Why Standards and Interoperability?

Why Interoperability?
To fully realize the potential of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems we need to ensure a timely and secure access to such systems and to all those that are entitled to use them. Moreover, the information contained in EHRs should be up-to-date, accurate and, in its communication to another location, system or language it should be correctly understood. This is called interoperability.
Interoperable EHR systems are instrumental in enabling patient centered care, continuity of care, and support to mobility of patients.

Integration vs. Interoperability

Integration is the arrangement of an organization’s information systems in way that allows them to communicate efficiently and effectively and brings together related parts into a single system. Interoperability is the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.

Why Standards?
Health information systems have to adhere to the same standards in order to make interoperability possible. Systems must be able to implement the recognized standards in order to exchange information and work with other systems. With the regulatory issues and privacy / security challenges, standards help the systems to support the activities and perform the functions for which they are intended; and to protect and maintain the confidentiality of data entrusted to them.