current software to tolerate this situation. I am not. I established Ocean Informatics with 4 GP Colleagues in 1996, ws CEO from 2004 to 2012 and now chair the Board of this clinically oriented health informatics company.
My aims have been to:
- Ensure that data collection specifications are managed by clinicians for specific purposes – not software developers
- That standardisation of clinical information enables interoperability of care environments, supporting clinical care
- That the infrastructure of eHealth should have no concern as to the content of the health records
- That there should be one logical record for every person although the information may be distributed among many systems
- That the infrastructure should not determine the information flows
I was a founding Co-Chair of the International HL7 EHR Technical Committee, and Co-Chair of the Standards Australia Working Group as well as the Australian delegate to the European Union’s eHealth Standards Committe (CEN TC251). My work has led to the establishment of the openEHR Foundation of which I am Chair. This international group is still evolving – this open source specification is now used in a number of European countries and Brazil. The openEHR method provides the basis for NEHTA’s Clinical Knowledge Manager.
The solutions in eHealth must involve and support clinicians. Not involvement in some glacial consultation process once per decade (if we are lucky) but in a vibrant living evolution of clinical data specifications. I believe that our College could be the curator of such an environment.