Proposal to form a new digital health peak body

 

HISA logo

ACHI and the Health Informatics Society Australia (HISA) are asking their members to vote on a proposal to unite and create a new organisation for health informatics and digital health.

The new organisation will be called the Australasian Institute of Digital Health.

ACHI and HISA have worked together since ACHI was formed nearly 20 years ago and today the relationship is stronger, more collaborative and strategic than ever.

The ACHI Council and HISA Board believe now is the time to come together to create the Institute to serve the requirements of the health informatics and digital health community, and healthcare more broadly. It is believed the Institute would provide significant benefits to members both as individuals and organisationally that will flow onto many thousands of stakeholders.

Vote at a Special General Meeting on Monday 16 December 2019

  • ACHI members and Fellows are asked to vote in person, via Go To Webinar or proxy at a Special General Meeting on Monday 16 December at the Australian Digital Health Agency, Level 25, 175 Liverpool Street, Sydney at 6pm AEDT.
  • If the proposal is passed the Australasian Institute of Digital Health will be launched in February 2020.
  • Note that due to the need for independent counting and verification of all votes, the results of the vote will be communicated to members on Monday 23 December.

How to vote

Why a new organisation?

The health workforce is rapidly embracing digital health and health informatics. The demand for education, training, professional pathways, certification and leadership development is growing. HISA and ACHI can meet more of this demand by coming together to create a new organisation. This provides overall benefits for the health workforce and the whole digital health community.

HISA and ACHI have shared interests in and a commitment to:

  • Education and training
  • Accreditation and certification
  • Support for students and young leaders
  • Communities of Practice
  • Executive leadership networks
  • Advocacy for digital health

Three reasons why the time is right

1. Overlapping goals and objectives

HISA and ACHI have been working closely with overlapping membership and many shared goals and objectives. In 2019, with shared strategies for workforce capacity building and the recognition of health informatics as a profession, we can achieve more by joining forces.

2. Workforce embracing digital

The health workforce is now rapidly embracing digital health and health informatics. The demand for education, training, professional pathways, certification and leadership development is growing. HISA and ACHI can meet more of this demand by coming together to create a new organisation.

3. Time is right for unification

There has already been significant investment in digital health in our hospitals and across our health services. With the recent expansion of the national My Health Record Program, and the transition to opt-out, never has digital health been more widely debated and discussed by the broader community. The time is right for a single unified voice from digital health leaders and experts at a time when consumers are looking for informed opinion, advice and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How was the new Constitution developed?

The new AIDH Constitution was drafted by law firm Mills Oakley with input from the HISA Board and ACHI Council.  

What kind of members will the Institute have?

The Australasian College of Digital Health will encompass the current memberships of both HISA and ACHI, the broad digital health community of health informaticians, clinicians, Fellows, executives, students, researchers, technologists, industry and organisations.

How will Fellows be acknowledged and recognised within AIDH?

To ensure AIDH Fellows and Associate Fellows have a prominent and recognised group within AIDH, it is proposed to create a new Community of Practice.  The College of Fellows will be a distinguished group of senior thought leaders within the Institute. Their aim will be to assist the Board in delivering on the AIDH Vision and Mission.

I am a member of ACHI but not HISA, how can I join the Institute?

You will be contacted and offered membership of AIDH at no extra cost in order to maintain your benefits and entitlements.  

Will there be price increases in membership fees?

No, membership prices for all categories will remain the same.

Will there be changes to the branches?

No, the State branches and their committees won’t change. However, there will be additional branches in New Zealand.

I’m currently a HISA Student Member and I voted in the last state branch election.  Will I be able to do so as a student member of AIDH?

HISA Student members can vote and stand for election at the State branch level.  The mechanisms of voting at the state branch level are not in the AIDH and will instead be covered by charter documents authored in collaboration with the state branches.  It is proposed that students will still be able to vote and stand for election at the state branch level.

How will forming a new organisation benefit me?

You will be a member of a larger, influential peak body offering, for the first time, end-to-end membership services to suit every stage of your studies and career in digital health. HISA and ACHI have shared interests in and a commitment to:

  • Education and training
  • Accreditation and certification
  • Support for students and young leaders
  • Communities of Practice
  • Executive leadership networks
  • Advocacy for digital health

As we bring together the complementary resources and regional and global connections of both ACHI and HISA, there will be even more opportunities for your personal and professional development.

Is this good for the digital health community?

The health workforce is now rapidly embracing digital health and health informatics. The demand for education, training, professional pathways, certification and leadership development is growing. HISA and ACHI can meet more of this demand by coming together to create a new organisation. This provides overall benefits for the health workforce and the whole digital health community.

What are the timeframes?

Members will be asked to vote on the new organisation proposal at special general meetings held before the end of 2019, possibly during HIC 2019 in Melbourne.

If members vote to proceed, the new organisation would launch in February 2020.

What happens if members vote no?

We won’t be moving forward. To wind up an organisation and create a new one, we want to take the members with us. It’s really a question for the collective memberships.  The ACHI Council and the HISA board think it’s a good idea and hope to get a positive vote.

If the new organisation proceeds, how will this impact status retention for ACHI and FACHI.

