10 November 2016
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Q. I am a GP with an interest in health informatics. What health technologies should I become familiar with?

A. All GP messaging in Ireland is based on structured messages using the Health Level Seven (HL7) version 2 standard, with extensible markup language (XML) encoding. So I would recommend that you join the HL7 International Standards Organisation (http://www.hl7.org) and learn about version 2 and XML. Attendance at HL7 training workshops or working group meetings is a great way to get information on what is happening in health informatics.

An emerging standard for healthcare is Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), pronounced FIRE. This is attracting a lot of attention from healthcare agencies and system vendors. So it might mean you can skip learning about HL7 version 2 and go straight to FHIR (www.hl7.org/fhir/). Closer to home you should keep an eye on the events organised by eHealth Ireland and you should consider joining the Council of Clinical Information Officers. More information visit www.ehealthireland.ie.

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