Home grown integration solution nears production

After three years of development and six months of testing, the locally-developed Health Data Integration (HDI) application will go into production at the end of May to help analyze health information in Queensland.

Originally a combined project of ICT and Mathematical Sciences at the CSIRO, HDI was transferred late last year to the e-Health Research Centre in Brisbane, which is jointly owned by the state government and CSIRO.

Gary Morgan, CEO of the Centre, said it will further develop and take the technology to interstate and overseas markets.

"We now have complete ownership of the HDI project which has strong capabilities around data linking," Morgan said.

"HDI allows data to be linked from a dataset without it being exported. This lets clinicians follow care and treatments and allows health information to be analyzed for developing KPIs aimed at improving patient outcomes."

HDI is a server application that supports DB2, Oracle, SQLServer databases and runs on the AIX, Linux, Solaris and Windows server platforms. HDI will integrate with other helath information systems such as the Oracle-based NSW records system, via Web services.

It's this ability to access health information from multiple sources that Morgan believes will also make HDI attractive to policy makers in both state and federal health departments.

"HDI can report on data sets so state and federal public health policy makers can assign funding or education programs across different regions or postcodes so they know where to put the funding," he said.

Morgan said the public health awareness campaigns that information drawn from HDI will enable would be "educational, not marketing". The application is needed because of the lack of standards among online health record systems such as the federal government's HealthConnect. (HealthConnect is a national network of electronic health records that gives doctors, and other health professionals, quick and secure access to important and potentially lifesaving medical information.)

"HealthConnect is about managing your data and HDI is about linking public and private hospitals," he said. "HDI is a fine-grain record of actual patient treatment [across] multiple data sets and accessed in a private and trustworthy manner. Clinicians can see how their treatment regimes compare with others around the country and the world. It's staggering to be able to see this information."

Early adopters include Melbourne Health Services and the Queensland Cancer Control and Analytics Team which is using HDI to investigate the lung cancer data set which will go into production in May.

"We will look at [deployment] in the other states and may have three or four implementations around the country by the end of the year," Morgan said.

"We are also demonstrating the application as a proof-of-concept with federal agencies. There is nothing as ambitious as HDI around the world which is very niche and focused."

The e-Health Research Centre will look at commercialization opportunities for HDI, including OEMing and licensing the technology.

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