HISO was established in June 2003 and continues today as kaitiaki (steward) and the governing body for health information standards in New Zealand. HISO is a committee operates under the authority of the Ministry of Health and accountable to the Deputy Director-General of Health, Data and Digital.

HISO governs the selection, development and adoption of information and digital standards for the health and disability sector.

HISO’s overall purpose is to ensure that appropriate standards contribute to value and high performance in the health system to benefit the public through the best use of information and digital technology.

The standards lifecycle may include tracking, evaluating, selecting and adapting international standards, and commissioning new standards, for national use. Successful adoption is achieved when the published standards are used productively in widely implemented solutions.

To meet these objectives, HISO is responsible for ensuring that standards are:

  • aligned internationally and based on best practice evidence
  • consistent with the national strategic and architectural direction
  • introduced in consultation with the sector
  • promoting collaboration and innovation
  • published and proactively maintained
  • supported by implementation guides and tools
  • adopted widely and adding measurable value.

The Digital Health Strategic Framework establishes the importance of standards as a digital health ecosystem enabler, within the wider strategic context defined by:

Terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO), a Ministry of Health committee.

Last revised May 2021.

Next review due by May 2022.

Current committee members are:

Alastair Kenworthy

Alastair is Chief Standards Advisor for data and digital at the Ministry of Health and chair of the HISO committee. He works actively with health providers and their industry partners to ensure standards contribute to an equitable, data-driven and digitally-enabled health and disability system that delivers pae ora, or healthy futures, for New Zealanders. ​

Alastair represents New Zealand on the SNOMED International General Assembly and he chaired the SNOMED International Member Forum during 2019-21. He leads our involvement in the interoperability workstream of the Global Digital Health Partnership and is convenor of the ISO/TC 215 Health informatics national mirror committee for New Zealand.

Zeeman van der Merwe

Zeeman van der Merwe, Information Consultant with ACC, has actively promoted a collaborative approach across government and the private sector as a member of HISO and advocate for information standards. Zeeman chaired the committee 2013-18 and remains the vice-chair. At ACC, he liaises with various internal and external organisations on information strategy and the sharing of information to support the business and enable decision making.

Being a member of several other governance, standards and ethics groups provides Zeeman a platform for promoting cooperation and innovation in digital health. Qualifications and experience in economics, strategic marketing, information management and business intelligence in various sectors enables a broad perspective and many varied points of view that assist in understanding and evaluating potential solutions and finding consensus.

Jody Janssen

Jody Janssen is lead business analyst at East Health Trust PHO in Auckland. East Health supports GP clinics in the East Auckland and Franklin areas and has an enrolled population of approx. 113,500.

Jody was instrumental in bringing together data from disparate patient management systems into one central data warehouse. This data repository has now been in place for many years and has stood up to several migrations to different vendor platforms, integration with the National Enrolment Service (NES) and related capitation files, national cervical screening programme data extracts, and other patient data. A secure browser connection allows GP clinics access to comprehensive data analytics and KPI reporting.

Her next undertaking is to prepare a ‘roadmap to the cloud’ to create flexible and efficient processing and storage alternatives. Patient safety and equity in health outcomes through analytics, data quality, privacy and security are the main drivers for innovation and improvements.

With a Bachelor Business Studies (Economics) and a postgraduate certificate in Analytics, in addition to several years of experience working with health data, Jody feels she can make an important contribution to HISO. She is a member of the Metro Auckland Data Custodianship Group, the PHO CIO Forum and HL7 New Zealand.

John Carter

John Carter is Chief Technology Officer at Clanwilliam Health. He brings more than 25 years of health information technology leadership to his role overseeing the software development and information technology departments.

Before moving to New Zealand and joining HealthLink in 2017, he was Vice President at Apelon, Inc., a US-based professional services firm specialising in the implementation of data standards and controlled healthcare vocabularies. While at Apelon, John worked on projects for government agencies in the US, Canada, Australia, France and the Philippines, as well as numerous US and international NGO and commercial clients. John is on the board of HL7 New Zealand, co-chairs the HL7NZ FHIR implementation working group and is an active participant in standards development activities.

He holds an MBA, Finance from Webster University (St. Louis, USA) and was a US National Library of Medicine fellow in medical informatics at the University of Utah.

Materoa Mar (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Porou)

Materoa is currently the Upoko Whakarae for Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance. She has been involved in mental health, Māori health and Whānau Ora in various roles.

Innovation and digital solutions are an integral part of our future: Materoa is a champion for change and challenges. She is the Board Chair of Emerge Aotearoa Trust Board, Interim Chair for E Tipu Rea (Science Challenge) and member of MidCentral DHB, among other board and governance roles. She has been involved over time with indigenous development and has benefited from visiting with and maintaining a broad range of relationships internationally.

Materoa is passionate and committed to Māori development and is inspired by the numerous examples of talent and pukenga seen in our whānau, hapu and iwi.

Dr Natalie Clarke

I have worked in primary care for 15 years, the past ten being in Taupo, New Zealand. My interest in developing an efficient and safe means of improving patient care via IT ventures has been longstanding. In addition, I recognize the value of governance within this area.

