We are living through a time of immense change, where innovation, learning from experiences and sharing ideas are essential to delivering the promises of e-health. As part of this exciting community we celebrate twenty one years of productive scientific output – a substantial achievement in any field of ICT. We have come of age. The Health Informatics Society of Australia, with the active support and involvement of the Australasian College of Health Informatics, is justifiably proud to have sustained the annual Australian National Health Informatics Conference (HIC) series of meetings through to this stage of maturity. As the largest national event of this type in Australia, with a dedicated scientific stream on health informatics, HIC provides a valued platform for academic and research contributions and interchange. It also consolidates the Australasian profile of strong and current research contributions in health informatics, marking our place on the world stage.
The HIC 2013 theme of “Digital Health Service Delivery – the Future is Now!” emphasises the need to embrace and advance the field of health informatics now. Health services are implementing major changes using technology and diverse groups of health informatics professionals are increasingly required to support these changes. At a time when large scale health information flows are being initiated, through both the inauguration of the personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) and the National Broadband Network rollout, the skills and expertise of health informaticians need to be demanded within these projects and within all healthcare organisations. The quality of these systems is of significant interest to consumers, clinicians, vendors and system decision makers. A more trusted environment for managing and using health information will help to consolidate and accelerate the use of health informatics solutions as change mechanisms to drive the establishment and adoption of new models of care and new technology-enabled healthcare processes.
Papers in this volume provide useful information on directions, successes and other factors which need to be considered by all when developing or implementing our systems. Papers represent experiences in Australia and New Zealand but also from other parts of the world. As always, it is a strength of HIC that a wide diversity of work is presented, and that a set of papers has been collected here that ranges from deeply theoretical to intensely practical. The careful reader will be rewarded with exposure to much diversity, and many elements of contemporary health informatics research endeavours.
The double blind peer review process established for HIC 2011 in a previous volume has been continued and augmented. All papers were reviewed by 3 experts in the field of health informatics, selected as prominent academic and industry specialists. The assistance of the Australasian College of Health Informatics in supporting this process through the voluntary efforts of a number of their Fellows is gratefully acknowledged, as is the similar contribution made by many senior members of the Health Informatics Society of Australia. This phase of reviewing resulted in the provisional acceptance of 28 papers from a much expanded submission field of 61. The Scientific Program Committee then undertook a validation process for all such papers that were resubmitted in amended form, to ensure that reviewers' recommendations were appropriately addressed or rebutted. This resulted in 28 papers finally being included for publication in this book.
Louise K. Schaper