ACHI is a professional college and sets professional standards. Fellowships are awarded by strict criteria and it is very important those standards are maintained. If the new organisation is formed, this would not change.

Will the creation of a new organisation take precedence over the planning and preparation for NI2020?

No, we are confident both can be successfully achieved. Planning is already well underway for NI2020 and it would be a chance for the new organisation to gain some profile on the world stage. Most of the new organisation creation will happen early in 2020 well before NI2020 in July 2020.

Is the proposed new peak body expected to have new functions that are not currently a function of either ACHI or HISA?

Yes. We aren’t just bringing two organisations together to do the same thing, we are ambitious to do new things. In the survey, we are asking members for suggestions on what potential new things they would like to see the new organisation do.

Would a new organisation be involved in developing technical standards?

The development of standards  is a very active discussion at present in Australia, though we haven’t considered it yet as part of the new organisation. The premise of “stronger together” and a unified voice on standards would be considered from a policy point of view and following engagement with industry and government.

What happens to Nursing Informatics Australia in a new organisation?

We have a number of special interest groups and we want to cater for all of them. We want to increase the number of nursing members, the frontline of digital health. They are an important stakeholder we want to continue to grow. We would continue to have NIA as part of the new organisation.

What are the objectives of the Institute?

The AIDH Constitution retains HISA’s charitable status and its objectives reflect the goals and purpose of the Institute. They are:

  1. Providing a focus for health informatics and digital health;
  2. Articulating the value of health informatics and digital health to citizens, policymakers, health service providers, educators and other stakeholders;
  3. Encouraging citizens, policymakers, health service providers, educators and other stakeholders to engage with health informatics and digital health and assisting disadvantaged groups that have traditionally had limited access to health services;
  4. Advancing the competencies and professionalism of health informatics and digital health practitioners;
  5. Advancing the capabilities of citizens and health policymakers, health service providers, educators and other stakeholders to apply health informatics and digital health to improve health and health service delivery;
  6. Supporting research, innovations and improvements in health and health service delivery through health informatics and digital health;
  7. Educating and improving education standards about health informatics and digital health;
  8. Developing, identifying and promoting professional practice standards for health informatics and digital health for people and organisations engaged in health service delivery;
  9. Liaising with other relevant organisations and proving representation for the practice of health informatics and digital health in relevant forums and on relevant bodies.

How was membership of the new interim Board chosen for the transition period?

The ACHI Council and the HISA Board agreed to invite an Independent Chair to lead the interim Board.  Michael Walsh has accepted this role.  HISA and ACHI would each have four seats on the Board including the current President of ACHI Angela Ryan and the current Chair of HISA Dr David Hansen.  Both HISA and ACHI put forward their nominated representatives. The Interim Board will set the strategic direction of AIDH, which will be aligned to the current strategies of ACHI and HISA.

I’m an ACHI Fellow, what will I be called if the Institute is launched? Can I still be a Fellow?

Yes. You will automatically be a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (FAIDH), the top tier of membership.

Many organisations that are not Colleges have Fellowships. These include organisations such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Australian Computer Society, Institute of Public Accountants, Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, Planning Institute of Australia and many more.

What will happen to my HISA membership if the Institute is launched in February 2020?

You don’t need to do anything. All HISA members automatically become members of the Institute. You will receive your renewal advice in March.

I am a member of both ACHI and HISA, how will I be affected?

You don’t need to do anything. Your HISA membership automatically makes you a member of AIDH and you will receive your renewal advice in March.

How does the Australian & New Zealand community benefit?

As a new and united single voice on digital health, the new organisation will have greater representation and stronger advocacy capability in all forums. It would also work with other peak bodies to emphasise digital health expertise through collaboration with clinical and health service organisations. As we bring together the complementary resources and regional and global connections of both ACHI and HISA, there will be greater opportunities for personal and professional development. A stronger voice for digital health and health informatics will ultimately benefit all of us.

Will there be a new constitution?

Yes. A new constitution will establish the governance structure for the new organisation.

What about membership entitlements?

Members of HISA and Members and Fellows of ACHI would be automatically transitioned into the new organisation with the same entitlements they currently hold.

Will my membership fees change?

There is no current intention to raise Membership Fees as part of the creation of the new organisation.

Will a new board be elected?

Yes. The HISA Board and the ACHI Council would be replaced by an interim Board, with members initially drawn from current office-holders and in subsequent years through election by members.

What about the relationship between the commercial aspects of HISA and the academic aspects of ACHI?

HISA works with many commercial organisations to achieve its work for the community. There is good governance in place and we will make sure the new organisation also has strong governance around funding we receive to retain our independence as a peak body.

Will the new body work with universities for accreditation of courses?

Yes, this is important for the health informatics and digital health workforce.  The board of the new organisation will seek input from members on what they think priorities should be.

Are there cost savings likely to flow to members as a result of efficiencies?

We would review the fee structure but if we combine in a new organisation we would be looking to do considerably more activity in the future than the two organisations do now. The purpose of joining forces is to do be a stronger and bigger organisation together.

Is there a comparable organisation overseas that we can model the new organisation on?

We are not aware of any organisations that have come together exactly in this way. Health informatics has evolved differently in other countries. If members would like to share information on this please let us know through the consultation channels or email consultation@hisa.org.au