What “Interoperability” Really Means

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In case you didn’t know David Stone, who led Cerner’s users through the wonderful early days of MPages development, he’s a genius. He and I were talking about interoperability in healthcare. He made me realize that today’s interoperability definition has a huge gap.

You see, interface-free EHR-embedded apps like the CORES Rounding and Handoff solution deliver information to pagers, mobile devices, whiteboards, and printed reports. Achieving this while providing the right information, to the right provider, at the right time the way CORES does, demonstrates the missing concept:

Interoperability shouldn’t mean simply that information can be exchanged among systems and with retention of semantic meaning, but also that it must be delivered with the appropriate clinical context into the right time in the workflow.

The addition of clinical context and workflow-appropriate delivery are critical to improving the EHR effects on patient safety, on healthcare efficiency, and on provider satisfaction. Simply having a huge pile of health data, thankfully with the right measurement units and dates and times, is a good start – but we can do better.

Here’s our HIMSS white paper on this idea.

Dr. Erik Van Eaton