Islamabad, October, 2010: NUST in partnership with
National ICT R&D Fund has achieved HL7 Affiliate Status for
Pakistan on October 1, 2010. Mr. Muhammad Afzal, Team Lead for
Health Life Horizon (HLH), a project funded by National ICT R&D
Fund, represented the team on the occasion of the ceremony in
Cambridge, USA. The project team had earlier attended the work
group meeting in Phoenix, USA, in January 2010 and applied for
Pakistan to be HL7 Affiliate. In May 2010, the project team
attended another work group meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
to defend their case. Pakistan has become the 37th affiliate
member country worldwide.
HL7 is a US
based, ANSI accredited, health informatics standard development
organization. HL7 version 3 is the latest interoperability
standard specifications. There is global requirement to have
interoperability in health systems and HL7 is active
internationally to ensure its implementation. Interoperability
in healthcare systems will lead to better health care globally
and also offers the potential to generate significant economic
activity. This affiliate status has the potency to promote
quality of life by employing the phenomenal potential of ICT in
health and also by preparing Pakistani software companies to be
HL7 compliant and take their share of the software market.
Global health information system is a multi-billion dollar
market and it is the right time for Pakistan to prepare itself
for this opportunity.
HLH team in
liaison with National ICT R&D Fund has the capacity to take on
this opportunity and be early entrants into the global market in
health informatics. HL7 Affiliate status authorizes it to train
and certify skilled workers in the health informatics domain.
This, we believe will help Pakistan to export health IT workers
to the international market, and also generate large economic
activity within the country. Moreover, pharmaceutical companies
need to be HL7 compliant to be globally competitive and to keep
their business presence in the digital information age.
HLH project was
funded by National ICT R&D Fund in October 2008, and was
entrusted to the supervision and direction of Dr. Hafiz Farooq
Ahmad, Dr. Arshad Ali, and Dr Khalid Latif, three eminent
researchers from NUST School of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science (SEECS). They have been ably assisted in
technical aspects by Mr. Maqbool Hussain and Mr. Muhammad Afzal.
achieved the distinction of being the first HL7 organizational
member in Pakistan. Concerted efforts are being made to work
with local hospitals to make them HL7 compliant for
interoperability. The project team is also working with Shaukat
Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC),
Lahore, to make its system compliant with HL7.
HLH team is
also credited with a number of international research
publications, covering different research modules like data
integration and mapping, web services security, semantic web
services, semantic process interoperability and HL7 integration
with SOA architecture.