NZ Health IT and HL7 New Zealand have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on achieving interoperable healthcare information across the country.
NZHIT is an independent industry group of health software companies, partners, consultants and healthcare providers and HL7NZ is the local affiliate of Health Level Seven International, the global developer of standards for the interoperability of health information.
NZHIT chief executive Scott Arrol says the organisations share a common goal of achieving interoperability within the healthcare sector.
“It’s two organisations coming together and the outcome is to have an interoperable IT environment in the New Zealand health sector,” he says.
“Included in that is the benefit of supporting each other as we are both not-for-profit membership organisations with a shared interest in health IT. We are coming together to work more closely and collaborate on a number of things.”
NZHIT and HL7 will promote each other’s news and activities and provide discounted rates to attend their events. They will also look for opportunities to collaborate, including supporting the development and implementation of New Zealand’s Digital Health Strategy.
The two organisations started thinking about closer collaboration a year ago when NZHIT was developing the New Zealand Vision and Charter for Interoperability.
The charter is: “designed to provide direction to all participants in the health and disability sector to work collaboratively to build a fully interoperable ICT environment as a key enabler of quality healthcare services delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Chair of HL7 NZ Peter Jordan says the charter is an excellent document and both organisations are keen to progress it.
“We need broad sector engagement to produce localised standards for interoperability and we can’t do that by ourselves. We need to engage as many people as possible in the process to get buy-in for the standards,” he says.
He believes it is good for the sector to see organisations such as NZHIT and HL7 collaborate, rather than operate as “siloed independent organisations”.
“As the local affiliate of a large worldwide organization seeking to reach out to as many people in the sector as possible, we see collaboration with NZHIT as a key means of achieving that,” he says.