Member consultation

Proposal to form a new digital health peak body
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HISA and the Australasian College of Health Informatics (ACHI) are consulting members to seek their views and input on a proposal to unite and create a new organisation for health informatics and 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 a new organisation to serve the requirements of the health informatics and digital health community, and healthcare more broadly. It is believed a new structure would provide significant benefits to members both as individuals and organisationally that will flow onto many thousands of stakeholders.

The consultation period ends 25 June 2019

  • We would like you to complete the survey before 25 June.
  • 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 the proposal is passed, the new organisation would launch in 2020.

For more information, download our joint media statement.

Here's how to have your say

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 an 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 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.

Will there be a new constitution?

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

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.

Will my membership fees change?

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

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.

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.

Do you already have thoughts on a new name?

There will be a new name and branding but nothing has been decided. We are keen to hear from members through the survey and other channels.

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.

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.

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.

What would the new organisation be named?

A new name has not yet been selected. However, we know there would need to be a new name and brand to reflect the combined new organisation while retaining the history, growth and purpose of both current organisations.

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 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 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.  

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.

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

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.

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 [email protected]

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.

Calendar of consultation events

Webinar

Tuesday 7 May
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM AEST

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QLD Event

Thursday 23 May
7:00 PM

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WA Event

Thursday 30 May
5:30 PM

Webinar

Wednesday 5 June
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Webinar

Tuesday 18 June
5.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Key Dates

Consultation period commences 30 April 2019

Consultation period closes 25 June 2019

Special General Meeting for HISA members date TBC

Special General Meeting for ACHI members date TBC

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