I have had direct experience with onboarding the EPIC patient management system at our family medicine practice while I worked in Midland, Michigan, US. I have an ability to problem solve using an ‘outside the box’ approach, which I have employed through my current roles within primary care.

I am currently our local regional High Tech Imaging (HTI) GP trainer. I continue to be an auditor for this programme. This programme improves patient access to MRI services under ACC.

I am also the regional (Lakes) GP liaison for the Pinnacle group. In this role, I provide regional insight and input into the issues facing our GP network and coordinate feedback to GPs. I am currently giving input to a combined IT/clinical governance team, looking at generating an outcome framework for our locality extended care team.

In addition, I am involved in local clinical governance via the Taupo/Turangi Clinical Advisory Committee.

I think that there exists a great opportunity for health IT to be used in a way that empowers clinicians and patients, supports enhanced access to care and allows for a wider interface focused on improving patient outcomes via better clinician communication.

Dr Nader Fattah

Nader is a British medical graduate and a practicing GP of more than 16 years, attaining membership of the Royal College of GPs (UK) in 2005. After gaining his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at the University of Dundee, Nader worked as a GP in Scotland, in diverse urban and rural settings. He took the opportunity to experience New Zealand in 2003, working in Palmerston North Hospital for a year. His love of Aotearoa, its land, people and culture inevitably drew him to settling permanently with his wife in 2010.

As well as clinical practice as a GP, Nader is committed to advancing high quality delivery of care to consumers, Chairing the THINK Hauora Clinical & Digital Governance Committee. His role as Principal Medical Advisor leverages his extensive Primary Care experience to provide leadership across many PHO clinical and business services.

Nader is a Trustee of THINK Hauora’s (formerly Central PHO) Board, member of the THINK Hauora Senior Leadership Team, MidCentral DHB’s Clinical and Pharmacy Boards, Clinical Council and Digital & Data Information Governance Group.

His membership of local, regional and national boards has allowed Nader to cultivate a rich skillset in clinical, IT and business governance. Nader has a lifelong interest in technology that drives his pursuit of ICT to enhance people’s health and empower their lives.

Nikki Walden (Te Ati Awa, Taranaki)

I am Pou Herenga at Te Tihi o Ruahine Whānau Ora Alliance.

I am a Taranaki girl, hailing from both the west coast of Taranaki (Rahotu) and further around past New Plymouth in the mighty town of Waitara. I moved to Palmerston North after finishing my school years in Nelson to pursue study. After many years and three beautiful tamariki (who are now 17, 15 and 14), I managed to complete a Bachelor of Social Work. I was a practising social worker for many years before moving into social work education. I spent four years with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Te Wānanga o Raukawa, supporting tauira through their study and working with community and statutory social work organisations with practice-based learning. It was during this time I completed a Masters in Indigenous Studies through the University of Otago.

I am passionate about working for my people and advancing whānau ora, as well as a champion for digital initiatives and using data and standards to advance equity for Māori in our health and disability system.

Stanil Stanilov

Stanil is the Team Leader Standards Development at Standards New Zealand. Stanil and his team are responsible for primary relationships with new and existing commissioners for the development of standards, national standards bodies, and relationships with committee members. The team is focused on delivering standards and other documents that are of high quality, on time, on budget, and ultimately satisfy the needs of customers, consumers, and sponsors.

Prior to his role at SNZ, Stanil was a Senior Advisor at the Licensed Building Practitioners scheme within MBIE where he guided a nationwide network of building and construction assessors and played a leading role in development and implementation of regulatory policy, including the LBP Skills Maintenance Scheme. Stanil is a PRINCE 2 Practitioner and Certified Microsoft Office Professional.

Soledad Labbe-Hubbard

Soledad is a project specialist at Canterbury DHB. Soledad is known for providing health insights across Canterbury health system where, over the last ten years, she has driven the use of data to inform opportunities for improvement. She is a project manager who thrives on complex challenges. She led the conceptual design, customisation and implementation of a statistical process control tool for Canterbury and enabled more than 40 Northern region providers to implement the Mental Health and Addiction National Collection. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (University of Otago) and a Business Management degree.

What drives Sole is her eagerness to make a difference effectively and efficiently across our communities. Sole juggles her spare time with teenager son, surfing Scarborough long waves, mountain biking around Banks Peninsula.


HISO is a committee of up to ten members, including the chair.

Members are chosen to represent a range of stakeholder interests in order to govern the end-to-end standards process effectively.

Committee positions are openly advertised and typically drawn from:

  • Ministry of Health
  • District health boards
  • Primary health organisations
  • Health and social care providers
  • Accident Compensation Corporation
  • Standards development organisations 
  • Health software industry partners

The makeup of the committee at any time may vary depending on suitable candidates being available and the appointment process.

Members are expected to be influential in their respective organisations and communities and able to drive standards adoption.

Additional members may be co-opted to the committee as subject matter experts for a set purpose and term. These members are subject to the same rules and provisions as other members.


The Chief Standards Advisor, Data and Digital chairs HISO as an ex officio member.

