HL7 New Zealand News

HL7 FHIR International Connectathon #24 Report

A virtual edition of the tri-annual HL7 FHIR International Connectathon was held over a continual two day period, from 20:00 UTC on Wednesday 13th May to 22:00 UTC on Friday 15th May. This was a resounding success with 677 official participants (plus the odd guest) covering 35 tracks. General sessions were held over a GoTo Meeting, each track had its own Zoom Meeting Address and, as ever, the Zoom Chat site was extremely busy throughout.

Obviously, time differences were a challenge for some participants – particularly in the US-centric tracks, and I think that David Hay found this a constraint on the FHIR Shorthand Track. However, I believe that a combination of time-shifting and long hours worked well for most international (i.e. non-USA) attendees. I was a Co-Leader of the Terminology Services Track where Zoom sessions were attended by US, European, Indian and Anzac representatives. Certainly, it was easier to facilitate break-out sessions virtually than competing for booking slots in a restricted number of conference rooms and we had some productive discussions.

Naturally, providing COVID-19 concepts was a major topic for both terminologists and API implementers. The later were able to present the new LOINC Special Use codes and Answers plus Reference Sets from the new SNOMED International Implementation Guide see here. Several SNOMED members have already created national extensions for COVID-19 concepts; the USA ones can be viewed on the COVID-19 Interoperability Alliance Web Site. Hopefully these will be promoted to the next version of the International Edition.

The event was particularly successful from an education viewpoint (along with testing the specification and implementations, one of the 3 main objectives) a report describing the activity from each track could be found here.

The big question is whether this will now be the preferred means of delivering FHIR Connectathons – both internationally and locally (a question I’ve been asked many times)? I did miss the cross-track conversations and in-person networking – but maybe not the 24 journey, jet lag and hotel food! David made a good point that advance preparation is even more crucial to the success virtual events so, when we are all able to travel internationally again, maybe the organisers should have the final say!

Peter Jordan, Chairman, HL7 New Zealand

19th May, 2020

Chair’s updates from HL7 Sydney 2020

Friday 7 February 2020

HL7 New Zealand is recognised as one of Long Time Affiliates.

Wednesday 5 February 2020

HL7 NZ Chair Emeritus, Dr David Hay speaks in the FHIR for Clinicians session.

HL7 NZ Chair Peter Jordan reports to Wednesday’s General Session in his role as an International Council Co-Chair.

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Kiwi delegation enjoying Morning Tea on Tuesday morning…

Meeting attendance figures announced at the Tuesday Morning General Session 

Monday 3 February 2020

Ed Hammond predicts the demise of bricks and mortar healthcare facilities at the International Council meeting.

Sunday 2 February 2020

HL7 Chair Emeritus David Hay ignites HL7 FHIR Connectathon #23.

Chairman’s Christmas Message 2019

At the conclusion of an exhausting year and, almost unbelievably, another decade, it seems fitting to provide a just a few personal highlights and point those interested in a longer account of 2019 – as viewed by HL7 New Zealand – to my recent Chairman’s Report to the HL7 NZ AGM.

  • HL7® FHIR® R4 – THE standard for creating Digital Health APIs, case closed – there is no viable alternative; adoption of international standards is the critical, pre-condition for interoperability.
  • Increased involvement of clinicians and patients in the development and implementation of HL7 standards – essential members of the community-based approach that has replaced the top-down model disrupted by FHIR. 
  • Digital Health Week NZ – fantastic event in NZ’s finest city (slight hint of bias from this Hamiltonian!); now the leading health informatics conference in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • National Health Information Platform (nHIP) – this year’s most promising newcomer; plenty of challenges ahead, but the logical design is an excellent start.
  • NZ ePrescription Service – finally reaching ‘critical mass’ and increasingly used as a major data asset by the Sector; it’s been a long and hard road!
  • HL7NZ Web Site – new platform, branding and regularly-updated content; now positioned to be the hub for the local HL7 standards community.

