Australia's Leap into Digital Healthcare Transformation with the New FHIR Accelerator Program 

In a bold move towards revolutionising the digital healthcare landscape, Australia introduced its pioneering FHIR accelerator program, Sparked. With a vision to establish a core set of FHIR standards tailored for Australian healthcare environments over the next two years, Sparked is set to play a pivotal role in advancing interoperability and standardising clinical data sharing across the nation. This Australian-first initiative is a collaborative effort between a consortium, including the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Digital Health Agency, and HL7 Australia.

At the heart of Sparked's mission is the prioritisation of interoperability and the secure exchange of standardised clinical data throughout the healthcare ecosystem.

Grahame Grieve, the founder of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR), an internationally recognised health data exchange standard, emphasises that FHIR accelerators have proven successful in enhancing patient care by facilitating information exchange. The openness of the development process has been a critical driver of their success, allowing broad participation beyond just vendors.
The launch of Sparked was celebrated at the HL7 Australia Connectathon in Brisbane on August 23, 2023. Simon Cleverley, Assistant Secretary Digital Health Branch at DoHAC, underscored the significance of investing in developing and implementing national core health information sharing standards. He explained that this initiative aligns with the expectations of Australian patients who seek secure access to their vital health information.
Peter O’Halloran, Chief Digital Officer at the Australian Digital Healthcare Agency, echoes this sentiment by highlighting how Sparked aligns with the recently launched National Healthcare Interoperability Plan. He envisions this as a significant stride towards seamless healthcare data exchange, strengthening connections across Australia's healthcare systems and supporting patient-centric care through digital innovation.
Adopting the Australian FHIR Community Process (AFCP) by Sparked is a crucial step towards achieving its objectives. By bringing together community members to collaboratively develop national standards, Sparked aims to ensure consensus-led, adaptive, and relevant standards that meet the evolving needs of the healthcare sector. Isobel Frean, Chair of HL7 Australia, emphasises the importance of AFCP in underpinning Sparked and future accelerators, affirming its role in maintaining the relevance and adaptability of the FHIR standard.
For Humanetix, participation in the FHIR Accelerator Program holds great significance. Dr Malte Stien, Chief Technology and Product Officer at Humanetix, attended the event to contribute to discussions on industry best practices and the impact of standardised data on care recipient information.
"Australian care recipients, whether in acute care, allied health, in residential or community aged care, need choice of healthcare provider and free flowing health information. What they do not need is their data locked up in different systems. This is why FHIR is so critical. Humanetix is an innovative and forward-looking health-IT company. But we – together with of our colleagues running other innovative Australian health tech companies – will only achieve operational excellence for our customers if we allow them to share data and to easily switch from one tech solution to another – FHIR is the key to that.  

Participating in the FHIR Accelerator Program will be a great beginning of an inspiring journey towards healthcare transformation. It's a remarkable opportunity to shape the future of healthcare by fostering collaboration and setting industry standards.”
Humanetix is committed to driving innovation and fostering collaboration within the healthcare sector by engaging with initiatives such as Sparked. The potential of standardised data exchange to enhance patient care aligns seamlessly with Humanetix's mission to provide cutting-edge solutions that improve healthcare outcomes.

As Australia takes monumental steps towards a more connected and interoperable healthcare system, initiatives like Sparked demonstrate the nation's dedication to embracing digital innovation to improve patient care and healthcare delivery. With Humanetix’s active involvement, the future looks promising for the evolution of healthcare in Australia and beyond.