Interoperability

It is becoming more and more clear to me that decision makers in healthcare policy and especially in healthcare IT policy do not understand the real underlying problems of interoperability in healthcare applications.

Dare I also say that most developers don’t either?

“Epi2008”:http://www.epi2008.com.br/ingles/index.php is wrapping up today where we held a pre-Congress 1.5 day workshop on “OSHIP/openEHR”:http://www.openehr.org/wiki/display/dev/Python+developer%27s+page

After the workshop I had plenty of time to attend sessions and chat with a variety of epidemiologists, health policy and health economics experts. Of course most of these people are researchers and are looking for information from a variety of data sources including primary care health records. All legitimate usage of the information to help make their decisions in health care delivery needs.

In general there are many groups of people calling for many different “minimum data sets”. Being a bit of a realist I think I can safely say that there is no way that all these **different** minimum data sets will ever be implemented in all healthcare applications.

The problem isn’t really the data sets. The problem is that the context for the data in today’s applications is trapped in the software. The semantic context cannot be moved from application to another unless it is part of the data.

In my point paper on this subject I point out these issues and how to solve them. Of course there is much more to this than can be described in one paper so I give pointers to the required resources.

You can get a copy of “**Where the Context Lies**”:http://timothywayne.cook.googlepages.com/ from my website.

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