Hence, in general, it’s been a positive year – the major exception being that the one gift that I requested (back in January) is unlikely to be delivered by Santa. All I really wanted for Christmas was access to my own digital healthcare record via a FHIR API. My carefully, coded primary care record, now sits securely (I trust) on a cloud server…so in 2020, please set my data free or, to quote ePatient. Dave de Bronkart…‘gimme my damn data’.
Finally, on a more festive, note, I’d like to extend sincere thanks to all of our members and benefactors (notably the Digital and Data Services Team at the Ministry of Health) for their support in the past year and I hope that you and your families all enjoy a well-earned Christmas and New Year break. I look forward to continuing to work together as we strive to improve healthcare outcomes via interoperability in the new decade!
Seasons’ Greetings,
Peter Jordan, Chairman HL7 New Zealand

HL7NZ 25th Anniversary Award was presented to Sysmex New Zealand

HL7NZ 25th Anniversary Award was presented to Sysmex New Zealand as part of the Digital Health Week which took place at Claudelands Events Centre in Hamilton 19-22 November.  HL7 standards have been used in New Zealand for 25 years and throughout that period, Sysmex New Zealand has consistently implemented these standards in their products, evangelised HL7 standards in the broader New Zealand digital health community and offered continuous support for the local HL7 Affiliate – known, since 2004, as HL7 New Zealand.

HL7NZ Annual General Meeting 2019 Report

The 2019 Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 20th November at 12:30 pm at the Claudelands Event Centre, Hamilton, during Digital Health Week NZ.  Eleven of the previous Board Members were re-elected along with Koray Atalag (The Clinician) who replaces Graeme Hibbert. The Chairman’s Annual Report, presented to the Meeting, can be found here.

At the first meeting of the new Board, held directly afterwards, the following officers were unanimously elected for two year terms: Peter Sergent (Vice Chairman) and David Moorhouse (Treasurer). Peter Jordan (Chairman) and Linda McKay (Secretary) will continue to serve in their current positions having been elected for two year terms in November 2018.

Microsoft announces Azure API for FHIR® general availability

According to the Microsoft Azure blog article on 21 October 2019, The Azure API for FHIR® is released in general availability to all Azure customers, with which a developer, researcher, device maker, or anyone working with health data is empowered with a turnkey platform to provision a cloud-based FHIR service in just minutes and begin securely managing PHI data in Azure.

HL7 New Zealand Announcements From Atlanta WGM

HL7 New Zealand – Press Release: September 30, 2019

HL7 New Zealand is pleased to announce that one of its founding members, Martin Entwistle, has been elected as a Fellow of HL7® International in recognition of his outstanding commitment and sustained contribution to HL7 International over a fifteen-year period. Martin was inducted into the HL7 Fellows Programme at September’s Working Group Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Also announced at this meeting was the result of recent elections held for the HL7 International Board of Directors and we’re delighted to report that HL7 New Zealand Chair, Peter Jordan was elected to the position of Affiliate Director. Peter will become the first New Zealander to be represented on this Board when he commences a two year term on January 1st, 2020.

Further details of the Working Group Meeting, attended by a record number of 778 participants, can be found on the HL7NZ Web Site.

HL7 New Zealand Spring News 2019

Hi Everyone – in the words of the song “spring is in the air” and this is reflected in a number of exciting new developments in New Zealand’s digital health landscape. In particular, we’ve seen the recentpublication of two documents of major significance for the implementation of our standards; namely the Ministry of Health’s

Digital, data and technology services – minimum requirements and the Interim Report of the New Zealand Health & Disability System Review.  The later, while not containing specific recommendations (these are to appear in a the Final Report tabled for next year), contains strong messages about the need for interoperability standards as a critical enabler of digital health and the former clearly articulates the need for conformance to, and compliance with, those standards.

On a practical level, HL7NZ is fully supportiveof the planned national Health Information Platform(nHIP) as a replacement for the single Electronic Health Record project and we view APIs built using HL7®FHIR® as key building blocks for this Platform. This will enable New Zealand to extend and adapt, significant work already performed overseas and recently, as part of our strong relationship with HISO, we’ve been pleased to recommend the use of the International Patient Summary.

Following our successful Mid-Year Seminar, we’ve also been busy developing a new Web Site and we’re planning to update this with news and events on a regular basis. As you’ll see from the banner, New Zealand is celebrating 25 years of HL7 implementation and  to mark this occasion, HL7 New Zealand will be presenting an Anniversary Award, at the 2019 HiNZ Conference in Hamilton, for “Consistent Support for HL7 Standards in New Zealand”. Candidates for this award are those current Organisational Members of HL7 New Zealand, who have used HL7 standards for a significant portion of the past 25 years. An account of those years can be found here.

