Data types in Agency specifications



This document defines the Australian Digital Health Agency’s required data types as a logical level profile that conforms directly to the draft ISO 21090 standard. The detail included in this specification is less than that specified in the ISO document and the technical detail becomes relevant within the scope of this profile, during construction/implementation of Agency information products.

Data types in the Australian context

The digital health vision for Australia is to substantially improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare services delivered to patients. To achieve these benefits, the Agency’s mission is to facilitate better ways of consistently collecting and securely exchanging health information electronically. Standards for data types, as addressed in this specification, are a key contributor to achieving this mission.

An example of this is in the code that is recorded for a ‘Problem/Diagnosis’, that may be an element of the data that is included in a clinical document, such as a discharge summary - to be transferred from one system to another. It is in the interests of clinical safety that the receiving system and user of that element of data makes the exact same interpretation of its meaning as applied in the source environment. Simply presenting the code only may leave such interpretation open/prone to error.

To mitigate this risk, a standard ‘specification’ can be defined whereby the code value is complemented by other essential information such as the ID of code system (or Reference Set) from which the code was retrieved for use, as well as the version of the system (or Reference Set) used. Collectively, the value and the code system ID, and the system version, define the ‘data type’ (or properties) of the ‘Problem/Diagnosis’ data element.

The international standard ‘ISO/FDIS 21090 Health informatics – Harmonised Datatypes for Information Interchange’ is a specification of technical data types. The detail included is relevant to construction and implementation of software solutions. For example, the ISO data types are adopted by technical standards such as HL7™ v3.

Current Specifications: 

This document supports the Agency's detailed clinical model specifications and structured content specifications. It details a set of data types as a profile of the ISO 21090 data type specification.

By operation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Establishing the Australian Digital Health Agency) Rule 2016, on 1 July 2016, all the assets and liabilities of NEHTA will vest in the Australian Digital Health Agency. In this website, on and from 1 July 2016, all references to "National E-Health Transition Authority" or "NEHTA" will be deemed to be references to the Australian Digital Health Agency. PCEHR means the My Health Record, formerly the "Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record", within the meaning of the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth), formerly called the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (Cth).

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