The Australian Health Information Council (AHIC) was established by Health Ministers in 2003 to provide advice on long term directions and national strategic reform issues for information management and information and communication technology (IM&ICT) in health. The role of AHIC is to provide independent advice to help inform state, territory and federal governments about national priorities and the requirements of end users of health information technology.

AHIC works in consultation with the National Health Information Group (NHIG), which was formed to advise on national information requirements and related technology planning and management requirements. NHIG manages and allocates resources to health information projects and working groups where joint Commonwealth/state and territory resources are involved. Together, these bodies aim to increase the effectiveness of information technology investment in the health sector and to ensure that it provides a catalyst for health care reform and improved quality of care. Both AHIC and NHIG report to the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC). AHIC's full terms of reference can be found below.

AHIC will focus on information sharing and building partnerships with the private health, IT and other industry sectors to promote the more effective and efficient use of information management and technology.

AHIC will discuss policy issues that will become increasingly important as the use of information and information systems expands in the health sector.

Two subgroups work under AHIC to progress work in the area of Health Workforce IM&ICT Capacity Building, and Electronic Decision Support.

AHIC and NHIG identified a number of critical national health IM&ICT priorities that required urgent attention. These priorities relate to the common standards and fundamental building blocks that will enable interconnectivity of health information systems. This work will be initially undertaken by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).

AHIC is also a mechanism for stakeholders to provide input into national decision-making processes on e-health. AHIC will be making discussion papers available to the public and to stakeholders.

AHIC has 24 members and is chaired by Professor Andrew Coats, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney.

AHIC Terms of Reference

The Council has been commissioned to:

  • Advise on how information management and information technology effort can be harnessed to address current and emerging needs in health care delivery, management and planning
  • Provide a coordinated, balanced perspective on major issues, including:
    • Privacy
    • Data linkage/sharing
    • Workforce capacity
    • Consumer interaction
    • Consumer identification
    • Relationship between standards and architectures
  • Advise and champion opportunities to improve collections, sharing, storage and use of information in health
  • Recommend national guiding principles for investment in and use of information, in consultation with the National Health Information Group
  • Strengthen linkages with other national committees
  • Strengthen relationships with information management and information technology stakeholders.
  • Promote information sharing
  • Advise on implications, opportunities and risks for health of:
    • Information agendas in other sectors
    • Technology developments (eg PKA, telecommunications, emerging capabilities)
    • Intellectual property
  • Work closely with the National Health Information Group and other relevant AHMAC subcommittees to ensure alignment of purpose and prevent duplication.