Digital Health Week NZ – including HiNZ Conference 2019

We’re keenly anticipating New Zealand’s largest digital health event and this will include a Standards Workshop featuring HL7®FHIR®and SNOMED CT®, on Tuesday 19thNovember. Once again, HiNZ had kindly provided us with a Booth (#93) in the Conference Exhibition Hall and we encourage you all to pay us a visit there. We’ll also be holding our AGM at 12:30pm on Wednesday 20thNovember – all members welcome.

Further details can be found in the Conference Programme.  Registrations can be made here and HL7NZ members are, once again, eligible for the special low “affiliate member” rate.

New Zealand celebrates 25 years as an HL7 Implementer

This year New Zealand is celebrating 25 years of HL7 implementation. To mark this occasion, HL7 New Zealand will be presenting an Anniversary Award, at the 2019 HiNZ Conference in Hamilton, for “Consistent Support for HL7 Standards in New Zealand”. Candidates for this award are those current Organisational Members of HL7 New Zealand, who have used HL7 standards for a significant portion of the past 25 years. An account of those years can now be found in the About—>History Page.

Christmas Message 2018
“And so this is Christmas
and what have you done?”Is question posed by one of the most widely-played songs at this time of the year. In response, I could reflect upon another productive year for our Affiliate and indeed did do so in my recent Chairman’s Report to the HL7 NZ Board.

Certainly, from an International viewpoint, it’s been a year of terrific progress. HL7® FHIR® continues to take the outside world by storm and its adoption by “Tech Titans” (such as Apple, Google & Microsoft), major overseas Health IT Vendors and Government Digital Health Agencies grows by the month. We now await the upcoming Release 4 which will contain the first normative content. The progress of the FHIR Project, including the significant part played by HL7NZ members, is detailed in the Reports from the International Working Group meetings that we’ve attended this year. Outside of these meetings, HL7NZ members have participated in a number of key working groups, often in co-chair positions, including a collaboration project between HL7 International and SNOMED International – not surprisingly known as ‘SNOMED on FHIR’.
So far, so good – but what’s this year’s key health information interoperability message from Aotearoa? Well, we’ve delivered events focussing on practical usage of these standards and attempted to engage the implementer community as best we can to facilitate the interoperable use of FHIR.   Throughout the Sector as a whole, there have been numerous analogue conversations around and about digital health issues, but very little discernible progress on interoperability – particularly in terms of creating the open APIs that might facilitate secure and appropriate access to healthcare information for the new generation of bespoke healthcare apps. O Data Portability where art thou?
This frustrating state of affairs was neatly encapsulated in an entertaining story told by a hospital emergency department doctor at last month’s HiNZ Conference. The punch line involved the husband of an overseas patient photographing a printed discharge summary on his mobile phone and then ripping up the paper copy having established that no digital information could flow between the FHIR API on his phone and any software application or device at the hospital. The stuff of future comedy sketches perhaps – like expectant Americans seeking international class service in 1970s Britain?
A further reminder of the distance between our nascent digital health strategy and cold reality came a fortnight later as I completed a four page paper form at a DHB Skin Lesion Clinic detailing everything available at the click of a button in my primary care portal.  The later would be invaluable to any clinician, although those of us without medical qualifications might prefer to download this information, via (of course) a FHIR API, to be presented, in consumer-friendly fashion, by a health and wellness app of our own choice.

At the HL7NZ events we’ve uncovered a non-trivial amount of usage of FHIR APIs, but mainly in restricted two-party exchanges and our attempts at further engagement have often met with a stony silence from the custodians of our health data silos: FHIR behind ‘closed doors’.  Let’s hope that some of these barriers will be removed in 2019 and we can utilise FHIR to make interoperability easier and cheaper to implement.
Finally, on a more festive, note, I’d like to extend sincere thanks to all of our members and benefactors (notably the Digital and Data Services Team at the Ministry of Health) for their support in the past year and I hope that you and your families all enjoy a well-earned Christmas and New Year break. I look forward to continuing to work together with you on the seemingly long road to interoperable health information in 2019.

Seasons’ Greetings

Peter Jordan, Chairman HL7 New Zealand
December 16, 2018