The Australian E-Health Research Centre (AEHRC) - a joint venture between CSIRO and the Queensland Government - has joined an international organisation devoted to improving patient and care provider access to reliable medical information.
AEHRC Chief Executive, Gary Morgan, says the Open Health Tools (OHT) Foundation - whose membership consists of leading health care and IT professionals - is developing software tools that will improve interoperability between health systems to reduce the number of medical errors due to misinterpretation of clinical data.
'AEHRC will make contributions to a number of OHT projects that align with the Centre's health data and smart methods research program,' Mr Morgan says. 'One example is our work on simplifying clinical terminology - if all computer systems use the same terms to describe their health information then we can be confident that each system understands exactly the information being passed to it. This type of interoperability reduces the likelihood of mistakes being made and helps ensure the health of our patients.'
AEHRC is already making a contribution to the development of clinical terminology through Snorocket which is a fast-classifier for SNOMED-CT - an international health terminology standard developed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO). Snorocket is a software tool that provides terminology authors with a way of very quickly understanding whether or not their use of SNOMED-CT is correct.
A project Officer with Australia's National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH), Donna Truran, says NCCH has benefited from AEHRC's innovative approach to applied research, particularly through its use of Snorocket in the SNOMED-CT environment.
Dr Andy Bond, the Chief Architect of the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) - the peak governmental body responsible for e-health adoption in Australia - congratulated AEHRC on its membership of the OHT. 'AEHRC's talented team of innovators will make a valuable contribution to the OHT vision,' he says.
Mr Morgan says OHT membership provides AEHRC with another 'path to impact' for its health data and smart methods research program. 'It's an exciting time for e-health not only in Australia but also around the globe. International collaboration opportunities such as OHT are a valuable mechanism through which AEHRC research can ultimately make a difference to the treatment patients,' he says.