Dr Koray Atalag


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Honorary Academic


I'm a medical doctor with PhD in Information Systems and Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Informatics. Having created a number of successful clinical applications in the past (e.g. PATHOS-WEB for reporting and analysis in anatomical pathology) my ambition is to bring together health and other related data in a coherent and computable manner so as to open up the way for new biomedical breakthroughs. I strongly believe we need to fix healthcare data issues first before we can embark on higher levels such as analytics, simulation etc.

Based at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and part-time as CIO of a startup company The Clinician, my research interests include clinical information modelling, EHR and interoperability standards and software maintainability. I teach HLTHINFO730 - Healthcare Decision Support Systems course every second semester for our Health Informatics programme within our medical faculty.

I'm an elected member of the openEHR Management Board (a global health informatics standards organisation) and former vice-chair of Health Level 7 (HL7) New Zealand. I sat  as an expert advisory member in our Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO), and am a member of the Health Sector Architects Group, both of which work with the National Health IT Board. I co-authored the New Zealand Reference Architecture for Interoperability  and have led technical evaluations of major health IT innovation projects. I frequently consult governments and industry.

Research | Current

My research at ABI focuses on bridging clinical and environmental data with computational physiology to better understand the interplay of our genes, environment and other physical processes such as aging. On the healthcare delivery and personal wellness domains, large amounts of data are being generated which undoubtedly have very important implications for the bioengineering domain in order to validate computational models and use individual data points to create the next generation personalised diagnostic, assistive and therapeutic technologies.

The main research challenge is to ensure data coming from one source can be used safely without human intervention when combined with data from other sources - this is called semantic interoperability. Scientific methods embodied in various industry standards like openEHR, HL7, SNOMED and the whole raft of Semantic Web technologies including formal ontologies, RDF/SPARQL, OWL and Linked Data are all important in achieving this goal and hence are in the scopr of my research.

My past research (at the National Institute for Health Innovation - NIHI) included mainly health information modelling, clinical registries and secondary use of healthcare data. The Gestational Diabetes Registry (a pilot deployed in collaboration with the Counties Manukau District Health Board and the Diabetes Projects Trust) is a full implementation of openEHR specifications.

Research group

Biomedical Informatics

Teaching | Current

HLTHINFO 730 Healthcare Decision Support Systems (Online course and semester 2 only)

This course is for students enrolled a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences in the specialisation Health Informatics or in the Effective Practice or Health Services Research pathways in the public health programme.
Suitable for those who are currently employed in the health and IT sectors. Programming skills are not required.

Postgraduate supervision

Aleksandar Zivaljevic (PhD - ABI, main supervisor)

Reza Kalbasi (PhD - ABI / MedTech CoRE, main supervisor)

Ping-Cheng Wei (MSc - Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, cosupervisor)


2014    Winner of the Clinton Bedogni Prize in Open Systems
2014    Registered international researcher in Brazil (FAPEAM and CNPq)
2012    Co-author of the New Zealand Interoperability Reference Architecture for eHealth
2010    Australasian College of Health Informatics Fellow (FACHI)
2008    Clinton Bedogni Fellowship on Open Systems (University of Auckland)
2006    PATHOS-WEB Project was ranked 4th in Medical Science Applications category at SourceForge
2003    NIMH Fogarty Fellowship at Harvard Medical School
2000    Key founding staff of Medical Informatics Department at Hacettepe University Medical School
1990    High honours in OAC Class – St. Catherine’s Collegiate School, Ontario, Canada
1989    Ranked 190th in Turkey’s National University Entrance Examinations (>1 million entrants)

Areas of expertise

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR) standards & interoperability
  • Health information modelling (mainly openEHR Archetypes)
  • Health information system design and development (emphasis on software maintainability)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2015 -         Elected member of the openEHR Foundation Management Board
2014 - 2016 Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) Expert Advisory Committee Member
2013 - 2015 HL7 New Zealand Vice-Chair
2011 - 2015 openEHR Foundation Localisation Program leader
2011 -         openEHR New Zealand Chapter chair
2010 - 2016 National Health IT Board Sector Architects Group member
2011 - 2012 Health Informatics New Zealand (HINZ) Executive Committee Member
2001           HL7 Turkish Affiliate founding member
1998 - 2001 Human Genome Organisation Human Mutation Database Initiative member
1995 -         PATHOS-WEB Anatomical Pathology Information System project owner and developer
1996 - 2001 Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) medic, diver and computer wizard
1991 - 1997 Turkish Automobile Sports Federation, international referee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Atalag, K., Zivaljevic, A., Cooling, M., & Nickerson, D. (12/10/2015). Bridging the Computational Modelling and EHR standards using openEHR and Semantic Web Technology. Poster presented at COMBINE 2015, Salt Lake City, USA. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Aleksandar Zivaljevic, David Nickerson
  • Park, Y. T., & Atalag, K. (2015). Current National Approach to Healthcare ICT Standardization: Focus on Progress in New Zealand. Healthcare Informatics Research, 21 (3), 144-151. 10.4258/hir.2015.21.3.144
  • Atalag, K., Yang, H. Y., Tempero, E., & Warren, J. R. (2014). Evaluation of software maintainability with openEHR - a comparison of architectures. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 83 (11), 849-859. 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2014.07.006
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ewan Tempero, Jim Warren
  • Atalag, K. (2013). Using a Single Content Model for eHealth Interoperability and Secondary Use. In E. J. S. Hovenga, H. Grain (Eds.) Health Information Governance in a Digital Environment (pp. 282-296). IOS Press.
  • Atalag, K., Yang, H. Y., & Warren, J. (2012). Assessment of software maintainability of openEHR based health information systems - A case study in endoscopy. electronic Journal of Health Informatics, 7 (1). Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jim Warren
  • Atalag, K., Yang, H.-Y., Tempero, E., & Warren, J. R. (2011). Model Driven Development of Clinical Information Systems using openEHR. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 169, 849-853. 10.3233/978-1-60750-806-9-849
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jim Warren, Ewan Tempero
  • Atalag, K., Paton, C., Kingsford, D., & Warren, J. (2010). Putting health record interoperability standards to work. Electronic Journal of Health Informatics, 5 (1), 1-17.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/8467
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jim Warren


Contact details

Office hours

ABI: Mon-Fri - DDI 64 9 923 9726 or internal extn 89726.


Primary office location

Level 6, Room 601
New Zealand

Social links

Web links