The chair may select another member as vice chair to help plan and run meetings.


Members are appointed and may be reappointed for terms of up to two years at a time.

All appointments and reappointments are made by the Deputy Director-General, Data and Digital.

Nominations for positions on the committee are openly advertised when vacancies arise.

New appointees receive letters of appointment from the Deputy Director-General. Appointees are required to acknowledge their acceptance in writing, declaring any conflicts of interest and agreeing to meet their obligations under the terms of reference.

Members are always expected to exercise sound professional judgement and to act in good faith, impartially and with reasonable care to support the sector and the public interest.

At their discretion, the Deputy Director-General may remove a HISO member. The member will receive a letter stating the reason for the decision and the date of effect.

HISO members may tender their resignation at any time by writing to the chair.


HISO monthly meetings are either in-person or by videoconference. The chair may call additional meetings as necessary. Usual meeting protocols are followed.

A quorum is half the current membership including the chair. Meetings may continue without a quorum provided no decisions are sought.

HISO uses consensus decision making. The chair may call a simple majority vote on any unresolved issue.

Proceedings are documented, including the agenda, minutes and any papers presented. An executive summary of each meeting is produced to communicate key messages to the Deputy Director-General and other stakeholders.

Attendance, conflicts of interest, action and decision registers are maintained.

The chair is responsible for inviting guests to attend and present to the committee. Observers may also attend with the chair’s approval.

Disputes and liability

HISO members are expected to act constructively and in good faith to resolve any dispute. The chair may bring in a mediator where a dispute cannot be resolved with best efforts.

No member is legally responsible or liable for any act or omission of the Ministry of Health.

No member can be held legally responsible or liable by the Ministry for any act or omission of their own provided the member has acted responsibly as required by these terms of reference.

Conflicts of interest

Members shall comply with the Ministry’s conflicts of interest rules and guidelines.

Members shall promptly declare to the chair any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest in relation to a matter under consideration. The chair determines whether any conflicted member can continue to participate in discussions or voting on matters relating to the declared conflict.


The chair may declare certain documents or matters confidential. Members should not disclose any information declared confidential, except as required by law. Members are expected to publicly support any consensus decision or refrain from commenting on it.

Technical working groups

HISO forms technical working groups to evaluate, develop and review standards and lead their implementation. This may be in partnership with the Health Sector Architects Group and with other groups and individuals as needed, depending on the subject matter.

HISO’s chair approves working group terms of reference and membership, and appoints the working group chair.

HISO uses open forums for engagement and consultation with the sector.


HISO maintains relationships with other national and international organisations in order to deliver standards for the sector.

The principal standards development organisations include:

  • World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australia’s National Centre for Classification in Health for ICD-10-AM and related standards
  • HL7 New Zealand for HL7 interoperability standards
  • SNOMED International for terminology standards
  • GS1 for supply chain standards
  • Regenstrief Institute for LOINC laboratory coding standards
  • Joint Initiative on Standards Development Organisation Global Health Informatics Standardisation for coordinated sets of standards.

Stakeholder government agencies and statutory bodies include:

  • Stats NZ as the lead government agency for data standards
  • Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) for the Government Enterprise Architecture and standards base
  • Standards New Zealand.

HISO engages with and seeks the views of key clinical, consumer and health provider service management stakeholder groups.

HISO may partner with relevant stakeholder groups as co-stewards of particular standards.

Workplan and support

HISO’s standards development and adoption priorities are agreed with the Deputy Director-General and tracked in a quarterly work plan.

The Deputy Director-General may direct the committee to advise on other matters as they arise.

Standards advisors in the Data and Digital directorate support HISO and its working groups, do research, provide advice, help to draft standards, support and monitor adoption and maintain the work plan.

Financial authority

The Ministry has financial authority over HISO. HISO has no power of its own to direct the work of health and disability sector organisations, employ staff, enter into contracts, make loans or commit expenditure.

Fees and expenses

Fees paid to committee and working group members are determined in accordance with the Cabinet Fees Framework for members appointed to bodies in which the Crown has an interest. HISO and its working groups are classified among ‘Group 4: All other committees and other bodies’. Fees are paid for preparation, attendance and travel in relation to scheduled committee and working group meetings. Fees are not paid to salaried public servants.

Fees payable to members per meeting are:

  • a meeting attendance fee of $560 including GST for any meeting of between six and eight hours; for shorter meetings, a fee of $560/8 per hour
  • a meeting preparation fee of $280 including GST
  • a travel fee of $280 including GST for travel of more than three hours.

Fees are categorised as honoraria and as such are subject to withholding tax pursuant to Schedule 4 Part B of the Income Tax Act 2007 No 97.

The Ministry reimburses members for actual and reasonable expenses in attending HISO meetings. Accommodation and travel must be arranged by the Ministry. Members may submit a travel expense claim for costs such as parking. 

The Ministry is responsible for preparing and publishing approved HISO standards and related documents.

Copyright over all HISO documents and other intellectual property is vested in the Crown, under the Ministry’s stewardship.

HISO documents are published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.