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Digital health standards

Enabling a better-connected healthcare system for all Australians

The Agency is responsible for national stewardship, leadership and coordination of a dynamic, comprehensive and collaborative Digital Health Standards. Core to this work is engaging with standards development organisations and industry experts to shape how the digital health standards community delivers the tools needed to guide healthcare in a connected digital future.

What are digital health standards?

Digital health standards are the foundations of interoperability and connected care. Although they are often technical documents, in simple terms these standards guide processes, data structure, and methodology embedded within the technology we use in healthcare. They are often informed by clinical processes but are always developed with a focus on ensuring safety and consistency across the workflows of the health and care ecosystem.

Why are they needed?

To ensure that all the solutions we use to support the care process are safe and reliable for clinicians and consumers. Just as importantly, they ensure that the data we need to support care is available every time it is needed in a format that ensures it can be used.

Digital health standards provide critical foundations for a safe and strong Australian healthcare system and the vision of connected care by helping to join all the parts of the system together, helping all Australians.

Key elements of the program

Digital Health Standards Catalogue

The purpose of the Digital Health Standards Catalogue is to provide easy, curated access to the digital health standards that support the ongoing digital uplift of Australian healthcare and ensure interoperability of systems and data.

As one of the many tools provided under the Digital Health Standards Program, the focus of the catalogue is to ensure that digital health standards and specifications are agreed and can be easily adopted.

Access the Digital Health Standards Catalogue

Digital Health Procurement Guidelines

The purpose of the procurement guidelines is to support organisations in choosing solutions, or organisations developing solutions, by identifying the minimum required standards needed in each solution.

The draft procurement guidelines are accessible via the link below. We are encouraging and inviting all stakeholders to review and provide feedback via the form contained within the guidelines.

Access the Digital Health Procurement Guidelines

Standards Development Guiding Principles 

Staying focused on delivering for all Australians in the work we undertake is of critical importance.  

The Agency has developed guiding principles to set foundations for working relationships between the Agency and SDOs. These principles help to guide standards development, prioritisation, selection, and maintenance. 

Access the guiding principles

Developing new standards

With evolving technology and an ever-changing healthcare system, new standards or updates to standards are essential to support digital health. 

Collaboration with Standards Development Organisations, Australia’s healthcare community and other government agencies will continue to ensure we are supporting the development and adoption of new standards where they are needed. 

If you would like to get involved, complete the form to register your interest in standards development.

One program that is underway as a collaboration between the Agency, Department of Health and Aged Care, HL7 Australia and CSIRO is called Sparked. This program is a standards development accelerator, focussed on developing FHIR based resources.

FHIR™ Sparked Accelerator is one partnership initiative

Build capacity in the digital health technology sector

Core to the effective implementation of Digital Health Standards is ensuring that there is sufficient capability and understanding of what these standards are and how they are implemented within the industry. 

Across the program, various initiatives are being undertaken to ensure that the knowledge and skills are being lifted to support current and future needs.  

One initiative has included Agency funded development and delivery of FHIR training.  

Register for FHIR training

National Clinical Terminology Service

The National Clinical Terminology Service (NCTS) manages, develops, and distributes national clinical terminologies and related tools and services to support the Australian healthcare community.

The NCTS provides state-of-the-art terminology services that promote implementation and adoption of national clinical terminologies in Australia. The aim of the service is to support easier, consistent, and more meaningful use of clinical terminologies in healthcare. 

More information for developers