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Wooldridge backs internet health data initiative

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Australia's Commonwealth Media Release - Dr Wooldridge

Media Release D r M ic h a e l W o o ld r id g e

MW66/97 1 July 1997 Embargoed-strictly not for publication before 3 pm, Tuesday 1 July 1997


Federal Health Minister D r Michael Wooldridge today threw his support behind an Internet-based national health data initiative developed by the Australian Institute o f Health and Welfare (AIHW), describing it as 'clever, innovative and a boon for health data managers around the country'.

Launching the product to coincide with the AIHW's tenth birthday celebrations, Dr Wooldridge said the National Health Information Knowledgebase was an interactive electronic storage site for national health metadata, or 'data about data'.

'It can be used to find out, for example, the national data collections available on any particular health topic or term, with direct electronic links then taking the inquirer to related official national agreements, definitions, standards, work programs, projects in progress and any linked organisations or groups'.

Dr Wooldridge said the searching and querying options on the Knowledgebase were 'very impressive' and could make available in an instant information that would otherwise have taken many hours or even days o f laborious research to unearth.

Dr Wooldridge said the Knowledgebase had been produced to international standards, and had attracted interest from health information providers around the world, including the OECD, the US Department o f Health and Human Services, the US Department o f Defence (Health Affairs), and other organisations in the UK and Canada.

'Not only that, but I also take great pride in the fact that the International Standards Organization has invited the AIHW to demonstrate the National Health Information Knowledgebase at its Joint Workshop on Metadata Registries, in Berkeley, California, in a few days time. Only six organisations have been invited to give presentations-the Microsoft Corporation and NASA being among the

others. ,

'The Berkeley workshop is a major international invitation-only event convened by the ISO, and I don't think it is gilding the lily too much to say the invitation is recognition o f an outstanding example o f industry leadership by Australia, and by the AIHW in particular.

'The NHIK has enormous potential internationally, and I have every confidence that this potential will be realised in full over the next few years.

'In the meantime the National Health Information Knowledgebase is a fitting tribute to the AIHW, which has achieved a lot in its first ten years'.

Further information:

Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge's Office, tel.: 0412 137 699

General media inquiries:


Nigel Harding, 06 244 1025 (w); 06 282 0639 (ah) Visit the Knowledgebase on the AIHW's Internet Home Page

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